Saturday, June 6, 2009

Speak the Truth

We live in a time predicted in the Scriptures, a time in which a large percentage of church-goers do not want to hear the truth but prefer to have their ears tickled with platitudes and touchy-feely nonsense. They go to church to be made comfortable in their sin. Sadly, many preachers and teachers take the path of least resistance and accommodate this desire by preaching and teaching what people want to hear instead of what they need to hear.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4, NASB).

The Apostle Paul recognized the foolishness of accommodation. It does no good to make people feel good about themselves when that feeling is based on falsehood. He spoke the truth in love, but he did not let his love stop him from speaking the truth. Not speaking the truth, for whatever reason, is a terrible disservice to people and is a failure to be faithful to the Lord. Pastors and teachers need to be continually reminded by the Scriptures to speak the truth without fear of consequences. This is a reminder that I certainly need, since I teach an adult Sunday school class and also high school Bible in our Christian school.

Those in the churches in Galatia had been listening to false teachers who taught that something must be added to grace for salvation. This is called
legalism. Because of this, the Galatians were doubting Paul and the message of grace. This prompted Paul not only to speak the truth of the gospel even more clearly, but also to ask the rhetorical question, “So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16, NASB). Obviously, speaking the truth is always the right thing to do, regardless of what may happen as a result. We are serving the Lord, not men.

“I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-10, NASB).

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