FROM PASTOR TIM JOHNSON:
Several people commented on this one line from Sunday’s sermon “you can love people into hell.” All were convicted that the singular important goal of loving someone is to share the truth of the Gospel because only the Gospel saves. If all we do is love people well without taking the time to lovingly confront them with the truth, we miss revealing that which they need the most.
This often occurs because people are afraid to offend someone, lose a friend, lose someone’s respect, get labeled a “crazy Christian” or even worse. But these are really selfish fears because we are, in the end, more concerned about what people think of us, or, do to us, than we are about what they think about Jesus and do with their lives. The supreme goal is for people to know and follow Jesus.
Let’s be clear that you can probably teach people into hell, too. So, good theology that is not accompanied with love may end up creating Pharisees who are so legalistic they lack grace. And where grace is lacking, death is lurking. There’s a reason the Bible speaks to the transformation of the heart; the whole person, not just the mind.
Good evangelism will include both love and truth, but, in the end, truth is still more important because even if someone lacks grace, they know the truth cognitively and can at least share truth with others. Whereas the person who sees love in display but does not confess Christ as Savior will neither meet Jesus or be equipped to articulate the Gospel.
Genuine followers of Jesus constantly seek to be bold to share the truth, and gracious to love in selfless ways. The combination is powerful.
Next Sunday we begin the series on Romans 9-11. Let me encourage you to read Romans 1-11 before Sunday. You’ll be well prepared and blessed simultaneously.
Truth and love…truth and love.
Rescued by Christ,