The Mark of a Life

BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

The founder of a church which gained worldwide attention because of their protests at the funerals of U.S. soldiers, homosexuals and celebrities, passed away several years ago. While only God can judge this man’s heart, his life did not reflect that of a true follower of Jesus Christ, but a life affected by hatred.

We are called as believers to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19, 20, Acts 1:8). Certainly, in the process of doing this some people will be offended and reject what we say (John 15:18, 19; 1 Corinthians 1:22, 23). However, while we share the truth of God’s Word and who Jesus Christ is, if we do this without love, then as the apostle Paul said, we are nothing more than a meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1).

Jesus’ life was defined not by hatred but by love. In fact, His love for mankind is what brought Him to this earth to give up His very life setting us free from our sins (John 3:16, 17). This is what drives us in sharing the truth of the Gospel message: love for God and a love for others (Matthew 22:37-39). We should not alienate non-Christians because of their sin (1 Corinthians 5:9-11), but rather seek to lead them to Christ and trust God’s Holy Spirit to clean up their lives.

As Christians we recognize the eternal reality that awaits every single human being who rejects Jesus Christ (John 3:18, 36) and lives a life contrary to His will (Ephesians 5:5). Therefore, if we are to be an effective witness, it will be displayed through selfless acts of love and compassion:

But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27, 28).

A Declaration of Biblical Convictions

by Bill Rudge

Wounds from a friend are better than many kisses from an enemy (Proverbs 27:6).

Those with strong biblical convictions will not participate in activities and conversations which dishonor our Lord. We will not sit by in silence as Jesus Christ is maligned and ridiculed. We will not compromise our standards to please others or refrain from witnessing while people around us wander in confusion – dying before our very eyes. We will not just sit there passively and watch our loved ones be seduced by the spirit of this age. We will – we must – speak up and say something – even if it offends. It is better to offend others and be disliked now, than to be praised for conforming to the world and compromising convictions, but to be hated later for not warning them and telling the truth.

The Word of God calls us to be loving, gracious and non-judgmental to those without Christ, but to rebuke and correct those who claim to know Christ yet deny Him with their words or behavior, thereby leading others astray. When conversations become unprofitable, photos become crass or behaviors become licentious, we will excuse ourselves. Likewise, when professing Christians flaunt their supposed liberties for alcohol consumption … or display immoral conduct – all in the name of freedom – we will quickly depart.

Tolerance is not compassion and being non-judgmental is not the same as love. In the face of potential disaster, love compels us to warn of impending consequences. Our hearts are troubled and grieved as the moral values and lifestyles of our culture drift further and further from God’s standard. At the risk of seeming antisocial, we will not participate in unprofitable and degrading conversations or involve ourselves in behaviors and lifestyles that dishonor the Lord, even though our culture accepts them as normal.

Through Christ we will stand strong in the midst of accelerating apostasy and intensifying persecution. We will not compromise our biblical values or commitment to Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that we remain faithful to the end, being powerful and effective witnesses to those who have ears to hear, eyes to see and hearts to receive what the Spirit and Word are saying to this end-times’ generation.