“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
How many believe we are living in the last days? We see wars, bad economy, natural disasters, people turning away from each other, so much hatred everywhere you go.
Matthew 24:6 – 8
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
Dropping down to verse 10…
Matthew 24:10 (NKJV)
“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”
Have you ever been betrayed? Have you ever betrayed someone?
Have you hated someone for something they did to you?
Have you been mistreated?
Are you holding onto a grudge and have become bitter over an event and the people surrounding it?
You may be offended and don’t even know it.
Matthew 24:10 (NKJV)
“And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”
Many = much, largely, abundant, great, plenteous, majority, at least 51% will take offense. Over 51% will betray one another and hate one another.
There is a progression:
Offended, wounded, hurt person will eventually put up walls and betray.
Being offended is a trap from the enemy to put you in bondage and bring division. We can be entrapped by an offense and not even know it. That is the reality of be offended. We don’t see how it is affecting us, our family, our church, and everything that is connected with us.
“An offended brother is harder to reach than a fortified [strong] city, and quarrels [contentions] are like the bars of a fortress [castle].”
A strong city has walls for protection. They were built to keep out those people that you believed were against you.
This is exactly what an offended person does, they begin to build walls to protect themselves.
The New Testament calls these walls Strongholds.”
2 Cor. 10:3 – 5
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for the pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments (Imaginations or reasonings) and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
They are thought processes or reasonings developed deep within our soul and are contrary to the will or Word of God.
The Word of God is always congruent to the nature of God. The nature of God is love.
The word of God is always to give, to give, to give.
An offended person builds up walls to protect, protect, protect.
They think, “I’ve been hurt and I don’t want to get hurt again!” This sets them up for betrayal.
A lot of us really don’t understand what betrayal means as we look at the extreme cases of it like Benedict Arnold or Judas.
Betrayal is when a person seeks his own benefit or protection at the expense of one he has a relationship with.
Betrayal is the ultimate abandonment of a relationship.
Betrayal, if not dealt with will ultimately lead to hatred.
Hatred is the absence of love or they are “loveless.”
Then Deception. The offended heart is the breeding ground of Deception.
Deception is deceiving – a person who thinks they are really right, turns out to be really wrong. (The devil makes the wrong look right and the right look wrong.) He knows how to present false information looking like the truth.
Matthew 24:11 (NKJV)
“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”
When we become deceived we are like a false prophet. False prophets are
wolves in sheep’s clothing – notice wolves in sheep’s clothing not shepherds clothing. Many times they are sitting in the pews.
Wolves travel in packs to isolate a sheep from the herd. There is protection for sheep staying in a herd.
Proverbs 18:1 (HCSB)
“One who isolates himself pursues [selfish] desires; he rebels against all sound judgment.”
Where does the isolation occur? In the thinking process – you can still be a member of a church but the isolation happens in our hearts and makes you a perfect candidate for deception……
Matthew 24:12 (NKJV)
“And because of lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
The word Lawlessness in the Greek is “anomia” which is translated, “Law unto yourself”. It is what you want to do. King James Version uses the word “Inequity,” which is sin. It is action that is against God’s Word and law. It is being selfish and doing things your own way. You make the rules. You decide what is right or wrong. This thinking will lead you astray always!
Looking at Matthew 24:12 again, “And because of lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
Again, the word “Many” means over 51%. The love here is translated in the Greek “Agape.” The love that is placed in a Christian’s heart. 51% or more will be offended in the last days. We need to beware of this. We need to guard against this.
The person who can offend you the deepest is the person closest to you. Why is that? Our expectations are higher on them.
We set ourselves up by having expectations. Not expectations of God, as that is good to have, but of man, which is always bad to have.
When we put our expectations in man we will be disappointed every time.
2 Categories of Offense:
- Those who have genuinely been mistreated.
- Those who think they’ve been mistreated (Often the case).
If you have been mistreated do you have the right to be offended?
A person who is offended is a person who’s forgotten what they’ve been forgiven of!
Holding unto an offense is un-forgiveness.
If you want to walk with God you don’t have a right to be offended.
Matthew 18:21 – 35 (NKJV)
“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 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. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. 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!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 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. then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
70 x 7 = 490 (All in one day – Luke 17:4). We would have to sin once every three minutes as long as we don’t go to sleep in that 24 hour period.
10,000 talents = $5 Billion (Un-payable debt)
100 Denari = $10,000 (possibly a 1/3 of a year’s salary today)
Who are we to decide we won’t forgive some little offense compared to God forgiving us of all the wrong we have done. It doesn’t compare.
A person who doesn’t forgive is a person who forgot what they were forgiven of. What have you been forgiven of?
Christians think of “sin” as: Murder, adultery, stealing
Christians say they have “weaknesses”: un-forgiveness, slander, gossip, strife
Proverbs 6:16- 19 (NKJV)
“These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.“
Some translations state: “a person that stirs up conflict or trouble in the community or among the brothers.”
These are things the Lord hates! The last is an abomination – one who sows discord among brethren… this is a Christian who sows seeds of discord, not an outsider.
Discord means: “Lack of concord or harmony between persons. Disagreement, difference of opinion, strife; dispute; war.”
Abomination means: anything greatly disliked or abhorred, Loathing, a vile, shameful, or detestable action.
This is what we do when we stir up strife in church. When we go and talk to others in a negative tone about someone else at work. This is gossip. This is a lying tongue! This is judging one another.
Have you done this?
Have you heard other people do this lately?
What do you do when you hear it?
