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Alêtheia Christian Fellowship        (Sermon 54, 01-23-05)


Last week we discovered that open rebellion, which always leads to failure always starts with dissatisfaction.

Now, I have a body of material that I want to share. As I worked on the sermon through the week, I was urged in another direction. No, I have talked about that before, o.k. I’ll make an announcement, Yes, I can make it one of my main points, alright, I’ll have a two-topic sermon. Guess what, we’re not going to discuss what I want to discuss. If you don’t like the message this morning, don’t blame me, it’s not my church, I just work here.

My dad used to irritate me to distraction with his Shangri la, upbeat, optimism. He truly looks at everything through rose-colored glasses and it used to upset me big-time. Dad, don’t you see how lousy this is? Things could be a lot worse, he’d say. You see my dad wasn’t blind to the difficulties; he just wasn’t going to allow external problems ruin his life. Part of it is because he’s seen real hardship. Growing up during the Great Depression and then throwing himself, along with his entire generation, into a global war in which we slaughtered more than 50 million people. Maybe a leaky faucet isn’t such a big deal.

There are people who have experienced hardship who are pessimistic and so the main reason he maintains an optimistic outlook is that he chooses to, period.

We’ve talked about it a lot and he believes it is a better way to go through life. My natural tendency is the opposite. I like to say I’m neither a pessimist nor an optimist I’m a realist, but that’s just a rationalization for being pessimistic.

Dad, says the glass is half-full, I say it is half-empty, my mom says you need a coaster and my brother says the glass is too big.

I’ve told Dad if I’m pessimistic about something and am right I’m already mentally prepared for that outcome, but if I’m wrong I’m pleasantly surprised. He is right when he tells me in the meantime you are unhappy.

Ronald Reagan told a story about twin boys, one an optimist and the other a pessimist. Their parents wanted them to be realists and so the locked each boy up in a separate room, the pessimist in a room full of toys and the optimist in a room full of horse manure. Later, the parents checked on the boys; the pessimist was still standing in the middle of the room afraid to play for fear he would break a toy and get into trouble, the optimist was whistling as he happily shoveled the manure aside, sure that there must be a pony in there someplace.

Let me tell you the Truth. Surveys and scientific studies prove that pessimists have a more accurate view of reality. That accuracy includes the status of relationships. Because pessimists more accurately asses the feelings of others toward them they far more quickly give up on relationships. Optimists may erroneously think people like them better than they do, but for that very reason, they hang on to the relationship, weather the storm, and are still in the relationship on the other side.

My point is we fail because we become dissatisfied. Dissatisfaction is the direct result of our perspective. That is the way we view things. You may say I’m not dissatisfied with God because I have the right perspective, well let’s see.

Dissatisfaction with anything in this world causes unhappiness that is inappropriate for a Christian who believes God is in control and He knows what He’s doing.

Our dissatisfaction with life is really dissatisfaction with God, ultimately.

As an example, if you look at me, eventually you will become dissatisfied with the way I do something. I guarantee you will become more and more irritated with the way I do or fail to do certain things. This dissatisfaction with my behavior will translate into dissatisfaction with me as a person, which will inevitably lead to distrust, then dislike, then disassociation. Open rebellion against me, which isn’t such a big deal because who am I?

It is actually open rebellion against God. I’m not saying to leave this Fellowship or me as a pastor or friend is open rebellion against God, but to do it in the way I’ve just described is.

This is what I mean, when we allow our perception of God to be, negative we can readily see that we are wrong and the outcome will be bad. The thing is, though, if we allow negativity or pessimism to color our view of other people or events we will be dissatisfied. Dissatisfaction with anything is actually dissatisfaction with God, because ultimately, God is in control; He’s the one that makes the rules.

An atheist is talking to a priest and says, “how could there possibly be a loving God when there is all this evil in the world, I mean take death for instance, it’s a bad idea.” “It’s not popular, Father; it’s not a winner.” Jesus says for us to be careful not to stumble over Him. What does it mean? God will constantly do things we don’t understand and there is always the tendency to be dissatisfied when we don’t understand.

You may say that’s ridiculous, I disapprove of that person’s behavior, their moldy fruit, not of God. I’m just trying to help others live lives that are more holy because I have so much Godly love.

How can he be a Pastor when his behavior annoys me? What we’re really saying is I don’t like what God is doing here and since I’m unwilling to admit that, we say, God isn’t in charge here so I have, not just a right, but also an obligation to stop it. I’m actually doing it out of love.

I will make a brash statement and then I’ll try to show you the Truth of it.

A critical spirit, or pessimistic outlook, or negative attitude, whatever you want to call it stems from selfishness, which we all know is another word for sin, which we all know is another word for open rebellion against God.

If we spent as much time examining our own walk as we do examining others we would all be better off. You say well self-examination is more selfish than the examination of others.

