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Spiritual Cancer - A Sermon by Dave Garner

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[b]Spiritual Cancer[/b]
A sermon preached by David Garner to the Teen Youth Group at People's Baptist Church on Sunday, August 28th/05.

Cancer: a malignant new growth anywhere in the body of a person or animal; malignant tumor: cancers tend to spread and ulcerate. Anything bad or harmful that spreads and destroys.
Malignant: having an evil influence; wishing evil or harm

Intro: cancer is when healthy cells start mutating, multiplying, and growing uncontrollably, taking over and killing healthy cells. Uncle Kenny's back cancer. There is a spiritual cancer that can take over an otherwise happy and healthy Christian life to the point where it can destroy the believer and cause pain and hurt to those around:

Text: Ephesians 4:31-32 [i]Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.[/i]

[b]The Spiritual Cancer which is destroying many young people's lives is the cancerous condition called BITTERNESS![/b]

[b]BIT'TERNESS[/b], n. [from bitter.] A bitter taste; or rather a quality in things which excites a biting disagreeable sensation in the tongue.
1. extreme enmity, grudge, hatred
2. Sharpness; severity of temper.
3. Keenness of reproach; biting sarcasm.
4. Keen sorrow; painful affliction; vexation; deep distress of mind.

[b]I. The Cause of Bitterness[/b]

A. Because of circumstances
1. Illus: Joel, born March 3 1999; he's gained only 20 lbs in 6 years.
a) Over his life we have had many challenges with him
b) Satan tries to get me bitter about the situation
2. Illus: I resented growing up in a Christian environment for some time
3. When things don't always work out just the way we wanted them to; our plans as to how things should have turned out or how this person should have acted or responded.
4. A tragic circumstance of the past

B. Because of quarrels
1. Colossians 3:12-13 [i]Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.[/i]
2. Illus: my bitterness in high school, grade 8

C. Because of sin
1. Sin can start out sweet but it's end is always bitter
2. The Bible talks of one who make some bad and immoral decisions; it says in Proverbs 5:4 that [i]her end is bitter as wormwood[/i] (a plant that has a bitter nauseous taste)
3. Matthew 26:75 [i]And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.[/i]

D. Bitterness is a choice; bitterness is sin and sin is always a choice that we make
1. "I can't help feeling this way about this person or this situation"
2. God commanded us in Ephesians 4 to put all bitterness away!
3. In other words we can't blame someone else but must decide to not be bitter!
4. Bitterness is fleshly and Satanically motivated

[b]II. The Consequences of Bitterness[/b]

A. It's harmful to others
1. Psalm 64:2-3 [i]Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:[/i]
2. Biting sarcasm that we deceitfully call joking is too often really bitterness!

B. Can cause irreversible damage!
1. Illus: our friendship with another family; their bitterness has changed our relationship and it will never be the same
2. Illus: Mark; I had to stand on the Word of God and he got bitter! He was the best man at my wedding and now we aren't friends
3. Hebrews 12:15 [i]Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;[/i]

C. Causes divisions
1. First with God; it grieves the Spirit of God
2. Ephesians 4:29-31 [i]Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:[/i]
3. Second with others; Proverbs 6:19 says that God hates it when someone sow discord;
a) The Devil would like nothing better than to kill the unity of this youth group!
b) Bitterness can kill the sweet spirit of unity that a youth group should have!

D. Hinders spiritual growth; it's a CANCER!

E. You can't hide bitterness; eventually others will know

F. James 3:10-16 [i]Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.[/i]

[b]III. The Cure for Bitterness[/b]

A. Exodus 15:23-25, right after a great victory bitterness came!
Exodus 15:23-25 [i]And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,[/i]

B. Application:
1. When things are going well watch out for the cancer of bitterness; against leadership/others
2. Everyone will come to bitter waters at some point
3. God may be testing you
4. Get Jesus involved in the situation to make the bitter waters sweet!

C. Isaiah 38:17 [i]Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.[/i]

D. When you have got bones to pick, bury them instead!

E. Don't forget the "even as" in Ephesians 4:32! [i]And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.[/i]

F. Mark 11:24-26 [i]Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.[/i]

G. Confess it for what it is SIN and let the Holy Spirit root it out of your heart
1. The only cure for cancer is to cut it out; root it out; sometimes a painful process (Cece's thyroid cancer)
2. Psalms 139:23-24 [i]Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.[/i]
3. if you have ought against any, get it right!
4. don't let the seeds of bitterness take root!

Hebrews 12:15 [i]Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;[/i]
Guard your heart against this evil and sinful cancer which can destroy you and others around you

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