“Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”
Paul now describes the purpose of his ministry.
“Him we preach”
Everything centers on the Lord Jesus Christ. Christianity is person-oriented (Acts 8:5, 35; 9:20; Gal. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:23,24; 2:2; 2 Cor. 1:19; 4:5). It is far more than dead doctrine. It is a living doctrine because it revolves around a person.
“Preach” here is not the common word for “preach.” It means to announce or declare publicly a message under a given standard. The standard is the Word of God. If it lines up with the Word, we preach it, and we expose it if it is contrary to the Word.
“warning every man”
A warning is necessary because of the heresy in the Lycus Valley. “Every man” is every Christian person. Paul wanted to correct by a warning. The word “warning” means to put something in mind, admonish. It is an unpleasant task to flag people down. Many do not know they are in danger, but they run pell-mell toward a steep precipice. Today, many preachers are reluctant to warn others of dangerous doctrine lest others view them as narrow-minded or bigoted.
The doctor must both diagnose and cure. Paul executes the diagnosis side of his task with a “warning.” If the church does not diagnose the sickness that pervades her, she may contract a severe illness that ultimately destroys her.
If Christianity does not expose false teaching, it will disappear in the mush of pluralism and relativism.
Years ago, Josh MacDowell’s book “Right From Wrong” warned young people and their parents that 57% of evangelical youth no longer affirm that an objective standard for right and wrong exists. A national survey of evangelical youth uncovered some appalling trends:
· 66 % lied to their parents within the past three months
· 36 % cheated within the past three months
· 23% tried to hurt someone within the same period
· 55 % engaged in sexual activity by age 18
Evangelical Christianity has declined so far that it even devalues those who warn against such decline. We view those who hold such standards as bigoted and narrow. Tolerance is the central truth about which everything else revolves. Today the average Christian would impeach Paul for violating their belief in tolerance toward objective truth. They would indict Luke for saying,
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
They would have to do the same with the Lord Jesus Christ because he said he was the “only way” (John 14:6).
If we buy into subjective tolerance, we will become indifferent to sharing the gospel with others. We will no longer love and care for people, for that gives the impression that we place ourselves above them. The Bible does not establish tolerance as the central value of God’s thinking, but it sets the objective truth of Christ central.