Teaching on Self-Curse (Calvary 3/27/24)

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Tonight we are going to talk about Curses.
What is a covenant curse?
In the Bible curse can mean a couple of things. First, it can be talking about our separation from God. 39 times in the Old Testament the word cursed is used in reference to sin and how sin corrupted the hearts of man. Sin is what separates us from God and without divine help we are cursed.
If you go back to the very first sin, what was the result? The snake was cursed, the earth itself was cursed. Man was cursed to live outside of the garden of eden.
The curse of sin was separation from God.
Humanity as a whole is in trouble and in need of a helper. Cursed means that we are facing certain judgement for past actions from a Holy God who requires justice.
But God is faithful. He didn’t want us to live as cursed men and women. He set in motion a plan to deliver us for the curse of the law.
Even in the garden of eden we can see God’s plan to redeem. The curse like a covenant could only established or broken by the shedding of innocent blood.
Sacrifice is the only thing that can break a curse.
Genesis 3:21 CEV
21 Then the Lord God made clothes out of animal skins for the man and his wife.
Innocent animals where sacrificed to clothe the nakedness of humanity. It was a sign of a greater sacrifice that was to come.
Jesus was sacrificed to clothe us with HIS righteousness.
We know that plan was fulfilled in Christ on the cross and completed when Christ was resurrected.
Romans 8:1–2 NLT
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power* of the life-giving Spirit has freed you* from the power of sin that leads to death.
The curse has been broken! It’s good news to all who believe.
You are no longer cursed with the judgement of sin and death. You can have life for eternity through believing and surrendering to Christ.
This is the message of the Gospel.We have been set free from that curse. We are set free in Christ.
There is another kind of curse that I want to talk to you about today.
It’s called the “self-curse”.
What is a “self-curse”?
A “self-curse” something that we willfully accept and place over our own lives.
Let me first give you an example from the Old Testament.
Remember the story of Jacob and Esau? Esau was the eldest son and was preparing to receive his blessing from his father Isaac.
Jacob and his mother, Rebekah, came up with a plan to steal the blessing from his older brother. Rebekah had it all worked out, she was going to have Jacob pretend to be Esau and trick Isaac.
There something here I want you to see:
Genesis 27:12–13 CEV
If my father touches me and realizes I am trying to trick him, he will put a curse on me instead of giving me a blessing.” Rebekah insisted, “Let his curse fall on me! Just do what I say and bring me the meat.”
There was a risk that they would be found out and that instead of blessing, a curse would be placed on Jacob. This is the opposite of what Jacob wanted and it seems as though he was going to back out of the plan until his mother said something you need to hear.
She said, if he notices then I will take the curse in your place.
It was a self-curse. She decided to take on a curse in the place of her son. It wasn’t her curse, but she was willing to place it over her life.
Being self cursed means she was willing to take a punishment that was not her own! She didn’t own it, but she claimed it.
It was not her consequence to bear, but she willingly took in on in her life.
In our lives we all do this same thing. We have been set free from the curse of sin. Jesus has set us free, but I find that believers still live in condemnation because they don’t fully understand that Christ has broken the power of sin and death in our lives.
We are living under self pronounced curses. These curses need to be broken.
Now, let’s go to an example in the New Testament. We see the great apostle Peter failing to trust in Christ and we will see the faithfulness of our loving Savior.
If you open your heart to hear this truth today, this could be the day that changes everything in your life. If you came here broken, defeated, rejected, and condemned I’m here to say that the Lord is wanting to forgive you, lift you up, and place your feet on new ground. Instead of being cursed, you can be blessed.
Matthew 26:69–75 CEV
While Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, a servant girl came up to him and said, “You were with Jesus from Galilee.” But in front of everyone Peter said, “That isn’t so! I don’t know what you are talking about!” When Peter had gone out to the gate, another servant girl saw him and said to some people there, “This man was with Jesus from Nazareth.” Again Peter denied it, and this time he swore, “I don’t even know that man!” A little while later some people standing there walked over to Peter and said, “We know that you are one of them. We can tell it because you talk like someone from Galilee.” Peter began to curse and swear, “I don’t know that man!” Right then a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered that Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will say three times that you don’t know me.” Then Peter went out and cried hard.
Before this situation took place, Peter had been with Jesus. He saw all the miracles, he heard Jesus teaching, and he believed Jesus was fulfilling all the prophecy that told of the Messiah.
Peter was an amazing disciple - remember, he’s the one that pointed out that Jesus was the Messiah before anyone else.
Matthew 16:16 CEV
Simon Peter spoke up, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
The problem was that Peter didn't know God's plan was for the Messiah to give His life as a perfect sacrifice, His plan was to use Jesus’ blood as an atonement for sin.
Jesus tried to let Peter know the plan. Jesus knew that He was going to be crucified. He told His followers multiple times that He was going to die.
