Summary: What we are going to be trying to get our minds around today is how the promise of God Judgment can move us from being bitter angry people, to accepting and overcoming people

Job 19:13-29

Life’s Turning Points

Becoming Bitter or Better

This weeks topic was Judgment, and normally I don’t like to hear the word Judgment. The message of God’s Judgment from Job is Good News. It is judgment from the perspective of the oppressed. It is justice for those who have been treated unfairly. It is the restoration of the good, and the judgment of evil.

What we are going to be trying to get our minds around today is how the promise of God Judgment can move us from being bitter angry people, to accepting and overcoming people.

We are going to take the bitterness Quiz together. This Quiz is scientifically proven to show how bitter you are. Warning: It is not wise to use this Quiz to tell your spouse how bitter they are.

This will be easy you will just use your fingers to keep score. True is a finger in, False and we keep our fingers out. No cheating off you neighbor.

1. Is life fair? True or False

2. If you work hard, you will be rewarded? True or False

3. If you treat people well, they will treat you well? True or False

4. If you faithfully serve the Lord, your life will go well?

5. If God is pleased with me, I will be Blessed?

Now we will come back at the end of the sermon to share the answers.

First I want to tell you about two men who came to a turning point in their lives.

Charles Templeton was tired of his life. After returning from a strip club he felt wrenched with guilt. He went back to his room and knelt by his bed. He said it was as if a “a black blanket was draped over me. A sense of guilt pervaded my entire mind and body.” Then he said the words that would come, “Lord come down. Come down.” It was as if a heavy weight was lifted from his shoulders and he could he himself whispering, “Thank you Lord, Thank you. Thank you.” Templeton left his career in journalism and began to pursue ministry. Fifteen years later he was Billy Graham’s close friend and pulpit partner. They traveled and preached together all over the country. Templeton had his own church as well that consistently packed out a 1,200 seat sanctuary. But then one day as he was looking at Life Magazine he saw a woman holding her dead child. The picture was of a child who had starved to death in the drought of Northern Africa. When Templeton saw the picture he thought, “How could a loving God do this to that woman?” Templeton began to struggle with the reality of suffering. He was at a turning point.

Steve Saint had a great relationship with his father. After he returned from serving in WW II he had become a commercial airplane pilot. He was a creative and fun man who seemed to love each person he came in contact with. When a missionary ask his Dad to help repair an airplane in Mexico he jumped at the chance. Steve’s dad became burdened for the people of Latin America and began to take the gospel to the villages of Ecuador that had never heard about Jesus. The government was about to wipe out many of the villages because they had begun killing oil workers. Steve’s father concluded that if they did not share the gospel with them they might soon loose their opportunity. As they flew into the area they had brought firearms, but had decided that they would not use them. They concluded. “We are ready. If we die, we will go to heaven. If we kill these villagers they may not.” The first contact with the villagers went well and gifts were exchanged. The men radioed their wives of the success and an upcoming meeting. At the next meeting the villagers surrounded the men and killed them. Steve and his mother returned to the United States. Steve was at a turning point.

Job 19:13-22

When we come face to face with suffering. We are often at a turning point in our lives. Job describes loosing his family. When we loose those closest to use through death, divorce we can be overcome by grief and bitterness. Life can be extremely hard to bear.

What about friends bringing us to a turning point. Maybe some of us in this room have been betrayed and let down. Maybe the friends we thought we could count on ripped our hearts out. When this happens bitterness and pain can overcome us, swallow us. Harden us towards life.

So now how do we turn towards becoming better, how do we turn to God in the hardest of times? And how is God Judgment one of our comforters?

Job 25-27

Last week we looked at the hope in our advocate Jesus. This week we look at our hope in the Redeemer who will bring final judgment. As we look at the big picture this involves Jesus as well. The Nicene creed stated. He will come to Judge the living and the dead. This is good news. This mean that the world will be put right. We can have confidence in a God who will Redeem this fallen and broken world.

Finish the Story our two men Templeton and Steve Saint.

Charles Templeton became angry with God and walked away from his faith. Later in his life he would write a book called Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith. In it he lists reasons he rejected his faith. Reasons like Alzheimer’s and starvation.

When confronted with Suffering Templeton turned away from God.

I don’t know if anyone recognized the name Steve Saint. His father was Nate Saint and he and Jim Elliot died ministering in the jungle of Ecuador in 1956.

Radio Program – On CPU

After only a brief time in the US Steve and his mother returned to the very village that had taken his fathers life, and saw amazing results. The homicide rate in the villages dropped and many came to know Jesus. This included the man who had killed Steves father.

Back to the Bitterness Quiz

I have to be honest with you that if you answered yes to question you are at higher risk for the cancer of bitterness to take root.

1. Is life fair? True or False Bad people will prosper at times, good people may suffer. If we expect life to be fair we are at a high risk for bitterness. God never promises that this life will be fair. He promises that eventually Judgment will put the world right. We can be confident that God is fair.

2. If you work hard, you will be rewarded? True or False

Most of the time this is true, but we will not always get we deserve (for better or worse). Sometimes working hard can take you out of favor with others. A broad audience will always bring disappointment. As followers of Jesus we have the great blessing of focusing on an audience of one. If we are working for God we will not be disappointed. If we expect to receive an earthly reward for our hard work, we can become bitter.

3. If you treat people well, they will treat you well? True or False

Everybody likes to cop out on this one, including me, but we are letting bitterness rule our lives. And we are diminishing the power of God. The message of Jesus and of the Kingdom of heaven is this. Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. Turn the other chech, give them you coat. When I live with this mind set I have given up on the message of Jesus and new life

4. If you are faithfully serve the Lord, your life will go well?

If we serve God we will avoid the pain that comes from sin, but we will not avoid the pain of living in a sinful world. Sometimes having integrity in your job puts it at risk. I have been their. Working in factories when they ask you to bend the rules. I know how hard it is to stand up to someone who has control of your job and pay check.

5. If God is pleased with me, I will be Blessed?

God promises his Children peace and joy, and those things are a blessing. He does not promise prosperity or protection from suffering.

Which one of these is your high risk area for bitterness?

Can we move our hope from earthly Judgment to God’s final judgment?