Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Becoming Offense Proof

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Becoming Offense Proof

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Becoming Offense Proof

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How can something as important as our eternal existence be overshadowed by earthly problems? One easy way this happens, again and again, is becoming Offended. When people become offended that can become so important that they might give up a friendship, a job, a marriage, and yes, even their salvation. When we become offended it begins to take on a life of its own. Its all you can think about and it consumes you. The problem is it can happen to anyone.

Sermon Notes

There is a number of warnings to God’s people in the book of Revelation.  However, today I would like to focus on only one of those warnings.  Let’s begin the sermon today by turning over to Revelation 3:7-11 Revelation 3:7-11 [7] And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things said he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens; [8] I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: for you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name. [9] Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. [10] Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come on all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth. [11] Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown.
American King James Version×
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Revelation 3:7-11 Revelation 3:7-11 [7] And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things said he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens; [8] I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: for you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name. [9] Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. [10] Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come on all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth. [11] Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown.
American King James Version×
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“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, `These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”:  8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 “Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie– indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.  10 “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

So here we have the best of the letters written to God’s people.  He does not have something against them like the others although he does say they have a little strength but because of their perseverance God promises to keep them from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world.  Here He is speaking of the Great Tribulation.  I think all of us would like to avoid the Tribulation.  If we live our lives as one of these people and are not pulled into the sins and habits of the world around us and become complacent, then what is the warning God gives these people?  We can read it in verse 11.

  11 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.

You might think, well If I live a life where Satan’s world has no allure for me.  If I live my life seeking God and His righteousness and God protects those who truly seek and follow Him then how can someone take it?

3367 μηδείς medeis {may-dice’} Meaning:  1) nobody, no one, nothing

Usage:  AV - no man 32, nothing 27, no 16, none 6, not 1, anything

  • that no person may take your crown.
  • that no trial may take your crown.
  • that no issue may take your crown.
  • that anything may take your crown.

What could possibly be responsible for “taking our crown”? So what person, or thing, which could include an event or series of events, could possibly take us out of eternity?

How can something as important as our eternal existence be overshadowed by earthly problems?  One easy way this happens again and again is becoming Offended.   When people become offended that can become so important that they might give up a friendship, a job, a marriage, and yes, even their salvation.  When we become offended it begins to take on a life of its own.  Its all you can think about and it consumes you.  The problem is it can happen to anyone.  The title of the sermon today is:

“Becoming Offense Proof”

I have seen it happen more times than I can count.  Often times when the church goes through tough times and people become disillusioned by the whole thing and give up.  I have watched people leave over a disagreement of scripture, a disagreement of two or more people. 

Today I am going to give you three things to focus on to help make you offense proof.  We need to strengthen ourselves against this very dangerous condition that Satan loves to throw at those to which nothing else has worked.  If you have been in the church for decades then you have learned to perservere.  You have learned to turn from your past way of life and live the life God called you to.  You have been tempted by all kinds of things and still, you did not turn from this way of life.  So what else can Satan do to you?  First, there is persecution but in this area God limits him.  But those limits may be relaxed if we allow sin into our lives.  But short of that, what else, causing someone to become offended has been a very effective way of tripping up otherwise very devoted people of God.   

Remember, Satan does not care how or why you leave God’s Church

—as long as you leave.

I have heard many stories about people becoming offended and I have been offended many times.  People who are offended are often on the right side of an issue or problem but the intensity of the situation becomes to great and offense follows.  How are we to protect ourselves from this happing and wrecking our spiritual lives?

So, does being offense proof mean you will never be offended?  The answer can be yes but often no.  If you do these things perfectly then you may never be truly offended by anyone or anything.  But we are fallible and we get distracted and lose focus on the goal.  Offenses will come when that happens but If you are working on these points in your life, they will serve as a lifeline to pull you back again.  When you become offended you can re-center your thinking and let go of it and forgive and forget. 

While we can’t control the intentions or behavior of others, we can determine how we will act. We can choose to not be offended.

So where do we begin?

1) Keep your calling in its proper perspective

How do we keep our calling in its proper perspective?  That’s simple, just keep focused on God and what He is doing down here.  When we focus on what we are doing we get ourselves into trouble.

NKJ Psalms 119:165 Psalms 119:165Great peace have they which love your law: and nothing shall offend them.
American King James Version×
Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.

KJV Psalms 119:165 Psalms 119:165Great peace have they which love your law: and nothing shall offend them.
American King James Version×
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

How do you have peace when there is so much trouble all around us?  1 Peter 2:17-21 1 Peter 2:17-21 [17] Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. [18] Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the fraudulent. [19] For this is thank worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. [20] For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? but if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. [21] For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps:
American King James Version×
tells us about what our priorities should be especially in the midst of trouble around us. 

NKJ 1 Peter 2:17-231 1 Peter 2:17-231 [17] Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. [18] Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the fraudulent. [19] For this is thank worthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. [20] For what glory is it, if, when you be buffeted for your faults, you shall take it patiently? but if, when you do well, and suffer for it, you take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. [21] For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps: [22] Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: [23] Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judges righteously: [24] Who his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed. [25] For you were as sheep going astray; but are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
American King James Version×
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Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. 18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;

 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;

The purpose of our calling is to join the work of our Father and Elder Brother.  We have an example to follow because they want our help.  What we feel is most important in life will always get us in trouble when it is not the same as what God is doing.  We have been called to do and to be a work of God.  Jesus had the most right of anyone who has ever lived and He did not revile in return.

