I receive your emails and I do read them, I listen to your voice mail, and I do hear to what you say unless it is laced with profanity and threats. I don’t often respond, but it is good to hear other points of view.
One message I get from time to time is, “we never hear you preach on the love of God.” They often say that my message is always doom and gloom and judgment and fear, etc. I want to respond to the question, “Why don’t you preach on the love of God?”
The love of God is certainly a biblical principle.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
And we could go through many other passages that teach God’s love. There are many preachers who will preach the love of God to you. There is a lot more to the Bible than God’s love.
The preaching on the love of God sometimes presents a false remedy. It is part of the political correctness agenda.
Let me take you back to my early days in the ministry. I was part of the school of thought that emphasized the love of God and positive preaching. I have left it because preaching just the love of God presents God as some kind of a benevolent cosmic being that is kind of like a candy man. It implies that I can do whatever I want because God loves and will forgive me.
In many of our churches today there is no preaching of the judgment of God. Read you Bible, the judgment of God is just as great a theme as the love of God, if not greater.
I have been in the ministry 28 years preaching the Gospel, Perhaps I have learned a thing or two through these 28 years. When I was a college student there were some things taught that got me on the wrong road. Things like “do you want to work hard, or do you want to work smart?” No one said sign me up for the hard road, I don’t want any shortcuts. We wanted to work smart so we started listening to the gurus out there. I my early ministry it was people like Rick Warren, Bill Hybles, and so on.
I remember taking those courses, I wanted to know those who were “successful.” Like every preacher we wanted success, and success was measured by numbers.
I learned that to achieve success I had to take the offense of the Gospel out of my preaching. Anything that was offensive had to be removed. I was told that no one wants to come to church to hear something negative. I was told they have negativity all through their week and they need to come on Sunday to be encouraged and lifted up. I was told, don’t tell people what they are, tell them what they can be. Make the message positive. They said the world doesn’t have a problem with Jesus, it has a problem with how we present Him.
We were taught that if you can sell Jesus like soap you will build a big church. Let that sink in a little. The truth is that the crowds will come when you make Jesus fun and present a gospel of success.
They really came down hard on using fear and judgment in evangelism. They often said the fear evangelism doesn’t work. They said it would only work as long as the fear lasts.
I must tell you that I got saved because I was afraid I was going to go to Hell for my sins. Fear evangelism worked for me. When someone showed me from the Bible that I was a wretched sinner and I deserved Hell I was glad to hear the message of Jesus and the cross. I was glad to hear how He took my penalty, my judgment, on the cross so I wouldn’t have to. It was fear evangelism that got me saved, and I dare say that if you are truly saved, you got saved because of your fear of going to Hell.
What is the alternative to fear evangelism? If you don’t use fear, what are you going to give people? Fun evangelism? I can assure you that fun evangelism will only last as long as the fun lasts.
You won’t see many billboards saying repent, judgment is coming. They don’t say that you are wretched and will perish. Listen to what the psalmist said:
God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. (Psalms 7:11-12)
Don’t you think that loving someone is warning him of the danger he faces? Is it love to keep God’s judgment and wrath from those who are in danger of perishing?
Most billboards say “God is love” or “Jesus loves you.” Keeping all the message positive creates confusion. The lost man sees these messages, knows that he is in wretched sin and his conscience bears witness to him, yet he can justify himself because God loves him.
People don’t understand they must humble themselves before God, confess their sinful condition, and repent before God can save them. His holiness demands His judgment.
The message today is don’t be negative, don’t be divisive, don’t ruffle people’s feathers, preach love, preach joy, preach peace, preach the path to happiness and success and you will build a big church. It has reached a point where if you do preach the life changing message of judgment and the fear of God you are considered unchristian. You will be called a hate monger and a fear monger.
The love of God is that He sent His only begotten Son to die a horrible death to pay our sin debt so we could be forgiven and redeemed back to God. The love of God is that He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. The message of the love of God tells us that we must change, we can’t continue as we are. The gate that leads to life is a narrow gate. You can’t come through it with your baggage of sin and self-righteousness. You must humble yourself and turn to God (repent) for mercy.
The love of God corrects His children when they error.
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (Hebrews 12:6)
God disciplines those he loves just like a good earthy father does his children. Unrighteousness is harmful, and God spanks His children so they will live healthy, righteous lives. When a child reaches for a sharp knife a good parent will smack the back of his hand and say don’t touch that, it is dangerous.
Love sometimes makes restriction. When a teenager wants to come in any time he wants and to live however he wants, a loving parent will discipline and correct him. He does this so the teenager does not ruin and throw away his life.
A prophet shows his love by speaking the hard things. It won’t make him popular, but he does it out of love. The reason I say the hard things is because I love America and I don’t want to see it destroyed. Because I love mankind and I don’t want to see them go to Hell, I speak the hard things and warn them of judgment.
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)
We need to speak up when we see someone in error. This is something a spiritual person does.
John the Baptist preached repentance. In Matthew 11 Jesus asked:
And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. (Matthew 11:7-10)
John was not blown about with every wind of Doctrine. He did not wear soft clothing. He was a prophet and spoke the hard things to prepare the way for Christ.
God has said that the wicked will surly die and if we don’t give them warning and tell them to turn from their wickedness God says their blood will be required at our hands. I fear God too much too make that mistake.