In These Times We Have To Be Very Clear
By: Brian A. Yeager
We live in a time where biblical terminology is thrown around in discussions with very little understanding of what those terms really mean. Those who are true followers of our Lord know that we are to speak as the oracles of God (I Peter 4:11). In addition to speaking as the oracles of God, we need to be able discerners of the time wherein it may be lawful to say something, but not necessarily expedient to do so (I Corinthians 10:23). To be clear, there are times when just quoting Scriptures is not enough. Sometimes we have to do more than speak, we also have to EXPLAIN what we’re saying (Nehemiah 8:8). For some, this truth has slipped by their milk drinking minds (cf. Hebrews 5:12-14). Yet, though this point is beyond the understanding of some babes in Christ, it must be exercised. We are expected by God to be able to clearly communicate His will to others (Habakkuk 2:2, Acts 8:30-35, Acts 17:1-3, Acts 28:17-23, and I Corinthians 2:1-5).
Some Examples To Get Us Thinking About These Things…
Instead of talking about Hell being the place of eternal punishment, as the Bible teaches (Matthew 23:33 and Mark 9:43-48), people use this term to talk about many different things. Thus, when we use the term Hell, let’s be sure to explain what we’re talking about lest others be confused. When people use the term Christian they very often are not speaking about disciples of the Lord as the Bible uses this term (Acts 11:26). People INCORRECTLY use the term Christian to talk about bookstores, colleges, members of denominational churches, etc. When we speak of Christians, we need to be sure that we tell people that we are talking about disciples of our Lord. We need to be ready to explain that disciples of our Lord are those who have obeyed the Gospel (Romans 10:17, Mark 16:15-16, Acts 3:19, Romans 10:10, and Acts 2:37-47) and continue to obey the Gospel (John 8:31, Romans 11:22, Colossians 1:23, I Timothy 4:16, James 1:21-25, and I John 2:3-6).
People INCORRECTLY use phrases like “good works” to explain those things done by false churches, false Christians, and false teachers. Thus, when we speak of good works we have to be very clear in explaining that the only works that are good are those that God defines as good works (Matthew 7:21-23 and II Timothy 3:16-17). People incorrectly talk about faith. This word is used in many vain ways. We need to be willing to show people that faith is visible (James 2:14-26), not just something they “feel”.
People often misuse very simple terms like the word church. People talk about “going to church”, “church meals”, “church buses”, etc. When we are talking about the church we need to be able to define what we are talking about. We need to be able to show people that THE CHURCH belongs to Christ, as He is the founder and builder of His church (Matthew 16:13-18, Acts 20:28, Roman 16:16, and Ephesians 5:25). We need to be able to explain that the church is a spiritual body (Ephesians 1:22-23 and Colossians 1:24) of people (Romans 12:5 and I Corinthians 12:27), not a building or any other physical thing. On top of that, we even have to be prepared to discuss how there are local churches (I Corinthians 1:2) and how the term church is also used biblically to describe all of the saved (Acts 2:47). Now that our brains are firing on this subject, let’s jump a little further ahead than just the brief examples we’ve examined thus far. Let’s think about the dangers of being unclear.
Let’s Not Be A People Of Subtlety
Consider this Scripture to spark our study from this point forward: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Corinthians 11:3). What does subtlety prevent according to the Scripture you just read? Subtlety prevents the simplicity of Christ from being seen. Subtlety is the way that false teachers communicate (Acts 13:7-10). We, who teach the truth, use plainness of speech (II Corinthians 3:12). Those of us who teach the truth want people to hear and understand the word of God (Matthew 15:10).
Some I have known over the years have missed these points. Some fear rejection so they hint at the truth rather than speak the truth. Others try to save their paychecks because they are merely hirelings rather than preachers concerned about people being saved (cf. John 10:12-13). Some have thought that speaking plainly will only cause division. The one thing all of these types have in common is that they teach things in a veiled manner. These types “feel” that it is best not to upset people with the truth. Those ways of thinking are obviously WRONG! We are supposed to teach God’s word in the open (Matthew 10:27 and John 18:19-21). The real work of God is not done out of plain sight (Acts 26:23-26). If we really care about the souls of those whom are lost we will plainly tell them what they need to hear to be saved!
Salvation Will Not Be Learned If We Just Throw Hints
When someone in the Scriptures asked what they had to do to be saved, no one clouded the subject by giving hidden clues and suggestions (Mark 10:17-27, Acts 2:37-41, and Acts 16:30-33). So, why do people today waste time by hinting to people that they are lost? Most people are way too ignorant to “get it”. We know that people need things explained to them before they’ll understand what you’re trying to get them to see (cf. Luke 24:13-35). Don’t leave someone’s soul in jeopardy because you think that your indirect method of teaching will allow them to have time to “figure it out on their own”. Where in God’s word are we told to go into the world and let people “figure it out on their own”? God’s word is supposed to be taught (Matthew 28:18-20, Luke 24:47, Romans 1:16, and I Corinthians 1:18-21), not tossed out as puzzle pieces for people to put together on their own.
This article just touched the surface of this subject. Please take the time to think this subject through more than what we’ve had space to examine in this article. We must make sure that all of us are teaching in a manner in which people can understand the word of God and know what God expects of them. We do not want to be the ones who allow uncertain sounds to proceed from our mouths and put souls in jeopardy (I Corinthians 14:6-9). The only way that we can assure that we will not be held accountable for someone being lost is by plainly telling him or her what he or she must do to be saved (Ezekiel 3:17-21 and Acts 20:26-27). Since misunderstandings about God’s word abound in our generation, we must be those that clarify what has been clouded (Philippians 2:15-16).
Volume 11 – Issue 17 - January 16th, 2011