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SERMON // "The Great Divide" // Maplegate Christian Fellowship


I recently released this Word from the Lord that I feel compelled to share here.


This speaks to the Lord's heart for this hour in church history.


He is seeking to bridge ALL DIVIDES.


He's seeking for a people to UNITE AROUND JESUS.


And Jesus alone.


I pray this stirs you up to ask the Lord


where you might have a blind spot.


Where is the Lord asking for your latest surrender?


What is keeping you from loving your b


rother or sister or neighbor?


What is keeping you from serving others as you would serve Christ Himself?


Church, we are growing up into Him!


We have to look more like Him!


I pray this encourages and gently challenges you.


God bless you.


FM



 

"The Great Divide"



I. INTRODUCTION


Our Lord Jesus prayed, “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”


Here Jesus was exposing a vital truth. The material is supposed to reflect the immaterial.


The natural is supposed to reflect the spiritual.


The temporal is to mirror the eternal.


The seen is meant to look like the unseen.


As it is in heaven.


What Jesus was expressing is His desire for us to pray for things to line up with the will of heaven.


This is what He did in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knew His earthly, temporal, natural and material self was at complete odds and in opposition to what was heavenly, spiritual and immaterial within Him.


Simply put, his heart was an enemy of His Spirit.


Friends, I have been praying for the soul of the Body of Christ.


Her heart is at odds with her spirit.


To say it even simpler, the mind, will, emotions, imagination and intellect of the members of Christ’s Body are not lining up with the Holy Spirit.


Here’s a good example we can find in American history. On July 4, 1776, the United States officially declared its independence from its oppressors of Great Britain. The citizens had had enough. They were shaking off their chains. They were fleeing their captors. But despite the later ratified Bill of Rights, exquisitely written, freedom did not apply to everyone. There was hidden sin. There was a blindness to sin. I want to use this system and this blindness as an example of what can happen in the Body of Christ. We are free, but do we see those who are not free? Do we hurt for them? Do we pray for them? Do we ache for them? Do we seek to love them? With unusual, sacrificial and unconditional love that melts hearts? This is what Jesus did.


Do we ache to see the peace and impartiality of heaven manifest right here on earth? Do we weep over our city and nation as Jesus wept over Jerusalem? In our example we can see just how far our blindness can take us.


Just how far our wicked hearts can take us. My ancestors were not considered human. They were mutilated, abused and painstakingly held in bondage. There was a system structured to support and maintain this bondage. And the vestiges of this system still are with us. Delayed and distorted access to voting, the economic system, land ownership, education, the military and so many other freedoms have matriculated into the system of poverty and oppression we see today. Violence, abortion, sexual sin, hopelessness. These are all outcroppings of the slavery system. It was spiritual then. It is spiritual now. And just like our example, the unconfronted sin where we have failed to repent and turn away from unrighteousness has ripple effects. It has unintended consequences. It’s even hard to answer, “What do we do now?” I believe the answer is confronting sin at its root and core with the truth and grace of Jesus Christ. Paul writes in the book of Philemon that his friend should receive the one he considered as slave the same way he would receive Paul. We should treat everyone the way we would treat Jesus. We should listen and love. We should serve with grace and truth. We should be willing to change if the Lord requires it. This is not to say the issue and example at hand is the only issue. Again, this is just an example. We’ll dig into this in a bit. But at the foundation of this message is a question. Are we loving? Where do we have unconfronted sin? Where have we locked the door of our hearts to the loving grace and truth of Jesus Christ? Where have we failed to reflect heaven here on earth? Jesus identifies with the oppressed. He loves the oppressed. He was marred more than any other man. He was publicly executed. His name was dragged through the mud. And when confronted about His death, historically Jews respond in one of two ways. They are offended or they are cut to the heart. And here is the crazy thing. He loved those who hated him because they were oppressed and they didn’t know it. They didn’t like Him loving outcasts who were oppressed and they couldn’t see their own oppression. They couldn’t see how empty religion and false teaching had blinded them to their own destitution and their need for God FOR EVERYTHING.

