August 19, 2018

The Two Paths

Preacher:

And you look at the pool and I it's a lot of maintenance for me and I am so glad that I have a poor right now it's hot and sticky out there muggy today if you notice that I guess it's just August but our kids like the pool but I'm also noticing as the kids get older they're out there a lot less than they used to be when they were little but our daughter Jacqueline she is our fish she loves to go out and swim and it's kind of hard to get the kids out there you know some of them we have to some of them we have to force you know threaten to get out there in the pool we have a pool you're going to have the full enjoyment and some of them it's very easy to get them out there but a while ago we also have a hot tub which is great in summer it's nice but in the winter in the fall and in the spring it's awesome and we don't like in the winter months when we're not swimming because no one swims when it's you know fifty degrees in the pool would be sitting there in the hot tub and then we'd have this competition where we'd all be looking at the pool and it's fifty or sixty degrees and then we'd have this competition saying all right who's the bravest who's the bravest who's the bravest one to go jump in the pool and a couple kids are not going to go in that pool but my daughter and I we kind of have this competition between each other she's competitive I don't know where she gets it from a she's a little competitive but I'd always say all right who's the bravest and it's kind of a race to see who can jump in the pool and so even to this day if I look at Jackie and I want her to go swimming all I need to do is look at her and go Jackie I'm the bravest That's all I'm to say and she's like you not she runs affairs because there's some suit on images like this dead race to get into the pool she knows what I'm doing but there's a little button that I can push inside of my daughter and I can get her to do or I want her to do at least for now it's kind of nice parents what about you do you have you know what buttons to push with your kids to get them to do what you want them to do it definitely works when they're younger when they're older they're kind of they know exactly what's happening or how about with spouses spouses you know what buttons to push with your spouse. Usually it's it's kind of the opposite it's do you know which buttons not to push with your spouse something that's kind of more the deal when you get older well generally speaking someone who is highly intelligent can manipulate and control someone who is less intelligent than they are. And that does not bode well for us as human beings because our enemy satan knows exactly how to push our buttons and to get us to do His will last week I introduced kind of a new short series we're already through Glacier ins and what I want to do for the next several weeks is to do a small series on healthy relationships as a church we talked about this last week we have a mission statement here is a church I think every organization every church needs of a mission statement so we know why we exist what are we trying to do and our mission here Grace publisher to Phoenix is to develop fully committed followers of Jesus Christ of the teaching and encouragement of God's word so how do we develop committed followers Well we've identified four main values and so these are the things that we practice and I talk about them a lot so this kind of gets ingrained into all of our minds but we practice to revalue Bible center teaching and preaching and so in the fall what I like to do is kind of touch on some of these subjects we also our second value of the four is discipleship and last fall I did kind of a mini series on discipleship some of you might remember the four Chair series kind of talking about for moving from one church to the next third of our values is faithful service and the force is what we're going to be focusing on for the next several weeks and that is healthy relationships and so last Sunday what I did as I mentioned how in one of my small groups someone mentioned this book the bait of Satan and how Satan will use someone being offended to really destroy relationships Satan destroys relationships not God I just want to clarify that last week I said God this relationship. So obviously I messed up with that but this is based off of a loop seventeen where it says it's impossible for offenses to not come or temptation sometimes that word is translated temptations one passage that we saw this word it's called skin and a lawn is in second Timothy and we're going to look at that verse a little bit more detail pretty quick but in second Timothy two twenty six polls writing in he says something really interesting he says and they meaning people who are in arguments and actually that those who have been offended and they may come to their senses an escape from the snare of the devil or the trap of the devil or the bait of the devil after being captured by him to do His will and so we talked about how being offended is the bait of Satan or it is the temptation of Satan to lead us down a pass to doing his will and you wonder you know why is being offended so effective and we see it in the world everyone is talking about how they are of their offended well being offended is such an effective bait for Satan because it really taps into our human pride we all have pride to some extent and an offense can assault us our beliefs our values our thoughts or maybe the perceived value that we have on ourselves and so this is the process that happens when someone is offended when someone is offended they kind of take the bait of Satan it starts a reaction and that reaction is going to go one of two ways that's why I got a picture of you so a picture of there the picture of the two paths that we can take. And we're going to look at those two paths this morning and so the first pass that we're going to talk about is the path of Satan because I think that we all need to be aware of what Satan is wanting to do and hopefully when we're aware of what his trap is and what he's wanting to do then we will instead make sure that we're going the direction that God wants us to go but the first path that we have the option of going down once were offended is the path of Satan and that is to do Satan's will on. The first path is doing Satan's will. And I hope that sounds shocking because it should be doing things well really what anyone do satan's Well well it's got a second term of the chapter two of this up on the slider second term of the chapter two but you can turn there as well second term of the Chapter two verses twenty four through twenty six.

