Monday, September 13, 2010
Don't be offended--Are you sure about that?
In John 16 Jesus begins by telling them not to be offended. He is speaking to all of them, and he expects things to happen that will be offensive. He knows that their lives would be easier, less painful if they did not follow him. They will suffer attack. They are to remember his words and rest in the faith they have placed in him.
He says here that he did not tell them how bad things would be at the beginning because he was with them to support and encourage, but now he will no longer be there to reassure or instruct. They would have to depend on faith, and they must remember his words.
I never thought of Christianity as easy, but it is becoming a faith of ease. It is not popular to speak about the cross or the blood anymore. Sermons often do not mention Jesus. He has become offensive. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. He said that the time would come when he would be an offense. It has.
He promised to send the Holy Spirit to be an Advocate for us. He would speak to us of Jesus. Does that mean the the Holy Spirit will also be an offense? I guess so, because he is not mentioned much in church either. I guess I prefer to be offended if the offense comes from the name and person and purpose of Jesus and his Holy Spirit.
Maybe I am misstating this. Jesus is mentioned. We refer to the Holy Spirit. We acknowledge God. I think I know people who worship in the services. Is this just my griping? I do it all the time.
Yesterday's Confession of Faith proclaimed a social gospel and the prayers are sought for healing and financial needs. I want a confession that proclaims the Lordship of Jesus Christ and allows all the other needs to flow from Him and His righteousness. I pray for a prayer time that concentrates on the salvation of souls. I foolishly asked for the church to hold a Prayer Meeting. I got official approval, but somehow it never happened. We did have the family night and the music program; it was good music with the advertisement of the man's CD to raise money to adopt a child, but there was no prayer meeting, no testimonies of God's deliverance, no supplication for salvation, no weeping for lost loved ones.
We preach an easy gospel, and Paul predicted it. The heart of man is not anxious to hear the list of his errors, and less anxious to confess them. Preachers are charged with citing them, however, and we will confess them or bear them by our own choice.
Jesus tried to warn us that bad things would happen. Our efforts to avoid the painful criticism of the world led us to a worldly lifestyle. Somebody in a leadership position told us we should not offend people with ugly things like the wounds of Christ and the blood of the cross, so we favor rainbows and butterflies. The ugliness and pain of our faith is what brings us salvation. Of course it is ugly. It is sin. It is nailed to the cross. It should be ugly.