Summary: Too often we make the gospel into something it is not because we are uncon=mfortable with others' reactions.
1. A preacher was once approached by a troubled church member who wanted to air his concerns about the direction the church was going. When it was the preacher’s turn to speak he began quoting scripture the member replied, "If you’re going to start using the Bible we’re done talking. You study and know the Bible more than I do." The preacher remarked, "This is the Church, the Bible is our handbook, our manual. If its teachings don’t match with our traditions, then our traditions are what is in need of changing." See: Mike Ferguson, Sermon: The Offensive Jesus, October 8, 2007. (https://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/offensive-jesus-mike-fogerson-sermon-on-jesus-life-112633)
2. We crave acceptance and too often fall for peer pressure –
a. The above preacher could have opted for tradition over scripture – for his own comfort
b. We often prefer being comfortable to being truthful with the word of God
c. Dislike confrontation and often conform – [Experiments where a group brings in an unsuspecting subject; the group will answer questions with an obvious but unanimous answer to see what the subject will do; most will eventually conform;
d. Happening with America’s History and with the gospel because the gospel is too offensive to people
e. American Christians get too caught up on “Nickels and Noses”
3. Jesus Warned Us in Matthew 10:16-42
4. We have a daunting question with which to deal – why is the gospel offensive?
I. Good News: Jesus Came to Save Sinners – 1 Timothy 1:15-17
A. Jesus is the Suffering, Serving, Saving Messiah – Mark 10:45
B. If Jesus Saves, Why Do We Resist and Reject His Good News?
1. We reject the idea of SIN and SINNER
2. We reject the idea that our works are weak – Isaiah 64:6
6 We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
3. We reject the need for grace – Ephesians 2:8-9
4. Our religion needs improvement;
• Remember, no other way: Matthew 26:39 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
• Romans 10:2 (zeal without knowledge)
5. The gospel is spiritual, not merely intellectual – 1 Corinthians 1:21 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
6. The gospel is exclusive – John 14:6
II. Good News: Jesus’ Message Can Be Offensive – 1 Corinthians 1:18-21
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach[a] to save those who believe.
A. Jesus Faced Rejection because He was Perceived as Offensive – John 15:18-21
1. He Lovingly Confronted – John 8:11 “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
2. He Aggressively Confronted (in love) – Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness.
B. To Follow Jesus is to be Offensive to Many
[A young man innocently wears a MAGA hat and is pummeled by opponents – offensive; Christians have met opposition – just for following Jesus – Demonic attacks
1. We can be loved by the world if we look like and act like the world – blend in
2. We can find acceptance by making the gospel into something it was not intended to be
a. Just a “Get out of Hell Free Pass”
b. An intellectual enterprise – 1 Corinthians 1:22-25 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
c. Primarily a “feel good” message – Teardrop was a sick boa constrictor whose owners took him to the vet. The vet did some x-rays and found he had swallowed a heating pad. After all, it was warm and fuzzy with a thin tail, it had to be food, right? Too often we take in something that is not nutritional to our spiritual well-being because it was just warm and fuzzy.