Tough love, as it could be called, is not popular today, both in Christianity and the secular world.
The tough love I’ m talking about is being told you’re wrong.
No one likes to be told of their sin. Society today is riddled with politically correct rules. If we so much as call anyone’s lifestyle wrong according to the Bible, we are labelled a hater and a bigot.
Sadly, this trend has carried over to the church in many instances.
I was at a local Christian youth conference a couple years ago, and, to my disappointment, this trend pervaded it.
The speaker bombarded the pliable audience of young adults with the false teaching that has so sadly influenced many churches today. “Don’t tell people they’re sinful and need to repent,” they said, “that’s unloving and just turns people away. Instead of telling people about their sin, just tell them God loves them!” The speaker went on to give examples of people who had been offended by Christians telling them they needed to repent of their sin to know God, and were forever disgusted with Christianity.
The truth is that those who only preach God’s love and neglect to preach repentance are being the most unloving people anyone could ever imagine.
In essence, they have the life-saving drug, and are removing one of the key ingredients before administering it to people, rendering it useless and ineffective. “That ingredient causes stomach aches,” they say, “we don’t want to cause these people any pain.”
So, to avoid a stomach-ache, they unknowingly send these patients straight to their deathbeds.
Guess what, brothers: The Gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive.
It was offensive when Jesus preached it, it was offensive when the apostles preached it, and it is and will be when we preach it today.
The passage that is a basis for this post, Luke 7:23, shows that Jesus expected people to be offended by Him. He says, “Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
Those who are not offended by Him, and are therefore blessed according to Jesus, are those who have accepted Jesus’s message. They are believers.
Every person who is not a believer will inevitably find Jesus offensive unless they turn to Him as savior and get a new heart. Jesus drives this point home in John 15:18-25, where He says, ““If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
The world is going to hate us.
People are going to be offended by our message.
Jesus explains why just two verses later in John 15:22-24, where He explains “ If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.”
People are offended by the Gospel because it makes them guilty of their sin. They can’t continue in their sin that they love so much if they accept the true Gospel, and they hate that. Jesus makes this very clear.
Here is the true Gospel.
The true, saving Gospel calls men to repent of their sinful lives, turning from their sin to Christ as their only hope of being forgiven of their offenses against God, believing He is God. Adam and Eve sinned, and through that we all have sin. Christ, the son of God, came into the world as a man, lived a perfect life, died for our sin, rose again, and is alive today. Once they repent and believe all this, they are free to make Christ their Lord and begin a relationship with Him. They are free to fight their sin and repent of it daily, instead of being enslaved to it and hating the message of repentance.
Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean you stop sinning, and it doesn’t mean you have to be perfect to become a Christian. But you do have to confess you are a sinner and vow to continuously reject sin in your life, asking forgiveness when you fail. Anyone who repents, no matter how bad you have sinned, can be made right with God.
Here are some verses that talk about the need for repentance of sins for salvation: Matthew 4:17, Isaiah 30:15, Luke 5:32, Acts 3:19, Acts 17:30, Romans 2:4.
If you are a Christian, it is of utmost importance that you are communicating the whole Gospel, not a gospel that just communicates the love of God.
We must call people to the only way that they can be saved from death.
While it is true that God loves sinners, this knowledge alone can save no one. There must be repentance, and to do that, we must tell people that they have a sin problem and they need to repent.
Please don’t leave this out, or else you are calling someone to a false Gospel and leading people astray.
We must do this lovingly and graciously, with the knowledge that we are just as sinful as them, which completely levels the playing field and gets rid of all the “Holier-than-thou” attitudes.
Lastly, if you are not a Christian, I call you to repentance of your sins now. You cannot have a relationship with God and an eternity in heaven without it. Cry out to God for forgiveness, accept that Jesus is God and died for your sins, and turn to live for Him.
Reflect on these questions and feel free to comment your answers below.
- Have you repented of your sins and given your life to Christ?
- Are you preaching the whole gospel in your life currently? If not, begin today.