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Sermon of the Week 
Tuesday, November 10 2015

Dealing With Offences

Luke.17:1 Jesus said it is impossible that offences would never come.

That means we might as well brace ourselves and prepare for offences and learn how to deal with them when they come. One of the things I’ve found out in our Christian walk is that, not all mountains are meant to “be removed and be cast into the sea”. Some are meant to be climbed, that’s when a ‘stumbling block’ becomes a ‘stepping stone’ to greater heights. And yet still, some mountains are meant to be broken through! David’s mighty men broke through the garrison of the Philistines to get water from the well for David. (2 Sam.23:14-16).

They didn’t hold a prayer meeting and hope to wake up the next day to find the Philistines all gone. That could happen, but it didn’t work that way on that occasion. First, a definition of the word ‘offence’......

In the Hebrew, it means; obstacle, enticement, stumbling block, etc. In the Greek, it also means,; the trigger for a trap or a snare, the cause of displeasure or sin, an occasion to fall, etc. And in plain English, it means; wounding of the feelings. The bible says that Jesus, Himself, can be offensive…

Isaiah 8:14&15 “He will be a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken, and be snared and taken.”

When Baby Jesus was brought into the temple, Simeon blessed Him and said to Mary, in Luke 2:34 “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel and for an object of offence.”

Do you know how many are offended in Jesus today? Many are disappointed in Him and a lot of things that can't be reconciled are blamed on Him. And we are not only talking about unbelievers, but sad to say, believers too! Jesus sent to John the Baptist in the prison,

Matthew 11:6 “And blessed is he who is not offended in Me.” Jesus warned His disciples on the night of His arrest, in Matthew 26:31 that they would all be offended because of Him. How true; that was the night Peter denied Jesus 3 times before     the cock crowed.

People were also offended at the teachings of Jesus in John 6:48-68. People were offended at Jesus in His home town because they knew Him too well in the natural to accept his claim to divinity in Matthew 13:54-57. The Apostle said, that they once knew Jesus after the flesh, (as an offence) but they now saw Him after the spirit, in 2 Corinthians 5:16. The cross of Christ was also an offence to people, in Galatians 5:11.

Some folks are offended when tribulation and persecution arise because of the word according to Matthew 13:21. Certainly we know that the message of the blood of Christ "the bloody gospel" is an offence to many.

The devices of Satan are designed to cause offences,   and let you take the rap for it.

Jesus began to tell His disciples about how He was going to suffer in the hands of the Jewish religious leaders. Peter then took Him and began to rebuke Him, saying that will not happen to Jesus. But Jesus turned and said to Peter, Matthew 16:23 “Get thee behind Me, satan! You are an offence to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”

This reveals the secret to discerning satanic operations and set-ups; satan will always set a trap for you by appealing to your flesh, and to our lack of understanding of Spiritual things. He violates the principals of honor, integrity, decorum, etiquette and protocol. He knew Peter was impulsive and head-strong and was perfect for the job!

We can't use Satan's methods to accomplish God's purposes. It was the same in the temptation of Eve and the temptation of Christ in the wilderness? Bringing them to a place where their own needs would be put first, before the needs of others. Satan doesn’t want us to mind the things of God but focus instead on what we want, think and feel, as opposed to what God wants, thinks or desires.

Offences are like modern day giants that have continually kept the people of God from God’s will and His best. They either limited them, hindered them, or totally prevented them. There will always be giants, either personally or corporately as believers, whoever attempts anything for God.

So we have a choice. We can live by fear because “there are giants” or we can live by faith that there is a greater, more eternal cause. So, how can we take on the giants that we face so that we can live in the blessing, freedom and victory that God wants to give us?

The well-known story of David and Goliath gives us some powerful insights. As David viewed things from God’s perspective, he says (“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine?”). Saul had confidence in his armor, as long as David was    the guy wearing it, but David had confidence in his God. Saul was concerned about his own image but David was concerned with the honor of God .

