Why don't they speak Truth?
I was texted a page from a booklet that was handed out in a local church and asked to give my thoughts on it. Since my reply is lengthy, I thought I would do it in the form of a blog. I have included an image of the page below for reference.
My experience with this church up to this point is that they do not hit the Truth very hard. There is quite a bit of fluff, but not any hard-hitting Truth. Yes, I understand that there is a time to shower people with grace; however, throughout Scripture the example has been that Law precedes grace. The reason this is important is because the Law brings knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
If a person doesn’t rightly understand sin and its consequence, the Gospel is foolishness to them.
1Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
The Gospel is the power of God! The Gospel is the power, not presentation, or the presenter. We are called to be “waiters” – a waiter’s job is to bring the meal to the table without spilling it. The problem is, so many churches today are trying to “fancy up the meal” to make it more attractive. We have reduced church to a concert and motivational message for adults, and a playland for kids. Yes, these churches speak “Christian-ese”, but their primary focus seems to be entertainment. Many are mis-lead with the “I go to church, therefore, I am going to Heaven” mindset.
1Corinthians 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
The reality is, the Gospel cannot be accurately preached if the consequences of sin are not part of the message. It would be as silly as a strange man frantically approaching you on the street shoving a potion in your hand and saying, “drink this, it is a cure for “XYZ” disease!”
You would look at him like he was crazy. His offer of a cure wouldn’t make sense. His insistence that you drink the potion would be foolishness.
On the other hand, if the man said, “I am a doctor, I have been practicing medicine for 30 years, and I can see clear symptoms on your flesh that you have “XYZ” disease.” The man then points out and explains the symptoms. You begin to recognize what he is saying. As he describes symptoms of the disease you realize he is describing your symptoms. The man goes on to tell you, “you are in an advanced stage of this disease and will die within days.” As panic sets in, the man says, “don’t worry, although the cure is very expensive, I have sold everything I own to purchase the cure, here it is, I want to give this to you as a gift.”
Same man, same cure – but how do you respond now?
You are thankful, probably even reduced to tears. You look at the man differently – he’s not nuts, he’s your rescuer.
The difference is, you now understand your true condition. Your mind has been changed from being unconcerned to panic, to “oh no, what must I do?!” You ask this question because your mind has been changed – you are thinking differently – you believe something completely different than you did moments ago. That is repentance. When your mind changes, everything changes.
God says, “repent and believe the Gospel.”
Repent of, change your mind about, what? Your sin and how God has said He will deal with it! God hates sin, and all sinners. All sin and sinners will be condemned to an eternal hell – God has made this clear and He has the power to carry it out – not because He is evil, because He is Just. He cannot let sin go unpunished and be Just anymore than an earthly judge can wink at crime and let a murderer go free.
One sure reaction from many to the above statement is, “that is not true, God loves the sinner and hates the sin – that’s what I have been told in church my whole life!”
Psalm 11:5 The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Proverbs 6:16-19 There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
God’s hatred of sin, and the reality of His coming Wrath and Righteous Judgment are never addressed in many of our churches, yet, the Scripture is clear on both:
John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Romans 5:9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
Ephesians 5:6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
Colossians 3:6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming.
Revelation 14:19 So the angel swung his sickle across the earth and gathered the grape harvest of the earth and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
Hebrews 9:27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
2Peter 2:4-11 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked 8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard); 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment,
This is just a small sampling of what God has to say about His Wrath and His Judgment – so we must ask, “why is this not taught in most churches?” After all, to insist that someone “believe” they need a Savior without explaining why would be as silly as the man that shoves a curing potion in your face with no explanation.
If the Gospel is the power of salvation, and the regenerating work of the Spirit of God is what changes a man, why do these churches make everything so “man-centered”. Let’s look at some possible answers to this question:
1. They are more interested in pleasing man – in fact we are warned of this in Scripture:
2Timothy 4:3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
2. They do not truly believe what they claim to believe
2Corinthians 4:4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
3. There is another “spirit” that is behind the “seeker-friendly” churches
2Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
1John 5:19 We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
The interesting thing is; if you do not know that you deserve hell, that hell would be right for you, you need to hear it. If you do know it, and you have been saved by the Grace of God, you do not mind hearing it over and over, it is a joyous reminder of the Mercy and Grace of your King, your Savior!
