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Admittedly, I am left scratching my head. The Lord led me to preach an entire message on the unpleasant subject of Hell. It is simply not an enjoyable matter to focus on for 30 to 40 minutes. In our day and age when so many people outright deny it as even true, it becomes more and more a sermon to provoke hostility (especially if people are not used to hearing about it). Led of the Lord, however, I prepared myself, and sought out several prayer warriors. I could not just ignore this matter (however potentially explosive it may be), knowing our people need to be keenly aware of the reality of God’s justice against unrepentant, faithless sinners.

During the service, the people paid great attention. There was that stillness that comes with this type of message, but not a stillness of those who are upset. There was a spirit of deep consideration—another answer to prayer.

One of my greatest concerns was the nature of my presentation. I wanted it to agree with the subject matter and with the fact that neither I nor the Lord desire sinners to be cast into Hell. The Lord gave me great grace; something I observed throughout the message.

I was amazed at the response. Though Hell is a shocking matter to consider, especially for someone who has heard little about it, our hearers did not show any disdain. In fact, a new couple, who has only been in our services a couple weeks now, told me at their home last night how much it was a blessing! They said the message was clearly of the Lord!

I do not ever regret preaching the Bible, even its most difficult subjects, but when this particular subject produces smiles on people’s faces, I started scratching my head.

What made this message, of all the messages preached, so well received?

A part of my conclusion is that the people are happy to hear the Bible unapologetically preached. They are not hearing human invention or self-help messages that skip around through Scripture. Even though the subject was Hell, it remained a breath of fresh air; it is exactly what they wanted to hear.

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For our fledgling congregation, there yet remains much sin to be dealt with. Our great desire is that the preaching of the truth of Hell and of other important subjects settles deep in their souls to awaken them profoundly to the reality of God, of eternity and of all that is most important.

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We still long for a day when we see a rush of God’s grace over the congregation, manifesting itself in a great turning from sin. There is yet a sort of spiritual sleepiness over the eyes of many. They come. They rejoice because of what God is doing, but they have not yet made key decisions: some to receive Christ, others to be baptized, others to join the church, and others to renounce very prominent sins in their lives.

We really need the Lord to give us the proper patience to handle these things. We cannot strong arm sinners into saints; we cannot fabricate a Christ-centered congregation. Either the Spirit of God does the work, or there is nothing worthwhile going on at all in the Independent Baptist Church of Ouro Preto do Oeste, RO.

Your continued prayers are deeply appreciated. We are still renovating the building. This week the floor has been put in, and the painting begins today.

If you would like to see this months photos, click here.

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