This article is about professing Christians entering into the public eye through ABC’s The Bachelorette. Before discussing the ramifications of what happened on the show, I will attempt to establish the Biblical responsibilities of being a Disciple-maker to teach new converts the way of Christ in order to avoid these types of blunders.
Discipleship is one of the most important things to be involved with in Christian ministry. By being a teacher and leader of the gospel of Christ, this sometimes involves focusing on lifestyles of professed Believers, not judging them, but bringing to their attention how to live a Christian lifestyle as opposed to allowing them to continue in a lifestyle that is unholy. A new Christian may not know nor understand sin in their life. They may only be what we call a “Baby Christian,” but has never grown into a “Mature Christian.” If a person accepts Jesus as one’s Savior but then never really studies the Word of God, they will have stunted growth in their faith walk with Christ.
If we read 1 Peter 2:2-3, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” New Believers are like infants and they need to be fed spiritually. They do not automatically know how to live the Christian lifestyle. Peter uses this imagery of new birth as mentioned in 1 Peter 1:23, “since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” New Believers are “born again.” They are “babies” in Christ. In order for their faith to grow in understanding on how to live a life of Christ, they must be spiritually fed. As Peter writes, as a newborn baby drinks the milk of his or her mother, a new Christian should have the same yearning for spiritual food.
Mature Christians should be teachers of God’s Word to these new converts by discipling them with teaching that is pure and nourishing based on God’s Word. Look in Hebrews 5:12-14, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Again, although milk is nourishing for infants, the author of Hebrews desires that his readers become mature Christians in which solid food is more appropriate. The maturity needed to grasp Christ’s priestly ministry consist of a spiritual discernment which comes from consistent obedience to God’s will.
Paul wrote in Philippians 1:9-11, “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Paul is telling the Philippians through his prayer for them that the Christian faith which is knowledge and discernment, comes to expression through Christian love and behavior that is pure and blameless. It is important to note that through discipleship, the teaching of a new convert is important so that they will grow into mature Christians and not stay as infants on spiritual milk.
As I mentioned in the second paragraph, Discipleship is very important in helping a new convert in their daily walk with Christ. It is important to help them grow spiritually and to pour into them the gospel and ways of God. It is my hope that this article will bring to light what Christians should be doing when they profess Christ in public and then act in a different manner in the public arena.
As most of America watched most recently was the journey of Hannah B on ABC’s “The Bachelorette.” Hannah was looking for a husband. She was a professed Christian on the show and was immediately attracted to a man who also proclaimed to be a Christian by the name of Luke P. What they had in common was that they both professed Christ as their Savior. I do not think they realized that their lives would be so scrutinized by their actions on the show or how the show portrayed each of them. Their lives were under a constant microscope through the social media platform as well as the viewing television public. Choices made as well as actions on both parts lead to an ugly public break-up. Both had admitted that when they came on the show, neither were virgins. Luke admitted that after his conversion to follow Jesus, that he chose to remain celibate until marriage. It appears that the show made Luke out to be a “bad” Christian with camera shots of Luke’s anger and clenched fists.
In contrast to Luke, Hannah’s profession of faith was tainted with nude bungee jumping with a man, having sex four times with Peter in a windmill, spending the night with Peter in the “Fantasy Suite,” spending the night with Jed in the “Fantasy Suite,” and admission to Luke that she had sex twice with one of the other men (Peter), and that “Jesus still loves me.” These are just a few of the things that Hannah admitted to on the live show. She never had sex with Tyler, one of the three remaining contestants on the show.
Hannah ended up picking Jed, which he in turn proposed to her and she said “yes.” She later found out that Jed had slept with his former girlfriend the night before he came on the show. Hannah later broke off the engagement and gave back the engagement ring to Jed. On the live show, Jed was interviewed with Hannah and was shamed in his action of coming on the show and having a girlfriend.
Now do not get me wrong, this article is not meant to “shame” Hannah or Luke, but is written with hopes of bring to light how this generation views Christianity but does not follow God’s way of life. Unfortunately, the American Church has not done a very good job in discipling new Believers and are not feeding their congregants with solid spiritual food. As pastors, ministers, and disciple-makers, we must get back to basics and teach and preach the solid Word of God and not a politically correct watered down version of it. I truly believe that the reason that many young adults today are falling away from the Church is because the sound teaching is no longer being preached and taught from the American pulpit. That in itself is another story.
Recently on Twitter, I saw a Tweet about Hannah and Jed from the show and she shamed Jed in his multiple hookups with women prior to coming on the show. The problem I see here is that although she is judging Jed in his own sin, her sin is not addressed and her lifestyle does not match up with that of a Follower of Christ. The relationship with Jed, although at one point was intimate, was a throw away relationship when it came to light of Jed’s sin. It is hard to understand that if there is a true love relationship, forgiveness is not granted, therefore breaking up with the man she said that she loved and she had given herself to him.
Before the engagement, she had had carnal knowledge (sex) with Peter four times in a windmill. Having sex before marriage and in a dating relationship is called fornication and is as bad as adultery. As for a true love relationship, a true born again Christian would save himself or herself for marriage. Certainly, our society today may not live up to this because Christian leaders do not teach young people about sex, purity, and the righteous way to live holy lives based on the gospel of Christ.
A true Christian does not brag about how many times one has sex with a person or uses phrases like “Jesus still loves me” after admitting to committing fornication (sex before marriage) or adultery. This poses a flawed theology of the professing Believer. Jesus does love everyone and He wants a true relationship with all who come to Him. But don’t think that being promiscuous and willfully committing a sexual sin doesn’t mean that God will honor that behavior. On the contrary, that behavior causes a separation in our walk with God.
God’s grace is not cheap! Do not grieve the Holy Spirit by living a life in “willful sin.” If you love God and you call yourself a Christian, one would not want to brag about sin, but strive to please God through holy living, living a life of Christ, according to His guidelines, through His grace, love, and mercy.
Speaking the truth about how Jesus taught us to walk and live as a Christian Believer should not offend those who proclaim to be Followers of Christ. After all, Discipleship is teaching others how to walk and live the Christian life. As a minister of the gospel of Christ and a Disciple-maker, I will question those who willfully sin and attempt to disciple those so that they will fully understand the consequences of their actions.
Paul wrote in Romans 3:23, “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.” But this Scripture does not give us a pass or an excuse to continue sinning. We are to strive to live holy lives pleasing to the Lord. We are not to willfully sin and be proud of it. The Bible is very clear in Hebrews 10:26-27, “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgement, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.”
If you are a new Christian, but have fallen back into sin, you can come back into a full relationship with Jesus by confessing your sin and asking Jesus to forgive you. Living the life of Christ can be difficult since our human bodies are designed in carnality, but through the Holy Spirit, He will lead and guide you as you study God’s Word. It is time to grow up into the man or woman God has called you to be, and that is through being spiritually fed with solid spiritual food as opposed to spiritual milk.
I will close with this one last piece of advice coming from Ephesians 4:17-32, “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Photo Credit: PEXELS, Hassan Ouajbir
Copyright © August 3, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.