Thursday, May 02, 2013

DRAFT notes for discipleship class: Loyalty, Unity and Bitterness

In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity....St. Augustine often quoted by John Wesley

Arnold was born into a well-respected family in Norwich, Connecticut, on January 14, 1741. He apprenticed with an apothecary and was a member of the militia during the French and Indian War (1754-1763). He later became a successful trader and joined the Continental Army when the Revolutionary War broke out between Great Britain and its 13 American colonies in 1775. When the war ended in 1883, the colonies had won their independence from Britain and formed a new nation, the United States.

During the war, Benedict Arnold proved himself a brave and skillful leader, helping Ethan Allen's troops capture Fort Ticonderoga in 1775 and then participating in the unsuccessful attack on British Quebec later that year, which earned him a promotion to brigadier general. Arnold distinguished himself in campaigns at Lake Champlain, Ridgefield and Saratoga, and gained the support of George Washington. However, Arnold had enemies within the military and in 1777, five men of lesser rank were promoted over him. Over the course of the next few years, Arnold married for a second time and he and his new wife lived a lavish lifestyle in Philadelphia, accumulating substantial debt. The debt and the resentment Arnold felt over not being promoted faster were motivating factors in his choice to become a turncoat.

In 1780, Arnold was given command of West Point, an American fort on the Hudson River in New York (and future home of the U.S. military academy, established in 1802). Arnold contacted Sir Henry Clinton, head of the British forces, and proposed handing over West Point and his men. On September 21 of that year, Arnold met with Major John Andre and made his traitorous pact. However, the conspiracy was uncovered and Andre was captured and executed. Arnold, the former American patriot, fled to the enemy side and went on to lead British troops in Virginia and Connecticut. He later moved to England, though he never received all of what he'd been promised by the British. He died in London on June 14, 1801. (

This, of course, was Benedict Arnold, a name synonymous with traitor!

The path to becoming Absalom

When you read the bible, after Judas Iscariot who betrayed our Lord Jesus, there is no more treacherous traitor than Absalom, the son of king David.

Absalom had a lot going for him
·       Good looking
·       King’s son
·       Had influence
But a tragedy occurred to Absalom’s sister, she was raped by her brother, and Absalom was disgruntled with how the king dealt with it.

David allowed his love for his son to sway him away from the justice that should have been done.
All the while Absalom was watching.
Life isn’t fair, and there are times when bad things happen to good people.  There are times when leaders, or brothers and sisters in the church, drop the ball.
·       Not so much what happens to us but what happens in us
·      Not so much the situation but how we respond to it
·       Illus: Two grown dogs were talking and the one shared a story of when he was a puppy. There once was little boy who had a puppy.  He loved the puppy and played with the puppy and the puppy loved him.  The puppy would do anything for that little boy.  Then one day another dog came around and the boy was enthralled with that dog.  He loved the new dog and the puppy became second fiddle.  Once while the puppy was playing fetch with the boy, the boy threw the stick and the puppy ran to fetch the stick and while he was gone, the new dog came and the boy started petting the other dog and forgot about the puppy and the stick. 
·       At the end of the story the other dog said “that was long ago, how do you recall all those details and the hurt?” The dog said “I am still carrying the stick!”

Absalom carried that stick for two long years and eventually he had his brother killed.  But bitterness has far reaching roots.

Heb 12:15  Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
His bitterness caused him to sew discord in the nation.  He created a false perception that David didn’t care.

“If I were king, I would take time for you.”

This eventually lodged in the minds of the people till they actually believed that David didn’t care. (Though David had his faults, the love he had for the people of Israel is marked throughout the story of his life!)

His words and deeds, split the nation, caused a war, and took the lives of many thousands including his own.

Let me share with you how this happens and how the devil does this today.
·       It’s not like it once was (People who say this are saying that they have changed, because our spirituality is our own doing!)
·       When you go over their house, just watch, look, pay attention, you will see, you have the Holy Ghost.
·       When you go to that church, look…

What they are endeavoring to do is to sew a false perception in your mind and get you to look for things that are negative.

But my bible tells me to Think on these things!

Php 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

We need to show grace to one another
·       If we want grace and understanding, we need to show it, to leaders, to brothers and sisters
We need to love in spite of others' faults
·       Rick Warren’s son and his suicide
·       The times when he had to cancel a meeting and couldn’t tell the world it was because of his son’s illness.
·       We don’t know what other people are going through.

We need to reject those who would create a false perception, in our mind.

For those who would come up next to you and say:
·       What do you think about Sis. So N So?
·       What do you think about what Pastor taught last night?
·       I just don’t feel that the church is as loving as it ought to be…

That is the devil trying to form a perception in your mind, a preconceived idea that will make you prone to look for the worst!

We can’t let that happen!
Ladies I know
·       throw birthday parties
·       have baby showers
·       write cards
·       pray for one another
·       buy clothes  and shoes for other people’s kids
·       cook food for those suffering a loss in their family
·       visit folks in the hospital
·       help others clean their house
·       sometimes have babysat for free
·       volunteer their time to decorate for Sunday School and the church
·       Taken people to the doctors office

The men that I know
·       put gas in other people's tanks
·       paid their automobile insurance
·       taught other people's children how to ride a bicycle
·       help them get their car fixed
·       pick them up for church
·       pray for them
·       lent their truck out
·       helped people move
·       Made jobs and paid others out of their own pocket to help them

We need to be loyal to God our church our leaders

·       I will have a forgiving spirit
·       I will deal directly with God and with my brother

Pro 6:19  A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Mat 18:7  Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

Offences is defined thusly:
Thayer Definition:
1) the movable stick or trigger of a trap, a trap stick
1a) a trap, snare

( A stick that triggers the trap that puts you in the jail!)

Luk 17:1  Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

Rom 16:17  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

2Ti 2:25  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
2Ti 2:26  And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
(satan-adversary, opponent)

Jude 1:18-21
18  How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.
19  These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
20  But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
21  Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Unsettled questions rattle around in our hearts like loose cannons.
Search the Scriptures! Go To God! Ask the pastor! Get the answer!

When we lose our certainty, we stop moving forward.
When you don't know where you're going, you don't go very fast.

When the devil has succeeded in getting you to doubt your leaders, or your brothers, he ruins your effectiveness for God, and cripples your growth.

2Ch 20:20  And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.

The friendship of the world is enmity with God. 
You must choose to be a friend of God or a friend of the world.
If you are a friend of them that sow discord, you are no friend of God, and no friend of mine.

Pro 18:19    A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

Mar 6:3    Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

Rom 14:21    It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.