In this 4th, and final, tip there is the idea of balance when it comes to the delivery of God’s word by the preacher (or anyone teaching).
Tip #4 is simply: Be friendly, but be clear
Being blunt isn’t always bad, but it’s not always useful. Then again, sugar-coating doesn’t change the needed medicine does it?
With that in mind, it makes sense that Paul would admonish the church to let our “…speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Colossians 4:6 NKJV), to speak “…the truth in love….” (Ephesians 4:15 NKJV), and to remember, “ to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.” (Titus 3:2 NKJV). Such is true Christ-like behavior (1 Peter 2:1-3, 21-23).
But graceful speech does not have to betray the truth of God’s grace. This is why, when it comes to the sharing the truth of God’s word, Paul also said, “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness—God is witness.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4-5 NKJV), and “As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:9-10 NKJV), and to remember to, “…speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1 NKJV) and to never forget the responsibility of preaching, “…the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2 NKJV)
We are not responsible for how people respond to the truth of God’s word, but we are responsible for the way we present it (James 3:1-2, Philippians 1:15-17, Acts 18:24-28).
So remember to be friendly when presenting God’s word, but also remember that true friends speak the truth to one another.
“Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:5-6 NKJV)