I am starting to notice too many believers who are beginning to cower under the pressure of criticism and afraid to speak the Truth. We are so concerned about hurting someone’s feelings, we soften the impact of the Word of God. But you see, Truth does offend. I don’t know who said this first, but “Truth sounds like hate to those who hate truth!” You have to accept that when you refuse to speak the uncompromised Word of God. It cost you. But, “If the truth offends you, you are probably on the wrong side of it.”
Oh sure, many will applaud your boldness when you speak the Truth and don’t couch it in gentle psychological terms that minimize the importance of living a Holy life. But the hearts of most are hard and resist the Word of God. But if you refuse the risk of offending them, they will experience the Judgment of our Creator. Sure, you can certainly try to keep your mouth shut and hide from conflict, but once the Spirit of God moves into your life He will radically change your life through His Truth and you will understand Jeremiah’s declaration, “It is like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!” (Jeremiah 20:9).
As one writer explained, “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Yeah well, I am afraid that many are exchanging the truth for tolerance, boldness for balance, and conviction for cowardliness. We are so afraid of offending anyone our messages tend to be “sweet and tender,” but never change the evil in their hearts.
But, as Paul pointed out,
“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Okay. we understand that.
“But how can people call on him if they have not believed in him?” Ooh, I never thought of that,
“How can they believe in him if they have not heard his message?” Ouch, now you are getting close to the issue.
“How can they hear if no one tells the Good News?” Well then, someone needs to tell them!
“How can people tell the Good News if no one sends them?” Didn’t Jesus send all of us?
“But not everyone has believed the Good News.” But I have! Oh wait, if I have believed, why haven’t I shared the story?
There you go. Too many believers — even Full-Gospel Pastors, who are afraid that if they do speak the Truth, they will lose their audience. But friends, Truth is controversial — it does convict and challenge. Don’t waste your time seeking the applause of men, but rather, seek only the applause of your God. A lukewarm, sex-saturated culture reflects the lack of conviction in the pulpit — as well as the pew. Yes, I realize there are all kinds of great and powerful pastors and churches out there, but far too many are drifting off course.
If you get down to it, the only difference between a believer and an unbeliever is that believers are simply forgiven — they have embraced God’s gracious gift of forgiveness, wholeness, and restoration through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. And because of the cross, their sin has been conquered and atoned for. Paul wrote,
Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? When we were baptized into his death, we were placed into the tomb with him. As Christ was brought back from death to life by the glorious power of the Father, so we, too, should live a new kind of life. If we’ve become united with him in a death like his, certainly we will also be united with him when we come back to life as he did. We know that the person we used to be was crucified with him to put an end to sin in our bodies. Because of this we are no longer slaves to sin. The person who has died has been freed from sin (Romans 6:3-7)
“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
If you take the time to read my message you should recognize that all I am trying to do is share my Father’s gracious gift. If that means I will be labeled narrow-minded, legalistic, judgmental, arrogant, and intolerant, that’s okay. I guess that is the cost of speaking the truth in love. In II Timothy 4:1-2, Paul wrote to Timothy and instructed him,
“I solemnly call on you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge those who are living and those who are dead. I do this because Christ Jesus will come to rule the world. Be ready to spread the word whether or not the time is right. Point out errors, warn people, and encourage them. Be very patient when you teach”
I read that in the early days of my faith in Jesus Christ, and took it to heart. As one brother put it, Paul was telling Tim to,
“Preach the difficult truths as well as the joyful ones; preach the cross and the new life; preach hell and preach heaven; preach damnation and preach salvation; preach sin and preach grace; preach wrath and preach love; preach judgment and preach mercy; preach obedience and preach forgiveness; preach that God ‘is love,’ but don’t forget that God is just. It is the love of God that compels us to share all of His truth”
“A time will come when people will not listen to accurate teachings. [That time has come!] Instead, they will follow their own desires and surround themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear. [Take a look at all of the Mega-churches] People will refuse to listen to the truth and turn to myths.” [Yep. I hear from some of them] (II Timothy 4:3-4)
Don’t blow this off. Don’t dismiss it as just another guy spouting off. My heart is breaking because I see what is happening and too many prefer to plug their ears and run the other way. I am attempting to sound an alarm in the heart of every person who desires to know and serve the Lord. To the Pastors out there, are we encouraging sin because we are not warning them? If we are, we are heading down a dangerous path. A.W. Tozer reminds us that each of us will stand to be judged someday: “That makes me both love Him and fear Him! I love Him because He is my Savior, and I fear Him because He is my Judge.”
Brothers and sisters, we must speak the truth in love despite the cost. We must release the fear we have of receiving negative reviews and having some “dislike” us on our Social Networking sites.
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.