The Root of Bitterness

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Hebrews 12:12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;  13  And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 14  Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 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;  16  Lest there [be] any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.  17  For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

This this text is so important for us preparing for the coming of the Lord because without holiness, without following peace with all men, should we have any expectations to see God? Follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. This statement is putting a setting of looking unto Jesus who dealt with the contradiction of sinners against Himself and then it went into dealing with trials that God sends us as a child under the parental-ship of God Himself.
It talks about discouragement. Don’t let your hands hang down and your feeble knees. Lift them up because that which is lying can be turned out of the way and following peace with all men and holiness and be careful of the root of bitterness that can trouble you. Not just trouble you it says, and thereby many be defiled. Then it refers to the story of Esau. This subject is roots of bitterness in the light of judgment. That’s the subjects matter.

The Cause of Bitterness

What does bitterness cause? Where does bitterness come from? Bitterness often comes from a disappointment or something that has happened against you, some wrong has been done to you and you hold on to that wrong. As you hold on to that wrong, that what someone else has done makes you bitter. As that bitterness comes, James talks about a spring. Can bitter water come out of a spring? That’s possible. That is relaying to my actions and my words. How I deal with people can be hinged on bitterness and I can hang onto bitterness for years and years – something that happened when I was a child even, and I can be hanging onto it.

The story that is given or the story that is alluded to in verse 16 is the story of Esau and Jacob. Jacob did wrong against Esau. Jacob ripped his brother off. As far as taking advantage of Esau’s hunger and saying, give me your birthright if you want some food, shouldn’t Jacob just give him food? Why does Jacob have to want his birthright just to feed him when he is so hungry? What was Christian thing to do? Feed them as long as they pay you, or just feed them? Just feed them. In the story of Jacob and Esau, Jacob clearly rips his brother off not by just taking advantage of his hunger but also lying to his father and deceiving his father in connection with the mother and pretty much snatching it away from him even though he was really unwilling.

Did Esau get the root of bitterness? Esau hang on to that and by the time Jacob comes back Esau was angry and a message comes to Jacob that Esau wants to kill him. You can see that after probably over twenty years had passed as he worked fourteen years for his two wives and Esau was still hanging onto something that happened twenty years ago.

Malachi 1:2-3  I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? [Was] not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,  3  And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. 4 Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.

Here are two brothers and this is spoken of right at the end of the Old Testament. These two brothers in their nations that they represented are still at odds with each other. There is another text in Obadiah that indicates that all of Esau’s family had harboured bitterness and violence as a result. Because of that violence, God turned against Esau and his inheritance. As for Jacob, the Lord worked heavily with him. Who did wrong here? Jacob did the wrong thing against his brother. The point is that the one who harboured the bitterness in God’s sight was the worst of all. The one who did the wrong wasn’t as bad as the one who’s harbouring bitterness. Here is this scenario where the children of Israel/Jacob were like, ‘does the Lord really love us? The Lord is saying, I do. It is often the case with children that when it comes to the parents, two children will vie for attention and affection from their parents. If one gets more affection than the other one wants it, if the other one isn’t getting it, then the other doesn’t feel love. God deals with us as with children although we are adults. There are still childish traits that comes through that the Lord is dealing us with.

Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Here is Israel being scourged and punished and has this experience. Israel feels like the Lord doesn’t love them. The Lord has to remind them of where they originated from. Is it easy to forget that God deals with us as with children?

One thing that stands out in my childhood that I really hated as a child was when my brother hurt me. I’d go and tell my dad. My dad wouldn’t say anything to me about my brother. He said, Paul, you need to be more patient. My brother used to punch me, hit me in the arms and legs, roll me in mattresses, sit on it until I’d be screaming with claustrophobia or couldn’t breathe. He would hold me under the water at the swimming pool until I stopped kicking. He did all sorts of stuff to me as a little kid. He locked me out of the house, stripped me off my clothes and put me out in the front street and locked all the doors of the house. I couldn’t get back in and I was at the front of the house. He did all of this stuff. I would come to my parents and say, ‘mum, dad, Brayden is doing this and that.’ They’d say, ‘Paul, you have to be patient and tolerant.’ What really irritated me was, I have come to you to talk about Brendan and not me. It really got me that it was my brother and not me. Every time my father would bring up some problems of mine, I didn’t know that when I wasn’t looking, my dad went and dealt with my brother. I didn’t know that. He could have at least come and told me that he’d punish him for me. What would that do to a child?

