Robert Morris — The Trump Card Battle
We're in a series called "Lost and Found", and we're basing it on the prodigal son, and learning things from the story that Jesus told in Luke 15, because none of us ever want to be a prodigal. So, we're talking about different things from that, or revelations from that passage, and this week, the title of the message is "The Trump Card Battle". I feel like the Lord gave me this as an example, in cards, and I'm not talking about poker, no, like spades, or hearts, or something. There's a suit. If you don't know this, there's like hearts, or spades, or diamonds, or whatever it is. There's a suit that would be trumps, and what that means is that you could actually play a high card in another suit, and someone could play the lowest card in the trump suit, and that low card would actually beat your high card.
I feel like that if we're not careful, as believers, we give Satan a trump card in our life. In other words, we're doing well. We're tithing, we're going to church, we're taking classes, we're in groups. But, there's an area of our life that's not surrendered to the Lord, and here we are, playing these high cards in other areas, and Satan then throws down a trump card. Do you follow what I'm saying? And all of a sudden, we're out. We've fallen away, something's happened. And I think that the prodigal son had a trump card. So, this is what I'm calling "The Trump Card Battle".
Let me say this, too. I think sometimes we actually tell Satan what's a trump in our life. In other words, I've actually heard people say something like, you know, if that ever happened to me, I don't think I could keep serving God. I've heard people say, you know, if my husband did this, that would be the end of our marriage. Okay, why would you say that? Because do you understand what your enemy does then? Your enemy says, thank you, because you know, I was working on your husband in like, five different areas, but now I know all I have to do is work on him in that one area. So, don't give Satan any trump cards. You have to know that if he has a trump card, it's because you gave it to him, because Jesus took away the whole deck 2.000 years ago. I mean, He took away all of Satan's power, unless we open a door to him, unless we give him some yield in an area.
So, let me show you three areas that could be trump cards from the story of the prodigal son. Number one, secrets. Secrets. Let me read you just a little from Luke 15, alright? Verse 11 says, "Then He said, a certain man had two sons". This is the beginning of the parable. "And the younger of them said to his father, "Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me", so he divided to them his livelihood". Now, Verse 13 is what I want to key on, "And not many days after". "Not many days after the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there, wasted his possessions with prodigal living".
Okay, what does that phrase, "not many days after", tell us? Here's what it tells us. It tells us that he was planning it. It tells us that he had this going on in his heart and in his mind before he got the inheritance, and that's why he was asking for it. He had a secret. The secret was that he thought he would be happy if he had money. Let me talk to you about these secrets. They're thoughts in our heart, they're thoughts in our mind, they're thoughts that the enemy might plant or that we allow him to build a case in our mind.
2 Corinthians 10 says to "cast out imagination". Some versions use different words, but that's probably the best word from the Greek, and I want you to think about what the root of the word imagination is. We would think imagine, but it's actually smaller than that. It's image, it's an image that we magnify, is what it is. And let me tell you what the word image means, and it's really easy to actually understand. It comes from a Latin word, but image means — image, think. Here's what it means. I make. I make. And the root of it actually means I become. Let me just say it another way. What you're picturing in your mind, you're becoming.
We've heard people say this, picture it in your mind. Well, here's the way the Bible says it. "As a man thinks in his heart", so these are the deep thoughts in your heart, that go into your mind, "so is he". So, don't have a picture in your mind of something that's ungodly. In other words, don't imagine a good marriage with someone else other than whom you're married to. And, imagine a good marriage with the person you already have. Imagine that. Don't imagine being rich one day, imagine being generous now. In other words, you've got to put the right thoughts in your mind, and the prodigal son had different thoughts, and they were secrets. He never told anyone this. He had a secret. And as soon as he got the funds, he fulfilled his secret.
Let me show you a little about a secret. I'll get to Genesis 25 in a minute, but Genesis 1:1 says, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness", notice the word darkness, "was on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And then God said, "Let there be light", and there was light, and God saw that the light was good, and God divided the light from the darkness".
Now, I just want you to notice something. God didn't create the darkness. The darkness was already there. Most theologians believe it's because Satan had already fallen to the earth, and so, Satan lives in darkness. So, God never said, let there be darkness, and God never said the darkness was good. God said, "Let there be light", and that light was good. So, you know the Scripture on darkness, Jude 6. It says, "And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within their limits of authority God gave them, but left the place where they belonged, and God has kept them securely chained, in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great Day of Judgment".
So, Satan lives in darkness. These are fallen angels. That's demonic spirits. They live in darkness. So, let me ask you just a simple question. Where are secrets? They're in the darkness. The best thing you can do with a secret like this that the enemy is trying to get you to imagine, is to bring it into the light. Get it out of the darkness. Do you understand, when you turn a light switch on, there's no fight? There's no wrestling. When you turn the light switch on, darkness and light aren't wrestling. Light immediately expels darkness, immediately. You're already on the way to winning the battle, a long way down the road, by simply bringing anything that is in the dark to the light.
