Finding Freedom from a Bitter Life

Dr. Steve Viars July 14, 2019 Ephesians 4:31-32
Outline

Bitter (OT – Marah, NT – pikros) – sour, brackish taste, the opposite of sweet. The poisonous, putrid bile from the gall bladder. An inner emotional feeling of deep sorrow, or an outwardly directed anger that cries out to the power that seems to be causing the problem (Theological Wordbook of the OT – p. 528-529).

Exodus 29:18 - And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the Lord: it is a sweet savor, an offering made by fire unto the Lord.

Exodus 30:7 - And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresses the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.

Exodus 30:23 - Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels…

2 Corinthians 2:15 - For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ…

Psalm 104:34 - My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.

Psalm 119:103 - How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Proverbs 16:21 - The wise in heart shall be called prudent: And the sweetness of the lips increases learning.

Proverbs 27:9 - Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: So doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

Song of Solomon 5:13 - His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: His lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.

Proverbs 3:24 - When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

2 Samuel 23:1 - Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel…

The Bible uses this word group in three distinct ways:

1. The presence of bitter conditions

2. The power of a bitter heart

3. The poison of a bitter lifestyle

Ephesians 4:13 - …until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

2 principles to help us escape from enslaving bitterness

I. Rejoice in the Power of the Gospel to Free Us from Sin

A. The depth of our spiritual death

Ephesians 2:1-3 - And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

James 3:14-15 - But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.

B. The beauty of God’s mercy and love

Ephesians 2:4-6 - But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…

C. The new life we can freely enjoy in Him

Ephesians 2:7 - …so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

II. Learn to Apply the Put Off / Put On Principle to All Layers of the Bitterness Problem

A. Understand two essential points in Ephesians 4:22-24

1. The primary difference between the “unsaved lifestyle” and the “saved lifestyle”

2. The three step principle for change and growth

a. put off what displeases God – v. 22

b. change your thinking – v. 23

c. put on what honors the Lord – v. 24

B. Evaluate your core beliefs

Ephesians 4:20-21 - But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus…

Proverbs 4:23 - Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.

1. Regarding your God

Ephesians 1:3 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…

Ephesians 1:11 - …also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will…

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” AW Tozer

2. Regarding yourself

Ephesians 2:1 - …dead in trespasses and sins…

3. Regarding trials

Ephesians 2:13 - But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

C. Examine your habitual desires

Ephesians 4:22 - …lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit.

Ephesians 1:6 - …to the praise of the glory of His grace.

“If we marry mainly to meet our needs, then our marriages will be just that: good looking masks for selfishness.” Christopher Ash

D. Change your patterns of thinking

4:23 - …be renewed in the spirit of your mind…

E. Choose your behaviors carefully

Ephesians 4:31-32 - Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

- In his book Twelve Years a Slave - Solomon Northrup tells the incredible story of being born a free man in Minerva, New York in 1808, but then being kidnapped and sold as a slave in the deep south just prior to our country’s civil war…

- Northrup’s father Mintus was originally a slave in Rhode Island but was freed when the family moved to New York…

- So his son Solomon was born a free man and grew up helping his family with farming chores and then working as a raftsman in upstate New York where he actually started a company because of his ingenuity with rafts and had paid employees of his own…

- Solomon eventually married and he and his wife Anne had 3 children together…in addition to his work he also became well known as an excellent fiddle player in his community…

- in 1841, Solomon’s wife found a job for a few weeks as a cook and the plan was for her to take the children with her and soon return and reunite their family…

- While she was gone, a white community leader introduced Solomon to two men from out of town who offered to pay Solomon generous wages if he would join them and play his fiddle in a traveling musical show…with the promise that he would be back before his family returned and could surprise them with the excellent money he had earned…

- Solomon agreed…and one night while they were together…the two men drugged him and when he awoke he was in chains and on his way to being sold in slavery in Washington, DC…

- His story was later recorded firsthand by David Wilson, a white lawyer and legislator from New York…

- it is a sad and chilling tale of what it was like to be sold into slavery and then face the human misery and atrocities that went with that condition…

- the problem was that once he was relocated and enslaved in the deep south, there was no way for him to get word to his family or acquaintances in the north and attempting to communicate or escape risked certain death…he actually watched fellow slaves being whipped and lynched for that very reason…

