It’s pretty clear that God believes that you and I have a choice when it comes to His directives. If we love Him, we obey. If we put ourselves or others before Him we tend not to be obedient. For many people today who want to call themselves Christians, this is a problem. When we look for churches that teach us what we want to hear, encourage politicians to pass laws that allow us to do what we want to do, get upset when someone tells us that we might want to think about what we do and the potential consequences of our behavior, or even worse, someone challenges our faith based on our behavior, we have to ask ourselves a question that we really don’t want to ask; can I truly be a Christian if I consistently disobey God’s law? That is a question that I can’t answer for you. Yet, if you seek the counsel of God’s Word and the direction of the Holy Spirit, the answer to that question will be made clear to you. If you truly want to hear it!
This is a hard way to go! We want people to like us! We want to avoid conflict! But, can we represent God well if we do not stand with Him? To stand with God is to take the same stands He makes! Not with a judgmental or critical spirit. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us handle these things like Jesus did. "Neither do I condemn you, but go and sin no more!" The real question is if we tell people what they want to hear, does God change His standard, or does He still expect us to know better and do the right thing? If we tell others that something is ok that God says isn’t, do we have any responsibility? The answer to both of those questions is yes. As a pastor it breaks my heart when people leave the church for any reason. Sometimes they leave because they are uncomfortable with the scriptures I teach from. Recently, I lost some people because of teaching the last part of Romans 1. There is quite a list there of things that people do who will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Yet, the truth is that I/we don’t teach those things to tick people off or because we enjoy telling people they are wrong. We do it because our hope is that when people hear that God says their behavior is wrong that they will repent and find God’s forgiveness and peace. That is the only right reason to teach about refraining from the passions of the flesh. In a day when men want to do what is right in their own minds, preaching about these things can be a problem. But, the truth is there was a day when I was confronted with my sins. I saw the need not only to ask forgiveness but to change. Jesus came into my life and through His spirit began to bring change and transformation. This is the abundant life Christ promised. A life where I own my sin and flaws. A life where I ask for God’s gracious help that I might change. This has opened up life to me. So, when I ask myself the question, "Am I willing to tell people things they might not want to hear?", my answer is, "Yes, I will". It’s the only way I know to help people experience the wonderful grace Christ offers. We have to see our need before we will come to Him. So, am I trying to rain on your parade? Absolutely not! I am trying to help you see your need to experience the joy, the power, the happiness of walking in Christ’s parade. Come join us!