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Sermon 45 – RETALIATION

19 Jan

Why was Jesus nailed to a cross for doing nothing wrong?

What would you do if you were nailed to a cross for doing nothing wrong?

Being crucified was Jesus’ final temptation. What a temptation to retaliate against His oppressors! What a temptation to prove He was God by coming down off the cross just as His enemies were taunting Him to do!  If Jesus would have retaliated without the Father’s consent, He would have wasted His time being on the cross. He would not have saved us from our sin, for He would have sinned and therefore been an imperfect sacrifice, right at the end.

Temptation is not only Satan’s weapon; it’s also God’s secret bomb against Satan’s attacks.

Temptation is essential for death

Jesus didn’t face temptation so we wouldn’t have to. He faced temptation to show us that He understood our temptation and he would strengthen us in our temptation if we learn to trust the Father’s higher plan. Just like Jesus’ walk, temptation is God’s pathway for our salvation and a test of our trust in Him during it, James 1:12. Through the door of temptation our faith is strengthened against Satan, our death to self is practiced until we learn to want nothing but His kingdom (James 1:2-4), and our authority in Christ is preserved for the sake of God’s kingdom.

You can tell when someone’s genuine by how they trust God with their cross. Genuine Christians bear the cross. Fake Christians retaliate and blame you for putting you on the cross.

All Jesus was interested in was His Father’s plan, rather than His own wants, John 5:30. This is the pattern set for all genuine believers. The modern church on the one hand promotes being nice to your neighbour, being at peace with your neighbour and witnessing to your neighbour, yet on the other hand shirks its responsibility for confronting the sin of the world, and mellows its responsibility for confronting the whispers of Satan tempting us to envy and judge our neighbour, confirming the façade of its niceness towards its neighbour; for once you have judged your neighbour you’re not nice to your neighbour at all, and your witness is certainly false.

Peace, niceness and witnessing are acceptable to the world, makes one feel good, makes one feel like they’re doing something worthwhile, and yet still preserves one’s comfortable lifestyle without guilt for being part of the world, without guilt for enjoying the world, and without any threat from the world. Not stirring the church and not stirring the world means I can enjoy my life with minimal hassles and without a heavy cross. This is not the heart of a genuine Christian, but the heart of self-preservation first, and represented by the five foolish virgins who let their oil burn out.

Nehemiah

Nehemiah could have stayed comfortable serving as the king’s cupbearer but instead followed the stirring of his heart to serve God and his fellowman. This action stirred up evil against him and he suffered the retaliation of his opponents for simply standing for God’s plan. This is not just a historical story; it’s the Word of God; it’s the Spirit of the Lord; it’s the pathway for every genuine disciple; it’s the pathway of stress and trust in God.

Being laughed at, scorned and despised (2:19) is the standard package for a genuine disciple and accepting that by faith is half the battle for our selfish spirits. Nehemiah didn’t retaliate; he just held his position by faith in God’s call.

Satan can’t win against Faith

When people hurt you when you’ve done nothing wrong, do you trust God’s higher plan or retaliate? Succumbing to retaliation is the sin after being tricked into Satan’s control.  Trusting instead of retaliating is the only pathway that blocks Satan’s manoeuvring against the kingdom of God. Satan can’t win against faith; he can only win when we fall to the temptation that tickles our envy against our neighbour.

Voices in the airwaves

Most of us hear a voice against us and immediately retaliate with a voice against the offender and never stop to think that we sinned. We simply blame the person for their unfounded offence, and often this all happens in the airwaves without a word ever being said. The offender is in sin, the voice is the temptation from Satan, and your retaliation is your resultant sin after having taken the bait of the injustice against you. Now the two of you are chained together, in sin, under Satan’s control, until you forgive and repent.

Yet we still pretend to be nice to one another and that nothing’s happened; besides we’ve been taught that not being nice is sin, when the truth is we’ve already sinned in our heart when we consented to the voice that elevated ourselves above our neighbour. We then argue we haven’t done anything wrong because it was never exposed, but we lie to ourselves.

Our human spirit always wants to win; it doesn’t like being put-down; it automatically goes into self-protection. Thus when we hear voices against us we instinctively retaliate.

The two truths of retaliating

There’s a time to retaliate and there’s a time not to retaliate.

David retaliated against Goliath for defaming God’s people, but didn’t retaliate against Saul even though He tried to kill him

Solomon retaliated against his brother and against Shimei to protect his throne

Moses ran away from Pharaoh, and Moses also retaliated against Pharaoh

God retaliated against the Jews for their sin

God retaliated against Korah and Miriam, Moses’ sister

Jesus retaliated against the Pharisees, yet He let them crucify Him

God retaliated against man’s sin with the flood, and Sodom and Gomorrah

The 2 witnesses will retaliate against evil in the last days, but will also be retaliated against

A genuine Christian doesn’t retaliate to protect their selfishness, they retaliate against evil for the kingdom of God’s sake when God instructs.

When do you do one and not the other, and which one do you do? The answer is die to yourself and seek only the Father’s will and you will know which way to choose at each intersection by His faith through you. The pathway for death; the pathway for not succumbing to the tempter’s whispers is … learn to …

turn to the Lord’s voice when you hear the voice of temptation.

You fight temptation by learning to die to what you want and surrender to whatever God wants whenever you hear the whisper of Satan’s voice. From this position of faith in God’s higher plan over yours, you have the freedom to choose to retaliate or not.

“Say not I will recompense evil, but wait on the Lord and He shall save you.”  Proverbs 20:22

 

May God’s remnant pause long enough to sense which voice is God’s and which voice is the enemy’s and learn to accept God’s will in every situation, and be willing to suffer the temptation for the kingdom of God’s sake.

Pastor Craig Wright

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Posted by on January 19, 2013 in Retaliation, Temptation

 

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