“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,” II Corinthians 3:5 NKJV

It’s easy to become blind when we think we’ve arrived. This is rooted in pride and this is the adversary’s major weapon. And he’s using our pride to keep us at each other’s throats - withholding love from one another instead of pouring it out in vulnerability to our brothers and sisters and simultaneous dependence and trust in God. There is a system that has its roots in the demonic realm that seeks to divide us. The devil himself knows best how to divide and conquer. In this country today we still have debates about whether slavery should even be discussed. We argue over abortion. We argue over politics. Yet there is no argument. Mankind is full of sin. And the answer to sin is the one who knew no sin, yet suffered unto blood striving against sin. His name is Jesus Christ. The title of this message is The Great Divide. And I want to make three points today along with Jesus Christ who wrote this message.


· The Body of Christ is Sick

· The Body of Christ is Divided

· The Body of Christ Must Repent to Truly Be Free

Now to be clear, THIS IS NOT A BLACK LIVES MATTER MESSAGE. Even though black lives do matter as much as Hispanic lives and Asian lives and Australian lives. This is a message about the divide between your soul and your spirit. This is a message for YOU, THE INDIVIDUAL and for THE CORPORATE BODY OF CHRIST. Far too many things divide us. And the Lord is exposing those things, bringing them to the surface so we can truly be set free.

II. THE BODY OF CHRIST IS SICK

I want to begin our study together with Samson. We know the story. Here is a man who was physically stronger than anyone else in recorded history. But beneath his outward strength lies an issue. An iniquity. A hidden sin. It was hidden to a lot of people, including Samson himself. But it wasn’t hidden from his enemy. Just as we see in the book of Job, the enemy is going about the earth looking and watching your life. There are unclean spirits who know your weakness. They know your individual story. Your wounds, your hurts, your habits and the roots of your behavior. I want to lay this foundation before we talk about Samson. The Lord allows trouble. It’s not there to kill us. It’s there to serve us. He allows trouble to strip us of our pride so we can truly see. There are hidden areas of sin. There are places we have never considered in our hearts that need a renovation. And if we submit to God, we will be set free from even the bondage we never knew existed in our lives. Unfortunately for Samson, he didn’t see or acknowledge his sickness.


“One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her.


When the Gazites were told, “Samson has come here!” they surrounded the place and lay in wait for him all night at the gate of the city. They were quiet all night, saying, “In the morning, when it is daylight, we will kill him.” And Samson lay low till midnight; then he arose at midnight, took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two gateposts, pulled them up, bar and all, put them on his shoulders, and carried them to the top of the hill that faces Hebron.” Judges 16:1-3 NKJV

Samson allowed his strength to overshadow his weakness. But we know from scripture, the Lord perfects His strength in OUR WEAKNESS.


Samson thought he could get away with sexual sin. He took a vow to stay pure before the Lord. We took a vow to die with Christ and rise with Christ when we were baptized. We died to the old man, the old life. All things are made new. So we are on a journey toward perfection - which we will only realize in heaven. But healing and deliverance from demonic oppression is God’s passion for you and for His bride. He wants to address our hidden and dark sin. The stuff we think we can get away with. We’re sick. We are sin sick. And this sickness causes a divide.

III. THE GREAT DIVIDE


Let’s look again at our friend Samson.

“Afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Entice him, and find out where his great strength lies, and by what means we may overpower him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and every one of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.” So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and with what you may be bound to afflict you.” And Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, then I shall become weak, and be like any other man.” So the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, and she bound him with them. Now men were lying in wait, staying with her in the room. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he broke the bowstrings as a strand of yarn breaks when it touches fire. So the secret of his strength was not known. Then Delilah said to Samson, “Look, you have mocked me and told me lies. Now, please tell me what you may be bound with.” So he said to her, “If they bind me securely with new ropes that have never been used, then I shall become weak, and be like any other man.” Therefore Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them, and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And men were lying in wait, staying in the room. But he broke them off his arms like a thread. Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me what you may be bound with.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head into the web of the loom”— So she wove it tightly with the batten of the loom, and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep, and pulled out the batten and the web from the loom. Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies.” And it came to pass, when she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was vexed to death, that he told her all his heart, and said to her, “No razor has ever come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.” When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart.” So the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hand. Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” So he awoke from his sleep, and said, “I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison. However, the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaven.” Judges 16:4-22 NKJV

