“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Prove. 9:10
“Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for, through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.” Prov. 16:6
“For God so loved the world he gave His only son that whoever believes in him should ot perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith- and this not from yourselves it is the gift of God- not of works so that no man can boast.
” Eph. 2:8
A young preacher recently preached a real old-fashioned barn-burner of a sermon at our church. You know one of those messages that called the people not just to confess their sins and ask Jesus for forgiveness but a message about how it was necessary to let God change you… to repent.
I had someone approach me afterwards a little upset that we felt the need to address people in their sins and tell them that they had to get the problems “fixed”. I was reminded that the Christian life is all about grace and God’s love and that we ought to focus on pointing people to Jesus rather than pointing out people’s sins.
A few weeks before this I sat with a couple who lamented that preaching about sin had left our pulpits and that Christianity had become a “feel good faith” rather than one that produced actual healing.
Ah and there you find the conundrum that confronts pastor’s everyday.
The battle of whom to listen to about what should be preached from the pulpit is an impossible one to win if you are considering what people want to hear. Pastor’s aren’t called to preach what people want to hear. They are called to preach what people need to hear. ..The whole counsel of God as it is revealed in Scripture.
This is not a popularity contest we are competing in. It is a battle for souls and communities of souls at that. We can no more preach just the love of God than we can preach just the judgment of God. Every congregation is comprised of people who need the tenderest touch of God’s mercy and of people who need the hardest kick in the pants the Holy Spirit can deliver.
The fear of God needs to be preached and it needs to be lived. The mercy of God needs to be preached and it needs to be received.
If your preacher is not preaching both the fear of the Lord and the mercy of the Lord then you are getting short-changed. Conversely if you are not living in both the fear of the Lord and the mercy of the Lord you are short-changing your church and the Lord.
Folks this is not about our preferences or what we like. It is about truth and balance and serving a God who died for us!