From David the giant killer we learn how to take on the giants of offences in life. To fell the offences of life, we need a spiritual perspective. Goliath was bigger than life! He’s over nine feet tall, his armor weighed 125 pounds. The tip of his spear alone weighed 15 pounds. He was huge. Goliath challenged Israel to a representative battle—their champion against him.

When it comes to offences, you have to decide to be the champion. The loser’s people would become the slaves of the winner’s people. David saw it as a conflict between God and the forces of evil. Saul and his soldiers saw Goliath and thought, “He’s so big we can never kill him!” David saw Goliath and thought, “He’s so big, I can’t miss, no matter where I throw the stone, I’m going to hit a piece of Goliath!” David had a biblical, spiritual perspective on the problem.

If you want to win over offences, you must begin by seeing it as God sees it and know that God is in it with you. You’ll    not conquer offences, if you don’t see things from God’s perspective. It’s the starting point for victory.

Jesus said, in Matthew 5:29,30 “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you.” The word ‘sin’, also means ‘be offended’ or ‘stumble’. In the Jewish mind, the right hand represents strength, ability, authority, indispensability, etc. So when Jesus talked about them plucking out their right eye and cutting off their right hand, He must have gotten their attention real fast.

Notice Jesus wasn’t talking about somebody else’s eye or hand causing them to sin, but their very own eye and hand! Think about it. It is easier to deal harshly with others than ourselves. I believe Jesus was dealing with the truth, that we get focused on   the wrong things and we miss the important things. You will only see what you are paying attention to. Important things can happen, and you will just not notice them if you are not looking for them and most offences come       to distract us and get us off balance.

What you are looking for and at, is central. Because we must retrain ourselves to look for the right things, and not make lesser, and unimportant things the object of our focus. What am I looking for? Is the job, just about getting a paycheck,    or am I there to focus on more eternal things? Am I so busy providing for my family, that I fail to provide for my family the things that really matter? Am I so caught up with my problems and challenges, that I fail to be sensitive to those around me, who are looking and searching in their own lives? Check, check, check.

How many situations and circumstances were not what we expected, and how many places were not where we would rather be?   But in those places and in our many circumstances, God has a plan which is part of and yet so much greater than the parts which we often want them to be. The danger is that we will make the parts, greater than the whole and no one   slice of the pie, is the whole pie… The power of God is working among every terribly broken situation, through every crisis. But we only see what we’re looking for.

As you went through it on your knees, and you prayed and you needed God to show up so badly, and you never realized that God was showing up, all the time. He was showing you where He lived, and you realized that His address was right here, among us. “Jesus was standing in the midst, in His risen power, and it should have been a time of worship, and a hallowed, sacred time, but because we were looking at the wrong t  hings, we missed it when it walked right in front of us, but we were too busy being offended!

Week after week, month after month, people are standing on Holy ground, and lives are being changed, shaped, expanded, and re-directed by the faithfulness of God, and we are called to be His witnesses in the dark, broken, hard and economically-depressed places. What is important is what we are looking for. The things you are fixated on can cause    you to stumble.

Paul said In 1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I discipline my body and bring it under subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself become disqualified.” How easy it is to see all that's wrong with everyone else and be blind to what's wrong with ourselves.

Offences are designed by the enemy to destroy inter-Personal Relationships....He is dedicated to keeping us out of harmony and out of agreement with one another. He knows he’s in big trouble when we come into unity!

The Bible says, in Romans 8:13,21, we should resolve not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way and also that it is good neither to eat or drink anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.   We can    also offend by what we say.

The bible says in James 3:2 if anyone doesn’t offend with their words, he is a perfect (i.e. mature) man, able to bridle the whole body. Some things are unavoidable, but Paul tells us "as much as possible" dwell in peace with all men... This means, deal with what you can, but don't let it be a heavy weight of guilt or regret, because some things are not about you, it's about someone's else's preferences, likes and dislikes or just their way of seeing and believing things.

