How Did Jesus Treat People?

I often hear people declare that we should treat one another how Jesus treated people or told us to treat them…this is often done while questioning or condemning one person’s behavior toward another person. I have no doubt in my mind that we should treat people exactly as Jesus instructed and modeled. What I think most people (who desire to glorify and obey Jesus) often struggle with is…which example?

– how he treated or spoke to the Pharisees?

– how he treated or spoke to the rich young ruler?

– how he treated or spoke to the disciples?

– how he treated or spoke to Peter?

– how he treated or spoke to the woman caught in adultery?

– how he treated or spoke to the money changers in the temple?

– how he treated or spoke to Mary Magdalene?

– how he treated or spoke to Martha, the sister of Lazarus?

– how he treated or spoke to the demoniac of the Gadarenes?

– how he treated or spoke to Judas?

– how he treated or spoke to the multitudes?

A couple of friends shared their answers in this way:

“Jesus always said what was best for them to hear (Agape love), not what made them feel good in the heart (Phileo love). No doubt we need the Holy Spirit to help us discern how to say and do what is best for others and not necessarily what makes us feel good about each other. I’ve missed it more times than I care to admit.”

Mike Gonzales

“Jesus knew the heart and circumstances of each person to whom He spoke. He always gave the perfect response because of His divine nature. Different people required different responses to get the point across.
How can we emulate Christ? We aren’t divine. However, we have the Holy Spirit inside of us. We need to let Him guide us. In boot camp, the DI’s told us to engage our brain before we engage our mouth. That is good advice for anyone. Even more so for Christians.”

Gerald Griggs

What are some other examples?
How did Jesus see each instance differently?
What did Jesus see differently?
How can we love, exhort and rebuke just the way Jesus did?

Is There Really Only One Way to Love People in Today’s Polarized, Politically-Charged, Pandemic-Crazed Culture?

Let’s just be honest…there are a lot of “Christians” that have very definitive views on covid statistics and mitigations, masks, Biden versus Trump, Republican versus Democratic platforms, racism, big government, education, abortion, national security, illegal immigration, and government infringment in God’s separate but equal istitutions of the family/home, the church and the workplace. Many have drawn lines in the sand saying things like “You can’t possibly be a Christian and _____________!” This is extremely lazy language. We do not have to demonize those with whom we disagree.

We do not have to demonize those with whom we disagree.

I have some very definitive positions or beliefs on issues that plague and divide our culture and I believe they are all well-grounded in personal convictions and conscience through Scripture. I also have some well-formed opinions that are subject to change based on the collection of more or contrasting information OR the leadership of the Holy Spirit in my life. However, I do not bind anyone else’s conscience to my convictions and conclusions.

I do not bind anyone else’s conscience to my convictions and conclusions.

Where the Bible speaks, I speak boldly. Where the Bible is silent, my demands and expectations fall silent, though I’m always willing to offer an opinion when asked. Sometimes my opinion might be that I don’t really have an opinion in the matter. But where the Bible allows for Christian liberty and personal conscience, I will make my Biblical case and state my convictions, but I will not mandate or bind you to my convictions and conclusions. I appreciate when others show me the same honor, dignity and respect.

I’d like to suggest that there is more than one way to show love, concern and belief in cultural realities. I don’t believe that loving and caring truth is expressed by only one set of actions or mandating that anything short of that set of actions is failure to love our neighbors. I also don’t believe that simply because a person doesn’t believe, accept or act on one portion of a narrative that they should get shoved into an entire “school of thought” simply because they share that one single belief or value. That’s judgmental and extremely narrowminded. May I give some very relevant examples?

I’m not a pro-masker, but I wear one when it’s required in public places that I cannot or choose not to avoid. I have the utmost respect for pro-maskers, their concerns and reasons. I show them courtesy and honor their space when I’m around them. I don’t call them names, I don’t assume that they believe 10 other narratives simply because they are a pro-masker with whom I don’t share their same concern.

