"WHAT GOD EXACTS OF YOU"
1. Did you know that not everything in the Bible is true? You heard me correctly. Not everything in the Bible is true.
2. Though the Bible faithfully and correctly records the statements the serpent made to Eve in the garden of Eden, those statements made by the serpent were lies. So, in Genesis chapter 3, the Bible faithfully records the lies uttered by the lying serpent.
3. Thatís what I mean when I say that not everything recorded in the Bible is true. That which is in the Bible is faithfully recorded. It is accurately recorded. The Genesis record is an accurate record of the serpentís statements to Eve. But the Genesis record is an accurate record of the serpentís lying statements to Eve.
4. In like manner we have the book of Job. In the book of Job we are told of a man, the main character in this unusual biography, who was "perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil."
5. What is surprising to most who are exposed to the book of Job for the first time is the fact that the reason Job was subjected to such profound personal anguish we read about, and his physical suffering at the hand of Satan, was because his affliction was both suggested to Satan by God and permitted of Satan by God.
6. If you are in shock, let me state it to you again, and with some elaboration. Job was the most godly man on earth in his day. And it was precisely because he was such a godly man that God suggested to Satan that he afflict him, sparing only his life.
7. This book of Job is quite a shock to those who insist that godliness and personal piety always produces an easier and more tranquil life. Quite the contrary, both then and now, since Paul reminded Timothy in Second Timothy 3.12, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
8. At any rate, after Jobís great and profound physical affliction was brought to the attention of his three friends, they came to his side to grieve over his affliction, and they wept and mourned for their beloved friend. For one solid week, we are told, they sat silent in the face of his ever increasing physical agony.
9. Then Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth, which in turn set off a cycle of dialogs between Job and his friends. A friend would comment and Job would respond. Then another friendís comments and Jobís response. And on it goes for three entire cycles of this back and forth that comprises the major portion of the book.
10. Oh, what suffering Job experienced. What pain. What agony. What anguish of the soul. And through it all he had no idea why it was all happening. But his three friends thought they knew why he was suffering so. It must be, they thought and they said, that you have secret sins.
11. Of course, Jobís three friends merely reflected the common thinking of their day, and the common thinking of our day, that nothing that seems bad can or should happen to a man who is good. So, in essence, Jobís friends were profoundly wrong in their conclusions about their friend and what was happening to him, and why.
12. I could go on, but itís not my intention this morning to provide an exposition on the whole book of Job. My intent is to first remind you that our trustworthy Bible records even things that are false, such as the false statements made by the serpent to Eve in the garden, as well as the false statements that are made by Jobís three friends throughout much of the book of Job, in their attempt to "help" him.
13. But you folks know that even a stopped clock is right twice a day. And such is the case with one of Jobís friends, the man named Zophar. Though much of what he said was pure philosophical tripe, implying that Job was a wicked man who had cleverly concealed his sins from everyone but God, Who was now punishing him, he does stumble across at least one truth that Iíd like to draw your attention to this morning.
14. Turn in your Bible to Job 11.6. I want you to focus your attention on the last half of Job 11.6. And when you find the text please stand for the reading of Godís Word. Though Zophar is ranting in his self-righteous accusation against Job, he is correct in what he says in the last half of Job 11.6: "Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth."
15. My friend, that is a true statement. God does exact of you, God does demand of you, God will take from you, less than your iniquity deserves. As much as your iniquity, as much as your sin, deserves and will receive punishment from God, it deserves even more than it will get. Let me take you through a brief word study of this portion of the verse.
16. First, there is the word "know." From the Hebrew word [d"y; ó yada`, yaw-dah'; to know, to ascertain by seeing. Figuratively, the word means to acknowledge, to be aware, to comprehend, to perceive, to have understanding. As Zophar wanted Job to understand, so I want you to understand something that is taught in Godís Word.
17. "Know therefore that God." And the word translated "God" here is H"wOla ó 'elowahh, el-o'-ah; the common Hebrew word for God that has been prolonged, probably for emphasis. Itís as if the Hebrew Scripture is providing the emphasis for us. "Know therefore that God . . . ."
18. "Know therefore that God exacteth . . . ." hv;n; ó nashah, naw-shaw'; meaning to remove, to deprive. I want you to know that God is going to deprive you. God is going to remove something from you. Understand that God will take something from you.
19. What will God take from you, sinner? What will God, omnipotent God, Almighty God, wrathful God, holy God, sovereign God, just and righteous God, majestic God, take from you? Ah, thatís the subject of my sermon, which will come after we sing in a few moments.
