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AUG

20

SUN
Adults/Children Sunday School
9:30 AM to 10:20 AM
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10:30 AM to 11:55 AM
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Blessings of Brokenness

BLESSINGS OF BROKENNESS

Who desires to be like Jesus and be used to bring others to Christ?

If you don’t, I pray you will.

The Father wants you to be like His Son and He is working to conform you to His image. What is hindering us from being like Jesus? You won’t like the answer, because the blessing comes only after we are broken. Brokenness is bitter but essential for the Holy Spirit to make us like Jesus.

The greatest problem that keeps us from experiencing the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the Church is not our lack of ability, but it's our stubbornness and lack of brokenness. God cannot work through an individual who is proud, disobedient, and self-centered.

For example, King David had a heart for God, but when he chose his own way, as in the case of Bathsheba, he lost the intimacy he had with God. He broke God’s laws to hide his sin and keep his image and honor intact. In this condition, God could not use David for His glory. To restore David and the intimacy they shared, God had to break the back of his lust and pride by exposing his sin to Nathan, the prophet. Nathan confronted David and pronounced the consequences of his sin. Fortunately, David acknowledged his sin to God and repented with brokenness. Brokenness is where the Lord wants His people, so that He can restore them and change them. In his confession, David declared what God is looking for.

Psalm 51:16-17
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Some of us are naturally gifted. As such, we are in great danger of walking through life and doing things for God—all in our own strength. Only in the end will we find out, that in spite of all our accomplishments, God could not use us to impart Christ's tender, gentle, broken, and creative life to others. No doubt our gifts and abilities are given to us by our Creator; however, they will only become useful in building God's kingdom if we walk in humility and brokenness, depending on His strength instead of ours.

For example, when we meet Christians who are broken, we notice their tenderness and that there is no harshness nor demand in them. We feel a sense of peace when we are with them, and we are not afraid of them. They may not be naturally gifted, they may not say much, but they love much. We perceive they have “something” more than words and right or wrong that guides their lives, causing them to radiate God's love.

That “something” is the Holy Spirit.

In contrast, there is so little that God or anyone else can do for us as long as we manipulate circumstances, justify ourselves, and fight every opportunity to be broken. The more we resist, the harder our hearts become. Without realizing it, we become more unforgiving, judgmental, and critical instead of more loving.

However, when we embrace brokenness, our hearts will become soft and pliable in the hand of God. We will have less strife and more peace, joy, and love. That's why Jesus invites us in Matthew 11:29
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

The only way we experience this rest is when we stop fighting to preserve ourselves, and embrace brokenness.
No one can make this decision for us.
There is no shortcut.

God is the only One Who can break us and restore us to the image of His Son. Then He can use us.

Therefore, hearing a sermon on brokenness or reading about it will not be enough. Only when we are willing to take Christ's yoke upon us and embrace brokenness, will the Holy Spirit give us wisdom, power, and the fruit of His Spirit. There will be pain as we die to self, but without pain, there is no gain. Through brokenness, we gain God’s rest and the character of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 18:1-4
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

These words of Jesus not only refer to our initial conversion, but He also tells us that we must continue as children, being humble every day of our lives. Otherwise, we will produce consequences for which God will hold us responsible. When God brings us into new situations, we should immediately make sure that our natural life submits to the Holy Spirit. Just because we have responded properly in the past is no guarantee that we will do so again. The response of the natural to the Holy Spirit should be continuous submission, but this is where we so often refuse to be obedient. We think, “I’m saved, I don’t have to do that. I can do something else.”

Ephesians 4:20-24
But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

God holds us accountable every time we refuse to put off the old self and put on the new self. Our natural life must not rule—God must rule in us.

To refuse to be broken and humble puts a stumbling block in the growth of our spiritual life. There are areas of self-will in our lives where our pride says, “I won’t submit.”

We deify our independence and call it by the wrong name. What we call strength, God sees as stubborn weakness and sin. There are whole areas of our lives that have not yet been brought into submission, and this can only be done by dying to self, coming to the “end of ‘Me’”, and yielding to the Spirit of God through brokenness.

Therefore, God is calling His children to brokenness. This call is about being made broken bread and poured-out wine, like Jesus. If we are ever going to be made into wine that God can use, we will have to be crushed just like Jesus was crushed for us.

Yet God can never make us into wine if we object and whine about the fingers He chooses to use to crush us. We think, “If God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured-out wine in a special way, then I wouldn’t object!” But when He uses someone we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, to crush us, then we rebel. However, we cannot choose the people or circumstances that God uses to bring us to the “end of ‘Me’”.

I wonder what finger and thumb God has been using to squeeze you? Have you been as hard as a marble and escaped? God may let you escape for a season, because if you are not a mature grape, and God squeezed you anyway, the wine produced would be remarkably bitter. Therefore, God can’t use you until you are mature and willing to be crushed.

To become mature, a grape must spend time in the sun. Therefore, spend time with the Son, Jesus, and learn from Him. Repent, die to self, let God do as He likes, and you will find that He is producing the kind of bread and wine in you that will benefit His other children. You will become a witness to the lost that Jesus is alive in you.

People are spiritually hungry and hurting. God wants to use us to develop relationships with them and feed them the Word of God with brokenness, gentleness, kindness, and love, so that the Holy Spirit can bring conviction, hope, and reconcile them to God.

