God is in Control

Understanding the discipline of God vs the wrath of God.

George Wright
Jun 23, 2019    44m
In this sermon Pastor George Wright helps us understand the discipline of God vs the wrath of God. He explains they are two totally different things. God will discipline his children, the believers, as an act of grace designed to turn our hearts back toward him if we stray. In contrast He will bring his wrath and judgement upon those who do evil deeds. Video recorded at Columbia, South Carolina.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

George Wright: 00:00 Let me encourage you now to grab your Bible and we're going to step back in to this minor prophet in the old Testament, Habakkuk. This series that we kicked off last week, and I realize you may not have been here last week, or maybe you're new to Shannon this morning, and we are so glad that you are with us. You are among friends. It is our joy to welcome you in, if you're new to Shannon, but we're going to step back into this, this short little book in the old Testament that lays out for us this incredible message of the sovereignty of God. And what that means, the sovereignty of God, is that God is in control in all things, in all situations, even when it doesn't seem like it or even when we don't see what he is doing. God is in control. God is on his throne. God is at work for his will, for his glory and ultimately if we trust him, for our good.

George Wright: 00:55 That's what we see throughout Habakkuk, and I'm going to read one verse to get us started here. As we look at chapter two. This book only has three chapters. Next week will be our final week in Habakkuk. We're going to read one verse to get us started here. In chapter 2:14 and I'd like to invite you, if you're willing and able, to stand with me as I read this verse. If you're new to Shannon, or if you're joining us online this morning, and you see people kind of standing around the room, and you're wondering what this is all about. We do this each week at the beginning of the message, so we can all be reminded, that when we gather together in the name of Jesus, as the people of God, as the church, we are coming underneath the authority of God's word.

George Wright: 01:44 This is not about what we think is best. This is about what God says is best. This is a not, not about our agendas or our ideas being pushed to the forefront. The word of God shows us God's agenda and God's ideas as most important. And so we stand on the foundation of the word of God. The foundation of what God says is right and good and true. And this is what we see in all of this scripture, including here in Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 14 this is the statement that we'll focus on. For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea for the earth. All of the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea, the whole earth will see the glory of God. Let's pray and ask God to reveal his glory to us today and to use this scripture in our lives that would see more of him and understand what it means to follow him in faith. Pray with me.

George Wright: 03:00 Father, we come before you now on this very exciting weekend, a weekend that we have looked forward to a weekend where we get to celebrate the Lord's supper together as a church. And a weekend where all the preparation for this amazing week, the best week ever is culminating. And so we do pray that you would move in power this week in the lives of many kids and many families. That they would see the good news of Jesus Christ, in a very real way. And we pray that some would trust in you for the first time. Today as we gather, as we stand upon your word, as we turn our attention to that which you say it is my prayer, Lord God, that you would have your way among us as a church, but that you would have your way in us individually. Speak into our lives. Let these words be implanted into our heart. Let our minds think deeply on what you say And we can have greater clarity, greater understanding, greater knowledge, but that we can have greater faith to trust in you. So we look to you in the name of Jesus. We ask all of this and ask you to move. Amen. Amen. You may be seated. Thank you for standing.

George Wright: 04:31 So, here we are in week two of Habakkuk. Have you learned to pronounce that name yet? Can anybody spell it? It's kind of a crazy name, right? Habakkuk. I'm sure those of you who are expecting a child or thinking you know that name needs to go to the top of the list. That's probably what we'll call our next child. It's a strange name, but it's definitely a name that we won't forget it. It's interesting when you look at the minor prophets, they all for the most part have very unique names and I think some of that, this is just my take. That's God's sense of humor going. Yeah, if you can remember that name, you're going to remember something that you need to hear. And certainly with Habakkuk we're given a message that we need to hear. We kicked this off last week by seeing Habakkuk, this prophet crying out to God, praying this brutally honest, gut wrenching prayer to God. In a season when the nation of Judah, what is the Southern kingdom of Israel, is in total disarray and total turmoil, and this group of people called the Caldeans or the Babylonians. They are pressing in on Judah. And for Habakkuk and all of Judah, it looks really dark. And the people have wandered away from God. And Habakkuk is saying, God, where are you in all of this?

