Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Being Offensive is Necessary.

The true gospel has never been (and will never be) accepted by the majority of any particular culture or society. Whenever the true gospel is preached and the message is not altered, there are many who are utterly offended by it. We should not be offensive in the way that we present the gospel, preach the Word of God, or live our lives (see 1 Peter 4:14-16), but likewise we should never make the gospel that we preach or the Word of God itself inoffensive in what it says.

Now, this thought itself may seem offensive to you, but I want to show you why I believe it is true, and we need to understand this. In 1 Peter 2:6-8, Peter quotes the O.T. and making the connection that Jesus Christ is the corner stone, or foundation on which all else depends, of true faith and belief in God. These same quotation shows that Christ will be (He is) a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. Nothing can be "true" of God unless it is built upon this foundation. I don't have to tell you that this idea of one exclusive way of salvation (much less anything else) is intolerant (and therefore, it's offensive).

Q: Why is this important?
A: The very Word of God itself declares that God chose the foolish (dare I interject that it is also offensive and unacceptable to an unsaved person) things of the world to fulfill His will. For a good reference, read 1 Corinthians 1 - yes the whole chapter - and note how the Apostle Paul repeatedly makes the point that God chose the foolishness of the message to save those who would believe (v. 21). Also, note verse 23 that the gospel that Paul preaches is foolishness to gentiles and a stumbling block to Jews.

Q: Well, my church doesn't believe that, so why should I care what you believe?
A: It's not what I believe that should be the initial question. It should be this: What does the Bible say? Then the next thing needs to be, if this is what it says why do I discount or disbelieve it?

The true gospel that the Bible sets forth, that Christ preached, and the apostles died for has been offensive because it has ALWAYS said this:

  1. God has standards (His Holiness)
  2. Man sinned and, by nature, cannot meet God's standards (our sinfulness and offensiveness to God)
  3. God must, because of His nature, eternally punish those who don't meet his standards (His Justice)
  4. Man cannot reconcile himself with God, no matter what we do (our depravity)
  5. God poured his wrath on His Son in the place of those who are believe in Him so that they could now meet his standards (His Mercy)
  6. Those who do believe in Christ are changed, are seen as Christ in God's eyes and their lives show that they no longer serve sinful flesh, but rather serve Almighty God. (Salvation - Justification and Sanctification)
Schizms have been made and churches have split over any and all of these issues. But they always seem to come down to a few things. We either try to change who Christ is, and that His sacrifice on the cross isn't enough to forgive me totally of my sins.
  • Mormon theology teaches that we are saved by the grace of God and Christ's atonement after all that we can do. (they also deny the eternal deity of Christ, yet another heresy)
  • Catholic theology states that one must go to purgatory to suffer for some sins before entering heaven. Other than the fact that the doctrine of purgatory doesn't appear in the Bible, this doctrine says that Christ's sacrifice (in effect) wasn't enough to pay for all of my sins. Therefore, I have to do works that make up for that deficiency.
The Gospel is exclusive because God is Holy and Righteous. If I think that I'm "not that bad," the Bible says that anyone who is jealous, has outbursts of anger, envious will not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-21). God sees anger as murdering someone and lust as adultery in the heart (Matt 5:21-32). Furthermore, James says that if we break one law - do one sin, we are guilty of them all before God (James 2:10).

If we do not hold fast and preach the only true biblical gospel, but tone down the offensiveness of the gospel, the exclusiveness of the gospel, or the intolerance of the gospel we will be in serious jeopardy of not preaching the true gospel at all, and those who hear it will not hear the saving message of the gospel! If we don't preach the true gospel - that which Christ and the apostles proclaimed - then we are not preaching the saving and sanctifying message that Christ died to give and rose again to validate.

Christ says that unless a man is born again, he will not enter the kingdom of God. If you don't know what that means or aren't sure if you are - please ask me. Eternity hangs in the balance on this one.


pastorethan said...

the other side is that we are to be 'on the offensive' as well as being offinsive.

one fool to another


EJ said...

The hard part for me is this: Am I willing to be a fool - literally a fool - for the sake of Christ? The answer should be yes, but when the chips are down...I need to be able to answer a resounding YES!

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