Offense of the Cross

I preached yesterday at the local Baptist church. The subject was the unavoidable offense of the cross (1 Cor) to those who are too strong or too smart and the avoidable offense of language and behavior of God’s people which picked up a little on my blog post from last week. Ended up talking a lot about THANKSGIVING as the language of the Kingdom and a result of being filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5). When we begin to follow Jesus, our language changes from mindless to meaningful (Ex. 20) and from complaining to complimenting (Eph).

I read out a great passage on praising God with our mind from the classic book ‘Disciple’, by Juan Carlos Ortiz. LOVE that book. Glad I found it again after 25 years.


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • Helen says:

    Andrew, I hope it’s ok to ask about your sermon. I’m not trying to pick a fight, just to reconcile it with my own experience.
    Were you able to pinpoint a type of strongness and smartness which only applies to people who aren’t Christians?
    I’m curious since – a big part of the reason I’m almost an atheist is that when I tried to find distinctives of Christians vs. people who aren’t Christians, I couldn’t find anything non-superficial which set them apart. You may disagree, but to me saying certain things is superficial – it’s a language – it doesn’t necessarily prove changed character. And when I looked for character, I found people who weren’t Christians who were already there – already kind, etc, without any conscious attempt to seek Jesus’ assistance in being kind.
    I tried it with all the definitions of ‘Christian’ in common use and got largely similar – so I don’t think it’s because my definition miscategorized people.
    So, what is the strength which makes non-Christians offended at the cross, which is absent from Christians? What is the smartness which makes non-Christians offended at the cross which is absent from Christians?
    Or is it more of a continuum, that Christians continue to struggle with these things, but because of their faith and knowledge of the passage you preached on, they are at least aware of the struggle/temptation and are doing their best – as enabled by God – not to fall into temptation?
    I could go with “Christians are people who recognize this as something to guard against” – because that’s about a difference of opinion/belief which I know is real. What I don’t get is if it implies differences in character between Christians and others, because I didn’t see those when I looked hard.

  • andrew says:

    it was actually quite simple. i talked about how those who are strong/powerful enough to get themselves out of trouble by their own resources are offended by the cross of Christ because He did everything and there is nothing to add – which hurts our pride,
    and those who are normally smart enough to think their way or strategize into the next level are offended by the cross because it is foolishness and doesnt call on their abilities – ITS A GIFT! which is offensive.
    and the fact that Jesus didnt come to write a book or leave a superior philosophy behind but rather provided the way through the cross and formed a community of very ordinary people to shape and form the tradition of the way.
    i dont believe its possible to approach the cross without being offended. This is why the cross is a stumbling block to Jews (who look to power/miraculous) and Greeks (who like wisdom)

  • Helen says:

    Thanks Andrew.
    Actually I don’t remember being offended when I first heard (or first understood) the gospel at the age of 20. My main thought was “Why didn’t anyone ever tell me this before?”
    It didn’t offend me that it was a gift or that I couldn’t solve my own sin problem. I just accepted those things.
    I’m not trying to be argumentative. That really is how I remember it. The only issue for me was “Is it true?” and I decided to take the risk and ‘pray the prayer’ hoping it was.

  • Mike Anderson says:

    Juan Carlos rocks!! He came to our tiny church in our small town here in the Sierra foothills (Grass Valley, California) 2 or 3 years in a row back in the early 80’s soon after my conversion. His simple stories and explanations of what our walk in the Spirit should be like have never lost their influence on me. The offense of the cross was drowned by His and now our humilities.

  • James says:

    hey – thanks for the freferences on the shift in language post-salvation. I’m wondering how you fit those in -is there an mp3 perhaps?

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