Turn or Burn!
Whatever happened to gentleness and respect?
I was meditating on 1st Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” ESV
I take a look around the social media landscape and I see a different attitude. I listen to preachers on Facebook and Youtube who sow a different seed than gentleness and respect.
As my good friend Ed Soto has said: “Hypocrites chase fame through public worship.” If we are not sharing the hope that we have with gentleness and respect then what hope are we indeed sharing? If we do not love who we are preaching to then what good are we? Are we just gasbagging for the sake of popularity or polarization?
“Turn or burn!” “Die and fry!” - while theologically true is not the best way to deliver the “Good News”. We are to simply proclaim the person and work of Jesus Christ, the “hope” that we have. Then let God do His work. To many preachers really believe that if it were not for them then heaven would be empty. Read that again.
Now do not get me wrong, sin is sin and God has defined what sin is in His Word and God hates sin. We are to preach against sin. I’m all for that but how do we do that? That is the question. Is our motive for preaching truly to see someone repent because we love that person or do we just enjoy bashing Romans 3:23 over their heads? Quietly leaving out Romans 3:24?
Paul tells Timothy in 2nd Timothy 4:2 “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction.” Why did Paul tell Timothy this? He answers it in the next verse “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine…” Even though we know that people will not put up with sound doctrine we are to still preach and teach with great patience and careful instruction. A lesson that has taken me a long time to learn. I was foolish to believe all these years in ministry that if someone said that they were a Christian that they would actually be a Christian. Isn’t it supposed to be that simple? Not when men will not put up with sound doctrine.
So pastors, let me encourage you today to take a deep breath and expect ungodly behavior from “Godly” people, expect people in the church to quit putting up with sound doctrine, and expect an unbeliever to ask you for the hope in Christ that you and I have. In all situations preach and teach with gentleness and respect with great patience and careful instruction.
Have a blessed week, may The Lord grant us peace.