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09(1Sam 09) Facing the Truth

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Howard Hughes – started well. Ending poorly.

But that does not even compare to watching someone disintegrate spiritually and literally come apart and decay. Once they were passionate. Once they were pursuing God, and their quest was for God’s best. Their heart was fully, powerfully, profoundly towards him. But almost without notice, the downward slide begins. It starts with a few degrees of coldness initially. You don’t see anything changed on the outside. But this slide, over a period of time, becomes irreversible. One of the hardest things in pastoring is to watch that. I’ve seen people in the congregation love God, hear the truth, love each other, and just slide and fly right apart. You read through Scripture, and you discover it’s not unusual.

That’s why Paul says what he does to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2.

I.       Saul started well (1 Samuel 9:21).

A.     People miss how wonderful Saul was at first – Humble (9:21).

B.     He was compassionate – after victory (11:13).

§  Did not destroy those who opposed him earlier.

C.     He was a warrior – victory at Jabesh Gilead.

D.     He reigns 42 years.

§  Begins at age 30.

§  By end he is a pathetic shell of the man he started out to be.

§  Tormented by depression, driven by jealousy.

§  Lost the respect of his people – his children were alienated from him.

E.      How did that happen?

§  Saul did not start out to become a wicked man.

§  He drifted into one step at a time.

§  His problem was twofold:

·         He would not face the truth about his own brokenness.

·         He mistook religion for obedience.

II.    We must face our brokenness (1 Samuel 13:7-13).

F.      We all struggle with brokenness.

§  Theological truth: people are weird.

§  Otherwise Christ would not have died for all mankind.

G.     Difference between Saul and David.

§  David faced his brokenness – Saul never would.

§  See that in chapter 13. Saul headed to another battle.

H.     Turning point in Saul’s life: learns to tolerate subtle disobedience.

§  Distorts the truth to make himself feel good.

§  He redefines obedience.

§  Turns God into a lucky rabbit’s foot.

III. Samuel’s great gift to Saul.

A.     He confronted him and exposed his heart.

§  Some of us don’t like confrontation.

§  Because instead of being confronted ourselves, we have been attacked.

§  Hit by someone who wanted to be right and we had to be wrong.

§  We need confrontation.

B.     Confrontation is about moving to a better understanding.

§  In confrontation, we listen more than we speak.

§  We desire to understand their situation, not just to jump in and pronounce judgment.

C.     Confrontation is about deepening our relationship.

§  We are not to embarrass, belittle, or tear down.

§  We are not trying to get someone to agree with us.

§  We confront because our commitment is to help others reach their potential, their calling, their full stature in Christ.

§  Samuel is on Saul’s side.

§  If the purpose of our confrontation is to express our frustration, we have got a big problem.

D.     Saul would not face his brokenness, so his slide continued into a freefall.

IV.  The need is to repent, not medicate.

A.     This is Saul’s other great failure.

§  He sought religion as a means of medication, justification. (15:22-23).

§  He had made the proper motions before the battle with the Philistines.

§  He now is exposed for believing that religious motion is what God desired.

B.     God desires repentance, a contrite heart.

§  Pews are visited every Sunday by those wanting to see if a renewed attendance in church will appease God.

§  God desires obedience.

§  Every Sunday offering plates receive guilt money – God desires for us to heed his Word.

V.     Conclusion

A.     Will you face the truth today about the brokenness of your life?

§  It may not be a major sin – but a subtle disobedience.

§  Just remember that the road to destruction is paved by small moments of disobedience.

B.     Will you face the truth about your need for repentance and not religion?

§  It is good that you are here – it is a sign of obedience.

§  But it is not a good luck charm that will ward off bad luck for the coming week.

§  The very thing you need today is a contrite heart – to repent, change an attitude, a behavior.

§  Don’t medicate your condition by religious activity – resolve it by submission to God.

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