The Fatal Flaw
Ancient Greek plays typically portrayed some great leading character, who possessed one fatal flaw in his character. This person was referred to as the protagonist, by those who study literature. Although the protagonist may have been a great person in every human sense of the word, yet he was plagued with one fatal flaw in his character that was sure to bring him down to destruction.
This fatal flaw of the protagonist was unknown to himself and to others, until what time this flaw was brought to light by some opposing character in the play. The opposing character is called the antagonist. The antagonist was the only one, it seemed, who knew about the fatal flaw of the protagonist, and was determined to reveal his flaw and bring about his destruction.
I want to suggest that all people have, as it were, a fatal flaw. I understand that we are all sinners by birth and by choice, and we all brake every one of Godís laws, and by nature we are the children of wrath, and worthy of the just and righteous judgment of God. But having said that, I want to suggest that each one of us has a particular fatal flaw in our person or our character that will destroy our lives or our testimony, if it is allowed to be exposed by some antagonist in our lives.
I believe we can see this in the Scriptures, in many examples of real life people, who had fatal flaws in their person or character, with real antagonists that exposed their fatal flaws, and brought them down to ruin or even death. In this short series of three sermons, we will see several of these real life characters, and try to learn some important lessons from their lives.
1. First, we want to consider Eve, the first woman (Gen. 3:1-7).
Eve was the protagonist in our story. She was certainly a good person. She was not a sinner prior to this time. She and Adam were created upright. They were untainted with sin. Eve had no evil thoughts. She committed no evil deed. It can be safely assumed that she loved God, and she and Adam walked with God in the garden. These character qualities of Adam and Eve were not true for any other human beings, save Jesus only.
We see in our text that the antagonist was the old serpent, who is none other than the devil, that old deceiver. It was he who deceived our first mother into breaking Godís one and only commandment that was in effect at that time. It was the serpent who discovered Eveís flaw, and thereby aided her fall into sin. But what was the fatal flaw in Eve?
We read that she disobeyed God and partook of the forbidden fruit. This was the act of sin. But what fatal flaw in Eve provoked her to breach Godís law, and commit treachery and anarchy against her God and Creator?
I donít believe that Eve set out that morning to defy the commandment of God. It wasnít the desire of her heart to disobey God. This act of sin certainly wasnít premeditated. We can safely assume that sinning was the furthest thing from her mind. She didnít even know what sin was. What led up to her committing such a terrible act? We want to notice several possibilities.
1) First, Eve hung around bad company.
We see that Eve kept company with a snake Ė literally, and that is a bad thing to do! She also talked to a snake, and that is a worse thing to do. Now, as if that wasnít bad enough, she proceeded to listen to the bad advice of a snake, which is even a worse thing to do. And finally, she followed the bad advice of a snake, which is the very worst thing of all to do.
2) Secondly, like all of her offspring, Eve was a curious individual.
Eve was curious about the forbidden fruit, and what would happen if she ate it. Curiosity, we see, is a natural instinct of human nature, even before the fall. They say curiosity killed the cat, but in a sense, it killed the entire human race.
I am made to think of young people who are tempted with alcohol and drugs, and other forbidden fruit, that will kill their lives and bring them down to ruin. I am made to think of Christians who are tempted to dabble in curious things. Beloved, before you dabble, consider the end of your actions. Consider the warnings of God, and the judgment He has promised.
3) Thirdly, Eve began to doubt Godís Word.
While she was conversing with the snake, and as her curiosity was on the rise, she began to doubt and question Godís truthfulness and His warnings. Beloved, if a perfect and upright soul could be tempted to doubt Godís Word; a soul that walked with God, and talked with God, and knew God in a very real and literal sense of the word; a soul that loved God; who as of this time knew nothing of sin Ė I ask, how can lost vile sinners possibly resist the power of the devilís temptations, much less come to faith in Christ of their own freewill and ability? If the fall of Adam and Eve doesnít prove the futility of manís freewill, then I donít know what will!
4) Fourthly, Eve began to desire the forbidden fruit.