20. Whatís important for us to see here is that it is "less than thine iniquity deserves." This word "iniquity" translates the Hebrew word wOw[; avown, meaning perversity, moral evil, fault, iniquity, sin. The idea is that your sinfulness, your iniquity, your moral evil, your faults, not only your nature but also the specific sins you commit, are deserving a certain response from God.
21. But Zophar has told Job, and I believe he is entirely correct on this point though he is usually wrong in the things he says to Job, that whatever you get from God, it will be less than what you actually deserve. God is merciful and His mercy endureth forever. So, no matter what God takes from you in punishment for your sins, it will be less than what you deserve to have taken from you.
22. Letís say you are a fornicator. That is, you are a person who has, or has had, sex with someone you are not married to. Now, you can justify yourself by saying that you are or were in love, that if you have feelings for each other that makes it okay, and that others who disapprove just donít understand.
23. But what you donít understand is that God has declared that "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." So, no matter what you and some two bit floozy who will sleep with you and who knows who else says, God says itís wrong and Heís going to take something away from you that is very precious. But what He takes from you will still not be what you deserve to have taken from you for the wickedness of your sins against God.
24. Now, perhaps you are not a fornicator. Instead, you have pride of intellect or the arrogance thatís associated with athletics. Or you may be subject to the subtle sin of sloth. You are just plain lazy. Whatever your particular brand of evil, no matter what the moral defilement that contaminates your eternal and undying soul is, God will take something from you because of your wickedness, as a punishment for your iniquity.
25. And for all the horror associated with Godís wrath, for all the torment accompanying Godís rage and frightful fury, it wonít be all that you deserve for it to be. My goodness! How great must the sinfulness of your sins actually be, then, to deserve greater punishment than God will actually subject you to.
26. Think on this, then, as we stand to sing before the sermon.
1. "Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth."
2. I suppose itís the mercy of God thatís on display in this sermon this morning, the mercy of God displayed in the life of every single person, regardless of your standing before God or your eternal destiny.
3. And so that you will see the mercy of God against the backdrop of human wickedness and depravity, let me first describe for you the heinousness of your crimes against God, based upon Godís Own description of Himself in Scripture and the declaration of His utter abhorrence of your sins. My remarks are distilled.
4. Time and time and time again God describes Himself as holy, showing Himself to be pure in every respect, and showing in His Word that even the pristine heavens are not clean in His sight. How preposterous it is, then, for foolish and sinful man to not only sin against God, but to at the very same time you are sinning claim that what you are doing is not sin, or to in any way justify your sin, as though you are not guilty.
5. In light of Godís pure nature, how very criminal it is for one sinner to commit but a single sin against such a God as this. My friend, for the purpose of illustration, as though such things could actually be separated more than just in our minds, it would be a greater wrong to commit the slightest sin against God than to commit the greatest sins against the entirety of mankind.
6. Over and over again we read in the newspapers and hear on radio and television the awful descriptions of the damage and destruction done to mankind and to the environment by the ravages of both pollution and war. Yet the single act of a single person stubbornly refusing to love God is a far greater crime, by comparison, than is the death and destruction of the entire human race.
7. So great is the crime of a single sin committed against the august majesty of Godís regal glory that the combined wickedness of all of mankindís sins against each other pales in comparison. The brutal crime of a man against a small child? Less wicked and sinful than the refusal of one teenage kid to love God with all his heart and all his mind and all his soul.
8. The holocaust in Europe during World War 2, in which millions were butchered? A less criminal act than that which is committed by a small childís mother when she simply refuses to bend her knee and bow her head and confess that Jesus is Lord.
9. Oh, how heaven is outraged by the criminality of your sins. How God the Father is angered by the absolute wrongness of both your deeds and nature. What horror is seen on the faces of angels as they observe you storing up wrath for the day of judgment by your sinning.
10. Now, what should be the punishment for such sins? What ought to be the recompense for such offenses? We know from Romans 6.23 that the wages of sin is death. But that is Godís justice mingled with Godís mercy. What could God justifiably do as punishment to you for all your sins and offenses, for the years in which you ignored Him and refused to worship and serve Him, were God to completely withhold His mercy?
11. "Iím sorry, God. Iím so sorry." Do you think God has such a poor memory, as you and I do, that your sinís wound against Him is forgotten with the passing of time, or that the sins of long ago are not ever present before Him? Then think again, you whose toes hang over the grave and who lived wickedly when you were young. God writes a manís sins down in a book as they are committed. And those sins are remembered by God for all time and eternity as He exacts from you, as He takes from you, in punishment for your sins.
