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Sister Harrietta Turner


Offences


In John 16:01 OUR LORD WARNED HIS DISCIPLES OF DIFFICULT THINGS THAT WERE COMING so that WHEN THEY HAPPENED HIS FOLLOWERS WOULD NOT BE OFFENDED. In Luke 18:31-33 He told them of all the painful and even fatal things that would befall Him so that they would not be taken by surprise. In Matthew 24 He told of the coming persecution of them and of us so that we could be prepared.

I have often considered His use of the term OFFENDED. AND I JUST THOUGHT IT REFERRED TO THEIR (and our) BECOMING DISAPPOINTED AND ANGRY. But when I looked up the word in the original Greek, since English has just one word whereas Greek in the New Testament or Hebrew in the Old Testament have many variations of meaning, I saw that the word means something that would become a ‘stumbling block’ or a ‘snare or trap.’

Basically in the New Testament it is a word which includes a change of behavior as a result of something someone says or does TO US or something unpleasant and unexpected that happens to us. Those who became offended at Jesus’ words or as a result of the things happening to them as a result of being His followers just stopped following Him. For instance we have the Scriptures in Matthew 13: 20 and 21 in the Parable of the Seeds being Sown. The Seeds that were sown on stony ground endured for a while until afflictions or persecutions came as a result of their Christian faith and then they fell away from the faith . If we don’t understand that persecution and afflictions are part of the Christian life we can be turned away from living that life. So to be offended does not just mean having negative feelings but having them to the point that our steadfastness in the Christian life is altered, we stumble over the words or afflictions we experience and are turned out of the way.

In other words, as we are walking or even running our race of life as Christians who are striving for the goal of finishing our course in Christian faith and obedience, we run the risk of something unexpected appearing in our path which throws us off course. We stumble over it and fall - not just causing us to be disappointed or angry but resulting in some of the following results:

WE STUMBLE, FALL AND GIVE UP WILLINGLY

When Jesus was talking about the cost of discipleship in John 6:61 and says they will need to eat His flesh and drink His blood, then He mentions their being offended at His words. And they did stop following Him. In John 16:01 Jesus warned of coming persecution so that when it came to them and does come to us then it won’t take us by surprise and be a stumbling block to our faith.

WE STUMBLE, FALL AND ARE UNABLE TO GET UP

Maybe we try to get up to pursue the race but our disappointment causes us to fail … because we do not have the necessary motivation or strength. In Romans 14:21 the word offended is used to indicate something happening to make one weak in his faith. And in II Corinthians 11:29 it also mentions weakness in connection with being offended. We can weaken the faith of others by doing things that they consider wrong even if the problem is just that they don’t have the degree of faith that we do. If they are influenced to do something wrong then again their faith can be affected adversely.

WE STUMBLE, FALL AND CHOOSE AN EASIER BUT WRONG PATH

Or maybe we even go to an easier but incorrect path of life. It won’t take us to our goal. Jeremiah 18:15 "Yet My people have forsaken Me and have burned incense to vanity and have stumbled in their ways and have departed from the ancient paths to walk in a way which was not trodden".

WE STUMBLE, FALL AND ACTUALLY CHOOSE A PATH OF SIN

Sometimes we might even turn to sin … as the Word says in Job 36:21 "Take heed that you regard not iniquity for this thou hast chosen rather than affliction". Moses chose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Hebrews 11:25

Another meaning of to take offense is similar in that it means to fall into a trap. Some traps are often laid for animals by digging deep holes and covering the holes with branches and leaves to disguise them. Others are hidden ropes which will capture those stepping into them. The animal runs blithely along and falls into the trap. Our Lord doesn’t want us to be ensnared like this. Ignorance therefore is not bliss in the Christian life. Jeremiah 18:20 says "They have digged a pit for my soul." The Enemy of our souls would like for us to be ignorant of the cost of Christian discipleship so that we would fail to continue in the Christian life just as the good seed planted on stony ground failed when the persecution arose.

To prevent this from happening to His disciples and to those of us who read His Word and even in times past to His beloved nation of Israel in the Old Testament He gave specific warnings (See Isaiah 24:17,18 & 19 referring to the Endtimes – "Fear and the pit and the snare are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth and it shall come to pass that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare for the windows from on high are open and the foundations of the earth do shake … the earth is utterly broken down and the earth is clean dissolved … etc.") To fail to heed His Endtimes warnings could certainly cause a falling away for those who are unprepared for the coming cataclysmic events. And the Word in Matthew 24:10 says that there will be those who will do just that during the Endtimes’ persecutions and afflictions. "Then many will stumble –LAMSA translation (the KJV uses the word ‘fall’) and they will hate one another and betray one another".

Today, through the gift of prophecy told of in I Corinthians Chapters 12 and 14 and through the inner Voice of the Comforter – the Holy Spirit - He also gives us warnings so that we won't be guilty of falling away from the faith during difficult times.

Harrietta Turner

 

 

 


Harrietta Turner flyinhi@bellsouth.net
PO Box 565
Spruce Pine, NC 28777

 

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