Can You Handle The Truth?

A young preacher in Kentucky wanted to make his first sermon memorable, so he preached a fiery denunciation of horse racing. After the sermon, one of the deacons called him aside and reminded him that he was now living in a neighborhood noted for fine horses, and that many of his members enjoyed the races.

The preacher took the hint and next Sunday thundered and stomped against tobacco. Whereupon, the same deacon reminded him that the weed was a major item in the economy of the region. The deacon pointed out that part of his salary would come from the tobacco growers.

The following Sunday, the preacher took out after whiskey and again stirred the deacon to remind him that the church building was in the shadow of distilleries. In fact, some of the members worked at the distilleries.

Frustrated by this time, the young preacher asked the deacon, "What can I preach on?" The deacon replied. "Why not preach against heathen witch doctors? There isn 't one of them in a thousand miles of here."

It is not our aim to be insensitive with what I shall say in this article. I have heard, and must say I have been guilty of preaching lessons that were insensitive to the hearer's feelings. I am in total agreement that the TRUTH must be preached in love (Ephesians 4:15). However, any attempt to soft-soap a message because it steps on the hearer's toes, is unacceptable to those who love and preach the WORD.

Two things that a preacher must do to be effective. One, he must preach to the people who are present. It does no good to present a truth, if those who need it are not going to hear it. Secondly, that which he presents must be the TRUTH regardless of whose ears tingle (1 Samuel 3:11). The preacher who omits certain subjects from his repertoire of sermons, does not deserve to be called preacher (Acts 20:27). A preacher must never let friendship, or the fear of losing a job, influence him to fail in his responsibility to, "preach the word; be urgent in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching" (2 Timothy 4:2).

Truth, by its very nature, has a bite to it. Truth is singular. There is no other way and no compromise. Those who want to embrace doubt or shades of gray in the face of obvious truth, are going to be pricked in their hearts (Acts 2:37). Truth then becomes the agent that illuminates the heart of the hearer. If the heart is good ground, the seed of truth will bring forth fruit a hundred-fold (Luke 8:5-15).

There is a quote going around that comes from a movie in which a Marine colonel says, "The truth, you can't handle the truth!" It is sad when people of the world cannot deal with the truth from God's word. It is disastrous when those who call themselves New Testament Christians cannot handle the truth.

Can you handle the truth?!

By Glen Young

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