When a child has a problem and came to the parents and said, so and so has this dobbing (reporting) session of what happened and every time the parent says, okay, I’ll go and punish the person for you, what would that start doing in that child? How many times is this the case in the spiritual walk where we have a legitimate problem with somebody? We might go and talk about it to the Lord or talk about it to somebody, but what about your problems? Does it ever get annoying like, stop talking about me. Talk about them.

Roots of bitterness can come when we are dwelling on the problem of the other person and we feel that we can’t resolve it until that problem in that person is resolved. When that problem in that person is resolved, then I can resolve my bitterness. Can you always change people? Some people can’t change some people. How can I resolve my bitterness? The Lord will deal with us personally irrespective of the other person lest any root of bitterness come up and spoil us individually.

John 21:18-22  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry [thee] whither thou wouldest not. 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.  20  Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?  21  Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what [shall] this man [do]? 22  Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what [is that] to thee? follow thou me.

Jesus is expounding on Peter’s situation. When you were young, you basically did what you liked. You went where you wanted, you did what wanted but when you get older you are going to go to a place you don’t want to go. Then He turns and sees John. Jesus says to Peter, follow me. Peter doesn’t say yes Lord, I will follow you. He says, what about John? The Lord says:

John 21:22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what [is that] to thee? follow thou me.

Jesus is saying, follow me Peter. Peter asks, what about John? Jesus answers him and He’s like, it’s none of your business about John. Follow me I said. Don’t think about John and what will happen to him and so on. Follow thou me.

Luke 12:13 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.  14  And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?  15  And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

Here is this man who has this problem with his brother not dividing the inheritance after his father died. He goes to Jesus about it. Do you ever have perplexities with someone else and you go to Jesus about it? What are you expecting from Jesus? Jesus will fix them. There are big problems in my life. What will Jesus’ words be? What about your problems? That is a challenge for us as human beings because it is a challenge when we are children that we don’t necessarily want my things dealt with all the time. I want someone else’s things dealt with. The Lord’s words came back to this man. Who made me a judge? Jesus is speaking here. Is Jesus a judge? Absolutely He is; but is He putting Himself in that position to Him? I am going to be your judge and I am going to solve all your problems the way you want them solved. He says, I wasn’t and that is not my position. He challenges him to think about eternal realities that your life is more than what you have.

The Prodigal Son

Here is a very interesting story with two brothers again. The first one was Peter and John. Peter is inquiring about John. Jesus tells him what is it to you? Follow me. There were two brothers who had a problem over inheritance. Jesus doesn’t even deal with the problem with the other brother but deals with his own. Now comes the prodigal son.

Luke 15:21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

The prodigal son leaves and he realises justice. He realises that he has wrecked and spent his inheritance. He brought his life down to the pigs’ pen and his conscience is telling him justice. Should he be called a son anymore? No. He comes to his father and says, ‘I am not even worthy to be called your son. In all realities that is the truth; but look at the attitude of the father.

Luke 15:22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put [it] on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on [his] feet:  23  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill [it]; and let us eat, and be merry:  24  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.  25  Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.  26  And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant.  27  And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound.  28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him.  29  And he answering said to [his] father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:  30  But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 31  And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.  32  It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

He wouldn’t even join the celebration. I am withdrawing myself. Look at the way he’s been treated and look at the way I have been treated. Look what he’s done. Look what I have done.
He doesn’t go in, but who comes out to him? The father comes out to him because this is the mentality of Jesus. You have your party. You have your happiness. I am not in it because it is so unjust. It is so not right. All the reasons that this son had which were in justice sense were legitimate but the father comes out to entreat him.

Here he challenges the son. You are with me all the time. Everything I had was yours. Does the father say, son, you are right. Actually you have never transgressed my laws. Instead he challenges his son with his own problems. Everything I had was yours. Were you thankful? He wasn’t thankful. What a challenge for this young man who is already upset with this scenario. His dad comes out and entreats him this way. He says, ‘come in. Aren’t you happy that he is back? The son was thinking about justice – what should be right. The father was thinking about mercy. The son is stuck in justice while the Lord is applying mercy with justice.

