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As believers we have to choose battles wisely. When they occur we have to evaluate whether it’s worth fighting or we’re better off standing down. I think it is important not to sugarcoat the Word of God. As much as God is love, He is also perfect justice and judgment. He is also on the same token perfect mercy and grace. People sometimes get a false notion of who God is, and what He stands for. We cannot allow our human tendency to want to understand things comprehensively to backfire. I mean in the sense of understanding God there are those who are thankful for what they know, and will continue to learn as the relationship progresses. On the other hand there are also those who don’t see enough initially to begin their journey. They figure it’s not worth seeing if there’s more than meets the eye to Christian living, and subsequently decide not to take a leap of faith at their own expense.
People need to be aware that God isn’t who they want Him to be. He is who He was, is, and always has been. What He stands for doesn’t need to be re-packaged, marketed, or otherwise manipulated to make Him appeasing to man’s idea of Him. He is unchangeable and doesn’t bend who He is or what He stands for to suit human desires. We are the ones who need to shift our mindset to be in accord with Him. He wouldn’t want us to change the delivery of scripture or try to adapt the Gospel to sound more favorable at the expense of compromise. He doesn’t want us to misrepresent the Gospel in any way. There are parts of the Gospel that are favorable for almost anyone to hear, if they would just believe in it. Then there are also those parts of the Gospel that convict the human conscience of wrongdoing. The parts that convict us are more challenging to hear, and require that we make life adjustments to adhere to them.
In short, someone who is faced with the task of making these adjustments needs the right motivation. If they don’t understand their need for God, and in essence their need for our Savior Jesus Christ, then they won’t concede that they need to be saved from anything. The motive isn’t there for them to take God’s Word as infallible truth, so it’s easier to push it away rather than draw closer to it, for them. Such is the plight of many of the lost today, they are a living testament to the reality of 2 Timothy 3:1-7. (V*1).
We need to turn away from such influences so that they don’t corrupt us. Only engaging them to the extent that we can evangelize. Ideally reaching out to the lost while minimizing the toxic potential of relationships with unbelievers to our walk. If not we may make the mistake of allowing the devil and his demons a foothold to hinder us. This may be more costly than the value of the opportunity to bring someone closer to the truth because it may interfere with our own walk.
For instance, if I am hypothetically susceptible to alcoholism, you shouldn’t see me trying to reach out to the lost in bar environments. It just wouldn’t make sense logically to predispose myself to a serious weakness of my own. Such dangerous endeavors could compromise me even if my motives were in the right place. This is where we need to pray for prudence and discretion so God would equip us with the discernment necessary to steer clear of such predicaments.
The silver lining that we need to remember is God draws people to Him. We are only His messengers. Even the most calloused non-believers can be part of God’s elect in His timing. All we can do is share the Word of God without compromise, and the rest we leave in His hands. We can pray for people too, that’s one of the best things we can do. It can have a profitable impact on people both for present matters, and also in relation to their eternal security to petition God in regards to their livelihood.
Even when people are abrasive it can be impacting them in their hearts and conscience more than we notice externally. Likewise we can witness to someone, and someone else in the vicinity could be the one indirectly blessed by the exchange. When we evangelize we shouldn’t get overly wrapped up in trying to assess for ourselves whether someone is part of God’s elect or not. We’re not privileged the omniscience God has. We need to step out in faith and preach to the lost faithfully whether we personally think there’s a high likelihood or not for someone to reach out to Jesus Christ for salvation. Even if there was a microscopic chance of a loved one coming to know God, I am confident that we can all agree it’s more than worthy of pursuing. When someone’s eternity, and their potential relationship with Jesus Christ are at stake, it’s clear that even a small chance is of incalculable value.
When we faithfully continue to share His Word in truth and love, without trying to manipulate what it says, we’ll be faced with a mixed array of reactions. It’s only natural for people to hate the truth and incline their ear away from the Lord. It’s part of the sinful nature of man to justify our desires, even the ones that contradict God’s commands. Even as believers we have a battle against the flesh. We need to follow the Holy Spirit and rely on God to avoid compromise. Imagine unbelievers without the benefit of God’s presence in their bodies. They have an unfathomably less amount of incentive to consider submitting to the will of God for reasons already mentioned.
There may also be exceptional cases where we actually have the privilege of leading someone to Christ first hand. Where we can see that based on our testimony, sharing of the Gospel, or leading by example – we’ve been the inspiration by the grace of God to bring someone closer to Him. Not because we’ve actually brought them to the Lord, but because God gave us the privilege of having an encounter with a human being who was receptive of His Word from the first moment they interacted with it. They just knew in their hearts and minds that it made sense logically, and that committing their lives to Jesus Christ was the only step they saw made sense.
Let’s not get discouraged the times when this doesn’t occur. Much more often it seems to be the case that we see some level of skepticism. Whether that manifests itself in hatred, anger, or civil but firm disagreement is not to be dwelled upon. What we need to do is do our part as messengers, and after that the best thing we can do is pray. Pray that God would lead them to more resources that share the truth. Pray that the seed that we planted would make an impact in their desire to consider the Word of God or reconsider it in a new light. Pray that their hearts would be softened to the point of coming to terms with the truth in God’s timing, by His grace, for His glory.
Another important point closely connected to evangelism that I thought merited making was that it’s not our responsibility to adapt to the whims of the culture. It’s up to the culture to embrace the Word of God or to neglect it as we present it to them. This is comparable to the point about trying to market God’s Word, except I mean it in a broader sense. If God’s Word has an unpopular position when we consider the general populous, it doesn’t take away from the merits of taking that position.
