2 Timothy 4:1-6 – “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” NKJV
I had someone tell me that the Gospel should not be confrontational. That was a criticism of my opposition to the casual lasses-faire attitude of some of today’s church world. In their view, the prime objective of the church is to be ‘seeker friendly’ meaning that we should not ‘confront’ anyone, any lifestyle, attitude, or actions just ‘live and let live’. In their view, the church was akin to a country club where people came together for networking, social relationships, and various interpersonal interactions. It was not, in their view, to Confront, for that would make people uncomfortable.
If I believe the Bible as the Word of God and have any confidence in its inerrancy, then I find that view completely foreign to the Bible. Jesus ‘confronted’ sin and at times virtually baited the Pharisees into confrontations in order to illustrate the message of the Gospel clearly and distinctly. The disciples in Acts were arrested for being ‘confrontational’ and declared to the religious hierarchy, “Whom shall we obey, God or man?” Paul here in this text instructed Timothy to, “Preach the word!” He was to be ready at all times and his message and ministry was to ‘convince, rebuke and exhort’. It was to be done with longsuffering and love, but the clear directive is to ‘confront sin’.
I have had people tell me that ‘confrontational’ preaching not only made people uncomfortable it scared people. I would say as a very senior minister once said, “If I could keep people out of hell by scaring them, I’d scare the hell out of them.” He wasn’t trying to cuss just stating the incredible importance of ‘confronting’ sin and helping people understand its dangers and destruction.
Jesus never promised us ‘life free of confrontation!”. I have found that the ‘conviction’ of the Holy Spirit renders one quite uncomfortable. It challenges a mindset or lifestyle and exposes it. Jesus said in John 16:8 that when the Holy Spirit came, He would Convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. We are told the wages of sin is death. It seems that too much of today’s world of Christendom strives to be ‘non-confrontational’ and rather than changing lives it facilitates lifestyles foreign to the central message of the Gospel.
The Gospel in its very nature is ‘confrontational’ for it exposes sin and when sin is exposed the flesh is made uneasy, often angered, and challenged. I am not saying we have to be caustic, but we must be consistent in opposition to a lifestyle of sin. If we condone sin, we become facilitators in the continuation of it and how could one suggest Jesus condoned sin? Immediately, someone suggests the woman taken in adultery and suggested that Jesus condoned her sin. Really? He followed the prescription of the Law and when no witnesses remained, he refused to condemn but said, “Go and SIN NO MORE!”
If we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ it will be confrontational, but that confrontation will lead to reconciliation and redemption. The church is not a social club it is a hospital and rehab center. It is a university of life. It is a training facility. It is a refuge. It covers lives with love, but it can never be understood to be a place where sin can remain with no discomfort.
God bless you as you go through your day!