SPIRITUAL PATRIOTS #7
A SEASON OF DISCONTENT **
A. Many are eager to volunteer for battle, but few are prepared to endure military life without complaint
1. They enlist in a heat of passion, and sometime later reality begins to set in.
2. When hardship become a way of life, it is easy to become discouraged.
3. Those in positions of authority may be viewed as the enemy, instead of the original foe
B. The winter spent in Valley Forge caused many soldiers to question the Leadership of General George Washington.
1. Dissatisfaction was rampant among Sam Houston’s men as they continually retreated from the Mexican army led by Santa Anna.
2. In the end, patience was vindicated as Americans and Texans won their freedom
3. Victory over sin equally depends on steady submission to divinely appointed authority
C. The devil is delighted when discouraged Christians engage in acts of spiritual insubordination.
1. God’s patriots must refuse to cast their lot with insurgents who try to divide the people of God
2. A time comes when conscientious Christians must go their separate ways, but parting should be tearful, not prideful
3. An unchristlike spirit is nearly always at the heart of church splits
D. Jude 5-11
A. CONFRONTING SPIRITUAL INSURGENCY
1. Jude’s readers were deeply disturbed by an insurrection occurring in their home congregation
a. False teachers were leading a revolt against godly leaders in the church
b. To aid his friends in their hour of crisis, Jude pointed them to the example of Moses who successfully withstood a group of rebels attempting to divide and conquer the nation of Israel.
2. During the 40 years of wilderness wandering, many events distressed Moses
a. Aaron and Miriam tried to seize control…
b. At Marah the people complained for lack of water
c. At Kadesh-barnea the people refused to take the Promise Land
3. The rebellion of Korah had to stand at the top of the list of Moses’ painful moments
a. The revolt came from a discouraged few
b. Korah organized a conspiracy against God chosen leader
4. Something about the false teachers mentioned in this epistle reminded Jude of the rebellion of Korah
a. Jude says. “Woe unto them…” (v. 11)
b. Two things occurs with this statement:
1) Jude rebukes these false teachers, and
2) Applauds the example of Moses and how he dealt with this divisive crowd
B. OPPORTUNISTS AND INSURRECTION
1. Numbers 16:1-3
2. Korah was consumed with envy because he did not have the authority he desired
3. 250 others – chief men of the congregation – were involved in the rebellion
a. The time was right for a rebellion
b. Moses had just announced that they would spend the next 40 years wandering in the wilderness
c. The news must have sounded like a death sentence – for many would not enjoy the blessings of the Promise Land
4. Rather than accepting personal responsibility for their predicament, they laid the blame at the feet of Moses and Aaron
a. They charged Moses with “going too far” with his authority – “Taking too much upon you”
b. In their minds he was nothing more than a self-appointed dictator
5. The rebels had twisted God’s word to defend their insurgency
a. They were saying that all of God’s people were holy (Ex. 19:6)
b. The statement was true, but the inference they drew from it was not
c. It was true that all God’s people were special, but it was wrong to conclude that God had no special roles for certain individuals
C. HANDLING PERSONAL ATTACKS
1. Numbers 16:4-7
2. Moses never shone more brightly than on this occasion
a. His handling of the crisis serves as a model for those who find themselves misunderstood and maligned by others.
b. The first thing he did was carry his burden to God in prayer
1) He must have been heartbroken by the seething accusations directed against him
2) At this point, it would have been easy to give up in disgust or strike back in anger, but Moses laid his trouble and temper at the feet of God
3. To his critics, Moses proposed a test.
a. Offering incense was one of the highest duties of priests.
