Archive for September, 2015

Message of Offense

Posted: September 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

When a fine grain of sand invades the body of a mollusk, the particle acts as an irritant.  What does the mollusk do?  It coats it with layer after layer of a substance to relieve the irritation.  When your glasses do not fit properly, what do you do?  Do you buy pads to relieve the pressure and pain, or do you go to the optometrist to remedy the situation?  When you have a pebble in your shoe, what do you do?  Do you cover it with a piece of foam or do you get rid of the pebble?  The church is a lot like the mollusk that coats the foreign particle to make it more tolerable, or like the person that puts all of the pads on the ill-fitting glasses, or the person that puts foam in the shoe to cover the pebble.

What do you mean? We have tried to cover up and pad over some teachings of Jesus to make Him palatable to the church of today.   We have tried to take the edge, the irritation, and the offensiveness out of Jesus and the gospel.  No way we can do that and be true to the word of God.  Look at how Jesus presents Himself in scripture.   Luke 12:49‑53 “I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!” But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two, and two against three.  “They will be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against mother; mother‑in‑law against daughter‑in‑law, and daughter‑in‑law against mother‑in‑law.”  Matthew 13:57 And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his home town, and in his own household.”

 

No two ways about it, we have tried to take the offense out of the gospel.  A large church in Illinois does not have a cross in the building because they do not want to offend anyone.  A well-known preacher said “I don’t think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of Christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality and, hence, counterproductive to the evangelism enterprise than the often crude, uncouth and unchristian strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition.”  Why the attempt to take the offense out of the gospel?  To make Jesus more palatable to the religious.  In the times of Jesus the religious people were offended by Him.

Look at the people who were attracted to Jesus.  In John 4, the Samaritan woman at the well was not offended that Jesus confronted her with her sin.  The disciples were offended that He was talking to her.  In Luke 19, Zacchaeus, the tax collector went to see Jesus.  Zacchaeus was not offended by Jesus, the religious people were.    In Luke 7:36-50, a ‘woman of the city’, another term for a prostitute, she came to see Jesus.  She was not offended by Him.  However, Simon, the Pharisee was offended that Jesus spoke to such a woman.

Why were these people not offended by Jesus?  In fact, why were they attracted to Him?  Many people may have their own ideas why they were attracted to Jesus.   But, I think when they looked at Jesus, they not only saw an absolute standard, they saw absolute grace that attracts and compels.