Culture and Tradition or Scripture?

Great adventures in faith

You Are Offensive!

Monday, July 27, 2015


OffenseOn one occasion the apostles went to Jesus and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” (Matthew 15:12).  Some would accuse Jesus of being insensitive toward their religious convictions.  They would also charge Jesus with being void of love.  One wonders if it ever crossed the apostles’ minds  that they might be offensive toward Jesus because they thought he was guilty.  If the Pharisees were guilty of being wrong, and that position would cause them to lose their souls, what exact words would you have used which would be acceptable to them?  In spite of your more adequate verbiage, if they refused to listen and accused you of being offensive, would you be?  Since Jesus was God in the flesh, why would our judgment make his approach wrong and our way so right (Jeremiah 10:23; Isaiah 55:8; Ezekiel 18:25)?  Are we smarter than God?

Why are the Ten Commandments on public property so offensive to some?  Why are paintings of Jesus or Mary in compromising positions, desecrating church buildings, destroying Christian headstones, defecating on the Bible, slandering Christ, or spitting on a preacher not considered offensive?  But if Christians object, how does that make us unloving, insensitive, or offensive?  Perhaps those who are offended believe it is in their best interest to oppose Christianity.  If so, why is their destructive nature defended, but the Christian’s oral objection so vexing?

I know some Christians have no tact and defend their faith with statements of fire and brimstone.  Sometimes condemnation is substituted for turning the other cheek.  However, only the ignorant or arrogant claim to be perfect!  We aren’t.  We make mistakes in judgment.  Peter and Paul did!  So do we.  It’s a human weakness often indulged in without thinking.

Some folks will quote the Bible to Christians such as, “”Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1).  One should read the context before quoting something that could condemn themselves!  Jesus isn’t saying all judgment is wrong.  If all judgment is sinful, then the judgment you make saying someone else is wrong puts you in the position of self condemnation!

If trying to steer people toward righteousness is wrong, because it may offend them, then Jesus was guilty of it in John 6:60-67.  Peter was condemned on Pentecost because most refused his words.  Paul was condemned for withstanding Peter to his face (Galatians 2:11-15).  Peter was condemned for his statement to Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:14-23).  Paul was offensive by refusing to take Mark on their second missionary journey (Acts 15:36-39).  Paul was offensive by mentioning the sins of some in Romans 1:18-32.  Paul was again offensive by saying some of his Jewish brethren should be “castrated” (HCSB, GW, Message) or “mutilated” (NASB, NLB, WEY, Montgomery NT).  And those Christian Jews were offensive because they demanded that Gentiles to be circumcised before they could become real Christians (Galatians 5:1-12; Acts 15:1-5).

When sinners, either saved or unsaved, do not want to respond to Jesus, they must find “a reason” to justify that rejection.  However, sin cannot be ignored.  One would not refuse to warn an infant if he was headed into a busy six lane highway.  The infant probably would not accept the admonition.  If stopped, he would show his displeasure by crying.  Would one be unloving or insensitive by warning the child?  Isn’t this a principle of warning people which is set forth in the Old Testament (Ezekiel 33:8-9)?

Even Ezekiel could practice the following and so must we.  “Speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).


Thursday, July 23, 2015


 Success 03We want to be successful in life, don’t we? In fact, as we get older, we want our children and our grandchildren to be successful. But, what is success?

  •  Some believe being successful is getting a degree from a prestigious university like Harvard, Princeton, or some other elite school.
  • Some believe being successful is getting a job where one is making a six figure income each month.
  • Some believe being successful is marrying a handsome man or beautiful woman.
  •  Some believe being successful is owning a very large, expensive house and having automobiles that have “prestige” written all over them.
  •  Some believe being successful is having a butler, cooks, nannies, and people who make the house and property look outstanding.
  •  Some believe being successful is having power or authority over others. They never have to ask, “Do you know WHO I AM?”

There is nothing wrong with a degree from a well known university. There is nothing wrong in earning a six figure income. There is no sin involved with one’s mate in life being good looking. There is no wrong in owning a large house, yard, or what car one drives. Nothing wrong with being able to afford to have a house and grounds staff to take care of things. There is nothing wrong with having authority.

However, when all is said and done, will any of those signs of success guarantee you will spend your eternity in God’s fellowship? If not, then what is real success?

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” (John 14:6)

Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’   And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’. . . .Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” (Acts 8:30-35)

“‘Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’   Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’   Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.’ . . . . Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. . . . And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:36-41, 47)

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