December 7, 2011

The Need for a Discriminating Ministry

The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines the word discrimination as: 
Able to recognize or draw fine distinctions; separating 
into distinct parts or components. 
When you study the New Testament ministry of John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Messiah, the ministry of Christ Jesus Himself, and the ministry of the Apostles, then you will find a common discriminating thread in their preaching and teaching. The sermons they preached and the parables they taught divided their hearers into two camps: the saved and the lost, the converted and the unconverted, those on the narrow way and those on the broad way, those who were cold and those who were hot, people serving God and those serving Satan. There was never a third comfortable category. The parables of Jesus describe the Kingdom of heaven (or church) as being composed of: wheat and chaff, wheat and tares, sheep and goats, five wise and five foolish virgins, both good fish and bad caught in the net, the two edged sword, etc. To be positioned in the middle, on the knife edge between these two extremes, is a difficult place to be. There is always tension between the ditch of dead orthodoxy and hyper-Calvinism on the one side, and the ditch of presumptive easy-believism and hyper-covenantalism on the other side. Jesus experienced this tension as well when He challenged the Pharisees who were in bondage to their hardened unbelief, trusting in their self-righteous law-keeping, and presuming upon their Jewish heritage. They responded to His discriminating preaching with 
“We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?”(John 8:33) 
The response of the crowds to His preaching was: 
As he spake these words, many believed on him”. (John 8:30) 
”But there are some of you that believe not.” (John 6:64) 
“So there was a division among the people because of 
him.” (John 7:43) 
That is what the gospel message does; it divides, it discriminates. If you remove this tension and fail to make the distinction of discriminating between these two positions, you lose the power of the gospel.

- Jack.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks Jack for stating this point so clearly.

    A Biblical truth that can only be ignored at the peril of our souls and our churches!


    Connor

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jack, thanks for this. The tendency to compromise here is weakening the church. I appreciate you ministering to the church this way. henk

    ReplyDelete