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Session (2 of 4)

Shane Willard

Page 1 of 8
Session (2 of 4)
You won't open your Bible and find the word ‘Gehenna’. You'll find ‘the Valley of Hinnom’ (which is Gehenna); but in the New Testament in particular, you'll find the word ‘hell’. They translate the word Gehenna as hell; and they also translate Hades that way too.

Exodus 3:7 says: “And the Lord said: I have indeed seen the misery of My people in Egypt, and I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering, so I have come down to rescue them”.

The word ‘rescue’ there is the same word we get the word ‘salvation’ from, or ‘saved’.

“I have come down to save them from the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land.”

So there's this guy named Abraham, and Abraham was a sun-worshipper, very wealthy. God shows up to him, at like 90 years old or something, and He says: I want you to leave everything you've worked your whole life for, and I want you to go someplace. Abraham says: sure, where am I going? God says: I'm not telling. You're just going to go.

Abraham says: well, is there anything You can tell me You want me to do? God says: yes, as a matter of fact - I'm glad you mentioned that. I want you to circumcise yourself with that rock! Which would have lost me right there! Like, don't miss! Which would have probably, at the end of it, been gracious; because can you imagine, they're like 100 okay.

If you look at a trek of where they walked, it was like 2,000 miles? Imagine 2,000 miles on the back of a camel, with a 100-year-old wife. How many times would she have said: are you sure Abraham? Yes, I'm sure. Are you sure, you're sure? Yes, I'm sure I'm sure. How sure are you? Woman, I'm so sure - I circumcised myself with a rock! Well, you win.

So this guy ends up some place, and he has a son named Isaac, and then God tells him to kill that son. Then God spares the son, and then that son had a son named Jacob; and so three generations later, the promise that he would be a great nation is still only one person - which is a good principle: God's not in a hurry. Aren't you glad that God's not in a hurry? Sometimes we want God to be in a hurry, but if God was in a hurry, because He doesn't change, He'd have to be in a hurry all the time. If God was in a hurry with you, we'd be a disaster, and if God was in a hurry with me - thank God He's gracious and kind and patient.

He is the compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love God. Thank God He isn't in a hurry. Thank God He can choose people called: James and John, the sons of thunder - you don't get that nickname going to Sunday school - and He moulded them into something.

Thank God that He chose people like Moses, who was a premeditated murderer: “I look this way and that, and seeing no one, I killed the man, and hid him in the sand”. The problem was, the next day the sand shifted, and this guy's leg's sticking up out of the sand! God used him to write the Torah.

God uses messed up people. Isn't that good? Why is that good? Because we're all messed up. No perfect people allowed! If you read the heroes of the faith from Hebrews 11, it's like everybody, to be a hero to God, you have to be really jacked up beyond all recognition at one point in your life, don't you?

Abraham gave his wife to Pharaoh's harem - and he made it in that list. If CNN, and the internet would have been around back then, what would you have said about Abraham? How could he be saved, and act like that - yet he was the hero of the faith. If Abraham actually was available to preach here next Sunday, would you let him - or would you talk about his past?