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Tagged Matthew 5-6:4
“Preach the Gospel, and if necessary use words.” St Francis. This was in the Essential 100 devotional for this week. I really have a problem with this cute saying that is commonly flung around our churches today like a frisbee. I don’t think it stacks up biblically (“Preach the Gospel, and don’t let your lifestyle contradict the truth you speak” would be more in line with scripture). The news that Christ has died for all of us as an atoning sacrifice to make us right with God, if only we put our faith in Him, is communicated to us through Gods Word. Words are needed to communicate this truth. If we never do this and instead focus solely on works then we are guilty of reducing the gospel down to a call to do more social work. I often here people say that they didn’t preach but they “loved people with the gospel”. I would argue that if there is someone you know who you have never explained with words what the Gospel of Christ means, and they will burn in hell tonight should the Lord come again, then you have seriously misunderstood what love is. It seems to me that we use this saying to massage away our sinful consciences when we know we have been unfaithful in our witness. Its sad to see that so many Christians in New Zealand get most of their theology from hippy dippy quotes like this and lyrics from parachute music, rather then the Word of God.
In terms of its relevance to this passage, I don’t think the devotional really got to grips with what Jesus was teaching here. The Beatitudes for me show that Christ has come to make us a holy people, not necessarily a happy people. I’ve been a little frustrated with the devotionals lately. They seem to express Jesus as some sort of example of how to be an effective christian leader rather then the son of God. Last week the devotion talked about how John the Baptist’s ministry influenced Jesus and how we can be influential as well. To me that is downright belittling to the creator of the universe. Whose with me on this?