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SERMON DATE AND TITLE: 20190908 THE ROOT OF BITTERNESS

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       Senior Pastor Phil Roland

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              Pastor Ray Scott

 

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THE ROOT OF BITTERNESS
SERMON STARTER
          I have a new type of dandelion on my lawns this year. It grows a yellow flower with a single stem that bloom about 3 to 4 inches from it's roots. I've tried everything, but poison to destroy them. Poison kills insects, other plants and animals. I have tried to use a sharp pocket knife and cut the tap root about 3/4 of an inch beneath the surface. Now THAT works, but it's tedious and difficult to do. If you just mow down the flowers they just keep coming back each time with more plants. Plants with deep tap roots are difficult to eradicate.
          So where does a bitter root begin to form in the human heart? John and Paula Sanford refer to them as "Bitter Root Judgments." As an infant we learn through a series of Inner Vows how to avoid behaviors that cause pain. "Touching hot stoves is painful, won't do that again."  That vow/resolution protects the child from further injury. When, however, the vow is made against people, that becomes more complicated. For example a person wrongs you, causing an injustice. If you make a judgment against the perpetrator of your injustice it can form a bitter root.
          Where does the bitter root start in the human heart? For me it started with my immature, impulsive, risk-taking alcohol abusive father. It starts with injury, being victimized, inner vows, judgments and resolutions against those who caused the injury. From there it progresses to deep seated, unresolved hostility and pain. It hardens in the human heart into hatred and solidifies into bitterness. This becomes a growing bitter root. It is something that chokes our soul. It destroys our humanity and the humanity of those around us. It reduces us to calloused, indifferent, self-centered people whose only interest in life is our own selfish desires and wishes.
My sermon this morning is about the Root of bitterness.
 
Pastor Phil  <><<
         

 September 08, 2019 - Sheepfold Ministries

Pastor Phil Roland

 

THE ROOT OF BITTERNESS
ACTS 8:14-25

"Bitterness is the greatest polluter of the human soul. It can grow in the mind of the hater until it kills all joy, peace and pleasure in their lives. Bitterness starts in the mind through some perceived injustice and grows a bitter root in the heart. Avoid the luxury of bitterness at all cost." 
                                                                                Pastor Phil Roland   <><<   

14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;  Hebrews 12:14-15

"In those days they shall say no more: 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children's teeth are set on edge.'  "But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge. Jeremiah 31,29,30

I. BITTERNESS IS THE POISON OF THE SOUL – Jere. 31:29,30    
"In those days they shall say no more: 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children's teeth are set on edge.'  "But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.”
          A. Bitterness comes from unhealed hurts and wounds
                    1. Pain from Parent/Child Relationship
                    2. Pain from the Husband/Wife Relationship
                    3. The Deepest Hurts Come from Those Closest to Us
          B. Bitterness Pollutes the Entire Christian
                    1. Evident in a person's SPEECH
                    2. Evident in a person's ACTIONS
                    3. Evident in a person's ATTITUDES
C. Bitterness Pollutes Others
                    1. Bitterness is Contagious
                    2. Easy to react to it, but it allows others to chose how I act
          D. Bitterness Builds Walls of Isolation
                    1. Fear of Further Hurt or Pain
                    2. Fear and Distrust of People
                    3. Fear of Inner Hurts and Weaknesses Being Exposed
                    4. Loneliness
          E. Bitterness always Results in Broken Relationships
                    1. Repeated Flight and Withdrawal Patterns of Interpersonal                              Relationships
2. Critical, Judgmental Attitudes toward Others
THE ROOT OF BITTERNESS, cont., p.2

II. BITTERNESS: THE DAMAGE OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS
          A. Broken Relationships cause us to be Blinded - 1John 2:9-12
"But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in                       the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the
            darkness has blinded him." 1 John 2:11
1. We become Blinded to Acting Wisely
                    2. We become Blinded to Seeing Ourselves
                    3. We become Blinded to Seeing Others as They Really Are
          B. Broken Relationships Cause Insensitivity
                    1. Life Becomes Self-Centered
                    2. There is no regard to the Needs of Others
          C. Broken Relationships cause Immaturity
1. Emotional Growth stops at the Time of Injury
                        (Arrested Development)
                    2. Emotional Growth resumes as Healing / Release comes

III. THE DESTRUCTION OF BITTERNESS
18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit."

          A. The Progress of Bitterness
1. Resentment becomes Blame
                    2. Blame becomes Hatred
                    3. Hatred hardens into Bitterness
          B. Simon doesn't believe in spiritual things
                    1. Simon loves money, it gives him a false sense of power
                    2. He has dismissed there is a powerful unseen God
                    3. Sees people and the world as buying and selling
                    4. Earlier in life Simon learned from his father, loss and                                           disappointment
                    5. Are the children's sins passed on to their children?
                    6. Only if the children choose to remain in their father's sins
                    7. Only Jesus can sweeten the bitterness of the rebellious,                                      bitter human heart.
          C. Simon became a Watcher / Observer of Christianity
                    1. Waiting for Empirical, Observable proof of Christianity
                    2. Churches are filled with Watchers
                    3. Like little w/noses pressed against the candy store glass
                    4. Would like the freedom the observe, but unwilling to let go
                    5. Holding onto their shells of protective hardness         
                    6. Reducing human existence to money: buying and selling

