Friday, March 16, 2018

The Fiery Preacher From Peoria

     As I was in the shower, I began to think about writing a new blog. As I pondered what to write on, I felt lead ("God In The Shower") that I should write about the church service I attended last Sunday. I was visiting my hometown in Peoria, and attended a church called Riverside Community Church. I first went to this church during Christmas Eve after strongly feeling that God was leading me to go. The pastor is an older, kindly, unassuming looking man, with a British accent, who if you asked someone "describe what your perfect grandfather would look like," it would be him. What I am trying to say is that you would not expect the words he preaches to come out of him.

     After that first service in December, I left church with a fire that I hadn't had in a while. It was awesome! This church is set in the downtown area of Peoria, in the midst of the poor, downtrodden, homeless, and gangs. They are working to change lives in the name of Jesus. The day I was there, the pastor laid out the Gospel perfectly, and at the end offered people a chance to come forward and accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. It looked like around 25 people accepted! I was so moved by what I witnessed that I have been watching the streaming service almost weekly now in Florida (after going to my church here).

     Anyway, last Sunday was the second time I have been to Riverside in person. The pastor preached a lot on Hell. One of my top complaints about the "church" today is that no one ever seems to preach on Hell anymore. So many churches are all about being "positive," and talking about the love of God (seeker friendly) rather than God's judgment, and the punishment that will one day come if one does not accept the payment of Jesus for one's sins.

     It was during this sermon that the pastor taught me something that seemed so obvious that I was astounded I had never seen it before in my years of reading the Bible and writing Bible Studies. (I LOVE it when that happens!) Rather than explain in my words, let me quote him (this may not be perfectly quoted).

     "When Christ bore our sins, He entered into the judgment for our sins. Christ endured Hell on the cross. The clearest revelation of Hell is given in the cross. It is what Jesus went through in these (final) 3 hours (on the cross)." He then shared 6 dimensions:

1. He is in conscious suffering.
2. He is in the blackest darkness.
3. He is surrounded by demonic powers.
4. He is bearing sin on the cross.
5. He is under the judgment of God.
6. He is separated from the love of God.
(He followed #6. saying, "There is a love of God, I could have known His love forever, but now it's beyond our reach, and we're lost forever, cut off from the love of God.")

     So, there you have it. A perfect description of Hell, suffered by Jesus on the cross. All Biblical (I give verses here: ), and I missed it. You may have missed it too, so I share it with you. Thanks Pastor John!

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