Friday, July 3, 2015

Not Pleasing

A missionary posted a graphic with:

But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:2-4)

… and a question:

How are we told to speak unto others the gospel?

I do hope you got the answer: BOLD. And I hope you understood that there was much contention. Most important to me is being allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel. All the gospel, as Paul spoke before church leaders did:

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (Acts 20:27)

Paul gave all the advice, the purpose, of what God had inspired him to speak and write. By this I can make the connection through:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1)

. . . to us, especially with the word “charity.” That is used today to indicate something given to another who has less. But the original Greek, ἀγάπη [agapē] is defined in Strong’s Concordance as:
G26 agápē – properly, love which centers in moral preference. So too in secular ancient Greek, 26 (agápē) focuses on preference; likewise the verb form (25 /agapáō) in antiquity meant "to prefer" (TDNT, 7). In the NT, 26 (agápē) typically refers to divine love (= what God prefers)
I know, I’ve defined it in my blog before. But, I’m still having a problem applying it myself to certain people. To certain groups. To the seeming multitude who dislike hearing about our Lord and the boundaries He gave to people who are to teach us about Him.

I’m disheartened when I hear the word “love” used to justify actions outside the boundaries given both by Jesus, the Christ, and the men he sent out to spread His good news. Thus I become nothing more than the sounding brass and tinkling cymbal Paul describes.

Does that change God’s message?

No – it can’t. Which brings me to an answer Peter gave during another contentious hearing (please read the background in previous verses):

And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. (Acts 4:18-20)

It is up to me to be certain I’m giving what I read from the Bible with love – no matter who is hearing the message and how contentious it is. The good news must be stated factually, even if the person receiving it does not respect God’s word. Why?

We love him, because he first loved us.

Don’t stop there – the message continues:

If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. (1 John 4:19-21)

If we don’t, we are not pleasing to men nor God, are we?

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