Your worst enemy, your biggest fight - Part I
Pastor Jacob Marchitell shares part 1 of a two part series about who our worst enemy is.
Today is Sunday December 6th
and it is the first Sunday of the month ---- which means we will be taking Communion together
Adults and children---
Men and women---
All of those within whom the Holy Spirit dwells, all across our planet, join together in in this holy sacrament.
For we are all one body-----
Each of us working at the things that God has placed before us----
All for the single goal of lifting His name as high as we possibly can, with everything in our life.
And the taking of Communion shows God that we believe and we remember----
It shows other people, that we believe and remember
And it shows ourselves, it gives us ourselves, the reminders that we all need, that Jesus is God, that He died and rose again, and that when we partake of His body and His blood, we are reminded that it is only through His body and blood we are made new.
Because the bread and the wine are not some magic act that once we go through with them, make everything better.
If there is anything in our life, that shouldn't be there-----then we should abstain from taking Communion.
Because to hold on to our sin at the same time as holding on to the body and blood of Christ, will set us on a dangerous and dark path
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
Let us remember the body of our Savior, broken for our salvation---- let us partake together
25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Let us remember the holy blood that was spilled for the unholy
The perfect, killed for the imperfect
The moral, slain for the immoral
Let us never forget that it is only through the flowing blood of our crucified savior that we can be made new
Let us partake together
Now on to Announcements. We only have a few and then the kids can be dismissed, except the older kids will be staying upstairs today.
We handed out ______________ free chili meals this past Friday!
We probably won’t be doing another free meal until the spring
If you weren't here last week, then you missed the explanation of those flyers that are in your pews.
They are the Vision & Mission & Direction of who we are as a Church and where we are going.
If you already have one, great ----- if you don’t have one, feel free to take it home with you and remind yourself of the kind of Church you belong to.
Our last announcement is that our Christmas Eve service will be at 730pm on Christmas Eve.
The kids are dismissed
Our Sermon this morning is going to be part 1 of a 2 part Sermon ---- titled:
“Your worst enemy, your biggest fight”
So today, for part 1 ----- we’ll be looking at who our worst enemy is.
Who works against us?
Who betrays and tricks us?
Who causes us more harm than anyone else?
We’ll be looking at a few different places in Scripture today, a few larger sections, but our primary verse, where we are going to spend a little bit of time in to help us see who our worst enemy is ----- is
5 This is what the Lord says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
9 The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.”
( → → Opening Prayer ← ← )
Before we get to it, and find out who our worst enemy is, and some of you may have found the answer in those verses, but before we get there, a little recap from last week:
Last week we talked about unity in the local Church
I told you how important it is for your life to be a member of a Church
At Church is where we receive all the things we need to make it through our week
We get support from people who care about our relationship with God
We get correction from the family of God in the pews beside us, and we get correction from the exposition of Scripture from the Preacher
If there is something in our life that shouldnt be there, at Church is where we bring it, and hear from God and God’s family for help
We pour out our heart in worship to the God who loves us and saves us
We hear the Word of God explained and how and why it matters
The local Church is where we refuel, reload, rest, and receive
And I am immensely grateful that all of you here this morning are here.
You could be anywhere else, doing anything else, maybe they are even important things in your life, but you choose to be here, so thank you.
However -------- being a member of a Church, can only help so much.
In fact, it can only be of benefit to our lives-----once we engage with our worst enemy
All the stuff that happens at and through your Church, can only be applied to your life, once you have picked a fight with your worst enemy
Call them out
Take a shot
Throw a punch
When you stand your ground before your worst enemy, pick a fight, and make them flinch ------- is when the things in your life that need to happen, will start happening.
If you didn't pick it up with our read through, ill reread the primary verse that helps us understand who our worst enemy is.
The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
Our worst enemy-----is ourselves.
Not your neighbor who plows their snow into your driveway
Not some giant tech company
Not a corrupt government
Not the devil and his legions of demons
you ---- yourself ----- are your own worst enemy
So----- a little context. Our verses this morning come from Jeremiah the prophet.
He was a prophet who God sent to warn the Israelites of the coming judgment.
It was his job, to be like “hey ---- what you are doing is bad, you need to change your ways your bad things are going to happen!”
You see, Israel had a bad habit of going after other gods.
