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Summary: Dealing with bitterness. If you were messing up in a big way - but not seeing it - would you want someone to tell you? Rebuke doesn’t sound loving but it is. We need rebuking when we are not seeing ourselves accurately.

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Dakota Community Church

Ephesians 58, Grace at Work 28

November 3, 2013

A Fragrant Offering 2

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:

Instead of lying; speak truth

Instead of outbursts of wrath; righteous anger

Instead of stealing; working and contributing

Instead of gossip and slander; encouraging, grace filled words

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! - 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, an embittered (resentful) spirit.

2. ) Recognize the peril of entertaining/indulging bitter tendencies.

(a.) These are sins that can be hidden; but not from God.

Hebrews 4:13

And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

(b.) Willfully continuing in sin is not a Christian option.

Romans 6:1-14

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

Reformation Study Bible

Paul’s insistence that the increase of sin is met by the increase of grace leads to the question he now raises. So great was his emphasis on the freeness of God’s grace in the face of sin that his preaching had been accused of antinomian tendencies, or ignoring the ethical requirements of the law. Now he makes the point that to continue in sin would involve a contradiction of the Christian’s new identity in Christ. In view of this new identity, Christians are to refuse to allow sin to usurp authority in their lives, and instead are to yield the whole of life to God in the assurance that since they are under grace, not law, as the means of their salvation, sin is no longer their master. - Generously provided by Ligonier Ministries

Always a threat/risk:

We are not our own - we cannot simply shrug our shoulders and say, “That’s just how I am.”

Worse we cannot say, “This is just how God made me.” and insist upon acceptance.

3.) Ministering to the bitter.

Prayer - God directs the hearts of kings. Remember Paul on the Damascus road.

Proverbs 16:9

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

A.) For the Christian, loving rebuke.

Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Proverbs 27:5-6

Better is open rebuke than hidden love.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

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