When it comes to preaching about “sin” of any sort, I’ve always been of the opinion we should confront sin in the same manner Jesus did … he only ever confronted the hypocritical religious people. He didn’t tell Zacchaeus or Matthew to stop stealing. He didn’t tell the fishermen to stop swearing. He didn’t tell the woman of ill repute to stop selling her body. But he did tell the religious hypocrites to stop being hypocrites … and he did so loudly and without apology.
If someone is “sinning,” I figure the Holy Spirit will deal with it by providing a liberal ointment of guilt. No one has to tell me when I sin, and I figure that’s probably true of most people. The line I draw in the sand is when church members do things that hurt the church. You don’t cast aspersions on the bride. And it turns out that the primary sin that hurts the church is hypocrisy (perhaps that’s why the first two hypocrites in the church were both struck down dead … just sayin’).
On the other hand, I don’t recommend preaching about the sins of the culture … Paul’s model about who to judge and who not to judge come home to roost as I see the church getting a black eye when we throw rocks at cultural practices (can you say “Hurting the Church”?).
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.1 Corinthians 5:12–13a