I had a friend of mine that, not long after we started Gateway Church, I found out that he had fallen, morally, and he ended up leaving his wife and losing his family. I don't say that obviously with any joy. It broke my heart. But as I talked to him about it, he felt like he actually loved this other woman, and he told me that, I've really connected with her, and I've shared things with her I've never shared with my wife, and there's a real deep emotional connection. And he said, I'm in love with her, and I said to him, of course you are, because you did with her what you should have done with your wife. You connected emotionally with her.
And I was thinking about what was the trump card in his life, because it was right when he was stepping into the call of God on his life in a greater way, and the trump card was that we kind of knew that she kind of went her way, and he kind of went his way, and there wasn't a lot of emotion between them, but we just thought that was their personality. We thought that's the way they were. But, the trump card was he never connected emotionally. You know, he was saying to me, I've opened up and I've shared things with this other woman. He should have been doing that with his wife all along, and if he had connected with her emotionally, he would have fallen in love with her.
But what I'm saying is, that he probably believed this is the way I am, this is the way she is. But, Satan was holding that little card that was just a two, and he was just holding it, and when my friend really stepped in to a productive call of God on his life, Satan went, pfft, just like that. So, don't have a secret.
Here's the second trump card, I think, from the prodigal son, is sin. Hey, we know that he went into sin. The word prodigal meaning, you know, without restraint, and has the implications of that. The older brother said later that drinking, and with immorality, and all of these things. Okay, please hear me. That was already going on in his heart. Now, Genesis 25, if you're there, look at Verse 29. It says, "Now Jacob cooked a stew, and Esau came in from the field and he was weary, and Esau and said to Jacob, "Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary".
Therefore, his name was called Edom". The word Edom simply means red. That's what it means. "But Jacob said, "Sell me your birthright as of this day". And Esau said, "Look, I'm about to die, so what is this birthright to me"? And then Jacob said, "Swear to me, as of this day", so he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob". Now, this is amazing. This is a little more than what we might think by just reading the words on the page. And, the New Testament actually quotes this and says "Don't be like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright". Don't do that.
Okay, the birthright was phenomenal in the Jewish culture. We don't understand that, most of us, from the culture that we grew up in. We don't understand it. We talk about the inheritance, and I'll talk about that in a moment, but it was so much more than that. It was the honor of being the firstborn. It was the honor of being the patriarch of the family at one time. They would have big dinners. The firstborn always sat by the father, the patriarch. The patriarch then would make speeches, but even when the firstborn was young, he would ask him to say something at these dinners, implying this is the next patriarch of the family. This is the one.
The firstborn could actually borrow money simply on his name, and no other child could do that, but he could do it because he was simply the firstborn. He was automatically made an elder in the gates of the city, simply because he was the firstborn. And then, most of us know about the inheritance. He received twice as much inheritance, double what any other child in the family would receive, double. So, it wasn't just the financial, but it was the honor, and Esau gives it up for a bowl of stew.
Now, here's what's amazing about this, is the Bible likens this though to sexual sin, in the New Testament when it quotes it. Because most of us would think, well, I'd never give up my birthright for food. But, what about fleshly, any fleshly appetite, because I know people who've given up everything for one short moment of gratification. I mean, they've given up their marriage, and their family, and their kids, and their grand kids, and their business, and the call of God on their life, for one fleshly appetite, and that's what this is talking about. Don't do that. Don't go that way. Sin always takes you farther than you want to go. It costs you more than you wanted to pay, and requires more than you wanted to give. It always does. That's the way sin is.
And here was this prodigal son that gave it up, and please hear me when I say the firstborn. I hope you're relating this. Romans 8 says that Jesus was the firstborn of many brethren. Let me tell you what He did for you. He made you the firstborn of God also. In other words, here's what Romans 8 says. "He was the firstborn of many", the firstborn of many. So, you have all of the rights and privileges of the firstborn of the Father, who created everything! And that's what sin does, it causes us to give it up.
I'm going to deal with, briefly, just briefly, a difficult passage of Scripture. Several times in the Old Testament, God would say, when you go in to conquer this land, kill them all, even the children. Now, that's a difficult passage for many believers to get around, but you have to know a couple of things. One is you have to know these nations had been given a chance to repent. God had given them, through Joseph one time, through Joshua another time — God had given them the chance to turn to Him and repent, and they said, no, we do not accept you, and they'd continue in their false worship and idols.
God told Saul to destroy all of the Amalekites, but he didn't do it. You know what happened to Saul? His entire life he fought with the Amalekites, and he died in an Amalekite battle. So, why would God say kill the little ones? Listen to me. Because little ones grow up. Now, these were enemies of God and they had rejected God, so you have to understand that, and I don't have time to go into all of the theology of this passage and explain that God's still a good God. But, 1 Corinthians 10 tells us everything in the Old Testament represents something to us.
Little ones grow up. Here's why I'm saying this. People will say, well, Pastor, I don't have a big sin in my life. I just have a few little ones. Little ones grow up, and if you don't kill those little sins, they'll come back and kill you. And here's the third trump card, shame. Here's the reason I say this. Shame is the result of the fall. The very first thing that Adam and Eve felt after they fell was shame. It's the first thing they felt. They hid from God. They had no reason to hide from God. Can you imagine?
