Luke #36 – Unpopular
“But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison” (Luke 3:19-20 – King James Version)
It was a sickening scene to me; President Bill Clinton acted immorally and our nation basically shrugged our collective shoulders and did nothing. Hearings were held and sex was redefined and that was about the end of the whole thing. From that day until this one every time I hear someone say that America is a Christian nation I openly disagree. At best America is a nation with a lot of churches and some Christians. Every person that claimed any kind of morality at all should have been outraged and shouted that man right out of office. As usual the Christian community, with the exception of a few brave voices, did not rise up and take a stand. Many said it was Clinton’s personal business and had no bearing on his leadership. PHOOEY! I could see forgiving a man who openly admits his mistakes, is broken because of them, learns from them, and repents from such behavior. Not only did Bill Clinton not seem to feel bad about this wrong, but he tried to justify, ignore, and deny it. As an American, it was a sad situation.
John the Baptist lived in a time just like that. Herod was ruler of Galilee and fully cooperative with the occupation forces of Rome. He had basically stolen his brother’s wife and married her. To top it off, Herodias was Herod’s niece. That is both incest and adultery. John called it what it was and it got him in big trouble (Mark 6:17-28). He was imprisoned and later executed (Luke 9).
John’s boldness in speaking the truth made him unpopular to say the least. We should be careful to note that John called sin what it was not because he was being a jerk; rather, it was the opposite. Let’s not forget that John’s mission was to prepare people for the coming Messiah. He was not a man of hateful ways. When he discovered that his disciples were leaving him to follow Jesus, John said, “The bride will go where the Bridegroom is. A Bridegroom's friend rejoices with Him. I am the Bridegroom's friend, and I am filled with joy at His success. He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less” (John 3:29-30 – NLT). What tenderness! What humility! He was not trying to win people to John but to Jesus.
Why do I bring this up? It is of the utmost importance that we speak the truth about sin even it makes us unpopular. However, we cannot do it from a spirit of arrogance or pride. We must speak the truth in humility, brokenness, and love; being ever mindful of the grim future for those who will not repent and turn to the Lord.
Now, we must also be mindful that being witnesses of Christ will make us very unpopular. Are we willing to risk that? We may be thought strange; we will be ostracized; it will not be easy. I will tell you this much…I am so thankful that there were people who called my sin what it was. I am so thankful that I realized my guilt and met my Savior. I used to get mad at people like Vernon Wilkerson who always talked about God. Now I think Vernon is a saint! Personally, I will run the risk of making folks mad at me. I will be unpopular. I know that if I am bold for Christ this world may levy punishment on me, but if I make one hundred people mad and one of them realizes their sin and turns to God it will ALL be worth it!
Popularity is not my goal; pleasing God is my goal. Turning people on the love of God is my goal. I refuse to simply walk through this life letting people commit spiritual suicide while doing nothing. If that causes me to be unpopular, then let it be so. I want the approval of God, not that of men. I will call sin what it is. I will do my best to do that in love and humility. Will you join me on this holy mission? Will you risk being unpopular? Will you decrease so that Christ may increase?