Be Offensive

God saves. He shows favor. And that is offensive.

Take any example of God’s saving acts and you will see a few things. For example, Israel brought out of Egypt in the book of Exodus. God’s saving act to redeem created three categories of people. The first group of people would be the ones being saved and rejoicing in it. The second group of people would be the Egyptians whom God is crushing in order to save the first group. And the third group of people are those to whom salvation is extended but think it stinks (usually a subset within the first group, known as the grumblers and scoffers).

God saves and He offends the Egyptians and He offends the Israelites. The Egyptians tell the Israelites to get out and take their Yahweh with them (although some Egyptians converted and went with Israel). God saves and He offends the Israelites. After all, what did Moses bring them out into the desert for? Simply to die!? It was better in Egypt where we were slaves! At least we had onions.

God’s salvation is offensive. When God used Gideon to save His people there were the Midianites who were offended and crushed, and their were again Israelites who were simply beside themselves because Gideon caused such an offense. Gasp! We are in trouble now you rabble-rouser!

God saved Israel from the Philistines through David. The Philistines were offended and crushed, and some Israelites (David’s brothers) complained. David was only there to see the bloodshed of battle, they grumbled.

The same is true today. Talk to any evangelist and ask them who is offended by what they preach, and you are guaranteed to hear two answers: unbelievers and Christians. When God’s salvation is made known, people are always offended, and quite often it is even those who claim to be His people.

Of course, there is a way to be offensive where we are simply jerks and that is not what we are after. But someone calling you a jerk, and you actually being a jerk are two different things. If someone labels you a bigot, or some other thing, because you say, “Repent of your sins and believe on the Lord Jesus.” Well, you are not a jerk, they are simply blaming you for the offensiveness of God’s salvation. For them it is the stench of death. Like the Jews and the Romans, they simply want Jesus to stay dead.

Many times we Christians hesitate to point at sin because we don’t want to offend. Many times we don’t speak up when we should, we don’t take the opportunities to bring sanity to insanity because we are afraid we might cause a conflict. By giving in to that fear, we are missing many opportunities to tear down strongholds. By giving in to the fear of being offensive, we are keeping Jesus in the grave. Idolators and adulterers get what they want when the church shuts her mouth.

This boils down to the fear of man.

Call it a spiritual law if you like, God is offensive.

We have two options: fear man and skitter about in darkness refusing to shine a light on the gloom and smog of culture, or fear God and offend someone.

Only one of those scenarios will end up in the salvation of sinners in the resurrected Lord.



Mammon and Amen

A Lord’s Supper Meditation

Luke 16:1-18

Etymologically the word mammon and amen come from the same root. Mammon is the thing in which you place your trust and security, for many it is money. In the parable in Luke 16 mammon is money, that which we think will secure or future. This is, of course, idolatry. We trust the gift rather than the Giver. We trust the created thing rather than the Creator.

At the Table we find God’s promise to us that He is more trustworthy than mammon. Money, and created things, are fleeting and unstable, but the body and blood of Christ reaffirm God’s everlasting promise that He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Rather than finding hope and security in mammon, our only hope is in the Name of Jesus, the Name in which we pronounce our Amen.

Towers, Armies, And Salted Sacrifices

A Lord’s Supper Meditation

Luke 14:25-35

Here at the Table we are given grace. Here, God promises to His church that she has all the resources to build a tower, and more than that, to build a holy temple made from living stones to fill the whole world.

Here at this Table God promises that His church, led by her King, is able to overcome the forces arrayed against her. Here at this Table is the offer to the world of peace, or the promise of destruction. The world must decide what to do as we invade.

Here at the Table God promises the strengthening of our faith to make us as living sacrifices, salted with the salt of the covenant, pleasing to Him.

God offers all of this, promises all of this, through the sacrificed body and blood of His Son.

This Table, then, is a means by which God makes us Kings. We are kings and priests to God and as we eat and drink at the Table of the Kingdom, our faith, allegiance, and sacrifice overcome the world, for a people who are ready to die cannot be defeated.