Summary: The gospel is offensive
The Offensive Gospel
October 30, 2011
Open your Bibles to Luke 6:22 and let’s look at one of the most comforting verses in the Bible: “Blessed are ye, when men shall love you, and when they shall include you in their company, and shall praise you, and cast out your name as righteous, for the Son of man’s sake.”
Skip down to verse 26 to see another encouraging verse: “Blessed are you when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the true prophets.”
Do you see the blessing here? Oh what joy! We get to love Jesus and be loved by the world.
But that’s not what the text actually says, is it?
There’s this weird fascination we seem to have with fitting into the culture and being generally accepted by the world, and it’s just so unbiblical. We wish these verses really did read this way, but they don’t. And you know what? Any thought that lines up with God’s word is a good thought, and any thought that contradicts God’s word is an evil thought.
Go back to verse 22:
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
Christians ought to expect to be hated and maligned because that is the promise.
Over in Matthew chapter ten we find some verses that go right along with Luke six. Jesus sends out His twelve disciples to heal the sick and cast out demons and raise the dead. They’re going out to preach the gospel of peace, but He warns them that there’ll be many who don’t like what they have to say. Starting in verse sixteen:
16Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Here’s the first basic truth: the gospel is violently hated by the world. Isn’t it interesting that He sends sheep into the wolves? Why not as sheep among goats? Why not as seeing men among blind men? Well, “wolf” is an accurate description. They’re heartless and vicious. They attack and devour and destroy. They will kill and eat anything they can overcome, and they don’t fight fairly:
17But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
This is the promised reaction to the gospel. They’re going to take a club or a whip and beat you with it. They hate the gospel, and even though you’re like a meek and innocent little sheep, they’ll hate you and tear you to pieces over it.
But why would Jesus do that to us? I mean what kind of shepherd sends sheep into a pack of wolves? Imagine you own a large flock. You’re working in the barn and one of your helpers comes through the door. He’s supposed to be with the sheep, so you naturally get a little worried: “What’s going on? Who’s with the sheep?”
“Aw, I sent them into a pack of wolves.”