Mark 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Matthew 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

Galatians 4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.

Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.

I Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

MEMORY VERSE: And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. — Matthew 11:6

CENTRAL THOUGHT: A person who with deep desire seeks after God will not become offended by the rejection, affliction or persecution which he or she as a follower of Christ will experience, but will endure with joy the shame and reproach of the cross; and instead of stumbling at obeying the Word, will count it as a delight, as Christ did.


Mark 4:17 “Offended”: from offend: to put a snare in the way; to cause to stumble; to give offense.

I Peter 4:14 “Reproached”: to defame; rail at; chide; taunt; revile; upbraid.


In our previous lesson Jesus told how the persecution, tribulation and affliction that could arise to the one who receives the Word of God often becomes a stumbling block for would-be disciples. There are many other places in Jesus’ ministry where he warned or comforted His disciples concerning this. In prophecy He was called the chief cornerstone which the builders (leaders of Israel) rejected; a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense (Isaiah 28:16; Psalm 118:22; Romans 9:33). Those who followed Him could expect no easier road, He explained; even your own family members may reject or persecute you.

Paul, writing to the Galatians, explained that the reason for persecution was that the Christian was born “after the Spirit.” He or she obeys the Spirit, and not the flesh. This difference is apparent almost immediately after one is born again, and is the source of the world’s hatred for believers. Paul stated to the Philippians that it was a believer’s lot not only to believe, but to suffer for Jesus’ sake. Peter assured the saints that the fiery trials of tribulation weren’t at all strange to the child of God, but were evidence that the Spirit of glory “rested” upon them, and they were to rejoice and glorify God.

Our memory verse is from a touching scene from John the Baptist’s last days. He had been put into prison for preaching God’s Word concerning adultery to Herod and his adulterous wife, Herodias. Filtering into his lonely cell were reports of how Jesus was going about freely, preaching to great crowds who followed him. Was John troubled by second thoughts? In a moment of despair, did he need reassurance? He begged his visiting friends to communicate his questions right to Jesus. “Are you really The One?”

Jesus sent back: “John, it is just as the prophets have said. The deaf hear, the blind see, the lepers are cleansed, and the lame are walking. The gospel is being preached to the humble souls. Oh, John, you will be blessed if you won’t let this persecution make you stumble!” Surely His encouragement bolstered John’s faith, for soon afterward John was beheaded at Herodias’ awful request.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. The shallow hearer who is offended at the Word is said to have “no root.” What is this “root”?
  2. Give present day examples of the animosity, rejection, discrimination, hatred, and persecution Christians may endure, from very slight to very intense.
  3. Give the reason Paul offered to the Galatians for persecution. Explain why this makes a difference.
  4. Peter calls persecution being a “part of Christ’s sufferings.” Are there other scriptures with this thought? How does this bring comfort?
  5. John suffered imprisonment and death for preaching God’s Word. In a moment of discouragement, he questioned Jesus. Share an example of your own moment of doubt and how the Lord answered you.


If we would be brutally honest with ourselves, we would admit that the majority of times we stumbled at the Word was because of deeply rooted selfishness. We just didn’t want to be put out in any way to be a Christian. Going to heaven and having peace and forgiveness and happiness sounded like a good deal, but when it came to suffering, then no deal. That’s the way the flesh responds to the disciplines of the Word of God. It was the preaching of the cross that was a stumblingblock to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles, and it is still an offense to the fleshly-minded man or woman today.

If we’re not willing to bear that difference between our new life of following the Spirit and the world around us that follows the flesh, whether it be a slight snub, unexplained discrimination, loss of employment, open animosity, or out-and-out persecution, make no mistake, the newly germinated seed stops growing right there and will die when it hits that rock of self-preservation.

How deep is your desire to know and please God? Are you so deeply convicted by His Word that you would rather die than deny Him? Can you endure being either ignored, passed over for a promotion, or taunted by people at school or work because of your high standards?

Accepting with joy the fact that there will be a vast difference from the worldly crowd in your appearance, language, recreation, family life, habits, and goals will bring about a deep peace as you embrace the cross of Christ with entire submission of your will, and crucify the flesh. With that hard place gone, God’s Word has the potential now to grow and flourish in your life, producing enduring fruit unto God.

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


“Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free? No, there’s a cross for everyone, and there’s a cross for me.”

Reproach has been very familiar to God’s servants all along. Psalm 89:50-51 says, “Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people; Wherewith thine enemies have reproached, O LORD; wherewith they have reproached the footsteps of thine anointed.”

Matthew Henry said, “They were God’s servants that were reproached, and the abuses done to them reflected upon their Master, especially since it was for serving Him that they were reproached.”

When Paul the Apostle was incarcerated in Rome, he mentioned only one person who came to see him—Onesiphorus in II Timothy 1:16-17. I’m sure that Onesiphorus felt reproached many times as he faced the guards asking for Paul in the different jails that he visited trying to find him. Paul said he “was not ashamed of my chain.” He bore with long lines of people, a lot of waiting, harsh language, rough treatment etc. Onesiphorus sought him out and refreshed him with food, clothes, and fellowship.

When we are not afraid of being offended or reproached, blessings await us from God who sees it all. Reproach and being buffeted for Christ’s sake was the “norm” back then and it seemed to be accepted by the saints. Is it different today with political correctness everywhere? Everyone has to be careful of not offending in word or action. It’s sad that we are being silenced and the Word of God is losing its effect upon the hearts and lives of mankind. May God help us to be bold and courageous, and may we not be offended by the Word.

—Bro. James Bell