- twelve years later a traveling carpenter from Canada named Bass was hired to construct a building for the plantation owner who had purchased Solomon…

- eventually Bass learned about Solomon’s plight and quietly promised to write letters on his behalf to contacts in NY…

- Bass finished the job and moved on and months passed with no word from anyone…

- then came the day when Solomon and the other slaves were working out in a field and a carriage pulled up with the sheriff and a leader from NY who had come to set him free…

- you may know that this book has been made into a movie and this particular scene is especially moving as a man who had lost all hope was immediately and amazingly freed…

- a year later he and David Wilson wrote a book about his experience and it sold over 30,000 copies…that would have been 8 years before the civil war…making it not only one of the longest North American slave narratives, but also one of the best selling…

- imagine the delicious sensation of being freed from enslavement…

- This summer we are doing a series entitled Growing by Overcoming Bitterness

- our pastoral staff has been struck by the response to what we have been studying from a number of men and women in our church family…

- many – perhaps all of us would say that we struggle with bitterness…some would even say they feel like Solomon Northrup…enslaved to feelings and desires and thoughts and words that the Scripture describes as…

- Bitter (OT – Marah, NT – pikros) – sour, brackish taste, the opposite of sweet. The poisonous, putrid bile from the gall bladder. An inner emotional feeling of deep sorrow, or an outwardly directed anger that cries out to the power that seems to be causing the problem (Theological Wordbook of the OT – p. 528-529).

- who wants to be enslaved to that?...

- the good news is that God offers people like you and me freedom from bitterness…where a carriage pulls up and a Rescuer steps down…and his name is Jesus Christ…our delightfully sweet Savior…

- it is interesting that a word that comes up over and over in the OT sacrificial system is the word “sweet”…

- one of dozens of examples we could cite is Exodus 29:18 (KJV) - And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the Lord: it is a sweet savor, an offering made by fire unto the Lord.

- or Exodus 30:7 (KJV) - And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresses the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.

- or Exodus 30:23 (KJV) - Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,

- you know that smell when you walk into Cracker Barrel in the fall and they’ve put out those items that smell like cinnamon…

- and the picture was that once your sin was covered through the shed blood of the sacrificial animal…the forgiveness and mercy you received resulted in a sweetness in your relationship with the Lord…

- of course we know all of that pointed so beautifully to the supreme sacrifice of the perfect lamb of God who died once and for all for our sin…and when a person makes a decision at a point and time to trust Christ as Savior and Lord…we enter into a position and a relationship where Paul could say things like…

- 2 Corinthians 2:15 (KJV) - For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ…

- so your life and your relationship with the Lord can be characterized by sweetness…so you find yourself in a position where you can say…

- Psalm 104:34 (KJV) - My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.

- it changes your appetite for God’s Word…

- Psalm 119:103 (KJV) - How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

- it subsequently changes the impact of your words on other people…

- Proverbs 16:21 (KJV) - The wise in heart shall be called prudent: And the sweetness of the lips increases learning.

- it affects the quality of your friendships…

- Proverbs 27:9 (KJV) - Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: So doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

- it can certainly impact your marriage…the bride said in…

- Song of Solomon 5:13 (KJV) - His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers:

His lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.

- try that one on your hubby this afternoon…

- wisdom and a right relationship with God through the finished work of our sweet Savior can even affect the way you sleep…

- Proverbs 3:24 - When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

- this can be so true that it summarizes your life when your days on earth are over…

2 Samuel 23:1 (KJV) - Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel…

- what a great way to be remembered, huh?...he was the sweet singer of Israel…that defined his very existence…

- we started our study learning that…

- The Bible uses this word group in three distinct ways:

1. The presence of bitter conditions

- these are the trials and difficulties we all face as a result of living in a sin-cursed world around sin-cursed people…

- Joseph’s brothers shot bitter arrows at him…

- The Egyptians oppressed the Jews with bitter working conditions

- Hannah’s rival provoked her bitterly because of her inability to conceive a child…

- none of that is necessarily our responsibility and if we respond to it well, we can avoid crossing the line into willful sin…

- that is why we studied the issues of biblical lament and bitter tears…

- it is possible to respond to bitter conditions well…

- but what happens when we do cross the line?....first, there’s…

2. The power of a bitter heart

- and if that’s not recognized and addressed in a timely fashion…there will be…

3. The poison of a bitter lifestyle

- we’re at the mid-point of our study – clearly into the interplay between the second and third categories…

- this morning we’re talking about Finding Freedom from a Bitter Life

- with that in mind, please open your Bible to Ephesians chapter 4…page ____ of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you..

