Sunday, October 29, 2017

Walking Away From God In Bitterness

Temple Baptist Church - 10-29-2017
1 Chronicles 16:23-17:23


A.  Last week, I made the statement that Demas left God in his heart long before he physically left Paul.  This morning, we see a perfect example of this.  A man who suffered wrong became bitter to his own demise.  A man by the name of Ahithophel.  A man who harbored hurt in his heart.

B.  Who was this man, Ahithophel?  I believe that he is often thought of as a “wicked man” or, in our terminology, a “lost man.”  That is not the Bible’s commentary on his life.  Ahithophel was a godly man who started well but ended his life in bitterness. 

C.  This message will be one with a long introduction and a short summation. 

1.  Ahithophel was a man of great wisdom.  1 Chronicles 27:33a  And Ahithophel was the king's counsellor:

Proverbs 20:18  Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.

2.  Ahithophel was a man who could be trusted.  2 Samuel 16:23  And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.

3.  Ahithophel was a very dear friend of King David.  Psalms 41:9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

a) “mine own” Ahithophel was someone very personal to David.

b) “familiar friend”  Ahithophel was intimate with David.  Ahithophel was allowed into David’s personal life like a family member.

Psalms 55:12-14  For it was not an enemy (Ahithophel was David’s friend) that reproached me; then I could have borne it:neither was it he that hated me (Ahithophel loved David) that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:  (13)  But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.  (14)  We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company (Ahithophel loved God).

D.  What caused Ahithophel to turn bitter against his “own familiar friend” the king.  What caused such hatred and intended harm?  What caused Ahithophel to destroy his own life?

1.   Ahithophel was Bathsheba’s grandfather!  Ahithophel, according to the scriptural account (2 Samuel, chapter 11), was a victim in the matter of King David’s sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah the Hittite. 

2 Samuel 11:3  And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?

2 Samuel 23:34  Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,

2.  King David could have had almost any single woman in the kingdom as a wife, but he stole the wife of one of his mighty men, Uriah the Hittite: a man very close to the king.

3.  King David, instead of confessing his sin, sought to cover it by using Uriah’s flesh against Uriah.  Uriah’s desire to be with his beautiful wife.  Even causing Uriah to get drunk could not undermine the integrity of the man.

4.  King David sent a letter to Joab by the hand of Uriah that placed Uriah in the hottest place of battle and retiring from him so that he would die.

5.  Somehow, Ahithophel became privy to the wicked acts committed by King David and the hurt, anger, and bitterness turned into wrath.  From that day, he hated the king.  He continued to be David’s counselor without David knowing that Ahithophel was in the know.

6.  When Absalom came into power and King David had to flee for his life, Ahithophel remained in the palace as Absalom’s counselor.  When the right time came, he tried to kill the king.

7.  When his counsel was rejected, he went home—put his house in order—and hanged himself.

E.  The King sinned against God, Bathsheba, Uriah the Hittite, Joab, Ahithophel, and Israel. 

1.  King David got it right with God but Ahithophel never got over it.  He became hurt, angry, and bitter against the man of God. 

2.  Ahithophel’s bitterness destroyed his own life, not David’s.

F.  There are only two things that should divide us from the local church:

1.  Major doctrinal error.  Romans 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.

2.  Open, unrebuked sin. 1 Corinthians 5:1-2  It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.  (2)  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

G.  Hebrews 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;

1.  The Causes of Bitterness can be varied so I would not try to enumerate them.  Bitterness is a self-inflicted wound!

a.  People can be carnal and care nothing for the feelings of others.  When people legitimately hurt you, you need to realize that you can hurt yourself by not handling it right.  They can say something wrong and forget about it while you stew over it for years.

b.  People can falsely perceive that they are being hurt by others.  There is always the possibility of you “reading them wrong.”  Not everyone can speak a word “fitly spoken.” They intend no harm but say something is a wrong way.  Always give them the benefit of the doubt realizing that people have bad days or tongue problems at times.

c.  People can overact to the actions or words of others.  One piece of advice given to me by my pastor many years ago was to “minimize things.”  Never making a “mountain out of a molehill.”

2.  The Consequences of Bitterness can have both personal and collateral damage.

a.  Springing up!  Bitterness springs up from the root of hurt and anger.  Kill the root before it becomes a tree!

b.  Trouble you!  Personal damage comes when it troubles you.  We have enough trouble in this world without causing our own.  It troubles you because you do not deal with it.  It troubles you because you meditate upon it.

c.  Many be defiled thereby.  Collateral damage is when your bitterness affects those around you. 

This has attributed to D.L. Moody  “The one sin that is keeping revival from coming to the church, more people from being, and more of the blessings of God from coming upon His people, is the sin of an unforgiving spirit.”   

3.  The Cure of Bitterness is nothing profound or unreasonable.  I want to look at two problem sources.  Bitterness generally boils down to carnality and unforgiveness.

a.  Spirituality vs. Carnality - Psalms 119:165  Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.

b.  Forgiveness vs. Unforgiveness - Ephesians 4:31-32  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:  (32)  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

4.  Bitterness will destroy your life along with the lives of those closest to you.  To be bitter or not to be bitter is up to you!  Throughout the trials of this life, we make choices to become better or bitter.

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