Justice and Vengeance in the Valley of Decision (Joel 3:1-15) by Bro. Jama Javier

Good afternoon everyone. Happy Lord’s day. So on June 6 in 1944, soldiers from the USA, Canada, United Kingdom and many others, stormed the beaches of Normandy. This is Nazi occupied France during World War II and the assault began by air, continued by sea and ended by land. At the time, this was the largest deployment and land, air, and sea assault in all of history. Over 326,000 troops were deployed, 50,000 vehicles and 100,000 tons of equipment had landed on the beaches. Now, this is been come to know as D-Day; we may know that as D-Day for the World War II history buffs. It is a day associated with terrible and frightening devastation. It is a day known for war and death and conflict so then the words D-Day are synonymous with destruction or the destruction day. It actually means Disembarkation Day, by the way. So but there is a similar day mentioned throughout the Bible. It is a terrifying day, it is an unavoidable day, an inevitable day, an inescapable day, and that day is known as the day of the Lord. Now what makes this day so frightening you may ask, what is the significance and the weight of this day. Throughout the Book of Joel, God pronounces judgment in the form of ruin and destruction to those who sin against Him and promises restoration and abundance to those who repent and turn to Him. In chapter 1, we heard about the destruction of all of Israel’s resources; all of their agriculture had been destroyed and they could not eat and even the the animals of the land were frightened and worried for their provision. And yet God promised that there would be restoration for them if they repent. And in Chapter 2, we see a similar theme of a gracious God reaching out to a stiff-necked people proclaiming to restore all that they had lost if they come and return to Him. And that He even gives them blessings greater than their sins and sufferings. In chapter 3, our passage today we hear about God’s judgment upon the nations now the nations that have so afflicted Israel. We have heard from our fellow preachers that there are two views: a metaphorical view and a literal view of locusts and and Assyrian armies or Babylonian armies. Well, here I personally think that it is an actual army and now we see God judging those who He used as an instrument of judgment against His people. And so this takes place during a future date and our message today, our sermon is entitled Justice And Vengeance In The Valley Of Decision.

Open your Bibles with me to the Book of Joel we’re reading from chapter 3 we will go from verse one 1 to verse 15. Hear now the word of the Living God. “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. And I will enter into judgment with them there, on behalf of my people and my heritage Israel, because they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land, and have cast lots for my people, and have traded a boy for a prostitute, and have sold a girl for wine and have drunk it. “What are you to me, O Tyre and Sidon, and all the regions of Philistia? Are you paying me back for something? If you are paying me back, I will return your payment on your own head swiftly and speedily. For you have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried my rich treasures into your temples. You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks in order to remove them far from their own border. Behold, I will stir them up from the place to which you have sold them, and I will return your payment on your own head. I will sell your sons and your daughters into the hand of the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the Sabeans, to a nation far away, for the Lord has spoken.” Proclaim this among the nations: Consecrate for war; stir up the mighty men. Let all the men of war draw near; let them come up. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, “I am a warrior.” Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, and gather yourselves there. Bring down your warriors, O Lord. Let the nations stir themselves up and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the winepress is full. The vats overflow, for their evil is great. Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining..

May God add blessing to the reading of His word. Won’t you join me in a word of prayer before we continue. Heavenly God, Lord, we thank You for this book of prophecy in the Book of Joel. Lord, we thank You for this grave warning that is to come to all people. And Lord, we pray that You would help us to have a conviction of the truth of this day and also Lord, the salvation offered in Christ. We pray Lord that the gravity and the weight of this coming judgment would help us to cling closer to Christ and be grateful for the life that we have in Him and be more ready to share Him and proclaim Him to those who do not know Him. Lord, help us to see and have compassion on the lost through this passage and reveal to us your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ that we may live more for Him and be conformed to His image. We pray this in His name, amen.

So this passage today, it takes place in our future restoration of Judah and Jerusalem and that means really the whole nation of Israel. And it is a day that points to the ultimate day of rejoicing and reconciliation of God’s people. Prophetically, it points the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. He says for behold in those days and at that time when this restoration happens. But on that great and glorious day for the God’s people, there is an equally great and glorious and yet terrifying day for those who oppose Him, for those who oppose them, for those who do not repent of their sins. And the world here is represented by nations that rounded Israel at the time. God says He will gather all the nations and bring them to a certain valley, the valley of Jehoshaphat. And God’s intention there is clear in the name of Jehoshaphat; it means Yahweh has judged. So it is a valley of judgment or later called the Valley Of Decision.

