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Getting in God’s Way - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
April 15, 2024 8:00 pm

Getting in God’s Way - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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April 15, 2024 8:00 pm

While it's good to want to help, it's possible that we may hinder God's work in someone's life by doing so.

In Touch
Charles Stanley

Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Tuesday, April 16. When friends are in trouble, it's natural to want to help, but sometimes our good intentions can actually be interference. Today's lesson helps you know how to avoid getting in God's way. When I see people heading in the wrong way and I know the consequences of what's going to happen, I want to stop them. When I see people in need, somehow I want to help meet that need. When I see people hurting, I want to do whatever is necessary to alleviate that hurt.

And when I see people being treated unjustly, I want to rescue them or to defend them. Now as a pastor, I always thought that was exactly my responsibility and it was certainly what I felt like doing. But I had to learn a very difficult lesson, and that is, it is not my place to alleviate all hurt, to meet all needs, to stop all injustices, and to stop everybody from going in the wrong direction. Listen carefully, the title of this message, Getting in God's Way. And I want you to turn, if you will, to Matthew chapter 16. And Matthew chapter 16 is when Jesus begins very seriously to tell His disciples that He's going to have to suffer. And the first part of this chapter, beginning in the 13th verse, He has been asking them a question of who He was and what they thought about that, and they answer that. Then beginning in verse 21, I want us to start reading.

From that time, Jesus Christ began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and the chief priests and scribes and be killed and be raised up on the third day. And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, God forbid it, Lord, this shall never happen to you. But He turned and said to Peter, Get behind me, Satan, you're a stumbling block to me, for you're not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. But what will a man be profited if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?

Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? That is the first part of this passage that I want us to deal with in asking the question and discussing the theme of getting in God's way. So let me make three things very clear, listen carefully. Number one, I'm not talking about getting in God's way that is God's will.

I am rather talking about getting in God's way as a hindrance to what God is up to. Secondly, I want to say and make it very clear, this is not to imply that you and I are not to help people who are in need. When they're hurting, we want to help them. When they're in need, we want to give. When we see injustices, we want to correct it.

This is not to imply that we're not to get involved in those things. Third thing I want to make clear is this, of all the gifts of the believer, the gift of organization, the gift of giving, the gift of teaching and prophecy and so forth, the people who are going to have the most difficulty with this message are those with the gift of mercy because when they see somebody in need, they say, oh, they want to immediately go help them out. The title of this message is Getting in God's Way.

And I want to answer two questions from this passage, which I think are very clear here. The first one is, when do we get in God's way? And secondly, how do we get in God's way? So I want to begin with this question of when do we get in God's way?

And the answer to that is very simple. We get in God's way when we begin to interfere with what God is doing in somebody else's life. We get in God's way when we begin to interfere with what God is doing in someone else's life. Secondly, we get in God's way when we interfere with what God is doing in our own life.

But primarily, I want us to deal with getting in God's way when we begin to interfere with what He's doing in someone else's life. Now let's look at this passage for a moment and see what is happening here. Let's go back, if you will, in the thirteenth verse and the sixteenth chapter. It says, Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he began to ask his disciples saying, Who do people say that I, the Son of Man, am? That is, Who am I?

What are they saying about me? And so they said, Well, some are saying that you are John the Baptist, others Elijah, others Jeremiah and one of the prophets. He said, Now what I want to know is who do you think I am? Well, immediately, naturally, you know it would be Peter, he spoke up and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, which was the right answer indeed. And so Jesus commended him for that and said to him, Peter, you didn't come up with that answer, but my heavenly Father revealed that to you, he says in verse seventeen.

So here's what he's done. He's brought them to the realization two very important things happening here. First of all, of who he is, he is the Messiah, he is the Son of God. Now the second thing he has to deal with is his mission.

They know who he is now, what is his mission? It is the explanation of his mission that sets the stage and sets the whole environment here for this theme of getting in God's way, because now he has to bring them to the realization of how is the Messiah going to carry out the mission that God has given him. And so he begins by saying in verse twenty-one, from that time on, Jesus Christ began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things. Now, if you will notice what Jesus said in this passage, he said, first of all, he must go to Jerusalem.

This is part of God's plan. Not only must he go to Jerusalem, but he said he must suffer many things. Not only that, he said, I'm going to suffer them under the chief priests, the elders and the scribes. And the chief priests, elders and scribes were like the Supreme Court of the nation of Israel. That was the highest judicial body.