In Paul is talking to Timothy and he says and the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone able to teach patiently enduring evil correcting his opponents with gentleness godly perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth in verse twenty six I think if we just stop and just take a look at this verse it's kind of a very surprising verse verse twenty six and they may come to their senses and a scape from the snare of the devil after being captured by him to do His will. That there are literally people in the world today believers who have taken this bait of Satan and they are captive captivated by him to do his will so what is things you will look for those kind of clarify what this is saying is will is not to turn all of us into murderers OK it's a lot more subversive than that or subtle it is to divert our time and attention into fleshly things rather than spiritual things and so say he knows that as soon as we let our emotions control US Satan knows that we have become distracted and we will no longer listen to the Holy Spirit and do God's will and so Satan's will is basically preventing us from doing what God wants to do in our life which is make us become more like His Son Jesus Christ and Satan as well as obviously then to destroy the healthy relationships that mature us and the thing is and I just want us all to kind of think and you know this this week these last couple weeks have really I really thought about this and it's just kind of this shocking thing to discover but there are people who have been taken captive to do Satan's will and they don't even know it. And you look at verse twenty six and here's the hope for someone who has been taken captive by Satan to do as well and you hope this is what happens verse twenty six and they may come to their senses in a skate from the snare of the devil after being captured by him to do His will.

So so so Paul is talking to Timothy and he's telling him when you come across someone who is trapped they are taken captive by Satan to do His Will this is how you should talk to them this is how you should discuss things with them so as not to stir up their pride you just go to that couple verses before that verses twenty four and twenty five and he says to Paul Paul says to Timothy and the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome how many times have you been in a quarrel or an argument with something and you or the other person got offended quite often right that's a great way for us to get offended and so politics generally don't be quarrelsome don't lay out the bait or the trap for someone to be captured by Satan to do His will and then he also says Be kind to everyone able to teach patiently enduring evil how many times have you been offended by someone being kind to you and usually doesn't happen that way right so Paul is saying act towards people in a way that's not going to bait them into Satan's Trap verse twenty five says correcting his opponents with gentleness when we are gentle with other people we're showing them respect and when we're shown respect we're usually not offended and so Paul is teaching Jim if you do these things to help people not get trapped by Satan in captivated to do His will you know. These last couple weeks as I as I read that verse and I've read this first many many times before I'm sure many of you have read on second Timothy two twenty six before and I read the words and I've never really spent time really thinking in considering this but I thought to myself has there ever been a time in my life when I have allowed my emotions to control me so much that I took the bait of Satan hook line and sinker and I was for a period of time in my life taken captive by him to do His will. And that thought is very humbling and scary.