Have you ever told someone something that they don't want to hear? No matter how many times you tell them, it seems like they can't comprehend what you're saying because it's not what they want to hear. This was Peter. When Jesus told him that He must die, Peter was not a ok with the thought. He wanted Jesus to take over the government and take His place as the Messiah. He told Jesus that he was willing to give his life to protect Jesus and to help him receive his position of Messiah.
Matthew 26:31–35 CEV
Jesus said to his disciples, “During this very night, all of you will reject me, as the Scriptures say, ‘I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised to life, I will go to Galilee ahead of you.” Peter spoke up, “Even if all the others reject you, I never will!” Jesus replied, “I promise you that before a rooster crows tonight, you will say three times that you don’t know me.” But Peter said, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never say I don’t know you.” All the others said the same thing.
And to his credit, Peter was ready to fight for Jesus. The night the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Peter was ready.
John 18:10 CEV
Simon Peter had brought along a sword. He now pulled it out and struck at the servant of the high priest. The servant’s name was Malchus, and Peter cut off his right ear.
What a faithful follower, right? In fact, this was not the right thing for Peter to do for Jesus. It was against the will of God. The Bible tells us that Jesus performed a miracle and healed the servant's ear.
Jesus spared Peter's life by healing the high priest's servant's ear. Peter certainly would have been arrested if Jesus didn't intervene. This is an example of the faithfulness of God when we are unfaithful.
Jesus saw something in Peter. He had compassion for him. Even though Peter was doing the wrong thing, Jesus saw his heart.
It's important to have the heart to serve and make sure that we are working in accordance with God's will. I believe God cares about the condition of our hearts. Don't discount your life just because you don't know how to do everything perfectly. The Bible is filled with people who were imperfect, but because in their hearts they wanted to serve God, He had grace for them and used them in amazing ways.
After Jesus healed the ear and rebuked Peter, He was taken away to be questioned by the religious leaders. The disciple John was able to get into the trial and watch what was going on. He was able to get Peter in too, but not as close. So, Peter was sitting outside the trial, staying warm by the fire.
As the religious leaders were questioning Jesus, Peter denied knowing Christ and fulfilled what Jesus had told him earlier. He was unfaithful.
Let's look at how John described the situation.
John 18:25–27 CEV
While Simon Peter was standing there warming himself, someone asked him, “Aren’t you one of Jesus’ followers?” Again Peter denied it and said, “No, I am not!” One of the high priest’s servants was there. He was a relative of the servant whose ear Peter had cut off, and he asked, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with that man?” Once more Peter denied it, and right then a rooster crowed.
Peter was probably still afraid of being arrested for cutting off the ear of the servant of the high priest. I personally think that is why he so was so adamant that he didn't know Jesus.
Why do I think that? Because John was there too, and no one was giving him a hard time. But here's Peter, who happened to be standing by the relative of the person he just cut their ear off, and they are asking if he knew Jesus. I think Peter was trying to avoid being pinned as the guy who cut the ear off so they wouldn't harm him.
Peter pronounced a curse when denying knowing Christ.
There's a key verse I want to focus your attention on.
Matthew 26:74 CEV
Peter began to curse and swear, “I don’t know that man!” Right then a rooster crowed,
Peter was not using profanity. This was much more serious than that, He was pronouncing a self-curse.
Peter was separating himself from Christ.
The word here for curse is that same word used in Galatians 1:9…
Galatians 1:9
Galatians 1:9 NKJV
As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Anathema : to declare one liable to the severest penalty.
The word used for accursed is "anathema," which means to declare one liable to the severest penalty. Peter put himself under a divine curse.
It’s the same thing that Rebekah did in Genesis 27. He was saying that he was willing to take the severest punishment. He was willing to throw away his life. It wasn’t a judgement he deserved, it was a judgement he place on himself for no reason.
You may have heard someone say something like this before.
It's like he was saying, "If I'm lying, let God strike me with lightning!"
He wasn't cursing God or Jesus. He was cursing himself! That was pretty much the worst thing you can do to the Jewish people. They believed this type of curse could never be undone. It was binding. It became part of your life.
Here's another example of the same type of self-curse:
Acts 23:12 NLT
The next morning a group of Jews* got together and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul.
They put themselves under a death curse that they were going to kill the Apostle Paul or die themselves! It's the same kind of curse.
The moment that Peter denied Christ and the rooster crowed, he wept bitterly for two reasons.
One, because he had denied knowing Jesus.
Two, because he knew that he was leaving that place a cursed man!
The Jewish people believed that once you pronounced a self curse, then you could NEVER be released from the curse.
But God is faithful. He was not finished with Peter.
I need to stop here and remind you of something. We are in this story too. We’ve spoken thing over our lives that are not true. They are lies from the enemy. But just like God was not finished with Peter, He's not finished with YOU!
