|Vol. 16 No. 2 February 2014||
Contend for the faith, but not be contentious.
Be prepared to fight the battle, but seek peace.
Never compromise, but always love.
Hate the sin, but love the sinner.
“Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again” (Romans 11:22-23 NKJV). Biblical balance is not between good and evil, false doctrine and true doctrine, error and truth, or manmade philosophy and biblical truth. Biblical balance is between “goodness” and “severity.” It is proclaiming the “whole council of God.” Biblical balance provides a well-rounded spiritual diet.
Riding a “hobby horse,” no matter how important or true the point of argument may be, is not biblical balance. One person only speaks of love and grace, with no emphasis on obedience at all; another does nothing but attack false doctrine that is affecting the church; another only preaches on how to become a Christian; another emphasizes man’s need to obey with little or no emphasis on the grace of God. The truth is that all of these topics should be preached. Any one of them is true, but is not enough by itself.
There is a story that has been around a long time about a young preacher who came to work at a congregation, and every sermon he preached was about baptism. Finally, the elders met with him and kindly said that baptism was a very important topic, which should not be neglected, but that he needed to preach on more than just that. He sincerely listened, and asked them to suggest a topic. One elder said why not preach on an Old Testament story, like Moses. So the next Sunday morning he told the story of the birth of Moses, and how his mother wanted to save him, and put him in a basket on the river. He said, “She put him on the river, which was full of water, which brings us to our subject: baptism.”
Do we need “fire and brimstone” preaching? Yes! Do we need preaching on the love and the grace of God? Yes! Do we need preaching that encourages and builds up individual Christians? Yes! Do we need preaching that adamantly opposes error, false doctrine and the evil of society around us? Yes! We could go on with the list, but here is the point: we need all of these kinds of preaching from every preacher in every pulpit.
The truth is that biblical balance is not easy. It is easy to be overwhelmed by a subject or a problem in society or in the church and to unintentionally fail to put forth a steady, complete, balanced diet in preaching and teaching. God is both “severe” and “good,” and our preaching and teaching should reflect that truth.
When it comes down to it, this universe was either planned by intelligence, or it is completely accidental. As you contemplate the choices, here are a few things to consider.
One last question: how many “accidents” will you admit to until you realize that these are no accidents at all, but designs?
[Editor’s Note: The created universe is evidence of something (Romans 1:20). Is it evidence for design or accident? The Designer also provided written revelation—the Bible, especially the New Testament for all people living today. ~ Louis Rushmore]