2 Corinthians 5:18-21
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

A church, which is a group of believers in Christ, is to be a place where damaged people come to be made whole through experiencing and receiving truth from the Word of God.
A church is to be a place where hurting people find healing, and restoration; where they are encouraged to study the Word of God for themselves, so that they can be equipped in the ministry that they have been given by God and for Him.
A church is a place where the poor in spirit are discipled in Christ Jesus until they are able to go and make disciples of Jesus.
A church is the place where God ministers to His children through gifts of the Holy Spirit that He has given to each believer so that the Body of Christ becomes mature and looks like His Son.

In a real sense, a church is to run a rescue mission, not for the well, but for the sick, that they may find the Truth, Jesus Christ, and find rest and healing in Him.

Matthew 9:12-13
But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

In truth, God calls the sick, and makes them well, because they realize the depth of their need is for Jesus, and not for man. Before God uses anyone to minister to the sick, He brings them to a place of surrender and brokenness. God uses the broken ones who aren’t afraid of seeing themselves as they truly are, desperately and utterly immoral apart from being in Him. They allow Him to create in them a new heart, full of love for God and for others, and they live for Him instead of the world and their fleshly desires.

Brokenness is God’s method for making disciples. As we break horses to make them useful, God breaks us to make us useful. Like a wild horse, we fight against this idea. We think that God does not have to do that to use someone. But the more you read God’s Word, the more you will be solidly convinced that IS the case…AND THOSE ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE GOD USES!

Why must God break us to use us?

It’s a matter of pride.

We want to be powerful, influential, and well known; the person others look up to. But God’s desires are not our desires, nor are our ways, His ways.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29
God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”

Because we are naturally prideful like Satan, God must destroy every vestige of pride in our lives before He will use us. WHY? “So that no one may boast before Him.”

God will use anyone to advance HIS kingdom, but He requires submission to His way of doing things. And as long as we are prideful and resist God’s Spirit, we will be empty, angry, selfish, unloving, and frustrated. In that condition, God won’t be able to use us.

Proverbs 16:18-20
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.

Those who have been broken are the ones who give glory to God in all things.

They are more passionate about Jesus than they are about sports, hunting, fishing, politics, careers, houses, fashion, celebrities, pets, children, or grandchildren.

Therefore, they desire to tell others, including their children and grandchildren, about their passion—Jesus Christ and His Word.

They are the ones who have given their life, purposes, and desires into God’s hand. They are believers who are “content in whatever circumstances” they are in. They have learned, through experience, that intimate fellowship with God is sweeter than ANY plan, goal, dream, purpose, or anything in life.

So re-evaluate what God is doing in your life:
Is there adversity in your life?
Have your plans failed?
Is there opposition from another person?
Are you frustrated at home, work, school, or church?
Do you lack contentment and peace?

James 1:2-5
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

God is allowing those difficulties to draw you closer to Him! You must get alone with Him and ask what is going on and what He is trying to teach you. Repent of any sin He reveals to you. Give Him thanks in those difficulties. Then your perspective on life will change.

Jesus said, in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it to the full.”

Are you experiencing that? Do you glorify God in your conduct, speech, at work, at school, and at home? Do you forgive others when they sin against you? Brokenness is the means by which God produces abundant life! Until obedience to God is your first priority, don’t expect to have an abundant life, abiding peace, or for God to use you mightily. It just won’t happen!

And understand, that if you continue to fight against God and refuse to repent and be broken, He loves you too much to leave you alone. God’s discipline will be applied, in ever increasing measures, until you trust His love for you and submit to His will.

Hebrews 12:6-11
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. 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? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 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? 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. 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.

So we must embrace brokenness.

Brokenness is the ONLY way to experience revival, renewal, and peace! For those who desire to walk close with God, to be used by Him as a witness for Christ, to know the power of the Holy Spirit, and to be like Jesus, brokenness is required, because God does not abide with the proud.

Therefore, we must courageously ask God to do whatever it takes to make us like Jesus. And it takes courage, because the breaking process is scary and not fun. It’s scary and not fun for a horse either. But it is absolutely necessary for becoming like Jesus, for having peace and joy, and like a broken horse, for being useful in God’s Kingdom.

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Through brokenness, we receive God’s grace to be and do exceedingly more than we ever imagined.

Hebrews 4:16
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Yes, let us draw near to God and receive His mercy and grace! Let’s allow Him to break us, restore us, and conform us to His Son!

Stop fighting against God like an unbroken stallion. Surrender to Christ every day and He will give you abundant life, the Holy Spirit’s fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Then you will be like Jesus and useful to God, the Father.

If you have never surrendered to Christ, I have some bad news and good news to tell you.

Unfortunately, if you died today, you would spend eternity in Hell. I know that sounds harsh, but if your house were on fire, it would be a kind and loving thing to tell you about the danger, so you could be saved and not perish in the fire.

This is the same thing. I don’t want you to perish in the fires of Hell, and here is the good news of how you can be saved.

Believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to atone for your sin. If you do, then confess that faith with your mouth in front of these witnesses. That act breaks your pride and God gives you grace to repent of being your own god and living in sin. More pride is broken as you die to yourself by being baptized so that your sin will be forgiven. Then you will be born again of the Holy Spirit. That is how you can be saved and spend eternity in Heaven.