I’m not an anti-masker, but I don’t wear a mask when I can avoid it – in pictures, in my car, my home and when I’m around family. I socially distance from everyone that has not given me permission or encouraged me to be closer. I have not formed an alliance with others who are non-maskers or anti-maskers. It’s just a non-issue for me.

I’m a non-masker, with respect for those who don’t share my view. I avoid close interaction with folks who are immuno-compromised or just concerned for themselves and their loved ones. If I have to get close, I wear a mask if I even sense that they would prefer that I do so. However, when approached, I do not deny anyone access to me. If someone initiates a hug, a handshake, steps into my 6-ft bubble, wants to whisper in my ear, I do not refuse and I would never back up to avoid their reach. I WILL NOT refuse another human being access to compassion. People want, need and crave human interaction and my calling will not allow me to deny them that…even at the risk of my personal or my family’s health or life. My wife, who is immuno-compromised by the 20-year degradation of her body and complications by MS, does the same…without regard for her rights to uncompromised health. I am asthmatic and have nasal and bronchial allergies to dust, pollen, dander and airborne chemicals. I suffer through bronchitis about twice a year. I take six medications (two of them nasal sprays) and one natural herbal supplement every day to keep these at bay. I’m at risk and make decisions accordingly. BUT, we don’t expect others to do as we do nor do we shame them for not doing so.

It was one thing when it was 2, 4 or even 6 weeks of a mask mandate. But to wear masks indefinitely for months, a year or even more – every time I’m around other humans – is not the way that I want to interact or expect others to interact with me. We need one another. We were created to be in community with one another. Our emotional psyche is created to have that. The church is commanded with nearly 100 one anothers, most of them indicating close, physical interaction. We don’t follow this mandate with our children, our parents, our siblings. The Bible says that my local church family are my brothers and sisters…joint heirs in the same family. It makes no distinction between genetic and adopted family. Why do we?

How many testimonies have we heard in our lifetimes about the power of a single smile…the touch on a shoulder, the warmth of a handshake or an embrace. I believe we are yet to see how unhealthy these CDC/WHO/NIAID recommendations and health departments mandes of indefinite social distancing, staying in our homes as much as possible and wearing masks even outside is going to have on an entire culture, both emotionally, physically and spiritually. It’s already reeking great havoc in the mental health world. BUT…contrary to my personal views, I respect those who choose to do so and keep their distance as a result of our different perspectives.

I lost four valuable months with a dear sister and church member of 20 years who has died of cancer during the pandemic…four months that she needed her pastor, four months that I needed to spend with my friend, four months that we’ll never get back…all because we were told that it was in her best interest that everyone stay away from her during this time. Her life was not mine to save. Her time was appointed by the Lord and I missed four months of it. But I respected protocols and mandates that were made on her behalf. I was invited in for the last two weeks of her life and both she, her family and myself were blessed because of it. She died of cancer…not covid.

I lost another dear friend and church member of 21 1/2 years, who was in failing health for the last 18 months, drastically over the last three months. I was invited into her home and into her life for multiple visits without masks over the last seven months of her life…and several others were invited to do the same, against the recommendations of the powers that be. She died of congestive heart failure and not of covid at the age of 93. Her time was also appointed by the Lord and I had no control over that. But I also have no regrets and only very special, treasured memories of our laugther, discussions, reminiscing and tear in my time with her.

I’m not unscathed by the tragedies of the virus. My very dear friend and roommate from college lost him mama with Covid-19 complications. My sister-in-law lost her father and my daughter and son-in-law just lost his grandmother to the same. My brother was hospitalized with it for weeks. I know of many more cases, both horrendous and minor. But like so many other things in life, my personal experiences with an issue rarely change the narrative and the truth of the issue.

