[Jesus] came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to Him, and unrolling the scroll, He found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
because He has annointed Me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent Me
to proclaim freedom to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the opressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him. He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”
They were all speaking well of Him and were amazed by the gracious words that came from His mouth, yet they said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
Then He said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me: ‘Doctor, heal yourself.’ ‘All we’ve heard that took place in Capernaum, do here in Your hometown also.'”
He also said, “I assure you: No prophet is accepted in his hometown. But I say to you, there were certainly many widows in Israel in Elijah’s days, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months while a great famine came over all the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them – but to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. And in the phophet Elisha’s time, there were many in Israel who had serious skin diseases, yet not one of them was healed – only Naaman the Syrian.”
When they heard this, everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They got up, drove Him out of town, and brought Him to the edge of a hill their town was built on, intending to hurl Him over the cliff. But He passed right through the crowd and went on His way. (Luke 4:16-30 HCSB)
You can only be tolerant for so long before it is time to point out to people that something they are doing or believing is wrong or unacceptable. You may not think what I am going to say here is very deep, or very “theological”, but I think that it is very theological. Boldness in our Christian faith is a call that all Christians have been given. There is no option here. We are required to stand for our faith no matter what the consequences.
I am reminded of the many stories of those of long ago who were martyred for what they believed. These men and women died for things such as the Trinity, the deity of Jesus, the virgin birth…things that we today take for granted or think are minor issues and things that we shouldn’t divide over.
People used to die over theology. What do we do today? We sit there and say that it doesn’t matter. Well, it does matter. It matters a whole lot.
Christianity is a religion that is supposed to be offensive. Jesus Himself told us that He came to divide families (Matthew 10:32-39). Dividing families doesn’t seem like a peaceful, non-offensive thing to me.
My point, and I guess this would be my thesis, is that I want to show you what it means to live an offensive Christian lifestyle. I am not talking about the kinda thing where you go to carnivals with a big styrofoam cross that says Jesus saves on it and shout end times threats to all who pass by. I am not talking about the kinda thing where you go and blow up abortion clinics and slit the throats of abortion doctors. I am not even talking about the kinda thing where you go to your friends and tell them that you won’t talk to them again unless they receive Christ as their savior. Simply put, an offensive Christian lifestyle is one which is lived biblically. Nothing more, nothing less. Not legalism. Not a random following of emotions. But just following the call of Scripture on your life as a Christian.
1) Being an offensive Christian means proclaiming absolutes
The first thing I wanna mention here is that living an offensive Christian life means proclaiming the most important absolute truth that there is. That truth being the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are no choices in the gospel. Jesus is not one option among many. He is the only option. You have no choice when it comes to your salvation. Jesus is the only way to be saved and you can not change that no matter how hard you try.
The idea that there are no absolutes is a lie from the pit of hell. And if people are gonna say there are no absolutes than they are fools cuz then they have to say something like “there may not be absolutes” because to say “there are no absolutes” is an absolute statement. As I said last post, ignorance is so entertaining.
2)Being an offensive Christian means living a holy life
It is hard for me to sit here and talk about holiness considering I have a hard time living a holy life. Sin is a battle. I personally battle lust on a daily basis. I battle it hard. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose horribly. And everyone reading this is in the same boat when it comes to battles with sin. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. But this doesn’t mean we can’t live holy lives.
The call to live a holy life is a demand of Scripture. Again, it isn’t an optional thing. You can’t get saved and still live the same way you did before you got saved. It doesn’t work that way. If there isn’t a change in your life, than chances are you arent saved.
3) Looking at the Scripture from the beginning
Lets take the last few moments here and look at our passage of Scripture from above and see what we can draw out of the life of Jesus about how to live an offensive Christian lifestyle.
Jesus walked into the synagogue, as was his custom, and he read the Bible. There is our first hint that someone is going to get offended. Whenever the Bible is opened, we know there is going to be trouble. In fact…it seems a running theme when Jesus talks that someone gets mad or confused or questions what He is doing.
Jesus doesn’t stop by simply opening the Bible (as many evangelical preachers do these days). Nope. He reads from it! And not only that, but He reads a prophecy and says that it was fulfilled.
But wait…no one is offended yet. In this era of Christianity, just reading the Bible and saying that there is truth in it will offend somebody.
Then Jesus preaches truth. This alone is enough to offend them. In fact, when Jesus gets done preaching, the people try to throw Him off a cliff. They were so mad at what He said that they could not contain their anger anymore.
But why am I just restating the Scripture? Cuz repetition helps things sink in.
Here is my point. We need to live lives that reflect Christ, and what Christ does here in this passage is everything we as Christians are to do. We’re to uphold Scripture as true and infallible, preach truth, and get out of the way to let God work.
Jesus did all of this in love as well. We can’t just walk up to people and tell them “here is truth: You’re gonna go to hell you damned sinner unless you flippin’ receive Jesus”. That isn’t gonna have a lot of effect other then turning people off. We need to be loving. A lot of times, being loving when we share truth is how people are most offended. Jesus here didn’t offend everyone by calling them sinners and broods of vipers (although He did that sometimes). In this scenerio, He read the Bible, gave the people truth, and walked away cuz He knew what God had planned.