As I grow both chronologically and spiritually in my calling as a pastor of Jesus’ church, I find myself maturing in many ways. I’ve been spending a good amount of my bible reading lately in the New Testament letters. One thing that strikes me is the concern that Paul had for the churches he planted. There were multiple concerns that he addressed but a few common ones kept coming up: holy living, loving each other, and the dangers of false teachers.
As a pastor of Jesus’ church at First Baptist Moncks Corner, I am convicted to shepherd the flock that God has entrusted me in these areas (James 3:1). Over and over, God’s Word instructs His people to repent and follow him. This means a life of constantly turning from sin and growing in holiness. Additionally, Jesus, Paul, and John all wrote and spoke about the importance of loving each other. Loving often means having uncomfortable conversations. It does not refer to overlooking sin. Finally, false teachers have always been rampant and always will be. They will be like wolves in sheep’s clothing and the shepherd must guard his flock.
One of the areas of Christianity that concerns me right now is the prevalence of many pastors, whether they are “false” or not, that consistently state they want to be known what they are “for” rather than what they are “against.” The main reason for this refrain is because being labeled “intolerant” is the cardinal sin of this generation. Therefore, many pastors and church leaders, for fear of being labeled “intolerant,” when pushed on certain social issues, state that they don’t want to make a comment on said issue. They just want to be known for what they are “for.”
The problem with this logic is that to be “for” something naturally makes you “against” other things. For instance, if I am for “pro-life” then I am naturally going to be against “pro-choice.” If I am for one college football team, then when they play another team, I am going to be against that opponent. It doesn’t sound politically correct, but it is true. One can’t be for one matter and not against another. That’s just not how it works.
For the Christian, you are for Jesus. How do you know Jesus even exists? By God’s Word, the Bible. The Bible is a record of who Jesus is, what he did, and when he’s coming back. So for the Christian, he or she must be for at least Jesus and God’s Word. Consequently, if you are “for” God’s Word (which contains Jesus’ teachings, among other things) then you are going to have to be against other things which are diametrically opposed to what God’s Word is for.
Do not be afraid, brothers and sisters, to be against things of the world. Stand firm. Be watchful. Act like men. Be strong. (1 Cor. 16:13)
Are you for Jesus? Are you for God’s Word?
Then, lovingly stand against those things which are so clearly against that which you are for. If you can’t be against them, then you were never “for” what you said you were for in the first place…