Friday, September 26, 2008

Worse than rejection

There are bible verses that should stand out to all who preach the gospel, there are ones always to keep in mind; and there are ones that you can't get off you're mind.
For me, there is a portion of scripture that is ever before my face, ever before my thoughts, and ever before my eyes. I have many times before saying anything, first laying this scripture before my hearers as a foundation.
The passage can be found in Ezekiel 33: 30 "As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, 'Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.' 31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. 33 "When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them."
This is a sobering piece of scripture, there are times when no matter what you preach even what may considered hard preaching, you will find those who enjoy it, but won't obey it. If you have ever lived in hypocrisy then you certainly know this from experience, living for thoughts of men. I'd much rather have men viciously oppose me then to shake my hand tell me thanks and yet they are still dead in sins. We live in such a time where many long for hard preaching and some only because it gives them a 'back in the day' feel, a taste of the classic, an emotional experience like that of a movie. How scary is that! Never never preacher be satisfied with the praises of men, never seek their approval, never let them sway your preaching, never let them take the edge off because you have been hypnotized into thinking everything is fine with them. I mean no one could like the puritans and be lost, no one could like Spurgeon and be lost, no one could like Calvin and be lost right? WRONG!!!! These men knew it and we must not forget it, don't let those 'amens' move you. Some in the name of tolerance, enjoy our intensity of 'faith', our sincerity, our passion, our determination, as if they were something of themselves. Preach the same and counsel the same to the man that gives you lip service, as the one who openly rejects you. Don't forget the two sons, Jesus said one said no then later did it, the other said yes sir but didn't do; which obeyed? the first! I really like something Paul Washer said concerning the praise of men 'preacher, the minute you believe you're as good as people tell you, you've become useless' (close to what he said).
That's why it's so crucial to look and wait for lasting fruit, don't be so quick to accept what you see and hear.
I've also used this to explain how i will preach, i might say something like this "I'm here for souls, whatever be the reason you think you are here is unimportant, i know that you will spend eternity somewhere. The only way i can help you is by giving you truth, truth you might be ignoring. There's nothing worse then to think that you are OK with God when you're not, and so i will be trying to confront those who might be deceived. I'd rather you hate me now and get saved one day, then pat me on the back and love me, yet die in your sins and go to hell! Don't think it'll do you good to pretend, there's no profit in trying to convince me, in fact if you aren't serving Christ, which means you don't love Him then i certainly don't want you to love or honor me more then Him, but there will be a day if you refuse to repent and believe in Christ that the words i have spoken will be added as judgment against you." A solemn passage of scripture indeed, let's strive to make sure this is due to the deception of the lost man's heart and not to our easy-going watered down sermons, afford the lost no comfort.

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