My wife and I have two dogs. One of our dogs is somewhat calm and sweet while the other dog is bonkers. This past thanksgiving Meghan and I took them up to Greensboro where my parents live. A good portion of my extended family was coming over for the Thanksgiving meal. Before anyone arrived I tried warning my parents that our dogs were not the friendliest, especially our crazy one. He is somewhat neurotic and hardly trusts anyone, it has taken him almost three years to warm up to us. My dad kept saying the dogs would be fine and that we didn’t have to worry about it. However, I pushed a few more times saying that we might want to put them in someone’s bedroom to keep them away from everyone, but my insisted. He was acting as if he knew them better than Meghan and I knew them.
As my extended family came in one by one I could see my dogs from the back getting frantic and wondering what was going on. When my uncle got there my dad suggested that they go outside and see the dogs. As I watched on I knew what was going to happen and I had just warned my dad. The dogs barked in an aggressive fashion, I kept waiting for one of the them to bite someone. They were so aggressive that no one would pet them. Fortunately everyone quickly ran inside and my dad threw out a passing comment along the lines of “I didn’t know they weren’t friendly.” I wanted to yell, had he not heard me tell him about this just 30 minutes earlier. He failed to listen because he thought he knew better. I am sure we all have stories similar to this. Maybe this happens to you on a daily basis. You warn someone and yet they go ahead with what they were going to do. As it continues to wear on you you think its pointless to warn people because people are stubborn and hard of hearing. Its at this point to consider yourself and to consider God. Were/are you not stubborn and hard of hearing? Is God not patient and loving? Doesn’t he constantly pursue you despite your sin?
On a subject as big and universal as the judgment of God we shy away because of the subject, but also because we know what people are like. We may think that despite our attempts to warn others about God’s impending judgment no one actually will listen (which is true). We must understand that people are bent on their ways, but we must undergird this with the belief that God is constantly at work in the hearts of unbelievers and he calls us to take part in telling them of his judgment and grace. As you consider the reality of your salvation and how you once were under God’s wrath and judgment consider how you can love your neighbor. Specifically you can love them in warning them, in a graceful and winsome way, about the bad news of God’s judgment, but also about the good news of God’s grace, steadfast love and mercy. This is the good news that we celebrate and we worship God for how he has so graciously dealt with us.
Scripture: Revelation 8:1-9:21
Sermon: Trumpets of Warning