The Gospel is offensive. In its entirety, the Gospel is an offensive message to those living outside the family of God. Think about it…
American’s believe in Freedom and Liberty and many have died and will continue to die to protect that “right.”
People in general that believe in hard work and in achieving goals and, being worthy of any prize they receive, will also be offended by the gospel.
But whatever you do, don’t ever think that the offensiveness of the Gospel justifies any Christian for being offensive with the gospel message.
PEOPLE: We are free!
GOD: You are a slave.
It’s hard for many of us born after slavery was outlawed to really picture what that means. However, several of the Apostles and other believers in the bible identified themselves in their letters as exactly that…a slave or bondservant. Paul, Epaphras, James, Peter, Jude…to name a few.
Jesus said whoever sins is a Slave to sin. (John 8:34)
Paul told the Corinthians that we who are in Christ are now slaves to Him. (1 Cor. 7:22)
So according to the Gospel, you’re either a slave to Sin or you’re a slave to Christ. That’s offensive to a world that loves it’s freedom.
PEOPLE: I CAN be good enough to get into heaven.
GOD: You CAN’T be good enough to get into heaven. (romans 3:23, Titus 3:5)
There is something innate within our human genetic code that makes us feel as if to obtain something so great, so amazingly unfathomable – Salvation – we must do SOMETHING in order to earn it. Having all my debt wiped away and given eternal life simply by confessing I am a hopelessly lost sinner who needs Christ, is one of those deals that sounds like, “if it sounds to good to be true, it is.” We think have to work harder…we must be good…we have to perform more good deeds than bad deeds in our life. I must contribute to my salvation somehow!
This message was offensive in Jesus’ time; a stumbling block to the Jews, and it still is an offensive message today.
1 Corinthians 1:23-24 – but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
To Those who are called…who have their blinders removed by God, the Gospel is not offensive, but rather it is humbling, revelatory and welcoming. True believers love the word of God. (Psalm 19)
PEOPLE: All roads lead to eternity, mine is just different than your’s.
GOD: All roads DO lead to eternity…but only one ends in heaven with Me.
Jesus was very clear…
John 14:6 – “I am the way, and the truth, and the life ; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
John 3:3 – Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Jesus is THE way, not A way. Only one person in all of history has had the credentials to be the living sacrifice able to atone for all the sins of believers. That was Jesus Christ.
No one else has been qualified. Not Mohammed, not Joseph Smith, not Gandhi, not Darwin, not Buddha, nor anyone else who was not the risen Son of God. That message is an offensive one to a lost and hopeless world, who is trying to fake it till they make it, by any other means they can seem to wrap their minds around.
But we must not attempt to remove the offense of the Gospel for the sake of the unbeliever. The Gospel is still the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16.)
Paul was completely unwilling to remove the offensiveness of the Gospel for the sake of anyone. (Galatians 5:11) But Paul reminds us not to be the offenders when sharing the gospel…he reminds us of something more important than moving mountains…Love. When we witness, love must translate through our gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)
When we boldly proclaim the truth, if folks are offended by anything, let them be offended by the cross, but never by us.
“I might be persuaded to be a Christian, if I ever met one.” – Gandhi