Now, first God uses both legalistic or legal and militaristic language here.

This is describing what the day is going to be like. He says a valley often pertaining to a battlefield before, when kings would go to war, they would pick a battlefield where they would go to war with one another; a place that is suitable for war and killing. And so they will decide okay, well we will meet here in this valley, where we can march our enemies and this is what God calls them. God calls them to gather in this place and then He says it is a valley not of war per se because what fight can be had against against God. Who can beat Him? Who can defeat Him? And it is a valley of His judgment, it is a one-sided conflict. We see Him bring charges against these nations. He lists down their sins and their transgressions against His people. And then we see yet again that militaristic language where He says consecrate a war He invites..hinahabol Niya lahat ng mga bansa. He calls all the nations. He says okay, all of you now are to participate in this war, even your instruments for agriculture are going to be used for war. He says stir up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near and He says beat your plow shares, a farming implement into swords, and your pruning hooks for farming as well into spears and let the weak say I am a warrior; transformation is happening. He’s saying all the people, all the warrior, all the people of the nation are to participate in this war and they’re to convert all their things for agriculture into instruments of war. And so this is the nature of the judgment that will happen to these people. He will judge them and He will defeat them and He will bring great destruction upon them.

Now there are two aspects of this judgment that we can see in the text. The first is that God judges these nations according to their evil deeds that takes place and God takes it personally, all these evil deeds done against Him. He takes it as a personal act of violence against His holy name. God uses personal language. He says my land, my people, for you have taken my silver and my gold and carried my riches and my treasures into your temples. And so how does God deal with these nations who have sinned against Him? Well He will, in the day of of the Lord stand as Our Holy Judge against them, and that as our first point.

And the second aspect of that judgment is very similar to the first but with an added motivation. These nations or peoples are judged because of the evil deeds they have done against God’s people, Israel. These nations have committed detestable evil acts against the people of Israel and because these are God’s people whom He loves and has a covenant with, God avenges them. Similarly, as God’s people of the new covenant, Paul calls us the true Israel of God. We know that God will on the day of the Lord be Our Righteous Avenger, which is our second point. And so our message for this afternoon is that There Will Come A Day When God Judges The World And Avenges His People.

Let’s take a look at the first point. To grasp the greater context of this passage, remember in the second chapter of Joel, we heard God’s judgment upon His people who turned away from Him yet He still calls them to gather and consecrate a fast for Him as a sign of their repentance. Now in this last chapter, God will again gather all the nations. And He has, I have said again, He has gathered them for the purpose of judging them there. This is known as the day of judgment, the day of the Lord. And notice how He mentions all the nations as a collective. He says let all the nations, let the nations stir themselves up and I will sit there and judge all the surrounding nations in verse 12. He mentions three nations by name Tyre, Sidon and Philistia. And geographically, if you look at a map, Tyre and Sidon are to the north of Israel and Philistia is to the south. And so, it is a large region. He’s talking about basically from the top to the bottom. It is like He is saying from east to west. But in this case, it is north to south, implying the involvement of all things in-between and around.

In the New Testament, the book of Hebrews makes it clear to us that this judgment is not only for those nations, but for all people. Hebrews 9:27 just as it is appointed for a man to die once and after that comes judgment. As certain as we all will one day die, so it is true and unavoidable that God will enter into judgment against all the people of the world. Now this is significant because there are some people who will tell you that they believe in God but they do not believe that He will judge. They say that they think that He will allow anybody to enter into heaven. They think that all are welcome and He will, His graciousness, His forgiveness is so much that everybody can go without trusting in Him. Now that is not the God of the Bible. God will judge because He is just, He is holy, He is morally perfect, He cannot stand the sinful and the evildoers and the unjust.

He will also not let the evil go unpunished. If God does not judge, then He is not good. He is not righteous for there are acts of evil in the world that we know demand punishment and justice. Even us, now in this world, we have a court of justice. We have police, we have Officers of the Law enforcement. So we know that there are evil acts that are done that demand justice. We as people, live in a society of laws and God is the highest He is the highest form of authority. And He has the right to judge us all. God is not partial, He does not show favouritism and it is not that He will judge some, and not judge others. He will judge all people of all nations, throughout all time. And in the same way that those who break the laws of society in their respective nations, so we all, one day, will stand before God in His heavenly court and be held accountable for the laws that we have broken.

