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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (II Timothy 2:3—NIV)
Sometimes people say to us, "Your message is too hard." Or they may say, "You are bringing me under condemnation." With your permission I would like to discuss this "too hardness" for a moment.
Notice they do not say, "You are not preaching the truth," or, "You are not preaching the Bible." This tells us they are more concerned about their own comfort than what God has said in His Word.
Let me mention the "condemnation" business and then dismiss it.
It is not the preacher's business to bring condemnation on anyone. But it is his business to bring under conviction those who are not taking up their cross and following the Lord. I think everyone would agree with this.
How can you tell condemnation and conviction apart?
If the preacher says the believers who are gossiping and slandering deserve death, according to the Scriptures, and then sends them home, he is bringing them under condemnation.
If the preacher says the believers who are gossiping and slandering deserve death, according to the Scriptures, and then opens the altar and reminds the gossipers that if they will confess their gossiping, God is faithful and righteous to forgive their gossiping and cleanse them from all unrighteousness, then he is doing his job.
The person who leaves the church without confessing and repenting of his gossiping will continue under condemnation.
The worshiper who confesses and repents of his gossiping, receiving forgiveness and cleansing from the Lord, will leave the church a new creation.
Whenever we preach on the sins of the flesh, such as gossiping, we make a practice of telling the people of the provision God has made for their forgiveness and cleansing. Then we open the altar.
If the individual leaves without confessing his gossiping and repenting of it, saying in his heart that "everyone is doing it and it is not such a great sin," not having read or believed what the Bible says of it, he will remain angry declaring, "the preacher brought me under condemnation with his message."
It is up to the preacher to faithfully state what God is stating on the occasion. It is up to the worshiper to obey the Word of God. There is no condemnation resting on those who are following the Spirit of God. There is, however, condemnation abiding on those who hear the Word of God and refuse to repent.
In order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4—NIV)
The Christian who cites Romans 8:1 ("Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus") but does not add Romans 8:4 (above) concerning the requirement of living according to the Spirit, is not faithfully adhering to the Word of God.
We have an awful lot of sugarcoated Christianity today. God is not like this nor does He accept silliness on the part of His people, as we will explain later.
Having dispensed with the accusation of bringing unrepentant believers under condemnation, let us get to the subject of the word we preach being "too hard."
To be continued.