“That’s offensive,” said everybody.
Nowadays, everybody and their dog gets offended when somebody believes or says something they don’t agree with. “I believe that Jesus is the only way we can be saved,” which is responded to by the other person saying, “That’s so close-minded and offensive. No one religion is true.”
People are going to be offended by the Truth — we better get used to it.
John MacArthur states, “If the truth offends, then let it offend. People have been living their whole lives in offense to God; let them be offended for a while.” Gosh, that rings so true.
Don’t worry about offending others when sharing the Gospel or standing up for what you believe in; their whole life is an offense to God, let them be offended; they should be offended, because the Gospel is offensive.
For the vast majority, they don’t want to be told there’s only one way to Heaven. They’ll spat off things like, “You’re close-minded!” or “What makes you think that Christianity is the only true religion?!” …which is another blog for another day.
Or, what’s more, sharing the Gospel with someone means they’ll be confronted with the reality that they’re a sinner — and no one thinks they’re a sinner. You’ll hear phrases such as these: “Oh, I am a good person,” or “My good deeds outweigh my bad.” That sounds a whole lot like works-based religion to me — not Christianity.
For somebody to truly grasp the message — the Gospel — of Christianity, they need to recognize that they’re a sinner. Because you recognize that you need a Savior, you have to admit you’re a sinner. Aren’t we all?
People get offended when you tell them they’re bad people in the eyes of The Most High God. But they obviously haven’t read Isaiah 64:6, which states:
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.”
Yikes. You know what that’s saying? When you do something — a good deed — with the wrong motive from you heart, that “deed” is like a filthy rag to the Lord. It’s dirty. It’s muddy. It’s not worth anything.
To make it even more clear and disgusting, Francis Chan, in his book Crazy Love, puts Isaiah 64:6 like this: “The literal interpretation of ‘filthy rags’ in this verse is ‘menstrual garments’ (think of used tampons).”
Yuck. When we do something nice for people out of the selfishness of our heart, it looks like a used tampon in the eyes of God. That’s a game-changer. So what’s the deal?
The deal is our hearts; that’s what the Gospel is supposed to affect. The Gospel should cause a heart change. When somebody hears the words, “Jesus died in your place,” the response is supposed to be them feeling convicted, yet joy at the same time.
Conviction because they realize they’ve been sinning against a holy God for years, and joy because at the same time, they’re recognize that their sin has been purchased for them by Jesus.
The Gospel is offensive, but it also changes people.
The Gospel is offensive, but it also heals.
The Gospel is offensive, but it also frees.
Jesus knew that when he told us to go make disciples it wouldn’t be easy for us — and it’s not. People will be offended and harsh words will be said (hopefully not by you). But like we’ve all heard before, it doesn’t matter if you save them or not — because you can’t — it matters if you present the Gospel to them.
If we don’t share the Gospel, they possibly won’t ever hear it; and we all know what that means.
It’s not our job to save, convict, or judge. Our job is to share – share the Gospel whether people respond by repentance and faith or not. That’s what we’re commanded to do. That’s what we’re called to do. That’s what we were made for – even when it’s offensive.
Nice work Blake. Pastoral ministry can be very hard. It looks like you’re off to a good start.