It is not sufficient just to know the truth, and to be able to teach it. Christians must speak the truth out of a disposition of love for the one being taught. This must be something that every elder, preacher, teacher and member must learn and understand before they handle the Word of God.
How often do we see brethren who get angry when teaching the Word of God. How often do brethren forget that they are not teaching their words, but rather God’s Word. How often do brethren forget that God’s Word is so often rejected. 1 Sam 8:7ff; Jer 6:19; Jn 12:48
Paul said, “Speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into him who is the head__Christ”. Eph 4:15 Christians who teach the Word must be mature, and not as Children tossed to and from with every wind of doctrine. Eph 4:14 We must grow in faith by adding to it virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” 2 Pet 1:5-7
Christians must grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, and mature in the faith. 2 Pet 3:18 We are to allow Christ to rule our lives as brethren. He is our head “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” Eph 4:16
The Lord’s servants are instructed, not to “quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil” 2 Tim. 2:24-26
No one likes to be instructed that their conduct is wrong. Frequently anger is displayed toward the one doing the teaching. They get angry at you. Once, Jesus’ disciples reported to him that his words had offended people. Jesus answered, “Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind…” (Matt. 15:12-14).
A servant of God must teach the word out of love for the sinner’s soul. It’s true we endanger ourselves by doing so, and it’s easy to lose friendship over God’s Word. Paul said, “Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth.” Gal 4:16 Yet we must love those who hate us by teaching them the Word of God. Mt 5:44 It’s never about being right, but being right with God.
It’s been said, “Truth without love is brutality, but love without truth is hypocrisy.” The scriptures said, “Mercy rejoices against judgment.” Jam 2:13 “Mercy and truth are met together, and righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Ps 85:10 Truth and love go together. One without the other is a perversion of God’s will. Yet,way to often we all are guilty of teaching merciless, that is, without love and compassion.
We often mask our failure to speak the truth to those who need it by saying we love them, and we don’t want to hurt them. Such is hypocrisy. This is love for ourselves, and not love for another’s soul. If we loved them, we would lovingly speak the truth that would correct the sin in their lives. No, it is not easy. Yes, they and others may misunderstand, accuse us of meddling, being self-righteous, and all the other malicious things people often say. But the Lord knows our heart, and why we reach out to lost souls.
Solomon said, “Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.” Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Prov. 27:5-6). If we truly love a sinner’s soul we will do what James spoke of: “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”
Think on these things. Pray earnestly about them. Pray for wisdom that you can make them a part of your life. Jam 1:5 Let us encourage one another to be the kind of friends Jesus spoke about: The kind that lays down their life for their friends. Jn 15:13,14 The kind who is willing to become your enemy so that they might have the opportunity to teach you the truth, and deliver a soul from hell. Gal 4:16 As Paul said, “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” 2 Tim 1:13 “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Tim 2:2 This we must do in and out of season, reaching out to as many who will hear the Word of God, out of love for their soul, and for ours. 2 Tim 4:2-5ff; Mk 4:23; 1 Tim 4:16