- as soon as I say that – many of you recognize Ephesians 4 as a very important passage of Scripture both because it explains the purpose of the local church as equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry…

Ephesians 4:13 - until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

- then Paul gives one of the most extended discussions of progressive sanctification – or specific/practical principles of change and growth of any other place in the Bible…

- and surprise, surprise, surprise…what topic comes up in this all important passage…than the issue of bitterness…

- we can’t “all attain to the unity of the faith…” – unless we find freedom from a bitter life….

- let’s listen in on what Paul has to say…

- read Ephesians 4:22-32

- so we’re talking this am about Finding Freedom from a Bitter Life, and let’s spend the rest of our time this am studying the message of this book looking for 2 principles to help us escape from enslaving bitterness

I. Rejoice in the Power of the Gospel to Free Us from Sin

- one of the reasons Twelve Years a Slave was helpful to me was to think more carefully about the terrible nature of slavery and how hopeless many people were that anything could or would ever be done about it…

- that’s the picture Paul paints in the book of Ephesians about our relationship to sin…

A. The depth of our spiritual death

- Ephesians 2:1–3 - And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

- if you were with us last week – there are certain ideas from these verses that ought to come leaping off the page in reference to bitterness…

- remember one of the core passages involving bitterness is James 3:14–15 - But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.

- our adversary wants to enslave men and women in bitter jealousy that is characterized by both pride and lies…he would love it if your life was filled a sour, brackish taste…the poisonous, putrid bile from the gall bladder. An inner emotional feeling of deep sorrow, or an outwardly directed anger…

- also please look at Eph 2:3 for a moment [re-read]…thinking back to last week, who does that sound like?...that’s Esau…give me some of that red stuff…

- I don’t care about my birthright – my place in the plan and program of God in this instance (or ever)…

- I care about my immediate gratification even if I have to run to some idol out in vanity fair in order to satisfy my cravings…give me some of that red stuff – living in the lust of his flesh, indulging the desires of the heart and mind…by nature a child of wrath…

- that wouldn’t be hard to prove either would it…because as he spun that story in his mind by the end of his father’s life he was saying that Jacob stole the birthright from him [that’s not exactly what happened]…

- and he lets out not just any cry – but the Bible is sure to note that it’s a bitter cry and not long afterward Esau is plotting to do what…kill his brother…

- totally enslaved to his bitterness…

- thankfully Paul goes on to tell the Ephesians about…

B. The beauty of God’s mercy and love

- Ephesians 2:4–6 - But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

- when Solomon Northrup’s rescuers came, they were doing so at great personal risk and sacrifice…

- because in that part of the country at that point in our nation’s history – the plantation owner viewed Solomon as his property…

- and they had to get him in the carriage, off the plantation, and to the nearest judge to review the facts of the case…

- that’s exactly what our Savior has done for us and so much more…so that we could be freed from the power and penalty of sin…leading to…

C. The new life we can freely enjoy in Him.

- Ephesians 2:7 - so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

- so if you have been going through this study and saying – yes, I struggle with bitterness and I have very little hope that its ever going to get any better – in fact – I fear that as I get older and face more bitter circumstances – it’s highly likely the bitterness of my heart and life is even going to get worse…

- friends – there’s a powerful Savior stepping down from the carriage who would beg to differ with that position…

- we can and we should have hope…not that all the bitter circumstances will be removed in this life – but that the gospel is powerful enough to deliver us from being sinfully bitter in heart and life…

- so if that’s true, what does the process look like?

II. Learn to Apply the Put Off / Put On Principle to all Layers of the Bitterness Problem

- one aspect of biblical Christianity that many of us especially appreciate is that God’s Word gives us tools to solve problems…

- yes, in the power of the Holy Spirit…but there are specific steps we take to overcome bitterness…now please lock onto verses 22-24of chapter 4…[re-read]

A. Understand 2 essential points in Ephesians 4:22-24

1. The primary difference between the “unsaved lifestyle” and the “saved lifestyle”

- see, there’s a contrast between the unsaved lifestyle of verse 22 and the saved lifestyle in verse 24…

- what’s the point of the contrast?...one approach lives by deceitful desires…the other lives by the truth of the word of God?...

