Some time ago I was asked to speak in a church setting outside of my church. The audience was a blend of people from all different church backgrounds, and perhaps even some without any church background. I talked about the hopelessness of trying to pay-off our sin debt on our own, and the amazing love that Jesus showed when He paid our debt in full.
After the service, a couple of pastors in the audience wanted to speak with me about my message. They were moved by what they called “the impact” of the message, and especially about the way I called sin “sin.” As I spoke with them further, I discovered that they were somewhat hesitant to speak so openly and plainly about sin, because it unsettled some people in their congregations.
The Word of God IS unsettling because we cannot read it or hear it and remain unchanged.
Our job as pastors or preachers is to speak the Word. When we do, the Holy Spirit will bring the necessary conviction and pull hearts toward repentance. Here’s what Oswald Chambers wrote about this:
When we preach, we are not simply proclaiming how people can be saved from Hell and be made moral and pure; we are conveying good news about God.
In the teachings of Jesus Christ the element of judgment is always brought out— it is the sign of the love of God. Never sympathize with someone who finds it difficult to get to God; God is not to blame. It is not for us to figure out the reason for the difficulty, but only to present the truth of God so that the Spirit of God will reveal what is wrong. The greatest test of the quality of our preaching is whether or not it brings everyone to judgment. When the truth is preached, the Spirit of God brings each person face to face with God Himself.
Pastor, just speak the truth. You’re not trying to win a popularity contest, but to share with people how to step into a deeper relationship with God Almighty!
One final thought from Chambers: “Never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it.”