Roots of bitterness can spoil us for the last days. We are living in the time of the investigative judgment. We need to consider what the root of bitterness is that can spring up and trouble me and my spiritual walk and defile other people around me. If this young man went around and told his friends, his friends would probably agreed with him but not what his father said. Would that have helped the cause of his son? Not at all even if he was right in the justice point of view it doesn’t help our spiritual walk personally.

I beseech of all who engage in the work of murmuring and pitying themselves because something has been said or done that does not suit them, and that does not, as they think, give them due consideration, to remember that they are carrying on the very work Satan began in heaven. They are following in his track, sowing unbelief, discord, and disloyalty, for no one can entertain feelings of disaffection and keep it secret. They must tell others that they are not treated as they should be. Thus others are led to murmur and complain. This is the root of bitterness springing up, whereby many are defiled. {CTr 37.2}

This points challenges to the core our spiritual walk with selfishness and self. Just like Peter, we are interested with other people. Just like the brothers, we would be upset if we didn’t get our inheritance split from our father. Just like the prodigal son, we probably would be upset if there was such a glamorous reception of the naughty child when we didn’t get anything like that; but the word of God challenges the person with whom bitterness can harbour. Be careful of bitterness. Esau was wronged by Jacob but the challenge was to Esau. Be careful how you will deal with it. Be careful with what is going on in your own heart.

Both the two brothers which had the inheritance problem – the prodigal son and the brother that stayed with the father. Jacob and Esau, all the brothers that harboured bitterness, dwelt upon justice without mercy. When you look at justice, the case is clear. Should a brother share inheritance with his other brother? Yes. Should Jacob rip off Esau? No. There is no question in regards to justice.

How much more those who live in the investigative judgment should consider this text? Do you honestly believe that our cases are open in heaven?

James 2:12 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 showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

Is there a way to live if you will be judged? This is an interesting text. If we want to survive the investigative judgment, if we want to have a blessed hope, consider this text. Does the Bible display much mercy to Esau? Does one seem to have no mercy? Here is Esau and his children. They say we will build up. You can build up but I will throw it down. Does this sound like merciful? Why does the Bible show almost no mercy towards Esau?

James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

Did Esau show any mercy to Jacob and just let it go? Would he hang on to it for twenty years? How many of us want mercy in the judgment? How will you get that? You’ve got to have mercy. Mercy rejoices against judgment. What does that mean? Here is justice, here is the judgment. Mercy seems to oppose it. Don’t get me wrong; we are not saying you don’t have to be just. This is in relation to showing mercy. We show mercy to other people – how we relate to other people. The context of James 2 is very clear on how we should live and be with holiness but mercy is mingled in when we relate with our brothers and sisters.

Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.  14  What shall we say then? [Is there] unrighteousness with God? God forbid.  15  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  16  So then [it is] not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.

Do you comprehend this text? This is an amazing text. This made me rejoice because if you won’t to get to heaven, it is not about your strong will. It is not about how fast you can run. It is about how much mercy God will show you. Have you ever wronged God in your life? Anything you try to achieve from here after can never erase that wrong. For you to achieve eternal life you are eternally dependent not on your abilities hereafter, but purely on God’s mercy to you.

Here is the case between Esau and Jacob. One gets mercy the other doesn’t get mercy. The reason why one gets mercy and the other doesn’t get mercy, is because one showed mercy and one didn’t. Jacob is also ripped off in his life too. Did he let it go? He did. He was ripped off by Laban his uncle. He could have just as much reason to be annoyed at Laban as Esau was to be annoyed with him. One showed mercy and the other didn’t. God said, I will show mercy to who will show mercy. God is not unjust with the case of loving Jacob and hating Esau. It was their own choice where they wanted to go. You show mercy and God will present that to you.

If you have judgment without mercy, then you will live in the judgment without mercy with such a harsh thing. The story of Esau and his children is terrible all because of a root of bitterness. Be careful as any root of bitterness springing up in us prevents us being merciful to the other person whereby many will be defiled. How many have been defiled since Esau’s bitterness? You can blame many Middle East problems to that. Many people are being defiled because of Esau’s cherished character traits.

Micah 6:4 For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.  5  O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the LORD.

How many people want to know the righteousness of the Lord? God says, if you want to know my righteousness just remember what Balak king of Moab consulted and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him and then you will know the righteousness of the Lord. Do you remember what Balaam answered Balak? The Bible is telling us there you will find the righteousness of God. What should we do?

