If you know me at all, you know that I have a tendency to teach and speak on more somber biblical topics, such as hell, depravity, persecution, trials, sovereignty, election, etc. It’s not that I focus solely on these things but rather I don’t shy away from them. The high school Sunday School class I teach (which I see as a huge honor) know quite well this fact. We have discussed many tough issues and biblical stances.
But why do I do this? Why don’t I just focus on the happier and “more positive” parts of scripture? As I was reading Acts, I found the perfect statement by Paul:
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:26-32 ESV)
The reason I don’t shy away from teaching more somber biblical topics is because Paul tells us: wolves are coming. These wolves will deceive the sheep, not using the positive easy things that are often taught, but they will twist some doctrines and destroy the flock. How can they twist these doctrines? They twist them because they are not often laid out clearly and taught. That’s why Paul says “I declared to you the whole counsel of God.”
I mentioned in another post about the wedge how deception would come in five areas. I could call these issues the “gateway deceptions”. Few would be deceived by someone preaching against the Trinity since that is often taught. However they will and are being deceived about how the Lord sees homosexuality and universalism (to name a couple). It is for this reason that I desire to set myself like Paul and “admonish every one with tears”, “not ceasing day or night”. I often tell the students I teach that my goal isn’t to particulary help them with their life now (though I hope I do), but rather to prepare them for college (where most teenage Christians fall away) and for the next 30 years (where life could kill the heart’s desire for Jesus) where/when they will face possible diseases, hard financial times, death, and other difficult challenges. I want see them prepared to handle anything they face. I don’t want to see their faith shaken, simply because I candy-coated the Bible on what it says. This does not mean I need to be depressing (that doesn’t glorify Jesus and the Bible). It means that I approach these subjects with hope, compassion, and even joy (for every biblical topic helps us know Jesus more).