Faithlife Sermons

Life Lessons

Follow the Right Leader; 1 & 2 Kings  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Own It

One of the more difficult things to do in life is launch children. We have to make sure they are ready to adult.
Adulting is hard.
Budgets, car maintenance, house-keeping, cook, do laundry, and so many other things adults have to do.
How did I figure out what little I know about all the important stuff today? My family, life, friends.
I was talking to my son the other day, we were talking about jobs, things we’ve learned along way like this.
I told him I talked about my first job in a sermon recently, working at McDonald’s. Remember that?
I learned how to fry a hamburger. And so much more. Working w/ co-workers, customer service, solving problems, punching a time clock, responsibility.
I almost went to Hamburger U. instead of college to go into management with a view toward ownership one day.
Then, he told me about an experience he had when he was 15 and worked at a car wash in Little Rock. The owner was friend. Youth worker type that employed teens like him.
Jason worked detailing cars. That is, cleaning out the inside before it goes thru the wash then toweling it off and cleaning the windows after.
The owner of the cars would leave the car with the detailing crew, go inside and wait, they’d come and get him when his car was finished. He’d leave the key w/ them b/c they needed to move the car thru the process.
Apparently, he tells me, it was a fairly regular occurrence that 15-year olds would drive the car from the detailing area and into the car wash where it would be pulled thru automatically.
One time, he inadvertently locked the doors after moved the car into the wash area. The key was still in it.
Comes out the back end, the doors are locked, no key, cars in queue behind this one on their way out and if they don’t move it it gets crunched.
The owner didn’t have a second key, even at home.
They had to shut the car wash down, hold everything up until they could get into the car.
They had a slim Jim, took a while, it happens, but when the car wash isn’t moving, they aren’t making money so they need to make sure this doesn’t happen.
Jason, now 29, as a 15 year old, tried to play innocent. Okay, lied. He’ll admit it now. Blame someone else. Not my fault. I didn’t do it. 15-year old driving a car, shutting down the car wash, costing the customer time and the bsns money.
The owner knew exactly what happened.
After it was over, he sat Jason down, looked him in the eye, and said, “You’re 15. 15-year old mess up. That’s what you do. Own it. Don’t try to cover it up, deny it, blame anybody else. Apologize and we’ll move on.
But, if you lie about it, it gets much worse. Not a huge deal if you’ll admit it right away. It will become huge if you don’t.”
At the time, I had no idea. This was the first I’d heard this story. It’s gold. I would have paid money for that education for my son.
I had told him all those things, repeatedly. He knew it. But I don’t think he got it until that moment.
That is an important life-lesson that he has taken w/ him into adulthood and is teaching his kids the same thing now.
I’ve played golf w/ all 3 of my kids. They are not as into it as I am, but we play. They are sick of hearing me say this:
Life is like golf. It’s all about the recovery.
Everybody hits bad shots, even the guys on TV.
The best golfers recover quickly by humbly accepting the reality of the bad shot and the ball out sideways knowing it will cost them in their score.
That, versus, arrogantly trying deny the trouble they are in trying to pull a miraculous shot that leads to much more trouble and a much worse score.
There is a difference between knowing what to do, but then doing it when the heat is on.
Where does this concept come from that is owning your mistake, apologizing for it, doing your best to correct it, then don’t repeat it?
Where does that come from?
God’s word. The bible. That is repentance.
It is a biblical concept.
God’s word. That is, God spoke Himself in Jesus, or thru a number of other authors who wrote it down.
The Bible is the Word of God.
Some think the bible is a book of do’s and don’t’s. Thou shalts and thou shalt nots...
It’s not. It’s a book about how to have successful relationships.
How to have a successful, good and close relationship w/ God.
How to be good friends, a good spouse, family member, or church member.
I don’t care how my kids learn these lessons. I don’t care how we learn these life lessons. We just need to learn them and apply them
We have to do more than know what the bible says. We have to be able to do it. That is, successfully perform these life-lessons.
We need to do what God teaches us to do no matter how hard it is to do. And if we do it, we will avoid a lot of unnecessary trouble.
We will keep things right w/ God and the people we care the most about being right w/ if we do.
God’s Word is full of good life lessons for us to learn to apply.
Ahab learned an important lesson, too, when he chose not to do what God instructed him to do. He wasn’t the only one.
The point of the passage, when people don’t do what God instructs them to do then things don’t go well for them.
1 Kings 20.