Balaam’s Response to Balak

Numbers 23:21 He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God [is] with him, and the shout of a king [is] among them.

At this point they didn’t have a king. The king was Jesus Christ. Just to put it in context, Numbers 14 is about Joshua and Caleb and their report. What was Israel doing then? Did they want to go to the Promised Land? What was their response to the report from Caleb and Joshua? Negative? What would they do to Caleb and Joshua? Stone them. Chapter 16 is all about Korah, Dathan and Abiram. Some negative rebellion right there happened. In chapter 20 they are about to kill Moses. In Numbers 21 the serpents are biting them for all of their complaining. Then you see in Numbers 23 this statement – I didn’t behold any iniquity in Israel. What a funny text. Have you thought about that?

On a justice point of view, were Israel clean? Not at all. In the valley what happened there? He (God) hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob. What does that say about God? God is merciful. What I want you to understand is that God wasn’t ignorant of the faults of Israel but here is the enemy of Israel – the person who wants them cursed.

How does God treat the person who wants the other person cursed? God says, I don’t see their fault. You want them cursed, I don’t see their faults. To Balak that was a big disappointment because he wanted them cursed. You could say that it sounds a bit embarrassing because if they had a big problem, wasn’t God working with them? When God sees problems, how does He view it? Is He viewing it as condemnation ready to curse them or is He dealing with it to bless them? You’ve got to understand the context of the story. Here it is all about cursing. Is God willing to curse Israel? No. Had they done wrong to deserve the curse? Not with God’s mercy. They didn’t. I didn’t behold iniquity in Jacob or perverseness in Israel.

John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Does God look at faults for the purpose of condemnation? No. It doesn’t say that way. He doesn’t see a problem to start condemning the person. He sees a problem to fix the person. He has an entirely different way of seeing.

If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, are you faultless in all your actions? No. Is God condemning you? You still have got faults in the way of actions that are visible. He that believeth on him is not condemned. There is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus. Was Israel still God’s people? Were they still in Him? Was the king amongst them? Was there any iniquity to be viewed from the enemy’s point of view? There was nothing to see.

Condemnation is what you do with Jesus. That is the condemnation that we will face in the judgment. It is not whether you ate cheese or do some actions that were not right and may not be right in itself. The question is what you did with Jesus. If I still have faults at the end of the judgment, who can I blame? Can I blame God for not helping me enough? No. God has given Jesus Christ as the remedy to fix me entirely from every defect of character. If I have a defect of character, that is proof that I let go of Jesus at some point whether I think I have or not. I have by virtue of not letting everything being cleansed. The challenge is not that you still have this problem, it is what you did with Jesus. One of the attributes of Jesus Christ that as humans we can’t develop without the Lord Jesus Christ, is the attribute of mercy. We can be just. Is Satan just? He can come and condemn you and you are finished.

With God’s law at his side agreeing with the devil but the devil can never be merciful. The question can also be posed, what did you do with mercy?

John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. 47  And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48  He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

The actual character of Christ is far from one of looking at faults for the purpose of condemnation. He can’t see it that way. The words He speaks will condemn. This is very clear with personal accusation compared to reality. If I went up to somebody and said, you are a liar, am I judging that person? If I said in front of that person, thou shalt not lie, is that the same thing? What is the difference? It is not accusation but they could feel accused. They could say, hey, you are judging me. One is a proclamation of truth and the truth itself. The words that are being spoken are the thing that does the judging or it could be my own character that does the judging. ‘You are a liar.’

There is a major difference between these two points yet both can be convicting or condemning in that person. If a person refuses to hear it and they come up to the judgment and they’ve been lying all along, the words thou shalt not bear false witness stands against them as a word, not the heart of Christ. God does not take any pleasure in the death of the wicked. When someone does wrong you just want to get revenge. They say revenge is sweet, bitter sweet. With God, is there any pleasure with Him as a person? Christ’s heart isn’t like that at all yet His standard is so holy that no one can fake it and pretend to be in heaven. You can’t stay at all hypocrisy yet it is so compassionate. He says, if anyone hears my word I will not judge him. I will not make a personal shot at this man. The words that I speak will do that if he is what he is.

