According to JI Packer, a study of the concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness.
In this post I will deal with these questions:
1. How do we maintain a strong commitment to evangelism, without having to scare people?
2. Love has multiple meanings so how do we effectively communicate the true essence of God’s character?
3. How often during the past year did you talk about the wrath of God?
Finally, what are the standards for when youth pastors want to talk about the Wrath of God:
1. Adopt the Oreo cookie approach.
When having the wrath of God conversation it is imperative you have a solid and honest relationship with the students and you are demonstrating love and compassion. Essentially be incarnational. When God gives you the opportunity start by affirming —> then deliver the wrath of God punch —> and follow up with gentleness. The white filling represents the wrath of God part. When having hard conversations always think Oreo cookie. Two compliments and one complaint.
60% of your youth ministry should be bathed in grace, love, forgiveness, while the other 40% embrace rebuking and repenting. Youth pastors need to remember that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance.
3. The Wrath of God is one of the attributes of God.
The wrath of God is not THE ONLY attribute of God’s character, it is one of the many. Jonathan Edwards’s has a famous sermon titled: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”. Bottom line: the wrath of God talk should be one of the many talks we convey to the youth.
4. We need to remember that there is more to God’s message than ONLY receiving our fire proof insurance card.
5. The wrath of God motivates students to live a right and pure life.
Psalm 119:71 71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. We worship a God of Justice who likes to kick butt. If we are being lazy, unmotivated, complacent, and lukewarm we are becoming comfortable. Paul talks about how we need to work our faith with fear and trembling. Bottom line we need to be doing stuff. Faith without works is dead.
I think youth pastors need to have a healthy value of presenting other God attributes to our students. Honestly, I think our 21st century postmodern students have the love, grace, and compassionate thing down real well.
My only hope is that youth pastors talk about the wrath of God every once in a while. It is problematic if youth pastors are ignoring the wrath of God talk because of their insecurities and jadedness. It may be kind of healthy if students get their butt kicked every once in a while. : )