Idol curiosity finally turned into desire and lust. The fruit, it says in verse 6 of our text, was to be desired to make one wise, and to make her like God. Ah, wasnít this the old serpentís supreme desire, to be like the Most High? Now the woman Eve was seduced into the Devilís great snare Ė the desire to be like God! Beware of the temptation to be great in this world. It is a devilish desire!
5) Fifthly, Eve was the victim of her own weakness.
I believe that Eveís fatal flaw was her own weakness. She was no match for the devil Ė not in strength, nor in wit, nor in any other way. Her only hope of resisting the devil and his temptations was the help of God, which for His own sovereign and eternal purpose, He did not interpose.
Beloved, we are all weak by nature. All lost, sinful souls are weak and helpless in themselves. We are all without strength (Rom. 5:6). Natural man cannot resist the devil, nor his temptations to sin. If Eve couldnít do it, be sure that you canít either as a weak and helpless lost sinner.
Perhaps as a Christian weakness is your fatal flaw. Perhaps you know that you are an especially weak person. Then I exhort and beseech you to stay clear of snakes. Donít walk, stand, or sit with them. Donít talk to them, and donít listen to them. Flee from temptations that war against your soul. Draw nigh to God, and the devil will flee from you. Beloved, donít play games with the devil, you are sure to lose every time!
I give this advice to every one of us, whether we think we are strong or weak. ďHim that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.Ē None of us are strong enough to beat the devil our own strength.
2. Secondly, we want to consider Cain (Genesis 4:1-11).
We read in this passage that Cain offered the fruit of his hands as a sacrifice to the Lord, and the Lord did not accept his offering. Cainís brother Abel, on the other hand, offered a spotless lamb for a sacrifice to the Lord, which pictured Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, and the Lord accepted Abelís sacrifice. Because of this, Cain was furious! He was angry no doubt with Abel and with God. And so he took his anger out on his brother Abel by slaying him in the field. The act of sin that brought Godís curse upon Cain, was that of murdering his brother. But what was Cainís fatal flaw that caused him to commit so great a sin?
Cain was no doubt envious, and jealous of his brother. He was spiteful, and angry, among other possible flaws in his character. In spite of these things, I donít believe that these flaws were at the root of his demise.
I believe that Cainís fatal flaw was revealed in his sacrifice to God. Abel, who I would call the antagonist in this story, showed by his sacrifice that the Gospel had been preached to these young men; whether by the Cherubim that guarded the way to the tree of life, or by their parents, or perhaps by God Himself. That is why Abel offered the blood sacrifice of a spotless lamb, in order to picture the Gospel of Jesus.
Why didnít Cain offer a lamb for a sacrifice?
It wasnít because Cain didnít know the proper way to approach God, which is through a proper blood sacrifice. Perhaps Cainís fall was owing to his foolish human pride and rebellion that he received from his parents as a result of their fall into sin.
But I want to entertain the idea that Cainís fatal flaw was the sin of presumption. Cain knew better! He knew what God expected. He was taught correctly. Cain presumed that God would accept something less or different than what He commanded. Cain expected God to meet with him, and accept him on his terms. Cain said ďthis is the way God tells us to approach Him, but I think He will be satisfied with my good intensions.Ē ďI think that God will accept the sacrifice of my good works.Ē ďI donít think that God cares about particulars, so long as I try my best.Ē
And such has been all Arminian, freewill religion from that time forward. Men have the Bible, which clearly shows the only way of salvation. But men are still saying that God will accept another way to Heaven. Men are still saying that faith in the sacrifice of Jesus is not the only †acceptable approach unto God. Men are still trying to approach God with the sacrifice of their hands, and their good works, and the fruit of the flesh. But beloved, just like it was with Cain, so it shall be for all such people. They shall all be cursed with a curse, and punished with everlasting banishment in the lake of fire.
Donít be presumptuous this morning! Your sacrifice will not be accepted with God. He will only accept faith in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. No other sacrifice will do. The only way to the Father is through the Son, through His death, burial and resurrection from the dead on the third day. There is no other way to Heaven!
Approach unto God this morning, believing in Jesus Christ as the only sacrifice and offering for your sins, and thou shalt be saved.
