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Evangelism And God’s Love For Scoffers

by | Oct 31, 2017 | Missions Articles

 

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — During one memorable evangelistic outing, I attempted to converse with the manager of a ukulele shop. The man (who identified himself as an ex-Baptist from Georgia) said that Christianity is merely mythological. He said my belief in a personal god is absurd and that I should look “within myself” for guidance, rather than religion. In summary, he scoffed at my faith in Jesus.

Despite his contempt for the Bible’s portrayal of reality, I persisted and reasoned with him. He was also eager to continue the dialogue in order to defend his ideas. As the conversation progressed, I found several openings to explain why worshipping Christ is perfectly rational.

From Scripture we learn that followers of Jesus should warn three groups of people about the consequences of scoffing.

First, we should warn bystanders — who are neutral regarding the Gospel — to resist becoming scoffers. Such derision typically signifies a spiritual condition that seals eternal condemnation. That’s why Paul the apostle told the people of Antioch in Pisidia (part of modern-day Turkey) when he preached the Gospel there to “Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about: ‘Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you’” (Acts 13:40-42).

Second, we should warn the perpetrators of scoffing. Jude, an early follower of Jesus, in a letter reminded readers of the apostles’ warnings that “there will be scoffers” who deny the faith. But those scoffers are among those who we should seek to help “by snatching them out of the fire” of damnation (Jude 17-23).

Lastly, we ought to warn the victims of scoffing — believers in Jesus who proclaim Him to a mocking audience. Peter, the apostle, warned Christians that “scoffers will come in the last days” undermining the notion that Jesus will return to earth (2 Peter 3:1-4). Peter said that believers should be firmly rooted in true doctrine, otherwise they risk being intimidated by scoffing instead of influencing the scoffers (2 Peter 3:17).

Many Christians don’t want to be subject to any ridicule. That is understandable. An ancient proverb warns that “Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse” (Prov. 9:7). However, God loves scoffers so much that He often subjects His followers and Himself to verbal assault.

When the Kingdom of Judah turned away from God in the sixth century, God “sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people.” But “they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising His words and scoffing at His prophets” (2 Chron. 36:11-16). Jesus had mercy on those “scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself,’” by ignoring their challenge and dying for their sins (Luke 23:35).

Of course, it is emotionally hurtful to be scoffed at. But something far greater is at stake than your feelings when you share the Gospel.

By: Raymond Billy

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