The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 23 : The Epistle to the HEBREWS

[Chapter 12-2] (Hebrews 12:12-17) People Who Have the Root of All Bitterness

(Hebrews 12:12-17)
“Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.”
 
 
During the early Christian period, having faith in Jesus as the Savior was the one and only spiritual armament the Jewish exiles had while being scattered by their Roman oppressors. Although they truly believed in Jesus as their Savior, they lived in constant fear while being pushed into a dead end. So, with this as backdrop some Jewish believers started to fall away out of fear, by things being imposed upon them, and by having the absence of true leaders. These believers who fell away stood a high chance of becoming the root of bitterness. Those who fell away while this root of bitterness started to sprout in their hearts, couldn’t help betraying their God and misleading other believers in the wrong way. Some of them would even justify their wickedness by saying, “Although we may have fallen short of the grace of God, we are so fortunate to be alive while living in a foreign country.”
Like this example, those who have become the root of bitterness today want to lead God’s people back into the world. Dear friends, what we do as believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit has always been to live by the will of God, which is saving people from their sins. Therefore, if anyone stands in the way of us preaching the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they are like the root of bitterness. If such people are living amongst the righteous in Gods Church, they must be identified and the true believers should become extremely wary of them. That is why God warns us in Scripture, “Look carefully lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defile.” Such people claim they believe in the righteousness of God when in fact they don’t.
 
 
The Church of God Is Made up of Believers of the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit
 
If you find any member of God’s Church trying to lead other believers back into the world, you should know that such a person is the root of bitterness. Unfortunately, we are living with such people today. We should be quick to realize that these kinds of people are the root of bitterness. Once they have allowed this root of bitterness to take root, they will stop believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit even while they sit in God’s Church. They become sweet talkers while leading Christians into a deep pit. Once you fall for their temptation, you will also become the root of bitterness even if you are a righteous person. What they do and say will indeed charm you.
For example, people who have become the root of bitterness will say, “It’s wonderful for us to serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit only, but shouldn’t we also enjoy what the world offers to be a balanced person?” They keep on trying to tempt you, saying, “Isn’t it nice to also please our flesh even as we serve the righteousness of the Lord?” We should understand that God blesses us physically as well as spiritually when we Seek First the righteousness of God. If this truth becomes clouded in our minds then what they are saying may begin to sound tempting to us. This is why those who have become the true children of God should be careful what they hear and must obey God’s will. We should therefore reject this temptation outright by having faith in the righteousness of God.
 
 
Those with Weak Faith Should Guard Themselves against What People with the Root of Bitterness Say
 
In the Church of God we have many single people who are vulnerable to temptation. People with the root of bitterness will tempt them by saying, “Who says you should stop serving the gospel? But what is wrong with enjoying your lives as you serve the gospel? Aren’t we supposed to be blessed in our bodies as we serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit?” If they say such things to those vulnerable with little faith, they can be tempted to leave their life of faith. For this reason, what they say to the righteous is like a bitter root.
God’s will for us is to follow His will while we preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. His will for us is very clear. God commanded His servants and His people, saying, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” The reason the will of God must be communicated to the righteous is so that they may obey and follow the will of God. The will of God for us is to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We should first serve this true gospel before we do anything else, and hope that God will bless us physically. When we need something for our bodies, we just need to pray and wait patiently. Then we can experience the hand of God meeting our physical needs. If God says, “Wait!” we should wait patiently by faith.
Putting fleshly things before spiritual things is the beginning of having a wrong kind of life. It is wrong to tell someone to meet their fleshly needs before doing the will of God when we are trying to do both. Our bodies exist to do spiritual work. The Apostle Paul admonished us saying “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). This Word tells us that the righteous live for the glory of God. Therefore, anyone who is putting priority in their flesh above doing the work of God first will start to grow ‘the root of bitterness’.
The desires of those who resemble the root of bitterness will lead the righteous to fall into absurd temptation. That is why you should recognize them and not listen to them. Things will not turn out the way they say it will. God’s people do not believe in what liars say. Liars will not affect those who are committed to the righteousness of God and who are determined to do the work of God first and foremost. Even if you believe in the righteousness of God as His worker, God will punish you if you mislead His people. The author of the Book of Hebrews warned us about such people, saying, “Look carefully lest any root of bitterness springs up causing trouble, and by this many become defiled.”
Dear fellow believers, do you think such people can be blessed by God if they wish to take God’s people who want to follow His will to the path of destruction? If we the righteous choose to take care of our fleshly needs first, would we be able to lead a victorious life? If this happened we must realize speedily that our lives are not upright in the eyes of God and that we must turn around immediately. Following fleshly desires is nothing but a waste of time for the righteous. The beginning of such a life may seem to flourish, but not long afterwards it will fall into the deep pit of failure and start struggling. When the spiritual signs in our hearts point into the wrong direction, our flesh, as well as our soul, will go downhill fast! The next thing that will happen is the perdition of both body and soul.
 