Now the bad news is that He is the universal lawgiver and we are universal law-breakers. On that day, on this day of the Lord, all who stand before Him on the merit of their own works will be found guilty of sinning against God, breaking His laws and will be deserving of eternal wrath and punishment. The day of the Lord we see in our text, will be a day where God evaluates our relationship with Him. He will take into account how we have lived and obeyed or failed to obey His commands. Look at verse 4, God asks the rhetorical question: what are you to Me? As if to say what benefit are you to me? What is our relationship? How will I value you? And we may think that we can stand before God one day and say well I did this, I gave to the poor, I cared for orphans; pag may naglilimos dun, nagbibigay ako ng pera, I have welcomed strangers into my home, I’ve done all these things and yet…. they will understand, those apart from Christ will understand what Paul means in Romans 3 10-12 as it is written, none is righteous; not one, no one understands, no one seeks God; all have turned aside. Together, they have become worthless. And so when God asks that rhetorical question to these nations, He says what are you to Me? What value are you to Me? The answer is worthless!

The Bible says our our good works are filthy rags before Him; the best things that we can do. And filthy rags by the way, forgive the explicit language, are menstrual cloths. Can you imagine going to visit somebody of great status — a mayor or a president or some celebrity of some sorts, and you give him a gift or her, a gift and then you are so excited to give them this gift. This gift that you think is great and when they open it in inside is a menstrual cloth! How might you expect them to respond to that?

And so the next rhetorical question God asks is are you paying Me back for something? As if God is asking: have I been evil to you? May ginawa ba ako sa ‘yong masama? Have I treated you wrongly? And do we view God as having done us wrong with the life He’s given us? Are we mad at God because of the things that have happened to us? sickness, poverty or loss. Do we use these things to justify sin against God? We forget that God is by nature of being God, entitled to govern our lives. We are rightly His. He is our Creator and we are creatures. Yan by the way ang ibig sabihin ng creatures. He is Creator and we are creature. So creature must submit to Creator. That is the order of things and we, as creatures rebellious before God, now demand things of Him, and say we deserve, this we must have this, and when we do not get it, ano’ng nangyayari? Nagtatampo po tayo di ba? We say well, hindi naman yan binigay so gagawin ko ganito na lang; ganun na lang gagawin ko. And so we justify our sins before God. There is no way that we can escape this truth in judgment. We cannot justify any sins against God and yet He has every right to take our lives the moment that we sin against Him. He still gives us blessing upon blessings, the warmth of the sun, the light of the moon, the food from the ground, even the beds that we sleep on. He gives and He takes away as Job said blessed be the name of the Lord. And to answer the rhetorical question are you paying me back for something, God says if you are paying me back, I will return the payment on your head swiftly and speedily. He repeats it to let them know that it is coming; that your sins will not go unpunished. Your sin will find you out! I’m aware that this is a heavy message and I do not intend to be a fire and brimstone preacher, but this is the text that we are given. And so I must tell you that if you are here today, if you have been coming to this church for the past few weeks, or if you’re coming to this church now as a visitor, and you think that you’re going to hear something just merely feel good and encourage you that you can on your own works be justified before God, this is the truth of the scripture. That by our own works, our best works are filthy rags before Him. And we deserve wrath for our sins and we break His law every single day.

And so God’s assessment of the people before Him, we see it in verse 13, put the sickle for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread the wine press is full the vats overflow for the evil is great. Heto na naman yung agricultural language na ginagamit ni God. If He talks about Israel, He will restore them and then abundance, they will abound in the resources, they will have wine, they have so much food, so much to partake of. Here, God describes the wickedness of the people and He says punung-puno, it is overflowing, it is ripe, that is how wicked we have been. Now this is the truth that all of us have broken God’s law. And we have all sinned against Him. And we do not have, we have not just only done it once; we do it every day. There is not a single one of us that has lived the day of their lives and have not broken the law of God. And this is true, this judgment is true for all those who do not trust in Jesus Christ. In the day of the Lord, God will pour out His wrath on the unrepentant and grace on those in Jesus Christ.