3. Thirdly, we want to consider Moses (Numbers 20:1-12).
We have preached from this passage recently, and so we wonít spend much time here. However, there is a worthy point to be made. In this text the children of Israel had no water to drink, and so they complained and blamed Moses and Aaron for their problems. God then told Moses to speak to the rock, so that it would bring forth water for the people to drink. But instead of speaking to the rock like he was told, Moses smote it in anger.
The children of Israel, who were the antagonist in this story, provoked Moses unto anger. Because of Israelís chiding, and murmuring, and complaining, Moses was angered to the point that he committed a sin unto death. ANGER, we see was Mosesí fatal flaw! Anger caused the meekest man that ever lived to commit a sin that prevented his entrance into the promised land. He died a strong, healthy man at the age of 120.
Mosesí fatal flaw of anger cost him a great deal more than he ever hoped to gain by it. As a result, it caused Moses to disobey God and smite the rock a second time. It caused him to spoil the type of Christ, Who was smitten once for sin. As a result, Moses failed to sanctify the Lord God before the children of Israel. By his anger Moses tainted the glory of God in the eyes of Godís people. As a result, Moses marred his own testimony with the people. And as a result, Moses lost his very life.
Anger is a very fatal flaw. It can ruin and destroy good men, and good servants of God. It can ruin our testimony for the Lord, before a lost and dying world. It can cause damage and harm to other believers around us. It can even be the cause of our own death. May God help us to control out anger and its destructive outrage.
4. Fourthly, we want to consider king Saul (1 Samuel 15).
Saul, when he was a young man, was humble and small in his own eyes (v. 17). But after he was anointed king of Israel, he became consumed and possessed with power. He became monstrous and cruel to his subjects. He became proud and arrogant. He began to disregard Godís priests and prophets, and to rebel against the Word of the Lord.
In our text, Saul was commanded by the Lord through Samuel the prophet, to utterly destroy the Amalekites in battle. They were not to take any of the spoil from the Amalekites, including their cattle and sheep, and their king. But Saul permitted the people to take of the sheep and cattle, and he brought king Agag back alive.
Afterwards Samuel, who I would call the antagonist in this story, spoke to Saul and He told him that he was a proud, disobedient, rebellious, and stubborn individual, because he did not perform all the Word of the Lord. Saulís fatal flaw, I believe was that of stubbornness. I understand that he was proud, haughty, arrogant, disobedient, and a host of other things. But in particular, Saul was stubborn.
Saul knew full well what God commanded him to do. He knew that he was supposed to utterly destroy the Amalekites. He knew that he wasnít supposed to take any of the spoil. There was no doubt that he knew his orders, for God gave him no slack when Saul got back from the battle.
What is stubbornness?
To be stubborn is to be rebellious, stiff-necked, and bullheaded. Have any of you every been called those things by your parents?
Stubbornness shows itself something like this: ďI donít care what my mother and father say; I donít care what my teachers say; I donít care what the authorities say; I donít care what the preacher says; I donít care what God or His Word says; Iím going to do what I want to do; Iím going to have my fun; Iím going to do things my way, even if it kills me (and it probably will); Iím not going to listen to anyone; Iím not going to obey anyone; just leave me alone, and stay out of my way.Ē
What becomes of stubborn, rebellious, bullheaded people?
Saul lost his kingdom, which he loved and cherished more than anything else. He lost his pleasure in life. He also lost Godís presence and power in his life (whether or not he was saved). He became so desperate that he even sought help from a witch. He finally lost his life in battle, and the lives of his sons, and eventually many other members of his royal family. Yes, that is what becomes of stubborn people, unless God comes to their rescue.
Have we hit on your fatal flaw this morning?
Are you weak like Eve? Donít hang around snakes. Donít talk to them. Donít listen to them. Donít take their advice. Donít put yourself in tempting circumstances. But rather, stay near to Jesus. Stay by His side and you will be safe from your fatal flaw of weakness. If you are a lost sinner, you have no strength. You are at the mercy of the devil and you sinful nature. Your only hope is to fall upon the mercy and grace of God so save you.
Are you like Cain? Do you presume that God will accept the sacrifice of you works? Let me assure you that He will not. Repent, and believe in His sacrifice, Who is Jesus Christ.
As a Christian, do you like Sampson presume that God will be with you in your sins, as He was with you when you were living in obedience to Him. I assure you that He will not be. Repent, and return to the blessed life of obedience to the Lord.
