Some years ago, a gentleman came to my study to ask me a simple question. “Do you believe in preaching the whole counsel of God?” At first, I wasn’t sure what he meant. I had never heard the term “whole counsel of God,” and I immediately thought he was asking me about how the Bible speaks of the Holy Spirit in John 14. But I was mistaken. As the conversation unfolded, it became clear that he was really asking me if I was prepared to preach the whole Bible.
You would think that every pastor would proclaim the entire Bible. But the reality is often very different. Truthfully, we ministers have our favorite passages that we like to preach on. We love to preach sermons on the amazing love of God, and most of you love to hear messages like that. But the sad reality is there are other difficult passages that are left out of the lectionary, verses that are often overlooked and ignored by pastors.
This week, we will be taking up some of these passages. These verses of scripture are not easy to hear, and they do not really represent God’s will for you or me. But that doesn’t make them any less true.
If you have been in worship these past few weeks, we have been looking at God’s dream for the world, of how God created the world to be a tapestry of harmony and righteousness, to be a place of peace. But this Sunday, we will be focusing on what might well be called God’s greatest nightmare. The Bible has many different words that it uses to describe this nightmare, but we usually have just one with four letters.
Hell is not a subject you hear much about any more, but this nightmare is very much a part of the whole counsel of God, and it is something with which you and I need to grapple. So this Sunday, we will do just that. We will look at what Jesus has to say about this nightmare, as well as how you and I can find hope and joy in the morning. I’m looking forward to our time together.
~ Pastor Terry