George Wright: 05:37 A huge question, a question that if we're honest, if you had any season at all in your faith, you're going to say, I've wrestled with that question. God, where are you in this? I thought you're a good God. I thought you're a loving God. I thought you were going to meet my needs. I thought you're a God who was going to provide joy and this is hard. Life is hard. God, where are you in this?

George Wright: 06:13 And we saw last week and Habakkuk chapter 1:5 this statement that God makes responding to Habakkuk's questions. This statement that really is a cornerstone for this book of the Bible is God says, Habakkuk, I am doing something in your day that you would not believe if you were told. Habakkuk, I am in control. That's what God is saying. I know you may not see it right now. I know it may not feel like it right now. I know it appears to some of you and this is your reality today. Some of you are walking through a struggle. It looks like evil is winning. It's overwhelming. It feels heavy, it feels dark, and God is saying, I'm doing something. I'm doing something right now. Even in the midst of the struggle that is bigger than you can understand is greater than you can comprehend. Even if I told you, even if I gave you the whole story and the big picture, you would not believe it.

George Wright: 07:33 Just a reminder that God is sovereign. That God is not limited as we are by time and space. That God is not worried about the future because he's already written it. God is in control. and Habakkuk is arguing with God. Well, well, I don't know if I like this. God says, I'm going to send the Caldean's. I'm going to use these evil people as part of my plan because as these evil people descends on the land of Judah, and all of my people who have turned away from me, my people will be reminded of their need for me. It's the discipline of God. It's painful to consider the discipline of God. It's not easy to talk about the discipline of God, and so Habakkuk actually argues with God.

George Wright: 08:40 We saw this last week. You can read it in chapter 1. And he's basically saying, God, I realize you have a plan. I believe that you are God. I believe that you are good, but I don't like your plan. So God change your plan. I want you to make my life more comfortable. I don't want you to make my life more difficult. God, change your mind, change your plan, do something different. And God's response, this is where we ended last week. Habakkuk 2:4 is simply this, the righteous shall live by faith. Habakkuk, I'm not going to explain it all to you right now. I'm not expecting you to understand it all right now. The righteous shall live by faith. And so we pick up today as we enter into this second chapter of Habakkuk seeking to prepare our hearts for the Lord's supper, seeking to prepare our hearts for this great week, that we have been planning for and preparing for months now.

George Wright: 09:35 We enter into this scripture and we see this very sobering message in chapter 2, but it's a very important message. Because in chapter two we begin to see that according to the word of God, there is a very clear difference, a very clear distinction between the discipline of God and the wrath of God. God brings his discipline to his children, to his family, so to speak, to his church, to his people, and his discipline is never easy. His discipline is often painful, but his discipline, please don't miss this, is always ultimately for our good. Discipline of God is a gift of his patience with his children, as the perfect father. The discipline of God is an act of God's grace, that is intended to turn the hearts of his people back to him in repentance. God's discipline is a gift of grace.

George Wright: 10:49 I want you to keep your place at Habakkuk there, and turnover in the New Testament, right near the end of the New Testament, to the book of Hebrews. As the writer of Hebrews helps us understand this idea of God's discipline, and the goodness of God in the midst of his discipline. Hebrews chapter 12 again, right near the end of the new Testament, we step into these very important verses. We'll begin in verse five of Hebrews 12 it says, have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? The writer of Hebrews is speaking to the people of God. He's saying, have you forgotten that God calls you his son? Are you a child of God? If you are a child of God, you will be addressed as a son or a daughter of the most high King. And the writer goes on and says, my son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. Listen to this. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son whom he receives.

George Wright: 12:02 And the writer of Hebrews here is quoting from Proverbs chapter three. I love Proverbs chapter three in fact, it's one of my favorite chapters in all of the scriptures, because Proverbs 3:5,6 has become a set of life verses for me. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your path. There's this amazing promise in the wisdom of God, that if we trust in God and trust in his word, that he will guide our steps, he will guide our path, he will show us the way of life.

