I have just got to share some recent sermons on here because they have been so very thought provoking and timely in my life. Previously, I mentioned that I had bought the book The Bait of Satan. And I did. But I haven’t read it. It is stacked up next to the other 5 books that I bought but have not began skimming yet.
Right after I bought it, one of my favorite preachers teachers began a series on the topic of offense and how destructive it is. It’s a must see, watch and hear for any and every believer. Duane Sheriff’s Freedom From Offense series can be found HERE or by going to http://www.dsheriff.org and searching the sermons series A-Z for Freedom from Offense.
He says that a large majority of conflicts could be resolved immediately if Christians followed this one verse that Jesus instructed, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone…” Matt 18:15. Instead, Christians do not privately address the person that offended them, but rather tell their mother, brother, sister, preacher, neighbor, co-worker and friends by engaging in gossip, slander, and back-biting which are all sins. Here’s a quick reference about “gossip and lies” which are very destructive in a believer’s life http://www.openbible.info/topics/gossip_and_lies
Above all, this topic in general reminds me of our commandment to love (both our brothers and sisters in Christ AND our enemies). Those words in red that were given by Christ Himself, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you…by this all will know that you are My disciples…” John 13:34-35.
First, I can honestly say that if love is the measuring stick of Christianity, I do not know many real Christians. Sure, they are loving towards those who love them, but I cannot think of any first hand experiences where I have seen a Christian treat someone who offended or hurt them with true love and forgiveness. I guess that’s why the disciples agreed to heal the sick and raise the dead but called out “increase my faith” when they were told to forgive 7 times a day. Luke 17:4-5.
I keep a set of index cards by my bed and over the years have added versus to them to challenge me. In my mind, these versus show me what a true Christ follower lives like and hopefully, with God’s help, one of these days I may look this way. Here are some:
Bless those who persecute you. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty. Do not repay evil with evil… As far as if depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Rom 12:14-18.
Don’t get involved in foolish arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be kind to everyone…and be patient with difficult people… 2 Tim 2:23-26.
Keep a clear conscious so that those who speak maliciously of you … may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:16.
Do nothing through selfish ambition, but esteem others better than yourself looking out for their interests also. Phi 2:3-5.
Be thankful in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes 5:16-18.
Lead a life worthy of your calling. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other making allowances for each others faults… bind yourselves together with peace. Eph 4:1-3.
Make me (Paul) truly happy by agreeing whole heartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Phil 2:2.
Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrits! You cleanse the outside of the cup but inside you are full of greed and self-indulgence. ~Jesus. Matt 23:25 (This reminds me of so many people who attend church and listen to Christian radio stations but are filled with hate, slander, lying, entitlement, etc.)
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. Phil 2:14-15.
Yes, shining brightly during these dark times is exactly what believers are to do, and that does not happen while we are offended and bitter. So, let’s all work to “get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, brawling and slander along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as God forgave you in Christ.” Eph 4:31-32.
And Lord, increase our faith!!! LOL.
P.S. The hubster and I were talking about these versus over Spark this morning and he pointed out that there is a difference between being knowledgeable and being a mature Christian. You can go to the gym every day and learn about the different equipment there, what they do, and when the classes are but until you get on the machines or lift the weights you are only knowledgeable, not fit. To be spiritually fit, we must exercise these versus and actually DO them rather than just KNOW them. When you’re tested and have the opportunity to walk these versus out, do it. Your trainer is the Holy Spirit and will give you the ability and technique with His help because we need a “spiritual spotter”. Without the trainer/spotter, we use poor technique and risk injury to ourselves and others.