(Written after our preacher said that if we didn’t get his point, we just might have a religious spirit!)
Can we preach to offend the heart set against Christ, without also preaching out of offense?
One serves Christ, the other my own arrogance.
Preaching to offend the Pharisee in me, will only leave me angry in my sin. Preach instead the greatness of a God who was willing to die for me while I was still in ruin. Lift up the One who sacrificed His life so that I might live. Then, the grace of God, may yet reach me and open my eyes to my need.
Preaching primarily to offend, creates a Christ who is inaccessible, one we can never reach, because we can never think as He does. That, of course, is the truth. We can’t think like Christ, until we submit to Him and He renews our mind. Daily.
It feels fine to be offended at the hardness of men’s hearts in relation to Christ. But that offense fails to take into account that except for God’s grace you might also be hardened.
Or did you come to Christ on your own effort?
Preaching out of offense creates a Christ who is surely above us…but not reaching out to us.
Christ did not come to convert the Pharisees. He preached to those he called “the sick”—the poor, the needy, the down and out, swamped by political and religious oppression on one side and personal failures and sins on the other. They knew they needed help.
He rebuked the Pharisees for their pride. But he did not tailor his talks to turn their stoney hearts to Him, nor did He exalt Himself.
He simply went about His way, doing the works of His Father’s hand.