by Sam Stinson
"And the woman said to Elijah, 'Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth'" (I Kings 17:24).
Brethren, Jesus rightly said that God's word is truth (John 17:17). God's word has the ability to sanctify those who would hear and obey it. But the world, ever desiring to avoid purity, hardly strives for a new reason to reject the gospel when all the classic justifications come to ready response to those who are hardened in heart (II Corinthians 4:3). As we preach the gospel, we experience resistance, often hearing terms the world has come up with to describe those who preach Jesus to nonbelievers: Bible Thumpers, Fundies, and Jesus Freaks. These illustrate that the practice of labeling those one disagrees with, instead of discussing their doctrine, has its roots neither in the Spirit or spiritual thinking but in the world and demonic, carnal, fleshly thinking.
Let's focus on the term Bible Thumpers, an expression I used in ignorance when I was in the world. According to Wikipedia, it is, "a pejorative term used to describe Christians in general, especially someone perceived as aggressively pushing their Christian beliefs upon those who do not share them." To be a Christian is to be a preacher of Christ. What can we do to lovingly reply to this label? Here are three exhortations to aid our efforts in doing this.
Let us preach the truth
Jesus is the Son of God, the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world; In believing in him each person may have life in his name (John 20:31; 1:29). It is because of God's love for the world that he sent his Son for the sins of us all (John 3:16).
Let us contend for the truth of the faith (Jude 3)
The Bible is God's word, which is our example for proper conduct. The world, lost in sin, does and should compare our actions to Jesus. Should we aggressively teach that Christ is necessary? Yes, let us humbly and lovingly do this. Who is Jesus meant for? Only those already sanctified? No, but for those who are lost that they might be found.
Let us practice the truth
Robert Ingersoll once asserted, "Hands that help are far better than lips that pray." Peter said that the Lord's ears are open to those who are just, actively strive to do good and avoid doing evil (I Peter 3:12; cf. James 5:16; 2:14). Let us correct Ingersoll's assertion: "Hands that help are essential for lips that pray." The woman who spoke to Elijah in the beginning quote knew that God was with him not simply because of his words but she saw his works. Let us likewise humbly practice good works in our daily walk, illustrating our words with actions, providing the world a sincere example of faith, hope, and love. (Galatians 6:9-10)