Ephesians 4_30-32      The Root of Bitterness

Rev. David Holwick  P

First Baptist Church

Ledgewood, New Jersey

May 5, 1991

Ephesians 4:30-32


  I. Introduction.

      A. Bitterness is a common fact of life.

          1) Exodus 1:14; 12:8 - bitter herbs reflect harsh conditions in

               Egypt (and haste in leaving).

          2) Weeping bitterly occurs frequently in OT.

      B. Bitterness is a sign of a worldly attitude.        Romans 3:13-14

         "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.

          The poison of vipers is on their lips.

          Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."

      C. Many Christians are afflicted with bitterness.

          1) It can destroy your spiritual joy.

          2) It can destroy your witness with non-believers.

II. Causes of bitterness.

      A. Bitterness toward people.

          1) They have done some wrong toward you.

              a) Grandpa Frye and 40 year grudge against his daughter.

          2) They have something you don't.

             "But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in

                your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.

              Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is

                earthly, unspiritual, of the devil."         James 3:14-15

      B. Bitterness toward God.

          1) Naomi felt embittered due to death of husband and son.   Ruth 1:20

             "Don't call me Naomi," she told them. "Call me Mara, because

                the Almighty has made my life very bitter.

              I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty.

                Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty

                has brought misfortune upon me."          Ruth 1:20-21

          2) Job - "bitterness of soul" a common expression.

      C. Bitterness comes from harboring unforgiveness and envy in heart.

III. Effects of bitterness.

      A. Steers you away from God.                        Hebrews 12:15

         "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no

            bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."

          1) Grows insidiously, quietly, like a root.

          2) Turns heart away from God's grace and love.

      B. Breaks down relationships.

          1) Hebrews 12:15 - trouble is caused for many.

          2) Deut 29:18 - all of God's people can be infected.

             "Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you

                today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go

                and worship the gods of those nations;

              Make sure there is no root among you that produces such

                bitter poison."                               Deut. 29:18

      C. Turns focus to worldliness.  Makes you a captive of sin.

          1) You become a captive of sin, like Simon of Samaria.

                Peter describes him as not saved.          Acts 8:22-23

            "Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord.  Perhaps he

               will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.

             For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin."

IV. Victory over bitterness.

      A. Don't let bitterness start to begin with.

          1) David and experience at Ziklag.              1 Sam 30:6

             "David was greatly distressed because the men were talking

                of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of

                his sons and daughters.

              But David found strength in the LORD his God."     1 Sam 30:6

              a) David was equivalent to a terrorist.  While on a raid,

                  his city was destroyed and the families of his men taken.

                 His men were bitter.

              b) David did not get bitter, but found strength in God.

      B. If bitterness does start, admit it and do something.

         "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were

            sealed for the day of redemption.

          Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and

            slander, along with every form of malice.

          Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other,

            just as in Christ God forgave you."          Ephesians 4:30-32

          1) Deal with grudges directly.

          2) Get rid of bitterness by have a forgiving heart.

      C. Turn thoughts toward love.

          1) Real-life story from Los Angeles Times:

         A father and mother from Dearborn, Michigan, whose 20-year-old

            daughter had been brutally murdered, traveled to the prison

               where their daughter's convicted killer was being held.

         "We love this special person from the bottom of our hearts,"

            the mother said.

         "We harbor no hatred, no revenge."

         Is this woman simply crazy?

           "We had the normal human reaction of grief and anguish,"

               she declared:

         "Didn't I have the right to be filled with red-hot hate?

            But where would it have gotten me?

            It wouldn't have gotten me my daughter back....

         God led us on this journey.

         You don't have to commit a horrible crime to be lost.

            You just have to ignore Jesus Christ."


  V. Our response.

      A. Bitter experiences are bound to come.

      B. How will we respond to them?

      C. "Better" rather than "bitter."    (Billy Graham session)

Copyright 2017 by Rev. David Holwick

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