Disappointments and frustrations are a part of daily life. After all, we are living on earth, not heaven. Focusing my attention on the ever-present negativity allows the spirit of offence to settle down within me, form my attitudes, take control of my reactions to situations and ultimately shape my character.
Example: The Israelites in the wilderness were frustrated and offended at God because God wouldn’t move the way they expected. Cain felt offended at God and murdered his own brother because God rejected his offer and entertained Abel’s.
In my sermon today I am going to evaluate 2 characters in the Bible – namely Absalom and Ahithophel, in order to better understand the spirit of offence, the harm it brings and the antidote.
1. Absalom’s offence against David
Read 2 Samuel 13:21; 15:1-3
A. Absalom carried an offence against his father King David because of his failure to punish Amnon for raping his sister Tamar.
B. Absalom began by taking matters into his own hands, avenging Tamar by putting Amnon to death.
C. Later he rebelled against his father David and temporarily ousted him from the throne.
2. Ahithophel’s offence against David
Read 2 Samuel 15:12
A. David must have had multiple counsellors but Ahithophel was the most prominent and trusted, (2 Samuel 16:23)
B. However he was also Bathsheba’s grandfather and carried an offence against David.
C. When crisis emerged he switched sides by becoming the chief advisor for Absalom. He wanted to take revenge.
3. Consequences of carrying Offence
A. Unresolved offence feeds un-forgiveness: Absalom didn’t rest until he avenged Amnon.
B. Unresolved offence is Deceptive: Absalom’s offence generated so much energy and motivation he indeed ousted his father which amazed everyone. But his successes didn’t last long.
C. Unresolved offence causes Divisions: Ahithophel joined Absalom in rebel against the King. His agenda was to take revenge from David (2 Samuel 17:1-2) and Israelites that lived in the mainland followed him in large numbers, (2 Samuel 15:5-6). Offence unites people of like mind but their destinies are doomed.
D. Unresolved offence causes Self-dependence: Absalom forgot that God is in control of every situation. He took matters into his own hands and it created more problems.
E. Unresolved offence causes Pride: The downfall of Absalom was caused by the very thing that made him attractive, popular and powerful. Hidden behind his beautiful hair was the spirit of offence.
4. The spirit of offence is Everywhere
A. Certain people always talk only about what is not right about the church. They live in the captivity of negativity.
B. Complaints turn to murmur which eventually results in offence against the Pastor, creating fractions and dividing the congregation.
C. Some husbands and even wives see only the failures of their spouse ignoring the great number of good things he or she has done.
D. Political views: People like to criticize the government instead of praising God for the good things God has accomplished through the political leaders he appoints.
5. The Antidote to the spirit of Offence
A. Adjust Your Focus to Celebration
I. I feed the spirit of offence every time I focus on what is not happening, and on what God has not done in my life.
II. I must shift my focus from the negative to positive things and the good things that God has already done and thank Him. The Bible calls this celebration.
B. The importance of Celebration
I. In ministry celebration helps us to direct our energies and attention to fulfil what God wants us to do.
II. Focusing on good things results in celebration, gratitude and faith. It’s the opposite of offence.
III. Regular celebration keeps us from being unfaithful and ungrateful to God.
IV. It also helps me to remember that God is in control of every situation and remain calm knowing that he is still on the throne.
C. Celebrating in an imperfect World
I. You can celebrate as long as you learn to draw your focus away from what is bad and place it on what is good. (Illustration: The human eye and its ability to focus.)
II. Focusing involves the exercising of muscles in your eyes. Likewise, you must choose to exercise the Word of God in your life so that you can have greater control over your focus on the issues of life.
III. Take time to regularly give thanks and celebrate the good things God has done.
D. Things that prevent Celebration
I. Forgetting the good things. The human mind tends to forget good things and focus on the bad. Forget not God’s benefits, (Psalm 103:2).
II. Associating with ungrateful people. Be in the company of celebrators and it will affect you positively.
III. Complaining and grumbling. Ask someone to hold you accountable for your attitude of gratitude. Let them correct you when you complain and grumble.
IV. Failing to guard your life against offences. Always guard your thoughts and attitudes against offences.
V. Unforgiveness breeds offence. Learn to forgive and let go of your past hurts.
Israel was commanded to hold many feasts every year with the primary purpose of corporate celebration which preserved the unity of the Nation. King David enlarged this and made it a common practice to celebrate God’s goodness and praise Him continuously which resulted in joy, hope and optimism.
His wider view of God’s greatness, purposes, and workings in life made it possible for him to experience life in its fullness. In conclusion, I encourage you to develop a life of celebration that will give you the ability to live a life of fullness. Therefore rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for it is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, (1 Thessalonians 5:16). [Check out my previous sermon outline “You can’t live in a Tent and a Mansion Too” if you missed it.]
Image Credit: Pixabay
Adapted from a message by Rev. Michael Dissanayake, General Superintendant – Assemblies of God of Sri Lanka.
If this sermon was helpful to you, please consider leaving your feedback in the comments section at the bottom. It would be a great encouragement to me personally.