From the Pastors Desk
Nov29FriNovember 29, 2019 Pastor Byron Hand
Last week we looked at the Opposition of Offense (one of the ways Satan opposes the church). This week we are going to conclude this brief study.
Lat week I concluded with Luke 17:1-4 – Notice the bolded words:
He said to his disciples, “Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
The Definition of take offense means to become angry or upset by something that another person has said or done. In Luke 17 Jesus stated clearly that “offenses will certainly come.” It will CERTAINLY come because we are fallen sinful creatures with a bent to say and do things that offend those closest to us. Offense is not the main problem. The main problem as followers of Christ is that we would rather nurse the offense instead of dealing with it in a biblical manner. What happens then is vividly described by John Bevere:
“One of the most deceptive and insidious kinds of bait (bait that Satan uses to trap us) is something every Christian has encountered – offense. Actually offense itself is not deadly – if it stays in the trap. But if we pick it up and consume it and feed on it in our hearts, then we have become offended. Offended people produce much fruit, such as hurt, anger, jealousy, resentment, strife, bitterness, hatred, and envy.”
Jesus gives us some practical advice when offended:
- Verse 3 – Always be on guard to the reality of the danger;
- When offended, remember that the offender is your brother or sister in the Lord (v:4);
- Rebuke him – This doesn’t mean go to the offender with a sledge hammer. It means to go to him/her directly and speak truth. It also means that you don’t use the occasion of offense to go to someone else and chatter about how this person hurt you;
- When there is repentance, forgiveness is mandated – Forgiveness means that you release the offender from any further need for your justice. By the way, this may need to happen more than once! That’s what followers of Jesus do.
Offense will certainly come! Let me leave you with several principles as you ponder that statement in relation to the church and the relationships within.
- Deal with offense quickly – Matthew 5:25 “Come to terms quickly with your accuser”; also Matthew 18:15-20; and Luke 17:1-4.
- There is no perfect church anywhere – Running away won’t solve the issue – The following text from Romans 7 shows us the inner battle we all face: 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.”
- Putting all your trust in people, to always do the right thing, is not wise. It can cause YOU to turn away from the Lord – Jeremiah 17:5 “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord.”
- Deal with others the way you wish to be treated – Matthew 7:12 says it all: “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”
- Focus on that which promotes UNITY – Resolution of conflict and Offense. 1 Corinthians 1:10 “I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.”
Something to Think about WHEN you get offended with someone
See You Sunday,
Text for Sunday is 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16