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YOUR QUARREL WITH GOD

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, December 9, 2001


"Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him…" (Mark 6:19).

John the Baptist was a fearless preacher. He denounced sin openly in his sermons. Herodias had married her own father's brother, Philip. She left him and married his brother, King Herod. This was a violation of Leviticus 18:16. John the Baptist correctly saw that a ruler of Israel was wrong to commit the sin of incest - and he rebuked King Herod openly in his sermons to the people. John's sermons against her sin outraged Queen Herodias. "Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him…" (Mark 6:19). The Greek word translated "quarrel" means "to have it in for someone, to hold a grudge" (Fritz Rienecker, A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Zondervan, 1980, p. 103).

Herodias had an inner quarrel, a grudge, against John the Baptist for preaching against her sin. But her real quarrel and grudge was against God, because it was God who gave the law, in Leviticus 18:16, which she had broken.

Everyone who is not converted has a quarrel against God, a grudge of some kind against God. The Bible says:

"The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7).

The word "enmity" means "hatred, hostility" (Rienecker, ibid., p. 365). In other words, every unconverted person has some sort of quarrel in his or her heart against God - and this hostility often comes out against the preacher, or some other true Christian who stands for the Word of God, as John the Baptist did.

Henry David Thoreau was a naturalist and author. When he was dying his aunt came to see him. She was a good Christian. She said, "Henry, have you made your peace with God?" He answered, "I didn't know that we had ever quarreled." Many college teachers and other non-Christians quote Thoreau's statement as though it were very wise. But it actually shows that he was a fool, in rebellion against the God of Scripture. Whatever god Thoreau believed in, it was not the God spoken of in the Bible. The god he believed in was actually "the god of this world," who is Satan (II Corinthians 4:4). Thoreau certainly had a life-long quarrel and grudge against the true God and orthodox Christianity, which is revealed in his writings.

And, no matter what you say, the Bible teaches in Romans 8:7 that you also have a quarrel against God if you are unconverted. You have some grudge or hostility toward God.

I. Some of you have a grudge or quarrel against God over the
difficulties and pain of life.

You will often hear people say, "If there is a God, why is there so much pain and suffering in the world?" Maybe you have thought that. The answer, of course, is very simple. There is pain and suffering in the world because of man's sin. God did not create the pain and the suffering - man did.

It wasn't God who destroyed the World Trade Center - it was human beings. It isn't God who is causing terrorism throughout many parts of the world - it is human beings who are doing that.

God put man in the Garden of Eden. It was a perfect world and there was no pain, suffering, or death. But God gave man freedom to choose between eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or eating of the Tree of Life. Man disobeyed God, and ate of the forbidden fruit. It was man's sin that brought the difficulties and pain of life. The Bible says:

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).

God wanted to save man from sin and suffering and pain. That is why He sent Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for sin and save us.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

That's what Christmas is really about - God sending Jesus to save us from our sins.

II. Secondly, some of you have a grudge or quarrel against God
over the death of a person you loved.

This is a common experience. Someone you loved died - and you feel lonely and cheated by God.

I can only answer this from my own experience. All of my relatives but one have now died. All of them that I knew and loved as a child. I have gone through the heartache and pain of losing relatives that I loved countless times in my life. When my grandmother, my Mother's mother died, I was fifteen years old. It devastated me. I was shocked. I was depressed. But I was not angry with God. Somehow I knew that it wasn't God's fault. Later, when I learned more about the Bible, I found that I had been right. The Bible teaches that death came from sin. It says, "and death by sin" (Romans 5:12).

Death became the common lot of all mankind. Even good Christians die because of the lingering effects of sin on our world. The Bible says, "It is appointed unto men once to die…" (Hebrews 9:27).

But God wants us to have eternal life. That is why He sent Jesus Christ into the world. The verse I quoted a moment ago tells us that:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Being angry with God over the death of a person you loved is unreasonable - because God gave the supreme sacrifice of His only begotten Son to give us "everlasting life."

III. Thirdly, some of you have a grudge or quarrel against God
because you think all religions should be equal.

Many people are angry at the God of the Bible because the Bible presents only one way to be saved. You will often hear them say, "There are many paths to God." So they are angry at the Christian God for presenting only one way to get to Heaven. They feel that the God of the Bible is too narrow and too strict.