Did you note the great divide? The promise from Samson was “I’m pure.” But He wasn’t pure. The promise from the Lord was “You’re a conquerer.” But he wasn’t victorious. We have to agree with the promises and principles of God if we are to realize them in our lives. We must abide in the TRUTH. Delilah’s name is closely linked to two words: The first word is “dalah.” It means: to dangle. To deliver. To draw. The enemy seeks to draw you away from God. He seeks to dangle lies and temptations. He seeks to deliver you to bondage and death. He wants you to think you can handle it alone. He wants you to play around with the desires of your flesh. He wants your whole heart. The other word is “dalal.” It means: to slacken or be feeble. To be oppressed. To bring low. To dry up. To be emptied. To be impoverished. To be not equal. To fail. To be made thin. These demons want to dry you out. If they can’t take your faith, they’ll try to take your strength. These sins we call little are meant to destroy us little by little. They steal our light. They steal our salt. They steal our authority in prayer. They steal our zeal for God. We don’t surrender to the cost of God’s calling. We simply admire what the Lord says we can do and we rally and scream. But we don’t experience the signs and wonders - because we can’t heal when we are not healed. We can’t set someone free by the power of God because we’re not free. We’re caught in the great divide. Let’s take just one verse.

“Judge not, that you be not judged.” Matthew 7:1 NKJV

Wow. This gets to the heart of the matter. Literally. In our heart we find our motives, our imagination, our thoughts, our will and decision making. Our desires. Our passions. Our affections. And our hatred. We are told here to do the impossible. Do not judge. Now what you feel right now is important. Do you not care that you judge? Do people deserve to be judged? Are you the righteous judge? Stay right there. This is an exposure point. The people we judge, the things we judge then for, the way we feel toward other people - all of it has roots. The simple root is sin. We can’t help it. But there is freedom from this. Our heart condition can be changed by the Word of God. We love to judge people who have abortions or murder or vote a certain way. But we are called to love them. Serve them. Embrace their persecution and rejection, not to fight back. But we can’t get to that place because we’re not free. Let’s look again at the Word of God:

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:31-36 NKJV

The audience couldn’t accept they needed freedom. They assumed it was good enough to be the seed of Abraham. They thought being in the religious order or a certain group made them immune to bondage. But Jesus was saying, if you look at the Word of God, if you look at TRUTH and you don’t see it in your life - THERE IS A DIVIDE. You are divided or cut off from the promise of God and His blessing in that area. You are a slave to that sin.



IV. THE BODY OF CHRIST MUST REPENT



The third point here is simple.


The Body of Christ must repent to be free.


This is individual and corporate. When the dry bones each see their need to submit to the prophetic call to unity - the entire Body will become one.


The issue is we don’t see our oppression.


We don’t appreciate that we are oppressed by demonic forces.


Paul warned us, we don’t wrestle with flesh and blood. We wrestle against a demonic government. A demonic kingdom. The god of this world and his system.


Even Jesus was demonically oppressed.


You might be wondering how is this possible?


Let’s think about it.


Our Lord and King and Master was marred more than any other man.


He was acquainted with grief. A man of sorrows.


He was beaten and whipped and ripped apart.


He was called an idolator. He was judged unrighteously. They tried to stone Him. He was mocked while He was on the cross by the same ones He was dying for.


And you know His response?


Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.



“Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.”

Luke 23:34 NKJV



They divided even His garments and gambled to see who would get their pieces of Jesus.


Jesus is not divided. But His Body is.


We judge each other just as they judged Him.


We are oppressed as He was oppressed.


We’re not just rejected by the world y’all. We’re rejecting each other.


And we reject the sinner and that transgender and the gay and the immigrant and the black and brown and white and Asian.


We reject the Democrat and the Republican.


We reject the mask wearer or the one who doesn’t wear a mask.


These are false flags.


There’s no real issue here.


We’ve been blinded.


And the Lord is praying for His church – “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”


And He says this as we take our piece of Jesus and claim it only belongs to us.


The charismatic.


The Baptist.


The Methodist.


The Amish.


The Catholic.


Jesus forgive us, for we do not see.


We don’t see our altars.


We don’t see our idolatry.


We worship demons and we don’t even know it. We are cooperating with demons and we think we’re advancing the Kingdom of God when we don’t live like Jesus.


Listen to this:



“Think about the people of Israel. Weren’t they united by eating the sacrifices at the altar?


What am I trying to say? Am I saying that food offered to idols has some significance, or that idols are real gods?