The Lion

1 Kings 20:35–36 NIV
By the word of the Lord one of the company of the prophets said to his companion, “Strike me with your weapon,” but he refused. So the prophet said, “Because you have not obeyed the Lord, as soon as you leave me a lion will kill you.” And after the man went away, a lion found him and killed him.
The company of the prophets. That is, the young prophets school.
They had seminary like we do. And their young men went there to study and learn how to be prophets like learned how to be a pastor.
They had to be students of God’s word, the law. They studied their history, what Moses wrote about the law, Abraham and his family.
And students of the their contemporary culture so they could mesh the two and teach powerful messages to the ppl how to respond in godly, biblical ways to the challenges their culture presented.
That’s what I try to do.
I need t/b a good student of God and His word. My degree in theology was 40year, full-time degree program. I crammed it inot 5 years.
3 years of NT Greek. 2 years of OT Hebrew.
The theology dept included a semester in anthropology, angelology, demonology, soteriology (salvation), hamartiology (sin), eschatology, and ecclesiology.
And, I need to study what’s going on in our lives in MP, in PHX, DC and work to mesh these worlds to teach what God’s word instructs us to do in the challenges our culture presents.
The word of God has priority over our feelings and emotions, over democracy and executive order, and over the pressures of modern culture.
God’s word says that we must obey the law of the land. The only exception is if it contradicts God’s word. But, that is very rare.
So, one young student of prophecy, received a special word from God and needed the help of a friend.
God very, very rarely speaks this way to us today. It could happen. Don’t limit God. But so much of His word has been written and the HS speaks to us all the time but a specific instruction like this. Not likely today.
All that said, he told his friend this was the word of the Lord. But the friend didn’t believe him and didn’t obey him.
The result? To say it brought unnecessary trouble into the friend’s life. A lion killed him.
God doesn’t use lions, and rarely takes a life today. But, the trouble is just as real when we do not do what the Lord has instructed us to do no matter how hard it may be.
I’m sure it would have been hard for a friend to hurt his friend like that. But, there are times when we need to do hard things b/c God has a plan for what will come out of the hard thing.
That didn’t work. So the young student prophet found another friend who did what the Lord instructed. It led to a ruse that entrapped the king who had earlier disobeyed the instructions of the Lord.

The Ruse

1 Kings 20:37–40 NIV
The prophet found another man and said, “Strike me, please.” So the man struck him and wounded him. Then the prophet went and stood by the road waiting for the king. He disguised himself with his headband down over his eyes. As the king passed by, the prophet called out to him, “Your servant went into the thick of the battle, and someone came to me with a captive and said, ‘Guard this man. If he is missing, it will be your life for his life, or you must pay a talent of silver.’ While your servant was busy here and there, the man disappeared.” “That is your sentence,” the king of Israel said. “You have pronounced it yourself.”
Second friend does what is asked of him. I’m sure it was hard and he did it at some risk. But, he did it.
The young student disguises himself so Ahab won’t recognize him and waits by the side of the road for the king to ride by.
Simple story. In battle he was given a prisoner to watch. He agreed to put his own life up or the silver as security if the prisoner got away.
Just like a security deposit on something you’re renting. If you lose it, you lose the deposit.
Yes, this is a lie. But God has a plan for an important lesson for Ahab, and us.
Don’t not do what God instructs you to do. Or else there will be trouble.
God has a plan and is instructing us how to carry it out.
He also hard-wired us and programmed our software and knows how it works.
This is what He wanted the young student to do so that Ahab got the message.
In the previous chapter, Ahab signed a peace treaty with Ben-Hadad, the king of Aram. Israel had beaten them badly several times in battle. Ben-Hadad came and asked for the treaty.
Ahab thinks peace is a good thing. It is.
Ben-Hadad agreed to let Israelis set up shops and do business in Samaria so they could make more money. More money is good, right?
It is, unless God has given specific instruction otherwise.
Are you trusting God to protect you? Or are you trusting in our own ability to negotiate peace with other kings?
Are you trusting in God to provide for you? Or, are you trusting in your own ability to make money and provide for yourself?
Heart motive is the key. God doesn’t have a problem w/ setting up shop and doing business. And peace is a priority in the Bible.
But, they weren’t trusting God to work thru them. They were trusting in their own ability to get it done.
Beyond that, God had instructed Ahab to execute Ben-Hadad for the crimes he committed against Israel in attacking them 3 times.
He didn’t. He let him live and agreed to the treaty w/ him.
A direct violation of what God had instructed him to do.
Back to our story here. Ahab fell for the ruse. By the authority of the king he should lose his security deposit, either his life or the silver.
But, it was a ruse, a trap. Then the young prophet sprung the trap.