Like Moses, is your anger getting the best of you, and ruining your life and testimony for the Lord? May the Lord help those of us who struggle with the fatal flaw of anger.
Like Saul, do you have the fatal flaw of stubbornness? Are you rebellious against authorities in your life? Are you stubborn and rebellious against the Lord and His Word? May God help you to repent of your stubbornness before it is too late to turn back!
Last time we saw the fatal flaws in Eve, Cain, Moses, and Saul. This morning we want to see the fatal flaws in two other Bible characters.
1. First we want to consider the fatal flaw of Eli (1 Sam. 2:12, 22-24, 27-30; 3:11-13).
Eli was a priest of God, and the protagonist in this story. We donít know much about Eli from the Scriptures before this time, but we learn here that Eli did not have his house in order. Eliís sons, who were the antagonists in the story, were guilty of some very wicked, ungodly sins. First, they despised the sacrifices of the Lord (2:13-17). They did this by taking flesh from the peace offerings that rightfully belonged to the owners of the offerings (explain). Not only this, but they would take of the ownersí portion of the flesh before the fat of the peace offering was burnt unto the Lord, which showed dishonor for the Lord and the sacrifice that was made unto Him. If the owners of the offering objected, the priestís servant then threatened to take the flesh by force (verse 16).
Secondly, Eliís sons committed fornication with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle (2:22). It is hard to even imagine that anyone could do such wickedness, much less the sons of the priests. And when Eli found out what his sons were doing, he allowed them to continue in their sins.
This was Eliís fatal flaw, that is, allowing his sons to continue in their wicked sins. Beloved, fathers are responsible for the conduct of their children, especially in the house of God. It was Eliís place to deal with his sons. According to Levitical law, they should have been stoned for their sins of fornication. Eli warned them, but when they refused to listen and obey, he did nothing about it. We want to notice some of Eliís failures in this matter?
1. He scolded and lectured his sons, but didnít use the rod of correction on them. I suspect that Eli never disciplined his sons in a Biblical way, even when they were young and growing up. Scolding and lecturing is not enough! The rod must be applied!
2. I believe that Eli grew to be afraid of His sons. He was afraid they would hurt him if he tried to stop them from sinning. That is what often happens when children are not disciplined when they are young. They grow up to despise and to abuse their parents.
3. He didnít care as much about the Lord and His worship as he did his children. He chose to allow the sacrifices of God and His house to be desecrated, rather than to deal with his wicked sons.
4. He didnít care about the people that he ministered to as much as he did his children. His sonís caused the people to transgress against the Lord, and Eli allowed it to continue.
5. Eli didnít take Godís worship seriously. He supposed that God really didnít care what his sons did in the worship services.
6. He didnít take Godís Word and His warnings seriously. He didnít suppose the Lord would actually judge him and his sons for their sins.
What was the judgment upon Eli for allowing his sons to get by with their sins?
1. Eliís family lost their right to the priesthood (verses 30, 36).
2. Eliís descendants would not live to see old age, but would die in the flower of their age (verse 33).
3. Eli, and his two sons, and his daughter-in-law all died in one day (4:15-22).
4. Israel lost the battle against the Philistines, and about 30,000 Israelites were killed (4:10).
5. Worst of all, the Philistines took the ark of God in the battle, and the glory of God was departed from Israel (4:11, 21-22).
Some final thoughts:
We who are parents, especially us fathers, are responsible to God to discipline and correct our children. We see in 1 Samuel 2:12 that Eliís sons didnít know the Lord. As parents we canít make our children know the Lord. We are to teach them about the Lord in our homes, and bring them to church, but we canít save them. We are responsible, however, to deal with their sins with the rod of correction. We are not to let our children get by with their sins and wicked ways, especially in the house of God. In the Lordís church, preachers especially are to keep their children in order. How many preachers fail in this today? I hope all my children are listening this morning; but this goes for all of us.
We also notice that Eliís wife was not charged with sin in this matter, but God held Eli responsible! It is the Fatherís responsibility to control the children, and see that they do right Ė not the motherís. Mothers play an important role in rearing the children, and in disciplining their children, but the Lord ultimately holds us fathers accountable for our childrenís discipline and their proper, Biblical upbringing.