And while this has been a terrifying truth, maybe discouraging, frightening truth, there is now the good news. That God has made a way for salvation. That God has made a way for us, sinners who have broken His law and transgressed against Him to be saved. Brethren, I tell you this: if you are a Christian I am telling you, I am reminding you of what God has saved you from. And if you are not in Christ, I am telling you what is yet to come for you so that you might come to Christ. God says He is not only a God of justice and wrath but of love, mercy and grace. In Joel 2 13, remember He says He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He relents over disaster. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Jesus says I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

And so life now can be had in Jesus Christ. You can be sure that you will not go through this judgment because Christ has been judged on your behalf. He made Him who knew no sin, Jesus Christ, to be sin for us so that we might be the righteousness of God in Him. There is a Man who has lived the perfect life that is demand of us. There is a Man that has never sinned against God. And there is a Man who has borne your sins on your behalf. And you can partake of this salvation by faith. You are saved by grace through faith in Christ. And that is the call today.. if you do not know Christ, repent of your works. Do not trust anymore of your good works before God. They are not good and they do not work! So you must trust in the work of Christ. He is good and He has worked on your behalf.. righteousness.. He has earned righteousness. And so those who are in Christ by faith, are declared righteous. There is no condemnation for those in Christ. This great condemnation that we have spent all this time talking about, wala yun! For those in Christ and only in Christ, no one again comes to the Father except through Him. And so we trust in the work of Jesus and this is the great salvation that you have kapatid. If you have forgotten, if you have taken your Christianity for granted, this is what you have to be grateful for. This every single day, no matter what happens, you may ask yourself do I have Christ? Then oh, it is well with my soul. Wala bang trabaho? May nawalan ba sa pamilya mo? Mahirap ba ngayon? May sakit ka ba? So you have Christ? If you have Christ, you have everything. And so this personal faith in Christ, I must tell you… this salvation that is freely offered in Him, it is so powerful that it is transformative. We are given new life In Christ. So much so that the Bible says our life is hid in Christ with God. Your life is not your own. Paul says I have been crucified with Christ! It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. And so we’re called to no longer think about ourselves and our selfish desires but to live for Christ. And in living for Christ, I must tell you we also have a mission. We have a commission, we have a joint work with Him. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:18 to 20 all this, this transformation— the old has gone the new has come all this is come all this is from God who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. So brethren, this is your ministry. Without a doubt, this is one of the things that you’re called to do; that is in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself not counting their trespasses against Him and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors of Christ. God making His appeal through us, we implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

If you are again not in Christ today, I must implore you. Do not wait until tomorrow; trust in Him today. And also to those who are fellow believers, take hold of this mission, of this purpose, that regardless of your gifts, there are many gifts! Not all are gifted evangelists, not all are called to be preachers, not all are called to be teachers, yet all of us are called to partake in this ministry of evangelism. And so brethren, let us not tarry anymore. If you have been given the gift of proclaiming the word of God, proclaim the word of God! If you have been given the gift of resource, then help those that proclaim the word of God. Support your church, support your pastor, support our missionaries who are labouring day in and day out for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ, this is our challenge: we must live in gratitude of our salvation and proclaim the gospel of salvation to the lost.

If God gives us an opportunity to share the gospel, do not shy away. But if there’s no opportunity, you know one thing that all can literally do? We may all pray. Let us all pray for the lost and pray for an opportunity for their salvation. And so this life of Christ, this life of evangelism, this life of gratitude and sharing to the lost; there are those that will have you believe that when you become a Christian, wala ka nang prublema, wala nang masamang mangyayari sa ‘yo..hindi po iyon totoo. Actually, for the Christian, tribulation is guaranteed. He says, Paul says through many trials we must enter the kingdom of heaven and this is even a mark of blessing. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. It is a blessing when we suffer for Christ but there is a comfort for us when we suffer for Christ. And that is our second point, Our Righteous Avenger.

In our passage, the Lord mentions one of the reasons why He is entering into judgment with these nations. He says I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of my people and my heritage, Israel because they have scattered them among the nations. And so He mentions one of their more offensive wrongs. They cast lots for God’s people, they are regarded as property, they are by definition slaves, they traded a boy for a prostitute, a girl for a wine and immediately they have drunk it. It’s a picture of how they disregarded the life of people to the point that they trade it for fleeting pleasures. The next generation exchanged for alak and sexual sin. Now for these great sins of of human trafficking, God sentences them to with poetic justice because they have sold Israel to the Greeks and take them out of God’s Promised Land, He will deliver these nations to the hands of the Jews and they in turn will be sold to a nation far away. This is an Earthly or temporal picture of God’s vengeance. By the way, vengeance is not the same as revenge. Revenge is taking justice into your own hands and vengeance is the is when the proper authorities enact justice.