I have talked with far too many people that tell me they have once followed Christ, but over time they’ve drifted away. They fall back into the old way of living. People have asked me if God will take them back after all they have done.
My answer is that God has never left you. He is faithful even when we are not. No person is too far gone. It’s always the day of Salvation!
Let's keep going in this story to reveal the faithfulness of God.
Jesus was tried, crucified, and resurrected. On Sunday morning, the ladies were going to Jesus' tomb to tend to His body.
Let me read to you one of my favorite scriptures in the Bible.
Mark 16:1–7 CEV
After the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Mary the mother of James bought some spices to put on Jesus’ body. Very early on Sunday morning, just as the sun was coming up, they went to the tomb. On their way, they were asking one another, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance for us?” But when they looked, they saw that the stone had already been rolled away. And it was a huge stone! The women went into the tomb, and on the right side they saw a young man in a white robe sitting there. They were alarmed. The man said, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus from Nazareth, who was nailed to a cross. God has raised him to life, and he isn’t here. You can see the place where they put his body. Now go and tell his disciples, and especially Peter, that he will go ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.”
Especially Peter. The unfaithful cursed disciple.
When they told Peter that Jesus was alive and that Jesus wanted to talk with him, Peter took off running to the tomb.
John 20:3–10 CEV
Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. They ran side by side, until the other disciple ran faster than Peter and got there first. He bent over and saw the strips of linen cloth lying inside the tomb, but he did not go in. When Simon Peter got there, he went into the tomb and saw the strips of cloth. He also saw the piece of cloth that had been used to cover Jesus’ face. It was rolled up and in a place by itself. The disciple who got there first then went into the tomb, and when he saw it, he believed. At that time Peter and the other disciple did not know that the Scriptures said Jesus would rise to life. So the two of them went back to the other disciples.
These guys were excited.
1 - They really hadn't expected that Jesus was going to rise from the dead!
2 - The fact that Jesus had asked specifically for Peter must have given him hope that God was not done with his life.
Two things you need to know about God: Expect the unexpected and know that He hasn't given up on you!
If God can raise Jesus from the grave, He has the authority to make anything possible. You might think God is done with you, that He can't use your life because you've gone too far; well, that's not true! He brings dead things to life and wants to bring you back to life in Him!
After seeing that Jesus was not in the tomb, Peter went back home. He didn't have anything else to do, so he did what he did best, he went fishing.
He had no idea that Jesus was about to free him from the curse over his life.
Peter and six other disciples were out in the boat fishing. They saw a man on the shore who called out to them, asking if they had caught anything.
This man on the shore was Jesus, but the disciples couldn't tell it was Him. Jesus told them to let down their nets, and they would catch fish. They caught a ton of fish, and Peter realized the man on the shore had to be Jesus.
Peter jumped out of the boat and swam to the shore. It had to be an amazing reunion. We don't know what was said at the moment they met, but you could imagine how amazing it had to be.
Jesus ended up cooking breakfast for these men.
Now it gets to the very cool part of the story.
John 21:15–17 CEV
When Jesus and his disciples had finished eating, he asked, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than the others do?” Simon Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, you know I do!” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus said. Jesus asked a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you!” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus told him. Jesus asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus had asked him three times if he loved him. So he told Jesus, “Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.” Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep.
Remember that
When Peter placed himself under a curse, he denied Christ three times!
Peter could not remove the curse over his life. In fact, the only person who could lift the curse over his life was Jesus because it was Jesus who Peter denied with the curse.
Jesus was taking care of business. Peter said, "Jesus, I love you" three times! Everyone there had to know what was going on.
Jesus was removing the curse over the life of Peter.
He was giving Peter the confidence that he needed to win the world for Christ.
This is an amazing story of redemption.
Peter was a dedicated follower of Christ.
He was willing to fight for Jesus.
He believed in Jesus as the Son of God.
Yet when under pressure, he was unfaithful. But God, who is the definition of faithful, called for him by name and removed the curse over his life.
Friends, God is faithful. He is steadfast. He will never give up on you! If you come to Him now, He is faithful to forgive you and will cleanse you. Trust that Christ has your best interest in mind.
Christ has REDEEMED us! We don’t live under a curse anymore, we’ve been set free!
Once you've accepted Christ, then you need to believe that He has truly set you free. Don't count yourself out anymore. Peter, the man who denied Christ, only days later was proclaiming the good news that Christ was alive and able to set people free.
In Peter's first sermon, over 3000 people turned their hearts to God.
Trust in the faithfulness of God. He is calling you by name! Allow the curse to be broken over your life. Let this time of Easter be a time of deliverance and freedom.
You can walk in faith and not doubt, knowing that God wants you and has called you to be a part of His kingdom.
Jesus is asking for you. You may have denied him. It’s ok. He wants to set you free.
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