When we fail to correct and to raise our children according to the Scriptures, we fail the Lord; we fail our children; we fail our church; we fail our community; and we fail ourselves. As Christian parents, we want our children to turn out the best they can be. We want them to be good and respectable church members, and good and productive members of the community, but if we donít raise them Godís way, and discipline them according to Godís Word, then we are asking for their own harm and destruction. We are asking for them to turn out like Eliís sons when they grow up.
Parents please listen to me this morning, the most precious blessings and greatest responsibilities placed in our care are our children. They are not play toys or animals like the evolutionary humanists try to tell us, but they are living souls. And as God fearing parents we should want the best for our children. But the only way that our children will be the best they can be, is for us to raise them Godís way. And beloved, be sure that God will hold us accountable for the way we raise our children. We see in our text that God held Eli accountable for his children!
Today, one of the greatest downfalls of our nation is the lack of child discipline. The liberals have taken the rod of correction out of the schools and have given them drugs instead, and for the most part they have taken the rod out of the American home. As a result we have a nation filled with wild, ruthless young people, who have no respect for authority, and no regard for law and order, and no honor and respect for their parents and their elders, and no honor and respect for God, or His Word, or His house. May God help us to get back to Godís way of raising our children. The results of raising children Eliís way and the liberalís way is the curse of God, and bitterness, and death. The end result will eventually be the downfall of our nation. Let us not be guilty of Eliís fatal flaw!
2. Secondly this morning, we want to consider the fatal flaw of David (2 Sam. 11:1-5)
In 2 Samuel chapter 11, we read about some great sins of David, who is the protagonist in this story. It was the time of the year when the kings went out to battle. David decided for some reason, to sit this one out. He decided to stay around the palace, while the other men went out and did his fighting for him. One evening, David decided to take a walk upon the roof top of his house, when low and behold, he saw a beautiful woman named Bathsheba, bathing on the roof next door. Now, Bathsheba was the wife of Uriah the Hittite. David saw her beauty and he lusted after her, and caused her to be brought to him. You see, because David was the King of Israel, he could borrow another manís wife and get by with it; or so he thought. David proceeded to commit adultery with her, and consequently she conceived a child out of whoredom by David.
To make a long story short, Davidís sin of adultery created another problem; a child born without a legitimate father. In order to cover-up his sin, David proceeded to have Bathshebaís husband killed in battle. He did this in such a way that no one would suspect what David had done to Uriah. No one, that is, accept the Lord. Nathan the prophet, who we might call the antagonist, told David a little story about a rich man that had exceeding many flocks of sheep, who took a poor manís one and only little ewe lamb to feed a traveler who was passing by. Well, David soon found out that he was the rich man who took his poor neighborís wife. When David understood that Nathan was talking about him, he acknowledged his sins, and repented of his sins before the Lord. Psalm 51 is all about Davidís prayer of repentance for his wicked sins.
What was Davidís fatal flaw? I believe it was the sin of sexual lust. It is true that David was slothful in his duties to his nation for not going out to the battle. He certainly coveted his neighbors wife, in violation of the tenth commandment in Exodus 20:17. He was guilty of murdering his neighbor, who was his loyal subject and friend. Can you imagine that? This is hard to believe of a man whom the Bible said was ďa man after Godís own heart.Ē Beloved, that is how far the sin of sexual lust will take a man, even a great and righteous man like David.
Beloved, I would hate to know how many preachers and pastors have fallen into this wicked sin of sexual lust over the years. I would hate to know how many believers and church members have fallen into this sin of sexual lust, and destroyed their lives and the lives of others around them. I would hate to know how many lives of little children have been torn and shattered by their parentís sins of sexual lust. I would hate to know how many children of God, who were once highly respected by everyone, have tainted their testimonies, and the testimony of their churches and of their Savior, and have tainted the glory of God by their sins of sexual lust!
I believe that sexual lust has caused more harm and more damage to more Christians and more preachers, and to the cause of Christ in the world, than perhaps all other sins put together. There are perhaps more warnings against this sin in the New Testament than any other sin. The reason is, the old nature is prone to this sin. It is no doubt the strongest of all carnal desires. Few people do not have the passion of sexual lust in their old natural hearts, and I might add, especially those who are younger.
