Summary: Jesus warned us that offenses would come, and that they would destroy friendships. Therefore, we need to learn how to forgive, to escape the trap of offense.
FACE TO FACE #3: WHEN OFFENSES COME
Week #1: In this social networking generation, let us not forget the most important and basic component of healthy, intimate relationships: speaking face to face.
• “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” (Ex. 33:11).
Week #2: God has given us the antidote for loneliness and broken relationships: Fellowship with one another in Jesus Christ.
• “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7).
OPENING TEXT: The two greatest commandments are to love God and love people.
“Then one of them asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, "’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ’You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt. 22:35-40).
KEY TEXT: “Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” (Matthew 18:7).
• Offense = scandalon = the movable stick or trigger of a trap, a trap stick; a trap, snare; any impediment placed in the way and causing one to stumble or fall.
• “23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” (2 Tim. 2:24-26).
• The world we’re living in today: “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” (Matthew 24:10).
QUOTE: The Bait of Satan by John Bevere
“If I have expectations about certain persons, those people can let me down. They will disappoint me to the degree that they fall short of my expectations. But if I have no expectations about someone, anything given is a blessing and not something owed. We set ourselves up for offense when we require certain behaviours from those with whom we have relationships. The more we expect, the greatest the potential for offense.”
• Do you have friends like that, who have a ‘list’ about how you have to act as a friend?
• Talk about pressure! This will only lead to hurts and offenses. Lose the list!
• “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle.” (Prov. 18:19). An offense puts you in Satan’s prison – it is deadly!
THE BIG IDEA: Jesus warned us that offenses would come, and that they would destroy friendships. Therefore, we need to learn how to forgive, to escape the trap of offense.
“It is not an enemy who taunts me -- I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me -- I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you -- my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God.” (Psalm 55:12-14).
• No one can hurt you like a friend or another Christian!
• Yet people in the church sing songs: “I love you Lord, but I hate my neighbour!” No!
“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matt. 5:23-24).
• Love and forgiveness for others must come before love for God!
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt. 6:14-15).
• Forgiveness is important – because if we don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive us.
“21 Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ’Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. 28 But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ’Pay me what you owe!’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ’Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ’You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (Matthew 18:21-35).