Watching for Iniquity

Isaiah 29:20 For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off:

Here is Balak. If you want to see the righteousness of the Lord, see what Balaam answered to Balak. Balak wanted Israel cursed. Balak would find any reason to kill these people and the Lord answers to Balak through Balaam unwillingly. The Lord does not see iniquity in Jacob. I don’t see what you are seeing. I see something entirely different to what you see. That is God’s answer. That is the righteousness of God. If we ever want to be in heaven, we need to absorb this righteousness of God which will allow the Lord to work on me and for me to exercise mercy on those around me.

Obadiah 1:9 And thy mighty [men], O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter.  10  For [thy] violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.

Esau will be cut off by slaughter because of the violence of his brother. It is really an interesting thing to dwell upon. Like these two brothers in connection to Hebrews 12, God will deal with us like His children. He is not focusing on the other party, He is focusing on us. That is irritating to the flesh. We need to absorb that and let God do His work.

Isaiah 29:20 For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off:  21  That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.

What does ‘to make an man an offender for a word’ mean? Have you ever said the wrong words? Have you ever said something in a wrong way? Has anyone made you an offender because of what you said despite the fact that you didn’t mean to say it like that? It happens. Here it is talking about Esau about being cut off and talking of the scorner and all that watch for iniquity to make a man an offender for a word. If someone said something and then they say, I didn’t mean that, what is the merciful thing to do?

You say, I didn’t mean that. The just thing to do is to pin them against their words and say, no, this is not right. It may be true.

We want to be ready for Jesus’ coming. Follow peace with all men without which no man shall see the Lord. Beware lest any root of bitterness springing up spoils you like Esau did. We are living in the judgment so speak and do as though thou shalt be judged by the law of liberty for someone will be judged without mercy who had no mercy. Mercy rejoices against justice or judgment. This is such an important attribute to have in the investigative judgment.

“You will need to make straight paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. We are surrounded by the lame and halting in the faith, and you are to help them, not by halting yourselves, but by standing, like men who have been tried and proven, in principle firm as a rock. I know that a work must be done for the people, or many will not be prepared to receive the light of the angel sent down from heaven to lighten the whole earth with His glory. Do not think that you will be found as vessels unto honor in the time of the latter rain, to receive the glory of God, if you are lifting up your souls unto vanity, speaking perverse things, in secret cherishing roots of bitterness. The frown of God will certainly be upon every soul who cherishes these roots of dissension, and possesses a spirit so unlike the Spirit of Christ.  {LS 327.2}

“As the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, I seemed to be present in one of your councils. One of your number rose; his manner was very decided and earnest as he held up a paper before you. I could read plainly the heading of the paper; it was the American Sentinel. Criticisms were then passed upon the paper and the character of the articles therein published. Those in council pointed to certain passages, declaring that this must be cut out, and that must be changed. Strong words were uttered in criticism of the methods of the paper, and a strong unchristlike spirit prevailed. Voices were decided and defiant.  {LS 328.1}

“My guide gave me words of warning and reproof to speak to those who took part in this proceeding, who were not slow to utter their accusations and condemnation. In substance this was the reproof given: The Lord has not presided at this council, and there is a spirit of strife among the counselors. The minds and hearts of these men are not under the controlling influence of the Spirit of God. {LS 328.2}

The point I wanted to read is, this is not so much what was written in the American Sentinel because I don’t know what the whole scenario with the American Sentinel was neither do I know the article that was objected to. One thing that I do know is that there is a spirit of dealing with it that is approved of God and there is a spirit of dealing with it that is not approved of God. Because the Lord will only focus on our situation when we’ve got an issue the Lord will challenge us with. The challenge is what spirit do we possess when it comes to dealing with things?

This statement in the American Sentinel may have truly been wrong. I don’t know; but the counsel that was given was, the spirit is unlike our spirit. For us who want to be like Jesus and who want to be ready to be clothed with the garment of righteousness, to be in the wedding feast, to be in the investigative judgment when the King comes to see whether the covering is put over which is the righteousness of Christ, the character that He developed, God is looking at how we are dealing with things even if they are wrong. This is challenging to the flesh.

Romans 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

Have you ever seen someone stealing and you would put an accusation upon that person for stealing? According to this text, do I steal just because I am saying he stole?

