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"Sharing the truth in love"

It's been said by many, "I believe in Jesus".

In today's world, it's used almost like a "pun".

Countless people have said this. Many who have really put their trust in Christ....Some who only say it.

And the only one's who really know. Are the individual person, and God!

Now, the Bible teaches us. That we will "know them by their fruits":

 "For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."

                     (Luke 6:43-45 NKJV)

And true enough we will. Now, this does not mean we can tell by every "fruit" they bring forth. But it does give us an idea by the lives they project to all who see. The "abundance" of fruit they produce in their own lives. How they live their lives (etc.).

You see, there are those who say they believe. And their fruit indicates this is so. But there are others. Others who say they believe, but their fruit says otherwise.

So there is evidence of what people really believe. For better, or for worse. And it's made me wonder. What is it that has brought them to where they are?

You see, it's often worried me how Christ has been "peddled" over the years. Like a cure for the "common cold", to "ease" one's conscience, or to be one's "friend". Now yes, Christ is our friend when we truly know Him (JN 15:15). But first He is our Lord (JN 13:13)! He does have standards (JN 14:21). Not "legalistic" in the sense of "rules and regulations". But in the sense of being obedient, to what we know to be right in our own conscience toward God:

 "for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)"

                 (Romans 2:14-15 NKJV)

You see, I think society has been given some erroneous ideas about what it means to believe in Christ. Take for instance the word "believe" in John 3:16:

 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

                         (John 3:16 NIV)

Now this same word (believe) is also used throughout the New Testament. The original word in the Greek Bible is pisteuo. Which means to "commit to trust", "put in trust with".

So let's look at this same verse, within context of the original meaning (intent, etc.):

 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever "commit (s) (their) trust to" him shall not perish but have eternal life."

                     (John 3:16 Modified)

Sounds a little different now, does it not?

You see, when we translate the Greek word pisteou to the English word "believe". It takes on a slightly different meaning. Why? Because believing something, or someone is real, does not mean that you have "committed your trust", or "put your trust in with", that person, or idea. In other words, simply saying "I believe in Christ". Does not mean that I have "put my trust in Him", "committed my trust to Him". Nor does it mean I am following Him! ...Anymore, than parking myself in a garage makes me a car!

You see I do not say these things to be judgmental, or legalistic. But I do say this out of concern (out of heartache).

You see over the years I have talked to so many who say they believe in Jesus. And I'm sure you have also!

But many of these I have spoken to, have no use for His word (taking it seriously, etc.). For following Him, serving Him, being obedient to Him. But yet they say they believe? Does that sound like an oxymoron to you?

There is one question I would like to ask in these situations. "If you truly believe in Jesus, is your life different?" "Has your life been transformed?" "Or do you simply believe He is the son of God?" Just like the demons, that James spoke about in the Bible:

 "You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believeand tremble!"

                      (James 2:19 NKJV)

Now, I'm sure many of you, like myself, have had changed lives in Christ. We remember what and who we were. We know the heart and life change that He has made in our lives. From the inside out. Now, of course there are those that have been really blessed. Have grown up in godly homes. Who have come to know Christ as they have grown. So we know that not all have experienced dramatic changes of life (and lifestyle), when they came to know Christ.

But the one common thing is this. When we truly know and follow Jesus. How we see and view life. Is different, than how the world sees and views life.

So, when I hear people say, "Yes I believe in Jesus". But yet there is no evidence of it in their lives. Other than what they confess. It really breaks my heart.

Now, some may call this being judgmental.

You may agree, or disagree. But one thing I think we could all agree on is this. If you were to be standing on a street corner. And you were to see someone crossing the street. And you saw a car coming at them. What would you do? Do you simply say, "that is their choice to walk out there". Or do you try to help them?

You see, we all have to ask ourselves, "what would Jesus do?"

But many of us are scared. Scared that we will make a mistake, look foolish, offend someone. And we know in today's society. It is so "politically incorrect", to share the truth about the gospel. Let alone be a believer! Everyone and everything, has to be "so" tolerant. And if we do not agree with those around us? Then we are labeled "intolerant". And it really amazes me, how there is so much tolerance in the world for almost everything. ...But the truth of the gospel and it's Author!

Of course we know why, don’t we?

 "And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not *comprehend it."

(John 1:5 NKJV *comprehend =(Greek)Katalambano -attain, perceive, obtain, understand)

The world just does not get it! ....Sadly enough.

And we are "okay" as long as we agree with those around us. Interesting isn't it? How society insists that we "tolerate" many things we know (as Christians) to be sin. And if we do not agree with their "ideas", we are called, "intolerant". But yet, are they not "intolerant" of us if we disagree with them?

Ironic isn't it?

And because so many churches, ministers, believers (etc.) are worried about being labeled "intolerant". They often water down the truth to suit others. To keep from sounding offensive. To help win them over. But the very message of the gospel is offensive in itself! Is it not? Of course it is!

Why? Because it exposes us for who we really are! Sinners in need of grace and forgiveness. Who are rightly condemned! So it's no wonder the world does not want to hear our message:

 "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed."

                      (John 3:19-20 NKJV)

But the saddest part of all this, is this. The very word of God that calls us out for who we are. Is the same word that extends hope, grace and forgiveness to all of us! When we are so undeserving:

 "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

                   (Romans 5:6-8 NKJV)

But yet we have such a "prideful" world. A world that does not want to take responsibility! Responsibility for its own actions and behavior.

So many "water down" the truth of the gospel message. And the ones that are hurt? Are the ones who never hear the truth in context.

So what are we to do in these situations? What is our part?

