An Uncertain Sound
By: Gary L. Hutchens
Paul spent considerable time in his first letter to the Corinthians trying to help them correct their attitude pertaining to miraculous gifts. He gave a great deal of specific attention to their apparent misuse of the gift of “tongues” (languages). He emphasized that what was said and done in the assembly needed to be edifying for those gathered, and in order for it to be edifying it had to be intelligible. He illustrated the point by noting that a soldier blowing a trumpet to call an army to battle needed to blow the right notes so the other soldiers would know what was being signaled: “For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare for battle?"
As the Lord’s church it is our responsibility to stand on, and stand up for, the truth of God’s word (1 Tim. 3:15). It is also our responsibility to teach God’s word throughout the world (Eph. 3:10). This is crucial because people can be sanctified (saved) only through the teachings of God’s word (Jn. 17:17). A person can become a true disciple (follower) of Christ, and be set free from the condemnation of sin, only through living by the teachings of Christ (Jn. 8:31-32).
Since we are responsible for teaching the gospel message of salvation throughout the world (Mk. 16:15-16; Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:21), we need to be sure to get right the message that we teach. The world does not need to hear an uncertain sound when it comes to the gospel. There’s enough of that out there already. They need to hear the truth, obedience to which can purify their souls (1 Pet. 1:22-23).
It’s unfortunate that so many supposed followers of Christ issue an uncertain sound in regards to God’s word. There are many different gospels being proclaimed in the denominational world today. Yet the apostle Paul resolutely affirmed that there is only one true gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). He stated that an altered gospel is a perverted gospel. The apostle John took it a step further, declaring that anyone who does not live “in the doctrine of Christ does not have God” (2 Jn. 1:9).
It’s sad to observe a strong tendency on the part of many, some even within the Lord’s church, to compromise on the truth of New Testament Christianity. It’s like hamburger chain Christianity- everybody wants to have it his own way. But claiming to follow Christ does not necessarily mean that a person is following Him in a true and faithful way (Matt. 7:21-23). We must submit our will to God’s will. We cannot compromise on truth. We cannot give a wink and a nod to error being taught by many churches. We cannot give the impression that a little doctrinal error is OK.
The world needs to know the truth that will make them free from the guilt and condemnation of sin. Those who claim to be outright atheists need to hear the certain sound of God’s truth. Those who have never heard the teachings of Christ need to hear that truth. Those who have heard but have turned away from their Lord and Savior need to hear that truth. All mankind needs to know where to turn for real hope. Nobody needs to hear, especially from the Lord’s church, another uncertain sound…
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Gary L. Hutchens