If you are constantly being offended, then the devil is controlling your life, and he will keep you on that roller coaster   until you realize, you are not in charge of everyone else, and you’re allowing them to take charge of your emotions, your thoughts and your will..... We can choke on knats and swallow camels!

When the things of Christ, knock us off our high horse, it is so that we can arise transformed and made righteous. When they told Jesus that the Pharisees were offended at His teaching, he replied, in John 15:130 “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.” We can conclude from this, that Godly offences reveal and root out things like, pride, selfishness, poor self-esteem, jealousy, rivalry, etc. These things are not the plantings of the Lord and they deserve to go, so they don’t destroy us!

Think about it, when you are offended, what is stirred up in you? Your pride, of course! That is the very thing God, in His wisdom, meant for the offence to root out, and if we cooperate with Him, it must go. Fire reveals the ‘serpent’ nature,      so it can be dealt with, because he can't hide when the fire of God comes.

God Himself orchestrates some offence for   this purpose. On the other hand, if we don’t allow the offence to root out these things, then we are the ones that will be rooted out! Most folks and even Christians, don't understand the difference in conviction and condemnation. Conviction comes to bring us up, and condemnation only comes to put you down, diminish and oppress us. How then do we deal with offences?.....

First, we must begin to trust. There are many things we don’t understand, let’s learn to trust God and His word and even to trust that God is able to work in people! “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding.” (Proverbs.3:5). David said, ‘when I am afraid, I will trust in You’. Trust is a function of your will, it is   a decision you make, independent of what you see, think or feel.

Psalms.23:4 “Yea though I walk through the valley of   the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”

I don’t think Joseph understood why he had to go through what he went through as at the time he was going through them, but I believe he trusted God to fulfill His word and he trusted his entire life into God’s hand. That was Joseph’s antidote against offence.

Trust God In our relationships. The Bible says, love believes all things, so we believe the best about people, even when it’s hard. When we do, it provides a spring board to bring them up, instead of pulling them down.

It really helps to understand that God has to allow some things to come into our lives that may even be distasteful, in order to get us to the place He is needing us to be at the time He has orchestrated. If we are looking for Jesus, we will always find Him. There is no power on earth or in the spiritual realms that can stop Jesus from dwelling with us, in every aspect of our lives together.

Jesus enters into our lives, and He takes over our lives. What will that look like in our future? Come and see, that’s the invitation, Come and SEE, Jesus beckons and you will know where I live, I have been where you are and I am where you’re going!!!! Stay full of God’s love and His word.....

Psalms 119:165 “Great peace have those who love Your law and nothing causes them to stumble.” God’s law is the law     of love and love never fails. Loving God with all our hearts, mind and strength, and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Therefore, if we love this law, we won’t stumble.

1 John 2:10 “He who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.” Have you noticed that when you are full of God and delighting greatly in His word, you don’t have room for offences?

The Bible says, 1 Corinthians 13:5 love is not provoked and keeps no record of wrongs done against it. Without even realizing it, we can hold on to I.O.U.'s (tear them all up!) We must avoid having a Judgmental spirit..... There are many things you don’t understand, so avoid making judgments about them.

Jude 10 warns us, “But some speak evil of whatever they do not understand”. Have you noticed the tendency to suspect what you don’t understand? Let’s learn from David: Psalms 131:1 “LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty, neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me.”

Jesus said we shouldn’t judge so that we ourselves be not judged. With the same judgment we judge, we shall be judged. Also, we set ourselves up for offences when we impose our convictions on others... Everyone hasn’t had your journey,   and everyone hasn’t come to the place you are. Respect people and give them their space, they have a right to be different from you.