I don’t disbelieve that the virus is real nor do I cancel the notion that its damage has been lethal for well over 200K people in the US alone. I DO believe that the statistics get inflated and/or abused and the narrative gets inflamed with emotion and fear. I have no idea whether that is intentional, political or just driven by emotional, fearful people. That’s not my place or need to determine nor do I have the facts or desire to judge that. I DO believe that this virus has been used to polarize and divide our community and worse, the community of Christ.

I do not necessarily believe the science of masks but I’m not a scientist and I don’t try to pretend to be one. I read the science of both sides and to the best of my ability, I use the reasoning and intellect that God gave me to do what’s best for myself and my loved ones. I do not in any way, shape or form belittle someone who did the same and came to a different conclusion.

I have little concern for my rights and freedoms but am willing to participate in protecting the rights granted to my brothers and sisters by God and our constitution for as long as we are able. Whether or not I wear a mask has nothing to do with my personal rights to do so. If I choose not to wear a mask, I don’t put anyone at risk who hasn’t also made the adult decision to take the same risk. When in doubt, I adjust and control the space in which I interact with those people. They have every right to distance themselves from me with no ill sentiment or hard feelings. Do you know why I do this? Because I love them…because I do not want to be the catalyst for their suffering or fear….NOT because I can in any way save their life. I do not have the power to save lives…that is the role of my Soverign God, who in His providence is in constant care for and absolute rule over all HIS creation, for HIS glory and the good of HIS people.

I cannot save lives, but I can love them as Jesus loved them…in ALL the ways that Jesus loved His creation through all the circumstances that He loved them.

So How Did Jesus Treat People? Check out my next blog here.

Love and Hate

When, in 21st century American English, speak about love and hate, we’re often referring to temporal emotions expressed, words spoken, tones, attitudes, etc. Then we bring God and the Bible into it and try to discern or judge whether these emotions are Biblically appropriate. We do the same thing with joy versus happiness.

But when the Bible speaks of Love and Hate and Joy, it’s not speaking of a temporal emotion. It’s speaking of a choice.

The Bible speaks a lot about hate and a lot about love. The Bible speaks of things that God hates and people that God hates. God hates evil and we’re to hate evil. “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate” says the writer of Proverbs. God hated Esau.

To hate someone is to count him as an enemy and to treat him as an enemy. But the Bible still says to love your enemy. In the Bible, hatred is not an emotion primarily, but rather a covenant action. Those who treat God as an enemy will find God treating them the same way. Since they are His enemies, and He “hates” them, He will destroy them.

When the Bible speaks of God’s loving someone, it means He has chosen to favor them; when it speaks of God’s hating someone, it means He has chosen not to favor them.

“These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19)
“All their wickedness is in Gilgal, for there I hated them. Because of the evil of their deeds I will drive them from My house”  Hosea 9:15
“‘Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor, and do not love a false oath, for all these are things that I hate,’ says the Lord.”  Zechariah 8:17

It’s important to balance John’s declaration that “God is love” (1 John 4:8) with Hebrews’ assertion that “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29). A fire can be both comforting and destructive. It all depends on how you approach it and where you stand in relation to it. In this sense, it’s fair to say that love and hate are really two sides of the same coin: you can’t “love” a specific quality or attribute without “hating” its opposite.

How Do I, As A Passionate Follower and Imitator of Jesus, Vote In Such A Polarized, Culturally-Divided Country During This Election? Or Should I?

Though many like me may feel there is not a GREAT option for them in this election, particularly for POTUS, it is more clear to me than ever before in any other time for whom I CANNOT vote, a party who PLATFORM-WIDE seeks to destroy these things:

I REALLY DO LOVE LIFE…I CHERISH IT…my own, that of my family members, my friends, my community, the human race I have yet to meet.