Beloved, the strength of this lust is more than what most people are able to overcome. That is why Paul said for believers to marry, ďfor it is better to marry than to burnĒ (1 Cor. 7:9). Marriage is Godís design, and this is the only way that He accepts and permits mankind to satisfy their natural sexual passions. But beloved, sometimes sexual lust causes people to go outside the marriage bond to find fulfillment, as it did in the case of David. When people yield to their ungodly sexual desires, and violate the marriage bed, they fall into severe consequences for their sins, which leads us to our next thought.
The consequences for Davidís sin of sensual lust were manifold.
1. First, the sword would never depart from his house (2 Sam. 12:10).
2. Secondly, Davidís daughter Tamar (who was Davidís son Absalomís sister), was raped by Amnon, Davidís son by a different wife (2 Sam. 13:1-19).
3. Thirdly, Absalom murdered Amnon for raping his sister (2 Sam. 13:20-33).
4. Fourthly, Absalom conspired against David to overthrow his kingdom, and to take his throne (2 Sam. 15).
5. Fifthly, as a result of Absalomís conspiracy, a civil war broke out and at least 20,000 Israelites were killed, and Absalom was also killed (2 Sam. 15-19).
Beloved, these are just the highlights of the consequences upon Davidís sin of sexual lust. No doubt these consequences carried over into Solomonís reign, and on down through Davidís descendants. The Bible said that ďthe sword would never depart from His house!Ē Perhaps Davidís descendants are still suffering today because of Davidís sin of sexual lust.
May God help us to see that He hates the sins of sexual lust, and that his judgment is upon His people who commit such sins. May we see how far reaching, and how long lasting, and how devastating Godís judgment is upon this wicked sin of sexual lust. Young people, may God help you to flee youthful lusts that war against your soul. Donít play with fire, because you will get burnt (Prov. 6:24-29). May God help us who are married to be true to our marriage vows. May God help you adults who are not married, to resist the temptations of sexual lust. If you wrestle with this temptation, pray that God will send you a mate, who is of the Baptist faith, that the Lord would have you to marry.
Beloved, Iím glad this morning that there is forgiveness for our sins. Iím glad that David, though such a vile a sinner as he was, found grace, and mercy, and pardon for his wicked sins with the Lord.
If you are a child of God this morning, and you have committed the sins of Eli or of David, I want you to know that there is mercy with the Lord, and there is forgiveness of sins.
If this is your case this morning, may the Lord help you to do as David did. David truly and sincerely repented of his sins against God. He asked the Lord wash him and purge, and forgive him of his sins, and then to restore unto him the joy of his salvation. Not salvation, but the joy of salvation. But let me warn us this morning, God will only except a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart; nothing less will do. But such a heart and spirit God will not despise, but He will receive you and He will forgive you.
If you are lost, then there is also grace, and mercy, and forgiveness for you at the cross of Jesus. You see, Jesus went to the old rugged cross to suffer, bleed, and die for sinners like you, to be the sacrifice for their sins, so that God could forgive them of all there sins. Believe that Jesus died for you, was buried, and rose from the dead the third day, and He will save you right now!
The Fatal Flaw
1. First we want to consider Judas Iscariot (Matthew 26:14-16).
The fatal flaw of Judas was that of greed. Many things could be said about Judas. He was evil through and through. He had as many flaws in his character as any one person could. I also realize that he was ordained to this condemnation. It was Judas that the Scriptures foretold would be the faithful friend of Jesus who would lift up his heel against the Lord (Ps. 41:9); and that he would be number among the disciples, and that he would come to his dreadful doom (Acts 1:16-20). But all of these things considered, I believe it was greed that drove Judas to fulfill his black purpose in Godís plan of salvation in Christ.
We want to notice several things that greed caused Judas to do:
1. Greed caused Judas to join up with Christianity.
We have no record of the Lord calling Judas to the work, but I assure you that Judas didnít join up out of love for Christ, or His people, or His work in the world. Judas wasnít interested in the Lord, His Church, or His ministry. Judas was motivated strictly by greed. He saw this new religion as a means of getting rich, as we will see.
