How can we be an unoffended generation, asks Josh Yeoh at Burning Hearts Conference
Photo: Courtesy of Burning Hearts
“Nowadays, people get offended by almost everything. Even a Starbucks cup can offend people,” said Josh Yeoh yesterday on the opening night of the Burning Hearts Conference.
But what if it actually takes a generation who is unoffended to prepare the way for Jesus’ second coming?
Turning to Matthew 11:2-6, the founder of the Penang House of Prayer pointed out how Scripture has a different definition of offence.
Jesus told His disciples: “Blessed is the one who is not offended by me.” (Matthew 11:6 ESV)
The word “offended” in this verse is translated from the Greek word skandalon, which is used in the Bible to mean two separate definitions, explained Yeoh, as he addressed the crowd of 375 attendees.
We get offended when our expectations are not met.
The first is: To cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey. This was the case when Peter denied Jesus in Matthew 26:30-35. Jesus said to Peter and His other disciples, “you will fall away” (i.e. be offended).
The second definition is: To see in another what I disapprove of and what hinders me from acknowledging his authority. This was seen through the example of Judas, who sold Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
Yeoh said: “The disciples thought Jesus would come as a political conqueror, and He didn’t. And because of that, one of them sold Him for 30 pieces of silver.
“We get offended when our expectations are not met – when what we disapproved of happens. What if revival came and didn’t look like what we wanted it to look like?”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE UNOFFENDED BY JESUS?
As he paced the sanctuary of Kum Yan Methodist Church, Yeoh pointed the audience back to Matthew 11:6.
When Jesus said “blessed is the one who is not offended by me”, he was referring to his cousin John the Baptist.
Yeoh candidly compares John’s life to the ending of Infinity War without Part Two. Though on a more serious note, he explained why we need to follow suit.
“Love makes us strong to lay down our life,” said Yeoh.
John’s dedication is revealed by the timeline of his life. He lived in the wilderness for 30 years, while his ministry was estimated to be six months. He was then in jail for even longer than his ministry, before ultimately being sentenced to death.
“John faded. And at the peak of his ministry, John said, ‘He must increase, I must decrease.’ He gave his life to set the stage for Jesus to take His place,” said Yeoh.
He threw out a challenge to the crowd: Would we be willing to lay down our lives and fade into obscurity – all so that someone else can get the glory?
Through another light-hearted anecdote closer to home, Yeoh described what it meant to be unoffended.
What if you were second in line when queuing for mee pok and heard there were only two servings left? Would you be willing to step out and let someone else behind you go first?
That’s essentially what John the Baptist did. If we want to be the forerunner for the Lord, as John had been, we have to be willing to give up our turn.
SO HOW CAN WE PREPARE OURSELVES TO BE UNOFFENDED?
1. Be pained for the loss of intimacy
The first part of John 3:25-30 illustrates the reaction of John’s disciples towards Jesus: “look he’s baptising and all are going to him”.
This revealed a misalignment of the disciple’s hearts, shared Yeoh. “The disciples had more pain in their heart for the loss of influence and impact than the loss of intimacy.“
What about us? If we check our own hearts, are we more concerned about our loss of impact than our loss of intimacy with God?
“When you’re asked to step down from a position of leadership or not to serve and there’s a pain in your heart, something needs to be corrected in your heart,” said Yeoh.
“We can want something good so much that we elevate that more than our intimacy with God. If you have more pain over your lack of influence and impact than lack of intimacy, you’re out of alignment with the Lord.”
2. Be the friend of the bridegroom
The second half of John 3:25-30 records John’s response to his disciple, as he describes his ministry as the friend of the bridegroom.
“The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.” (John 3:29)
“The friend of the bridegroom is the most trusted man,” said Yeoh. “You only pick a best man who loves you, will serve you and will not compete with you. Imagine if you had a best man who was flirting with your bride.”
A silent audible gasp fills the room.
Breaking the silence, Yeoh said: “What if you had a best man who served you and then behind your back, calls the attention of the bride all to himself?
“Anytime we stand before the bride of Christ – the people of God – and we draw attention to ourselves, we draw the affection of the bride away.”
Yeoh issued a call to the audience: We need to be a generation that does not draw the affection of God’s people away from Him.
“Revival will take men and women who are willing to disappear… a generation who will lay down their lives wholeheartedly like John the Baptist – to prepare the way, to be forged in the wilderness, to know God and be unoffended by Him.”
The Burning Hearts Conference is running from Thursday-Saturday, July 18-20, 2019. Night sessions are open to the public and day passes are still available for Saturday.
THINK + TALK
- Are there any offences in your heart that you’re currently holding onto?
- In what areas of your life do you need to humble yourself so that Jesus will be made greater?
- Are you more concerned with the loss of impact than the loss of intimacy with God?