Should We Hand Out Twinkies To The Starving?

The brave sermon in Acts 14:14-15 was preached by brethren Paul and Barnabas in Lystra on their first missionary journey. While preaching the gospel there Paul healed a crippled man (Acts 14:7-10). The superstitious Lystrans thought they were the gods Jupiter (Zeus) and Mercury (Hermes). The local priest of Jupiter tried to worship them (Acts 14:13) provoking Paul and Barnabas’s response. They held nothing back in their response but spoke the unvarnished truth (the word of God) to them and condemned their paganism. The people later turned on them and nearly stoned Paul to death (Acts 14:19).

I wonder how religious liberals would have reacted to such a situation. For example the “Meet-You-At-The-Tap” folks would be too busy indulging in the pagan feasts which involved the consumption of mass quantities of alcohol, while they peddled a watered down gospel; a pseudo-gospel which allows drinking of alcoholic beverages as long as “you don’t get drunk” (Figure that one out!). The Community Church Movement would be too busy meeting the Lystran’s “felt needs” rather preaching to them not to “walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16) or the pagan lifestyle of idolatry and debauchery. Some brethren would have invited them to view their “Financial Peace University” videos on Wednesday nights hoping to ease them gently into the church. Financial problems can be a “hell-on-earth” but financial advice does not replace warnings about literal Hell fire which awaits the sinner if they do not repent (Mark 9:47-48).

Friends, we face an ungodly, hedonistic culture which is fast becoming like the pagan, idolatrous culture of Paul and Barnabas’s day. Are we to seek to reach them with diversions and perversions rather than the Truth? Would you feed a starving man Twinkies or nutritious food? May we seek to bring the sinner into the Kingdom of Heaven through the back door or honestly, with love, tell them the Truth and risk being rejected or worse? To do the latter is to fail to understand the spiritual battle with Satan we are in. As Jesus told Saul, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:18).

Brethren, let us preach and teach the Truth. This may involve upsetting truths about drinking, drug use, adulterous marriages, “living together,” gambling, cursing, homosexuality, pornography, covetousness, false doctrine, etc. But one soul saved from eternal damnation by the blood of Christ is worth it all (1 Corinthians 6:11). Roelf Ruffner

Mike Riley, Gospel Snippets

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