2. Greed caused Judas to despise the works of God (John 12:3-7).
Greed doesnít see the value of spending precious money on the work of the Lord. All such works are foolish and wasteful to those possessed with greed. The anointing of Jesus was wasteful to Judas. The spending of money on missionary works would be a waste to Judas. Whether one soul or a million were saved as a result, it would make no difference to him.
3. Greed caused Judas to despise the poor (John 12:5-6).
Judas didnít care for the poor, but he despised them. He would not give to the poor, and because they have nothing to offer him, he would have nothing to do with them. His phony concern for the poor was just a pretence, to keep people from ďwastingĒ money on the Lordís ministries. All he was concerned about was collecting money in the bag, supposing that he would end up with the bag once he got rid of Jesus. One way to tell a personís heart is their attitude about spending money.
4. Greed caused Judas to deceive true believers (Luke 22:21-23).
Judas was clever enough to deceive the other eleven disciples, though Jesus knew all along that Judas would betray him. Greed will go to any extreme for personal gain, even joining a church, and lying and pretending that one is something that they are not.
5. Greed caused Judas to join up with the Lordís enemies (Matthew 26:14-15).
When Judas saw that Christianity was not going to pay off and make him rich, he decided to cash in his chips. Greed will cause men to be turn coats, and to secretly join the side of the Lordís enemies for personal gain. (Mention Masonic Lodge, etc.).
6. Judasí greed invited Satanic influence, and finally Satanic possession (John 13:2, 26).
Those who are possessed with greed, open themselves up to demonic influence and possession.
7. Greed caused Judas to betray the Lord Jesus (Matthew 26:47-49).
Eventually a professed Christian who is possessed with the fatal flaw of greed will betray the Lord Jesus Christ. They will finally and forever deny and betray Christ, His church, and His people for personal gain. Greed will cause men to betray the innocent blood of the blessed Lord Jesus Christ for 30 pieces of silver, which is the measly price of a slave. Greed will cause men to throw off their professed faith, and to cash in their hypocrisy and pretence of religion for the love of money. Sooner or later the fatal flaw of greed will manifest itself. It can only be concealed for so long, before it shows its ugly head.
8. Greed caused Judas to destroy himself (Matthew 27:2-5; Acts 1:18).
The final end of greed for Judas was a hideous and bloody suicide. Greed will bring all who are possessed with this fatal flaw to a miserable end, especially those who profess Christianity. Judas not only met with a violent end of his physical life, but what is worse, his soul was met with the eternal flames of a burning hell. Yes, the fatal flaw of greed can destroy both body and soul in hell!
Some final thoughts:
Truly we see in the case of Judas that the love of money was the root of all evil. How much do we love money this evening? Enough to join the Lordís church for personal gain? Enough to rob the Lordís work of tithes and offerings? Enough to rob and despise the poor? Enough to conspire with the Lordís enemies for personal gain? Enough to invite the devil into our hearts? Enough to betray the Lord? Enough to destroy our own lives and spend eternity in hell?
2. Secondly, we want to consider Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-5).
Explain the storyÖ
What was Ananias and Sapphiraís fatal flaw?
Was it selfishness? No doubt they were selfish, but this was not the charge against them. Was it greed? No doubt they were greedy, but this was not their charge either. Was it robbing God? No, God did not require them to give their money to the church. Was it depriving the poor and needy saints? Truly the poor saints of Jerusalem needed all the help they could get because of persecution, but this wasnít their fatal flaw either. No, their fatal flaw was that of lying; that is, lying to the Holy Spirit of God!
God hates lying (Prov. 6:16-17).
Lying is contrary to Godís nature. God is truth; Jesus in truth; the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth; Godís Word is truth; and beloved, ďno lie is of the truthĒ (1 John 2:21). Lying is a direct violation of Godís holy law. Therefore, God hates all lying, whether it be in lost sinners or in His own people.
Not only this, but lying is Satanic (John 8:44). When we lie, we act like the devil, who is the father of all lies. Certainly no Christian should want to act like the devil!
What might have led up to this incident?
