Despite the massive amount of work I was doing on my server today I manged to sit down and do some reading of scripture. I have gone through a spell recently where a few people were upset around me and I find myself trying to cool off, bite my tongue, and keep to myself. As I came across Matthew 10 I was ashamed of myself.
In Matthew 10, Jesus is sending the Apostles out to preach to God’s lost sheep – Israel. He gives them instructions about where they should go, and tells them that those who reject them, failing to offer them a place to stay will be worse off than the city of Sodom and Gomorrah on judgment day. But in verse 16 he really starts to spell it out. “… I’m sending you out as sheep among wolves…”
How different is this message we have today, than that which was directed at the first call to spread the good news? Today we build bridges, have rock concerts, and try to make everyone love us. We’re so concerned about what people think about us that we’re constantly wrapping the Gospel up in some new package. But Jesus says to the Apostles that when they are arrested, and persecuted, it’s their chance to preach to the rulers and other unbelievers about Jesus. He reassures them that when the time comes to speak, it will be the Spirit of the Father speaking through them. This was before they even had the Holy Spirit!
In verse 21 Jesus turns back toward more warnings – telling them that family members will betray each other to death. Brothers to brothers, parents to children. He warns that all the nations will hate them because they are His followers. But verse 28 sums it up: “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
When I drove truck, I would witness quite frequently. At unloading docks, truck stops, and over the CB radio. I believe in this Gospel at my core and that makes me understand the reality of Hell and the need to reach as many as we can. Many will be rejected by Christ on the day of judgment. Many of those who thought they were saved. It’s important that we warn the masses.
After I cam home, and started to settle into a “body” of believers I found that the hard truth wasn’t accepted. Some of the angriest people about the truth are other believers. When people I cared about started to turn on me I questioned myself. I crawled into a shell, and began to shut up. But I can’t. After watching several sermons over the last couple of weeks, and reading how the believers just shouldn’t fear man, I realized I need to stop trying to impress others. I need to stop worrying about who might be “mad” because they hear something they don’t like. I need to speak the truth of both Hell and Salvation with boldness.
If we all worried about others, loving them as ourselves, rather than being concerned about who is challenging our “Freedom in Christ” the American church might not look so much like Laodicea. We all need to stop fearing what man thinks of us, stop being concerned with our “right” to do all the things God would abhor, and instead worry about the lost with boldness! We should stop using rock concerts and teddy bears to try to reach the lost, and try using the Gospel. I’ve heard it’s worked well for thousands of years. I am sick of worrying more about what man thinks than God.