12. But again, the point that I seek to make is that no matter what God takes from you in punishment for your sins against Him, He would always be justified had He chosen to punish you worse. How great, then, must the sinfulness of your sins actually be to deserve greater punishment than God will actually subject you to.
13. So that this sermon will not be overly long, let me set before you four considerations. Four considerations of what God will exact from you for your iniquities, according to your standing before God and your relationship to eternity.
1A. IN THE ETERNAL STATE AND CONVERTED
1B. Letís Say You Are A Christian Who Has Gone On. To Personalize It A Bit For Those Of You Who Have Been Here At Calvary Road Baptist Church A While, What Is It Like For My Friend Daved Magnifico, Now In Heaven For Something More Than One Year?
2B. Though Daved Was A Very Wicked Man Prior To His Conversion, Having Taken Serious Advantage Of A Good Number Of The People In This Congregation, His Conversion Resulted In Some Profound Alterations To His Soul.
3B. That Which Barred His Entrance To Heaven, His Own Iniquities, Were Thoroughly Cleansed By The Applied Blood Of Jesus Christ. He, And Everyone Who Like Him Has Come To Faith In Christ, Is Seated With Christ In The Heavenlies From The Moment Of His Conversion, Thereby Guaranteeing His Immediate Access To Heaven The Moment He Passed Through The Portal Of Death To Eternity.
4B. You See, When The Sinner Turns From His Sins And Embraces Christ, When He Simply Comes To Christ And Is United With Him In A Mysterious And Supernatural Way, He Instantaneously Becomes A Partaker Of The Divine Nature. And The Full Expression Of That Sharing With God Of His Own Nature Is An Eternity In Heaven With Him.
5B. So, Then, What Did God Take From You For Your Sins? What Did God Exact From You For Your Sins? He Exacted From You, He Took, On Your Behalf, The Suffering Of His Son Jesus On The Cross. You See, When Jesus Went To The Cross He Took Upon Himself Your Sins. And On The Cross God The Father Punished His Own Son Instead Of You, If You Are One Who Will Come To Christ.
6B. Is That Not, In A Sense, Taking Less From You Than Your Iniquity Deserves? Oh, My, Yes.
2A. IN THE HERE AND NOW AND CONVERTED
1B. What If You Are A Christian And You Have Not Yet Gone On? What If You Have Decades Of Living Yet To Do Before Eternity Beckons? What Will It Be Like For You? What Will God Take From You?
2B. As With The Christian Who Has Gone To Heaven, The Christian Not Yet In Heaven Has Several Things Taken From Him By God.
3B. First, He Has Taken From Him The Guiltiness For His Sins. You See, So Complete Was Christís Substitutionary Sacrifice On The Cross Of Calvary That Even Your Guiltiness Was Removed From You. You Are No Longer Guilty In The Sight Of God If You Are Converted. There Is Now Therefore No Condemnation For You. And God Has Said That Your Sins And Iniquities Will He Remember No More . . . If You Are Converted.
4B. As Well, The Christian Has Taken From Him The Taint Of His Sins. There Was A Reason Jesus Shed His Blood On That Hill Called Golgotha. It Was So, As Our Great High Priest, He Could Remit Our Sins Through The Sprinkling Of His Own Cleansing Blood. Now We Can Say, "Gone, gone, gone, gone, gone my sins are gone." And We Can Sing, "Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb."
5B. So, If You Are A Christian, You Can Live Your Life Free From The Condemnation Of Sin, Free From The Burden Of Guilt. You Have A Good Conscience Toward God Because The Penalty For Your Sin Has Been Paid And God Is Satisfied By The Payment Blood Of His Own Son.
6B. The Debt Has Been Paid. And If You Think There Is A Spring In Your Step When The Car Is Finally Paid Off, Just Imagine What Happens To The Man Whose Sins Debts Are Paid In Full.
7B. Oh, Yes, My Friend. Taking Your Burdens Away, Taking Your Sins Away, Taking Your Guilt Away, Is Taking Less From You Than Your Iniquity Deserves. Amen?
3A. IN THE HERE AND NOW AND LOST
1B. As A Lost Man Or Woman, You Deserve The Immediate And Full Fury Of Godís Wrath For The Sins Youíve Committed Against Him. And Although Each And Every Day You Live On This Earth Is A Day You Spend Storing Up Wrath For The Coming Judgment, Itís Also A Day Filled With Opportunity To Seek The Lord While He May Be Found.
