Summary: "That which is made crooked cannot be made straight," and "who can make that straight which he hath made crooked?"
A. Ecclesiastes 1:15 -- "That which is crooked cannot be made straight..."
B. Every one’s life is on a path which will lead somewhere.
C. No man can change his or anyone else’s life to the point where it is straight in the eyes of God.
I. Romans 8:8 -- "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."
A. In the flesh = operating in the carnal mind.
B. The world operates by their natural mind.
C. Men will look at their own works and call them good.
D. But God cannot be pleased with them.
E. The natural man is dead in sin.
F. God cannot see him nor hear him because of his sin (Isaiah 59:2).
G. Isaiah 59:8 –- "The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace."
II. Deuteronomy 32:4-5 -- "He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation."
A. God is perfect. Man is corrupt.
B. God is without iniquity. Man is spotted (blemished).
C. God is truth. Man is perverse.
D. God is just and right. Man is crooked.
III. Luke 3:5-6 -- "Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight."
A. How are the crooked made straight?
B. Zechariah 4:6 -- "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."
C. Luke 13:11-13 -- "And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God."
1. For 18 years, a woman was "bowed together." Her back was crooked.
2. She could not lift herself by her own power.
3. But, Jesus, by the power of God made her crooked back straight!
IV. Matthew 7:18 -- "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."
A. In and of itself, nothing natural can change.
B. The natural man, in and of himself, cannot change. No matter how many times or how hard he tries, he cannot truly change.
C. And no matter what integrationist counselors teach, one man cannot produce significant, effective, lasting change in another!
1. Some point out that sometimes, counseling is necessary. Yes it is.
2. The Biblical counselor implements strategies to apply the Word of God to the lives of the counselees.
a. In effect, the Biblical counselor’s job is to simply help the counselee get a better understanding of and get closer to God so that the power of God can be more effective in that person’s life. Period.
b. The Biblical counselor is not to be an independent agent that acts out of some theory which man devised.
3. Jeremiah 17:5 -- "Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD."
a. We are not to trust in the theories of man. Men have diverse opinions. God’s is the one that counts. (Buddha, Muhammed, Timothy Leary, and Carl Sagan, barring miraculous deathbed conversion, are in Hell wishing they could come back and repent.)
b. We are not to act in our own power.
c. We are not to put our hearts in our own abilities, but in God’s. When you try to act in your own power, your heart has departed from God. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love Him, but you’ve become egocentric instead of theocentric in your thinking, and this is dangerous.
D. God, however, can change man. Man is crooked. He needs Jesus to change Him.
V. Matthew 7:13-14 -- "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."
A. Because man’s way is so crooked, he cannot possibly aim well enough to enter the narrow way, so without opening himself up to the changing power of Christ to make his crooked nature straight, he is lost.
B. In fact, one of the definitions of sin is "missing the mark." Without Jesus, man will always miss the mark.