But more than life, I love AND cherish the Creator and Designer of human life, the One who forms life in its mother’s womb, who shapes it as male or female, gives it breath and sustains it until He allows the elements of this sin-cursed world to remove life from the human body that has carried it. Each time I held my three children for the first time, I bawled and praise the One who made them, gave them life and breath and so mercifully chose my wife and me to be their parents. This is nothing short of a Divine Miracle…the sanctity of human life. I love human life human life outside of my country’s borders and I have very dear family members who risk their lives to live in very hard places carrying the gospel of Jesus so others may hear…AND live. I love and serve the lives of multiple ethnic cultures who have obtained legal access and asylum in our country for better health and FREEDOM from tyranny, abuse and persecution in their country of origin. I love the One who has brought the nations to us to bring Jesus to them and I pray that we may soon receive more into the refuge of our great land.

I LOVE MY WIFE…I ADORE HER.

But more than my wife, I love the One who created and designed her and gave her to me. I love the beautiful, intimate, pictorial image of the institution that He designed, allowing us to come together in physical union as husband and wife, man and woman…in the bonds and the sanctity of marriage. I love how He teaches me about my relationship with Him through my relationship with my wife in marriage, an institution of His design and definition.

I LOVE MY CHURCH…I HAVE DEDICATED MY LIFE TO IT.

I have pastored the same church for 21 years and I plan to retire as it’s Pastor. But more than my church FAMILY, I love the One who called me to serve them, to minister to them, to teach them and to lead them to love God and worship Him with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and to love their neighbor. I love the One who established the church through grace and mercy, sacrificing Himself and shedding His blood for me and called me to be willing to do the same.

I LOVE MY COUNTRY…WITH ALL OF IT’S FLAWS AND FAILURES.

But more than my country, my allegiance is to the One who chose to allow me to be born here, who through His divine providence allowed our founding fathers to form a more perfect union…a democratic Republic under the authority of a Constitution and it’s Bylaws…of the people, by the people and for the people – people who “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I love the One who instituted human government over all citizens, to reward good and to restrain sin in an evil, fallen world (Romans 14), to be small and to stay within the realm for which it was instituted. This institution was to complement the three other authorities he instituted on earth, not to consume them: (1) the church over all believers; (2) the parents over all children; and (3) the masters over all employees. More than my country though and it’s constitutional gov’t, I love the One who has placed my citizenship in heaven, and from it, I await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will glorify and resurrect me to live with Him forever.

I’m nowhere close to a one-issue voter. Nor do I expect my President, my Congressmen or Senators, my Governor or Mayor to demonstrate my faith in God, though that would certainly be my preference. However, I do expect them to defend the practice of my faith in God and to represent me as my constitution commands them to and to which they swore an oath that they would do so…” I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

With this, I walk into the ballot box, trusting in the sovereignty of God…that He is in constant care for and absolute rule over all creation, for HIS GLORY and the good of HIS PEOPLE.

“We discovered that faith is not expecting that the Lord will miraculously give us whatever we ask, or feeling the security that we will not be killed and that everything will turn out as we want. We learned that faith is putting ourselves in His hands, whatever happens, good or bad. He will help us somehow.” (Felipe and Mary Barreda—20th century martyrs)

IN GOD WE TRUST!

We Can Do Better…We Must Do Better

It makes me sad that the Body of Christ is so divided on so many issues facing our entire US culture today. I’m okay with diversity and differences of opinion. I even find that they are healthy and give us perspective if we actually sit down and listen to one another. I enjoy hearing healthy perspectives shaped by the Word of God that might differ from my own.

What grieves me is that there are so few (all around) that are willing to sit down and have a loving discussion with one another…for the cause of Christ, for the sake of the Gospel. Instead one group says, “I’m right and you’re selfish and hate mankind.” Another says, “I’m right and you’re full of fear and lack conviction…you’re a sheep.” Both call the other arrogant or pious. Both call the other killers. Both accuse the other of not caring about people…all in a public forum, while the world watches on.