- and which is obviously going to lead to sinful bitterness of heart and life?...

- and so moment by moment – as we respond to the bitter circumstances of living in a sin-cursed world…we should ask ourselves – am I operating right now by my feelings (lusts of deceit) or the principles of the Word of God regardless of how I might be feeling?...

2. The three step principle for change and growth

- you saw the steps clearly outlined in the verses…

a. put off what displeases God – v. 22

b. change your thinking – v. 23

c. put on what honors the Lord – v. 24

- it’s a clothing illustration – these exact same words were used of a person in Bible times changing their clothes…

- and you can do that in both your heart and your behavior…

- so in the power of Christ – you are evaluating bitterness on multiple levels…and any aspect of it that displeases God – you’re putting to death…

- and you’re replacing that same aspect with what honors the Lord…

- that’s how a Christian changes – the principle of replacement [develop – when’s a thief no longer a thief…]

- now, if you’re really trying to track with this – here’s the appropriate question – what do we mean – “evaluating bitterness on multiple levels”?

- great question – and a key to understanding what the Bible says about how to change…

- there are different ways to organize what Scripture says about human motivation and behavior…but here’s a very helpful one…

- your core beliefs, your habitual desires, your patterns of thinking, and your chosen words and behaviors…[there’s other ways of doing this – but this is a good and helpful way]…

- now, let’s arm ourselves with that truth…reach into the crockpot of bitterness…and start breaking the chains of enslavement (I realize I just mixed 3 different metaphors there]…

B. Evaluate your core beliefs

- did you notice in this passage how much of an emphasis there is on truth…

- verse 15 – we’re to speak the truth in love…

- verse 17 – we’re not supposed to walk like the Gentiles in the futility of our minds…

- Ephesians 4:20–21 - But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus,

- now, this is very, very important…we all have a set of core beliefs that we carry with us each and every day…it’s our working theology…

- and we process every event through the lens of that working theology…

- picture it like an iron skillet…

- you crack an egg on an iron skillet and what do you get?...a runny mess…

- crack one on a hot skillet and what do you get…a delicious fried egg…

- what’s the difference – the nature of the egg?...no – the nature of the skillet…

- for some people – you can take practically any problem…any trial…any hurt, any disappointment – drop it on their core beliefs and you’re going to get a helping of bitterness…

- for others – drop the same trials, the same disappointment, the same hurt – and you get additional Christian growth…more Christlikeness…

- Proverbs 4:23 - Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.

- now, you might say – core beliefs about what?...that’s a great question and it could actually spin off an entire series…but here are a few important starting places…

1. Regarding your God

- throughout this book Paul instructs us with truth about how to think about our God…

- Ephesians 1:3 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,

- Ephesians 1:11 - also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

- AW Tozer said that – What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us – AW Tozer.

- apply that back to the story of Esau…what did his bitterness reveal about his view of God?...he was just like the children of Israel who would come after him who so frequently ran to other gods for immediate fulfillment instead of trusting and obeying God even though it was hard in the moment.

- that’s why Moses warned God’s people in Deut 29 to not let that kind of poisonous root of unbelief spring up among them…it will spread like wildfire…

- the writer of Hebrews picked up on that and said in Hebrews 12 that Esau was a profane, godless man…he despised his birthright…how’s that for a core belief?

2. Regarding yourself

- remember that James said that bitterness is directly connected to pride…

- that’s why it’s good for us to regularly preach the gospel to ourselves…we were…

- Eph. 2:1 - …dead in trespasses and sins…

- see – what is it that often makes us bitter?...the failures of others…

- well, wait a minute…don’t you fail?...don’t I fail?...

- what if God got bitter with us over our failures as quickly as we get bitter with others about theirs?...

- when your core beliefs include a biblical view of self and therefore a very healthy dose of humility because of all of the ways you fall short – you will be much more likely to avoid or overcome sinful bitterness…

- see, what needs to be put off and what needs to be put on regarding your core beliefs about yourself..

