The courage to call people to repentance

Over the last couple of years I have bought about 320 cases of green beans.  That is almost 4,000 cans of green beans!  The people at our Wednesday night community dinners love green beans when they are cooked for several hours with bacon grease.  A couple of months ago I fixed a batch (about 40 cans) and they were no good.  They were tough and stringy.  I threw them out and wondered what I had done wrong.  The next week I fixed another batch and got the same results.  I saved the cans from both weeks and saw they had the same “use by date” on them, which was 2021.  I went through my supply of green beans and found that I had a total of 30 cases of them with that date on them.  I called the store and told them that I hated to tell them this, but I had all those cases of beans I needed to return to exchange them for other beans. They said it would not be a problem.  I took them back to the store yesterday and they said they would have 30 cases of beans in today to replace them.  I even took receipts in from last year showing them I bought a total of 160 cases (I save all the receipts from the dinners).  I cook a lot of green beans.  I want them to understand that I would not make it up and I do know what I am talking about.  I am not causing them nor myself extra work and inconvenience for no reason.  I could not serve those beans and I could not throw them out.  That is about $150 worth of green beans, even at the sale price.

Sometimes you just have to speak up.  That is true in the case (pun intended) of those green beans, and it is true when it comes to the Word of God.  Many of the more traditional Believers and preachers have a tendency to not rock the boat, even as they believe the church keeps drifting in the current toward the beliefs of our society.  People who care about me have warned me about talking too much about certain things.  If you are for the modern movements, you are celebrated in society when you voice your opinion.  If you see yourself “holding fast to sound teaching” and believe the American church is falling off a cliff into the ocean of secularism (the ways of the world), and you dare speak of it, you are castigated by society and the parts of the church that find themselves in agreement with the world.

I know sometimes people get upset when they hear what the Bible says.  I confess there are parts of it that I find difficult.  When I blog, when I preach, or any other time I put things out there for public consumption, I am aware that there are some people who will disagree.  Some will be offended.  Some even complain.  But I draw courage from Peter and John in Acts.  They are arrested and told not to speak the name of Jesus any more.  When they are released, their prayer included this line: And now, Lord, consider their threats, and grant that your servants may speak your word with all boldness…”

Speaking God’s Word in boldness is the love and obedience that makes one risk being called hateful by proclaiming that reconciliation to God is not automatically bestowed upon all, but is an invitation to all.  We do not set the parameters, God does.  And the Bible says God will forgive all who will call upon the name of Jesus by believing Jesus died on the cross for their sin and repenting of their sin.  The alternative that the world offers is the lie that you have nothing from which you need to repent or be forgiven.

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