Our world faces a horrific enemy. They’re lost. They’re scared. They’re deceived. They’re confused and wonder if life is even worth it. All the while, the church is calling one another names and virtue signaling on social media.

We say we love people. We want people to share in the hope that we have in Jesus. I believe that at our core, we really do. But we sure have a funny way of showing it. God forgive me for the part I’ve played in desecrating Your testimony through my own. I don’t apologize for speaking Truth…I walk in Your Truth. I confess to participating in public discussions over ”the wisdom of men” that does not proclaim Truth but defends positions of “my own righteousness”.

John 17:20-26 ESV
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, [21] that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. [22] The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, [23] I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. [24] Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. [25] O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. [26] I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

1 Corinthians 2:2-5 ESV
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. [3] And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, [4] and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, [5] so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Philippians 3:7-11 ESV
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. [8] Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ [9] and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith- [10] that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, [11] that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Use The Word to Find God

So often, we as believers – and sometimes unbelievers – go to the Bible to find a fix for something that we’re dealing with: stress, distress, tragedy, depression, hopelessness…you get the idea.

Though it helps in those times, the Bible is God’s story…HIS story. It is the revelation of God the Creator, the Almighty “I AM” to man. It is a revelation of His Nature, His Character, His Attributes, His dealings with man, His creation. It includes His redemptive story of His plan to restore mankind back to their Creator through the substitutionary, punitive, sacrifice of the lamb – His Son, Jesus Christ.

We are driven to the Bible to get to know our Creator…the One whose Image we were designed to bear to all of Creation. The more we get to know our Creator, the more we get to know ourselves – because we are His image-bearers. The more we get to know that relationship, the more we begin to understand our deepest need for that relationship…relationship with the Creator whose image we bear.

The Bible was not intended to be a book of answers, though it does contain many answers to man’s questions. It wasn’t intended to be an encyclopedia of fixes to man’s ever-present problems in life, though it contains a vast array of answers. The Bible IS intended to be a revelation of God to man about God and God’s relationship to man.

Use The Word to find God…and when you do, you’ll not only find God — you’ll find yourself. Once you’ve found God and found yourself IN God, you’ll find the answers to your deepest needs.

Judge Not…Really?

Matthew 7:1 ESV
Judge not, that you be not judged.

The person who says “don’t judge” is judging you. That’s the only way they could judge that you are judging them/others.

This in and of itself should show us that the philosophy of “don’t judge” is unlivable…because we can’t enforce it without making judgment. This is why it’s followed by the next verse:

Matthew 7:2 ESV
For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

We can’t make an argument for why we shouldn’t be judged without making a judgment and therefore, expecting judgment to come back on our statement.

At its core, this is one-way tolerance. “I am disapproving of your disapproval and you should have never disapproved.”

First of all, let’s really define “judge”. None of us has the power to condemn one another for anything or to any eternal punishment. Only THE JUDGE has that power…and we’re not HIM. However, we do assess ourselves and we’re called to assess others and, when given the authority, we do impose consequences for actions. As parents, we did this every day when we were raising our children. Employers do this. Earthly judges do this.

But when it comes to one another – our peers – are we not supposed to make any judgments at all or are we told by God himself not to forget our place when we make them?

I believe it’s the second. Judge yourself FIRST so you can go and THEN help your neighbor. See my previous post on the importance of helping one another walk in the light.

We do not have the authority or the power to condemn any of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to any type of eternal punishment and we’re not to judge their motives. But we have been told by God to keep our houses clean so we can help others keep theirs clean. Binding to the body of Christ through salvation offered by Jesus is a submission to the authority of Jesus and those whom He puts in authority. We absolutely cannot say that someone is going to go to hell or go to heaven. We do not have that authority. BUT, we do have the authority and the urging to call into question when a brother or sister is walking in darkness…to assess what we see and hear…to inspect one another’s actions and evaluate out of love and respect through mutual accountability.

