This has been a busy week: there has been a lot going on and not much time for writing. As I’ve been studying–both for myself and to get ready for services—I’ve been thinking a lot about Stephen and Peter in particular.
“But speaking the truth in love, [we] may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ […]” (Ephesians 4:15, KJV).
These men didn’t sugarcoat the Gospel and they did not compromise the Truth. They preached hard messages (some of the things they had to say are still painful to read today). But they did not do it to attack the people in Jerusalem. If you dig into the messages you can see that they are appealing to the people’s hearts and pleading with them to come to Christ. They spoke the truth in love…but make no mistake, they spoke the TRUTH. And the way the early church in Jerusalem grew during their ministries as a result was remarkable.
In an age where we’re encouraged by the world around us to downplay sin, repentance, and the need for redemption in order to make people comfortable and fill churches, why do we see churches increasingly empty? It’s because everything about the Gospel is counterintuitve, and maybe we need to take a second look at Peter’s playbook. The Gospel is not about comfort, but transformation.
We must speak the truth, speak it to people in love, and trust God to transform lives through His power.
“And the word of God did increase, and the number of the disciples did multiply in Jerusalem exceedingly […]” (Acts 6:7, YLT)