But people like this don't take into account the awfulness of sin. You see, every one of the world's 600 non-Christian religions teaches that man has to do something to save himself. Biblical Christianity is the only religion that teaches God has done everything to save you. And you don't have to do anything except believe in Jesus with your whole heart. Turn from your sin and believe in Jesus.

When Christ died on the Cross, He paid the penalty for sin. He did everything to save you. There is nothing left for you to do but turn from sin and believe on Him. The Bible says:

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…" (Galatians 3:13).

The Bible says, "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17). The Bible says, "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23). The Bible teaches that salvation is a free gift - given to us by God through Jesus Christ. All that God requires of us is true faith in Jesus Christ. Again, John 3:16 says:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

IV. Fourthly, some of you have a grudge or quarrel against God
because of the inconsistencies of Christians.

This also is very common. You see someone who calls himself a Christian doing something wrong. You say, "If that's what a Christian is like, I don't want anything to do with it." Gandhi had an experience like that as a young person. He was considering leaving Hinduism and becoming a Christian, but he saw a Christian do something wrong. He went back to Hinduism and never did become a Christian.

But there is faulty logic operating here as well. No one ever told you to believe in a Christian. The Bible says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). No one told you to believe in a Christian. We told you to believe in Jesus.

The Bible teaches the great Reformation, Biblical teaching - "justified and a sinner" (simul justus et peccator). The true Christian is a justified sinner. The Christian will do his best not to sin, but every Christian sins at times - because he is not yet perfect. The Christian will only be perfect when he is resurrected. The Bible says:

"We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God, and not of us" (II Corinthians 4:7).

By saving weak people, God makes it clear that salvation comes from Christ's power, not from our own power of strength.

So, we have not told you to believe in us.We have told you to believe in the same Jesus who saved us - "that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

V. Fifthly, some of you have a grudge or quarrel against God because
He tells you to be in a local New Testament church every Sunday.

You will often hear these people say, "You don't have to go to church to be a Christian." Deep in their hearts they have an angry quarrel with true Christians - and with God. The Bible warns against missing church:

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together"

(Hebrews 10:25).

God also tells us that those who leave their local church are not true Christians:

"They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us"

(I John 2:19).

Regular attendance in your local church is indeed a teaching of God in the Bible.

But why quarrel with God about this? Why not come fully into this church? Why not? Sure, you'll have to arrange your schedule and your work hours. But why not? It's wonderful to be with the brothers and sisters in church. It's wonderful to make close friends in the church that will last for a lifetime.

Why be lonely? Come home - to church!

God gave three institutions for the happiness of man on earth: the home, the government, and the church. The Bible nowhere teaches a "churchless" Christianity. The early Christians in the Book of Acts are our example. The Bible says:

"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship…And the Lord added to the church [at Jerusalem] daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:42,47).

When these people were converted they were immediately added to the local church at Jerusalem. The same was true of all Christians in New Testament times. The very names of many of the books of the New Testament show that. Romans was written to the members of the local church at Rome. First and Second Corinthians were written to the members of the local church at Corinth. Galatians was written to the members of the local churches in Galatia. Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians were written to the members of the local churches in those cities. Even a hurried reading of the books of the New Testament will show you that every Christian in New Testament times was an active member of the local church in his city. There were no exceptions. To underscore the great importance of church membership, Paul even gives the names of many of the members of these churches, in passages like Romans 16:21-24. In I Corinthians, Paul writes:

"The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. All the brethren greet you …" (I Corinthians 16:19-20).

What wonderful friendships and what joyous fellowship the people in these local churches had. And the same thing is true in local New Testament Baptist churches today. It is no hardship to be a member of a local New Testament Baptist church. It is a great blessing and a great joy to get saved, and then get baptized into a local church, as a full member. That will make you happy. It will give you a whole new set of close friends whom you will love and cherish. They will care for you and help you in your journey through life. I personally could never have made it as a Christian if I had not become a fully participating baptized member of a church like this one. So, we say once again - why be lonely? Come home - to church! There's nothing like it in Los Angeles - or anywhere else! Get saved. Get baptized. Get into this local church every time the door is open. You will never regret it as long as you live if you do!

Some have called me a Landmark Baptist for saying things like that. Well, if you mean that I extol the virtues and the need for membership in a local Baptist church - if that's what you mean - I accept the title proudly - "Landmark Baptist Hymers" - you can call me that!

