Proclaiming Truth
Part 7

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A consistent commitment to truth is difficult and costly. We should ask ourselves whether we are willing to sacrifice having a “normal” American life to fulfill our calling as Christians and to influence those around us. In other words, are we more committed to proclaiming the truth than we are to our comfort?

The apostle Peter was under no delusion that people would respect and honor Christians for standing apart from cultural deceptions. Rather, Peter expected that men would slander, accuse, and persecute God’s people for being different from them and the rest of society. However, he concludes, “Even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. … Remember it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!” (1 Pet. 3:14, 17). Similarly, Jesus encourages, “What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven” (Luke 6:22–23a).

Jesus readily warns His followers of the difficulties that lay ahead: “The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you” (John 15:19–20).

Regardless of what it costs us, and whether others want to hear it or choose to listen, our job is to proclaim God’s truth. We give voice to God’s heart, making His appeal to embrace truth (2 Cor. 5:20), but as Jesus warned, we should not expect people to respond to our appeal any differently than they responded to Him. Some respected and even accepted what Jesus said, but others were skeptical and critical (Mark 8:27–29; Luke 11:14–15). Many mocked, hated, slandered, and persecuted Him—even putting Him to death (Matt. 26:63–68; Mark 15:29–32).

The ministry of the apostle Paul illustrates what it is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. After preaching to the intellectual elites in Athens, some mocked him, others respected him, and some believed him (Acts 17:32–34). It is not our responsibility to bring conviction—only to proclaim the truth (John 16:7–8). When we speak the truth, we flood the darkness with light, and we draw a moral line in the sand that compels people to choose sides. This is uncomfortable for both parties—we who proclaim the truth as well as those who are confronted by it (John 3:19–21; 2 Cor. 2:14–16). However, apart from truth, there can be no conviction, and apart from conviction, there can be no repentance. Therefore, becoming God’s cultural change agents involves boldly proclaiming God’s truth within our communities.

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. Biblegateway.com.