It’s not about “never judge”. It’s about HOW you judge. Read the rest of the passage:

Matthew 7:1-6 ESV
“Judge not, that you be not judged. [2] For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. [3] Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? [4] Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? [5] You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. [6] “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.

For the Follower of Jesus, There is Really No Such Thing as “Personal Sin”

Recently, I’ve been getting quite a few questions along this line. I thought it might be helpful to post it publicly.

If I sin publicly (or make my sin known publicly – whether committed willfully or subconsciously), my brothers and sisters in Christ are called BY GOD and EQUIPPED by God’s Spirit to bring me to an awareness of my sin, to bring it into the light (out of love for Jesus and for me), hold me accountable and call me to repentance. This is also true if I have a “private sin” that another brother or sister in Christ has seen, heard or sensed. There is no exception to this anywhere in scripture. We are never called to ignore someone’s wrongdoing out of some misguided allegiance, love or compassion. This is neither “christian” nor loving.

Now please understand…this does not mean that we are to go digging through the dirty laundry of our friends at church, being nosey for the sake of looking for wrongdoing. If you dig long enough, you’ll find something. That’s not the motivation being spoken of here. The motivation is that as a follower of Jesus, I should WANT this accountability. I should WANT others that love me to shine light on my darkness. If my house is on fire, I want someone to wake me up. If cancer is rotting my body, I want someone to find it. If I’m putting the wrong oil or fuel in my car, I want someone to warn me so that I can avoid costly repairs or replacements. This is one of the GRAND purposes of the community we call “the church”. We’re not in this journey of “being conformed to the image of His Son” alone. We’re here to help one another “walk in the light as HE is in the light.”

Below is a beautiful passage of how the church body, the Bride of Christ should work in these matters. Pay close attention to verse 11.

Ephesians 5:1-21 ESV
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. [2] And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. [3] But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. [4] Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. [5] For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. [6] Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. [7] Therefore do not become partners with them; [8] for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light [9] (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), [10] and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. [11] Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. [12] For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. [13] But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, [14] for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” [15] Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, [16] making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. [17] Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. [18] And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, [19] addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, [20] giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, [21] submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

The Sufficiency and Supremacy of Scripture

As followers of Jesus, we believe in the Sufficiency and Supremacy of Scripture as the Ultimate Authority in ALL MATTERS of life – Sola Scriptura (according to Scripture alone).

God’s Word doesn’t lose its authority because someone else chooses to reject it. God is the Ultimate Authority and He Himself IS Truth, whether anyone believes Him or not.

It’s not my job as a follower of Jesus to abandon God’s Truth as authoritative simply because the person I’m talking to chooses to reject it or let go of it. My job is to love God and love neighbor, in that order. I am to love my neighbor through proclaiming the Truths of God’s Word, trusting in God that it is inspired, preserved and made sufficient by a Sovereign Holy Creator.

Only God Can Define Love

Who gets to define love? Only God can define love.

So many people are talking about caring for and loving one another, demanding rights in the name of love…and yet so little Biblical love is really being shown.

People often don’t want REAL love. What they want is what they have defined to be “loving”…which is not the same thing.

Matters of righteousness and sin often get smuggled into conversations of “christian liberty”. We must not allow that. God has spoken to us, called us and equipped us with how we are to live as the church of Jesus Christ.

The foundation of all right-thinking is Law and Gospel. The church deeply needs careful, critical thinking on these issues. There’s a failure at the foundation to be able to understand what God has commanded (law) and what God has provided (gospel).

Yes, we want to be all things to all people.
Yes, we want to try to find commonality with people.
Yes, we don’t want to be unnecessarily offensive.
Yes, we want to let our conversation be always full of grace and seasoned with salt.

BUT in a world full of arrogant secularism, the Gospel, yea Righteousness, is always going to offend. They’re going to hate God and hate you for loving and worshiping God.

–derived from a conversation between Tom Ascol and Jared Longshore