There are many scoffers out there and some are easy to spot and some are not. Their belief of God’s word being the absolute authority on God, living a holy life, or going to heaven is not absolute. As we head toward Christ’s return scoffers will not see God’s word as a precious treasure. As we spread the gospel of God to unbelievers, we do so knowing we will encounter opposition.
How Do We Discern The Hidden Scoffers?
Proverbs 15:12 KJV A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise
The English bible uses the words scorn, scoff, and mock as one and the same. What does it mean to scorn?
scorn– extreme contempt; disdain which springs from a person’s opinion…to think unworthy (English Dictionary)
scoff– to mock at; to ridicule (English Dictionary)
Hebrew meaning of scoffer – 3887-lus- (verb the same as 3917b/lis “to scorn, showing “frivolous contempt of what is good and upright”… (HELPS Word-study)
A scoffer will reject or ignore living under the authority of God’s word. This attitude can be hidden. How do we discern below the surface and get to the true heart of someone?
Proverbs 9:7 KJV He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.
No matter what you see on the outside, their inner desire will be to shame the person correcting them. What does this mean?
shame-7036-qalon (masculine noun from 7034/qala,”viewed as worthless (abominable) because of little weight or substance…treated without respect or honor (tantamount to despising)… properly, ignominy, dishonor (HELPS Word-study)
Their words may say they value godly correction but their actions will prove otherwise. Why? Because a scoffer does not agree that the word of God carries the weight of absolute authority. This leads them to hate anything godly (holy). Which causes them to see the one correcting them with God’s word to have no value as well. When confronted with godly instruction it will bring out expressions, disrespect and even anger.
Correction Not Welcomed To an Unbeliever
As believers why do we risk receiving such hostility from unbelievers and “professing Christians” alike?
Proverbs 15:10-11 10 KJV Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die. 11 Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?
God says disobedience brings harsh punishment. Those who will not repent and accept the punishment will die in their sins.
God is patient and wishes none to perish but there is an end to His patients. What are we to do when we realize someone scoffs at us, thereby, scoffs at God?
What To Do With The Scoffer?
Jesus shows us what to do when we meet scoffers.
Mark 6:1-6 KJV 1 And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. 2 And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?
3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. 4 But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.
Jesus went into the synagogue to teach the people. He spoke things they had never heard. What was their response? They ask among themselves. Where did “this man” get such ideas? And where did He get such wisdom? No one spoke the way Jesus spoke including the religious teachers. But this did not cause them to truly seek the truth. Instead, they kept their opinion concerning the identity of Jesus. He is a carpenter. What did Jesus do?
He left and went to other places. Like Jesus we too should follow this example and leave. But this can be very hard at times. Even Jesus Himself was astonished at the peoples unbelief. They knew Him, heard His wisdom, and knew about His miracles. And yet they continued to hold on to their opinion of Him. They did not want to believe He was anybody but who they saw Him to be. Like Christ we also will be astonished that the desire to believe will not exist.
Letting Go Of The Unteachable
Proverbs 9:8b-9 KJV 8b rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. 9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
We let go of the unteachable people and watch for opportunities to instruct those seeking godly wisdom. What do we look for when discerning if someone truly desires godly instruction?
Those seeking godly wisdom will hold God’s word as the highest value in their decision making. We look for, could take some time, the persons godly choices to increase. And their selfish fleshly choices to decrease. They will begin to exercise self-discipline and move into obedience. And their love for the one teaching them will grow as they seek wise counsel from God’s word. Because their love and gratitude toward Christ will grow.
We Cannot Fix Or Make Someone Change
Let’s understand what this does not say. This does not say we can fix, help, or change anyone’s heart, mind, or soul. We do not have the power to do that. We are ambassadors of Christ to carry the message of salvation. But the power of change lies in the word of God through the Holy Spirit. The power of God’s word will offend and cut to the “marrow of the bone” to activate change (Hebrews 4:12-13).
So, to discern a scoffer understand there are 2 groups of people in this world. Those who have Jesus as their first love and those who love themselves first. The most important fruit to look for will be obedience to God’s commands (John 14:15).
The scoffer does not find obedience to Christ’s commands as joyful, good, or necessary. None of us obey perfectly but scoffers see no benefit in obedience. God does not expect perfection. He expects us to live in humility in His presence and the presence of others. But the pride and self righteousness of scoffers has no place for humility. How do we as believers live in humility? By keeping our eyes on Christ as the most precious gift we have ever received.
What Is The Hidden Treasure (Precious Gift)?
Matthew 13:44-46 KJV Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Christ gave everything for us. We are to give everything for Him. Our heart will treasure something. Let yours treasure the kingdom of heaven above all.