The Bible uses the ‘Body’ metaphor to depict the diversities that exists among believers. Each body part is different from the other. Yet, there is unity in diversity! Diversity doesn’t necessarily mean disunity. Read Romans 14:1-13. Verse 5 actually says, “Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.” Instead of judging, be an example that will strengthen their areas of weakness and appreciate their strengths.

Just accept it, you don't have to win every battle, just the important ones! Our first responsibility is to deal with the real    issues of our own heart.... Offences are meant to uproot out of us the things that aren’t planted of God. The truth is,    there is a lot of baggage in the human nature that is contrary to God’s nature and it all needs to go!

James. 3:14 “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your heart, do not boast and lie against the truth.”

This reminds me of Aaron and Miriam, they criticized Moses for marrying an Ethiopian woman, in Numbers12:2 “But they said to Moses: “Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?” In principle, they were right, but their heart wasn’t right, God wanted to speak and operate through others, working together to combine their strengths. But their real issue was Moses' choice of who he married and it showed that their hearts were filled with envy, selfish ambition, pride, and rebellion.

That was why Jesus said to those, in Matthew 7:5 “Hypocrites! First remove the plank in your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” This is envy in camouflage gear! But, camouflage doesn't work if you're color blind. Don’t Blame Others For Your Predicament....

A lot of time, we are offended at people because somehow, we think they are responsible for our troubles or situation. Adam blamed his disobedience on God and Eve, in one statement: Genesis 3:12 “The woman whom You gave me to be with, gave me of the tree and I ate.” Even Jesus was blamed for the death of Lazarus! Mary said to Him, when He eventually showed up, John 11:32 &37 “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” And some who    were around said, “Could not this man, who opened the eyes of the blind also have kept this man from dying?”

Many today are blaming their lack of success in life on their parents not giving them proper education, or guidance, so they are offended in them. Yet many blame the government, their spiritual leaders, their employers, etc, for their predicament, and they are full of offences. It’s time to take full responsibility for our own life and our actions. That is    what is referred to as maturity, or becoming responsible for yourself!

So many have a fear of confrontation, and allow things to build up until they suddenly explode. That’s called being “passive aggressive”. The explosion does more damage than if there had been honest confrontation. We need to learn to confront.... Confrontation is not necessarily negative or hostile, so we don’t need to be afraid of it or run away.   To confront simply means, to bring (a person) face to face with something.

Jesus said, in Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, tell him his fault between you and him alone.” Unfortunately, we reverse the whole order… we tell   others first and he is the last to know about what he has done wrong! Then we share with others things we’ve not taken time to verify from the person concerned, because we never    got the real scoop.

We have too many phony and hypocritical relationships because we all run away from confronting issues with one another. We are so afraid of rejection, or some kind of back lash, we prefer to have shallow relationships that never go below the surface. The level of confrontation has to be measured by the level of the relationship. Some folks can easily    be offended, because no level of trust has ever been established.

These Giants in our lives, by definition, are enormous, threatening and intimidating. They want to fill up our vision, until we can see nothing else but the problem, or the fearful challenge before us. As believers, we mature on the battlefield. *…..We will never mature until we dare to meet the enemy, in the power and might of God’s Spirit within us and meet     him head on. There’s nothing like war to turn a novice Christian, into a veteran believer.

As long as we run when the giants of offense rear their ugly heads, we’ll have to face them tomorrow or tomorrow or tomorrow.   They won’t go away until we stand up and fight them. Your giants are the same way. They’ll never leave on their own. Until you stand and fight in Jesus’ name, until then, they win every time. David needed Goliath. He didn’t   realize it, of course. In the same way we need giants because we’ll never become all that God wants us to be without them. Even though you pray to be delivered from them, God intends to use the struggle you face to make you stronger, wiser and better.

In Matthew 5:23, “Jesus said if we bring our gift to the altar and there remember that our brother has something against us, we should leave the gift there and go and first be reconciled and then come back to offer our gift”. When we notice there is an unseen wall between us and another, Jesus expects us to take the initiative in restoring the relationship, and conquering the giant of intimidation, fear and division.

