Saturday, August 30, 2014

HINDERING THE GOSPEL

There is no more grievous sin than that of hindering the Truth from being heard and spread to others.

Jesus said to his disciples, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." Mk 10:14

The disciples were literally hindering parents from bringing their children to Jesus. For doing this they got a serious warning fr...om Jesus who then had the children brought to His arms for a blessing.

Men do not always value what is valuable. Children are of immeasurable value to Jesus. But there are other ways that we can fail to value what is valuable. If Christians act hypocrites in front of children, they encourage children to not follow Jesus. If Christians are selfish and uncommitted to the work of Christ, they encourage others to be half-hearted by the power of their example. If children are not disciplined, then they are like illegitimate children, without parents who love them, Heb 12:5ff.

We can hinder the Gospel by the negative influence of our lives, 1 Cor. 9:12. There are those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, Rom 1:18. They will use their power to silence the Truth of the Gospel. There are those who give people encouragement to practice sin, Rom 1:32. It's a shame and a terrible sin to silence the voice of truth.

Today I heard about a young high school student from Dyer County, Tennessee who received an in-school suspension for saying "bless you" after a classmate sneezed. This isn't liberal New York or California where we've come to expect some hostility against Christianity: it's the so-called Bible Belt where a girl can't say, "bless you". Imagine if she had mentioned Jesus Christ or if she asked someone to come to church!  This is soft persecution the suppression of religious talk. Today it's an in-school suspension. Tomorrow, who knows. I tell you that a society is not practicing freedom of conscience, speech, and religion that can limit something so harmless.

As there is no sitting on the fence on such important matters. All people are either for or against God and our actions either help or hinder the spread of the Gospel. Are we helping or hindering?

When I doubt God's word, I hinder. When I act with prejudice, and make judgments that are evil, I hinder, James 2:1ff. When I suggest the Gospel is about something other than the salvation of souls, I hinder. When I spend all of my time for me, I hinder. When I'm a hypocrite, I hinder.

Paul talked to the Galatians and asked them who hindered them from obeying the truth, Gal. 5:7. False teachers hinder Christians when Christians listen to them. John warned the church about the man Diotrophes who was hindering God's preachers from coming to speak and he was hindering the Christians from embracing God's preachers, 3 John 9,10. Arrogant pride hinders the Gospel. Even the best of God's people can get off track and hinder. Peter removed himself from eating with the Gentile Christians and he hindered Barnabas and others, Gal. 2:12. This was so severe an issue that Paul publicly rebuked Peter for his error. Jesus talked about the hypocritcal Pharisees who would travel the world to make a proselyte only to make the convert twice a son of hell as themselves, Mt 23:15.

I wonder if my words here are considered a hindrance? If I speak the truth, I may hinder men from going the wrong path. And if I speak the truth, but don't have love, then I'm just a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal, 1 Cor 13. I certainly don't mean to hinder anyone from following Jesus Christ. But I write this for myself and for thoughtful and sincere people who want to aid others in coming to Christ. And let us be especially mindful of our children. Exemplify Christ to them. Be consistent and dedicated to the work of Christ. A disciple or train the children to go the right way. I say this in love. Sincerely, Dan

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