We should STOP it right away! Don’t allow the sin to manifest even bigger by staying silent while someone talks bad about another person. Do you know by just listening to it you have committed the sin as well. Remember with the same judgement you give it will be measured back to you.
Matthew 7:1 – 2
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
We categorize sin, God doesn’t.
Sin is sin.
If it doesn’t please God, don’t do it!!!
If we treat gossip like we treat murder we will be free. Treat it as a “weakness” and you will be bound to it.
We deserve to burn in the same hell as Hitler is burning in. That is our just punishment.
Were you a nice person and got saved? That’s why it is hard for you to give mercy.
Going back to the wicked servant:
Matthew 18:35 (HCSB)
“So My heavenly Father will also do to you if each of you does not forgive his brother from his heart.”
-Are you too proud to admit you are offended?
-Is your fire dying?
-Are you going to church because it is the thing to do?
-Has your love for God and man grown cold?
-Have you lost your desire to worship?
You might say, “I have forgiven them! I have prayed over this.”
Yet when you see the other person you get critical and you feel a twinge in your heart. You start rehashing all the wrong this person has done in your mind. This is not a person who is over an offense. Stop trying to deny the obvious. You are still OFFENDED!
Acts 24:16 (ASB)
“Herein I also exercise myself to have a conscience void of offense toward God and men always.”
And in the Amplified Bible it reads:
Acts 24:16 (Amplified Bible)
“Therefore I always exercise and discipline myself [mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects] to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscience, void of offense toward God and toward men.”
We need to EXERCISE and DISCIPLINE ourselves not to get offended.
-Are you out of shape spiritually?
-Are you reading God’s word? (not just for school or a ritual – but is it feeding your spirit?)
-Are you spending time with God?
-Are you pushing into God?
If you are not doing these things then spiritually you are weak.
How do we exercise or overcome an offense?
Matthew 5:44 (NKJV)
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you”
Pray for those who mistreats, abuses, and misuses you.
DAVID knew what it was like to be mistreated…
Psalm 35:11 – 12 (GNT)
“Evil people testify against me and accuse me of crimes I know nothing about. They pay me back evil for good, and I sink in despair.”
Do you ever feel like that? Treated unjustly and falsely accused?
Are People speaking lies about you and spreading gossip?
Just wait and God will get them, RIGHT?! Read on…
Psalm 35:13 – 14 (GNT)
“But when they were sick, I dressed in mourning; I deprived myself of food; I prayed with my head bowed low, as I would pray for a friend or a brother. I went around bent over in mourning, as one who mourns for his mother.”
Pray for that person who offended you like what you want God to do in you, your friends, or a family member’s life.
Pray what is truth, not what feels good to the flesh.
Go to the one who hurt you, not pointing out what they did wrong, but with words of reconciliation and kindness.
What if the person doesn’t want to forgive you or they don’t admit their part or what they did wrong? What if they are offended by you and don’t want to forgive? We can, through prayer and intercession (standing in the gap), accomplish the same healing without them.
Parent passed away – you can’t go to them and reconcile.
Someone who is unreachable – you can’t go to them and reconcile.
Allow God to heal your wounds and the wounds you have caused knowing He sees and has the healing power to overcome anything in our lives if we just yield it to Him.
The Holy Spirit can be your best counselor!
But when we can, we need to go to our brother or sister and create an atmosphere of goodness that’s going to help him say, “I am sorry!” Kind, reconciling words! Maybe even give them a nice gift with no strings attached. It is a true jester that you really care about this person and want to forgive.
The love of God He has given us can flow from us, as we receive it, to the one who has offended us.
Love covers a multitude of sins.
Choose to love instead of hate. Hatred turns into bitterness and bitterness is revenge unfulfilled!
Luke 17:1 (NKJV)
“Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!”
In other words, if you breath air you will have the opportunity to be offended.
What you do with the offense will determine your future. Either you will become stronger or bitter.
2 Tim. 2:25 – 26 (NKJV)
“In humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 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.”
God has so much blessings ready to pour out to us. Sin separates us from His blessings. Being offended turns off God’s goodness in our lives.
You have to remember 2 wrongs don’t make a right. If someone has hurt you and you put up walls, have un-forgiveness in your heart, and hatred it doesn’t make the wrong situation right. It makes it even worse.
The sin of offense doesn’t justify how badly you’ve been treated.
Wounds will happen. “Offenses will come…” (Luke 14:30). People will hurt us. What will be our reaction?
Don’t let pride keep you from being set free.
Are you ready to run to God with this offense and ask forgiveness?
Are you tired of carrying around this burden/bondage as long as you have been?
Prayer, repeat after me:
Father in Heaven, thank you for speaking to me through your servant. I’ve realized I’ve sinned against you by holding onto un-forgiveness. 2 wrongs don’t make a right. Yes, what was done to me was wrong. But, that doesn’t justify my sin of offense. So today I repent of my sin of offense. I ask you to cleanse me with the blood of Jesus. Father from my heart I forgive _____ (whisper their names – Dad, mom, friend, brother, sister, co-worker) Say this, “I completely release you. You owe me nothing. Nothing! I release and forgive you in the presence of God. In Jesus Name.
Ok, now I want to pray for you:
Lord God, I ask you to draw near to these people. I break the chains. I pull up the roots of bitterness now. I uproot resentment. I uproot un-forgiveness from their life, from their home. And now Lord, in it’s place poor in your love I pray, and your Holy presence. I speak freedom to your life and to your household my brother and my sister in Jesus name, Amen.
Now, let’s give Him praise!
Your Sister in Christ,
Pastor Kris Belfils