You’re right! Here’s the key, if you can accurately examine yourself and find nothing but good then you are ready to examine your brother.

This is the so-called Sermon on the Plain and it closely follows the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. In view are the religious elite who sharply disagree with what Jesus is doing. The Pharisees, Sadducees and other pious Jews are constantly finding fault with Jesus and His disciples. They are simply trying to help keep everyone on the true path to God.

Luke 6:37-4237“Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. Stop criticizing others, or it will all come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven. 38If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” 

37- Listen, hearken, this is the teaching of Jesus! Where does it say you can correct another? We use a Scripture that we approve of in order to negate a clear teaching of Jesus. mh< kri>nete, Absolute negation of an imperative command calling for a continual attitude. Always stop judging/criticizing.

Now the reason, now the Lord’s Prayer.

38- Anything to do with wealth? Jesus is talking about being generous with your patience and mercy. Jesus and God are one, they are both Love, they are not in the condemnation business. We’ve condemned ourselves; God is trying to offer a solution. Patience with another is the actual proof of God’s love. The word in the Old Testament is from the Hebrew word “aw-rake,” אָרֵךְ and means waiting as a determination of the will, not from necessity. I choose to wait for something or especially someone even though there is no reason to do so except it is for love and with God for respect/trust and it is often associated with wisdom and humility. The New Testament uses three Greek words, uJpomonh>, meaning, I persistently remain or abide usually translated as endurance. ajnexikaki>a, two prepositions, up, away from, and badness translated as tolerant. The most common, makra>qumia, meaning, long - anger. Often translated as long-suffering it is the ability to hold ones anger. As I’ve said before, in order to be long-suffering you must be long-bothered!

39Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “What good is it for one blind person to lead another? The first one will fall into a ditch and pull the other down also. 40A student is not greater than the teacher. But the student who works hard will become like the teacher. 

If a person is critical, his student will be critical. If the teacher doesn’t have an accurate picture, of who God is, the student certainly won’t learn it from him. Additionally, if your teacher is Jesus and He doesn’t criticize and condemn those who don’t know any better or those who are trying then why do you?

41“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 42How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

Notice this; it is vital! Why worry about the faults of your friend! Jesus is calling people who try to help others with their problems hypocrites. Just because I’m not perfect, does that mean that I don’t need to worry about the Spiritual health of my friend? That’s exactly what it means! The key is worry. Quit worrying about everyone else and start examining yourself. If we focus on our teacher, Jesus, and examine ourselves in that light, then He can use us as a vessel through which He can correct another. It’s not your problem! Your friend is His servant not yours.

People say that’s all I’m doing; I’m letting Jesus correct that person through me. Really, can you honestly examine your heart in the light of Jesus and say you are more concerned about that other person’s long-term welfare than you are about your short-term annoyance?

Let’s find out. If you evaluate other people and listen to others evaluating other people you have established yourself as judge and that job position is already filled.

When we judge our flesh becomes involved and we make judgments against God’s children based on our human understanding ala Pharisees.

If you think you’re so Godly and perfected that it is your job to go around correcting everyone else then I must tell you; you are either a wonderful person I must get to know better or you are outrageously egocentric and mean. Why mean, selfishness always produces fear and people who are afraid often lash out without regard for the effect on others.

At Continental…. Why must you be the one to straighten everyone out?

I talk to people and they are not ready, if you can’t let the Holy Spirit change your perspective you aren’t ready, but if you have little difficulty accepting the things I’ve said today there are four possibilities: You either don’t know what I’m saying, don’t care, don’t know yourself or you are not by nature critical. Which one it is will give you something to think about.

If you are finding rebuttals to the things I’ve been saying you are critical and you need to pray for forgiveness and renewal.

Gossip in Greek is sticking your nose in other people’s business and is a sin listed right alongside murder, adultery, homosexuality and hatred of God.

43“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 44A tree is identified by the kind of fruit it produces. Figs never grow on thornbushes or grapes on bramble bushes. 45A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil deeds from an evil heart. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.

The fruit Jesus is actually, primarily talking about has nothing to do with the deeds of a persons life. We jump on that and it is also an imbedded Truth, but the main thrust of what Jesus is saying here is the fruit, good or evil is what a person says about and to others. If you are a judgmental critical person at heart then that will overflow into your speech identifying you as such. Are you going to be a thornbush to God’s children or through a pure and sincere heart produce good uplifting nourishing speech for the Body?

46“So why do you call me ‘Lord,’ when you won’t obey me? 47I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then obeys me. 48It is like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well built. 49But anyone who listens and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will crumble into a heap of ruins.”

The house can look fantastic and everything seems good, but if you don’t examine your foundation you may be in for a very rude awakening when the storm comes.

Our perspective allows us to alter our desires. The only thing standing between you and God is your own perspective.

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