And I know God knows everything, but God's a person. He has joy, the Bible tells us. He grieves. How do you think God felt, walking through the garden that day, and He'd never given His children any reason to hide from Him, never given them any reason to be afraid. And they said, we were afraid, so we hid. Shame, we knew we were naked, so we hid. They felt shame, first time ever. Every person goes through shame. Let me tell you about the prodigal. Think about this. He comes home and he gets the party.
Now, I just want to ask you a question, maybe you've never thought of this. How'd he feel after the party? How did he feel for the rest of his life? Now, I'm not saying that he had a problem with this, but I'm telling you, in my own life, it's been a battle. Now, I'm forgiven. I know I'm forgiven, and I know the Father receives me back, and I don't carry shame, but I'm still ashamed of the life that I lived at one time. Here's another thing that people, I don't think, think about this story. His inheritance was gone. See, we don't think about that. We think, well, everything is great. Yes, his relationship with his father was restored, but his inheritance was gone.
You know, he couldn't go back to the bar owners, and say to the bar owners and the prostitutes, um, I've repented. That inheritance was gone. Here's what I'm saying. Yes, I'm loved. Yes, I'm forgiven. But, I deal with some things that God never intended me to deal with, because I lived a sinful life. I deal with images that my wife has never had to deal with. I saw things that I never should have seen. I did things I never should have done. I have images. I have memories. Yes, you can be healed. Yes, you can live a great, joyful life.
Yesterday I was in the outdoors, and I was just blown away at God's creation and how good God is, so I don't live with shame, I live with joy. But I've had a battle. Can anyone relate to me? You all are looking at me like you're pious or something. Okay, don't be pious in church. Alright, let me help you a little bit. You say, well, I've never felt shame. Let me tell you, there are two types of people that feel shame, Those who deal with pride, and those who deal with insecurity. Have you ever dealt with either? You say, well, why is that a trump card? Because Satan holds it. And he knows that you still carry shame, and as soon as you start to do something for God, he says, uh-uh, don't step out, because I'll bring your past out. As soon as you start really serving God, he'll say, Oh, wait, wait, don't forget about this. That's the way he is.
So, what's the answer? If you're in Hebrews 12, let me read you a couple of Scriptures. Hebrews 12:1-2, "Therefore we also, since we're surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses", he's referring back to Chapter 11, what we call the Hall of Faith, all of these great men and women of God. "We're surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight". Let me say it another way. Every secret, every sin, all of the shame. "The sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus", looking unto Jesus. How are we going to do it? "Looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith". The author and the what? Finisher.
Boy, you just can't imagine what good news that is, that I don't have to finish it, that he who started a good work in me will complete it. "The author and the finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross". Watch this. "Despising the shame", he took our shame, "and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God". 1 Corinthians 1:18, listen to this. "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved" we're in the process, not we've received salvation, it's past tense, we're also being converted, we're being changed into the image of Christ. "It is", the cross. "Is the power of God".
So, how am I going to get rid of these trump cards? Go to the cross. See, you don't just go to the cross to get saved one time. You do get saved, and it's a beginning, and you are born from above, and it's a spiritual birth, and it's a work that God does. But as a believer, to those of us who believe, the cross is the power of God. I keep taking my secrets to the cross. I keep taking my sin to the cross. I keep taking my shame to the cross. And I mean, you know something about the cross. Jesus said, "Pick up your cross daily and follow me".
Okay, the cross today has honor because of what Jesus did. We have jewelry with crosses. We have decorations on our wall, we put crosses. Okay. The cross today has honor. You have to remember, when Jesus said, pick up your cross, take up your cross, it had no honor. No honor and no glory then. It was a symbol of shame. It would be like Jesus said, follow me to the gallows and die with the rest of the criminals. No glory at all. But, it has glory because of this.
So, here's what I'll tell you about the cross. The cross is still the answer. It's still the answer, to go to the cross every day, to place my sin, and my secrets, and my shame on the cross. And, since I'm using the trump card analogy, and I've already offended several of you with this analogy. I'm sorry. But since I'm using it, you need to know something. Satan holds that little two of spades, but God holds the ace of spades, and it's the cross.
And when Satan says to God, look at all Robert's done wrong, God says, look at all my son did right! Look at all my son did right for Him. And because of the cross, God would say it this way. Satan, listen to me. He's free, and he's forgiven. You want a trump card? I've been holding on to it. It's right here. It's called the cross of Jesus Christ. So, you come to the cross, you give Him your life, and you go on, and you're doing great, and all of a sudden, an imagination comes in your mind. Sin starts to come and work, and you start thinking like the prodigal did. If he had a chance, not many days after, he might go down that road. The answer is to always turn to the cross.
Isn't it amazing? Jesus played the highest trump card that could ever be played on the cross for you and me. But I want to encourage you, don't let Satan hold on to some little card in your life, a secret, or a sin, or even shame from your past, and then play that one day and get you out of the game. Take it right now and confess it to the Lord, put it under the blood, get in a good church, and go on in your relationship with the Lord.