If you are in Jesus’ Church, then strong messages are going to come from the Holy Spirit. Why? Because the Spirit cries out in us against everything we think, say or do that is of the flesh. Jesus says, “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19).
Yet, the sign of every true follower of Jesus is that he surrenders to Christ’s every word. This servant loves reproof because of what it produces in his heart. He sees the change it brings, and he knows it is life to him.
Deep down, that is also why a sinner comes to God’s house. It’s not just to be counted as one more number in a large congregation. It’s to be found by God, because in his heart he knows he’s lost. His soul isn’t at rest, and he’s had too many long, sleepless nights. He wants answers, truth, real change, because he senses he’s bound for hell.
We’ve all been taught that Christ is the cornerstone of His Church. Paul says this stone is a rock of offense: “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 9:33). Peter also calls Jesus a rock of offense: “The head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient” (1 Peter 2:7-8).
Peter could tell you firsthand what happens when you try to do away with the message of the cross. He was offended when Jesus foretold His death to the disciples. So, “Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee” (Matthew 16:22).
But Jesus answered him with these stinging words: “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (16:23).
Here is a clear example of how Satan can plant a deception in even a godly, Christ-loving shepherd. And you can bet Peter never forgot his Master’s words. Likewise today, every minister and believer is to heed Christ’s warning: “My cross and My blood may offend you. But if you’re ashamed of My message, or you try to soften it, then you’re an offense to Me. You don’t represent My Word or My Church.”