Risking Offense – Acts 22:1-23

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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While in college preparing for the ministry, I encountered another student from the Deep South. He was a boisterous individual who made condescending racial remarks while thinking he was superior to those of color. He was wrong. His comments were very offensive to me. I knew three perspective changing biblical principles. All mankind were sinners, and that God loved everyone in the world enough to send His Son to die for all. Peter had been taught, “…What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common [unclean or inferior] (Acts 11:9). Romans 12:3 also tells believers “…not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think….” Whether or not this fellow student became offended, I decided to share with him a more biblical perspective.

After an angry mob of Jews sought to kill Paul in the temple, Roman authorities apprehended him. As he was being taken away, he asked to speak to his attackers. His approach was to tell them three things they needed to hear, even if it further offended them. As he gave his testimony of being saved on the road to Damascus, he specified that a heavenly voice spoke to him identified itself by saying, “I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest” (Acts 22:8). This would be an unwelcome reference to these Jews who considered Christ a blasphemous imposter. Paul continued. He said that, when he later went to Jerusalem to minister in the name of the Lord Jesus, he was divinely warned to “make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem, for they will not receive thy testimony concerning Me” (vs. 18). This spoke not only to the hard-heartedness of the Jews in the past it implied their present and persistent condition. Finally, Paul shared that, since the Jews were rejecting faith in their Messiah, the Lord Jesus told him, “Depart, for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles” (vs. 21). This reference to ministering to the Gentiles so offended these bigoted Jews that it sent them into a frenzy, further calling for Paul’s death. But each of these things were true, and they needed to hear it.

It should never be our goal to offend people, and we should be wise in seeking to avoid offensive behavior or speech. But, even if it offends the lost, we must share with them that meritorious works won’t save them. Only faith in Jesus Christ apart from all works will. Don’t let the fear of offending the lost silence you. Speak up!

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."