Arminian Today

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A Study of Scoffers

A good biblical study to do before diving into evangelism is to study what the Bible has to say about scoffers.  I recommend also that a disciple study the Word of God in order to have a firm conviction about the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), about the faith in general (1 Peter 3:15-16) using presuppositional apologetics, and a firm conviction about our own assurance before God our salvation through faith in Christ (Romans 8:16).  Yet a study of scoffers helps us to see how people will often respond to our evangelism and also how we should respond to scoffers.  Too often we spend too much time debating with a scoffer who has no desire for the truth of God.

Let us look briefly then at several passages of Scripture concerning the scoffer.  Psalm 73:3-12 describes the wicked:

3 For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

4 For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.

5 They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.

6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.

7 Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.

8 They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.

9 They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.

10 Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.

11 And they say, “How can God know?
Is there knowledge in the Most High?”

12 Behold, these are the wicked;
always at ease, they increase in riches.

Notice verse 8.  This is what happens when we present the gospel with the lost.  They scoff and speak with malice toward the gospel.  People don’t love God.  They despise Him and refuse to repent.  John 3:19-21 again describes the normal state of men:

19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 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.

People are, by nature, children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3).  Jesus called people, children of Satan in John 8:44.  The Bible does not paint a pretty picture of us.  We are wicked before God (Psalm 7:11 NKJV).

Scripture reveals that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to save sinners.  He draws sinners (John 6:44) and He convicts sinners (John 16:8-11) and He opens hearts to the gospel (Acts 16:14-15).  Our duty is to be seed bearers (Matthew 13:3-9).  Paul said it best in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9:

6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

The duty of the disciple of Christ is to simply be His witness (Acts 1:8).  We are to preach the gospel to all of creation (Mark 16:15).  God alone saves sinners for His glory (Acts 2:47).

But what about the scoffers?  How should we respond to those who are hostile to the gospel of Christ.  Be assured that people will hate us because of the gospel (see John 15:18-25).  Paul called the gospel an offense (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).  People will not like the truth of God.  We should expect scoffers.  The Bible gives us much information about scoffers and how to respond to them.

1.  Scoffers Will Come (Jude 18).

Scoffers are simply part of sinners.  Psalm 1:1 speaks of the steps of the sinful.  Charles Spurgeon wrote of the scoffer in Psalm 1:1 saying this about the godly man:

He finds no rest in the atheist’s scoffings. Let others make a mock of sin, of eternity, of hell and heaven, and of the Eternal God; this man has learned better philosophy than that of the infidel, and has too much sense of God’s presence to endure to hear His name blasphemed. The seat of the scorner may be very lofty, but it is very near to the gate of hell; let us flee from it, for it shall soon be empty, and destruction shall swallow up the man who sits therein.

Scoffers will come (2 Peter 3:3).

2.  Scoffers Do Not Listen To Wisdom (Proverbs 13:1; 14:6).

Adam Clarke said about the scoffer:

I believe the scorner means, in this book, the man that despises the counsel of God; the infidel. Such may seek wisdom; but he never can find it, because he does not seek it where it is to be found; neither in the teaching of God’s Spirit, nor in the revelation of his will.

A true seeker of wisdom wants to hear the truth and is reasonable (Acts 17:11-12).  Scoffers, however, have no desire for the truth of God.  Use discernment from the Spirit to know the difference.

3.  Scoffers Despise Reproof (Proverbs 9:7-8; 15:12; 21:24; Jeremiah 6:10).

Scoffers have no desire for the truth of God.  They are simply wanting to argue with you.  You can debate them on any issue and they will simply mock you.  They are not seeking the truth but only to suppress the truth of God in their unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).  Scoffing will bring the wrath of God in His timing.

4.  Scoffers Are An Abomination Before the Lord (Proverbs 24:9; Isaiah 29:20).

God will judge the scoffer.  We can trust in His judgments.  I desire, however, is to see them saved.  Even God addressed the scornful in Isaiah 28:14 calling for them to repent (v.22).  Our cry to the scoffer is the same as it should be to all: repent and believe the gospel.  God alone can bring true repentance (2 Timothy 2:25).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/13/2013 at 10:00 AM

Posted in Evangelism, Evangelism Tips

Tagged with ,

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