Sometimes it seems like the church is known, not for her good works or efforts to preach the gospel, but only for what she stands against. The cry and hue of many in the world today is that they do not respect the church because she stands against everything. Christians stand against same-sex marriage because such was not even considered in Scripture, and the Bible is very clear about how God looks at homosexuality (despite the thinking of some who try to re-interpret what God says to their liking). We stand against fornication because of the destruction of a person’s emotional and spiritual well-being. Christians take a stand against divorce, because the Bible says that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16); and he, our Creator, knows how detrimental to society broken homes are; he sees the broken children, the heartache and the pain that comes from such in the world. Any sin listed in Scripture (and preached against) will hit someone who is guilty of that sin, and Christians will then be condemned because we condemn what God condemns. We could go on and on; but you get the point. We are known, seemingly, more for what we stand against than what we stand for.
We have to teach and preach the bad news of sin before anyone will ever accept the good news. Peter told the Jews on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 that they crucified Jesus. They then asked, “What shall we do?” Peter then preached the terms of forgiveness in repentance and baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2:37-38).
Once we preach the bad news, then we should tell them the good news. We should always tell others the good news about Jesus, the solution to the world’s problems and the ultimate solution for sin. We should be known for preaching the gospel and emphasizing what God has done, for us, through Jesus, on the cross. We should bring hope to a hopeless world, and that hope is only found in Jesus. We must emphasize the positive, as well as the negative, as we stand for truth.
Hence, we should stand opposed to false doctrine and error wherever it is found. If it is the case that the truth sets us free (John 8:32); then Christians should be against falsehoods and lies. We should buy the truth and sell it not (Proverbs 23:23).
However, we can become so busy trying to refute error and falsehood that we do not take the time to teach the truth. As an example, I have studied with some that are so enamored with the “Rapture” and the idea of Jesus coming again to set up an earthly kingdom, that this is all they talk about. We know that Jesus DID succeed in coming to earth and setting up a kingdom – it is called the church. Jesus kingdom is not about territory, land or buildings – his kingdom is about souls of men and women. He will not come back to set up a kingdom, he did that when he came the first time (Matthew 16:13-20). The good news we need to stress is that Jesus did what he set out to do when he came to earth the first time – he did set up a spiritual kingdom of which we are members now! Why? Because we have been saved by His blood.
When we fight against falsehood we are doing what Jesus did – note how he dealt with the scribes and Pharisees. But there must also be the messages of hope. Jesus would help people to truly understand “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13; 12:7). Jesus life was all about mercy and grace, not just in correcting wrongs, but in giving hope to the evildoer. So must we. Tommy