Some cringe at the idea of absolute truth. In a culture where truth is suspect and everything is supposedly relative, few like to be told what to think, let alone what to do. The undeniable reality, however, is God defines a moral and ethical standard for us, all of us. His morality is not situational. His expectations are clear and not based on popular trends.
Like it or not, God demands a way of life from His followers that does lead us down a narrow path, but it is the path that leads to life.
No one should like to push buttons just for the fun of it. Creating controversy just to get a rise out of people is unwise. However, speaking the truth in love is always a good idea. It still might upset some folks, but Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” (John 8:31, 32 NIV).
With this in mind, I’m going to make twelve popular statements and then provide (with very little comment) the simple, yet powerful, truth of God’s Word.
1. There’s nothing wrong with having sex with someone you love even if you’re not married. It’s not like I’m sleeping around; I’m in a monogamous relationship.
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. (Ephesians 5:3 NIV)
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures. (Galatians 5:19 NLT)
Note: The word translated “sexual immorality” in the Greek is porneia (fornication) “it is used of illicit sexual intercourse…illicit sexual intercourse in general…in the New Testament avoiding it is characterized by an unconditional repudiation of all extra-marital and unnatural intercourse.” [Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. 6, pg. 590].
2. I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)
All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27 NLT)
Note: The idea of “meeting together” was clearly understood by the New Testament believers to imply gathering as a church, whether in homes or in larger groups. As members of the Body of Christ, we need each other. To live outside of the connection of the local church would never have been accepted or endorsed by the early followers of Jesus.
3. Our president is a jerk!
Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king. (1 Peter 2:17 NLT)
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. (Romans 13:1 NLT)
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior. (1 Timothy 2:1-3 NLT)
4. I believe in God, but I’m not so sure about the Bible.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. (2 Timothy 3:16 NLT)
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. (Hebrews 4:12 NLT)
Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13 NLT)
Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2 NLT)
5. I don’t have to love Presbyterians.
There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28 NLT)
The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13, 27 NLT)
6. Don’t ask me to forgive my ex because he or she hurt me too deeply.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (Colossians 3:13 NLT)
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31, 32 NLT)
7. Giving 10% of my income to the church is just stupid. Besides, I’m not under the law!
“What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. (Luke 11:42 NLT)
So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own. (Luke 14:33 NLT)
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33 NLT)
You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. (2 Corinthians 9:7, 8 NLT)
Note: We are certainly not under the law or any fear of a “curse” if we fail to give. That being said, the New Testament teaching always goes to the heart of an issue, and we are commanded to give sacrificially and generously from our hearts and out of love. As disciples of Jesus, everything we have is to belong to Him. If the Old Testament standard was 10%, the New Testament believers should expect to meet that as a minimum and give even more in response to grace.
8. I think we should just drop a nuclear bomb on Muslim countries and take all their oil.
But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. (Luke 6:27, 28, 35, 36 NLT)
Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. (Romans 12:14 NLT)
9. I can dress however I like, do whatever I like, and use whatever words I like. Jesus doesn’t care if I drop the F bomb.
God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. (1 Thessalonians 4:3, 4, 7 NLT)
Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. (2 Timothy 2:22 NLT)
And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing…. (1 Timothy 2:9 NLT)
Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. (1 Timothy 4:12 NLT)
10. I’m not sure Jesus is the only way.
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 NLT)
For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, “The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’”There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11, 12 NLT)
God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names. (Philippians 2:9 NLT)
11. There’s nothing wrong with accepting a gay lifestyle.
Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 NLT)
So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. (Romans 1:24, 26, 27 NLT)
12. I don’t have to listen to my pastor; he’s an idiot anyhow.
Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. (1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13 NLT)
Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit. (Hebrews 13:17 NLT)
Some will struggle with these Scriptures arguing over interpretation or application. Some will dismiss them as the mere words of man, not God. Sadly, others will simply reject the Word and continue to do whatever they want to do and believe whatever they want to believe.
Nevertheless, maybe as Christ-followers we really are on a different path and follow a different way—the way of grace and truth.
It’s something to think about…