Of making idols
Sacrificing their children
The whole lot
They were just like all humans, and went after and did bad things------
So ------ God would warn them.
Over and over again He would send His prophets to warn them of the outcome of their choices.
Stop acting this way----- you're going to get in trouble
Stop doing these thing---
Stop worshiping these fake gods---
Stop sacrificing your children---
If you continue on the path you are on, the judgment of God is going to come against you
In fact, he wasn't JUST warning individuals ----- he was warning the entire Nation----
He was saying to the NATION :
“You are on a track that is leading to death and destruction ------ your rulers and officials are wicked and evil ----- your laws are unjust and disgusting ----- you have failed as leaders, you have failed as a Nation and if you do not change your ways, then the God of all creation will wipe you from the Earth.
God used Jeremiah to warn the NATION not just the individuals in ----- the nation
Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet, because of how sad he was for the destruction that his own people brought against themselves.
He warned them, over and over again and ------ they didn't listen ------ and as a result of their own choices, they were invaded, destroyed, captured, by the Babylonians.
To not get too far off topic -----but God used a foreign nation who didn't even know Him----- to enact His judgment against people who knew better
But why did it come to this?
Why didn't they listen?
Did they just not believe Jeremiah?
Were there competing worldviews in Israel at that time, that tricked them into betraying and disobeying God?
What was going on in their hearts-----that led them to destruction?
It happened, because the worst enemy of the Israelite's------ is the same worst enemy each one of us, me and all of you, and everyone watching at home------ we all have the same worst enemy.
We can read about how the Israelite enemy, provoked them to act in defiance of God------- in the previous chapter, chapter 16, verses 10 - 12.
10 “When you tell these people all this and they ask you, ‘Why has the Lord decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the Lord our God?’ 11 then say to them, ‘It is because your ancestors forsook me,’ declares the Lord, ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped them. They forsook me and did not keep my law. 12 BUT you have behaved more wickedly than your ancestors. ---------- See how all of you are following the stubbornness of your evil hearts instead of obeying me.”
Following your heart------leads you away from God
Following your heart ------- led an entire Nation, away from God
The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.
Its like this, because our hearts aren't these pristine, untouched, bastions of safety ----- they have been totally influenced by sin
Every soulful thing that is spawned by our hearts, is tainted with sin
Our hearts should not be our moral compass because when we look to them for guidance and direction ------- we are led away from God
Do not follow your heart ------ because
You are your own worst enemy
I feel like most people here already know and will agree with what i'm about to say ----- and have learned it the hard way.
It is a lesson that most of us learn while we are teenagers
So for those of you this morning who are teenagers, or those watching at home ---- listen carefully------
Your emotions will lie to you-----
Your emotions will deceive you-----
Your heart will trick you-----
There will be times in your when think that you are utterly in love------only to be let down
And there will be times in your life when you think that someone hates you------only to find out otherwise
You will trick yourself into thinking the worst of a situation----
You will grow anxious and nervous about things that may never even happen---
You'll get depressed over fake situations that only exist in your mind----
You'll act in ways that push people away----
You'll actt in ways that draw people to you under false pretense----
Your heart is untrustworthy----
Because your heart has been touched by sin---
The default state of the human heart, is one that looks for and goes after that which is not good.
This is why children need to be taught to share
And not only is our heart untrustworthy to begin with----- because of the sin that is in it-------
It takes on all the hurt from your life as well.
Things will happen in your life that absolutely control every emotion you have, regardless of how you feel about it------
People will come and go, and your emotions will come and go with them-----
How you were raised------either good or bad------ will change the way you think as an adult
If your parents loved and cared for you-----
Or if your parents abused and beat you-----
If your siblings supported you and cared for you-----
Or if your siblings hurt you in ways that no one else ever has----
How your family has treated you will infect and affect your heart to the point that it is unreliable, when it comes to looking for help and support.
In fact, everything in your life, will affect your heart.
Your lack of a spouse
Your lack of friends
Your lack of a family
The next president of the united states will say and do things that affect your heart
Yes we can try and shield it and build a fortress around it----
Yes we can harden ourselves to the point where nothing gets in-----
But that will mean that nothing good gets in either
The environment we place our hearts in ------ impact them, for good or worse.