 
We Believe the Gospel of the Water and the Spirit with Our Whole Heart
 
Dear fellow saints, do we or do we not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Since we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, we want this gospel to be spread to the whole world, and we gladly support the mission. But there are many who are not happy with the gospel of the water and the Spirit or it being spread to the whole world. The feeling of anger and uneasiness of the success in the propagation of the gospel of the water and the Spirit indicates people are in fact opposing the will of God.
If we oppose God to the point we feel jealous of His will, we have become God’s enemy. The end result of this is a cursed destruction. Although we may feel jealous of each other, we should never feel jealous of the gospel of God’s righteousness being spread. Instead, we must be thankful unto God and praise Him for the propagation of His righteousness. Why is this so? Since the Spirit of God dwells in our hearts, the righteous rejoice over the success and gains of God’s work.
 
 
The Bible Says that the Holy Spirit Abides in the Hearts of the Righteous
 
It is written, “God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). Although we are insufficient, nevertheless the Spirit of God works through us. The Holy Spirit makes us give thanks to God. The Book of Hebrews was written specifically for the Jews who believed in Jesus. This Book also speaks to us who work in the Church of God which is the body of God. We should therefore obey God’s will and believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. We should double-guard ourselves against people who are the root of bitterness and defile others in the Church.
For this reason, we should search ourselves first and then everyone in the Church of God to see if they all believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and are following the will of God. Even if you believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, you should take a good look at your fruit to see if you are bearing any bad fruit. You should examine yourself to see if the fruit of righteousness is in fact growing. Then you must ask yourself if God is pleased with what you are doing right now.
You should examine yourself to see if you are indeed pleasing God with your work. If not, there is a problem with your faith. It means that the master of your soul is not God, but the devil. Do you want to live as a slave to the devil? The Lord tells us, “By their fruits you will know the trees.” (Mathews 7:20). God speaks here about those who have become the root of bitterness, but yet are very meaningful to us. If any one of us feels uncomfortable with the success in the propagation of the gospel, then such a heart is occupied by the devil and not by the Holy Spirit. If any one of us is unhappy with the gospel spreading successfully then that person has an evil spirit. The spirit in such a person is completely different from the Spirit of God.
Such an individual should turn from being misguided by an evil spirit, and should be rebuked. He should repent and put his faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit by believing in it with his whole heart. Such a person should come to the Lord and put his whole faith in Him who took away all the sins of the world with His baptism. Then he should die with Christ and be raised with Him to become His faithful workman. We all should become wholesome workmen by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit from the heart, and be washed clean before God. This life of faith is not just a one-time spiritual check-up for our salvation; we should be doing this continually by faith and through the gospel of the water and the Spirit until the day of our Lord’s return. All human beings should apply the Truth of salvation to themselves and become God’s workmen by believing in it from the heart to receive salvation from sins.
The Bible warns us continually saying, “Look carefully lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright” (Hebrews 12:16). We should not become such useless people before God. So many people are following their own lusts and desires rather than following God’s will. God tells us to stay away from such people and be separate. Who are these people? Esau was one of them. They are the root of bitterness.
The Lord warns us, “Look carefully lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.” Esau the older brother of Jacob sold his birthright to Jacob just to have a morsel of red stew as recorded in the Old Testament. When he came back from the field he asked his brother for some red stew. “Hey, brother! Are you done with the cooking of that stew yet, for I’m famished? Give me a bowl of the stew now!” “No, I can’t” replied Jacob. “Why can’t you? What should I do to get some of that stew you made? I will do whatever you ask.” Then Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright. Since you are the oldest son, sell me your birthright.” Esau said, “OK take it.” He thought to himself, “I am good at hunting. What good is the birthright to me anyway? You can have it now, so give me a bowl of that red stew quickly.”
From a human perspective, what Esau did is understandable, but from a spiritual perspective, his thoughts and deeds were utterly foolish. He sold the right as the first born to be blessed just for a mere bowl of red stew. People like Esau have only one goal in life and that is, to pursue the wealth of the world as their goal. Then how about believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit? Do they also follow the wealth of the world once they are born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit?
As I mentioned before, born-again Christians have the same fleshly desires as those who are not born again. However, born-again people do not pursue wealth alone. But those who are not born again seek material wealth justifying their selfish desires. That is why God warned us to look carefully at ourselves lest any of us become profane. Hebrews 12:17 says, “For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.”
 
