Dropping the Weight That's Been Holding You Back
Part 4 – Bondage of Bitterness
October 3, 2021 • Whit Lewis, Senior Pastor • Luke 23:32–34
The text for today's message is Luke 23:32-34 We are in a preaching series titled “Baggage, letting go of what’s weighing you down.” As we live this thing called life, we collect some baggage along the way. Normally, we don’t intend to, but due to life experiences like unfulfilled expectations, untreated pain, unresolved yesterdays, unhealthy view of self, unrepented sin the baggage weight really begins to overwhelm each one of us. What weight are you carrying today that's weighing you down? There are two problems that do great psychological, emotional, and spiritual damage to anyone, and perhaps to you: One is guilt, and the other is bitterness. • Guilt imprisons us • Bitterness poisons us • Guilt is the result of something we have done wrong • Bitterness is our reaction to someone else’s wrong or our perception that someone else has wronged us When you think about what happened to Jesus on the final days of His life – Jesus had every right to be bitter. • Falsely accused • Cursed by men less than Him • Betrayed by one of his closest associates • Abandoned by his friends • Punished for a crime he didn’t commit • Ridiculed by those he came to save • Physically tortured and abused • Reputation was slandered • Misunderstood • Publicly humiliated God's Word speaks to... • The Power of Bitterness • Hebrews 12:15, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it, many be defiled.” • Ephesians 4:30-31, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” •The Problem of Bitterness Someone has said that Bitterness is an attitude virus: • Eating up hope, trust, joy, & gladness • Bitterness has the ability to change the way we see life. •The Prescription for Bitterness What forgiveness isn't... • First, Forgiveness isn’t a Feeling • Second, Forgiveness isn’t Forgetting "Forgiving is an active process involving a conscious choice and a deliberate course of action." • Finally, Forgiveness isn’t Excusing Forgiveness says, “What you did was wrong. It was without excuse. Since God has forgiven me, I forgive you.” What Forgiveness is... Forgiveness is an intentional decision not to hold an offense against the offender. Forgiveness is a releasing. “Unforgiveness is the poison we drink, hoping others will die.” Your Response: In order for you and I to forgive we have to REFOCUS our FOCUS o Bitterness - focuses on your hurt, the one who has done you wrong o Forgiveness - focuses on the cross, the pain of Jesus, his work on the cross Personal Prayer: Lord, because you’ve forgiven me, I choose to forgive __________ for ______________. I’m dropping this baggage and releasing the pain I have allowed bitterness to have in my life because of my attitude towards ____________.
Part 1 - "Free From Me"
September 12, 2021 • Whit Lewis • Romans 8
What is the greatest problem in your life right now? What if I told you the greatest problem in your life right now is actually you? You are your greatest problem. If you are a follower of Jesus you have two natures, flesh, and spirit. Your flesh nature wants to do what's fun, what's convenient, and not necessarily the right thing or the best thing. Many of the things your flesh nature wants to do are actually self-destructive to you. You know for certain there are things that would be good for you, healthy for you, and yet you don't do them. You know that there are relationships that aren't good for you, choices that mess up your life, and yet you do them anyway. Listen, you are not alone in this. See Romans 7:14-24 In this passage, Paul lays out the story of me and you. If you were actually able to practice all the right things you know to do, we’d be a lot more content in life. Yet, it’s not just knowing it. It’s getting yourself to do it. There’s this battle because we have a natural resistance inside of us that wants to do what’s easy, what’s convenient, what’s quick. Rather than what’s right and what’s best. Today's message launches a new series called BAGGAGE: Dropping the Weight That's Been Holding You Back. We will look at the weights of broken relationships, past regrets, financial discord, depression, and shame. In today's message, we will address our greatest issue — ME. How Can I Break Free from Me? • Recall Daily God's Work, Not Mine (Romans 8:1-4) The starting point is remembering daily what Jesus did for you. So many who are saved don't act like it. They run around all the time filled with shame and uncontrolled thoughts, compulsions, fear, bitterness, and insecurity. They're believers but they're not set free from "me" (themselves). Remind yourself of what Jesus actually did for you! This is how the Holy Spirit sets me free from shame. • Reset my mindset (Romans 8:5-8) There are two mindsets: The mindset of your old nature and the mindset of the Holy Spirit. You have to choose between these two mindsets. Are you going to set my mind on the way I normally think about my life, or am I going to set my mind on the way God thinks about my life. You choose what you focus on. The temptations from Satan are constant, arent they? The good news is that as a believer you have a helper, the Holy Spirit. Invite the Lord to guard and guide your mind, to help refocus your focus. • Recognize God's Presence In Your Life (Romans 8:9-16) With God's presence in your life, you have a much greater force than willpower. Willpower wears out. It's not enough. But with the Spirit in your life, you have the power of God's presence with you. Call out to your Father, "God, I need you!" (Romans 8:16) •Rely on God's Resources (Romans 8:26-32) Notice three truths: • Vv. 26-27. The Holy Spirit is praying for me. That helps me because, no matter what I'm going through, I know God's on my side. • V.28. God is using everything in my life for good. It's not all good but he's using it all for good. God is greater than my problems. God is greater than my enemies. God is greater than my critics. And God is using it all for good in my life. • V.32. If God loved you enough to send His son, Jesus, to die on the cross for you, don't you think He's concerned with your debt? Don't you think he cares enough to help you with your health? • Rejoice and Rest That God Will Never Leave Me (Romans 8:28-29) Once you're in God's hand he's not letting go of you. You may want to let go but he's not letting go of you. Not because of your conduct, but because of His character. Question: Do you belong to Christ? None of these things can be true in your life unless you belong to Christ. Do you have the Holy Spirit in your life? Let's make certain of that right now. Would you take a moment to look back over these notes? Say this in your heart, "Jesus, thank you for all you’ve done for me. Thank you that there’s no condemnation in my life for all the sin that I’ve done. You took that condemnation. Thank you that you destroyed sin’s control. Help me to never forget what you did for me. When I feel ashamed let me remember what you did on the cross for me. Holy Spirit, I ask you to reset my mindset. I don’t want the mindset of self-destruction. I want the mindset of life and peace. Thank you that no temptation is too strong. When I am afraid help me to turn my thoughts to you. Help me to remember that I’m your child and help me, to cry out to you Father. Daddy! I’m afraid. To focus on my Father and not my fears. When I start to get bitter and I feel life is unfair, and when I feel hurt, help me to remember that you, God, are good and you’re in control. That you are praying for me. Thank you for doing that; that you are working all things for good. Thank you for doing that; that you are for me not against me. Thank you for that. And that you didn’t spare Jesus so you’ll give us whatever we need. Thank you for that. Most of all I thank you that you will never let go of me. You’ll never stop loving me. You’ll never reject me. Thank you that I cannot lose my salvation no matter what else I lose on this planet. That you will never stop loving me." If you’ve never surrendered your life to Jesus Christ, I invite you to call out to Him. Say, Jesus, "I want you to be my Lord, my Savior. I want you to be the Lord of my life. I repent of my sin and trust you to forgive my sinfulness. I don’t understand it all but I want to trust in you completely. Thank you for your grace to me. I want to love you for the rest of my life and I ask you to accept me into your family by faith. In your name, I pray, Amen."