IV. JESUS CHRIST CUTS THE ROOT OF BITTERNESS - Matt. 3:10
10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.    

THE ROOT OF BITTERNESS, cont., p.3

          A. Receiving Jesus into your heart is the beginning - Rom. 10:8-10
               8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in           your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you           confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart           that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with           the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth           confession is made unto salvation.
                    1. This begins a life-long relationship with Jesus
                    2. Discipleship is a life-long learning relationship w/Jesus
          B. Take up your Cross daily as you follow Him - Luke 9:23
                    23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him
            deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
                    1. Taking up your Cross involves Self-Denial
                    2. Taking up your Cross involves Obedience - John 15:14
                                        14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
          C. Cutting the Taproot of Bitterness - Matt. 5:43-45
          43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate
            your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse
            you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use
            you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven;
            for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on
            the just and on the unjust.
1. Obey Jesus' Command to Forgive
                    2. Not and option. . .Not a Divine suggestion
3. Battlefield Command, Gr. tense Active Imperative Indicative
                    4. We choose to Obeying Our Commander-In-Chief
                    5. We forgive those who cause offenses
          D. Laying the Axe to the Root of Bitterness is a Process
                    1. Love, Bless, Do Good, Pray for injustice
                    2. Release others from God's Wrath and Judgment

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THE ROOT OF BITTERNESS, Text:
Acts 8:14-25
14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,
15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,
19 saying, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit."
20 But Peter said to him, "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!
21 You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.
22 Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.
23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity."
24 Then Simon answered and said, "Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me."
25 So when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

 

THE FENCE

          Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch.
          Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.
          One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox.
"I'm looking for a few days work" he said.
"Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with?  Could I help you?"
"Yes,"
said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor, in fact, it's my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll go him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence - - a 8-foot fence -- so I won't need to see his place or his face anymore."
The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you."
          The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing.
About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished His job.
          The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge -- a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work handrails and all -- and the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched.
"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done."
          The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist His toolbox on his shoulder.
"No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother.
"I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but, I have many more bridges to build."

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The Root of Bitterness
Bitterness blows out the candle of joy and leaves the soul in darkness. Here is what God's Word has to say about bitterness:

 

Hebrews 12:14-15 (NKJV)
14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;

 

 

 

THE BRUISE OF BITTERNESS
"Bitterness is the greatest tool at the enemy's disposal.  With bitterness satan can divide and destroy Christians, families, churches and even communities."                       Pastor Phil Roland
"See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."                                                  Heb. 12:15; Ex. 15:22-27
I. BITTERNESS IS THE POISON OF THE SOUL
          A. Bitterness comes from unhealed hurts and wounds
                    1. Pain from Parent/Child Relationship
                    2. Pain from the Husband/Wife Relationship
                    3. The Deepest Hurts Come from those Closest to us
          B. Bitterness Pollutes the Entire Christian
                    1. Evident in a person's SPEECH
                    2. Evident in a person's ACTIONS
                    3. Evident in a person's ATTITUDES
C. Bitterness Pollutes Others
          D. Bitterness Builds Walls of Isolation
                    1. Fear of Further Hurt or Pain
                    2. Fear and Distrust of People
                    3. Fear of Inner Hurts and Weaknesses Being Exposed
                    4. Loneliness
          E. Bitterness always Results in Broken Relationships
                    1. Repeated Flight and Withdrawal Patterns of Interpersonal                               Relationships
2. Critical, Judgmental Attitudes Toward Others
II. BITTERNESS - The Damage of BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS
          A. Broken Relationships cause us to Be Blinded
                    I John 2:9-12
                    "But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in                     the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness                has blinded him." 2:11
1. We become Blinded to Acting Wisely
                    2. We become Blinded to Seeing Ourselves
                    3. We become Blinded to Seeing Others as They Really Are
          B. Broken Relationships Cause Insensitivity
                    1. Life Becomes Self-Centered
                    2. There is no regard to the Needs of Others
THE BRUISE OF BITTERNESS, Cont., p.2
          C. Broken Relationships cause Immaturity
1. Emotional Growth stops at the Time of Injury
                        (Arrested Development)
                    2. Emotional Growth resumes when Healing and Release come
III. THE DESTRUCTION OF UNFORGIVENESS
          A. The Progress of Bitterness
1. Resentment becomes bitterness
                    2. Blame becomes hatred
                    3. Deception becomes perversion
          B. Moses and Israel at the Waters of Marah
          Exodus 15:22-27
                    1. It wasn't just the waters of Marah that were bitter
                              a. The people murmered against Moses - v.24
                              b. Moses cast a tree into the water - v. 25
                              c. The Tree sweetened the water
                              d. Only the Tree of Calvary can sweeten the bitter water                                     of the rebellious, bitter human heart.
                    2. Moses gives us a remedy for Bitterness - v. 26
                      "He said, "If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and                  do  what  is  right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and                   keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought                on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you."  Ex. 15:26
3. Jesus has a remedy for Human Bitterness
                              a. His Cross
                              b. John 20:21-23
"Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
"And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."