But in this picture of God’s vengeance upon these nations, we see that God will in fact avenge His people for all their wrongs done to them. Now the suffering of God’s people continues today. Have you suffered for the sake of the Gospel?

Have you been said na: aah, ganun pala ang Christian. Di ba ang sakit nun? Have you been scorned or made fun of for the things that you believe in? Have you been ostracised or dismissed because of your faith in Christ; told I can’t believe that you believe that; only fools believe that. That’s a cult.

Well my encouragement to you is first of all as I already mentioned to suffer for Christ and experience persecution is one of the things that God has promised and it’s a sign that you are following Him. It’s a sign that you are a true disciple of Jesus. As we heard in our sermon this morning, the world will hate you because because they hated me first, Jesus says. For so they also persecuted, mocked and even killed the Lord Jesus Christ. And also your comfort is that these people who have wronged you, and sin against you, and harmed you, they will not go unpunished. Kung may masama man mangyari sa ‘yo o sa pamilya mo, you can rest assured that they will not get away with it. They may escape earthly authorities, but they cannot escape God. Now, this is not a a message of revenge or to make you take comfort in the punishment of the people, rather it is a message of compassion. As we hear in Romans 12:19 beloved never avenge yourselves but leave it to the wrath of God for it is written vengeance is mine. I will repay says the Lord. We must not seek revenge, we must not seek to pay evil for evil. When we seek revenge against those who wronged us, it shows that we believe that God’s vengeance is not enough. Hindi pa ba sapat yung justice nung judgment ni God? It says we think that is not enough that God will avenge, we must take justice into our own hands. But brethren, God is capable of delivering just righteous and complete vengeance upon our enemies than we ever could.

Moreover, His vengeance is not tainted by sin or malice. It is pure and just, giving them no more than what they deserve, and what they deserve is truly unbearable. God’s people must trust in Him to avenge them. But again, how are we to respond to these enemies? These people that have sinned against us?

These people who we seem to…. we’re trying to share the gospel with them, we’re trying to save them from their sins or point them to the Saviour. And how do we respond when they do us harm? As Christians, we must be like… as Christians rather, we must not be like the unforgiving servant, a parable that Jesus says in Matthew 18 if you remember. Matthew 18: 23-35 I’ll not read the whole thing but it tells of a king who wants to settle the accounts of his slaves. Yung mga utang ng kanyang mga alipin, He is settling them. Hinihingi niya yung mga utang nila sa kanya. And there was one who has owed him 10,000 talents. That is a large, large sum and he cannot pay! And so he says well you must sell yourself and your wife and your children and all that you have to pay me back. And the this servant gets on his knees and begs have patience with me and I will pay you everything. And this king has pity on him, and says that his debt is forgiven. But then that same servant went out and may nakita siyang fellow alipin, fellow slave, a fellow servant. And this slave owed him one think it is 100 dinari which is a day’s wage..yung sweldo niya for the day. And what did he do? He seized him and he began to choke him and say pay me what you owe! And his fellow servant fell down just like he did and he said have mercy, have patience on me, I will pay you. He refused and put him in jail. Now the fellow servants the other slaves found this out and reported it to the master and the master summoned him and said you wicked servant, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant as I have had mercy on you? See brethren, the truth is we must acknowledge that we have sinned against God more than we have been sinned against by our neighbours. Our sins against God have been much greater than the sins against us. And if we don’t understand that, then we do not know the depths of our sin.

Yes, evil things may have been done to you and they are detestable. And yet the Bible says, all of the things that we have done we constantly break God’s law every day and so we who have received mercy, must be merciful. We who have been forgiven much must forgive much. We are exhorted to have compassion on our enemies and go even as far as to love our enemies. For while we were still enemies of God, Christ loved us and died for us. You have heard that it was said you should love your neighbour and hate your enemy Jesus says, but I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. When we love our enemies, we are telling the world that we are children of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are setting ourselves apart and this is the hardest thing, one of the hardest things to do. And I know that we must depend on the power of the Holy Spirit to do these things. We cannot do it on our own strength. We must rely on the transformation of God and pray. If there’s unforgiveness in your heart brethren, kung may naisip ka sa sermon na ito na galit na galit ka sa kanya, if he is your enemy, pray for him who persecutes you, her who persecutes you. Pray for the one that you hate for we cannot pray and hate at the same time. We cannot love and preach the gospel and hate them at the same time.

