by J. Randal Matheny, editor
Whenever you speak God’s words to people, they are reacting, not to you, but to God, for you have divine authority behind you. Never cower, never back down, when people rant and rail against you, for God’s word must be spoken.
“The one who listens to you listens to me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects the one who sent me” (Luke 10:16 NET).
And reject the gospel people will, especially those who call themselves religious. The people who talk most about love, grace, and mercy will be the ones to revile you most. Like the Pharisees and Saducees of old, those who consider themselves as God’s people will consign you to the fire and sear you as nicely as your Fourth of July steak.
“Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you” (Titus 2:15 ESV).
The lovey-dovey crowd love intimidation. They will try shaming you. They’ll accuse you of arrogance. They attempt to make you think that you, of all people, have no room or right to speak in such terms. You speak with such certainty, you who are ignorant of history, culture, hermeneutics, ancient languages, and theological thought.
“Therefore, everyone who will confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33 MSV).
To confess means to continue preaching the gospel truth when others reject it and exert pressure to make you stop. This is not a baptismal passage, but a missionary text. The context is persecution for the message of the gospel. When push comes to shove, keep speaking.
“The one who receives you receives me, and the one who receives me receives the One who sent me” (Matthew 10:40).
God takes personally a man’s reaction to the gospel. The Saul who persecuted the church persecuted the church’s Lord. You may be mouthing the words, but he considers himself the speaker. The treatment you get from others is how they treat the Creator. When you stand in God’s will — and you are and you do — you are God’s ambassador.
As God’s representative, you have complete liberty to speak the Good News, no matter what anyone else says or does.
And that, my friend, is the best kind of liberty.