George Wright: 12:43 But, then Proverbs 3 also says, the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, as a father disciplines the son of whom he delights. When we wander away, when we put other things in our life as higher than God. When we start to do our own thing and go our own way, when we start to rebel against what God says is right and good and true. If we are a child of God, God brings discipline into our lives to correct us, to turn us back to him and ultimately to show us his love and his grace toward us. God disciplines those whom he loves. This is what a loving father does.

George Wright: 13:40 Now, I know many of you are parents. And as parents you have rules, you have guidelines for your children. And I know the rules may be different in every house, but I know, this is what I know of you as a parent. There is a set of rules. Perhaps, maybe it's a small list of rules that they, if those rules are violated, there will be consequences. And the consequences may be different in every family, but if those rules in your household are violated, there will be consequences and it's not, now your kids don't understand this, but it's not that you're mean. Your kids think you're crazy, but it's not that you're mean. It's that you love your kids.

George Wright: 14:21 And you know that there are certain things, certain lines, that they cannot cross. And if they cross those lines, it is your job as a loving parent to bring them back. To bring them back to safety, to bring them back to protection, to bring them back to what is right and good and true. That's what a loving parent does. That's why the Proverbs says, he who spares the rod hates his son. Because to not bring discipline into a child's life is to basically to that child, I hate you. I hate you so much that I want you to just figure out all of life on your own. That's not love. Love brings discipline. Love brings correction, and that's what the perfect father does for us.

George Wright: 14:52 When God brings discipline into our life, it's not fun. It's not easy. It's often painful. It's typically a struggle. It's typically a difficult season, when the discipline of God comes into our life, but ultimately it is an expression of God's love. He is a good father. He brings discipline into our life for his glory and for our good. Back to Hebrews 12:7 it says, it was for discipline that you have to endure. This statement is very similar to the statement that Habakkuk, or that is made in Habakkuk 2:4, the righteous shall live by faith, endurance. The righteous shall live by faith for discipline. You have to endure why? Because God is treating you as sons, for what son is there whom his father does not discipline. If you are left without discipline in which all have participated, listen to this, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

George Wright: 16:09 You see the scripture is saying God knows what is best for us. As a loving father he knows what is best for us. He desires what is best for us. He knows what we need, and he knows without correction and without discipline, we will not know his love. And so he brings discipline into our life because he calls us a son or a daughter. That's what we're seeing in Habakkuk 1. That's what we talked a lot about last week. God is bringing discipline to his people, so that they will return to him. He's using these Caldeans. These wicked, evil people to bring discipline into the kingdom, the nation of Judah, so that the people of God will repent and return to God. It's the discipline of God.

George Wright: 17:50 But, here in chapter 2, we're going to change course for a few moments before we enter into the Lord's Supper. When we see God doing something very different. It's a very different story than what we saw in chapter 1, and it's incredibly sobering, because this begins to invite us into a conversation on the judgment of God, or the wrath of God. The judgment of God and the wrath of God. These are things we don't like to talk about, right? I mean, let's be honest, these are not the funnest messages to prepare. These are not the funniest messages to listen to, and this is probably not what you sit down and talk to somebody about as you're like, celebrating their birthday. Hey, can we talk about the wrath of God tonight?
George Wright: 18:16 It's heavy. And in fact, most people in our culture today would prefer to create a version of God in their own mind that eliminates his wrath all together. To create a version of God in their own mind that says, the God I follow is a God that tolerates everyone and everything. The God I follow would never judge anyone. He he's accepting of all things, all people, all types, all kinds, all behavior. And then it's so close, but so far. And that is why we have to see what the word of God says.

George Wright: 18:56 We must determine our belief system, our theological stance, our doctrinal statement through the lens of the word of God, not through the lens of our culture, not through the lens of what we feel, not through the lens even of what we want. We must determine our theological stance, our doctrinal statement, through the lens of the word of God. The word of God is what we need. Thank you for the one person that agrees with that. I love you so much.

