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Summary: Unforgiveness is a trap that we’ve all been caught in at one time or another. This series attempts to help people find release people from the trap.

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Caught in the Trap

Series: Escaping the Trap of Forgiveness

July 16, 2006

Last week I told you to prepare yourself for an eye-opening confrontation with truth, and I introduced you to this humble mechanical marvel called a ‘mouse-trap’ (actually this is a rat-trap).

I demonstrated for you how it worked. It has…

1. A flat wooden platform, used as a base,

2. A hammer that actually crushes our little mickey mouse

3. A spring that gives the hammer the quickness it needs.

4. A metal bar that holds the hammer back…. and

5. A sensitive little catch (set trap) that when you touch it with the slightest pressure it releases the metal bar, and the hammer comes slamming down on our little friend, stopping him from chewing through sacks of flour or electrical cords and leaving little reminders of it’s presense in the unswept corners of our house.

If you were here last week, you’ll remember that I touched it, (just like this… (spring trap) …and one of our unsuspecting guests that morning lost a finger! Anyway, to lure our little unsuspecting mouse out of his house… we put bait on that little catch. (By the way, how many of you have noticed that mice don’t have little “U” shaped openings in the baseboards of our floors like cartoons tell us?)

I did all that NOT to give you a lesson on pest control, but to illustrate to you that there are other traps in this world, (much more complicated, invisible traps) that are set and designed by our enemy (the devil) to catch (not mice) but men and women. For those of you who weren’t here last week, we started a series entitled, “Escaping the Trap of Unforgiveness ”. We said that Satan (the enemy of our souls) is a good trapper, and one of His most deceptive and insidious kinds of “traps”... is something that every person here has encountered... The “UNFORGIVENESS TRAP”

The way you get caught in his “trap” is when you become offended at something someone has said or done to you. If undealt with, the “trap of offense” has the ability to sever relationships, cause divisions, split churches, and imprison countless of Christians in it’s jaws. Jesus warned us in Luke 17:1... (READ)

Now the word, ‘offense’ that Jesus used, in the Greek, is the word… ‘skandalon’ and it’s referring to that little, sensitive ‘catch’ we talked about earlier. He’s warning us that Satan will try to lure you into his trap, using the bait of being offended with someone (either by what they do or say). Knowing that when you take the bait the ‘skandalon’ will release the hammer, and before you can say, “BOO!” you’ll be caught in the trap of unforgiveness! Now listen, because everyone of us have the capacity to become as sensitive as that little catch (Even you pastor? Yep! I’ve been there!).

In fact, Jesus told us that we ‘WOULD’ be offended at some point in our lives with another person. It may come from a parent, a family member, a brother or a sister... It may come from a co-worker, a fellow church member... your pastor... but Jesus is warning us... IT WILL COME! So we began to approach this situation from the perspective of... not “will” it come… but what are we going to do “when” it comes? How are you and I, going to react when we’re tempted to be offended, or when we’ve actually been caught in the ‘Trap of Offense”?

It’s a critical question, because how you respond, determines your future happiness, and the future of a lot of people around you, including your kids! I’ve known parents who left the church because of an ‘offense’ they experienced…and as a result, they raise kids who are also offended at God and the church! Setting the course of their eternal destiny. (Example: My next door neighbor, Parker. None of his kids follow God.)

Now, much of what I will be sharing with you comes out of the book, “The Bait of Satan” by John Bevere.

And last week we began to expose Satan’s trap by describing for you the actual “bait” that Satan uses, to lure us in… We said that you’re being baited when you begin to…

1. PROMOTE a person… giving them a position in your mind

that as humans they’re sure to fall from. Or when we begin

the…

2. PRODUCTION of pride… denying to ourselves that we

really have been hurt by someone. 3rdly, we’re taking the

bait when we start…

3. PROTECTING ourselves… shutting people out of our lives,

denying entry to anyone we fear is going to hurt us. And then

lastly, we’re being lured into the “offense trap” when we

start…

4. PROJECTING blame… justifying our bitterness and un-

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