God wants you to say the right thing at the right time.
When given in love, timely words of encouragement, rebuke, or peacemaking are tremendously beneficial. They can literally change a situation from bad to good in a matter of seconds.
. . . know how to sustain the weary one with a word. —Isaiah 50:4
Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious . . . —Ecclesiastes 10:12
Words are timely only if they help the situation. If anger is increasing, “. . . a soft tongue breaks the bone,” (Proverbs 25:15) and “a gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1). Always be sensitive to the situation at hand. And,
There is an appointed time for everything . . .
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up;
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance . . .
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing . . .
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together . . .
. . . a time to be silent . . .! —Ecclesiastes 3:7
I recently brought a woman into our Bible Study group without first knowing any of her doctrinal positions. In the Bible study, she made a statement to the group regarding her own strength and spirit. She went on to say, “Everyone learns differently according to their experiences of who God is,” which leaves the possibility of having more than one way to Christ. To make the atmosphere less stressful, I attempted to restate her words to cover her meaning of God, but fell terribly short as far as the other study group members were concerned. I said something like, “there are many roads that can be taken to arrive at the same destination.”
When she left, they let me have it. The discussion leader said he didn’t want to discuss welcoming someone who is lost to unsound doctrine, that he “must defend Jesus Christ and His honor.” Now I know full well that Jesus said, “no one comes to the Father, except through Me.” But I was just trying to ease an awkward situation by saying there are many differing lifestyles, prior to receiving Christ. Besides, Jesus said to love as He loved and even though 99 are found, go after the one lost sheep.
This young lady is now more confused than I am. At the moment, I would love to fellowship with people who know and live the life of loving and just leave the battle to the Lord. Don’t you think they overreacted?
One of the main reasons we are left on earth after we are saved is to be used by God to reach others who are lost. That is God’s chosen way of evangelism. People are saved by the Holy Spirit, usually by hearing a testimony or Scripture reading by someone already saved.
Your Bible study leader seems to have missed that point. For God to drop either an extremely naive Christian, or non-Christian, right in the middle of your group should have caused excitement for the opportunity. That’s one of the main reasons to learn Scripture—TO WITNESS OR TEACH WHEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY!
Regarding his overreacting, you probably scared him to death with that “more than one way to heaven” stuff. That’s a Bible teacher’s worst nightmare—someone spouting heresy to those he’s trying to teach. He, as teacher, is charged with doctrinal purity.
. . . not to teach strange doctrines . . . —1 Timothy 1:3
If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words . . . he . . . understands nothing . . . —1 Timothy 6:3-4
. . . speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. —Titus 2:1
And, as a teacher, he probably has read the verse that teachers “incur a stricter judgement” (James 3:1). He may have even dealt with the situation differently if you hadn’t tried to defend her, even though you had the best of intentions. Don’t give up on the Bible Study. It would have been worse for your teacher to err the opposite direction. At least he is defending Scripture the best he can. We suggest you should meet with your teacher one on one and prayerfully discuss BOTH your concerns. ______________________________ ______________________________
Don’t give up on the Bible Study. It would have been worse for your teacher to err the opposite direction. At least he is defending Scripture the best he can. We suggest you should meet with your teacher one on one and prayerfully discuss BOTH your concerns.
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Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible, copyright The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977. Used by permission.
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