Jude 1:3: Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Non-Christians can sometimes be won by convincing them of the incorrectness of their beliefs and actions. Some might think of our efforts to convince them of the incorrectness of their beliefs as being hard on them. The fact is that God and The Bible are hard on them. Sometimes being hard on them is what they need. If we want to get them off the wrong spiritual path and onto the right one we are actually for them. Hate the sin but love the sinner.

One of the most successful efforts to turn people to God reported in the Bible was conducted by Jonah upon the Ninevites. It is especially interesting that the entire city repented in spite of the fact that Jonah hated them before and after he brought them the message from God that they were facing judgment. Jonah did not minister to the Ninevites out of love. He only did it because he was forced to. His motivation stunk.

Jonah 1:2: Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

Jonah 3:4-5: And Jonah began to enter into the city a day*s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

Jonah was actually given the date when judgment would fall on Nineveh. Since we don*t know the date of people*s judgment we sometimes lack a sense of urgency in dealing with them. We need a sense of urgency at every opportunity of dealing with any lost person. Their judgment is certain if they do not turn to God and it might fall at any moment.

Our willingness to oppose the lost can be a part of God*s plan to save them. I once had a vigorous debate with a gentleman who was actually shouting about the things he believed. My quotes from the Bible were not as loud as his shouts but they were not soft answers. I was of the opinion that man would never be saved. Because I had been very firm in dealing with him I believed that I had failed him. About six months later I had the joy of leading him to Christ. Somehow my taking a stand gave him respect for me or for what I said. Perhaps the Word of God that I had boldly quoted accomplished what God intended in spite of my raising my voice.

Isaiah 55:11: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

A Christian friend of mine had a loud unpleasant debate with a co-worker. My friend had a schedule to meet so the last thing he shouted as he walked away was YOU NEED JESUS! The next time my friend encountered that co-worker the man had received Christ.

When John the Baptist called people vipers it was definitely not gentle.

Matthew 3:7: But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

When Jesus Himself called people serpents it was the right thing to do or He wouldn*t have done it.

Matthew 23:33: Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

When Jesus told people to repent or die it was the right thing to do.

Luke 13:3: I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

When Peter accused the Jews of killing Christ it was the right thing to do.

Acts 2:22-23: Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

We never know what we can say that will have an impact on a non-Christian but we must make a stand. Whenever possible our stand should include direct quotes from the Bible.

Romans 10:17: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

There are no people toward whom we should be apathetic.

Matthew 22:39b: . . . Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Leviticus 19:34: But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

Luke 6:27: But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

Almost everyone is a neighbor, a stranger or an enemy. There isn*t anyone we are not supposed to love. Love is not necessarily a mushy-gushy feeling. Love is a choice. Love leads to action for the benefit of the one loved. The most loving thing we can do for anyone is to try to get them to heaven.

The power of the Word of God and the power of the gospel are not dependent upon perfect preachers or upon preachers with a perfect method.

Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Philippians 1:15-18: Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

Sharing the Word of God and the gospel of Christ is not limited to the leaders of churches. We should all do it. There are as many methods believers can use to share the Word of God and the gospel as there are unbelievers. Every encounter must be controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Jude 1:22-23: And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Romans 11:14: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.

1 Corinthians 9:19-22: For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon on Matthew 10:34: I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword.

The Christian will be sure to make enemies. It will be one of his objects to make none; but if to do the right, and to believe the true, should cause him to lose every earthly friend, he will count it but a small loss, since his great Friend in heaven will be yet more friendly, and reveal Himself to him more graciously than ever. O ye who have taken up His cross, know ye not what your Master said? I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother; and a man*s foes shall be they of his own household. Christ is the great Peacemaker; but before peace, He brings war. Where the light cometh, the darkness must retire. Where truth is, the lie must flee; or, if it abideth, there must be a stern conflict, for the truth cannot and will not lower its standard, and the lie must be trodden under foot. If you follow Christ, you shall have all the dogs of the world yelping at your heels. If you would live so as to stand the test of the last tribunal, depend upon it, the world will not speak well of you. He who has the friendship of the world is an enemy to God; but if you are true and faithful to the Most High, men will resent your unflinching fidelity, since it is a testimony against their iniquities. Fearless of all consequences, you must do the right. You will need the courage of a lion unhesitatingly to pursue a course which shall turn your best friend into your fiercest foe; but for the love of Jesus you must thus be courageous. For the truth*s sake to hazard reputation and affection, is such a deed that to do it constantly you will need a degree of moral principle which only the Spirit of God can work in you; yet turn not your back like a coward, but play the man. Follow right manfully in your Master*s steps, for He has traversed this rough way before you. Better a brief warfare and eternal rest, than false peace and everlasting torment.

There are things we should not contend against. We ought to pick our battles. God can give us the wisdom to know the difference between irrelevant issues and important ones. With God*s help we can be firmly opposed to sin while being sympathetic and gracious to the sinner. It is helpful for us to recognize that unbelievers are their own worst enemies. They oppose themselves when they oppose God.

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