2B. What God Gives To You Each Day Is Room To Repent, Room To Flee To Christ. And Jesus Promised That If You Came To Him He Would In No Wise Cast You Out. Why In The World Do You Not Simply Take Jesus At His Plain And Unmingled Word And Come To Him? You Know That Hell Awaits You If You Donít. So, Why Not Come To Jesus Now?
3B. But What Does God Take From You While You Are Here On Earth, This Side Of Eternity? What Does He Exact From You? He Takes From You Time. With Each Tick Of The Clock, With Each Passing Minute And Each Unrecoverable Hour, You Are Ever Closer To Eternity And Your Final Destiny.
4B. God Would Be Just And Good If He Pulled The Rug Out From Under You Now And Demanded That You Begin Your Sentence Immediately, But He Is Merciful. He Is Giving You Space To Repent. But Instead Of Repenting Of Your Sins, Instead Of Turning To Christ, You Excuse And Justify And Explain And Give Up In That Cowardly Way You Always Give Up.
5B. You Are Commanded By The Savior To Strive To Enter In. But You Shrug Your Shoulders And Sigh, Content To Drag Your Children Into The Fire With You, Not Willing To Expend The Energy That Would Show Your Loved Ones That Jesus Is Worth Striving For.
6B. Oh, You Say, "Whatís the use. Iíve tried it before and it didnít work." Youíre A Real Piece Of Work If You Think Like That. Typical Of An Unregenerate Manís Feeble Attempt To Justify Himself And Excuse Himself From Responsibility.
7B. In What Worthwhile Endeavor Has Any Human Being Ever Engaged In That Did Not Require Repeated Effort To Find Success? What Toddler Ever Walked On His First Attempt? What Pianist Ever Played A Tune Successfully The First Time He Sat At A Keyboard? What Artist Was Skilled With His First Sketch? Yet You Make A Profession Of Faith Or Two And Find Yourself Still Unconverted And With That You Justify Your Wicked Refusal To Strive To Enter In.
8B. Need I Remind You Of What Awaits You When You Die, My Unsaved Friend? Will You Not Make The Most Of The Time God Has Not Yet Taken From You To Secure Your Own Salvation? He Has Given You Time, Though You Do Not Deserve It. How Much Time, You Do Not Know. Youíd Best Use It As Wisely To Prepare For Eternity As You Can In The Time Remaining.
4A. IN THE ETERNAL STATE AND LOST
1B. But There Will Come A Day When You Will Die. And If You Remain The Way You Are Now You Will Enter Into The Eternal State Lost And Undone, Passing Through A Place Called Hell On Your Way To The Lake Of Fire, With A Stop At The Great White Throne Judgment To First Determine The Severity Of Your Torment.
2B. This Sermon Is All About What God Takes From You, And How It Is Less Than Your Iniquity Deserves. The Saved, Whether They Be Still On Earth Or Now Enjoying Their Eternal Rest In Heaven, Have Taken From Them Their Sins, Their Guilt, Their Shame. They Deserve So Much Less From God, But Iíve Heard No Complaints Over My Twenty Six Years As A Christian.
3B. You Unsaved Folks Who Are Not Yet Dead Have Taken From You By God One Minute At A Time, Your Span Of Life. God Takes From You Time. He Could Take More And He Could Take It Faster, But He Doesnít. Make Use Of The Time You Have Left To Prepare For Eternity, However Much Time That Is.
4B. And What Will God Take From You When You Have Died Without Christ, When You Have Entered Eternity? Why, Heíll Take Your Soul From You. Heíll Take It And Punish It In Fiery Torment. Youíll Experience Unimaginable Pain And Agony, But Itíll Always Less Than It Might Have Been.
5B. We Know From The Lord Jesus Christís Comments That There Are Different Degrees Of Punishment In Eternity, With Some People Being Punished More Severely Than Others. That, Of Course, Letís Us Know That Godís Mercy Extends Even Into The Furnace, Where He Could Have Justifiably Punished All Sinners With Equal Severity.
6B. Let Every man Be Thankful That God Exacts From Us Less Than Our Iniquity Deserves.
1. What will you do, my friend? Your iniquity obviously cries out for judgment, for punishment, for condemnation.
2. Will you continue on your way, God taking your time from you a bit at a time, until you die and go to Hell? Or will you seize the moment, begin to cry out to God for mercy, and seek His face in the hopes that the merciful God will draw you to His Son, Jesus, for salvation and cleansing and life eternal?
3. I urge you to do just that. I plead with you to cast yourself on Christ for salvation. Remember, if you come to Him He will receive you. If you reject Him He will judge you severely.