George Wright: 19:20 And so, we talk here about the wrath of God and it's not easy, but God pronounces these woes over the Caldeans. These wicked, evil idolatrous people. In fact, in Habakkuk 1:11, as God is describing the Caldeans to Habakkuk, he says of them, they are guilty men whose own might is their God. They worship themselves, is what God is saying. They are idolatrous, worshiping their own power, their own self, their own lives. They are wicked, evil, guilty men. And so God pronounces these five woe's. And in scripture when a woe is pronounced, it is a statement of judgment. It is a statement of God's wrath that they will not get away with anything.

George Wright: 20:33 Verses 6-8, you can read through this. Where we're going to try to fly through this quickly, but verses six through eight or the first Woe that God pronounced, it's the Woe to the one who extorts. Who takes advantage of others for selfish, Woe to you, that will be judged. God is saying. Secondly, verses 9-11, is the woe to the one who is greedy. The one who is prideful, the one who is arrogant. Woe to you for thinking you know better than God, that's what God is saying here. Woe to you for trying to get all you can for selfish gain, while destroying others in your path. Verses 12-14, woe to the one who builds their kingdom through bloodshed. Wicked, evil acts, who does whatever it takes and destroys anyone in their path to get what they want. It happens in our culture all the time. We just describe it in different ways, like power.

George Wright: 21:48 The fourth woe, that is listed as in verses 15-17, woe to the one who is a violent drunkard, who uses violence and drunkenness to manipulate other people. This is a power play to get people to submit under their thumb. God pronounces woe over you. And then finally, and this is really the culmination of it all, this is the place of judgment, so to speak, for the Caldeans. Woe to the one who worships idols. Who worships the work of their own hands. Who worships what is manmade, who worships anything, even good things as ultimate things. That's what idolatry is. We tend to think about idolatry as these little figurines, or these little statues, but idolatry is anything that we make ultimate over God. It can be a good thing that becomes a God thing. That is idolatry.

George Wright: 22:56 God is pronouncing these woes over the Caldeans. He is saying they will be destroyed because of their evil. Justice is coming, judgement is coming, and it will be swift. And it will be merciless, because they are an arrogant, wicked, idolatrous people. That's sobering to hear, that's not fun to talk about. And right in the middle of all five of these woes, right in the middle of God talking about his coming judgment, and his coming wrath on this wicked and evil people, we have this statement that is our verse for today. Habakkuk 2:14, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

George Wright: 23:47 Why does God stop for a moment in the midst of talking about judgment and wrath, to talk about his glory being seen throughout all the earth? Why does God do that? The glory of God will be seen among all the earth. The glory of God will be revealed to all people everywhere. The theme here of Habakkuk is this, God's glory will be revealed, but it will be revealed in two different ways, two very different ways. You see in Habakkuk 1, we see that the glory of God is revealed in his discipline. That is an act of mercy and grace towards his children. The glory of God will be displayed as he brings discipline into the lives of his children, that they might repent and return to him in faith. The glory of God is revealed through his grace. His discipline is an act of his grace. This is good news for the people of God. You see church, this is our hope. This is our hope. The glory of God revealed in us, to us, through us, through his grace, is our hope. This is what we build our lives upon, as the people of God. God is merciful. God is gracious. God is patient. God is kind. As the perfect father, as the good father, he disciplines us that we might turn back to him, recognize our need for him, and in this he is glorified.

George Wright: 25:35 But, in 2, we see that God will also be glorified in his wrath. And again, this is not easy. These are deep theological waters, but the scripture is saying what we want to hear about wicked people. Evil will not go unpunished. The arrogant and prideful will not stand. Acts of violence and oppression will face the judgment of God. He is just, he is righteous. He is Holy. Wrongs will be made right. Evil will be put down, and God will be glorified through his justice. A good and perfect God must punish evil. The justice of God that reveals his glory. And all of this comes together, please hear this, the glory of through his grace and the glory of God through his wrath, or his judgment, perfectly collide at the cross of Jesus Christ.