John Piper says this about loving one another, loving our enemies. Can we pray for justice and yet love our enemy at the same time? The answer is yes. We will magnify the mercy of God by praying for our enemies to be saved and reconciled to God. At the personal level, we will be willing to suffer for their everlasting good and we will give them food and drink, we will put away malicious hatred and private vengeance. But at the public level, we will also magnify the justice of God by praying and working for justice to be done on Earth. If necessary, through wise and measured force from God ordained authority. So I’m not saying that if somebody has come into your house and wants to harm your family, you should ask him if he wants a drink of water. It it is lawful to defend yourself, to defend your family. I am saying that the Bible tells us that we are not to do it in hatred or in malice, in order to hurt and in order to take joy in hurting them. We are to desire to love and to reconcile them to God, just as we also were undeserving of God’s forgiveness and grace. So we must also share that message in our actions in loving our enemies. Romans 12 equips us as to how to address the evil in our lives. He says: to the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him, if he is thirsty, give him something to drink, for so by doing you will keep burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. There is some truth to that saying: ‘kill them with kindness’ but it falls short. It is draw them to Christ by your love. “The the best way to make.. to get rid of an enemy is to turn him into a friend,” F.F. Bruce once said.

So our challenge is As Followers Of Christ, We Are To Love Our Enemies because we are followers of Christ. Just as Christ once loved us while we were enemies of God, so we too should love our enemies. And the problem is that we are too comfortable. We love ourselves more than we love the lost. We fail to be like Christ in sacrificing our own comfort and our own well-being for the salvation of those who oppose us. But brethren, look not to yourself, look not to your failures; look only to the Lord Jesus Christ who has done all these things. He is the Model and Perfector of your faith and simply follow Him and rely upon the power of His Holy Spirit to do this work in you and depend upon Him.

A last quote, I want to quote George Whitefield who said “when you hear of a notorious sinner, instead of thinking you do well to be angry, beg of Jesus Christ to convert and make him a monument of His free grace.” Ang ganda ano? When we hear something evil being done, when we hear maybe a false teacher, or when we hear that our favourite enemy has done something again, our temptation is to be angry and to say ‘sana baka imprecatory prayer na yung ip- pray natin…sana kunin Niyo na siya Lord, sana i-judge Mo na siya’. Pero dapat hindi ganun! You should say instead ‘Lord bring him to Christ and so that all that hate him now will see that God does indeed forgive the worst of sinners.’ I am sure that that’s how God had won many over through the conversion of Paul.

And so brethren, let us not leave room for hate in our hearts but abound in love and let the love of Christ compel us. As God’s people, we must live in anticipation of this day. The heaviness, the severity of the day that we have just heard.. it will happen. But we must live in anticipation of the day in judgment by loving our enemies, loving others and by preaching the gospel to the lost, so that instead of being judged on the day of the Lord, they will instead worship with us on the Lord’s day. Let us live for this purpose and participate in it through our prayers, through our means, and through our words.
Let us pray. Heavenly God, Lord, Lord we, we thank you you for the Lord Jesus Christ who has saved us from this great and unbearable judgment. Lord, we pray that You would give us joy in our hearts in enjoying this salvation; that we would live in gratitude for what You have done for us. We pray Lord that we would see the great value of the gospel and treasure it as we did at first. That we would love you and be grateful as we were at first when we heard of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And we pray that we would share it as a precious thing; that we would share it as much as we share the other pleasures of life. We pray Lord that we might live by this gospel as well that people may see it in how we live especially in those who have sinned against us, especially in those Lord who have wronged us. That we may communicate great forgiveness by forgiving those who have greatly sinned against us. Lord only You can do these things in us. Only You can draw them to Christ. But Lord, let us partake of this ministry that You have given us this ministry of reconciliation that we may partner with you in saving… in saving the lost by pointing them to the One who saves. Lord we pray that this would be done to Your glory in Jesus’ Name, amen.

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