Jesus’ Thoughts on Triggering Sermons

An Example of Godless Logic

I recently saw a video of a man who stood outside of a Milwaukee high school and preached the gospel to students as they passed by. He spoke about the sanctity of life and the evils of abortion. Students surrounded him and began to mock and threaten him while the school security officers simply looked on. As they sat by and watched, the security guards could be overheard saying that this this man’s preaching is not what Jesus would have wanted, because the message of sin and repentance was provoking the students. Moments later, members of the crowd attacked the preacher as these same security guards sat by and watched. 

Triggering the Sanhedrin with The Gospel

The world wants you to think that the preacher was responsible for the actions of the crowd, that he deserved his beating because of his offensive behavior. Some, like the security guards, will even claim that the preacher was in the wrong and that God would not approve of such behavior. However, what does scripture say? In Acts 5:17-32, we can see that Christ himself not only blesses such preaching, but He commands it. In this passage, Peter and the rest of the apostles preached the good news of Christ’s resurrection in the temple in Jerusalem. The problem, however, was that this message provoked the Sadducees, the Jewish political party who controlled the temple. The Sadducees had two central problems with the apostle’s teachings: 1) They were enemies of Jesus, and they played a central role in seeing that He was crucified. 2) They did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, so hearing the apostles preach day in and day out that Jesus was not dead, but that He was alive was particularly bothersome. In short, the apostles repeatedly went into the home turf of the Sadducees and not only preached a message that they explicitly forbade them from preaching (Acts 4:18), but they accused the Sadducees of murdering Jesus (Acts 2:23, 3:13-17, 4:10, 5:28). The apostles said things and preached a message in an area that they knew would offend people. So why would they do it?

Jesus Commands to preach the gospel in Places it will be Offensive

In Acts 5:17-20, we see that Christ sent an angel to not only free the apostles from prison, but to command them to disobey the Sadducees and hold their ground by preaching the whole gospel. Specifically, they were called to preach of life in Christ and to hold nothing back. As Christians, we go to war against the tyrannical forces of our age by preaching the gospel, and we do so not out of hatred or spite for our fellow man, but because Christ has commanded us to (Matthew 28:18-20), and because the gospel is the power of God for the salvation of sinners (Romans 1:16-17). We do not simply say that Christ loves us and died for us, we preach that He is king, that His word is the highest law of the land law, and that His law is the only one that offers us true freedom (Romans 8:1-11). 

No Other Option

There is no nice or clever way to say that judgement waits for all who do not believe in Jesus and who refuse to repent of their sins and follow Him. That is the message of the gospel, and it will inevitably offend someone. However, even though the gospel is offensive, through the preaching of the gospel, the Holy Spirit takes those who once attempted to destroy the body of Christ and He makes them part of His body. The Holy Spirit takes Christians and makes them Christ like. Through the gospel and the preaching of the word we replicate Christians so that we might flood the world with Christ likeness. People might be offended by our message as the Sadducees were or as the crowd of high school students were. Nevertheless, through the preaching of the gospel, the Holy Spirit can and will make those who oppose Christ and His church members of His church.  If we flood the world with those whom the Holy Spirit is conforming into the likeness of Christ, not even the gates of Hell will be able to withstand that flood. 

Published by Colin Andrade

Colin is a PCA pastor in rural Iowa. He serves as the the editor of the Cruciform Blog.

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