Tuesday, July 25, 2017

“Gentle and Forthright”

"Gentle and Forthright"       
   One reason God calls His trusting children in Christ to be "gentle, showing all meekness to all men" involves the fact that we have hard things to say to each other, and especially to those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus (Titus 3:2).  

   "He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead" (Acts 10:42).

    The Christ we preach as the Savior will one day be our judge.  If we have received His grace of a freely given and secured salvation, our works will nevertheless be subject to His evaluation, leading to either rewards or losses at the judgment seat of Christ.  For those who do not believe, eternal condemnation and sorrow await.

    "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad… Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire (II Corinthians 5:10; I Corinthians 3:13-15).
    "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power" (II Thessalonians 1:7-9).

    The communication of hard truth must be accompanied by a gentle attitude.  This does not preclude direct and forthright communication, but it does mean that we maintain kindness and civility as we share the Gospel in its full measure of Truth.  Moreover, we must humbly realize the gracious mercy we ourselves have required from the heart of God.  We are all needy souls telling other supplicants where to find bread, as it were.  Such awareness maintains our own proper attitude of heart, while enabling us to express kindness in even our most direct affirmations of the Bible's challenging warnings.

   We must be willing to tell people the hard truths.  Even the Apostle Paul found this difficult, leading him to request prayer "for me, that utterance may be given unto me, to make known the mystery of the Gospel… that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak" (Ephesians 6:19-20).  Equally important is the attitude in which we "speak boldly."   We must also speak humbly as those saved by the same grace we press upon the hearts of others.  Forthrightness and meekness united foster great authority in communicating both the blessed promises and dire warnings of the Bible inspired by One who loves us enough to declare the truth of both eternal hope and jeopardy.

"And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
(II Timothy 2:24-26)

Weekly Memory Verse 
    In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
(I Thessalonians 5:18)

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