Take No Offense

You have to know that satan will make every attempt to cause someone to come in
your path and do something trying to cause you to take hold of that offense and
retaliate.  Thereby being trapped in un-forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15) “for if you
forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you
forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses”
and (Mark 11:25-26) “and when you stand praying forgive, if you have anything
against any that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your
trespasses.  But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven
forgive your trespasses”.  A lot of people quote Mark 11:23-24 “for verily I say to you.
That whosoever shall say to this mountain, be you removed, and be you cast into the
sea and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says
shall come to pass, he shall have whosoever he says.  Therefore I say to you, what
things so ever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them and you
shall have them”.  But stop there and not follow up with verses 25-26.  These verses
goes together and will not work apart.  Forgiveness is not for the person who we are
to forgive, it’s for us.  To free us from malice (Ephesians 4:31-32 “let all bitterness,
and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all
malice.  And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even
as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you”; and then in Hebrew 12:14-15 “follow
peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.  Looking
diligently less any man fail of the grace of God, less any root of bitterness springing
up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled)”.   

Remember that faith works by love, see (I Corinthians 13:4-7).  We are to forgive the
offenses of others Proverbs 19:11 says “the wisdom of a man defers his anger, and it
is his glory to pass over a transgression”.  Jesus tell us in Matthew 5:44 “but I say to
you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,
and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”.  This does two
things, it lets you to be able to forgive them, just as Jesus on the cross said “Father
forgive them cause they know not what they do”; and it puts God’s name on them, so
He can bless them, and turn them around (Numbers 6:23-27).

Jesus warns us that offenses will come (Mark 4:17b “ when affliction or persecution
arises for the Word’s sake, immediately they are offended”, and  (Matthew 18:7) “woe
to the world because of offenses, for it must needs be that offences come, but woe to
that man by whom the offense comes”.  Willingness to compromise on nonessentials
can also avoid offense.  Often a church is split over disagreements about minor
issues or traditions.  Like Paul, we should remain firm on Christian essentials, but
flexible on nonessentials.  Of course, no one should violate his or her true
convictions, but sometimes we need to exercise the gift of mutual submission for the
sake of the gospel.  However, people may be offended at the truth through no fault of
the person who presents it.  This is because people would not always accept his
demands and the way of faith.  The New Testament takes these words and applies
them to the offense of the gospel of Christ (Romans 9:32-33; I Peter 2:8).  Romans
14:13 says “let us not therefore judge one another any more, but judge this rather,
that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way”.

Offense refers to those things that cause people to do something against their
conscience.  This type of offense may be from satan or from human beings.  It’s
effect is to entice a person to sin.  The Bible tells us that we are seated with Christ in
heavenly places (Ephesians 2:5-6) “even when we were dead in sins, has quickened
us together with Christ, by grace you are saved.  And has raised us up together and
made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”.  This means we are made
sharers of the authority with Him.  that’s why the devil tries to get you to take offenses
and get out of character, causing your faith to be void of its power.

Paul warns us not to be ignorant (II Corinthians 2:7-11), this was the man, which was
to be shunted, he told them to forgive and comfort him to avoid he be swallowed up
with sorrow. And to love him, less satan should get an advantage of them.  In
Ephesians 6:10-18 we learn how and why we should avoid receiving offenses.   It
says “finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.  Put on
the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high
places.  Wherefore take to you the whole armor of God that you may be able to
withstand the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your
loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.  And your
feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.  Above all, taking the shield of
faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And
take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching thereto with
all perseverance and supplication for all saints”.

Paul prayed for us (Philippians 1:9-11) “and this I pray, that your love may abound
yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.  That you may approve things
that are excellent; that you may be sincere, and without offence till the day of Christ.  
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and
praise of God”.

Sermon by: Harriet Bond
Date: March 30, 2007
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