There was a list of things. You may accuse somebody of doing one or two of those things in that list and yet you are doing other things in that same list. If someone or I says, he is stealing, it doesn’t mean I am stealing because I said he was stealing. There are two lists; one is very blatant, obvious defiance of God and His ways and the other is more subtle – category one and two.

Romans 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  30  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  31  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

You could say they are a fornicator and I could be showing no mercy. Is that in the list? The text is saying, you who judges the other man are inexcusable because you will do the same thing in the list which is a whisperer or being unmerciful which is worthy of death. Being unmerciful is worth loss of my salvation. It is very easily overlooked. There is a procedure that is in the spirit of Christ.

1 Timothy 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.  20  Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.  21  I charge [thee] before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

This is dealing with an elder. Some people think you could show them that elders or ministers have an immunity against a criticism or censure or being corrected. The Bible doesn’t give any immunity to elders or ministers from correction. What the Bible does give, is the least amount of false accusation possible. It says don’t receive an accusation and if you hear something, there has to be at least two or three witnesses of that event. According to the Bible if there are no two or three witnesses, don’t receive it. But even if there are two or three witnesses, still have mercy.

The Story of Naboth

Naboth had a vineyard and king Ahab wanted it. He said, I don’t want to sell it. Ahab went home upset because he didn’t get what he wanted. Jezebel asks him, why are you so sad? Ahab says, it’s because I didn’t get what I wanted. What did you want? I wanted Naboth’s vineyard. Jezebel says don’t worry I will get it. She writes a forged letter from the king with the king’s stamp on it saying; make a feast and make Naboth as a special guest. I will send two witnesses against him and they are going to say that he blasphemed God and the king. The feast was held and Naboth was made special. Two witnesses turned up and said to everyone, ‘Naboth just blasphemed God and the king. Let’s stone him. They said, okay, we’ve got two witnesses. Let us stone him. They stoned him to death. Jezebel told Ahab Naboth is dead. You can have his vineyard now. Did they have enough witnesses? They did. Did they act without mercy? Did they let Naboth have a say? Was there any discussion on the point with Naboth? No. Just because two people have said it, that doesn’t condemn the person automatically but something needs to be dealt with, with mercy mingled with it. Elders and ministers don’t have immunity against being checked or have checks and balances. Look at what the Apostle Paul did to Peter.

Galatians 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.

Did Peter make a mistake? Peter had misrepresented the gospel and Paul rebuked him for it. It was a public matter and he rebuked him. Peter was at fault but while ever the apostles were challenged, there were also many false reports.

Works and Grace

Romans 3:8 And not [rather], (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.

Here was a case where the way Paul explained, some points were taken out of context. Does it sound like a good policy? Not at all. They misunderstood what he was saying. Did they have any mercy? They should have said, Paul explain in more detail of what you meant by that statement. Mercy would be to check with the person who said it and allow them the liberty and have the mercy even against justice to say we’ll give you the benefit of doubt. Here in the case of Paul they didn’t do that. There are some cases that are legitimate and those cases need to be dealt with in the Spirit of Christ as it said in that American Sentinel.

In all three accounts where Jesus predicts the fall of Peter, He also predicts his victory. When Jesus says you will fall, He also says but when you are converted this and that will happen. He always puts this negativity with a positive view of you will get victory over it. When I read that, it really comforts me because the Lord may know that tomorrow I will mess up the biggest mess of my life and the Lord will give me hope. He will say when you fix yourself up, you will keep going. God is merciful even when things are wrong with others, God wants to fix us.

That approach that God has a parent to us as His children and as adults will be very challenging to our flesh because we want the other person dealt with. We don’t want ourselves dealt with all the time. We need rebukes every now and then but sometimes we say, give me a break. Just deal with the other person for once. Leave me alone. God says, I want you saved. Don’t look the other person. I will fix them later when you are not looking. That is hard. I want to see it happen because I will feel better. No, you’ve got to deal with it. Don’t harbour bitterness. Leave justice with God. Present the words of God that are truth. Let the words of God condemn others. In the right time they will condemn. Let us not personally condemn others. Let us apply God’s word in our hearts. Examine myself whether I in the faith.

That is God’s admonition. I pray that you can understand the character of God in this and that we need this in the time of investigative judgment that we can show mercy to those who need it.

Amen

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Posted on November 2, 2013, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons For Sabbath and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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