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Outline of "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," abridged
Transcript of Outline of "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," abridged
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Grounds the sermon in Scripture
What to believe
for believing the doctrine
"Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"
by Jonathan Edwards
Deuteronomy 32:35: "Their foot shall slide in due time."
a) Grammatical reading = ALL YOURS!
b) Logical reading = ALL YOURS!
c) Figurative reading = Can you form one CLEAR, COMPLETE SENTENCE THAT EXPRESSES THE THEOLOGICALLY RELEVANT TRUTH OF THIS VERSE?
Due to their own folly and wickedness, the Israelites were perpetually exposed to sudden, unexpected self-destruction, stayed only by the hand of God.
Edwards holds that "there is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God," who is sovereign in every respect (85).
1. God is able to cast the wicked into hell with great ease, for his power over mankind is limitless.
2. Men justly deserve infinite punishment in hell.
3. The unbelieving are already condemned to hell, where they properly belong, by the unchanging law of God's righteousness (John 3:18).
4. Although God's inaction makes him seem apathetic about sin, even now God is directing toward unbelievers on earth (possibly many members of the congregation) a degree of the same wrath God directs toward those in hell.
5. Satan and his demons are ready and waiting to devour the souls of unbelievers at the exact moment God lets them.
6. Man's boundless corruption reigns in him, and but for God's restraining hand, his sin would consume him like an inferno.
7. A wicked man's judgment is imminent whether he knows it or not, and any security he thinks he has is a delusion.
8. Even men actively applying their wisdom toward self-preservation are insecure; they are liable to death at any moment.
9. The wicked flatter themselves by thinking that they are better than those who deserve hell, when in fact they are just as deserving and vulnerable.
10. God is under no obligation to preserve the lives of those who do not believe in Christ, even those who are still seeking and weighing spiritual truth claims.
That a wicked man cannot see signs of his imminent judgment does not mean his judgment is not imminent, or that his security is not threatened.
Personal: Every individual who is not a follower of Christ, no matter how moral or strict, is in a repugnant state of sin, is despicable to both God and nature, and is poised for swift destruction at the moment of God's choice.
Community: It is likely that many in the congregration do not follow Christ, foolishly think themselves secure from God's wrath, and will soon be suffering in hell.
a) Emphasis of arguments: Sinners are in daily and hourly danger of immediate, eternal, infinite misery.
b) Call to action: Edwards calls everyone that is "out of Christ" to "awake and fly from the wrath to come," which is awaiting a great portion of his congregation.
c) Emotional appeal: Edwards appeals to the elderly's realization that God has been giving them extra time to repent, to the adolescent's desire to rise above one's sinful peer, and to the child's desire to become royal children.
"There is laid in the very nature of carnal men a foundation for the torments of hell: there are those corrupt principles in reigning power in them and in full possession of them that are the beginnings of hell-fire."
"Were it not that so is the sovereign pleasure of God, the earth would not bear you one moment, for you are a burden to it; the creation groans with you. . . ."
"But alas! instead of one, how many is it likely will remember this discourse in hell?"
--Jonathan Edwards, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"