So not only is our heart sinful by nature----
But it takes on the hurts and healings of this life----
Back and forth it goes----- up and down it rises and falls -----
All the while, being sinful by nature----
The absolute worst thing any human can do, is use their own heart as a moral compass to guide them through this life.
They are dark and dirty sponges that soak up all manner of evil, and distort the good ---
Do not listen to your heart ----- it is deceptive and wicked.
Because of this ----- and we could go back and forth about the default state of humanity
Is man naturally good and we just make some bad choices every now and then?
So we need to try really really hard to be good?
Get the counseling
Blame our parents
Blame our environment
And blame everyone but ourselves, because i'm naturally good and all the bad in my life is because of some other factor outside of me
Or are we naturally evil?
Well, what does the Bible say?
Romans 3:10 says "There is no one righteous; no, not one."
Isaiah 53:6 says “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;
The Bible is clear, that man is naturally evil ------ our default state, is sinful
We need someone beyond the limits of humanity ---- to reach us
We are in the pit of quicksand ---- and only someone outside of it, can save us.
Because if someone who is also stuck in that quicksand, tries to save us, it will make it worse for us and them
We need someone beyond the reach of sin----
We need someone untainted by evil----
We need someone sin - less to save us from the consequences of our own self-willed decisions.
You can disagree all you want----
Claim the Bible is false and full of nonsense---
But all of that is inconsequential to the reality that all of us have listened to bad advice from our hearts, and were hurt as a result.
We are our own worst enemy.
This is what Paul was talking about in Romans 7:15-20 when he says this:
15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
We ALL have made choices that we don't agree with----
We ALL have regrets----
We ALL have said to ourselves----- ill never do that again---
Ill never say that again---
Ill never do that again----
Ill never look at that again----
Ill never allow myself to let that happen again----
Only to fulfill the words of Saint Paul and do what we do not want to do
We are our own worst enemy -------
When we hurt ourselves it is the deepest most intimate and painful hurt you will ever experience-----
No demon can control you to make bad choices----
No human can hurt you the way you can hurt yourself---
No spouse or parent can ever touch those most private and secret parts of your soul----- that you keep hidden from all but God ----- and then repeat them back to you in the dark of the night------
In our own ears we whisper:
You are a failure
You are a screw u
No one loves you
You messed up worse this time than anytime before
Just give up----
And because it is our own voice ------ we listen
So what do we do then?
How can we move forward in life?
How can I go to Church?
How can I read my Bible?
How can I do the things I want to in my life, when I know that I myself will mess them up and then blame myself for my mistakes, and then continually just push myself further and further down?
How can I be free from this enemy?
How can I love my family when I keep messing up?
Am I nothing but the by-product of my parents bad choices?
Am I nothing but the by-product of MY OWN bad choices?
If my own worst enemy, is myself, where can I turn to for help?
Where can I find rest?
Where can I find hope and peace and love and acceptance and forgiveness for all the bad things I have done?
I need help---
I have these thing in my life that I know I shouldn't-----but I cant get rid of them------
I'm tempted beyond my ability----
I'm controlled by anger----
I'm controlled by depression or anxiety---
I'm given to lust---
I'm given to bigotry--
I'm given to arrogance or idolatry or laziness---
How can I fight this stuff, if I am the one who is making these problems worse?
Will I ever stand a chance against this enemy within me?
My answer comes from one of the verses I read earlier-----which I intentionally stopped short of finishing.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
The Son of God---
Took the punishment for your bad choices----
The things that Jeremiah was warning would happen to people if they didnt repent----- happened to Jesus instead of you----- if you repent and believe
If you repent of your sins and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then and only then, will you be not only forgiven of your bad choices-----
made into a new person ---
And have your seat in eternity reserved ----
But you will be given the ability and the strength to fight your enemy.
And any attempt to fight this enemy, will fail apart from the direction and strength of Jesus Christ
And make no mistake, this will be the biggest fight of your life
It will leave you with more scars----
More missing pieces----
Then any other fight.
But if we want to be able to move forward in our relationship with God and our relationships with the people in our life, then we must get into a fight with our worst enemy. (X2)
Next week, we will be talking about this fight---
How to fight---
How to pick a fight
How to throw a punch
How to take a shot
Why to fight---
And how to tell if were actually fighting
( → → Closing Prayer ← ← )