Have you ever felt trapped, like you can’t find victory over a sin, attitude or behavior? Tune in today to find some powerful advice from scripture! Help us advance the Kingdom, support our online ministry (harmonychurch.cc/give). Got kids? Check out Harmony Kids online (updated weekly) https://www.harmonychurch.cc/harmony-kids-online/!
Sermon Notes Slide Key:
- Sermons always start with “OPENING ILLUSTRATION:” and end with “CLOSING ILLUSTRATION:”
- Red = Scripture slides (reflect formatting of scripture on slides, i.e. – underlines, bold, etc.)
- All scriptures are NIV unless otherwise noted
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OPENING ILLUSTRATION:[have a pair of kids toy handcuffs]My kids love the handcuffs…When my son Simon was little, we’d take his hands and put them behind his back and tuck them into his pants and tell him he was in handcuffs, he’d walk around with his hands behind his back, giggling and laughing. It’s funny as a kid to be in handcuffs It’s terrible when you are an adult…
WE: Hopefully, none of you have had the experience of being in handcuffs…-I mean, at least not physically
But what about mentally? What about emotionally? What about spiritually?
I think more of us than want to admit have experienced the handcuffing of our hearts and minds
You know what I’m talking about, right-There is that sin you just can’t seem to get past… Try as hard as you can, you just feel trapped-You know all the things the scripture says about you, but if you were hard pressed, you’d admit you don’t believe them. You feel unloved and unwanted, and don’t see how anyone could want you-Your loneliness and angst is out of control, you feel like no one understands and you sit there feeling lost and hopeless-You can’t seem to let go, things are good in your life – but you feel the incessant need to control everything. You know it really controls you, but you still can’t let go – you’re handcuffed by your need to be in control.
What if I told you the scripture offers a better way? I know, you’re thinking, “Kent, I’ve read the bible tons, and I still feel trapped…”
The problem is, most of us don’t see the solution because we the problem, at its core, is cultural. What I mean, is that it’s a part of your culture – so you don’t see it.
It’s like trying to explain to a fish that they live in water. It’s all they’ve ever known, so they don’t see anything but the water.
We are going to spring board again from what Paul says in Ephesians, how’s it going memorizing this passage?
Ephesians 4:20-2420 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Paul’s 3 steps to a new you are easy
- Take off your old self
- Be made new in the attitude of your minds
- Put on the new self – created to be like God
I want to zoom in on the second one…Be made new in the attitude of your minds
This is the solution to the handcuffing of your hearts and mind…
I know, it doesn’t feel satisfying yet, right? It’s like being offered a cracker when you want a steak
“Kent, if I could just change the attitude of my mind, don’t you think I would?”
Can I take you to something the apostle Paul said in another one of his letters and
2 Corinthians 10:4-54 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
ILLUSTRATION: When we lived in Kansas, I was going for an early morning walk when I saw this man and woman a block over arguing with each other. The man walked away, the woman yelled something and he came running back and punched her in the face. I started going towards them and they started walking up the block. I turned to go up the block parallel and called the police… It was crazy. It was the day I decided our neighborhood needed a vigilante, so I got a weight bench and started working out. I told Jenni I wanted to be called “The Preach”.. Ha, that’s a true story.
I don’t know if you noticed the language Paul used, but it’s not soft, it was fighting word…
Our weapons are not of the world
Take captive thoughts and make them obedient to Christ
It strikes me just how opposite Paul’s thought life is to most of us. Paul takes captive his thoughts, while most of us are being taken captive by our thoughts and feelings. b What’s the difference? How do you get what Paul had?
There is a really great Christian Thinker named Dallas Willard who talked a lot on this subject.
He talked about how You are subject to at least two different things that have the potential to influence your thought life (the attitude of your mind) b Your feelings and your will b Both your feelings and will interact with the ideas that you’ve accepted either consciously or subconsciously b Willard said the problem was our culture believes that feelings are what we should organize our life around – not our will.
This is what I mean by it’s like being a fish in the water. Paul saw his will as having authority over his thought life and his feelings. We believe the opposite, that our feelings have authority over us.
ILLUSTRATION: can I try and illustrate what Willard is saying about us organizing around our feelings rather than our will.
For me, how this worked out is when I was a kid, I had the feeling of being alone all the time. I can remember being out riding my bike with all my friends and they would take off and go somewhere. I’d try to keep up and just couldn’t and no one cared, they’d ride off over a hill and I’d be left behind… Do you know what that does to a kid? to feel left behind like that?
It puts things deep in your heart, right, feelings, you start to say things, I call these agreements Agreements are lies (or ideas) Satan slips under the radar of your heart when you are emotionally vulnerable. B Because you agreed with them, he doesn’t have to speak it to you again, because from then on, you will repeat it to yourself all on your own.
So, for me, the agreement was “You’re alone, you don’t need anyone…”
Every time the feeling of abandonment would come up, I’d repeat those words in my heart and I would be put in handcuffs and I guarantee, those agreements come with ways of coping with those feelings.
And so I would cope. And as an adult, I’m still acting out old attitudes and just accepting them.
Paul would tell you to stand and take those thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ.
There is SO much to be said about this topic, and we will come back to it. If you want to put on the new life, it means recognizing the flaws in your old thought life and standing against that and making it obedient to Jesus.
CLOSING ILLUSTRATION:I haven’t been in a lot of situations that required me to get physical. But a few years ago, I was in a situation to be near another person who was physically choking another person. I got in between the two people and ended up on top of the choker, slamming their head into the floor and yelling for them to stop. Now, I know that’s not the picture of your pastor you want. But when I think about this issue, when you are being bombarded by thoughts and ideas that YOU Know are contrary to Christ. I can’t help but think that some of you need to stand in your will. To choose to no longer believe it. To break the agreement you made with the lie of Satan. To pin it to the ground and not give up.
I’ll tell you how that worked for me. I started praying through with God when I first started feeling those things about myself. I engaged in some spiritual disciplines (I will post a list of various disciplines on our FB page for those of you who are interested)I got away – solitude
I spent time with God – silence & prayer
and as I did, God started to take me through some things in my life that brought me to believing that lie.
I literally broke the agreement. and every time it came back into my head
I am not alone, I am not on my own. God loves me and is for me…I stood against the lie…
Today, my take away – is some of you haven’t entered into the life of Jesus because you are letting your feelings rule your life, Christ has given you want you need to stand against those feelings, to stand in your will and claim the truth of God in your life…
If you need to pray with someone come forward today and pray with me!