Good Afternoon Dear Saints!
Christmas time has many wonderful things! One of those is that we have many opportunities to reach the lost that we might not have otherwise. This past Sunday in my sermon, I preached something to the effect that we need to be faithful in sharing the good news and let the Lord worry about the results. I believe that (otherwise I would not have said it). But one thing I was not able to address in my sermon was how to do that in wisely. Luckily, Jude 22-23, gives us some advice.
Jude 22-23 gives us three types of people we evangelize to. 1) First there are "those who are doubting". Those people need our mercy. Thus, we should be firm, but gentle. Convicted, but kind. In other words, some people need to hear the mercy of Christ and not only his holiness. That when they mentally doubt the faith, the love of Christ can compel them to trusting in the gospel. 2) Second, he tells us to "save others by snatching them out of the fire." These people are virtually the opposite of the first group. They are more prone to presume upon the kindness and patience of God. They not only need to know about God's love, but also about his hatred of sin. They need to smell the sulphur. 3) Then there is the third group. We are told that we should "show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh." In a way, we might think of these as somewhere between the other two. On the one hand, they need to know about God's mercy. On the other, we dare not partake of, nor ignore, their sin. For this group, we must be careful with our words. We should speak, but we must back up our talk with our walk. In some ways, this third group requires the most wisdom, because these people lack the discernment to distinguish between God's love for them and his holiness. In his unending goodness, God has given us to them to be an example of and tell them about both his love and holiness.
What strikes me about all this is that God has given us the great privilege of joining Christ as he shakes the gates of Hell wide open (cf. Matt 16:18). In fact, we get to join Christ as he frees our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends and enemies, neighbors and strangers from the grip of the Evil One. What greater calling could God put on our lives than this? Yet, it also strikes me about what is perhaps one of the greatest truths of Advent, that God meets us where we're at. He came to us not lording himself over us, but as one of us. In the same way, God sends us not to browbeat our loved ones into conversion, but to compellingly, earnestly, faithfully, obediently, share the good news in the way they need to hear.
So come all ye faithful, there is work to do, the harvests are ripe and the fields are well-prepared for our feet!
Southern Heights Christian Church
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