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Faith Under Fire Part One

Good Morning Everyone!

Is any one feeling a bit warm in here today?

Well, things are going to heat up with our new sermon series...
Faith Under Fire!

In His parable in Matthew 18, Jesus emphasizes consequences of unforgiveness:

Talent = 75lbs, 10,000 talents = 375 tons, gold (today) = $375/oz, one servant owned $4.5 billion!

Denarius = labourers daily wage, 100 denari = 100 x $40 (today), other servant owed $4000.

One servant owed one-third of a year's wage; the other owed more than he could earn in a lifetime.

The unforgiving servant was turned over to tortures, experiencing pain of body and mind, and had to pay the original impossible debt, forfeiting salvation. Jesus said the same happens to believers!

"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
Matthew 6:14-15

Faith Under Fire..The life of Joseph
"You meant if for evil"

"Then they said to one another, "Look, this dreamer is coming! Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, 'Some wild beast has devoured him.' We shall see what will become of his dreams!"
Genesis 37:19-20

JOSEPH'S STORY: He did nothing wrong, but was persecuted and hated by his own brothers to the point that they sold him into slavery!

The Bible teaches us that believers will have various kinds of problems here on earth, even though they've done nothing to deserve it. Can I get a witness on that?

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

Now some of these trials will be regular problems that are common to the whole human family.

"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."
Matthew 5:45

And other problems are specific are specific to Christians, attacks sent form the enemy to discourage us!

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
1 Peter 5:8

But, I'm sure most of us would agree, the problems that we find, most difficult, hardest to understand, cope with, and overcome are problems that have to do with our own BRETHREN!
Isn't that true?

"For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;
Then i could bear it.
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me.
Then I could hide from him,
But it was you, a man my equal.
My companion and my acquaintance.
We took sweet counsel together,
and walked to the house of God in the throng."
Psalms 55:12-14

The Bible calls this type of problem an OFFENSE. The Greek word "skandalon" means a "stumbling black", "something that causes one to fail", "something contrary to expectations that brings disappointment", or "the trigger of a trap."

An OFFENSE is like the bait in a trap and it is pretty harmless unless we feed on it.
But it is deadly when it is consumed!
It is a fact of human nature that the close the relationship, the more severe the offense, the most vicious legal cases like divorce. That is why problems among brethren can be so severe!

"Then He said to the disciples, "It is impossible that no offense should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!"
Luke 17:1

Jesus said it is IMPOSSIBLE to live in this life and now have the opportunity to be offended! The question is not "Will you encounter this trap?" but "How will you respond to it?"

One of the signs of the end time is that man will be offended!

"And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will have one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the lows of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved."
Matthew 24:10-13

Notice that Jesus warns of false prophets immediately after His prophecy of many being offended. He called false prophets "wolves" in Matthew 7:15 because they prey on wounded and young sheep, not strong and healthy ones. False prophets tell people what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. Offended people are easy prey!

Strong cities of ancient times had WALLS round them as their assurance protection. They kept unwelcome inhabitant and invaders out; all entrants were screened. Those owing taxes were not allowed in until they paid. Those considered a threat to the city's health of safety were kept out.

"A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city,
And contentions are like the bars of a castle."
Proverbs 18:19

We hear a lot of talk today about building walls..
Now, I don't want to get into politics here..
We all have our opinions about THAT topic..
That's not the kind I'm speaking of here however..

But we tend to construct walls when we are hurt to safeguard our hearts and prevent any future wounds.
We become selective, denying entry to all we fear will hurt us. We filter out anyone we think owes us something. We withhold access until these people have paid their debts in full.

EVENTUALLY, OUR WALLS OF PROTECTION BECOME A PRISON.
And isn't that true?

At that point, we are not only cautious about who comes in, but so in terror of future injuries that we cannot venture outside our fortress.
And if left unchecked. offenses will turn into bitterness.

"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

If roots are nursed, watered, protected, fed and given attention, they increase in depth and strength.
If not dealt with quickly, roots are hard to pull up.
As the offense continues to grow, many people are affected, even corrupted.
Francis Frangipane said: "Bitterness is unfulfilled revenge."

JUST IMAGINE HOW DIFFERENT JOSEPH'S STORY WOULD HAVE BEEN IF HE HAD YIELDED TO THE SIN OF OFFENSE!
But Joseph refused to let someone else's sin affect his relationship with God!
Joseph lost all his INHERITANCE and FREEDOM, but still had the right to choose his RESPONSE. He choose to FORGIVE!
If Joseph had been offended, he would have killed his brothers later-when he could have REHEARSED his offense, he choose to REVERSE it!

Joseph's perspective:
"But as for you. you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive."
Genesis 50:20

Joseph let God settle the balances, instead of trying to do it himself!

During his trials, Joseph could not see that his offenses were preparing him to rule and would result in his family's salvation!
If Joseph had yielded to bitterness and killed his brothers, we would not be saved! (Judah was the ancestor or Jesus Christ!)

FORGIVENESS is the only cure for an OFFENSE
Say that with me:
FORGIVENESS is the only cure for an OFFENSE

When we forgive, we release the power of God to bring good out of a bad situation!

"And we know that all things work together for good in those who love God, to those who ate the called according to His purpose."
Romans 8:28

The problem with today's society is we often want, no, we seem to NEED to assign blame!
"If it weren't for _____, then I _____. My problems, my disappointments all their fault!"

How many of you have thought or said this very thing?
....Today?
(laughter)
I think we can agree we have all felt that way at some point in our lives...

The bottomline:

But absolutely no man or devil or demon, can get you out of the will of God!
Only you can thwart the will of God in your life - By becoming offended!

God has given us a mind, the free will to choose..
The question is..
What are YOU going to choose?

And now may the the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.


Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Amen

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Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries

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