Twenty Fourth Sunday After Pentecost: The Contagious Disease Called Sin
The Bible speaks in Hebrews 12:15 about a root of bitterness that can cause trouble.
Looking diligently, lest any man be wanting to the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up do hinder, and by it many be defiled.
You don't have to wait till it becomes fruit. You know what a root is. When a tree has started taking root, it's probably not even come up above the surface of the ground. Nothing is visible. When you plant a seed in the ground, it first of all takes root before it comes up.
And bitterness is like that. You sowed something in your heart; it is beginning to take root. If you don't pull it out, it's taking root and it will cause a lot of trouble and not only that, a lot of trouble to you first of all and many people can be defiled. Many people can get that infection, because the person who's got his bitterness in his heart will go around telling other people. It's like a person who has got chicken pox who goes around spreading it to others or a person who has got tuberculosis who goes around spreading it to others, a person who has got a cold goes around giving it to others or the flu. It's very easy to transmit this sickness. It's highly infectious. And you find people who are bitter everywhere in the world. You'll find Christendom is full of it.
When a man comes to you with a complaint against another, a gossiper who is talking evil of others, what does he have in his heart? He's got bitterness against that person.
If you want to save yourself from infection, be careful about whom you listen to. Would you like to get COVID from somebody? How careful you are! Well, this is more serious. It can destroy you more than COVID. Would you like to embrace a man with leprosy? Well, this is more serious. Why do you welcome and embrace a gossiper in your home, a backbiter? The Bible speaks in 1 Timothy 5:13 about women who go from house to house, gossiping.
And withal being idle they learn to go about from house to house: and are not only idle, but tattlers (Gossipers or Talebearers) also, and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
There are lots of women like that in many of our churches. I have no hesitation in saying that each of those women are agents of Satan. You not only welcome them, you give them a cup of coffee and sit and listen to whatever Satan wants to tell you through them and you get defiled yourself. And then she goes to the next house with her tale and you also go to somebody else's house with this tale that you've heard. And Satan is multiplying his agents by the hundreds everyday. Believers are doing his work for him in the church. Satan is called the accuser of the brethren. Revelation 12:10, the accuser of the brethren has been cast down. The one you're listening to, he/she who has come to your house, is an accuser of the brethren. Are you an accuser of the brethren of believers?
The point is not whether what you say is right or wrong. The Bible says in Revelation 12:10 that "Satan accuses the brothers before God day and night". Now Satan may tell us human beings many, many lies. He is a liar. But he will not dare to go and tell a lie to God. When Satan accuses you before God, what do you think he accuses you about? Do you think he cooks up some story about something you never did and tries to bluff God with it? Satan is not such a fool. What he will tell God about you is what you've actually done, which was wrong. And he's watching your life pretty carefully. And when you've done something wrong, he goes to God and says, "See, that's what this fellow did and it's not a lie. It is 100% true." And the same thing he says about somebody else, "See, what that fellow did over there and it's 100% true." So we see that the accusations that Satan makes before God are all 100% true, not 90% but a 100% truth.
So from that we learn another thing, that when somebody comes in and tells you a tale, even if there is no exaggeration in it and it is 100% true, that person can still be an accuser of the brethren.
He is 100% in fellowship with Satan, who is the great accuser of the brethren. And it says that Satan does this day and night. He's a full-time worker, full-time accusing the brethren. He needs agents on earth. He's got multitude of agents among the unbelievers who are his children and his servants, but he's got a lot of agents among God's children too. People who got some bitterness against somebody, people who haven't forgiven someone, who got a complaint against someone and who go around telling tales about that person. That's why the Bible says in our Epistle reading today coming from Colossians 3, "… if any have a complaint against another: even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also." Anyone! Do you have a complaint against someone? Has someone done something wrong to you? Forgive. If you don't forgive, you'll become an agent of Satan. Very, very easy. You may think, "No, no, no, I have forgiven," but deep down, the very fact that you go to someone and tell your tale of woe and make that person feel sorry for you, is an indication that you haven't really forgiven that person at all. And who are you destroying? You may think you're destroying that person's reputation by spreading stories about him. Do you know that if that person loves God and is whole-hearted, God will make even the evil that you do to him work for his good and sanctify him? The one who will be destroyed will be you. So get rid of that. Jesus prays for his children, for his brothers and sisters who failed. Satan accuses them. You can have a choice. Either fellowship with Jesus and pray for them or fellowship with Satan and accuse them. I hope we'll make the right choice at least from today.