Peter Hiett: One God, One Fire
The following is an excerpt from Peter Hiett’s sermon on Daniel 3:1-30 called “One Fire.”
We are attracted to the fire and we are burned by the fire. God is love and God is fire. Love is fire. We are burned by love because we’re resistant to love. The thing in us that resists love is our ego. Well that’s what we talked about last week.
Peter shares a clip from comedian Daniel Tosh who explains how he handled an exceptionally rude person behind him in a movie theater. Tempted to bust the guys face in he caught a glimpse of his WWJD (“What Would Jesus Do”) bracelet and decided not to punch him. Instead he said “I lit him on fire and sent him to hell.” Video clip HERE
Does it seem sometimes like there are two Jesus’s? There’s the one that loves the little children, Jesus that loves His enemies, that always turns the other cheek. The good Jesus:
And then there’s another Jesus, bad Jesus, mean Jesus, the one who casts people into endless torment of fire:
“What would Jesus do?” Cast people into the fire? Maybe. Because it seems like there are two kinds of fire: number one, Pentecost fire. Pentecost was when the people started loving God and others when the divine fire fell upon them. So number one, there’s this kind of good fire and number two like this really bad fire.
You know Jesus talks about “hellfire,” literally Gehenna fire. That’s the fire that burns outside the walls of Jerusalem. Now that must be like the fire of judgment or maybe like the “Lake of Fire.” Well then it seems like there are two kinds of fire and two kinds of Jesus’s. And Jesus says that if you have seen Me you have seen the Father so it seems like there must be two kinds of “God the Father.” One like this:
and another one like this:
So it looks like there are two opposite Jesus’s, two opposite Fathers, two opposite fires and two opposite judgments. So, it seems like God is TWO …and not one.
And it’s God who we are commanded to trust.
Faith quite simply is …trust.
Faith is trust and the thing that most undermines trust is a perceived lack of integrity in the person that you’re trying to trust. In other words–that they are not one…but two. Children of alcoholics have to deal with this their whole life, right? I mean is good dad going to show up or bad dad going to show up? Does he love me or does he despise me? So do we have a heavenly dad who a.) is absolute unquenchable love for some, by absolutely no merit of their own or b.) endless torment for others who, even if they choose it, He created them knowing that they’d choose it?!
So, is He that…divided?!
Is our Father love and the exact opposite of love? Is He two, and not one?
Could you think of any idea that would more greatly undermine trust than that? that would undermine trust, that would undermine faith? And we are “saved by faith”!!! Do you see? If we thought that God was two and not one, we might say we trust, but only because we don’t trust. We might honor Him with our lips but our hearts would be far from Him. If we believed God to be two and not one we would say we trust Him to save us but what we really believed would be we trust ourselves to save us…from Him, who’s untrustworthy. We would trust our judgment to save us from His judgment. In other words, we’d take knowledge from the tree because we didn’t trust that He’s already given His life… upon that tree.
We would invent religion …because …we had no faith.
It’s because we believed our God was two and not one, …two and not one …and therefore, could not be trusted.
Scene from SouthPark: A priest preaches about the torments of hell threatening the people to change their behavior or they will burn in endless torture and misery. The children’s eyes get as big as saucers as they try and take in the sermon. Afterward the children beg to stay for Sunday School so they wont “burn.”
So it seems like hell is this fiery place like under the earth where Satan is throwing a party while the people all suffer agony forever. So fear of hell is a good way to get people to do what you want them to do. But not a good way to trust God. It’s a good way to get them to trust YOU to save them from God but not a good way to get them to trust God …for salvation.
South Park Scene: Later the priest is caught in sexual misconduct and the children witness him crying out for mercy to God from hell. The children conclude: “If this guy’s going to hell who’s going to save us?” One kid pipes up, ”Well, it looks like we’re just going to have to save everyone in this town from the angry hand of God ourselves!”
So the boys in South Park invent religion …to save themselves …from God, who might just “light them on fire and send them to hell.”
So what would Jesus do? And what does God do? And can we trust Him?
You know some people ask me, why does this topic matter? Well nothing matters more than trust in who God is.
You can continue to listen or watch the sermon online as Peter presents the story from Daniel chapter three about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Note how the wicked King Nebuchadnezzar used a fiery furnace to control the people: