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Summary: Do tend toward bitterness? Are you preoccupied with how hard and unfair life can be, do you see the blessing of others and feel envious or sad or maybe even angry? If I am a bitter person; how do I stop being that way - can I stop?

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Dakota Community Church

Ephesians 58, Grace at Work 28

October 27, 2013

A Fragrant Offering 1

Ephesians 4:31-5:2

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

To date we have covered:

1. Instead of lying; speak truth

2. Instead of outbursts of wrath; righteous anger

3. Instead of stealing; working and contributing

4. Instead of gossip and slander; encouraging, grace filled words

Today:

5. Instead of bitter cruelty; loving kindness

Christ is the fragrant offering sacrificially given to God.

We are called here to imitate God the way children imitate their fathers, and to walk in love toward others by giving ourselves up.

★ Put These Away!

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:31)

Bitterness

We cannot walk in love, giving ourselves up for others and be bitter at the same time.

1.) Defining bitterness. - Bitterness (pikria)

A sour spirit or sour speech - harshness, hence met: an embittered (resentful) spirit.

1. sharpness of taste; lack of sweetness.

"the lime juice imparts a slight bitterness"

2. anger and disappointment at being treated unfairly; resentment.

- "he expressed bitterness over his dismissal without notice"

- "his bitterness against his parents grew" - "the bitterness of war" - "the bitterness of the wind" - "there was irreconcilable bitterness between strikers and strike-breakers"

Besides our text (pikria) appears three other times in the New Testament:

Romans 3:9-20

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;

11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.

Here it is attributed to all of fallen and unregenerate humanity.

We are all familiar with bitterness - until we meet Christ it is just one more fallen trait we share, remember to break the law on one point is to be guilty of breaking it all.

These next two are a little bit more specific and add somewhat to our understanding of bitterness and how it looks and acts.

Acts 8:18-24

Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” 24 And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

Hebrews 12:3-17

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.

6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

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