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BROKENNESS—THE PROCESS

Matthew 16:13-28

Everybody wants a blessed life, nobody wants the blessed life the way
God gives it—through a broken life. But before God can thoroughly
bless a person He must thoroughly break that person from his own
self-reliance.
· We saw that in Jacob, who after being broken, became Israel.
· The understanding of the necessity of brokenness before blessedness
was seen in our Savior’s purchase of redemption through brokenness,
as is personal salvation and restoration.
· The path of brokenness begins with the birth, followed by the death,
but the eventual resurrection of God’s desires and intentions.
Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David…all took this path.
· The pattern of brokenness is seen through various Bible illustrations
and in real-life demonstrations. God has been in the “breaking business”
all through the Bible.

The “Purpose of Brokenness”
(1) To bring us to spiritual maturity and
(2) To allow us to engage us in maximum ministry.

Charles Stanley’s definition of brokenness:
“Brokenness is the condition whereby our will is brought into full
submission to his will so that when he speaks, we put up no argument,
 make no rationalizations, offer no excuses, and register no blame,
but instead, instantly obey the leading of the Holy Spirit as he guides us.”

Brokenness is not just a “condition,” it is also a process—a very
predictable, planned process from God’s viewpoint.  When we are
the ones being broken it is chaotic  and confusing, it is painful
and puzzling.  God is in the very center of our circumstances,
accomplishing His purpose which is …..
(1) spiritual maturity and
(2) maximum ministry.

‘Brokenness’ that only God can Heal

How does God break us from living like unbelievers live—depending
on their five senses and their corrupt minds, their warped wills and
their easily influenced emotions?  Believers, and only believers,
have an inner man that is meant to control the outer man.

The life of Simon Peter in the gospel provides a great example of
God’s breaking process.

1.  The Process of Brokenness is Planned.

To many of us, our spiritual life is a huge mystery.  We see it as
only some spontaneous, rather than something calculated, thought
out, planned out.

Think how this planned came together for Peter.

First, Christ choose His disciples, and one of them was Peter.
And the one that Jesus had the most problems with was … Peter.

But Christ saw what He could do in and through this man—a man
who had more hang-up than a telephone solicitor.  Christ knew
with His touch, the blow of the chisel here and the heavenly
sandpaper there, Peter could be used to the glory of God.

If you will cooperate with God as you walk through the breaking
process, He will shape you into a servant that resembles His Son.

Christ’s plan was to zero in on what seemed to be Peter’s strength.
· Matthew 16:16-18  Peter spoke up…this time with the right
answer.  Jesus pointed out to Peter that he didn’t come up with
that conclusion by himself—God had revealed it to Him.
· Matthew 16:21  Jesus began to prepare His men for His death.
· Matthew 16:22.  Peter buts in.  “Why, you’re not going to do
anything of the sort!  You’re not going to be the Son of God and
have a bunch of men treat you that way.  We are going to take
care of you.”  How many know it is He that takes care of us,
and not the other way around?

Peter was a man of tremendous strength, potential, determination.
But Peter was not responding from a “spirit-level,” but from a
“soulish-level.”  His will said, “No, you won’t die.”  His emotions
said, “I’m too loyal.  I love you too much to see that happen.”
His reason said, “None of this makes any sense.”

· Matthew 16:23a.  “Peter…Satan, get behind me…”  Who?
That’s, right.  Peter, this is Satan’s plan for me to avoid the cross.
Get this.  Peter had just had this tremendous spiritual revelation
in verse 18 and now he had a soulish revelation that was
diametrically opposite.  The first came from heaven, the last came
from hell.
· Matthew 16:23b  “Peter, you are an offense unto me…”
Peter was his most outspoken, loyal disciples. It must have crushed
him.
· Matthew 16:24-26  While Jesus said this to all “his disciples,”
the primary target was Peter.  Peter had the bright idea that Jesus
would raise up an army and wipe out Rome and set up an earthly
kingdom.  “No, Peter, you must be willing to die, also.”

2. The Process of Brokenness is Perpetual.

Many people have the idea that if we have one giant, whopper of
a breaking that it will last a life-time.  Brother, you better keep
the bandages handy.  Brokenness is a perpetual process…a process
to keep us broken from self-reliance, self-glorification, self-seeking.

Years ago when I was a young adult a man was trying to sell me
some health insurance.  I said to him, “Man, I don’t need health insurance.
Can’t you see?  I’m healthy.”  His reply was, “You are over-due and you will
be needing some.”   We need health insurance because…we all get sick,
sometimes seriously sick.

If you haven’t gone through the breaking process…hang on,
you’re overdue. Our strong points can be our weak points…because
we allow them to marginalize God.
Someone said “EGO” is “edging God out.”

Every step of the way, Peter was being broken.

· Matthew 14:22-27, 28-30 – Peter’s faith was broken.
– “If it is you, bid me come.”  That’s serious spirit thinking.
– “But,” vs. 30.  Peter slipped into his soulish senses and sank.
– Here is Peter—bold, courageous, loyal, fearless, determined—
and he nearly drowned. Wiped out. Buried at sea.

· Matthew 18:15-22 – Peter’s rights were broken.
– “How oft?  Seven times?”
– “NO.”  “Seventy times seven.” Not 490, but on and on and on.
– Shattered the old Peter who had his limits.

· Matthew 19:27 – Peter’s expectations were broken.
– “What shall we have?”
– Jesus: “More than you deserve and more than you can imagine.

· John 13:4-8 – Peter’s pride was broken.
– “Thou shalt never wash my feet.”

· Matthew 26:51-52 – Peter’s wisdom was broken.
– Peter drew his sword.   Great plan, Peter.
– “Put up the sword into his place; for all they that take the sword
shall perish with the sword.”

