"How do I handle situations when professing brothers and/or sisters in Christ are offended when I use the Word of God often in conversations, or for reproof, or for the reason why I do or do not participate in certain things?"—is a question I'm often asked. I promised my friends, readers and "followers" on social media that I'd share a more detailed response than the short and quick one I shared on my Facebook page a few days ago. So here it is.
Before "handling" this situation, you'll have to first assess who you're speaking with: a possible false convert, or one who possibly does belong to Christ, but are presently burdened by their pride. The reason why I say this is because no true child of God is offended or put off in any way by the use of God's Word...unless they're being prideful. All Christians love God's Word and are only strengthened and encouraged by it whenever spoken, used or applied. It is a balm of blessing to our spirit and a sore spot to our fleshly pride. Thanks be to God for both!
"For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God."
~John 3:20-21 (ESV)
Distinguishing Marks of A False Convert
A person who is falsely converted may have made a profession of faith in Christ, but there isn't clear evidence there is any possession of the Holy Spirit's sanctifying work displayed in their lives (James 2:14, 18-19, 26). Additionally, there is no continual practice of repentance (Mt 3:7-8), there is no grief for sins but rather the desire to conceal and continue in them (1 Jn 3:4-7), there is no evidence of reverent fear of God's holiness and regard for His righteousness (Ps 25:14, 36:1-3); and last but not least, there is no demonstration of love for God over love for self (Mt 22:37, 1 Thess 4:1).
Distinguishing Marks of a True Believer in Christ
A person who has truly been regenerated by the Holy Spirit through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, will love God and the things of God more than self. As Burk Parsons once said, "You can tell your faith is real if when the Holy Spirit pricks your conscience you bleed repentance." And often this conscience pricking by the Holy Spirit is through God's Word, whether read by yourself or spoken and shared by others.
I recall a time (between the ages of 17-20) when there was no outward appearance that I was truly saved. I lived a very carnal life that I would consider was worse than many unbelievers I knew at the time. But inwardly, there was a raging war within me (Rom 7:15, 22-23)—my old sin nature and the Spirit of Christ within me. Thought outwardly it looked as if I enjoyed this sin-infested life I was living, inwardly I despised it.
So when God sent a precious sister in Christ (someone I hardly knew) to rebuke me with the Word of God (Prov 27:5-6), I wept bitterly and decided then that she was someone I really needed to befriend. Unfortunately, she didn't feel the same way, as she was quite disgusted by my iniquitous living. Though this saddened me, I understood, and was grateful for her godly rebuke because I was obviously in great need of it.
"Let a righteous man [or woman] strike me—it is a kindness; let him [or her] rebuke me—it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it."
~Psalm 141:5a (ESV)
Of course, none of us can see another persons heart (we can't often know our own [Jer 17:9-10]), but Jesus did qualify us as fruit inspectors (Mt 7:14-20) so that we may live like the wise rather than the unwise.
One of the most unloving things we can do, is affirm the salvation of someone who's living in blatant rebellion to God and His Word. Conversely, the most loving thing we can do, is urge them to test their salvation (2 Cor 13:5) with the Word of God and not by the testimony of others.
If we truly love the Lord Jesus and care about those He came to save, we will be more concerned about a person's spiritual state than about offending them, or being offended or rejected by them. In this, we will desire to be better listeners, be more prayerful, and point the hearer to Christ whether they are saved or unsaved.
Share God's Word and obey God's Word not for the results (that everyone will agree with you or like you), but for the sole purpose that God is well pleased (Gal 1:10, 2:20). But before you share any Scripture with others, test your own heart's motive with His Word first to ensure you're not doing this out of spite or to make your own point (Ps 19:14, 139:23-24). Make sure you handle the Sword of the Spirit as a skilled soldier and not as an immature and self-aggrandizing toddler.
by Sunny Shell Christian Post