Mat 5:21-22 “Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”
The word offense is ‘scandelon,’ meaning a cage. Being offended is like being in a cage. It’s like peanut butter on a stick holding up a cage. The raccoon comes at night and chews on that stick and ends up trapped beneath the cage. Offense is a trap set up by the enemy of our soul. Anything that causes you to be offended will be a trap.
Paul said the old law will not work for today, but there’s a new law, a spirit of life.
Rom 8:1-2 “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
The spirit of Jesus is the Spirit of the law of life. There are people who have received that Spirit of Jesus, but who are bitter because of offense.
James 1:25 “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
James 2:8-9, 12 “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. 12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.”
Having respect of persons will condemn you. If you decide someone else is less than you, then you will not have this royal law.
The reason this was dealt with so much in Scripture is because they were coming out of the old law, discrimination. James said to walk in this new law in order to be free.
Heb 12:14 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”
It’s not, ‘Follow peace with all men, without which no man shall see the Lord.’ ‘And holiness’ is part of that verse too.
Jesus said divisions will come, disunity. This should not be so in God’s Kingdom.
What are you following right now? If you follow the Spirit of Jesus, this liberty will free you from offense and bitterness.
Bitterness eats up its container.
Hatred destroys. Revenge destroys. A root of bitterness grows and turns into something very ugly. That’s why James says to follow the royal law, not allowing bitterness and offense.
Mat 5:21-25 “Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.”
You can make your life a living hell because of a root of bitterness.
Offenses are progressive. It starts out as an anger issue in your heart, but left unmanaged, unchecked, it will grow and get to a place of murder.
Jesus said, Committing adultery is a sin, but even thinking about it causes it to grow and it’s the same thing.
Get to a place where you can’t be offended. Offense is a strategy of the devil to cause you to be in bondage.
You can get offended at God or others and you will have turmoil and mess up your life.
You may not be able to ‘leave your gift at the altar and go and make it right,’ but you must repent and get rid of that stony heart. You’ve got to deal with your offense.
Mat 7:1-5 “Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
Song of Solomon 2:15 “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”
It’s the hidden things of the heart.
Mat 15:19-20 “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”
You make such extreme efforts to avoid the virus in the global pandemic, washing hands, wearing masks, physical distancing, but do you avoid sin like this?
Racism and people who are different from us, we can make fun of. We need to have a love for people like Jesus has.
Bitterness is like a festering wound in your spirit. Clean out your heart from the spirit of offense. Take a moment and pray to be sure that you clear out any offense you might have deep in your heart and spirit.
Prov 15:1 “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
More Questions for Personal or Group Study:
- What really stuck out at you in this sermon?
- How have you overcome offenses in the past?
- Read Rom 12:14-21. How do we ‘overcome evil with good’ in our daily lives?
- How can you help others to work through offenses and finally overcome them?
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.