To hear what we don't like to hear............
Acts 21:21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”
22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!”
Eventually, if we live long enough and speak loud enough, the common man will be offended by us. That seems to be the lesson of the New Testament. I wonder, then, what is to made of me if I never cause consternation or draw the ire of the common man. Could it be that my message has become to accommodating and “watered down”? Have I become like a “mega church” pastor, far more interested in being the darling of the Luke-warm Christian rather than a lion of Judah to those truly sold out for Jesus Christ?
Paul did not try to please the crowd. Yes, he used his knowledge and skill to win as many as he could to Jesus Christ, and he spoke boldly and stepped on toes. To me, that’s authentic preaching! Paul would not leave a crowd comfortable, but rather either wanting to hear MORE or ready to kill him.
If my teaching, preaching and challenges make a person feel good about herself/himself, what’s the point?! When the good news of Jesus Christ is preached it brings a person to the realization of the truth that has been denied or surpressed (sin in my life) and the acknowledgement that I am in great need of someone outside my life to bring order, purpose, cleanness and hope. Preaching should never leave a person thinking that all is good, nothing to worry about, but rather that only God is good and without Him I have much to worry about!
And yet even if I am within the fold and a genuine member of the body of Christ, I am still in need of being challenged, reprimanded, rebuked and corrected. None of us have arrived yet and it is the purpose of the church to call and send out pastors and priests to offer a clear vision of where we need to go as well as a sober assessment of where we are!
God give us men and women of courage that are able to offend us in order to call us to higher ground! And may God give me the grace to receive those blows and thank God for the ones He sends to produce them.
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