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Session (1 of 4) Hell

Shane Willard

Page 9 of 10
The problem with anger is it's one of the few sins, where the Bible does give us one ‘out’ with. The Bible says: “do not even associate with one easily angered”. It says all these horrible things about angry people; and then there's this one scripture that says that it's possible to ‘be angry, and not sin’.

So then, what people have done through the ages is this, is any time they're angry they think: its righteous anger! Why? Because we always think we're right!

What is righteous anger? Being angry at the things God would be angry at: poverty, injustice, oppression, slavery, things like this.

It's not: a wet towel on the floor. It's not: the girl at KFC messed up your order. That's not righteous anger - so how can we bring heaven to earth? We can die at our anger. We can die to our critical, judgemental, self-righteous spirit, which thinks that it’s okay to call other people fools, if they don't do things the way we think they should be done.

We can develop a fear of God, instead of a fear of man. We can develop humility. We can be generous. We can be forgiving.

To the Hebrew people, it was all about their smell. They wanted to smell good before God - you see this all through the Bible:

“Let our voices rise like incense; let it be a sweet perfume. Let our praises fill the temple.”

It was always about fragrance; so to a Hebrew person, God was constantly smelling their life. They wanted God to smell their life and go: aah! They didn't want God to smell their life and go: what did you eat last night?

They wanted God to smell their life, to the point where there was this festival called the Feast of Tabernacles. It was the last feast of the year; and on the last day, of the last feast of the year, at exactly three in the afternoon, everybody in the whole nation would break incense at one time.

You're talking millions of people breaking incense at one time, and the priest would say out loud: “my God, at this very moment, would You smell our lives as it smells right now, regardless of what we've done”.

What the rabbis said, at three o'clock in the afternoon, on the Feast of Tabernacles, was the greatest moment of faith for the entire year, for the Hebrew people, because everybody believed that their life smelled good before God, and they could approach Him. It was all about smell.

So when Jesus talks about Gehenna, this is what He's saying: if you're constantly offended, and you can't forgive people, then your life actually smells like hot garbage; if you've set yourself up as better than other people, your life smells like hot garbage; if you're so set in your ways that you ruin another person's journey, your life smells like hot garbage. If you pray for pretence, and yet you overlook deeper issues like kindness and generosity, then your life smells like hot garbage. If you live a life of fear of the wrong things - if you're a man-pleaser, a worry-wart, a person consumed with fear, its hot garbage. If you're greedy, it's hot garbage. If you are the most important person in your world, it is hot garbage.

Closing Prayer

I bless you, and I challenge you with these thoughts: that you are called not just to go to heaven one day. You are called to be a minister of the power of the kingdom of God to everyone you come into contact with today; starting with the girl at KFC; starting with your husband, wife, children; starting tomorrow with the guy at work, that you wish God would just go ahead and take to heaven - that guy.