Monday, August 31, 2009

Rising to the Offense

Christians will offend many because of their walk of faith in Christ as Lord and offend no one without walking.

When Jesus had finished giving instructions to His twelve disciples, He departed from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, "Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you hear and see: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me." Matthew 11:1-6.

Unless you are living the Christian life as an experiment rather than as your life style I would dare say that your life is not found in Christ. And there is no doubt that this absolutely stirs the anger in the hearts of many who deem themselves Christian because they never offend anyone. However, do not live this life in order to offend anyone.

Paul writes that “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10:31-33.

Now comes the question , why the statement “Unless you are living the Christian life as an experiment rather than as your life style I would dare say that your life is not found in Christ.”? Have you ever wondered why the Apostles were martyred or why Paul’s life was so miserable as he traveled the Mediterranean world proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ? John the Baptist literally lost his head over his preaching of repentance AND then we have our Lord’s crucifixion to put into the mix. These people died because their lives upset the tenor of the day….they were not walking in concert with the cultures of their day.

Jesus speaks a remarkable phrase, “And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.” This single statement is pregnant with meaning. Those who do not take offense at Him are those who are following Him as Believers. He speaks of His followers as being ‘happy’.

Have you ever managed to think about why the Holy Scriptures are not generally acceptable as educational material? The underlying factor is absolute moral values are taught within its pages. Remove the moral teachings and the Bible will suddenly have important value as an excellent tool for the classroom. By inclusion of moral value the Book suddenly is only of religious value. Hogwash, utterly hogwash.

From the moment Adam and Eve stepped onto the stage of life and until the moment that you breathed your first breath the most offensive characterization of life is made through the prism of morality. Remove the morality and offense is also removed because without morality there is reason for laws. Morality guides law.

With all of this being said there is no offense without the Word of God. And without following the Word of God no one will ever be offended. The challenge for every Believer in Christ Jesus as Lord is to rise to the offensive in daily living. Live life like the King and when folks are no longer offended by how you live it is because they are walking in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If no one around you is offended, move away from your comfort zone and find those who are offended for the presence of Christ in you, the Hope of Glory.

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