Summary: What holds you captive from being in the presence of God?
CAPTIVE: What’s Keeping You From God?
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. 14 And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. – Jeremiah 29:11-14
History of Israel’s Captivity
I. WHAT HOLDS US CAPTIVE
a. Burdens in life
This song began days before the birth of our 6th child, who was born in Kingston upon Thames, England while we were living and working there. Several years before this, we had found out about "Fragile X Syndrome," a permanent genetical condition that was affecting our son causing severe developmental delays and big challenges, such as toilet training (Benjamin is now 11 and still not fully toilet trained). Knowing the genetical information, and having four daughters and one son, we decided to take a "step of faith" to try and have one more child. We were hoping and praying for a son who would not be affected with the syndrome. As the due date approached in June of 99, I found myself becoming more and more overwhelmed by the uncertainties of life, and I asked myself this simple question, "is there anything I can count on in life?" I began to pour out my heart at the piano, and amid the tears, this song spilled out with the assurance that there is only one thing we can really count on, even when we don’t understand: the faithfulness of God.
Our 6th child was a son, and we gave him the name "Isaiah Robert," which means "God is generous - Shining Fame." We found out recently that Isaiah has Fragile X Syndrome as well. The day we found out, my natural response was to resign from ministry and to focus all my energies on raising special needs children. Before that day was done, we felt God’s leading not to resign, but to continue to move forward and minister with a "limp," trusting God’s faithfulness to carry us through.
ii. Sins we are involved in
1. A little sin will add to your trouble, subtract from your energy, and multiply your difficulties. – Doesn’t that sound a lot like captivity?
2. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. – John 5:14
iii. Guilt we’ve been carrying
1. Pastor’s Sermon Aimed At ME
My pastor shapes his sermons
From A to final Z
In clear and forthright language,
And aims them straight at me.
And when he gets to preaching,
I look around to see
If there might be another
Deserving more than me.
But every soul looks saintly
Their hearts to heaven turn
While I, in my conviction,
Can only sit and squirm.
You know, I often wonder
If I should miss a day;
Would he, without his target,
Have anything to say?
2. The way of man is forward (very perverse) and strange (the bear guilt): but as for the pure, his work is right. – Proverbs 21:8
iv. Grudges we can’t shake loose
1. Holding Grudge Against Mule
A visitor from across the mountain leaned on the rail fence, watching his old friend plow. "I don’t like to butt in," he finally said, "but you could save yourself a lot of work by saying ’gee’ and ’haw’ to that mule instead of just tuggin’ on them lines."
The old timer pulled a big handkerchief from his pocket and mopped the sweat off his brow. "Yep, I know that," he agreed, "but this mule kicked me six years ago, and I ain’t spoke to him since."
2. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. – James 5:9
v. Relationships that are strained
2. 23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. – Matthew 5:23-24
b. Satan holds us captive because it’s difficult to walk with God when we’re burdened
II. God is Faithful to deliver us from the chains of captivity – Jeremiah 29:14