And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Irecently had a discussion with a friend of mine about a provocative sermon I had heard. The sermon was focused on discipleship, and how growing as Christians means we should gain knowledge and insight into the depth of Christ and how His righteousness becomes our own. The pastor made a statement that if we are there to just “check the box,” then perhaps we should give up our seat.
My friend, an elder in another church, said he thought that was terrible statement to make. He thought the pastor was being judgmental and that he shouldn’t put a time limit on when a person may actually come to Christ. My friend’s view was, “at least they are there.” He also said, we (the modern church) need to “be careful” about saying things like that.
God, give us wisdom to discern the truth and courage to speak it. Help us to be gentle in our ways, and firm in our love. May we learn from scripture and from each other as we walk together in the pure and blameless love of Christ.
Wow do I disagree! Was Christ careful? No! Perhaps we need to be careful about HOW we say things like that, but we should never be careful about telling the truth.
It may happen that a “box checker” comes to Christ one day, but I don’t believe that will happen by being careful about telling the truth. Are good parents careful about being tough with their children when it’s needed? I believe it is perfectly acceptable for a pastor to hold his congregation accountable, as long as he does it in a loving way. God loves us. But that doesn’t mean that He is careful with how He approaches our sin.
In His grace!
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CONTRIBUTORS Larry and Linda: Owners of a successful private dental practice turned career missionaries in West Africa and then Papua New Guinea. Currently reside in Owings Mills nearby to their grandchildren and daughter Kristen, who is the Nursery Coordinator here...