Text: II Peter 3
I. It is common to face criticism when a strong stand is taken
A. I noticed in the papers many years ago , that the Methodists and Episcopals were in a quandary.
1. The majority wanted strong stands against homosexuality, but a large element objected
2. The objection was that if you take a strong stand, you will drive people away.
B. The attitude was that God loves everyone, so we should accept everyone.
C. When someone is sinning, we are told to hate the sin, but to love the sinner
1. Do you realize this is actually a quote from Ghandi and not the Bible?
2. Can you separate the person from the actions he chooses to participate in?
3. After a decade, we know where this went. The sinners were not just loved, but the sins themselves are now openly embraced.
II. The ideas of love and service
A. Matthew 6:24 - Notice that Jesus moves from service to love and back to service
B. Love and service are closely tied.
C. We love God when we serve God by our obedience - I John 2:5
D. Same for the love for brethren - I John 3:16-18
III. The nature of God
A. God is good, patient, and longsuffering - Romans 2:4
B. God loved us is shown by what He did for us - I John 4:9-10
C. One can chose to serve even when emotions might push you away - Romans 5:6-8
D. A quandary is created when we try to separate a person from the actions he chooses to commit.
1. The denominational world shows this when trying to say they will stand against a sin, such as homosexuality, but at the same time accept people caught up in that sin because they “love” them
2. God demonstrated love to His children caught in the snare of sin, but that does not translated to God loving people who wallow in sin
E. God’s goodness is matched with severity - Romans 11:22
F. God is wrathful - John 3:36; Romans 1:18; Ephesians 5:6
IV. We must face the fact that God hates sin
A. A list of seven things God finds abominable - Proverbs 6:16-19
B. The worship of idols - Jeremiah 44:3-4
C. The hypocrisy of evil being offered for good purposes - Isaiah 61:8
1. God hates the worship offered by the wicked - Isaiah 1:14-15
2. Similar - Amos 5:21-23
D. Plotting evil and dishonest promises - Zechariah 8:17
E. Divorce - Malachi 2:16
F. The deeds of the Nicolaitans - Revelation 2:6
G. In summary, Jesus hates sin - Hebrews 1:9
V. But what about the people who commit sin, doesn’t God love them?
A. There is a distinction between the person trapped in sin through weakness and the person who embraces sin and will not let it go
B. God hates the workers of iniquity, the bloodthirsty, and the liar - Psalms 5:5-6
C. God hates the wicked and the violent - Psalms 11:5-7
D. Too often we separate the person from his deeds. We don’t like blame to be assigned to anyone, especially to ourselves.
E. God said, He hated Esau (meaning Esau’s descendants) - Malachi 1:2-4
1. Why? The problem is: Can a person be loved who refuses to give up sin?
2. Esau refused to repent, and his descendants were the same - Hebrews 12:15-17
F. Recall that God sends delusions to sinners - II Thessalonians 2:10-12
2. They have no love for the truth
G. God can lose his love for people who love sin more than they God - Hosea 9:13-17
1. God can hate someone to the point of loving them no more
2. The cause was their willful disobedience
VI. When we are faced with evil
A. It is perfectly correct to hate those who have given their lives over to evil - Psalms 139:21-22
B. But even faced with even our worse enemy, we treat them with love - Matthew 5:44-45
C. We give service equally - Romans 12:20-21
VII. God loved the world that was caught up in the snare of sin - John 3:16
A. Christ died for us while we were sinners; yet, all will not be saved because all will not accept God’s love
B. Jesus showed a willingness to forgive those nailing him to the cross - Luke 23:34
C. Yet, God’s love is not unconditional. When God’s love is spurned, when sin is willfully embraced, then there is nothing left but wrath - Hebrews 10:26-31
D. God wants you to repent, but there will be a limit - II Peter 3:9-18
E. We will be judged by what we do - Romans 2:5-6
1. How can that be if a person’s deeds are separate from the person?
2. But if we understand that a person’s deeds reflect who a person is, then God’s judgment makes perfect sense.
F. What choice are you making? Will you accept God’s mercy or will you spurn Him how gave so much and thus earn His great wrath?