By Irven Lee
0ne of the common requests of the irreligious to those of us who are interested in their spiritual welfare is, “Don’t push me!” What do they mean? They are actually asking that we let them alone in their indifference and worldliness. Their demand may sometimes be: “Don’t preach to me!”
Unfaithful members of the church and those who have never obeyed the first principles of the religion of Christ may explain that they may be active Christians sometime but that they will make up their own minds when they do. They do not admit that others may influence them. They think they will make their own decisions without outside aid.
The Gospel Must Be Preached
Shall we obey God or men? The very great commission given by the Christ to His disciples was that they go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15,16; Luke 24:46,47). “Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). According to the Bible, preaching is not in vain (Rom. 10:17).
The seed is the word of God, and people are to go out over the earth sowing this seed (Luke 8:4-15). The sower goes forth to sow, but some people will not receive the message. The hearts of some may refuse the word to the same extent that the roadway will not receive seed that they may grow and produce a good harvest. In years past people have said, “I appreciate your invitation, but I am just not ready. I will sometime.” Now, similar people try to make us feel that we are guilty of some evil called “pushing them” when we “preach” to them.
Protecting From The Gospel?
Some members of the church have decided that we should not try to talk to them at all about their souls because they will resent our “pushing them.” “Just be friendly with them, hunt with them, play ball with them, etc.” Do we ever mention Christ, or the church, or the Bible? If so, when and how? Would only a casual invitation to visit the worship service sometime be all we would ever dare do or say to them? When did hunting and fishing ever become more powerful than the story of Jesus? These irreligious people are not comfortable when they are reminded of the Christ who offers to redeem those who are obedient and who will judge the whole world in righteousness. Those who do not want to be “pushed” are usually the very ones that are not about to come and sit down to listen to a sermon. Will they be converted without the gospel?
Most of us talk enough about the weather, the economy, politics, and the threat of war. Who is there who needs to talk more of these things? If we talk to people twenty minutes about these things and two minutes about Christ, we are told that we must not “push them.” Their relatives may also advise that we not “push them” because these irreligious people have told them how they feel. The devil is putting across his point to these relatives.
We cannot force obedience, and it is possible for us to be impatient and unreasonable, but most of us touch this effort too lightly rather than with too much “push. ” We are much more likely to be timid about trying to save souls than to be overly zealous.
Paul reviewed his work at Ephesus in talking with the elders of the church (Acts 20:17-38). Please study this chapter carefully. “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ . . . . Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God . . . . Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.” Was Paul too “pushy”? Would he have done much more good by talking about the rights of slaves or the political errors of Caesar?
The first few chapters in Acts tell of the work of the twelve and of the thousands of converts at Jerusalem. “Daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42). Were they possibly guilty of this excessive zeal? They were very successful and, when persecution scattered them, they “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Let us get our instruction from the holy men of God who were moved by the Holy Spirit rather than from those who love “soft soap” in our day. Jude suggested that we earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 3). He was one of those who knew the power of the gospel and the right way of the Lord (Rom. 1:16).
Church people have, in many cases, become so weak in the faith that they just do not put on the whole armor and take the sword of the Spirit to fight a good fight. We are allowing the atheistic humanists to “push” us into a cave while they dominate the thinking of our nation. They use the television networks, the educational system, the courts, and Congress to set the standards of life for Americans, and they are teaching men to live according to the standards of animals in the jungle. We, as weak Christians, should be ashamed of our silence rather than of our being “pushy.” Some have well said that our silence is yellow rather than golden.
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 10, p. 306
May 17, 1984