The deepest level of relationship should occur with married couples. it has depth because confrontation is a commitment to help each other be the best each can be. Hopefully, a strong trust account has been established to handle it. You can never draw out any more that you have deposited in your trust accounts.

It is not our roll to tell folks how to live, but we can share with them principles and values which enable them to make    the best decisions possible….The decisions are then theirs to make.

Forgiveness is a powerful tool in expanding your trust accounts. Luke 17:3 “Take heed to yourselves: If your brother trespass against you, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he offend you seven times in a day, and seven    times in a day turn again   to you, saying, I repent; you shall forgive him”. v5 “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Lord, Increase our faith”!

We don’t forgive out of feelings, or emotions, we forgive out of faith. Which is why the disciples said, Lord, increase our faith! Offence will lead to anger, evil speaking , malice, unkindness and even hard-heartedness, and the solution is, to forgive. To forgive is, to let go of the issues and to drop the ‘charges’ we have against the person.

Ephesians. 4:31&32 “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.    And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”. The unforgiving servant held his fellow-servant by the throat and said to him, in Matthew 18:28 “Pay me what you owe.”, that is the definition of lack of forgiveness. It is blind to everything except what it feels it is entitled to, or what it is owed.

Often this is manifested as delayed retribution....and it refers to the practice of storing up grievances so they may be unloaded at another time. The immediate occasion may be relatively simple, such as coming home late without calling. Instead of arguing about this, delayed retribution, unloads all the past grievances which have been accumulating interest. The birthday you forgot, the time you arrived late for dinner, the hotel reservations you forgot to make, are all thrown at you. As you know, delayed retribution inspires more delayed retribution in the other person. It’s called fighting fire with fire. The result is two people dumping their stored-up grievances on one another...and resentment and hostility escalate. Not only are we to avoid keeping a record of the negative.

We are to keep a record of the good. Try to catch people doing things which are right and proper and lovely, and let them know it. Not only will this improve your relationships, you will also enjoy greater personal happiness. It's always more enjoyable living a life surrounded by beauty which we all know is in the eye of the beholder, than to be always keeping lists of the bad. Why do people create a negative environment, that they have to live in and work in?

Proverbs 17:9 Those who cover an offense show love and inspire it in others. But those who repeat a matter come between close friends. P

roverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes.

Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:27 Anyone who has knowledge controls his words. A man who has understanding is not easily offended.

John 1:29 “The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”!

Everyone else saw the carpenter, Mary’s son, the Nazarene. But John saw Him for who He truly was. As we move through our days, and face our giants, may we see Him, in the midst of it all, moving and working in everything, through everyone He has placed in our lives, to glorify God, and then as we see that, let us make that a place of worship!!

In all of us, there is a desire to live a peaceful, joyful and tranquil life. What we often fail to realize, is that it is up to us, not others, to create that atmosphere and know that the more we grow and mature in the fruits of the Spirit, the more it will become a reality in our lives.

In the name of Jesus, we take possession and claim ownership to every God given promise, We dismiss and cancel out every image, picture and thought of anything less than total healing and restoration. We declare that every good thing devoured by the enemy be returned 40, 60 and 100 fold, now, in the name of Jesus. Let every offence be broken and   gone, now, In the mighty name of Jesus.. that would distract us and pull us away from our mission and   calling. We dismantle every assignment against our families and rip out everything that Satan has tried to insert. We declare that     we are clothed in the garments of favor and honor and that we are growing and maturing in the fruits of the Spirit. Oh  God, You are the God of the breakthrough. You are the God who bursts forth to bring the things of Heaven to earth. Release the breaker anointing now, in Jesus’ mighty name. Let the situations here on earth come into alignment with Your Will and Your Kingdom , that it may be demonstrated on earth as it is in Heaven. In Jesus Mighty name, Amen!

Posted by: AT 12:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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