I have devoted nearly forty-four years to ministry in three local Baptist churches. I hope to be in this church the rest of my life. Come with me and find the same joy and happiness I have found in this church! I believe that there is no better way to spend your life than being in church every time the door is open! "Oh, who will come and go with me, I am bound for the promised land!" What a great joy it really is!

VI. But I must hurry to the sixth and last point - some of you have a
grudge or quarrel with God because you think He has made
salvation too difficult to understand.

As kindly and gently as possible, may I tell you that you are wrong? I don't believe it is difficult to understand salvation at all. In fact, it is easy to learn the basics of how to get saved. I repeat the main points in virtually every one of my sermons.

1. First, you must recognize that you are a sinner. It must be more than just words. You must truly see that you are inwardly ruined and lost - and that you cannot save yourself.

2. Second, you must believe the facts of the gospel - that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died in your place on the Cross, so your sins can be forgiven. You must also believe the fact that He arose from the dead on the third day, and ascended up into Heaven, into another dimension, to sit on the right hand of God - where He is praying for you right now. You must believe those facts.

3. But, thirdly, you do more than simply believe these facts. You must turn from a sinful way of living and fully trust in Jesus, Himself. Come to Jesus Christ. Believe on Him personally. One teenager in our church said, "I threw myself on Jesus - like you would throw yourself on a giant pillow." And Jesus forgave his sins and saved his soul when he did that.

How about you? Are you tired of going through life with a quarrel and a grudge against God? Why go on like that? An older man at my gym was in the jacuzzi with me the other night. As he talked, he said, "I'm an atheist." He is angry at some things he has seen in his wife's church. I said, "Oh, George, don't be an atheist. God loves you so much!" He smiled a gentle and sweet smile. Then he said, "Well, I'm not really an atheist - maybe an agnostic - but not really an atheist." I'm working on him. There is no happiness in true atheism - only a lonely, hopeless life.

You don't want that, do you, young person? You don't really want to live a lonely, godless, hopeless life, do you? Of course not - or you wouldn't be here tonight singing hymns and listening to the preaching.

Sure, you will have to give up some of your free time and some of your lost friends. Sure, you'll have to carve out some time to be here with the brothers and sisters in church. But it will be worth it all if you come to know Jesus Christ personally, and find the forgiveness and peace that Christ offers you.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

Go for it! Go for Christ until you find Him! Come back here with us to church next Sunday - and every Sunday! Don't miss a single service!

When I was a young teenager, I was very lonely. My parents divorced. I went to live with one aunt and then with another one. I had no real home. I was moved from one place to another so often that I had no close friends. I felt all alone. Then I came to a Baptist church like this one. I got saved. I was baptized. I joined the church. I started working in the church. I made friends - some of them I have had now nearly fifty years.

I am so glad I came to Christ. I am so glad I came into a Baptist church. It is my hope and prayer that you will do the very same thing. God bless you! May you find Jesus soon and be saved! Be very sure you come back here next Sunday - so we can show you how much we love you! You are special to us!

(END OF SERMON)


Scripture Read Before the Sermon: Mark 6:14-29; John 3:16.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:

"Jesus is the Friend of Sinners"

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."



THE OUTLINE OF

YOUR QUARREL WITH GOD

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

   "Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him…" (Mark 6:19).

(Leviticus 18:16; Romans 8:7; II Corinthians 4:4)

I.   Some of you have a grudge or quarrel against God over the
difficulties and pain of life, Romans 5:12; John 3:16.

II.  Some of you have a grudge or quarrel against God over the
death of a person you loved, Romans 5:12; Hebrews 9:27;
John 3:16.

III. Some of you have a grudge or quarrel against God because
you think all religions should be equal, Galatians 3:13;
Romans 1:17; Romans 6:23; John 3:16.

IV.  Some of you have a grudge or quarrel against God because off
the inconsistencies of Christians, Acts 16:31;
II Corinthians 4:7; John 3:16.

V.   Some of you have a grudge or quarrel against God because
He tells you to be in a local New Testament church
every Sunday, Hebrews 10:25; I John 2:19; Acts 2:42,47;
Romans 16:21-24; I Corinthians 16:19-20.

VI.  Some of you have a grudge or quarrel against God because you
think He has made salvation too difficult to understand,
John 3:16.