b. If these rebels wanted the priesthood so bad, then let them come before the tabernacle of the Lord with censers in hand, and let God choose between them and the sons of Aaron
4. The test was particularly sobering in light of what had happened in Leviticus 10:1-3…
5. Moses casts the accusation back at them, “You take too much upon yourself…”
a. In standing against Moses, Korah and company was actually standing against God
b. What Korah really wanted was absolute freedom to do as he pleased – NOT true piety
6. Instead of spending all his energy defending himself, Moses decided to leave the matter with God
a. When unfairly attacked, sometimes the best thing a person can do is follow Moses’ example and let God take care of it
b. The Day of Judgment will be the ultimate day of vindication for those who have lived faithfully
D. THE PROBLEM OF UNGRATEFULNESS
1. Numbers 16:8-11
2. Moses rebuked Korah for his ingratitude.
a. Rather than appreciating the privilege of being a Levite, he grew increasingly jealous of those who served as priest
b. Discontent robbed Korah of the joy and satisfaction he should have experienced in his serve to the Lord
c. He viewed his role as insignificant when it was actually an exalted opportunity
3. The problem of envy continues to cause unrest among the people of God today
a. But notice 1 Corinthians 12:12-27
b. Everyone in the Lord’s body is important
c. There are different roles men, women, elders, etc…
d. To be jealous of one another is as senseless as an ear becoming upset because they are not an eye – both are unique and indispensable
E. A PUBLIC RELATIONS PLOY
1. Numbers 16:12-15
2. Moses summoned Dathan and Abiram to meet with his personally, but they refused to appear…making the excuse Moses just planned to gouge out their eyes (Num. 16:14)
a. Although they refused to talk with Moses, they continued to talk about him
b. They accused him of bringing them out of a land flowing with milk and honey instead of leading them to one
2. At this point, the meekest man in the world became upset
a. The job of national leader had been thrust upon him – he did not seek it, nor did he eagerly accept it
b. He had not robbed the people or wronged them in anyway – rather he made many sacrifices for them
c. Yet, he was accused of taking personal advantages of his position and ruling in tyranny
d. Moses reminds Korah and his followers to prepare their censers and appear before the Lord the next day to settle this matter once and for all
F. CENSER SHOWDOWN
1. Numbers 16:16-27
2. God told Moses and Aaron to separate themselves from the multitude because he was about to destroy them.
a. Despite all that he had suffered, Moses still loved the people of Israel and interceded on their behalf – his heart was fill with compassion, especially for those who had been misled by these cunning men.
b. Moses warned everyone to move away from the rebels who stood defiantly at the entrance of their tents.
c. Their smugness reminded Jude of the superior, self-righteous attitude that he often saw in false teachers
2. As the showdown began, Moses announced the criteria by which the people could know if he was sent by God to be their leader… Numbers 16:28-30
3. Notice God’s response… Numbers 16:31-35
G. A MESSAGE TO REBELS
1. Numbers 16:36-40
2. The altar has long been gone, but the account of Korah will not be forgotten, thanks to the pen of Jude: “Woe to them!” who “perished in the gainsaying [or, rebellion] of Korah”
3. Those who respect God should value leaders placed in positions of authority by Him.
a. Children should honor and obey loving parents
b. Wives should submit to the headship of their husbands
c. Christians should submit to the authority of the elders
4. Where these principles are followed, peace and harmony abound – if they are ignored homes are broken and church are divided
H. A MODEL OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
1. The techniques modeled by Moses for coping with unjustified criticism can be successfully employed by Christians today.
a. When the people of God find themselves under attack, they should pray to God for help in dealing with their enemies and their emotions
b. They should trust in God to distinguish between the just and the unjust and to vindicate the righteous
c. And we should separate ourselves from spiritual insurrectionists to avoid being swallowed up in their sins
2. Korah, like Cain and Balaam, was a highly religious man, yet he was far from righteous.
a. What about you? Have you surrendered to God or are you living in rebellion
b. Are you discontent or disagreeable?
A. God’s patriots are people who are content to honor the Lord by doing their best in the role He has given them at the moment
1. They will cooperate and support their leaders
2. They will be energetic workers rather than envious whiners
B. But, those who serve must be careful not to confuse contentment with complacency
1. We should be constantly learning and growing in order to prepare for greater service
2. The key is to set one’s highest goals on God and not be self-serving
3. Do your best and God will take care of the rest
** Ideas for this sermon come from Aubrey Johnson’s book “Spiritual Patriots”
P. O. Box 107
Hamilton, Texas 76531