George Wright: 26:43 That's why we enter into the Lord's Supper today. We need to wrestle with this. The cross is the cosmic collision of God's mercy and God's wrath. The cross is the ultimate expression of God's grace and God's justice. The cross is the culmination of God's glory on full display. As we see that he alone is perfectly just, and he alone is the perfect justifier for sin. And so as we enter into this time of observing the Lord separate, I know this is, this is heavy, the discipline of God, the wrath of God, good night, the judgment of God. This is heavy stuff, but we enter into the Lord's supper and we enter into this week, through the lens of the gospel.

George Wright: 27:51 Listen to what the scripture says in Romans 3, I just absolutely love this. We'll end here. Romans 3:21, we looked at this just a few weeks ago, but it is so important that we need to come back to it, over and over and over again. Romans 3:21 it says, but now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the law and the prophets, including Habakkuk, bear witness to it. The righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe, for there is no distinction, all have sin. The people of Judah, the people of the Caldean, the people of Colombia, the people of America, the people of Iran, the people of North Korea, the people of France, the people of Germany, the people of Canada. For all have sin. Don't stop there.

George Wright: 28:52 Don't stop there. Don't stop there. For all have sin and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified. Here it is justification by grace as a gift through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation or a payment by his blood, to be received in faith. Listen to what it says. This was to show God's righteousness. God is just, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was also to show God's righteousness, at the present time, so that he might be just God is glorified in his justice. God is glorified in his wrath. He is Holy. He is righteous. He is just. And at the same time, he is the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. God is glorified in his amazing grace, that his only son went to the cross to pay the price, for your sin and for mine, that the wrath of God would be poured out on him so that we could know the love and grace of God who is perfect and just.

George Wright: 30:23 Verse 26 says, God reveals that he is just and the justifier, to the one who has faith in Jesus. We will end there with this simple question, do you have faith in Jesus? Do you have faith in Jesus? If you have faith in Jesus, you are counted as a son or a daughter of the most high King and you are treated as such. If you have faith in Jesus, you will endure discipline so that you can endure in faith as one who has received God's grace as a gift, and you will love the grace of God. If you have faith in Jesus, you will bring glory to God as your life is a picture of his mercy, and his patience, and his kindness, and his compassion, as his grace is demonstrated through you. Do you have faith in Jesus?

George Wright: 31:46 If you do not have faith in Jesus, as we've seen in the scripture today, Hebrews 12 you will be treated as illegitimate. You will not be called a child of God. You will face the full weight of your sin at the judgment. You will face the wrath of God on your own, with only your actions to defend yourself, and you will bring glory to God. You'll bring glory to God as his justice is demonstrated through you. I want that to just sit there.

George Wright: 32:40 We enter into the Lord's Supper, not just for some ritualistic sake. Not just because it's good to do in church, not just because you're really thirsty and are dying for some grape juice. No, we enter into the Lord's supper so that we would return to the cross. So that we remember that our God is just, he pours out his wrath on sin, but our God is the justifier for our sin. He put himself on the cross to receive wrath, so that you and I might be forgiven, so that you and I might be recipients of grace, so that you and I might bring glory to God through his grace and mercy toward us.

George Wright: 33:28 As we go to the Lord's supper, I just ask you to consider do you have faith in Jesus and if you do, come to the Lord supper to worship, to pour out your heart and gratitude for what God has done for you. Covering your sin, inviting you into new life, calling you a son or daughter saying that you are a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come in, or into this space to worship. Bring glory to God through his grace and his mercy. If you are here today and you recognize that you do not have a relationship with Jesus, it is our prayer that you would see the urgency, through which the word of God treats your life and your eternity. It is our prayer that you would recognize that God and his love towards you is inviting you to trust in him, to be your justifier, to pay for your sin, to offer you a new life in his grace and his mercy. Will you trust Jesus?

