1 Corinthians 2
“Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.” — Luke 6:26
Becoming too comfortable and complacent in the work of God within the church is a danger, but there is another danger we need to be on our guard against. The Gospel is the most wonderful message we will ever receive, but there is an offence to it, which Paul speaks of in Galatians 5:11 as an “offence of the cross.” We need to be certain our churches are preaching the whole Gospel and not just the parts we want to hear.
In our politically correct society, we are in danger of holding back the conflict inherent in the Gospel, which exposes and convicts people of sin and demands repentance in offering salvation exclusively through the work of Jesus Christ. Some churches are tempted to convey only the goodness of the Gospel and neglect telling why it is needed. We live in a fallen world and we are all sinners with only one way of being reconciled to God...through the cross of Christ. There are those who will take exception to that, but are pleased with the prospect of having prayers answered, health restored, financial prosperity and inheriting heaven. We can hear this kind of preaching on Christian television any day of the week, but it is a superficial Gospel.
If the Gospel is to flourish, we must not be afraid of hostility towards it. The ministry of Jesus Christ was characterized by persecution. He said to His disciples, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves” (Matthew 10:16). When sheep and wolves meet, sheep usually get hurt. The book of Acts documents the history of the early church over a 30-year period, and 22 of the 28 chapters involve Christians being persecuted. They were tough, painful days, as has been the history of the church in many places at many times, but where there is persecution, there is a great work of God being accomplished.
Not everyone will receive the message of the Gospel well, but if we try to neutralize the offence of the Gospel, we neutralize its power. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12). We are not to “react and get mad,” but Jesus says, “Rejoice and be glad.” We are living on a far bigger scale than the here and now, and the temporal price we pay now will be the lasting reward we enjoy then.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, grant me Your strength and courage to convey the whole Gospel in my witness for You and not compromise it in any way. Thank You, Lord.