“We avoid saying things that might make people feel uncomfortable”, the pastor said. Which is why Sandy loves one of the fastest-growing churches in her area. She visits both campuses, depending on which weekend she stays with her boyfriend. (True story, told by “Sandy”, casually, unabashedly, to another Christian.)
There is a new gospel taking the church by storm. But, it’s not new at all.
“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…” 2 Timothy 4:3
Beware, dear sister…we all have “itching ears.” We want to feel comfortable, even at the risk of walking in darkness. I read this comment last week: “I use this as a ‘gauge’ for which blogs I read: If they edify me and encourage me, I read them. If not, I stay away.”
And we certainly need encouraged! I LOVE edification and encouragement. But that can’t be the end or we stop short of the gospel, we disobey God by living and teaching a lie, and we rob each other of the fellowship that is in Christ–the fellowship that can only come from repentance, a loathing of our sin, a celebration of redemption that makes us a new creature who now delights in the hardest words to fall on human ears:
“If any man would come after Me let him deny himself…”
Deny himself of what? His own lusts, passions and desires. More simply, he should concern himself no longer with what *he* wants. Now, it’s “all about HIM.”
Jesus most certainly did not make people feel comfortable. “Lord, this is a hard saying.” And they walked away. And He let them go without changing the message. “Go and sin no more…in fact, it’s so important that I’d rather you cut the hand off that causes you to sin. If you continue in sin, you can have no part with Me.”
We almost romanticize sin when we should be proverbially renting our garments over it. “Oh be careful little ears what you hear (and little eyes, what you read).” Measure the message by the Messenger who brought it first.
“The nature of true repentance is clearly and unmistakably laid down in holy Scripture. It begins with knowledge of sin. It goes on to work sorrow for sin. It leads to confession of sin before God. It shows itself before man by a thorough breaking off from sin. It results in producing a habit of deep hatred for all sin. Above all, it is inseparably connected with lively faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance like this is the characteristic of all true Christians.”
~ J.C. Ryle