And as I thought about it there was a couple times I thought yeah I think so I think there was a time where I was kind of blinded by my emotions and I was not doing what God wanted me to do well how about you. Has there ever been a time in your life or maybe even right now where you are being controlled by your emotions and usually these kinds of emotions are where we say off to stand up and have to defend myself I have to fight for my own rights Well this is the deception that Satan uses to get us to think that this is how we should be acting well then what Paul does he goes on to talk about people who have taken the bait and this is what they look like in if you're in second Timothy just turned over to chapter three I don't have this up on the screen but second time of the chapter three Paul goes on to talk about what people will look like in the last day and this is another great description of someone who has really taken the bait of Satan second Timothy Chapter Three beginning in verse one it says but understand this that in the last days there will come times of difficulty for people will be lovers of self lovers of money proud arrogant abusive disobedient to their parents ungrateful unholy heartless unappeasable slanderous without self-control brutal not loving good treacherous reckless swollen with conceit lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God having the appearance of godliness but denying its power of void such people so it's a great description to describe someone who has been taken captive by Satan to do His will and this is what Satan wants to do it kind of goes like this Satan wants to have someone take the bait of being offended and as soon as someone is offended their emotions get stirred up and then they fuel the fire of their pride in their ego and then they do the things listed in second term of the three they're lovers of themselves they're proud or arrogant or ungratefully in on and on and on and when Satan can get a believer to do that he kind of sits back and he thinks to himself. I got him. I got him right now they're doing exactly what I want them to do and not what God wants them to do and so this is the first pass of what can happen when someone gets offended and I emphasize the word can happen because there's two options but as as we look at this first path does this sound familiar in other words have you seen this take place in the lives of other people in the world I mean we open up our eyes and we're seeing people are offended all the time or does this sound familiar on a personal level where you realize this happens to me all the time I allow myself to get offended and then I go down this path well the second path is the path to God wants to us to to take us down and that's what we'll talk about right now so the second pass is this. We are going to get offended let's make no mistake about that being offended is not sinning just like just being tempted to do something is not necessarily falling into sin but the second path is the path of God and it's the path of transformation what God wants to do is transform us Second Corinthians three eighteen this tells us what God's will for our life is that as we go through this life it says that we all with unveiled faces beholding the glory of the Lord our being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another for this comes from the Lord who is the spirit and so God is wanting to take us into transform us into the image of his son and sometimes for that transformation to take place God will use bad things in our life like being offended I want you to turn in your Bibles to Revelation Chapter three we usually don't go to the Book of Revelation but there's a passage in here kind of a warning from from God to one of these churches in Revelation and I think this kind of fits with this whole transformation thing and so as you're turning to Revelation what I want to do is kind of give you this. Kind of a background of the way that we can look at Revelation and interpret revelation for any of you who have ever read Revelation or at least know revelation it's kind of a unique book so he might even say it's kind of a weird book well there's four main views of how to interpret the Book of Revelation The first is to look at it all is historical It's the historical view meaning that the Book of Revelation is simply chronicle in the history of the church right on that's not the view that we have here is the church is not the view that I have on the second view is the view that I hold to and that is the Futurist view specifically starting in Chapter force a chapter four through twenty two these are all talking about future events that will take place chapters one through three are historical God had John write to actual churches that existed just like Paul wrote to the churches in F.S.S. and colossi So these are actual churches that existed the other two views are very not very popular at all one is called the Predator so you know if you can remember that I'll be really impressed but it's to say that all the events in Revelation took place just a short time right after the Apostle Paul or John wrote this and the last view is the allegorical view where it where you just read Revelation and you just kind of say this is just describing the normal Christian existence that we go through these fights and battles with with evil forces but we hold I hold to the Futurist view Chapters four through twenty two but chapters one through three are a storable and here God is speaking to one church in particular chapter three verse fourteen it's the church in Laodicea. And these people were kind of blind to their spiritual condition and what God is telling them saying I want to transform you and he uses a phrase that we're going to really look out for the rest of the sermon so.

Revelation Chapter Three beginning in verse fourteen says to the angel of the church and later C.-A right these are the words of the Amen the faithful and true witness the ruler of God's creation I know your deeds that you are neither cold nor hot I wish you were either one or the other so because you are lukewarm neither hot nor cold I am about to spit you out of my mouth you say so this is the the blindness that they have about themselves you say I am rich I have acquired wealth and I do not need a thing but you do not realize that you are wretched pitiful poor blind and naked and then he says something here in verse eighteen that we're going to really explore eighteen God says to them I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire so you can become rich the area of latest C.E.O. was known for their gold and they took pride in that but God is saying you your gold is worthless it is mixed with different things you need to buy gold it has been refined by me and so this idea of refined gold is all throughout Scripture and it really deals with difficult situations in our lives and it applies to us being offended you know in this book by John the Veer he writes about the refining process of gold and because I'm not a chemist I'm just going to read the words that he wrote there just like two or three small paragraphs I'm going to just write you about this process refine gold is soft and pliable free from corrosion and other substances it's when gold is mixed with other metals like copper iron or nickel that it becomes hard less pliable and more corrosive. This mixture is called alloy the higher the percentage of foreign metals the harder the gold becomes converse Lee The lower the percentage of Ali the softer and more flexible the gold is so you know you look at your gold ring and you find out how much gold is in there well the more gold is going to be soft and pliable and God is using this to describe the condition of our heart and here is chapters three and your notes I think I put thirteen but every now and then I read something wrong in the nose just to see if you're paying attention just like I have to misspeak every now and then to do that but Hebrews three verses twelve and thirteen God speaks to us and he says Take care brothers lest there be in any of you any evil unbelieving heart leading you to fall away from the living God and the verse thirteen it says but exhort one another every day as long as it is called to day so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitful in this of sin and so God is talking about our hearts and how important it is to keep our hearts pure and that if we put something else in our heart it becomes hard just like when you put something else into gold the gold becomes hard and the book he continues he says. If we do not deal with an offense it will produce more fruit of sin such as bitterness anger and resentment this added substance hardens our hearts just as our lawyer hardens gold This reduces or removes tenderness creates a loss of sensitivity we are hindered in our ability to hear God's voice our accuracy to see is darkened and this is the perfect setting for a deception and you see how true this is when you allow yourself to be filled with anger and bitterness your heart grows hard and cold and it's the perfect place for us to be deceived Oh how do we get all of those things out of our heart. The first step in the refining in the refining of gold is grinding it into a powder and mixing it with a substance called flux the mixture is placed in a furnace and melted with intense heat the alloy and impurities are drawn to the flux and rise to the surface and the gold which is heavier remains on the bottom the impurities of Droste such as copper iron and zinc combined with the flux and they are removed yielding a purer metal. Satan wants our hearts to become hard and callous and in offense is the perfect way to mix into our hearts anger and bitterness which makes our heart hard but God says don't go down that path let me use the fence to refine you instead and Isaiah forty eight ten God writes to us and he says See I have refined you though not a silver I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. You know unfortunately it takes many things that can come into our life for us to be refined this way but one of them is when someone very close and personal and very precious to us when they offend us that's when God can really refine our hearts another passage talking about God finding us is in first Peter one verses six and seven.

