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.”
Jesus is talking about what the prophets said in the Old Testament, but then He speaks on His own authority with revelation—first don’t kill, then, don’t be angry without cause.
It starts out as a brother, then becomes an adversary. It’s so important to reconcile. Anger develops into murder if left untouched.
Think about some conflict you’ve experienced. How was it resolved? How long did it take? Why?
Psalm 119:161-165 “Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word. 162 I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil. 163 I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love. 164 Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments. 165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”
People that should have done a better job hurt King David for no reason, but he stood in awe of God’s Word. God’s Word eclipses the hurt.
The Spirit of the Lord will talk to you if you let Him. You might have a hard time being happy if you weren’t so easily offended. Why do you get so mad? Because you’re offended. Get un-offended. It’s like the guy with cheese stuck in his mustache and everywhere stinks.
Arrogance and pride come because of offense.
The Greek word ‘scandalon’ is where we get the word scandal from and ‘proscoma.’ An offense is like a trap that baits the animal. The bait doesn’t trap him, the cage does. The bait isn’t sin. Offenses will come and you can’t avoid them. Your ‘feathers’ will be ‘ruffled.’ Something will bug you sometime.
One of the signs of the end time is that many will be offended.
Mat 24:10 “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.”
People are easily offended. The whole world stinks! But, how do you get un-offended? The prison of being trapped in this ‘heart trouble trap’ can be broken. You take the bait and you’re offended and you get trapped. If it’s not dealt with, later in life, it grows. It’s progressive.
Murder doesn’t start with a smoking gun. It starts with anger in your heart. If you call your brother Raca (stupid), you are in danger of the fire of hell. The ‘fire of hell’ in this instance means Gehenna. Back in ancient times, there used to be a Valley of Hinnom when the people did human sacrifices. The flames of that valley was still filled. After they stopped worshipping the idol, they used those flames to burn their garbage. If you say someone is a fool, you’re in danger of bringing that fire of filth upon you. You can turn your home into a living hell by staying offended. You are in danger of turning your home into a garbage dump because of your continued offense.
Offense is progressive.
Have you been hurt or offended by someone? How long did it take to let go of that hurt or offense?
David said, ‘Great peace have they that love thy law.’ But Paul said, ‘The law kills.’ What law is David talking about? There is a law to love that will keep you from the junk of the world. You need to become un-offendable.
Heb 12:14 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:”
To follow means ‘to pursue’ to ‘chase after.’
Put down the magnifying glass and pick up the mirror and then get your judgment sharpened.
Offense is a strategy of the devil. He has come to steal, kill, and destroy.
When God put two people together in marriage, it was to represent the church and Christ. That is one of the most important relationships in life. The devil knows that and he works to divide any way he can. He wants to tear down your house by tearing apart your relationships.
There is no peace in fighting and arguing and bickering. When there is anger inside, you want to attack. You want the other person to either beg for forgiveness or to be destroyed.
There is a way to ignore the hurt, but it doesn’t go away. It shows up later in ugly ways. You’ve got to get un-offended.
Your magnifying glass focuses on other people’s faults. You are offended at someone or something, so you take it out on everybody else. Some of you are walking around with a big ‘ole plank in your eye knocking over other people. Why is it people with issues want to point out other people’s issues?
How can the law fix this?
Why does Jesus allow offenses?
There are birds in New Zealand that lost their ability to fly because of no natural predators (except people ate them). God puts stuff in our way to help us grow and learn. You can’t be used by God until you’ve been tried and proven. He does this through your reaction to offenses. God left enemies around Israel to teach His people to war.
You’ve got to get something right on the inside in order to get rid of offenses. Don’t take the bait! You can’t enjoy the blessings of the Lord until you get rid of those offenses.
Jesus is talking about murder. He says, ‘Listen, you’re at the altar praying, but leave! Go reconcile!’ You want to help somebody? Reconcile. You want to help yourself? Reconcile.
How do you know you’ve forgiven? When the person who put you on the cross, you say to God, ‘Forgive them. Extend mercy to them.’ You’ve got to get Jesus’ nature. He said, ‘Forgive them, Father.’
How do these truths change your thinking about offenses? What are you going to change in the way you address offenses that come into your life (to tempt you)?
Heb 12:15 “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”
How do you fail the grace of God? Hurting people hurt people. You can understand people and have a little more grace if your heart is right.
Mat 12:35-37 “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. 36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”
It’s not just what you say, it’s what’s in your 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.”
Mark 7:21-23 “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
Eze 36:26-27 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
You’ve got to have a new heart and a new spirit. It’s not the goodness of your heart. It’s nothing of your own doing. It’s all Jesus’ Spirit working in you. With this new heart, you learn to be un-offendable.
Everybody is filled with flaws, but God washes and cleanses. There is a higher law than the ‘Thou shalt’ and the ‘Thou shalt not’ in the OT. Everybody is human.
Ask Jesus to help you love this law:
- Law of Liberty: 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 2:12-13 “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” Understand that the Law of Liberty causes somebody to desire for other people to be free. Compassion rises, love flows. There’s no condemnation, there’s only love.
- Royal Law: James 2:1-8 “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. 2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; 3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: 4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? 5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? 6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? 8 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:” The Royal Law—Love your neighbor as yourself. It doesn’t matter what color they are or their culture, love people—other people who are the same and different from you—men and women. Jesus died for every human, regardless of who they are.
- Law of Life: Mat 22:36-40 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Rom 8:2-4 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Once you start realizing you have power over offenses, that you can choose to guard your heart, keeping your heart from being a garbage dump. God will work out stuff that’s been there a long time.
Are you willing to embrace these new laws? How will this change your life? What will you do differently today?
Hang onto the Royal Law of Love for People. Speak grace and love. Start the process of overcoming offenses.
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.
If you are looking for an Apostolic Pentecostal church and are in the Chicagoland area, come check out The Life Church located at 3030 Central Road in Glenview, IL. Services are Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 7pm. We would love to see you there!