God did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly. (2 Peter 2:5 NKJV)
If you ever try to take an old bone away from a dog, chances are you will be bitten, or even worse, torn apart. But, if you throw a nice steak over to the side, most likely the dog will forget about the old bone and go to the steak. Satan has most people in the world chewing on the old bones of a sinful life. If you try and preach righteousness, chances are you are in store for a very unpleasant experience. But, if you throw a nice steak over to the side and preach Jesus, there is a good chance they will see the glories of Jesus and walk away from a life of sin.
And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. (Acts 5:42 NKJV)
Sin was rampant in the world at the time of the flood, at the beginning of the Church Age, and now it is rampant at the end of the Church Age. Putting the emphasis on righteousness rather than Jesus when we witness to a dying world is like spinning our wheels in the mud. We really don’t get anywhere. Instead, we can get deeper and deeper in a rut. But, if we take the example of the early Church in the verse above and preach Jesus, we then can turn the world upside down.
Don’t get me wrong. There are times when we must point out sin when preaching Jesus to a dying world, but it must be with love, not condemnation.
Yes, homosexuality is sin. Yes, drug and alcohol abuse is sin. Yes, abortion is sin. Yes, promiscuous sex is sin. Our job is to concentrate on pointing to the better way, which is Jesus!
Notice in the first Scripture of this article, that outside of Noah and his family, not one person was saved from the flood because of Noah’s preaching of righteousness. The preaching of righteousness is mainly reserved for the Church. It is vitally important to the Church so we can live a life of holiness. When we live a life of holiness, we then can be effective witnesses for Jesus in a dying world.
Jesus Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness— by whose stripes you were healed. (1 Peter 2:24 NKJV)
Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. (Ephesians 4:22-24 NLT)
The world in Noah’s day was suddenly drowned because of their sin. In today’s world, it is quite different. People are slowly drowning because of their sin, but don’t recognize it. It is our job to throw them a life preserver. And that life preserver is Jesus! Some will take it, but many will not. That fate is up to them. At least we can know we did what we were called to do!
In conclusion, we learn that we cannot put the cart before the horse. We must preach Jesus first. Only after that, righteousness fits into the puzzle.
Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11 NKJV)
Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” (John 5:14 ESV)
“Preach Jesus to a dying World! Preach righteousness to a forgetting Church!”