That is very interesting! In many cases a church might say, “we don’t want to offend people”, yet the people of God are not offended by the Truth of God’s Word, and the ones offended are the ones perishing and they are the ones that need to hear it most. The ones that would be “offended”, should be offended, because the Gospel is offensive
John 6:60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"
Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?"
With all that being said, let’s filter everything on this page through that lens (read the image of the page below and let’s break it down):
“God loves us”
Absolutely! God loves His creation so much, he loves us so much, that He sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.
“He desires to know each of us deeply”
God already knows us completely, He created us, in fact, He has predestined us – in other words He has predetermined and is fully aware of whether you are, or will be, a child of God. That is a deep and extremely heavy thought, but it is Truth:
Romans 9:9-18 For this is what the promise said: "About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son." 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—12 she was told, "The older will serve the younger." 13 As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." 14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
They then quote John 3:16; which is the most quoted verse in the Bible and is AWESOME! We must keep in mind every little piece of that verse. Jesus paid the price, the ransom for our sin – He suffered under the Wrath of God, His Blood “appeased” the Wrath of God. We are, or were, under a death sentence, we were, or are, going to “perish” – suffer under the Wrath of God for eternity because of our sin. Those that know this to be true, and are trust in Christ alone to save them from the consequences of THEIR sin, their own, personal, hell deserving sin….they will inherit eternal life. This is life changing belief, it is not a mere belief that He existed.
James 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
Putting your faith in Christ is the most important decision you’ll ever make…
….and the first step in a life long journey getting to know God
No. The first step to getting to know God is fearing God. To fear God, we must first know Him as the all-powerful Creator of everything. We get to know God by the deep study of His Word. Obviously trusting in Christ (putting faith in Christ alone) is part of the “journey” but it is not the first step – the first step to knowing God is to know His character. This might be splitting hairs, but to say that faith is first is illogical, don’t you first need to know in whom or what you are putting your faith in?
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
The entire next paragraph is typical of the fluff message we’ve been talking about. Yes, they don’t know if they are spiritually alive or dead because you have not told them they ARE DEAD. They are dead in their sin.
John 8:21 So he said to them again, "I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come."
The only way they can be made alive is if they are born-again. They must be born of the Spirit. The sinner cannot cause themselves to be born again, and pronouncing them saved because they say a pre-scripted prayer in the quietness of their heart is unbiblical. The prayer they need is, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner!” They do not need to be washed from anxiety and worry – they need to be saved from the Wrath of God, their sin needs to be cleansed in the Blood of the Lamb!
Love is showing the sinner the ugliness of their sin, so they see their need for the Savior. When this happens, nothing will keep them from running to the Savior. They don’t need a hard sell, or an emotional moment in “church” – they need the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
John 16:8-11 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
John 3:8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
John 3:3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born-again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Luke 18:13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'
Why couldn’t he “lift up his eyes” – why couldn’t he look up? He was crushed by the conviction of his sin, he was humbled and ashamed.
Luke 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
1Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
It is in love that I share this Truth. Someone might rightly say, “wait a minute, this is a small page of a booklet, maybe they have the ‘rest of the story’ in the booklet.” The reality is, I want to like this church; my wife likes it, the music is great, etc. etc. As such, I have listened to several messages on their podcast hoping I would hear the Truth so I could feel right about plugging in, being a part of, and serving in this church – unfortunately, I am yet to hear a message that has used ANY of the following terms; “God’s Wrath”, “God’s Judgment”, “Born-Again”. We have seen in this short post how crucial these things are to the Gospel message – why don’t they preach them?
If the coffee shop, the concert, and the playland get them in the door – PRAISE THE LORD! But, give them the Truth when they get there.
Do not reduce church to “my best life now” – After all, if I have “XYZ” disease and it is fatal… the job I hate, the car that won’t start, and the difficult marriage I’m in are put into their proper perspective and I see the blessing of even having a job, a car, and a marriage.