The Trap is Sprung

1 Kings 20:41–43 NIV
Then the prophet quickly removed the headband from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. He said to the king, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have set free a man I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.’ ” Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria.
Ahab, king and judge, quickly assessed the story and affirmed the wounded guy on the side of the road w/out the prisoner owed his security deposit. Either pay the silver or pay w/ your life.
The prophet revealed himself and the trap was sprung. The ruse worked. The king was right, he owed w/ his life.
But, the story was really about the king. He had sworn an oath to God to lead as He instructed. When he didn’t, he owed his security deposit. Which was his life.
When he set the man free that God wanted executed he was negligent, derelict in his duty to God.
His only responsibility was to obey God, not pursue peace or prosperity on his own terms.
The sentence he pronounced was then pronounced on him. He went home pouted.
This is similar to the ruse the prophet Nathan sprung on David when David messed up w/ Bathsheba.
What do you do to a rich man who has a huge flock of sheep but steels a poor man’s only sheep for his own pleasure?
David said, punish him severely. God, thru Nathan, said, that rich man is you. It will cost you your son.
A king’s only job is to obey God in all things. Trust God to protect and provide for you and your ppl. God may use your talents and abilities as part of the plan.
Of course, he gave us our talents and abilities in the first place. And, he wants us to participate in appropriate ways as a sign of respectful obedience. It’s a sign of faith when we work at what God instructs us to work at.
We may not make as much money or have as many friends as we might otherwise if we do what God’s word instructs us to do. But we have an inheritance coming and an eternal lifetime of genuine friends.
God’s word and God’s words are powerful. They perform beyond just the words on a page, or device.
When God speaks, good things happen.
When we do what God’s word says to do, good things happen for us.
Genesis 1:1–3 NIV
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
6 times, 6 days God spoke and something that wasn’t, was.
There was nothing. Then there was something.
John 1:1–5 NIV
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Jesus spoke the word and is the word of God.
Everything Jesus said has power. And the closer we are to Jesus, the more we experience that power.
Luke 8:19–21 NIV
Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
Imagine being Jesus’s mother.
None of his brothers were believers, yet. They thought He was crazy, or arrogant.
Any of you have an older brother w/ a Messiah complex?
Mooooom! Jesus is cheating again. He’s telling me what I’m going to do before I do it.
In Luke 8 Jesus is preparing the disciples to continue the work after He’s gone. They don’t realize it at the time. But He is preparing to launch them just like we launch our children into adulthood.
It took them a while to get it. But, even his brother James, who was outside w/ their mother and most assuredly heard what Jesus said about who is his mother and brothers.
We know this b/c James later wrote this. He became a believer. Was the pastor of the church in Jerusalem. And he wrote the letter of James you have in your NT.
James 1:22–25 NIV
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Jesus, “My brother is anyone who hears God’s word and puts it into practice.”
James, “Do not merely listen to the word…Do what it says.”
It’s not enough for my son, or anyone else to simply know what the bible says about owning the mistakes we make.
If we put it into practice, own them, apologize for them, do our best to make up for them, stop doing them; then the relationships we have will be much stronger and deeper.
God’s word is powerful.
It is so powerful it has the ability to keep us out of trouble. And for some of us, that’s saying a lot.



It all begins w/ knowing what God’s word says. OT to NT
Read it and know it.


Choose to believe what you’re reading no matter how difficult it may be.
Paul wrote to Timothy that every word is inspired and is included for a reason.
Don’t let your emotions, feelings, or friends pressure you to question whether or not the bible is w/out error and it true.
Choose to believe it


Just Do it.
Do what it says no matter how hard it may be or what it may cost you.
Trust that God will protect you and provide for you.
What James wrote, it’s like getting up in the morning and looking at yourself first thing in the morning and doing nothing about what you see in the mirror. And coming to church that way.
Who would do that?
That’s so foolish it’s embarrassing.
Your hair, make-up, shave, wash the drool of your chin and Mr. Sandman’s deposit out of your eyes.
Do what the Word says when you learn it.
God’s word is powerful. It will keep you out of trouble.
We need to do what God teaches us to do no matter how hard it is to do. And if we do it, we will avoid a lot of unnecessary trouble.
We will keep things right w/ God and the people we care the most about being right w/ if we do.
God’s Word is full of good life lessons for us to learn to apply.
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