From the Pastor's Desk
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June 10, 2016, 12:00 AM

The Offense of the Gospel Of Christ


                                                                                                                   

1 Peter 2:6-8  For this is contained in Scripture: "Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed."  7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, "The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone," and, "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

Jesus did not come to make our world better or to make us comfortable. Jesus came as our God and Savior. He was a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.

Our culture is not to set our religious conventions and precepts, the Bible and Holy Spirit is to do that. The Bible is ultimate authority revealing truth.

We believe in freedom of religion and we are not to try to force others to conform to our beliefs; yet, we are to speak truth from Holy Scripture. At Mars Hill Paul didn’t persecute those who believed differently or become like them, but he spoke truth to them saying let me tell you about your unknown God whom you ignorantly worship. Being ignorant of or ignoring Gods truth does not make it go away. The Bible is for every individual even if every individual doesn’t accept it. It is not our job to force Christian beliefs on others. Paul taught if anyone wants to be ignorant, let him be ignorant. (Willful ignorance)

Why are people so tough concerning bad language, gossip, filthy communication and lifestyle but when it comes to Christian principles they are offended?

The Causes of Offense:

  • No Root in themselves                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Mark 4:15-17  "And these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.  16 "And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy;  17 and they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away.
  • People were offended because Jesus did not come according to their preconceived ideals. They expected something else. They expected the Messiah to come as a king rather than from a common family and growing up as a child.                                                                                            Mark 6:1-3  NAS And He went out from there, and He came into His home town; and His disciples followed Him.  2 And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands?  3 "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?" And they took offense at Him.
  • People were offended because of persecution and suffering.  Concerning Christ arrest and crucifixion.                                                                    Mark 14:27-30  And Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away, because it is written, 'I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.'  28 "But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee."  29 But Peter said to Him, "Even though all may fall away, yet I will not."  30 And Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you, that you yourself this very night, before a cock crows twice, shall three times deny Me."   Peter was afraid, also spiritual darkness.                                                                                                                                                                                            Luke 7:20-23 And when the men had come to Him, they said, "John the Baptist has sent us to You, saying, 'Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?'" (John was offended, couldn’t understand why) (Believe truth, not just your feelings.) 21 At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He granted sight to many who were blind.  22 And He answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them.  23 "And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me."             John 16:1-2  NAS John 16:1 "These things I have spoken to you, that you may be kept from stumbling.  2 "They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.                                                                       Matthew 24:9-10  "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name.  10 "And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another.

When God doesn’t do what we think he should, will we still follow him? Being offended is difficult and painful. Why not determine not to be offended at God, He is always right.

God confronts with truth. His light shines into the dark imagination and deeds of their hearts. When people are offended they look for faults in others and excuses not to believe and obey God.

Let Jesus point out your own issues.  Scribes and Pharisees/Religious leaders in Jerusalem were offended because of the truth that pricked/convicted their hearts. Jesus words cut through their religious rituals to show their heart of pretense was not in relationship with God but they had only a form of godliness.                                                                                                                                                                                          Matthew 15:1-12 Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying,  2 "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread."  3 And He answered and said to them, "And why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?  4 "For God said, 'Honor your father and mother,' and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.'  5 "But you say, 'Whoever shall say to his father or mother, "Anything of mine you might have been helped by has been given to God,"  6 he is not to honor his father or his mother.' And thus you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.  7 "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,  8 'This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me.  9 'But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.'"  10 And after He called the multitude to Him, He said to them, "Hear, and understand.  11 "Not what enters into the mouth defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man."  12 Then the disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?"

Remedies to stay free from offense:

  • Realize and remember that hard times come to everyone, including righteous people. Remember John the Baptist whom Jesus said of, there is none greater….He lived a sacrificial committed life to God.
  • Realize and remember that God has plans which we do not know about; He promises to work “all things” together for our good.      
  • Everyone suffers sometime. Are you suffering? There is no trial that is uncommon to man.
  • Stay free from offense. Jesus said, people will hurt /kill you and think they are Godly and right!
  • To stay free from offense! Trust God even when you hurt.
  • Expect and prepare for difficulty.
  • Don’t become or stay offended at God.
  • Jesus has sent the comforter to us.
  • Remember that you are not alone; Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit/Helper to comfort you.
  • God has sent the Holy Spirit to speak to us and reveal God and his will to us as well as the future things.
  • Keep your life conformed to God’s Word/Bible.

 John 16:1-15  NAS "These things I have spoken to you, that you may be kept from stumbling2 "They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God3 "And these things they will do, because they have not known the Father, or Me.  4 "But these things I have spoken to you, that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.  5 "But now I am going to Him who sent Me; and none of you asks Me, 'Where are You going?'  6 "But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.  7 "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.  8 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment;  9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;  10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me;  11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.  12 "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.  14 "He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you.  15 "All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you.

One God, One sure word/faith. God’s Word is our standard.  People who reject the Bible; are rejecting God.

 Determine to live a surrendered life to the Lordship of Christ; you cannot live in true freedom if the flesh dominates over the Holy Spirit.      

A. Remember Christ’s example when facing the cross. He was surrendered to the will of his Father.    (We are not better than Christ! He suffered; we will suffer also.)

B. Remember, even your closest of friends and family will at times let you down; their flesh was weak as humans even though they were willing and wanted to do better. Even Jesus apostles let Him down at a critical time when He really needed them.Matthew 26:39-42   And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt."  40 And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?  41 "Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."  42 He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Thy will be done."

What do you do when your closest friends, yes even family let you down? Hold to Gods unchanging hand and recognize like Jesus did of his disciples, “the spirit is willing but flesh is weak.”

Keep your heart free from small roots/things. Do not allow a root of bitterness to spring up and defile you.Respect discipline and the giver of the discipline.

Stay free from offense.Hebrews 12:9-15  Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?  10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.  11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.  12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble,  13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.  14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.  15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it may be defiled.

C. Do allow God to discipline you and remember discipline received will bring good fruit and righteousness.

D. Strengthen your areas of weakness.

E. Make “straight paths/right plans/decision for godly living so you will be healed. 

F. Seek and pursue peace with all people. Don’t be a drama queen or hell raiser. 

G. Live a sanctified/holy life. Quit indulging in things that defile your spirit or body.

Gain your understanding of God’s Word grow every day through Bible Study and mediation with prayer and careful listening to the Holy Spirit who teaches you. As you study, ask Holy Spirit to comfort, guide and teach you so that your life is continually conformed to his pleasure.

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