What right do we have to make God out to be Someone other than He really is in order to make people like Him more? Honor God by declaring the truth about Him.
Prophets…declare what God will do and what God requires. They speak the truth that people often do not want to hear. This rubs against the grain of a culture that treats religion as a consumer item. Those who adjust the Word of God to meet market trends, assuming the consumer is always right, are simply peddlers (2 Cor. 2:17). Those who come to religion assuming that the chief goal of God is to glorify humankind and asking, “What will it all get me?” receive only spiritual chaff.
The greatest friend of truth is time. Error is always in a hurry, but God’s man can afford to await the vindication of time. And if he is not vindicated in his own lifetime, eternity will settle the score.
But it is far more common for the evangelical preacher to edit God’s Word: 1. By removing the text from its context, and using it to say what-ever the preacher likes, 2. By moralizing the text, so that it is reduced to an ethical maxim that ﬁts any religion, 3. By using the text to promote hobby-horses, and 4. By dogmatic insistence that the text says things it does not truly say. This homiletical hocus-pocus has subtle roots such as the desire to be clever and popular or synthetically relevant or intellectually respectable or to make the gospel more acceptable. But most often God’s Word gets watered down by the preacher’s laziness. He simply will not do the hard work to engage and preach a text in its context.
The Word of God tells us that Christ’s church is glorious… [But] today the glory of the church is thickly veiled. It is no exaggeration to assert that in the main it presents a picture of advanced decadence and extreme feebleness… Let it be said emphatically, the church is where the truth is. Sound doctrine always has been, is today, and ever will be the foremost mark of the true church. But who dares to assert that there is today in the churches a rising tide of interest in doctrine? By and large people do not go to church to learn about God from His infallible Word, but to be tranquilized. And that the glory of God is both the beginning and the end of common worship does not seem to occur to them.
Jesus didn’t escalate the conflict by being insensitive. He didn’t escalate the conflict by being ungracious. The conflict escalated of itself because He spoke the truth… it’s the truth matters more than anything else and if you always say the truth in every situation, the truth will have the effect of exposing everything else as error and people who are in that error aren’t happy about that. That’s the bottom line. And Jesus was compelled by the truth.
The truth of God is the most important thing in the world. It’s more important than anything else, and it’s more important than everything else combined. The truth reveals God… It must be spoken and it must be written no matter what the effects may be and the effects are predictable. On the one hand, some people believe and all heaven breaks loose. On the other hand, some people do not believe and all hell breaks loose.
Divine Truth Confronts Human Tradition. The sermon originally appeared (https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/42-70/divine-truth-confronts-human-tradition) at www.gty.org. © 1969-2008. Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by Permission.