Ananias and Sapphira probably were not common crooks. They were probably ďgoodĒ, moral, and respectable people. They were not much different than most of us today. Have you ever said to yourself or to your spouse that you were going to put ďXĒ number of dollars in the offering box, and then for some ďGOODĒ reason you put in less? Perhaps none of us have ever done this. Beloved, we need to be careful!
Ananias and Sapphira may not have thought that changing their mind was lying. Perhaps we all change our minds and our word, and then try to justify it. We say that, because of extenuating circumstances, we were unable to perform our word that we promised to the Lord. The car broke down or the water heater blew up, and so we couldnít perform our vows to the Lord. Again, we need to be careful about changing our word and then justifying ourselves. The Lord might just be trying us to see if we will keep our word. Therefore, we should keep our vows to the Lord, regardless of what comes up to hinder us from keeping them (Ecc. 5:4-7).
Beloved, God takes our word far more seriously than we do. What we might call changing our minds, God just might call lying to the Holy Ghost. When we donít keep our vows, and our commitments, and our promises to God, we are lying to God. Again, we need to be careful!
What is the end of liars?
The end of Ananias and Sapphira was instant death. Iím glad that God doesnít deal with us today like He did in the early church. But if He did, no doubt there would be a greater fear and reverence for God in His church. No doubt there would be less lying going on, and less idol words uttered before the Lord. May we show our appreciation for His mercy toward us today. May we strive to be honest with the Lord, and keep our word to Him.
The end of all unrepentant liars is eternal death in the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8). Yes God will judge liars in the lake of fire. Those who have lying tongues, who make lying a way of life, and who never repent of their lies, will meet with everlasting destruction. If this is your fatal flaw this evening, then repent of your wicked sins, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
3. Thirdly, we want to consider Saul of Tarsus (Romans 7:7-11).
Saul was an old dead sinner, who was alive only to his old fleshly nature. All the while, he thought he was OK. He was very religious, and a devout student of the law. He dotted every ďiĒ and crossed every ďtĒ. He didnít see himself as a law breaker or a sinner.
But one day the law came. I mean one day the law really came to old Saul of Tarsus. That is, the law of God came by the power of the Holy Spirit! The law is what revealed Saulís fatal flaw. The law said to Saul ďthou shalt not covetĒ! The law revived that sin of covetousness that lay dormant, as it were, in the heart of Saul. Later on after his conversion Saul, who now is Paul, said in Rom. 7:9 ďÖthe commandment came, sin revived, and I diedĒ. Thus Saul was slain by the law of God.
Saulís ďdeathĒ was a good thing for him.
Saul died to his false morality and his self-righteousness. Saul realized that all of his religious baggage was nothing more than dung. He discovered that all his works were nothing more than filthy rags. He came to see his sins as ďexceeding sinfulĒ (Rom. 7:13). Yes beloved, Saul died. He realized that he was dead in his sins, and worthy of Godís righteous wrath and judgment.
But beloved, one day on the Damascus Road, Saul of Tarsus met Jesus. Jesus revealed Himself to him as the risen Lord of glory, and his Saviour. That day Saul came to believe that Jesus truly was the One that was slain for his sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead the third day for his sins.
What is your fatal flaw tonight? Saulís was the sin of covetousness.
Perhaps the Holy Spirit will reveal the law of God to you tonight, and show you that you are a law breaker before God, and that you are condemned to death.
Perhaps God will use His law to revive the fatal flaw of sin in you, that you might see yourself exceeding sinful in Godís eyes.
Perhaps you will see yourself as dead in your trespasses and sins.
And perhaps Jesus will reveal Himself to you as your Lord and Saviour tonight. Believe that Jesus died, was, buried, and rose again the third day for your sins, and He will save you even now.
Maybe you have been guilty of the fatal flaw of greed or of lying. May the Lord enable you to repent of those wicked sins before they destroy your life.
What is your fatal flaw tonight? I believe that we all have a fatal flaw in our old nature that would take us down to the pit of hell, except God intervene by His sovereign grace.
You might say ďI donít have a fatal flawĒ. Then may I suggest the fatal flaw of pride! Perhaps the greatest flaw of all is to think that you have no flaws. The thing that God hates more than anything else, is the sin of pride (Prov. 6:7). May God grant you repentance of your pride, and faith to trust in Jesus as your Lord and Saviour tonight.