Vespers – Spurgeon’s Question 38 and 39

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

  • Luke 16:22-24

They are like sheep and are destined to die;
    death will be their shepherd
    (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning).
Their forms will decay in the grave,
    far from their princely mansions.

  • Psalm 49:14

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

  • Daniel 12:2

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.

  • John 5:28-29

They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.

  • 2 Thessalonians 1:9

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels..

  • Matthew 25:41

“Q. 38. What shall be done to the wicked at their death?
“A. The souls of the wicked shall at their death be cast into the torments of hell (Luke 16:22-24), and their bodies lie in their graves till the resurrection, and judgment of the great day (Ps. 49:14).
“Q. 39. What shall be done to the wicked at the Day of judgment?
“A. At the day of judgment the bodies of the wicked being raised out of their graves, shall be sentenced, together with their souls, to unspeakable torments with the devil and his angels forever (Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29; 2 Thess. l:9; Matt. 25:41).”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Catechism (Scripture proofs in bold above)

The Larger Catechism continues its divergence with points on justification, adoption, and sanctification in more detail.  We may restart inclusion of the Larger Catechism when we reach the Ten Commandments.

The Shorter Catechism diverges at this point also.  Spurgeon chooses to discuss the wicked, both at death and on the Day of Judgment.

There are possibly many reasons of omitting what happens to the wicked after they die, both at death and on the Day of Judgment.

I have had Bible study teachers, some being pastors who say that some of the Gospel is meant only for the elect.  That makes sense in that any promise that God gives to those who accept Him as their Savior would not apply to those who reject God.  The entire concept of the “elect” seems horribly unfair when you consider that the elect are chosen by God, not of their merit, so why?  I offered, in one heated discussion that God’s foreknowledge of who would accept Him as their Savior determined who were, before the dawn of time, chosen as the elect.  There were many things that the reformed theologians would argue against that.

In my own experience, God really gave me no choice.  I was convicted of my sins and if I had not accepted Jesus, I would have probably gone insane from the guilt.  Yet, I see people who think they never did any wrong and if it was illegal or they harmed the other person, they meant to do it, so by self-perfection, they justify the sin as not a sin.  So, why did God send me down a road of torment and the other person never got a hint of having done anything wrong?  Was that election at work?

But I was raised in a time where “fire and brimstone” sermons were commonplace in certain churches and not so common in the higher churches and more “frozen” of congregations – meaning they sit quietly throughout the sermon and there is an orderly “order of worship” and the hymns are the older ones in the hymnal.  Some might say conservative.  The point is that at least a couple of sermons were “fire and brimstone” in all churches except maybe the high church services.  But this type of sermon is rare even in the most evangelical of churches these days, with some exceptions.  People want sermons on how to live a Christian life rather than becoming a Christian.  This is okay, if everyone is saved, but the statistics show that maybe one in three is a true believer, and I think more modern surveys might show that number lower.

And maybe this move toward no “fire and brimstone” sermons is twofold.  The secular world thinks sin to be a bad word, hurting people’s self-esteem.  But I see the majority of that self-esteem to be sin, the sin of pride, run amok.  But the other factor is that if the explanation of our statement of faith ignores what happens to those who face the fire and brimstone, does that not bolster a cocky attitude because maybe God does not really mean what the Bible says?

Regardless, Charles H. Spurgeon was not shy in adding these two questions while the Larger and Shorter Catechisms discuss obedience to God.  Even Spurgeon parallels the theme of obedience next week.

But what awaits those who disobey and reject God?  Hell and torments, the same as Satan and his fallen angels.  We might spend a week or more and never really have a grasp of what Hell is, and is Hell different than the lake of fire.  But for those who love the Lord, they will say, “The Lord’s Will be done.”  And for those who rejected God, God will say, “Your will be done.” And they will go away from the presence of the Lord forever, to anguish and torment.

And now let us sing.

The following song, Song for Sinners was written and is sung by David Phelps.  Maybe it is because I love his voice, but to have a worship song about Hell still seems a little off to me.  Our songs of rejoicing should be for the living.  As Jesus told the would-be follower, let the dead bury the dead.  Like a couple of other songs, this may not be easy to sing along with, but his very simple message is a prayer to the Holy Spirit to show people where there is the well that never runs dry, and to the people to seek for that well.  In all these songs of this type, the song may not mention Hell, instead it points in the opposite direction.

This is a song for sinners
Saints and new beginners
A song for the broken
We are not alone
This is a song for the nameless
The forgotten and famous
A song for children who are never known
Ohh, ohh, ohh
Drink from the well that never runs dry
Drink from the well that never runs dry
To Your children here below
Holy Spirit, let your living water flow
Flow
Ahh, ah-ah-ahh
This is a song for sinners
For the losers and winners
A song for victims
Lay your burden down
This is a song for believers
Followers and deceivers
A song for seekers that pray they will be found
Oh-ooh-ohh, oh-oh-ohh
Drink from the well that never runs dry
Drink from the well that never runs dry
To Your children here below
Holy Spirit, let your living water flow
Flow
Flow (flow, oooh)
Flow, oooh
Flow
(Drink from the well that never runs dry)
(Drink from the well that never runs dry)
(Drink from the well that never runs dry)
Drink from the well
(Drink from the well that never runs dry)
Drink from the well
To your children here below
Holy Spirit, let Your living water
Holy Spirit, let Your living water flow (flow)
Flow
Flow
Mmmm, ohh (ah-ah-ahh)

  • David Phelps, Song for Sinners

Closing Prayer

Dear Lord,
We need You. We are broken. Some of us will turn to You, but many will reject You.  Your judgment is just, and we Praise and Thank You for Your Mercy for us who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.
In thy Name we pray.
Amen

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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