My question last week was more asking how you think that putting up something like, “be thou not among wine bibbers” will ever make a person with alcohol problems think that Jesus even wants to help them. I never see things on your sign that say anything about the healing they can find in Christ. I don’t doubt that you want to call people to repentance, as do many churches in this area. I do, however, think that your signs will keep people from ever wanting to set foot in your doors. How can you reach them if they never talk to you?
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” If what you say is true, then what Noah did was wrong, because he did not preach the love of God first, but God’s command for righteous living (repentance). II Peter 2:5 says, “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” He preached repentance to those wicked sinners first — not the love of God. Hebrews 11:6,7 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, MOVED WITH FEAR, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” Noah did not first preach the love of God, but the fear of God. There can be no true faith and repentance, until there is the FEAR OF GOD. Proverbs 1:7 says, “The FEAR OF THE LORD is THE BEGINNING of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
If what you say is true, then what Jesus did was wrong, because He did not first say, “I love all of you people. Please come to me for healing.” This is the first thing that Jesus did when He began His public ministry: “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, REPENT: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). He preached that people needed to fear Him and turn from their sins to Him (repentance).
If what you say is true, then John the Baptist also had it all wrong, because he did not come on the scene preaching the love of God, but repentance and the fear of God. Matthew 3:1, 2 says, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, REPENT ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And things only got hotter in his message. Matthew 3:7-12 says, “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
The message of repentance does not offend the wicked, so much, as it does the self-righteous people that are comfortable in their lives, and do not want to admit that they need repenting (i.e., like the Pharisees). Our church has seen this first hand. We were wondering if people even read our sign out front, because of the lack of comment about it. In the last few months we began to put messages geared toward repentance on it. And it has stirred up a flurry of criticism — all from people who claim to be religious. Not one lost sinner has complained to us about being unloving, because lost sinners often have a higher standard for how Christians are supposed to live, than Christians do for themselves. Quite to the contrary of what you think, it often does not offend lost sinners when you tell them that alcohol is evil. On more than one occasion going door-to-door with the gospel, lost people have brought up to me that their liquor is standing between them and God. I did not have to bring it up — they already knew it. It is the religious crowd that tries to defend their use of alcohol — not the lost sinners. The lost sinners know that Christians should not drink. We are living in a deeply compromised day when professing Christians are following Robert Schuler’s (the positive only message) and Rick Warren’s methods (the taking of polls to give people what they want in music, dress, etc.), instead of what God wants. We have chosen to follow what the Bible says, not what these men are teaching.