Hello dear friends.
Last night our pastor preached a really good message and I wanted to share it with all of you. Here are the notes from his sermon. (I added my thoughts at the end. :)
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 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;
The writer was thinking, perhaps, of the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 29:18 "...lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;" Gall was a bitter plant and used as opium and worm wood was a poisonous plant. If there's even been a root that is both poisonous and dangerous at the same time, it's the root of bitterness.
You can either follow peace with all men, as vs. 14 says, or you can follow bitterness with all men.
Bitterness is a condition of the heart. It's an emotion that is a very common theme in the Word of God. Everyone is human and everyone has a human heart. The heart is pictured as the soil so anything can grow out of it.
Roots can grow anywhere. Every single person has the potential of letting bitterness take root in your heart. It's possible for a child of God to run his race well with a good spirit until the last lap. And then, because of what someone did or said, they finish their race with bitterness and trouble. Look diligently, friends, because roots can grow anywhere.
Roots grow underground, under the surface. Bitterness is the root-not a branch, or trunk, or fruit that people see. It infests itself deep and if we let the root grow, it will do much damage. Usually, it is the result of a little small offence that takes root and destroys through bitterness. It's not the magnitude of the offence that makes us bitter. It's the closeness to us, and that speaks of pride. Pride is the mother of bitterness. Bitterness doesn't take root in us if someone else is hurt by a huge thing. Bitterness takes root in us if we are hurt by a little thing. It's subtle, and it's pride, so don't let it grow.
Bitterness affects everything. It brings in all kind of pain and problems. Bitterness is the poison that you drink hoping the other person will die.
Romans 3:13-14 says "Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:"
Someone said "the fruit of bitterness is like acid that destroys its container." It leaks out and defiles other people.
How do you get rid of bitterness, you may ask?
Let God reveal it.
Let grace remove it.
Let good replace it.
Verse 15... Looking diligently....let God reveal it.
Verse 15... lest any man fail of the grace of God...let grace remove it.
Verse 14...follow peace with all men...let good replace it.
There are basically 2 ways the world says how to handle bitterness.
1. Keep it in. Learn to own it and channel it.
2. Let it out. Go to that person that offended you and spue it all out.
God's way is to get it out when it's a root and give it to God.
The single largest offence ever committed was the cross. And the One who was the closest to the biggest offence ever committed, answered it with the words Father forgive them. Wow!
Only the grace and power of God can change a person on the inside, and remove the root of bitterness. If you're thinking, "you don't know what this person said to me or did to me." I know what they did and said to Jesus, but He still forgave them. Christ was never bitter and He is our great example.
The bitter heart eats its owner, so don't let bitterness take root in your heart.
1 Corinthians 13 is all about what true love, God's love, really is. Love suffers long, is not puffed up, is not easily provoked, doesn't think any evil, doesn't rejoice in iniquity, it endures all things. And love covers a multitude of sins, so if you are bitter against someone, you really don't have God's love in your heart. Jesus forgave and loved the cruel people who put him on the cross, and He forgives and loves you, even though we've all sinned and aren't deserving of His forgiveness and love. We offended Christ with our sin much more than anyone will ever offend you, and He forgave, so why can't you have the love of Christ in your heart and forgive? Get rid of the bitterness in your heart and replace it with kindness, goodness, and love.
Hope you all liked this post, and I hope each one of you has a joy filled week in Christ.
Your sister in the Lord,