Evangelist, author and founder of the ministry Think Eternity, Matt Brown, just released his forthcoming book, “Truth Plus Love: The Jesus Way to Influence.“ In it, Brown encourages Christians to do a better job at representing the love of God while telling unbelievers about the truth of Jesus.
In an interview with Faithwire, Brown explained why he thinks the modern megaphone of social media can be problematic, while sharing how Christians can use it to effectively advance the Kingdom.
“The reality is all of us have more influence than we realize with people around us, but also social media has now allowed us to potentially influence hundreds or thousands more — more quickly than ever before in history,” he said.
“As Christians, we have to stop and think about how we are using these new tools,” Brown continued. “No other generation has had what we have, with 24-hour news media, the internet and mass connectivity, and social media where each of us has an ‘online megaphone.'”
Brown paraphrased a quote from Evangelist D.L. Moody, in which he argued that “out of 100 people outside the church, one might pick up a Bible and read it, but 99 will read the Christian.”
He pointed out that when you decide to follow Christ, you become an ambassador of Christ. From that point on, the way you act will affect how people see Christ.
“They need to see His truth, but they also need desperately to see His love!” Brown said. “People see who Jesus is by looking at our lives.”
“John writes about Jesus when he says, ‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth,'” he said, citing John 1:14.
“Additionally, Paul ties these two great themes of the Bible together in Ephesians 4:15 saying, ‘We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church,'” he added.
This is where Brown got the inspiration for his book title, “Truth Plus Love,” because as Christians, he believes we should be constantly growing in those two things.
“Truth without love is just a noise to the world around us,” he said. “Love without truth is disconnected from the power of God. Truth plus love will give us influence with the world around us, starting with our own families, communities, workplaces and even as believers in our nation and world.”
How should Christians act compared to non-believers?
Brown shared a quote from the book “The Mark of the Christian” by 20th century theologian Francis Schaeffer, where he emphasizes the importance of keeping a balance of truth and love, in which it is “constantly and consciously developed — talked about and written about in and among our groups and among ourselves as individuals.”
There must be a distinct difference in the way Christians disagree, and how the rest of the world disagrees — if not, there is a problem.
Brown explained that Schaeffer’s sentiments are still important today, even more so because Christians have access to thousands of “friends” and often don’t think twice before sharing their opinion on the topics that are flooding today’s world.
Because of this, Brown stressed that “it is more important than ever that we rediscover how to represent Jesus with both truth and love!”
How should Christians vocalize their opinions?
Speaking to Faithwire, Brown explained how important it is to learn how to “disagree graciously in today’s world.”
“It’s become a yelling match out there, and giving people dignity and grace even when we disagree with them has fallen to the wayside,” he explained. “But if believers everywhere pick up grace, and carry it as a banner, we could completely change the conversation in our nation, and I believe people would be drawn to Christ.”
Brown was quick to point out that learning to disagree graciously doesn’t mean that Christians shouldn’t speak up or speak truth into the lives of others. In fact, that’s fundament to our faith.
But he warns Christians about reacting to the news cycle in anger and spouting off opinions that are driven by that reactionary emotion.
“We need to hold up the fruit of the Spirit as a filter in how we speak and respond to a broken world,” Brown stressed. “Our visible love in how we speak and respond to people will give us influence for the truth we feel everyone needs.”
Using your social media “megaphone” in a positive way
In an age where the internet is extremely accessible, it can be hard to learn how to use social media platforms in a way that glorifies God.
“We are the first generation that has had to learn what this is, and how it affects all of us,” said. “In culture today, there is so much division and hate, and I think social media perpetuates this.”
Brown argued that social media can have both positive and negative ramifications. He shared the trap of comparison and the “fear of missing out” as two negative results while noting that there are good things that come from it as well.
“For instance, it’s never been so easy to share the Gospel with everyone you know, and with less reason for fear, since you are behind a screen, not face-to-face,” he said.
The motivation to write “Truth Plus Love”
Brown explained that this new book has been the cry of his heart in his everyday relationships.
“I long to grow in the fruit of the Spirit. For a long time, I had the wrong vision of what spiritual maturity looked like,” he explained.
“I thought it was to be intense in my faith, but I’ve come to realize it looks a lot more like the fruit of the Spirit: more love, more joy, more peace, more kindness, more faithfulness and the like,” he said.
Brown explained that people are drawn to people that embody the fruit of the spirit, and by trying to become more like Jesus, they will point others to Him.
“The reality is that truth, love, and the fruit of the Spirit are extraordinarily needed in today’s culture,” he said. “But I especially hope believers will read this together with friends and in small groups.”
“I pray it will be a huge blessing in your life as you read it, and that it will change your relationship with your family, and with how you share your opinions with others,” he added. “I also pray it will help you remove obstacles to peace and joy in your life, and fill you with a greater amount of that.”
You can pre-order “Truth Plus Love: The Jesus Way To Influence” here.