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Taking the offensive - musingoutloud.com

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Taking the offensive
Working out the Biblical balance
… without giving cause for offence
1. Scripture teaches a balance betweentrying too hardnot to offend people andnot trying hard enough.
Then the disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” – Matt 15:12
The word for “offense” in the New Testament comes from two sets of Greek words.
προσκοπή(proskope) -- G4348-4350 + 677Σκανδαλίζω(skandalizo) -- G4624-4625
On the one hand …
Expect the gospelto give offense.(Rom 9:32-33, 1 Cor 1:23, Gal 5:11 , 1 Peter 2:7-8)
Romans 9:33"Behold, I lay in Zion a stone ofstumblingand a rock ofoffense, and he who believes in him will not be disappointed."
Gal 5:11But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then thestumbling blockof the cross has been abolished.
On the one hand …
Expect the gospel to give offense.(Rom 9:32-33, 1 Cor 1:23, Gal 5:11 , 1 Peter 2:7-8)Expect to beunfairly slandered.(Luke 6:26, Mat 5:11-12, John 16:2, 2 Tim 3:12, 1 Peter 4:12-16)
Matthew 5:11Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.Luke 6:26Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.
John 16:2They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.
On the one hand …
Expect the gospel to give offense.(Rom 9:32-33, 1 Cor 1:23, Gal 5:11 , 1 Peter 2:7-8)Expect to be unfairly slandered.(Luke 6:26, Mat 5:11-12, John 16:2, 2 Tim 3:12, 1 Peter 4:12-16)Don’t beafraidof not pleasing people.(Gal 1:10, John 5:44, 1 Peter 3:14)
1 Peter 3:14But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. “And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled…”
Gal 1:10For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
On the other hand …
Scripture teaches us thevalue of being peacemakersto our witness.(Rom 12:18, 1 Peter 2:12, 3:15-16, James 1:20, 3:18)
1 Peter 2:12Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
in the day the Holy Spirit opens their eyes to the gospel?
1 Peter 3:14-16Anddo not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you,yet with gentleness and reverence; andkeep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.
On the other hand …
Scripture teaches us the value of being peacemakers to our witness.(Rom 12:18, 1 Peter 2:12, 3:15-16, James 1:20, 3:18)Scripture warns us to rememberwho the real enemy is.(Eph 6:12, 2 Tim 2:24-26)
Eph 6:12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
2 Timothy 2:24-26The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
On the other hand …
Scripture teaches us the value of being peacemakers to our witness.(Rom 12:18, 1 Peter 2:12, 3:15-16, James 1:20, 3:18)Scripture warns us to remember who the real enemy is.(Eph 6:12, 2 Tim 2:24-26)Scripture is very clear thatwe should not give causefor offense.(Matt 18:7, 1 Cor 10:32, 2 Cor 6:3, Prov 18:19)
Matt 18:7Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; butwoe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!
1 Cor 10:32Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God.
2 Cor 6:3… giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited.
2 Cor 6:1-10And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain ... giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited, but in everything commending ourselves as servants of God,
2 Cor 6:1-10in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses,in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger,in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness,in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God;
2 Cor 6:1-10by the weapons of righteousnessfor the right hand and the left,
2 Cor 6:1-10by glory and dishonor,by evil report and good report;regarded as deceivers and yet true;as unknown yet well-known,as dying yet behold, we live;as punished yet not put to death,as sorrowful yet always rejoicing,as poor yet making many rich,as having nothing yet possessing all things.
Weapons for the right hand and the left
in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindnessin the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of Godby glory, by good reportyet we are true, well-known, alive, not put to death, always rejoicing, making many rich, possessing all things
in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distressesin beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hungerby dishonor, by evil reportregarded as deceivers, unknown, dying, punished, sorrowful, poor, having nothing  In suffering
Prov 18:19A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city,And contentions are like the bars of a citadel.
How do we keep the balance?
Two key attitude checks
1. Don’ttake pridein being offended and don’ttake pridein offending.(Prov 19:11, 20:3, 27:3, 12:18)
Proverbs 19:11A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger,And it is his glory to overlook a transgression.Proverbs 20:3Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man,But any fool will quarrel.
Proverbs 27:3A stone is heavy and the sand weighty,But the provocation of a fool is heavier than both of them.Proverbs 12:18There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,But the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Two key attitude checks
1. Don’t take pride in being offended and don’t take pride in offending.(Prov 19:11, 20:3, 27:3, 12:18)2. Don’t bepugnacious.(1 Tim 3:3, Titus 1:7)
2. The wisdom of being winsome.
Winsome: attractive or appealing in appearance or character
The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable.(Prov 15:2)
Five ways to be winsome with the truth
Time it right.Cultivate a gentle manner.Work to understand the other person’s point of view.Be direct.Beware of trolls.
1. Time it right
Like apples of gold in settings of silverIs a word spokenin right circumstances.Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine goldIs a wise reprover to a listening ear.(Prov 25:11-12)
This will requireself-restraint.(Prov 10:19, 12:23, 14:33, 15:28, 17:27, 29:20)
2. Cultivate a gentle manner
A gentle answer turns away wrath,But a harsh word stirs up anger.(Prov 15:1)
This is easier if you trulybelieve the bestabout people.(Ph’p4:8-9)
3. Work to understand the other person’s point of view.
A fool does not delight in understanding,But only in revealing his own mind.(Prov 18:2)
It helps if you arereasonable.(James 3:17)
4. Be direct.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.(Prov 27:6)
Don’tflatter.(Prov 27:5, 28:4, 29:5)
Example: Nathan in 2 Samuel 12:1-7.Then the LORD sent Nathan to David.And he came to him and said …
“There were two men in one city,the one rich and the other poor.The rich man had a great many flocks and herds.But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lambWhich he bought and nourished;And it grew up together with him and his children.It would eat of his bread and drink of his cupand lie in his bosom,And was like a daughter to him.”
“Now a traveler came to the rich man,And he was unwilling to take from his own flockor his own herd,To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him;Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.”
Then David’s anger burned greatly against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, surely the man who has done this deserves to die. He must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion.”Nathan then said to David, “You are the man!”
5. Beware of trolls.
Do not answer a fool according to his folly,Lest you also be like him.Answer a fool according to his folly,Lest he be wise in his own eyes.(Prov 26:4-5, NKJV)
Example of dealing with trolls
Matt 22:15-22: Jesus, the Pharisees and Caesar
Mat 22:15-22Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying,"Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?"
Mat 22:15-22But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, "Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax."And they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?"They said to Him, "Caesar's."Then He said to them, "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's."And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.
Example of dealing with trolls
Matt 22:15-22: Jesus, the Pharisees and CaesarLessons:Be discerning. Sometimes it’s a trap.You don’t have to answer.You don’t have to answer directly.There’s always a wrong agenda behind the question. You don’t have to accept that agenda.
Key for us: Are you promoting your agenda or God’s?

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Taking the offensive - musingoutloud.com