Faithlife Sermons

Offense of the Gospel

Notes
Transcript

What kind of offense?

a breach of a law or rule; an illegal act.
annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one's standards or principles.
the action of attacking someone or something.
In is all three.
This is the Gospel that we take into the world. It causes us to violate laws that stand in opposition to God. It causes us to offend the ideals of those who hate its message. It is a direct attack against the kingdom of darkness.
Today we will see the simple truth of the Gospel’s effect and wrestle with the idea of why the Gospel is offensive.
PRAY
READ
Acts 14:1–7 ESV
1 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3 So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4 But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. 5 When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, 6 they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, 7 and there they continued to preach the gospel.
First Missionary Journey Map

Proclamation

Acts 14:1 ESV
1 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed.
They followed the same pattern as the established in Antioch.

Opposition

Acts 14:2 ESV
2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.
Where does this opposition come from?
Revelation 12:9 ESV
9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
Ephesians 6:11–12 ESV
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
What are the schemes?
They come in the forms of false religions, humanistic ideologies, and lofty philosophies that deny God. They are woven into a cultural system that unites people based on selfish desires and sinful practices.

Response

Acts 14:3 ESV
3 So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
Commitment
Boldness
Faith
Miracles

Result

Division and War!
Acts 14:4–7 ESV
4 But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. 5 When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, 6 they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, 7 and there they continued to preach the gospel.
One of the devils greatest weapons is division.
In John 17 Jesus prays for our unity. Only through division can the plans of the enemy succeed. So, what causes division?
Romans 16:17–18 ESV
17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
Jude 16–19 ESV
16 These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage. 17 But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.
James 4:1–4 ESV
1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. 4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Why is the Gospel offensive?

What is at the core of the Gospel?
We are all sinners; earn wrath and death.
God loved us while we were sinners.
Jesus died for us while we were sinners and conquered death.
Jesus rose from the grave.
We must confess Jesus as Lord.
Believe that he rose from the dead.
Which of these is offensive?
It can be hard for us to see the offense because we see the grace and forgiveness. We see the hope and peace that comes from walking with God. But people in the world who don’t know Jesus, can’t.
1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV
14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
The the world the gospel is:
Intrusive: Hebrews 4:12
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Exclusive: Acts 4:12 and John 14:6
12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Inclusive: John 3:16
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Offensive: 1 Corinthians 1:18
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.
and Offensive: Ephesians 6:17
17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
Our conflict is a spiritual one. The Gospel is a declaration of which side a person is on. The devil and the evil forces in this world will do anything to destroy the gospel and the church. We are a light in this world that offends the darkness. We dare to be different. We dare to love when we are hated, bless when we are cursed, and sacrifice for the sake of those who take advantage of us. We carry the very message of life. This is why prayer is so crucial. If the natural man is offended by the truth, we need the work of the Holy Spirit to go before us and to open minds and hearts to the Gospel.
In short, the Gospel is offensive. Don’t be surprised.
1 John 3:11–13 ESV
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you.
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