Whatever they decided, that was it. And so Jesus said to his apostles, I must go to Jerusalem, I must suffer many things, and I must suffer them under the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the scribes. And he says, and I must be killed and the third day rise again. Now, remember that he has just said to them, who do you say I am? They said, you're the Messiah, you're Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. And so they couched him in the Old Testament framework of the coming Messiah. But what they failed to recognize is how this mission would take place. And so when he said, suffer many things from the elders, the chief priests and scribes and be killed, that's the last thing they heard. They never heard the last part.

And on the third day, rise. Well how in the world is the Messiah going to be killed by that bunch? Scribes, chief priests and elders, how are they going to kill the Messiah? And so when Jesus explains this, notice what he did, he did it very carefully. He didn't give them any details, but he did use the word when he said, kill, the word which means to be murdered, to be done away with, without any justice, there's no justice involved there.

So he gave them just enough to know that the way that he was going to carry out his mission was a way of suffering and death, without giving them too many details, because he knew they couldn't handle that. Well, what happens? Okay, listen to what happens. Verse 22 says, and Peter, that is immediately when Jesus said this, Peter instantly, the Bible says, pull him aside and began to rebuke him. He said, God forbid it, this will never happen to you. And what he was saying is, I'm not going to allow this, there is no way this is going to happen. He says, God's not going to let that happen to you, and I'm not going to let it happen to you, assuming responsibility for Christ. He says, God forbid it, this shall never happen to you.

Now, Peter was responding, like probably many of us would have responded had we been in his same position, not knowing any more than he knew. It entered his ears, but he never heard anything about rising the third day. If he had, he would have said, now wait a minute, what's this being killed and rising the third day? What do you mean, how are you going to rise after you're killed?

The only thing he heard was this, my Messiah, my Christ, my Lord, this friend of mine that I've forsaken all for, is going to be killed by scribes and elders and chief priests. No way is that going to happen. It's not going to happen. Now, Peter was responding like you and I would normally responding, so what he does, he makes a declaration, it will not happen this way. So what he was implying is, Master, Lord, Messiah, you're making a terrible mistake. You don't know what you're talking about.

There is no way we're going to let this happen. But remember now that Peter is responding as a human being, as a man, and probably responding, like many of us would have responded had we been in that particular situation. Now, wait a minute, what does the Old Testament say about sacrifice? How did John the Baptist identify him, the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world?

What does Lamb of God imply, suffering, hardship? His instant reply was, it is not going to happen, I'm going to see to it that it does not. Now, then Jesus responds just as quickly.

Look at this. Verse 22 begins with Anne, and Peter took him aside. I mean, instantly he dealt with this, but likewise, verse 23 says, but Jesus responded just as quickly, but he turned and said to Peter, Get behind me, Satan, you're a stumbling block to me, for you're not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's. And so we have a real conflict here between Jesus and the Apostle Peter. Now, Jesus did not turn to him with a scowl on his face and scorn in his voice, but rather grieved in his spirit, grieved in his spirit, horrified by the fact that this man who had just said a few moments ago, thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

And he'd said to Peter, Peter, you didn't come up with that, my father revealed that to you. Now out of this same mouth is the voice of Satan. This is a message from the devil. He says, Get behind me, Satan.

So what does he do? The scripture says that Peter rebukes him, and he turns right around and says, Get going, Satan, that is begone Satan. And in the Greek, it is the very same phrase that you will find in the fourth chapter of Matthew, if you want to turn there quickly, the fourth chapter of Matthew, when Jesus is in the wilderness, and he's being tempted to the devil. Verse eight says, and the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, all these things will I give you, if you fall down and worship me? Then Jesus said to him, begone Satan, that is the very same phrase and the original that Jesus uses here, begone Satan, that is, get behind me Satan. So he identifies the message of the Apostle Peter as coming from the devil. He says, Peter, that's the same message I heard in the wilderness after Satan had worked me over.

Begun Satan. And he said, not only that, Peter, your name means rock. But you just fell out of your place. Now you become a stumbling block, you're a stumbling stone. Before you were a beautiful rock in your place, doing your thing, but now you've fallen out of your place.

And when you fall out of your place into the path, you become a stumbling block. So here is Jesus having to say to this man who was so well versed in the truth, illumined by the Holy Spirit. Now he's saying, this is not going to happen to you, I rebuke you, Lord Jesus, this is not going to happen. And Jesus says to him, that is the voice of the devil, that is the message of Satan, you're a stumbling block, get out of the way. Not because he was angry with Peter, but because he was horrified. Let me tell you why Jesus responded the way he did. The reason he responded the way he did was this, in the wilderness, that is exactly what he heard. Satan said to him, if you'll give them bread, they'll follow you.