He says to us in this you rejoice though now for a little while if necessary you have been grieved by various trials so that the test of genuineness of your face more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ and so over and over in Scripture God tells us that he will refine us with the difficult things in life and only then can we see what really matters in this life the more impurities we add to our life in her newest bitterness resentment those things is there going to really harden our heart. An offense can be the first step that Satan uses to get us to go down that road you know was as I go through you know passages like this I'm always hoping that there's going to be a really great example that we can kind of like is a really personal thing that we can look at and say hi I see how this all plays out well there's a really good story in the Bible that kind of plays this out for us about people who are possibly being offended and they're going down the to pass would you like to know that story I mean there should be asking I guess would you like to know the story why won't you all a turn to Luke Chapter fifteen and this is by far my favorite parable is the parable of the Prodigal Son and in this it's such a great parable and the one thing I love about the Prodigal Son is it's kind of like this blank canvas where you can use it for so many different applications you know all Scripture has only one interpretation but sometimes there's many different applications that we can use and what I want us to do is we look at the story of the prodigal son and it's too big I'm not going to put on the screen so I need you to turn to Luke Chapter fifteen but what I want to do is I want to read this through the lens of the two paths that we just talked about that there was a fence is taking place and if someone took the offense and ran with it in savings down things path it's going to destroy relationships but if they go down God's path is going to soften their heart and so as we read through this story I want you to read in this sermon into the story of the Prodigal Son So let's begin Luke Chapter fifteen beginning in verse eleven.

Story goes like this and he said there was a man who had two sons and the younger of them said to his father Father give me the share of property that is coming to me and he divided his property between them and when you read this you have to ask yourself the question you know what happened here what happened to make the Son The younger son do such a horrible thing to his father basically by telling your father that you want the inheritance your sensually saying I wish that you were dead. Said because that's when you get your inheritance and so what caused the son to do that what was it between their relationship and of course it doesn't tell us because that means that we can kind of apply to our own life I wonder if he was just just a useful fool just an absolute fool or maybe he was just outright selfish but maybe in a situation like this and I know this happens in life maybe the younger son was offended by something that the father or the older brother did I maybe the younger son got to the point in his life where he said you know what my father is never going to give me the respect or the attention that I deserve and because he's not giving me what I think that I need I'm offended and I'm going to fill my life with anger and bitterness and I'm going to tell my dad I want the relationship to be done. That happens in the world all the time doesn't it we don't know what happened in the story of course but maybe something like that happened and so this is the path that the younger son went down thirteen

now many days later the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country and there he squandered his property in a reckless living and when he had spent everything a severe famine arose in that country and he began to be in need so he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country who sent him into the field to feed pigs and he was alone he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate and no one gave him anything in verse seventeen this is I think one of the best lines in this entire parable it says but when he came to him self for those of you reading in the N.I.V. I love how the end of you says but when he came to his senses remember what second time of the two twenty six said but when he came to his senses when he came to a self he said how many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread but I perish with hunger I will arise and go to my father and I will say to him Father I have sinned against heaven and before you I am no longer worthy to be called your son treat me as one of your hired servants and so this young man and he learned the lesson in his adversity God refined him in this difficult time in his life where he took the anger in the bitterness and removed it from his heart his heart was now soft and he said I want to fix things with my dad he was going down the path of Satan now he's going down the path of God and then the story is there any one person who has the right to be offended from a human standpoint absolutely it was the father the young boy did something that was the extremely offensive to his father he basically said Dad I wish you were dead. And the father had two choices he could take that offense and he could nurse it and he could add into it bitterness and resentment and anger but instead he didn't take the bait and allow God to remove that from his heart and he was ready and willing to accept his son verse twenty it says and he arose and he came to his father but while he was still a long way off his father saw him and felt compassion and ran and embraced him and kissed him and the son said to him Father I have sinned against heaven and before you I am no longer worthy to be called your son but the father said to a servant Quick bring the best robe put it on him and put a ring on his hand and shoes on his feet and bring the fatted calf and kill it and let us eat and celebrate for the son was dead and is alive again he was lost and is found and they began to celebrate and if that was it for the story would say great how wonderful and how they live happily ever after but just imagine what would have happened in this relationship if either of them would have held on to their offense they would not have had the relationship that they have right now but as we read the story Guess what there is another person in the story and we find out that he is the one who took the greatest offense and it's the older brother he took offense at watching his father be gracious to his younger brother he was offended they did his father gave grace instead of punishment.