On the contrary, if anything it may increase the need for the position to be taken and expressed logically. The scarcity of men and women of God only naturally leads us to see that this is the case in more and more areas. If the popular culture has decided that being pro-choice is a permissible position morally, and that killing babies in the womb is perfectly normal, it doesn’t take away from the stance we ought to take. It doesn’t take away from the value of supporting a pro-life decision because we’re not supposed to murder. Furthermore we’re supposed to protect those that cannot protect themselves, and that includes babies in the wombs of their mothers. (V*2).
This is just one of many cultural examples that are labeled polarizing or “hot button” issues. However, when we are familiar with God’s Word we can only reasonable conclude that being pro-choice is really murdering unborn children. (V*3). It’s not about a woman’s right to choose, it’s about providing legally accessible avenues to execute children yet to be born for the enhanced comfort of people alive now. Instead of seeing a pregnancy through, and giving a child for adoption if the parent(s) in question aren’t fit to parent a child, the child is terminated not to inconvenience them. It’s worth noting that even a sinful action as perturbing as abortion is in the scope of God’s forgiveness. There is healing for those men and women who have suffered the ramifications of such a decision.
Without a doubt abortion is clearly an act based on selfish motivations with no regard for moral integrity. It’s a position that is far from true, sacrificial love. Love is a word that has a lot of hedonistic or overly simplistic, non-sacrificial related connotations. True love goes far beyond what the vast uses of the word in standard exchanges every day indicate of its intrinsic value, including with many Christians to be fair. I don’t hesitate to say “I love video games” or “I love chocolate ice-cream” for example.
So much of the culture has replaced their perspective of what love is with lust, and simply perpetuate that illusion in their actions. They let their emotions and feelings lead them to decide what is right, they made themselves their own gods to satisfy morally relativistic assessments of what is right or wrong. Instead of relying on a moral compass that is infallible like the Word of God to decide what is right and wrong, they allow other external factors to influence their decisions.
The United States of America has still been blessed by the residual influence of the Christian worldview it has been founded upon. Many people still, albeit in many cases without realization, act on its influence and regard certain standards with respect based on this history. Some semblance of the principles our forefathers held dear are still held dear in the aggregate. Most of us can agree murder, rape, and adultery are wrong.
Sadly even the lines drawn clearly in recent history have been tainted. Those who are proponents of homosexuality for instance have been on the attack against traditional marriage for quite some time. Likewise the line of what is right and wrong gets blurred, paving the way for humanity to attempt to redefine what God already defined. Namely that marriage constitutes one man with one woman. (V*4).
A homosexual should be loved just as much as anyone else should be. We are commanded to love God, and we are commanded to love people. (V*5). It doesn’t say only love people who are convenient to love, but instead we are specifically commanded to even go as far as to love our enemies. (V*6). In this sense adulterers, homosexuals, drunkards, and fornicators are not outside the loop. We are still commanded to love them despite disagreeing with the actions they have chosen to partake in. In fact many of us ourselves were once caught up, or are still caught up in the debilitating temptations and dead ends named here, but the grace of God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ means that we are no longer slaves to sin. (V*7 and V*8). We have been set free, and as such we need to step into that freedom with the authority of God and His grace on our side.
We need to all recognize we fall short. Our moral depravity needs to be understood beyond a superficial level if we’re to humble ourselves before God. Even if perhaps we haven’t killed, raped, or tortured someone. We need to realize that in the sight of God it doesn’t take an atrocity to be a sinner in need of the Savior. We also need to realize that while our human justice system may not forgive those who have fallen short on such levels, that there is still forgiveness to be found for them in the Lord. This doesn’t of course advocate that we shouldn’t allow them to serve their penalty for such abominable actions, but that we should support them seeking to be made right with God and whenever possible seeking forgiveness from the offended parties in God’s timing.
If we have broken just one of the ten commandments we’re already found guilty of having broken them all. (V*8). When we come to this realization, we realize we need Jesus Christ. There is no other substitute or option, He is the perfect One. If we look beyond Him, we have missed the entire point and we have insulted God by overlooking His most precious provision for us. If we refuse to see our sinful nature for what it is, then we won’t find it in our best interest to give up sin for the promises of a Savior. We would stay stuck trying to appease our sinful nature.
However, if we humble ourselves before God and submit to His sovereignty rather than our selfish human nature, we are forgiven and healed. We need to confess our sins, and God is faithful to forgive us. Not only that, but He also tells us that He would cleanse us of all unrighteousness in the process! (V*9 and V*10).
In God’s mercy He will draw people near to Him. We just need to be real and not bend to suit the culture. Stand firm in the faith, and avoid escalated conflict. Don’t compromise Christian ideals to make someone feel better, or perceive you differently. We cannot be ashamed of Jesus Christ if we expect Him to be bold and unashamed as He intercedes on our behalf in front of God the Father. (V*8 and V*9). It’s best not to speak rather than attempt to be politically correct. We still have freedom of speech and freedom of religion. We don’t need to be afraid of man, because we fear God. (V*10).
V*1- 10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), Romans 9:10-12 (NKJV).
V*2- Open your mouth for the speechless,
In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
9 Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And plead the cause of the poor and needy.
Proverbs 31:8-9 (NKJV).
V*3 – 3 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2 Timothy 3:1-7 (NKJV).
V*4 – 3 And Pharisees came up to him and rtested him by asking, s“Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” 4 He answered, t“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Matthew 19:3-6 (NKJV).
V*5- 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV).
V*6- 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48 (NKJV).
V*7- 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11 (NKJV).
V*8- 15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness. Romans 6:15-19 (NKJV).
V*9- 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10 (NKJV).
V*10 – 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV).
V*11- 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NKJV).
V*12- 8 “Also I say to you, whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. 9 But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God. Luke 12:8-9 (NKJV).
V*13- 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Romans 8:34 (NKJV).
V*14- 13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NKJV).