If you'll give them material things, you'll get a crowd. And if you'll be sensational about it, they'll follow you to the death. And instantly when the Apostle Peter rebuked him, ringing in the ears of Jesus, unforgettable for the rest of his life, unforgettable was that voice of Satan, give them bread, they'll follow you. And Jesus Christ, so sensitive to the voice of Satan, identified it in Peter just in a split second.

Now listen very carefully and say you'll misunderstand me. I do not believe the child of God can be possessed by the devil. But I am fully persuaded that the devil can use any child of God who is not careful, who is not discerning, to get in God's way to hinder the work of God in someone else's life. Demonic spirits are in this world, freed oftentimes up to a certain point to do much. That is, Satan can use the child of God in all their well-meaning attitudes to get in the way of God, to interrupt the plan of God, the will of God, the purpose of God in someone else's life. Now, this is exactly what happens in this passage.

What Jesus here is doing is he is identifying that voice for what it is. Let me ask you a question. Are you related to someone in some way, maybe in conversation, and at this very time you are attempting to do something in their life because you see where they're headed and you know they're headed in the wrong direction, you want to correct it? Are you trying to meet somebody's need, who has a desperate need that you just think if you don't, you don't know what in the world is going to happen? Well, my friend, there are all kinds of situations and circumstances that people get themselves in, and our first response is to want to do something to alleviate that pain that is natural and normal. And I want to say again, we are to be bearers of comfort, and we are to help people who are in need, and we are to correct injustices, and we are to share our faith, and we are to reach out to people who are in need and who are hurting and suffering. But only as the Spirit of God leads us to do so. Because oftentimes, in the midst of what God is doing in a person's life, we become a stumbling block. For example, here's a person who is living in sin, and we know it, and there's something that we can do to stop where they're headed and the direction they're going in. And so what we want to do is just lay our life down in front of them and say, no, you cannot do it. And that's not the will of God, because here's what God knows.

God knows that they're going to have to blow it, they're going to have to suffer, they're going to have to fail and fail now and fail badly and fail painful now in order to prevent them from failing in a way in the future they'll never be able to recover. And so we have to be very careful and very discerning that in our attempts to help other people, we don't get in God's way. Now the reason Jesus responded so quickly to Peter was this.

Peter was attempting to thwart the will of God, not realizing that what he was trying to stop had an eternal consequence, not only for the Apostle Peter, but for the whole world, past, present and future. And so sometimes we don't understand what's happening and we get in somebody else's way and we think we're doing them a big favor. And what we do is we become a stumbling block and we fall along with the person we try to help.

It's easily done. Now why do we get in God's way trying to help other folks out? Naturally you want to help your children. You want to prevent all the pain you can, prevent all the difficulty, all the hardship. You want to correct everything.

You want to make it easy for them. But it'd be that you're standing right in the middle of God's path. And let's say you have a friend who is engaged to someone else and you see that person being mistreated and I'm telling you can't stand it, you're not going to put up with it. You're going to correct it. You're going to tell somebody off. You're going to get this thing straightened out right now. It may be that you're stepping right in the middle of what God's trying to do. On your work, it may be that you see something going along that you don't think is right and you are going to correct it.

You are going to correct it, makes no difference what. You're a Christian and you're going to get this thing stopped right now and you're going to step right in the center of God's will and His plan and His purpose and mess up the whole thing. When the apostle Peter heard what Jesus said, I must go to Jerusalem. I must suffer many things of the scribes and the elders and the chief priest and I must be killed. That's all he got.

And when he said, and be raised up on the third day, forget that, be killed. So what do we do? Sometimes we see our friends or our family or loved ones in a situation or circumstance and we want to correct it. But what we forget sometime is that we might not know the whole story. What's really going on?

How did they get where they are? What is God up to in that person's life? We know what it looks like on the surface. And so what it looks like on the surface is if I'll just get in here and turn the switch or give them a certain amount of money or go tell someone else or tell this person they can't do this, then we'll settle this whole issue. But I only know half the story. Now think about this. You and I do not know all that's going on in anybody's life, no one's life.

We will never have the full story. We don't know what people are thinking oftentimes and how they're thinking, what motivates them. And so some things that we think, well, we can correct this and I certainly ought to correct this as a Christian, I ought to correct this right now. Oh no, if you start correcting it, you're going to get in God's way and you are going to foul up what God's up to. Thank you for listening to Getting in God's Way. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or In Touch Ministries, stop by This podcast is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-15 22:23:08 / 2024-04-15 22:32:01 / 9

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