· Matthew 26:33, 69-75 – Peter’s self-confidence was broken.
– Broken, Peter goes out weeping like a little baby.

· John 21:15-17 – Peter’s self-professed love was broken.
– “Lovest thou me?”
-”He was grieved.” Broken.

At every turn, Peter was put down, embarrassed, silenced, humiliated.

Why doesn’t God let up on us?  God works to strip from our lives
that which we depend upon…so that we will depend on Him.
God loves us too much to let us be our soulish self.
He has bigger and better things for us.

3. The Process of Brokenness is Painful.

Psalm 119:67  “Before I was afflicted, I went astray: but now have
I kept thy word.”  Verse 71  “It is good for me that I have been
afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”

The process of brokenness is painful because of what brokenness
targets—the old man, the self life, our soulish dependence.
Our old man doesn’t like to be exposed as helpless, hopeless and hellish.
Most believer know what God is targeting to break in our
lives.  We know what is grieving the Holy Spirit.
We know what is quenching the Holy Spirit.

The process of brokenness is painful because brokenness takes time.

The process of brokenness is painful because of the tools God uses
to break us.

· Family.
God may use a wife to break a husband…husband to break a wife…
parent to break a child…child to break a parent…friend to break a friend.
The real laboratory of life is the home.
The home is where the real “you” is.
God may use your children to expose your flaws, your inconsistencies,
your selfishness.

· Flesh.
God can touch our “health” to get our attention.
You have heard of many medical problems that cannot be diagnosed.
All sickness is God’s hand of breaking, but all sickness is a time to
draw near to God.

· Finances.
God can hit us where it hurts—a shot at our pocketbooks.

· Friends.
There are people God will put in your life who care to be honest
with you.

· Failure.
God can wipe out our huge egos with personal failure.  God did that
for me my first semester in college.  If I had succeeded I don’t know
where I would be today.  God used my failure—He didn’t have to do
very much to get me there—to get me to surrender to Him.

God’s most powerful tool is His Word.
· Jeremiah calls God’s Word a “hammer” 23:29, and a “fire,” 5:14.
It is also a “sword” Heb 4:12 and a bright “light” Ps 119:105.
This is one reason why people consistently stay away from church
services. The Word literally tears them up.  God uses the Word to
break us.  And you will not be broken until we can discern between
what is soul and what is spirit.

Let’s make a clarification about a couple of things that may or may
not be tools used by God that peole may wonder about.
· Death.  Does God take another person’s life to get our attention?
It will often result in that, but it doesn’t seem like God to takes the
life of someone to make a point because God loves both people.
Death is the result of sin.
· Sin.  Does God cause a person to sin to bring about another’s
submission to God?  e.g. Does God get a teenager on drugs to get
a parents to fall on their faces before God.  God will take advantage
of our sins and disobedience to bring about His purpose to confront
us and change us.

4. The Process of Brokenness is Precise.

God knows everything about everyone of us and know how to
precisely measure our breaking.  And what a great God He is…
from person to person He orders our breaking.

Our breaking will last no longer than when we finally surrender.
Any resistance on our part will prolong the process.  So our
willingness to yield shortens it.

The only thing that you can determine in the process of brokenness
is how long you will postpone the inevitable.  God will have His way.

Charles Stanley warns, “Those who resist God long enough are not
destroyed — rather, they generally are ‘shelved.’  They are ignored.
They remain unused.  They stagnate at their current level of
growth and spiritual maturity.  They remain in their flawed state.”

That concept of being “shelved” is a Bible concept.  It comes out
of 1 Corinthians 9:27 where Paul expressed the dreaded thought
of becoming a “castaway,” meaning “rejected,” (A.T. Robertson)
or “disqualified,” not from salvation, but from any earthly usefulness.

The last thing Peter wanted to do was give up the control of his life.
He wanted to do it “his way.” Brokenness is God’s process of bringing
us to the place where we humbly say, “Lord, I get it now.  What do
you want me to do?  How do you want me to live?  Where do you
want me to go?  What do you want me to say?  Its all about you—
its not about me.”

Peter would later write in his first epistle, “God resisteth the proud,
but giveth grace to the humble,” 1 Peter 5:5.  Peter had lived the
first part, and was now enjoying the last part.

5.  The Process of Brokenness is Profitable.

The best things for all of us is to be broken by the loving hand of God.
It is productive. It is profitable.

How can we be sure of that?  Well, did it do ‘ol Peter any good?
Did he continue to live as he had always lived?  Was he always a
spiritual yo-yo—up and down, up and down?  Was he ever changed?
What is our proof of the profitability of brokenness?

Remember God purpose for brokenness?  Maturity and ministry.
How did that work out for Peter?

· Maturity is never fully accomplished, but Peter was much more
grown up than when he first met Jesus.  Acts 4:13 “And they took
knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”  Hey, we start
looking and behaving more like Jesus than ourselves, we are headed
in the direction of spiritual maturity.  Jesus could now be seen in Peter
…what an accomplishment…a job only God could do.
· As far as ministry was concerned, he was the leader of the pack.
After all that he had been, and all that he had done (most of it not
good), God assigned Peter the ministry task of preaching on the
Day of Pentecost, Acts 2.  He was Spirit-empower, preached Christ,
and 2,000 turned to Jesus and were baptized.

And the very next day after this record event at Pentecost, Peter
and John are headed to the temple to pray, Acts 3:1.  That tells
me volumes about Peter.  He’s no longer depending on himself.
While Peter takes up the first half of the book of Acts, it’s not the
old Peter doing the work; it’s the new Peter, the broken Peter.

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