Pristine Grace

You Can't Beat the Truth into People!
by Brandan Kraft
You Can't Beat the Truth into People!

And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. - Acts 16:14

    In the zeal and ignorance of my youth, I used to think if I presented the truth just right, and pounded the message home hard enough, then people would come to agree with me.  I wouldn't admit that of course, but my actions stated otherwise.  I used to get in long debates and discussions on the sovereignty of God and the Gospel in hopes that I could reason with people into believing the truth.  But all I was doing was displaying my own unbelief!  I wasn't resting in the Lord's sovereignty!  Think about it, we do this all the time when we grow impatient with other things, events, and people.  We forget it is the Lord who is in control, and causes all things.  

    And here in the book of Acts, we have Lydia, the seller of purple, who believed the truth.  She wasn't browbeated or threatened.  She wasn't scared with the fires of hell into making a profession.  No, she was moved and led by God to attend unto the things spoken of by the Apostle.  The scriptures assert clearly that it was the LORD who opened her heart.  Oh that we could get it through these thick skulls of ours that we simply lack in all areas compared to the sovereign work of the Lord.   There are not enough persuasive words we can use to convince someone to believe the truth if the Spirit of God does not open their heart and mind.  And with that knowledge, we need to consider our approach when preaching the truth!

    We hear from many in the sovereign grace camp that the offense of the cross is not spoken enough.  This is true.  But I've seen many folks who are guilty of adding offense to the cross.   They do this because they aren't trusting in the Lord.   And I've seen other men who act as though they think they can bombard, argue, scare, and beat into submission an unbelieivng world.  But like the zeal of my youth, this only proves these men do not rest in the Lord's sovereignty.  Although I never had the privilege of meeting Scott Richardson, I've been told of a story he used to tell regularly about feeding chickens.  If you walk into the yard and take chicken feed and throw it at the chickens, they will scatter.   But if you slowly and gently place the feed on the ground,  you'll eventually have the chickens eating off of your boot.  You simply need to trust the hungry chickens to act like hungry chickens.  They're going to come and eat.  And that is the way it is with needy sinners - those whom the Holy Spirit is convicting.  We don't need to throw the Gospel at the sheep.  Simply present the truth in love and wait on the Lord to do a work in the hearts of His people.  And like Lydia, they will soon be eating that satisfying Gospel food.  Let's trust the Lord to open hearts.  Let's rest in His sovereignty.