God wants to bless you so you can be blessed and be a blessing. If we are going to be blessed, we have to develop an unoffendable heart and not take offense which is used by the devil as bait. The word for offense is “skandalon” which is: a trap; bait; or part of the trap the bait is put on that springs the trap. Satan uses offenses to trap us and sad to say many of these offenses come from the setting God designed to bless us which is the Local Church.
All believers are called to be faithful to assemble with a Body of Believers (Hebrews 10:25) and be accountable to spiritual leadership Hebrews 13:17 as a part of God’s plan for our life, health, and growth. Church is supposed to be a safe place, yet many experience offenses and hurts. In fact, statistics show a great percentage who forsake attending church, do so, because of some type of offense that comes from either insensitivity of the church or the people themselves being too sensitive. Globally the Kingdom’s rate of growth (people being born again) is three times the population growth rate (people being born) yet there has been only a 2% increase in the local church in the last 20 years.
There are some professing Christians who have even gone so far as to say that there is no need to be involved in the local church, there is no need for pastor’s anymore, and all we need is a personal relationship with Jesus. They say things like, “We do not go to church; we are the church, so it does not matter if I attend church services.” Yes, the church is the assembling of the “called out ones” which can be in any place not just a building but 1Timothy 3:15 calls the house of God (or meeting place) the Church. . “But if I tarry long, that THOU mayest know how THOU oughtest to behave thyself IN THE HOUSE OF GOD, WHICH IS THE CHURCH of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth1 Timothy 3:15.” It also distinguishes the house of God (the meeting place) from individual believers and their behavior in it.
The church was committed to be with one another.
Acts 2:41-47 says, “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
Notice “they” in verses 41, 42, and 46. All that believed were together v. 44. Those saved were added to the local church (v. 47) for there was no such thing as salvation in isolation of the assembling of themselves together. A gathering known as “one’s own company” is identified in Acts 4:23-33:
“v.23 And being let go, they went to THEIR OWN COMPANY, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. Later in the prayer they prayed it indicates being ASSEMBLED TOGETHER. “(v. 24)…And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord …When they had prayed the place was shaken where they were ASSEMBLED TOGETHER (v. 31).
The disciples met regularly as well Acts 5:42. Missionaries were sent forth from the church with official sanction Acts 13:1-3. Local churches, elders, overseers, a flock, and feeding are mentioned as well as wolves ENTERING IN AMONG YOU and DRAWING AWAY disciples after them are identified in Acts 20:17-31. The Bible reveals church government and offices of ministry not just self-government and individual ministry (Ephesians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 1 Timothy 4:14; 5:17).
Why mention these if all anyone needs is “Jesus”?
The local church was not a man’s idea that will fade away or be replaced by some so called “new thing” God is now doing. It is a part of the requirements found in Scripture for every person who calls Jesus their Lord and Savior. Whatever you do, do not give up on the Church. God requires you to be faithful to it and accountable to its spiritual leaders.
If you have been hurt/offended do not run away. Equip yourself with the protection of God’s Word. You may not be able to stop offenses from happening, but if you apply the Word, you will stop them from hurting you. Just like sunscreen in lotion, SPF sun protection factor, there is an OPF, offense protection factor, built into the Word. You must apply it. . “Great peace have they which love thy law; and nothing shall offend them,” Psalm 119:165.
The following link is to an excerpt (in a downloadable pdf.) from a book “How To Keep From Getting Hurt In The Church by Dr. Dale A. Robbins who has a great list to follow to avoid offenses in Church. I share it after obtaining his use permission.