1 Corinthians 10:32 KJV “Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God.”
Let’s look at a scenario: we will call our brother, “Brother Witness.” Why? Because our brother will give a witness for Jesus in a heartbeat. He has no problem talking to people about God. He witnesses at the grocery store, at the laundromat, on the bus, at work, etcetera. Brother Witness will pull out his gadget with his Bibles downloaded on it and have a Bible study anytime anywhere, and that’s a good thing. But brother Witness is still growing in his faith as we shall see.
In the past brother Witness would do something that puzzled people. Right after or while sharing the gospel with folks brother Witness would light up a cigarette. This shocked and upset some folks because all their lives they were taught that smoking is how you defile your temple. Some folks simply concluded, “He’s just another hypocrite.”☹️ This habit brother Witness had was ruining his witness for Jesus Christ and he didn’t even know it (at first). Instead of helping folks he was hurting them.
Brother Witness honestly wasn’t aware of what his smoking habit was doing to people. But then the Holy Spirit started working on him. The Holy Spirit began to convict our brother and show him the serious consequences of stumbling others. Brother Witness tried to defend his right to smoke at first even using scripture to do so like the passages mentioned below:
Matthew 15:11 ESV “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”
Mark 7:14-23 ESV “And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Jesus said, ‘It’s not what goes into your mouth that makes you unclean but what comes out of it,’ right? Brother Witness took this to mean that smoking wasn’t bad and he had the right to smoke, he had the right to kill himself slowly. But brother Witness hadn’t yet learned and accepted other passages of scripture that state ANYTHING WE DO that causes offence or another brother to stumble into sin means we are not acting out of love. In fact we are sinning against Christ Himslef!
1 Corinthians 8:9-13 NIV “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.  For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols?  So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.  When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, YOU SIN AGAINST CHRIST.  Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.”
The Holy Spirit kept on convicting our brother with more stern warnings. Then one day the Spirit asked him, “Do you love your pleasure more than you love the people you witness to?” “Do you love your pleasure more than you love me?” This broke brother Witness down. He fell on his knees and his face and started crying like a baby, sobbing, runny nose and all. He begged God to help him stop smoking not only cigarettes but weed too. Our brother knew he couldn’t stop on his own. He had tried but failed. He was also crying to God because he now knew the severe consequences of stumbling others, whether Jews, Gentiles, or the church of God.
Something different happened that day with our brother because lo and behold he actually did receive the power from God to kick both of his habits! What happened so differently that day? Our brother stopped making excuses, confessed his sin (Proverbs 28:13 1John 1:9), truly cried out to God for help (Psalm 86:5), and repented. Now our brother can be an effective minister for Christ; not causing offence, not causing others to stumble.
Causing offence to others and leading them into sin by our conduct is serious business to God. May we prayerfully and diligently seek the help needed to repent from all dead works. (Ephesians 5:11) My life is better since I confronted my sin and called it what it is: “SIN!” That’s right, the writer of this article WAS brother Witness.
Matthew 13:40-42 KJV “As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom ALL THINGS THAT OFFEND, and them which do iniquity;  And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
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