We find out that someone says something unkind to us and we are devastated.  We avoid them at church.  If we are prone to passive aggressive behavior we make little hurtful comments so they know that they have wronged us.  But then there are the brave who lash out when someone says something hurtful.

They make sure everyone knows that they have been wronged.  This person must pay for their horrible words.  And yet, what does the bible say?  Turn to Matthew 18.  The Chapter begins talking about becoming like Little Children.  Children are teachable when offended they forgive, and children want to please their parents.  Then in verse 7, we read this:

NKJ Matthew 18:7 Matthew 18:7Woe to the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
American King James Version×
7 “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

Before it talks about others offending us it talks about our bodies causing us offense.  If you hand, foot, or eye causes us to sin, we would be better off without it and still get to be in the kingdom.  Then we are commanded not to offend others, especially the little ones. When you read verse 7 you think of others who offend yet we are told next to beware of ourselves as offenders. 

Its only after this that we get to the part about others offending us.  We must first protect others from ourselves.

Moving down to verse 15-17 15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 “But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that` by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17 “And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.

The effort is put into reconciliation because God is working to reconcile with a creation that rejected Him.  If you realize your calling you know that getting even is never our commission. 

We have no claim to getting Justice.  God tells us in Romans 12 that vengeance is His.  He will repay those who deserve it.  The first lesson of the called is we deserve that vengeance first before we get any for ourselves and that tends to take the wind out of our sails when we see red.

In essence, it is the Passover attitude that will save us all from offense.  The Second point is:

2) Take your offenses to God earnestly and in faith

We need to realize that the deck is stacked against you.  Its no mystery that church members are often tested with various trials.  What we eat, when we work, what we say and what we do.  The world is wired to allow all kinds of sin but if you don’t conform you are sometimes singled out.  Persecuted.  Why? Turn over to Revelation 12:10-11 Revelation 12:10-11 [10] And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brothers is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. [11] And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death.
American King James Version×

NKJ Revelation 12:10-11 Revelation 12:10-11 [10] And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brothers is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. [11] And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death.
American King James Version×
10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

Satan is the Accuser of the Brethren and he set up this world to oppose us. We will not overcome him with our strength.  We will not overcome those that persecute us by trying to get even.  I have watched church members go after one another when they have been wronged and who’s job is it to punish?  It’s the shepherd’s job to correct the sheep.  Its our job to reconcile with one another.

The point to Revelation 12:10-11 Revelation 12:10-11 [10] And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brothers is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. [11] And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death.
American King James Version×
is that we need to turn to our Father and elder Brother when we are persecuted.  We are not to fight these battles.  Jeremiah followed God and did all that he was told to do.  For this he was persecuted by his brethren.  But what do we read in his lamentations chapter 3 and starting in verse 25?  I will read it in the New Living Translation.

NLT Lamentations 3:25-30 Lamentations 3:25-30 [25] The LORD is good to them that wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. [26] It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. [27] It is good for a man that he bear the yoke of his youth. [28] He sits alone and keeps silence, because he has borne it on him. [29] He puts his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. [30] He gives his cheek to him that smites him: he is filled full with reproach.
American King James Version×
25 The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. 26 So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD. 27 And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline: 28 Let them sit alone in silence beneath the LORD’s demands. 29 Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last. 30 Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies.

The people of Jeremiah’s time did everything except follow this advice.  They took what they could get even it meant cheating their neighbor.  They stole, killed, and lied their way through life and wondered why life did not work out.  But Jeremiah who did none of these things had this advice for those who suffered within the congregation.

Lastly, there is one point that if you embrace it, will make much of life’s injustices easier to bare.

3) Don’t take yourself too seriously

There is a very wise saying from Solomon in Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 [21] Also take no heed to all words that are spoken; lest you hear your servant curse you: [22] For oftentimes also your own heart knows that you yourself likewise have cursed others.
American King James Version×

NKJ Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 [21] Also take no heed to all words that are spoken; lest you hear your servant curse you: [22] For oftentimes also your own heart knows that you yourself likewise have cursed others.
American King James Version×
20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin. 21 Also do not take to heart everything people say, Lest you hear your servant cursing you. 22 For many times, also, your own heart has known That even you have cursed others.

Which of us have been offended by something that we ourselves have previously been guilty of?

The Well known Author Stephen Covey wrote:

“We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior.”

Why is that do you think?  It’s because we are more willing to forgive our past actions then those of others.  Have you ever noticed it’s easier to forgive someone when their sin was against someone else?

We can be too sensitive about others motives.  We jump to conclusions about people but never ourselves. We always give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. 

Its amazing how much easier it is to forgive when we treat others like ourselves.  Remember the 2nd Great Commandment.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  That means giving them the benefit of the doubt and forgiving them as you would yourself.

Assume good motives.  It’s important to assume that the person who offended you has your best interest at heart, or at least didn’t mean to hurt you.

Let us be peacemakers. How? Let’s embrace what God revealed to the apostle Peter: “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8 1 Peter 4:8And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
American King James Version×
). We are all imperfect, so let us all be merciful.”  So to recap.

Keep your calling in its proper perspective

Focus on God work and not our needs and wants.

Take your offenses to God earnestly and in faith

God will help you work through them and forgive.

Don’t take yourself too seriously

We are all guilty.  Remember we are guilty first and then it will be easier to forgive others.

Let’s not let offense separate us from God and His people and ultimately—eternal life with God. Let nothing take your crown of eternal life!