"The children are obstinate and hard-hearted. I am sending you to them and you must say to them: 'This is what the Lord God says'. Whether they listen or refuse to listen – for they are a rebellious house – they will know that a prophet has been among them. But you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words, though briars and thorns are beside you and you live among scorpions. Don't be afraid of their words or be discouraged by the look on their faces, for they are a rebellious house. But speak My words to them whether they listen or refuse to listen, for they are rebellious." Ezekiel 2:4-7 (HCSB)
There is a trend spreading through the Church these days where there is a high concern that we do not offend non-believers with the "potentially offensive" aspects of the Gospel. The goal of such a congregation would be to stress only the positive aspects of salvation (love, acceptance, forgiveness), hence making Jesus more "attractive."
"Potentially offensive" aspects of the Gospel would include mankind's sinful hopelessness in our natural state, the exclusivity of salvation through Jesus alone, or the absolute authority of Scripture. And it would extend into social items like sexual sin and abortion. The articulated reason many professing believers stay away from such topics is that they do not want to offend people and thus hinder non-believers from entering into a saving relationship with Jesus. The lingering unasked question in such circles is: When we don't share the whole truth, are people actually entering into a saving relationship with Jesus, or are they simply choosing a convenient Jesus-themed option?
Ezekiel was commanded to share the whole truth and nothing but the truth and not worry about his audience's response. We would do well to heed God's directive to Ezekiel because God's character is unchanging; He might as well be talking directly to us. In that, we can hang our faith on the old saying: If we humiliate God's Word for fear of offending our fellow man, we have offended God. Put simply: Be more concerned with your responsibility to God than man's repose to you.
We are not judged by men's response to the Gospel, only by our faithfulness to preach it. To most people, Jesus is a "Rock of offense" (1 Peter 2:8, Romans 9:33), but He is also the Rock of salvation for many others…us included. You never know who will receive the Gospel or how much they will cling to it. We only know that we are commanded to share it. We should also remember that prophets were not popular men. Not only did they have an unpopular message, but they also had the added charge of speaking primarily to the religious establishment! Still, Paul placed "prophecy" as the most precious gift, one that we can and should seek out.
"Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, and above all that you may prophesy." 1 Corinthians 14:1 (HCSB)
As you read the Bible, pray that God will reveal His Word and give you the boldness to share it!
Elevating your Faith with daily Bible reading and devotionals written by Steve Wiggins.
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