There are many who use the statement that Jesus was “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 11:19) to rationalize their social alliances and “after-work” camaraderie with immoral and ungodly people. They do this without any concern or attempt to harmonize the clear statements of Scripture which warn that “bad company ruins good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33), rhetorical questions like, “What partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14), or God’s admonition for Christians to “go out from their midst and be separate from them” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Jesus did of course dine with “tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 9:9-10), but what many seem to purposefully overlook is that Christ’s agenda in those settings was clearly stated – “I came to call sinners to repentance” (Mt.9:12-13; Luke 5:32). Christ’s enemies tried to make him out to be a companion of evildoers, along with calling him “a glutton and a drunkard” (Matthew 11:19), which also was not true. Obviously, all Christians will have necessary interaction with ungodly people in this world (1 Corinthians 5:9-10), and like Christ, we should periodically plan strategic times with immoral people, not to “take part in” their lifestyle, but rather to “expose it” and to plead with them saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:6-14). But when it comes to “down time”, “hanging out” or social interaction, the Scripture is consistently clear: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20).
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There are no stupid questions. Teachers in the classroom often use this didactic phrase to remind us that if we have a question about something, we shouldn’t be afraid to ask. And when it comes to the most important subject of all, the same rule applies.
As Christians, we can be timid in regards to our questions and doubts about God, the Bible, and living the Christian life. But asking hard questions actually prepares us for our task as followers of Jesus to always be “prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). At Focal Point, we aren’t afraid to ask tough questions. And we are firmly committed to studying and searching God’s Word, the authority on truth, for answers.
As a thank you for your gift this month, I would like to send you a copy of an excellent book called The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask. Author Mark Mittelberg provides answers to tough questions like “How can I trust in Christianity when so many Christians are hypocrites?” and “Why should I think that heaven really exists—and that God sends people to hell?” You will also find helpful tips for how we can respond to these challenges with truth and grace. The book even includes a chapter on the questions our friends need us to ask them.