3. Regarding trials

- I would encourage you to review the five key passages we studied last week about Esau and the gracious discipline of our God…

- Gen 25ff, Deut 29, Prov 14, Jam 3, Heb 12 – all of that is available on-line

- But God disciplines us for many reasons…and understanding that needs to be part of our core theology…

- one reason he disciplines us is as a consequence of our own sin…

- and it’s amazing that some of us become bitter as a consequence that we brought on ourselves…that’s how irrational and twisted this can become…

- at other times it’s simply a trial as a result of living in a sin-cursed world designed by Him to help us become more like Christ…

- and that was one of the major points from last week – this has to be part of our working theology…

- because sometimes we become sinfully bitter at the very circumstance our sovereign God is using to help us become more like His Son…

- now, you might ask – well, what can I do to further evaluate my core beliefs and put off any wrong beliefs and replace them with correct ones?...[how do I get my skillet hot with the love of God?]

- you might want to consider reading and studying a solid theology book…especially one that is practical in nature…

- [Heather – please insert pictures of Jay Adam’s A Theology of Christian Counseling and Heath Lamberts A Theology of Biblical Counseling]…

- these would make excellent books to study in small groups and Point Man Groups and Women’s Bible studies…

­ Because you’re evaluating and correcting your core beliefs…the working theology you take into each and every situation you face…

- and by the way – please don’t view that as an educational assignment alone…

- who is stepping down out of the carriage to free you from this enslavement…

- it’s your sweet Savior… Ephesians 2:13 - But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

- then what?...

C. Examine your habitual desires

- you want what you want because you believe what you believe…

- and some of us struggle with bitterness because every morning we wake up and start wanting the wrong things…

- do you remember when you kids were small and they were just learning to dress themselves and they came out of their bedrooms with all kinds of crazy outfits?...

- some of us come out of bedrooms armed with all sorts of idolatrous desires that are just setting us up for bitterness when we’re disappointed…

- we establish selfish, unreasonable expectations…and then when others don’t measure up to our demands – we’re embittered with them instead of focused on the idolatrous nature of what we wanted…

- that’s why Paul tells us to….

- 4:22 – …lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit.

- what we should want more than anything else is to live….

- 1:6 – to the praise of the glory of His grace.

- and the beauty of this is – you can/must choose what you want…

- see, in Esau terminology – do you want to reach for the birthright (God’s purposes and glory in the matter) or the red stuff – your immediate pleasure and gratification even if you have to sin to get it…

- we ought to regularly be asking ourselves…what am I wanting, and is this a desire God can bless… if the answer to that question is no – then we have to learn to put that desire to death and replace it with one that honors Christ…

- Christopher Ash posted an important blog on the Gospel Coalition website entitled Marriage Isn’t Meant to Meet Your Needs [Heather – show pic of the website with that article]

- his point was – “If we marry mainly to meet our needs, then our marriages will be just that: good looking masks for selfishness” (Christopher Ash)

- the point of all of this is – maybe the reason we’re bitter isn’t because of the failures of the other person…

D. Change your patterns of thinking

- By now the process should be coming into greater focus…

- 4:23 – be renewed in the spirit of your mind…

- our minds are like loop tapes that just play over and over and over…

- like Esau’s – Jacob stole my birthright…Jacob stole my birthright…

- and we perfect the narrative often to make ourselves look best and others look worst…

- and maybe that person did fail – and maybe they need to be confronted…that may be part of the thought process…

- maybe they were confronted, they won’t ask forgiveness, they aren’t a member of the church or any church and nothing more can be done…

- but you can adopt a forgiving spirit toward them even if that situation like Christ did on the cross – father, forgive them for they know not what they do…and put that in place of endlessly reviewing all their failures in a way that pollutes your own mind and heart…

E. Choose your behaviors carefully

- Ephesians 4:31–32 - Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

- Lord willing next week we’ll talk more about the behavioral side of all of this when we think about dealing with a bitter tongue…

- but how are you responding to what this important passage of Scripture teaches us?...

1. Is there a need to move from Ephesians 2:1-3 to Eph 2:4-6?

- develop the gospel – cf. 2:8-9

2. Christian friend…are you enslaved to bitterness in a particular way…with a particular person…over a particular event?...

- what does your bitterness say about your core beliefs?, and your habitual desires, your patterns of thinking, and your chosen words and actions?...

- does forgiveness need to be sought and granted?...

- does change need to be planned?...

- wouldn’t it be great to be progressively freed from the brackish taste of bitterness to the sweet savor of living to the praise and glory of his grace?

Dr. Steve Viars

Roles

Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation

Bio

B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video