Thus They Preach "Do Not Preach"
“‘Do not preach’—thus they preach— ‘one should not preach of such things;
disgrace will not overtake us.’”
If we were to sum up the world’s morality today, we could do so perfectly with: “‘Do not preach’—thus they preach.” This has become the banner of today’s culture. They stand in their “pulpits”, wherever they believe to find them—in movies, on social media, tv, books—and they preach endlessly about God’s word not being preached. The irony, of course, is that they preach this in everything they touch. People who claim to be so against being preached at are often the ones who preach the loudest. People who hate God’s Word love to take up preaching against God’s Word being spoken.
There is “nothing new under the sun” and we should not think it is so unique to the history of mankind for this to be the loud opinion of our day. God shows the same root of sin to be found all the way back in Micah’s day. The ways in which people walk in sin may slightly differ, but the root will be the same throughout all of human history: the fallen nature within man. And it is from this fallen nature within man that he believes it is best and good to silence the word of God and thereby permit his own perverse will. And in this we have the preaching of no preaching.
All ungodly people, all flesh, hate the Word of God and take offense at His warnings. Rather than turning at them, they dig in, clinging to their sins, and bare their teeth at God. While God’s greatest offense is our sin and corruption, and justly so, man’s greatest offense is God Himself and His commands for us to turn from such sin and corruption. Yet on the surface of man’s mind he only perceives the offense of being turned away from whatever it is that he desires, and he does not perceive that the thing he desires is greatly evil. To his fallen mind, gratifying his desires and getting whatever he wishes is what is good. To God’s mind, only that which is righteous is what is good. God is right, and yet man cares nothing for the truth.
As the church, we must be careful to not give in to the world’s demands. We must perceive where their offenses and demands spring from. If we only look at the surface of their offense it is easy for us to back down. We easily believe that a person’s offense means we have done something wrong. We believe this because that is what them being offended suggests. But we must understand that them being offended springs from fallen views of what is good, right, loving, and even true. They have a whole morality they believe from their own fallen minds. This morality is ultimately based upon believing God to be wrong for commanding them, correcting them, or judging them for their sins. All their variations of their morality spring from this.
It is important to note that here I am only speaking of if we are being offensive because we are walking with the truth, and not if we are offensive because of our own sins—or worse, are using the Word of God to be cruel and selfish. This must be stated because there are many people who seek to use the things of God in such wicked ways, and when they are resisted they flatter themselves as if they are merely being persecuted. In reality, they are resisted because they are jerks, trying to use the “truth” as a tool of abuse, oppression, and to support their selfish opinions. So, of course, I by no means mean that what they are doing is of the truth. It is just and right to resist such people, not rebellion.
But besides such people, we must understand that at the basis of all of our hearts is rebellion against God. It is a belief that we are more moral, just, and true than God. This is the pride and the fall of humanity. Look even here at when such people are cruel and misuse the Word of God—do we use these experiences as a permission to cast God off entirely, or do we rightly hate these sins and yet seek to still obey God in spite of them? (Rom 12:21) When we cast God off altogether, this reveals only our heart of sin; one that is content to disobey God and secretly grateful for the excuse.
All of us must see the difference between just offenses and unjust ones. And while it is right in some areas for people to be offended when there is sin, we must not presume to carry these things past their proper place. Our error is either that we deny people the right permission to hate sin and speak against it, or that we permit people to go too far, daring them to take up a contempt for God, His church as a whole, and His Word. In this error, we excuse people’s rejection of Christ, justifying such actions under the banner of them being victims. As if them being victims to certain people’s sins somehow makes them a victim to God. This is a great error, and it is the error that many walk in. Failing to perceive that this comes from man’s fallen nature, these people believe themselves to be victims of God at God’s rebuke, and that it is just to cast God off and His Words, as if God is the one in error, not them. Regardless of what sins people commit against us, even people in the church, there is never an excuse for us to cast away God’s Word, His Son, or obedience to Him.
We must be careful as the church to not give in to those doing this; we commit great sin when we seek to hide God’s Word, and we do this today because we are afraid of people’s offenses. And we are deceived into imagining that they have any right to be offended at God’s Word. If we participate in this are we not also ourselves people who are offended at the Word of God? Are we not ultimately of the same mind of the world—offended at true righteousness and holiness? “Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Matt 11:6) And in fact are we not people who live by the world’s version of what is good and have not yet truly comprehended what goodness actually is?
When the morality we prize is not God’s morality but is the world’s morality, then we absolutely are at enmity with God and in friendship with the world. (James 4:4)
September 30, 2020