 
Those Who Seek after Material Wealth Will Not Have Place for Repentance even if They Seek for It
 
Such people cannot return to God once they leave God for the wealth of the world. If they become rich from pursuing the wealth of the world, can they become spiritually wealthy? The Lord’s promise says this, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Mathew 6:33).
Dear fellow believers, this is what God says. When we unite ourselves to follow and serve the Lord for the expansion of the Kingdom of God, the Lord will add all these things to us. In the Bible there was a King David and a King Solomon. Solomon betrayed the will of God and sought the fame and wealth of the world. Did he have a good life? His father King David obeyed the will of God, fighting the enemies of God, living for the glory of God, while King Solomon worshipped idols to earn people’s approval. Who was blessed by God in the end? God blessed David.
King David lived for the glory of God, while King Solomon his son lived for his own desires. What happened to Solomon? His kingdom disappeared along with his people. He led his people to worship idols and therefore they were cursed by God. King David on the other hand, became a powerful king next to neighboring countries and he led his people to be blessed by God.
We the believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit also seek the glory of God. Those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit put priority in the work of God first above all things. The righteous should do the work of God even if their works are weak. We should lead such a life. The Holy Spirit who is in our hearts wants us to live this way. The Holy Spirit leads us who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. He is not pleased with us when we just seek after fleshly things.
Those who do not have the Holy Spirit in their heart take joy in pursuing the wealth of the world. They live for material wealth and it becomes their god. In other words, money becomes their god. For this reason, our God warned us to look carefully lest a root of bitterness takes root within our group. Even amongst the believers of the gospel of the water and the Spirit, this root of bitterness can spring up. Even when they claim to believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, they can turn out to be the root of bitterness.
The disciples of Jesus followed the will of Christ. After Jesus ascended back to Heaven, His disciples went everywhere and preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit. The Apostle Paul also preached the gospel of the water and the Spirit while he was alive. What we must know is how these followers lead their life of faith after the Apostle Paul died.
Sometimes I wonder about these things before God. “If I get sick and God takes me soon, will the gospel of the water and the Spirit continue to go forward? Will my co-workers be able to lead this meeting well? I should prepare for such a time from now on. I’m afraid that many people will try to distort the gospel of the water and the Spirit soon after I die.” There are times when I become indulged with such thoughts. I believe God will provide the genuine faith in His servants in good time so that they can handle the work of God without any problems. Nevertheless, our time is running out too fast to prepare for these things.
We all want to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the whole world as soon as we can. I want to share the gospel quickly and receive God’s blessings. I believe God blesses His people in the Church of God both physically and spiritually. Why is that so? When we follow the will of God, God feels responsible to bless the righteous accordingly. It is because the Lord promised us, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Mathew 6:33). When the Lord promises something, He keeps His promise without fail.
When we live to preach the gospel of God, He will add all the rest to our lives. So we can confess boldly, “I give my life to You. God, I don’t know what my life will be like although I received the remission of sin by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. One thing I do know is that You will bless my life. So I want to follow Your will. I made up my mind to live by Your will. Lord, You can take care of me. No matter what happens, You should take care of me. I know from Your Word that You will make my life prosperous. If I don’t live by Your will, I will be ashamed and So will You.” Quite a few people in the world know that I believe in God. I believe that God blesses His workers in the Church of God in the same way. If we first do God’s work, the rest will be well taken care of by God.
Dear fellow believers, our first concern should be that of seeking the righteousness of God and not for material wealth. If our minds and hearts are set like this by faith then God will meet all our other needs we have in life. So I will keep working for God no matter what. We will continue to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the world in this way. God, however, told us to watch out for those who grow the root of bitterness and so defile others in the Church of God. Our hearts become defiled when we seek the wealth of the world rather than God. Once our heart becomes dirty, it is difficult for us to come back to God. When you feel depressed because of the weakness of your works, you can come back to God by ruminating on the gospel of the water and the Spirit. But when the heart itself becomes defiled, it is much more difficult to come back to God.
We should look carefully lest anyone becomes the root of bitterness. In the Church of God, we should watch out for them, pray for such people who have allowed bitter roots to grow, and stay alert not to be led by them onto the wrong path. I hope you will take this advice by faith as if God were telling you through the Church of God. I believe the gospel of the water and the Spirit will cover the whole world soon by our faith in God.
I also believe that you and I will receive as abundant of blessings as Abraham and Isaac did. After the gospel of the water and the Spirit has been spread to the whole world, we will be prosperous. Remember Abraham? He lived more prosperous in both his body and in mind when he had faith than when he didn’t. Look at the lives of people who lived by faith in the Bible. People of faith in the Bible all lived under these great blessings from God. If this was so, then why did Peter and Paul receive so much persecution? They were gospel preachers. Preachers travel around the world. We are living our lives as pastors. Pastors stay at one place, take care of sheep and support them, so that they can preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit as evangelists. If we are not prosperous, we can’t do God’s work. When we live a prosperous life, we can reach out to more people.
If we find people like bitter roots in the Church of God, I want them to change. Why? It is because they can destroy those whose faith is weak. For this reason, I pray to God for them. Since the Holy Spirit searches, leads and blesses our thoughts and minds, there is no need to worry. It is not you and I who are following the Lord; it is the Holy Spirit who helps us to follow the Lord. I hope and pray that God will protect us, bless us and heal any root of bitterness. I also pray that none of us will be destroyed in the spirit by falling into the temptation of people who have become bitter roots. God really wants to protect everyone in His Church. I pray that God will keep us under His protection and pour out His blessings upon us all.