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Sermon 23 – STUBBORNNESS IS IDOLATRY

04 Feb

Q. Why did God remove King Saul from the throne? 1 Samuel 15

King David deliberately plotted murder against one of his loyal subjects in order to cover-up his sin of adultery, yet God forgave him. How come God didn’t forgive King Saul?

A. King Saul wasn’t rejected because of his sin; it was because of his stubbornness, 1 Samuel 15:23.

God calls stubbornness, idolatry. That is, stubbornness is idol worship, and idol worship is a definitive fracture of the 1st commandment. That’s why God hates stubbornness.

King Saul didn’t look stubborn. He didn’t seem to have done anything really bad. It didn’t really come to the surface until the spiritual authority addressed it and challenged it to see what would come out. That was his point of choice. His inability to take the correction pushed the agenda forward and I’m sure he would have blamed Samuel for stirring up the apple cart.

Q. What is stubbornness?

A. intolerant of people’s weaknesses, can’t be told, fixed in your own opinion, head-strong, stiff-necked.

Stubbornness is the inherent selfishness of our spirit and expressed as the protective layer we put around ourselves so no one can tell us or hurt us, and envy is the consequence of it, and elevation is its goal.

Q. How does stubbornness present itself?

A. Like King Saul, it blames others for its own irresponsibility, it’s proud of its own achievements, it doesn’t do what the authority says but it thinks it does, it disrespects the opinion or advice of the authority but it thinks it’s doing what the authority says, it argues the point, it seeks promotion in the eyes of others, it envies others’ promotion, it tells the authority what its job is and what its responsibility is ( e.g. you are responsible to listen to me, or you are responsible to help me), it tells God what His responsibility is towards me, it can take on the role of the authority (king Saul offered the sacrifice in Samuel’s place), it uses people for its own gain, it tries to repent for personal gain but it’s unable to repent, it worships the Lord in front of the people, it uses its position of authority to abuse others and especially the righteous, it blames the spiritual authority for the issue that he has exposed and for the hassle that he has generated.

It presents itself as … you won’t tell me!, why should I?, who do you think you are?, I’m doing the best I can, I’ve done what I can now I expect God to do the rest, you don’t understand, I’m right you’re wrong, it’s unfair, I’ll believe it when God tells me (it ignores being told via another person), it doesn’t really listen because it has its own mind, but it can act agreeable and says it’s willing, but it always has an inner stiffness and unwillingness to change one’s mind by setting itself up as the judge of right and wrong. Ultimately, having a mood is just the expression of your stubbornness.

Q. Does stubbornness know it’s stubborn?

A. On the surface, a person doesn’t know they’re stubborn, but in their heart they know. Therefore, God calls stubbornness, iniquity.

There are 3 levels of sin

  1. Trespass = crossing the boundary without knowing it; ignorant sin
  2. Transgression = sinning against your will and knowing that you’ve sinned
  3. Iniquity = willingly sinning; planning sin

God says stubbornness is iniquity, the worst level of sin. Therefore, a stubborn person really does know he’s sinning but pretends he isn’t so he looks good in the eyes of others.

Q. What blocks people from seeing their own stubbornness?

A. Stubbornness is only interested in elevation and it usually uses good works to achieve its objective and to camouflage its hidden agenda. When your whole focus is on achieving value and favour in the eyes of others, you can’t see your stubbornness. When your whole focus is on self-promotion, you won’t see your stubbornness.

That’s because stubbornness is linked with envy and both are idol worship, Colossians 3:5, and idol worship is self-elevation.

Envy = idolatry, Colossians 3:5

Stubbornness = idolatry, 1 Samuel 15:23

Elevation = idolatry

Once you allow stubbornness to reign in you, you add the fracture of the 10th commandment to the existing fracture of the 1st, and you harden your spirit even to the point of rebellion, and in rebellion you open yourself to demons, just like King Saul. No one believes they worship themselves as god, but that’s because you don’t want to know because we’re more stubborn than we like to admit and stubbornness blinds you. Most of us mix a cocktail of goodness with envy and call it good, but the truth is … harmony + envy = idol worship, apology + envy = idol worship, obedience + envy = idol worship, niceness + envy = idol worship.

Q. What’s the consequences of stubbornness?

A. Hardening your heart, stiff-necked, inability to repent, inability to forgive, separation from God and His righteous servants, lives in constant fear of what people think, insanely jealous, insanity, demon possession, eternal death (Deut.21:18)

The levels of stubbornness

  1. Cooperative stubbornness = doing what the authority says but thinking the authority is wrong or even stupid, repenting but for restoration to favour, agrees with you but doesn’t believe you, keeps the commandments for favour but doesn’t honour them, acknowledges the authority providing the authority doesn’t tell it off or instruct it to do what it doesn’t want.
  2. Uncooperative stubbornness = you won’t tell me, I won’t = rebellion = witchcraft, and thus exposure to demons.

The reason God separates Himself from stubborn people is because He will not tolerate the worship of other gods. Stubbornness is really the refusal to worship anything but yourself, and God hates it. When stubbornness becomes rebellion, God leaves.

The problem is, everyone is born stubborn. You can see it in the attitude of every child. To be a Christian you have to come to terms with this self-centred being that dwells inside you by sticking the knife into yourself daily. You have to commit yourself to loving the Lord God only and you can’t do it by loving yourself at the same time; it’s a contradiction. It’s a battle of wills, but that’s the fight of faith that God is actually referring to. It’s a fight against your will in order to surrender to God’s will alone, and that’s salvation, and it can never be achieved in the face of stubbornness.

You say ” I’m not stubborn” …

then why don’t you stop your envy? A. because you can’t, you’re too stubborn. Stubbornness inhibits repentance.

Stubbornness can’t be told it’s stubborn, and if it is told, it won’t change even though it might try everything in its power to regain its position of value. Stubbornness is a mule that doesn’t appreciate having a bridle and doesn’t appreciate being led where it doesn’t want to go. Stubbornness lets its feelings dictate its thinking; it lets it feelings dictate its will.

Stubbornness is the consequence of valuing rank more than loving God, and that’s the issue and that’s the downfall, and it tricks itself into believing it loves God, but confirms the discrepancy by its attitude to being told to do something it thinks is unfair or being told to do something it doesn’t want to do. You’ll never get free whilst you agree with the spiritual authority so you can look good again. If the authority stands his position, the blame against him will be the evidence of your stubbornness. As soon as you blame someone, you should immediately know you are inherently stubborn.

Love knows that God alone is the chooser of your rank (Psalm 75:5-7).

If you love God, you keep His commandments (John 14:15). If you love you, you cooperate with His commandments but cooperating is just an expression of your envy and stubbornness, and elevation is the root problem. If you love God you repetitively fight yourself to not love yourself; this is the real fight of faith that has to be won before you even think about fighting an outside evil force. You can fight yourself if you really want to; you can stop yourself from mouthing-off against your parents; you can stop yourself from elevating yourself above your sister. If you don’t fight yourself it’s because you don’t want to … you’re stubborn.

Don’t try and stop your stubbornness and envy, but rather cancel your elevation … this is the true love of God because it puts Him first again, and then He will deal with your sinfulness.

May God expose you to you for His glory.

Pastor Doug Gilway

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Posted by on February 4, 2012 in Elevation, Pride

 

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