Conviction Ignored

Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death and could not do so; for Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him. – Mark 6:19-20

Herod Antipas, who married his brother’s wife (Herodias), incurred the very public condemnation of John the Baptist. This infuriated the royal couple, so they had John arrested and imprisoned. While incarcerated, it seems that Herod and John spoke often. I am sure that John and the Jewish king discussed sin, redemption, and the One who would baptize by fire. Apparently, Herod was even greatly disturbed (very perplexed) by what he heard, but he never repented or even acknowledged his sin.

Today, there are many within our churches that think the goal of the Sunday sermon is to be “disturbed.” Like Herod, they want to be “preached at,” but while they “enjoy listening,” they do not heed or respond in obedience. They embrace the cathartic moment of spiritual conviction, thinking this is all that God intended. The danger is that consistent conviction without repentant response leads to a callousness of heart and great spiritual danger.

When your conscience is confronted by God’s truth, the pain or discomfort you sense is the Holy Spirit guiding you to change. We ignore such direction to our peril.

Never mind what others call you. God alone knows every heart; character is all that matters. Lord, to us this grace impart. – Hess

Published by Dr. David Pope

Dr. David Pope is the Founder and CEO of Pope Initiatives. ARM Solutions is a division of Pope Initiatives that exists to activate collaborative efforts for sustainable impact among the global unreached.

One thought on “Conviction Ignored

  1. Thanks, David. Like you, I have had the sad experience of seeing this first hand. I’ve heard church members say, “Step on my toes!” But what they really want is a message where their emotions are stirred; often decrying someone else’s sin.

    Should God lead us to teach from a passage where the Spirit reveals their sin, the response is often anger and accusations we are personally attacking them.

    Much like an addict seeking a greater “high,” we can become so accustomed to the superficial and sensational we actually grow dull to the Spirit and we find we are not moved at all by the quiet voice of God.

    When this happens one may think God’s word is only powerful when preceded by professional-quality music, preached with the skill of an Apollos, and backed by the latest lighting and sound technology.

    It may well be that to a degree, we who are preachers, in an effort to keep attendance climbing, have actually created this mirage of ministry and then wonder why members are not more mature. If we had combined passionate preaching with personal discipleship, perhaps our churches would be healthier today.

    Liked by 1 person

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