I think a lot of Christians are offended when we see God giving grace to people who don't deserve it it's kind of hypocritical has it but sometimes we're even offended because of that look at verse twenty six twenty five. Now his older son was in the field and as he came and drew near to the house he heard music and dancing and he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant and he said to him Your brother is come home when your father is killed the fatted calf because he was received he received him back safe and sound Oh here is the bait What did the older brother do but he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him but he answered his father look these many years I have served you and I never disobeyed your command and yet you never gave me a young go that I might celebrate with my friends but when this son of yours came quiz devoured your property with. Devoured your property with prostitutes you killed the fatted calf for him and he said to him Son you were always with me and all that is mine is yours it was fitting to celebrate and be glad for this is your brother this brother of yours was dead and is alive he was lost and is found and what happens after this we'll never know.

And I like how we were just kind of left hanging and the thing that I love about this parable more than anything else is I think at different times in all of our lives we are one of these three people sometimes we're the prodigal or we take the bait we take the temptation we say there's something else out there that's better and when we run off and hopefully we come to our senses then God refines us and he removes all the impurities from our heart and we come back to go out and sometimes we're the father where we are offended and yet we say I'm not going down that path and hopefully will see it if we are the older brother where we're offended at God's grace being given to people who deserve punishment but we Christians can really get offended over that can't we and so different times in our life we can identify with all of these but the thing is if we hold an offense it's going to destroy relationships if we see the bait and this is what I the point I hope all of us are getting from this if we see the big that Satan is presenting to us for what it is and what it will do and instead we let God refine us then we open ourselves up for the potential of restoration and having stronger relationships do you think the son the younger son and his father's relationship was stronger now than it was before obviously I think I think that it was. You know whenever we are offended and especially specifically by someone who's close to us I know we get offended by the world around us but you know you might get offended by what somebody posts on Facebook and you don't really know them or you're someone someone says something on the media but when we're offended by someone who's really close to us that we actually have a good relationship with just remember there are two ways that your relationship can go there are two paths that you can take and the first is if you allow that offense to build in your heart and growing your heart you are literally at risk of being captured by Satan to do His will. And as shocking as that statement is it's true it's Biblical and so the next time you see yourself starting to get offended realize that Satan is there hoping that you take the bait or the next thing that we can do is allow God to remove the anger and to remove the bitterness and to keep our heart pure and soft like Christ

unfortunately sometimes we don't realize a situation that we're in until we're in it was Oh I realize what's really going on but hopefully by studying Satan's tricks before hand we will be do a much better job seen them for what they are so let's stand our ground against Satan and let's let God do His work in our lives instead let's pray Dear Lord I thank you so much for for giving us this warning about this tactic of Satan how he wants us to get offended and as soon as we're offended something can happen except off a chain reaction what Satan wants for us to happen is for us to be filled with anger ness and bitterness and really be captured by him to do His will but Lord you reveal this to us in your holy word so that we don't go down that path instead Lord in those moments it's our opportunity to come to you and and to forgive and to give our hearts over due and let you remove the anger Nissin the bitterness within our hearts soft and pliable and moldable as a father my prayer request this morning is for all of us to see this take place in our lives when it's happening and to make that choice to go down the path that you want for us the path of transformation the Lord I also pray that if there's anyone here today who has been caught up in some some situation where they have been offended I hope that today might be the day where they come to their senses when they realize what's taking place that satan is trying to destroy the relationships that they have and you are trying to heal and forgive them so father if there's anyone here who has been blinded by their own anger or bitterness Lord help them come to their senses and to do would you want them to do and that is to seek forgiveness and to open their heart to use of that you can transform them or to pray that for all of us from the state Ford and Chrysler we pray you Matt.

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