No, not at all.

I am saying that these sacrifices are offered to demons, not to God. And I don’t want you to participate with demons. You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons, too.


You cannot eat at the Lord’s Table and at the table of demons, too.”

1 Corinthians 10:18-21 NLT



The issue isn’t just the behavior. What we do has a spiritual root and connection. There’s a root. There’s an underlying motivation and influence. All sin is rooted in the demonic. Satan created it. All sin comes from Him. The roots of our sin come from Him.


And we are called to die to Jesus and His Word to become more like Him and less like the world created by the devil.


Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.


So just as He died at the hands of the devil, He rose on the third day!!!


He was obedient unto death. And was raised in victory. He put His faith in God ONLY. And He defeated the devil for all of us. He is our example.


He wants you to die to the perfect will of God for your life. BITTERNESS, ANGER, PRIDE, SEXUAL SIN, HATRED, PREJUDICE, ARROGANCE, SELFISHNESS, DISCOMPASSION. They all come from the enemy. And they’ve all been handled on the cross.


If we die to being obedient to God, the door opens in our hearts to be set free from these sin issues. There is no one perfect - only One. BUT HE CALLED US TOWARD PERFECTION. The answer is not just saying - well I can’t help it. Pray for the Lord to take it away as Paul sought the Lord three times.


So what am I getting at?


God wants us to be doers and not hearers.



“Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.


Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.


So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;


for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.


Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.


But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.


For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.


But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.


If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.


Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

James 1:16-27 NKJV



Peter thought He would please Jesus by cutting off Malchus’ ear.


THE NAME MALCHUS MEANS “KING.”


Some of us in the Body of Christ believe striking back at the government or the king of this world is the answer. But we are called to die for Jesus!!!


But the Lord later came and confronted Peter and said simply – “FEED MY SHEEP, FEED MY LAMBS, FEED MY SHEEP.”


The disciples thought they would please Jesus by calling down fire from heaven.



“and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him.


But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.


And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”


But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.


For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. ” And they went to another village.”

Luke 9:52-56 NKJV



He wants us to know Him by the Spirit, not our emotions.


We might feel right.


We might feel Holy.


But we are called to die for Jesus just as Peter was called.


He wants our whole heart.


He doesn’t want us to repeat what we see in the world.


He wants us to die to His will. And that is to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.


I want to read one last verse so we can begin to pray.


The Lord is knocking.


He’s always ready to clear a path in our hearts.


And the great truth is, we don’t have to work at this.


To mourn and weep and lament over our hidden sin IS A WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.


All we need to do is open the door for Him to fully expose our sin and how it kills. Our words kill. The letter kills - when we call out people for their sin - we are Bible thumping really well.


But we aren’t seeing our own sin. This is not what Jesus did. He said, “Where are your accusers?” And there was no one there to judge the adulteress. They all realized they were sinners too.


The Lord wants to take your sin. And He wants to take your oppression - if you’ll let Him.


All you need is faith in humility.


Humility that says – “I still sin.”


Faith that says – “Father, Jesus - take my sin. I turn away and I turn to you.”


Here is the last passage of scripture.



“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,


through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

Romans 5:1-2 NKJV



His did the work. He gave us access by faith to His grace.


Faith is the key.


Take the key to your heart and give it to Jesus.


The word for believe in Hebrew is expressed in ancient Hebrew writings as two symbols.


An ox.


And a seed.


The ox represents the Father - God Himself.


The seed is us. And our faith seed.


Faith is when we go to Him.


We’re not overwhelmed or afraid by His bigness.


We’re not afraid of the power He has to stamp us out.


We see the work of the Father.


That He’s the one who plowed the field.


He broke the dirt of the ground.


He made a path for us to be planted in His field.


He won’t trample our heart.


He just wants it.


As minuscule as we might feel. Tiny. Insignificant.


The mighty Father proved His love and affection and devotion and desire for your little old you.


When He sent His Son to die on the cross - to be THE PATH, THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE.


Come to Him now.


Give Him your faith.


There is more than enough grace for you.


Run to the Father.


He healed the divide.


He bridged the gap between sin and salvation with our Savior.


To bring you close.


Nothing should separate you from the love of God.


Perfect love.


It all hinges on faith.


LET US PRAY.

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