The apostle Paul knew what it was like to have people detest and despise him.
Five times Paul received thirty-nine stripes from the Jews, three times he was
beaten with rods, and once he was stoned and left for dead (II Cor. 11:24-25;
Acts 14:19). All these things happened to this faithful servant of the Lord
because he loved the souls of men. That’s right, Paul loved folks with
a fervent, genuine and Biblical love. He knew that people would lose their souls
if they lived and died in sin.
Hatred of truth is an age-old problem. Do you remember Moses making those ten special trips to tell Pharaoh God’s truth? Pharaoh stubbornly refused to accept the truth and finally said to Moses, “Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in the day thou seest my face thou shalt die. And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well. I will see thy face again no more” (Exodus 10:28-29). Many people today will do as Pharaoh and die rejecting the truth that could have saved them!
King Herod and Herodias so despised God’s truth that they had John the Baptizer beheaded for preaching it. What was the message that cost this great prophet his life? King Herod had decided to marry his brother’s wife. If some of our well-educated and liberal-minded apostates in the Lord’s church had been with John they would have advised, “John, it is not adultery that Herod and Herodias have committed; it is only “covenant-breaking.” John then could have told this adulterous couple, “Each of you need to repent of ‘covenant-breaking,’ and then I will wish you well in your new marriage.”
But John was loyal to the Master and he loved the souls of men. Thus, John said the only thing he could say, “It is not lawful for thee to have her” (Matt. 14:4). Now the truth did not set well with Herodias and she was determined to have her new “enemy” put to death.
Now notice this most important point. John told Herod it was not “lawful” to take Herodias for his wife. What law did Herod violate? It surely was not Roman law! In the very beginning God taught, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). The Hebrew word “cleave” means to stick to, like glue. John was simply teaching what he knew the Savior would be teaching þ- the truth. When they asked the Lord if a man could divorce his wife for any cause He answered, “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. ... And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matt. 19:6,9).
The cry is being heard today that was heard in Isaiah’s day. The people said “to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (Isa. 30:10). Man’s great problem has always been that he desires to change the Bible to accommodate his ungodly lifestyle.
You have heard it said, “Just preach the Bible and don’t offend anyone.” One can preach on Galatians 5:19 but he must not offend the fornicators, drunkards, idolaters, etc. Be sure and preach on 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, but whatever you do don’t condemn “the abusers of themselves with men.” These are what the morally bankrupt today call “gays,” but God calls them “sodomites” (I Kings 14:24; cf. Gen. 19:5-13; Lev. 20:13; Rom. 1:27).
Others loudly cry, “Don’t preach a negative gospel.” What’s that? “Don’t”! I suppose it is well and good for one opposed to negative preaching to be negative.
The best thing the devil has going today is the attitude that desires to please folks instead of save folks. Godly standards are lowered to lure and draw folks þ- all in the name of love. The apostle Paul described quite well the attitude of most toward truth in saying, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:3-4). Nonetheless, young Timothy was told to “preach the word” -- the truth (II Tim. 4:2).
The words of Paul again ring loud and clear, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10). Paul proclaimed the one and only Gospel regardless of who it offended. Both he and John the Baptizer would rather go to Heaven than be “politically correct.”
The ACLU and all other morally bankrupt perverts of truth must not go unchallenged. Let them become incensed! As Paul also said, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth” (Gal. 4:16)?
By Marvin L. Weir
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