The answer is so simple! In fact it's not anything close to being "rocket science".

You see, we need to share the truth in love!

Sounds simple doesn't it? Of course! ....And it really is!!

You see some erroneously believe. That it is loving to withhold the truth, if it hurts, or offends someone. But it is just the opposite. Just as saying you care as you stand by, watching someone get run over by a car!

Now, others share the truth, without any love mixed in it at all (in their message). Forgetting that love is paramount in our faith (JN 15:12, 1 Cor. 13). And who would believe the sincerity of their message? I sure wouldn't!

Afterall, many have done this over the years! If your like me (did not come to Christ until you were older)? You probably have experienced it yourself. The truth shared without love, isn't very loving at all, is it now?

But we should be sharing the truth in love! You see sharing the truth without love, is not real truth at all. Nor is sharing love without the truth, real love! Because if we truly love and care for others, we will share the truth in love. Why? Because their well being truly, means something to us. Here and eternally! It comes from our hearts.

You see, they (truth in love) go, "hand in hand". They cannot be separated! Just as God's love and truth. Think of it this way. God knew what our sin was doing to our lives. The way we were living, we were condemning ourselves! And He wanted to save us. But He has standards. And He loves us so much. So what did He do? He came to meet us where we are (at)! He sent His Son Jesus. And He paid for our sin!

And it is God's unquenchable love within us. And our love for others (coming from Him, within us, through His spirit), our concern for their lives. That drives us to share the truth with them!

Take Jesus for instance. He showed deep love and compassion. For those that were hurting and lost. But He did it by sharing the truth with them. Because that's how much He loved them (and us)! He called, sin, "sin". But His motives were ALWAYS "love-driven". They were pure! He loved us enough that He wanted the best for us. He knew we needed the truth. So He was honest with us! Just as we should be honest with each other. With the world around us!

But it MUST ALWAYS be done in love!

So how should we do this? How do we go about this?

Well, we first must know what God's word says. We must study it.

It is our "instruction manual":

 "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,"

                  (2 Timothy 3:16 NKJV)

Afterall, if we do not know His word. We have not studied it. How can we truly help anyone else? Both those that do not know Him and those that have been taught erroneously.

You see, we must be gentle with others. We need to take into account, that there are many who have not been taught the truth. And in many cases, taught things "amiss". And those that have never heard it for that matter. And we do not always know where someone is at in their lives. So we must extend grace. And we want to make sure we are not attacking anyone. That we are not doing it in a manner that is unloving. So we must always pray and ask the Lord to guide us by His Spirit:

 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come."

                    (John 16:13 NKJV)

So we need to allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit.

And we must realize this. That every time we may hear something really amiss. It may not always be the best time to address it (at that particular moment). And we must be careful what and how we say it:

" The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness."

                     (Proverbs 15:2 NKJV)

Often times, we need to pray. We need to ask the Lord and seek His guidance. The best time, and what we should say to address it. You see often times. Things people have been taught, ideas, etc. Are not often broken over night. Beliefs, whether right, or wrong, are "engrained" within us.

Also, we have to take risks sometimes. The risk that we might, "look like a fool". Or (and) be rejected. But we must look at it this way. Everyone is a fool for something, or someone in this world! Whether it is your job, something you may enjoy. A hobby you may have, someone you hold in esteem, whatever it may be, etc. We are all "fools for something" (or someone!). Me personally? I would rather be a fool for Jesus!

And if you are ashamed of the gospel? Remember what Jesus said:

 "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels."

                       (Luke 9:26 NKJV)

And we must always remember that Jesus stepped down as the Son of God. He came to earth. He came to meet us where we're at. He made Himself of no reputation:

 "but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men."

                 (Philippians 2:7 NKJV)

So who are we to think that we are anything? But sinners saved by His grace (Eph. 2:8). We are nothing without Him! So we must never think more of ourselves, than what, and who we are (Rom. 12:3)!

And we have to think about this. Would we not want others to know truly Him too? Afterall, we should know the deep need we have for Him everyday. And is the world around us any different?

In other words, show me a person who doesn't need Jesus and I'll show you a purple cow with wings!

You see this is what it all comes down too.

We live in a dying world. A world that is dying both physically and spiritually. And the spiritual is permanent! There are many confessing Christ. Many of whom have a belief that simply believing is enough. Without any commitment to Him.

But the reality of the truth is this. Just as James said:

 "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."

                    (James 2:26 NKJV)

So what else can be said? The proof, as they say, is in the "pudding". ...Yes?

When we encounter a world that has a false belief in what it means to be a follower of Jesus. It is our duty, our obligation to be honest with them! Not in a "legalistic" way, but in a loving way. In the same way you would pull someone from a fire! Someone you truly cared for and loved!!

And we must ask ourselves this. Would Jesus ever have become "PC" (politically "correct") to suit others? No! In fact He wasn't. He constantly went against the "grain" of society of the time. Much like He would right now. Were He walking the streets of Columbus Ohio, Los Angeles California, New York City New York, Tokyo Japan, Frankfurt Germany, etc.

You see the idea here is not to be "divisive", cause trouble of any kind. It's not to "point fingers", or be unloving. It's all about sharing the truth in love! To those who do not know it. And to those who have a misconception about what salvation really is (and is not!). And what it means to be a true believer and disciple of Jesus.

I'm sure if you were to see a person walking in front of a car. You would do whatever you had too, to warn them. Pull them out of the way, etc. Now, isn't a person's eternity much more important, than that?

Afterall, what would Jesus say?


Rev. John Heintzman
Evangelist Non-Denominational
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POHOM Columbus, Ohio
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