in preparing for a sermon on why there are so many denominations, I read through the book of Jude. The book was written to warn the church and give a rode map for the church to swim upstream. Jude exemplified the terse pastoral response.
Still, the warning is the point. His map guides us, but it is the warning and coming new reality that is the reason for the map. On numerous fronts there is injustice and rampant sin, even within the church. In our focus on grace, mercy and peace we must come to realize that sin is a reality to contend with, we cannot serve well if we ignore or not call out the problem.
The prophets, Apostles and Jesus called out sin. They also demonstrated how to serve as well, but they called sin for what it is. From sexual immorality, to stealing, to slavery, to tyranny, to rampant murder, to covetousness and idolatry, we must, as pastors, point out we’re in a nation desperately needing the Gospel. The U.S. is not the New Jerusalem.
Optimism isn’t ignoring the problem, it’s recognizing the problem and focusing on the solution. We must point out the problem and not let people ignore it if our solution focus is to be heard. Jesus doesn’t just want a relationship, he wants us free. The sins our nation struggles with leads to destruction, even when it doesn’t seem like it.
“But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.” http://esv.to/Jude1.10