Disappointments and frustrations are a part of daily life due to the fallen world I live in. Focusing my attention on these negative situations however allows the spirit of offense to settle down within me, form my attitudes, take control of my reactions to situations and shape my character. Ex: 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 offense and the harm it brings.
1. Absalom’s offense against David
Read 2 Samuel 13:21; 15:1-3
A. Absalom carried an offense against his father king David because of his failure to punish Amnon for raping his sister Tamar.
B. First, Absalom took matters in to his own hands and avenged Tamar by putting Amnon by putting to death.
C. Later he rebelled against David his father and temporarily ousted him from the throne.
2. Ahithophel’s offense against David
Read 2 Samuel 15:12
A. Ahithophel was David’s most prominent counselor, (2 Samuel 16:23)
B. However he was Bathsheba’s grand father and carried an offense against David.
C. When crisis emerged he switched sides and became the chief advisor for Absalom.
3. Consequences of carrying offence
A. Feeds un-forgiveness: Absalom didn’t take rest until he avenged Amnon.
B. Deceives: Absalom’s offense generated so much of energy and motivation He indeed ousted his father which amazed everyone. But his successes didn’t last long.
C. Divides: Ahithophel joined Absalom in rebel against the King (his agenda was to take revenge on David – 2 Samuel 17:1-2) Israelites that lived in the mainland followed him in large numbers, (2 Samuel 15:5-6). Offense unites people of like mind but their destinies are doomed.
D. Self dependence: Absalom forgot that God is in control of every situation. He took matters in to his own hands and it created more problems.
E. 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 offense.
4. The spirit of offense is everywhere
A. Certain people are always talking only what is not right about the church.
B. Complaints turn to murmuring which eventually results in offense against the Pastor, creating fractions.
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 political leaders he appoint.
5. How do I overcome the spirit of offense?
A. Focus on celebration
I. I feed the spirit of offense 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. Why is celebration important?
I. In ministry celebration helps us to direct our energies and attention to fulfill what God wants us to do.
II. Focusing on good things results in celebration, gratitude and faith.
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.
C. How to celebrate in the midst of perfection?
I. You can celebrate as long as you learn to focus on good things.
II. Illustration: The human eye and its ability to focus.
III. Focusing involves the use of muscles in your eyes, 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.
IV. Take time to regularly give thanks and celebrate the good things God has done. (sharing testimonies at the Sunday service)
D. What prevents us from celebrating?
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 positively affect you.
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 from offenses. Keep your life protected from offenses, it is easy to have them but difficult to get out of them.
V. Unforgiveness: Learn to forgive and let go of your past hurts.
A. 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.
B. 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 which will give you the ability to live a life of fullness.
C. “Rejoice always, Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16)
Image Credit: Ricardo VillarAdopted 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.)