George Wright: 34:30 I would ask that as you observe these elements today, that you will also be praying. Praying for those who are here, who do not have a relationship with Jesus, and praying for those who will come through these doors this week, who do not have a relationship with Jesus. Almost half of the kids that are registered for the best week ever, are not part of Shannon. Many of them don't have a church home at all, and there are many that we know will trust in Jesus this week. Please pray that that would happen, that God would move in power. Let's examine our hearts. Let's go before the Lord in worship and let's remember the gift of the cross and ultimately the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ,, that allows us to live our lives to the glory of God, because of his magnificent grace poured out on us.

George Wright: 35:38 Let's pray. Father, we love you. We thank you for the gift of Jesus, in the midst of the sobering reality that justice is coming. We thank you for the beautiful reality of the gospel, and for those who are in Christ, justice has already been served. Praise God. for your mercy and grace. I pray, Lord, for every follower of Jesus in this room today as they come to observe these elements, I pray, Lord God, that their heart would leap with worship and gratitude, as they think about what you have done for them. Oh forgive us. Forgive us for taking something that is so beautiful, like a remembrance of the cross, and making it a ritual, or going through the motions, or acting like there's nothing significant about it. Lord. Please let this be an expression of our worship and our joy in your goodness, our God who has set us free. And Lord, we pray for our friends, for our neighbors, for those who are with us today, for those who will join us this week, who are not yet followers of Jesus. They are right now on a path toward wrath. And we pray, Lord God, that their eyes would be open to their need, that they would trust in you as their savior and Lord, that their life would bring glory to you, as your grace is poured out on them. But Lord, we take comfort in the fact, it's your glory will be seen in every life, in your grace and in your justice. You will be glorified. And so we lift all the praise to you and say, you alone are worthy of all glory and honor and praise. Oh Lord our God. We thank you for what you've invited us into. In Jesus name we pray.

George Wright: 37:52 We have tables set up all around the room. We would just ask that you go. As you feel led to observe these elements, you can grab the wafer of bread, you can grab the cup and you can take it back to your seat. And we'll partake of this together after everyone has had the opportunity to be served. So go as you feel led and let your heart be lifted up in gratitude. As you remember the gift of Jesus Christ.

George Wright: 41:05 If there's anyone in the room that has not been able, just physically or any other reason to get up and make it to the table, we'd be happy to come and serve you so you can just kind of lift your hand. We'd be happy to come around to you if needed. Um, our ushers will be happy to help.

George Wright: 41:26 now partake of these elements together. And the scripture tells us, that when Jesus gathered with his on the night that he would be betrayed and taken away, beaten, mocked, ultimately displayed. I'm going to a cross as a common criminal. That night, he shared this beautiful meal, the supper, with his disciples. And he took some bread and he broke it and he said, take this, eat this. Remember that my body is given for you, for the forgiveness of your sin. Take and eat and remember what Christ has done. And then the scripture says, that Jesus grabbed a cup, and it's interesting to note that all throughout the word of God, the cup of God's wrath is talked about. Jesus grabbed a cup, symbolizing to the disciples, symbolizing to us, that the wrath of God would be poured out on him at the cross. That his blood would be shed as he absorbed the wrath of God. As he took the full cup. That's why the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed that this cup would pass from me, but not my will. Your will. The cup of God's wrath was fully and completely poured out on the back of Jesus at the cross, as he shed his blood for the forgiveness of your sin and for mine. Take a drink and remember the grace and mercy of our God, through the cross of Jesus Christ.

George Wright: 43:25 Will you pray with me? Heavenly father, we love you. We are thankful for your incredible demonstration of love through the cross of Jesus Christ and the power of your resurrection. We thank you God, in a world that is broken and ravaged by sin and evil, our own lives that are broken and ravaged by sin and evil. We thank you, that you are just, we do thank you that justice will be served. Well Lord, we are so very grateful here today as we trust you, as we look to Jesus, that we can experience the gift of you being our justifier through your grace, through your mercy, through your sacrifice at the cross. You have atoned for our sin. You have paid for our sins. Just and the justifier. Lord, may we out of that reality and bring glory to your name, as a picture of your grace and your goodness. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Recorded in Columbia, South Carolina.
Read More
Shandon Baptist Church
5250 Forest Drive
Columbia, South Carolina 29206