Christians Disappoint Images



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When Christians Disappoint You

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • February 4, In the year of our Lord, 2018


  1. During my backhoe days,
    1. I went to a large subdivision that was going up.
    2. I had a discussion with the superintendent on the job and
      1. he shook up my beliefs.
      2. I was still a relatively new Christian.
        1. Not knowing what to do or what to believe,
        2. I called a brother at the South Hills Church in West Covina, California,
          1. who had befriended me and helped me in knowing the truth.
          2. However, when I started telling him what happened,
            1. he started using foul language and not making sense.
            2. I realized that he was drunk.
    3. That shook me up even more.
      1. My doubts about the church grew.
      2. Then somehow, Dan Tillotson, a deacon at the South Hills Church,
        1. found out about my distressing situations and
        2. took me under his wing,
          1. worked with me, and
          2. showed me the truth.
    4. Dan rescued me from my first disappointment with a Christian.
      1. A disappointment that was so great,
      2. I could have easily fallen away.
  2. Unfortunately, that was not my last disappointment with a Christian.
    1. In 1980, when I started working with the North Long Beach Church,
    2. some of the brethren wanted to take the new preacher out for dinner
      1. after the evening services.
      2. One of the sisters treated the waitress so horribly
        1. I was greatly ashamed and embarrassed.
  3. Since then many Christians have disappointed me, but
    1. I am no longer tempted to fall away.
    2. I remain faithful to Christ,
      1. knowing that He experienced far more disappointment in people
      2. than I ever will.
        1. Truly, I have disappointed Him.
        2. Yet, He continues to work with me.
  4. Everyone of you no doubt could tell of experiences you have had.
    1. Therefore, I want to give you some things to think on
    2. that you might endure disappointment with your brethren.


  1. We Are the Same as Our Brother
    1. Brethren have disappointed me, but
      1. have I disappointed brethren?
      2. What then do I want them to do with me?
    2. Jesus would give us this wisdom,

      12 “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7.12).

      1. When I let brethren down,
      2. how do I want them to treat me?
        1. I want them to overlook it and forget it.
          1. I want them to forgive me.
          2. I want them to practice what the Bible teaches,

            12 Hatred stirs up strife,
            But love covers all sins.
            (Proverbs 10.12)

            9 He who covers a transgression seeks love,
            But he who repeats a matter separates friends.
            (Proverbs 17.9)

            8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4.8).

        2. If that is what I want,
          1. the Holy Spirit says that is what I should do to my brethren.
          2. The Bible also teaches that if I do not practice these things,
            1. there are serious repercussions for me.

              12 “And forgive us our debts,
              As we forgive our debtors.”
              (Matthew 6.12)

              14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6.14–15).

              1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you” (Matthew 7.1–2).

              31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4.31–32).

            2. Do not lose your soul over a brother who disappointed you.
    3. We tend to notice and to remember how others have disappointed us, but
      1. we do not recognize the same within ourselves.
      2. The difference is in who feels the hurt.
        1. We remember who hurt us and the hurt.
        2. We do not remember those we have hurt and the hurt we caused.
    4. When a brother disappoints us,
      1. we should ask ourselves:
      2. Am I better than my brother?
        1. No, I am not, for
        2. I have my own sins and shortcomings.
    5. What would it have been like to be one of the apostles?
      1. There was a group of men who never disappointed anyone, right?
      2. One of them promised that he would go to prison or die for Jesus.
        1. Yet, what did that disciple do when he came under fire?
        2. He denied that he even knew Jesus.
      3. Didn’t one of them turn Jesus over to His enemies?
      4. A couple of them wanted to call down fire from heaven on a town.
      5. They all argued about who was the greatest among them.
    6. We have to realize
      1. that people are people and
      2. so are we!
        1. We imagine ourselves looking at everyone,
        2. as though we put everyone in a circle, but
          1. we see ourselves outside that circle
          2. talking about how people let us down.
            1. However, we have to place ourselves in that circle also.
            2. It is not Us versus Them, because we are them.
  2. Be Realistic with Your Expectations
    1. Perhaps we should have no expectations.
    2. If we expect that our brothers and sisters
      1. will never sin or
      2. never let us down,
        1. we have set them up for failure in our eyes.
          1. We once had a new Christian in Klamath Falls
          2. who told me that he thought everyone was an angel in the church.
            1. Then he started being disappointed in how some acted.
            2. He fell away for a while.
        2. Solomon said something as recorded in Ecclesiastes 7
          1. that applies to every person on earth.
          2. We acknowledge academically what he says, but
            1. it is another thing to put it to use.

              20 For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin (Ecclesiastes 7.20).
            2. Or are you the exception?
            3. Does that apply to preachers and elders?
              1. Does it apply to the people sitting in the pews around you?
              2. If it does apply to them, why do we expect them not to sin?
    3. Right after Solomon reminded us
      1. that you cannot find anyone who does good and never sins,
      2. he gave this awesome counsel,

        21 Also do not take to heart everything people say,
        Lest you hear your servant cursing you.
        22 For many times, also, your own heart has known
        That even you have cursed others.
        (Ecclesiastes 7.21–22)

        1. Do not take to heart everything
          1. that people say and do in the church,
          2. lest you hear or see someone saying or doing
            1. something that Christians should not do.
            2. Don’t you have to acknowledge
              1. that you also have said and done things
              2. that Christians should not do?
    4. Yes, our brethren are followers of Jesus Christ,
      1. just as we seek to be and to do.
      2. The same can be said about us.
  3. Jesus Will Never Disappoint You
    1. Perhaps I should restate that.
      1. If you have expectations of Him of things that He never promised to do,
      2. then you will be disappointed in Him.
        1. However, He always remains true to what He has said that He will do.
        2. Therefore, He will never let you down.
          1. He will never fail you.
          2. Be sure that your expectations of Him
            1. are consistent with what He has promised.
            2. For example, He has never promised to keep you from all trouble.
    2. Just before He ascended into heaven,
      1. He made a promise to the disciples
      2. that also applies to us, because
        1. what He promised would hold true
        2. long after the apostles had died,

          20b “…I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28.19–20).
    3. What does it mean that He will be with us?
      1. Does it mean we will never suffer?
      2. Does it mean that everyone will always treat us fairly?
      3. Does it mean our fellow-Christians will never disappoint us?
        1. Consider something that Acts 7 records.
        2. Stephen stood before the hard-hearted Jewish Council.
          1. As he recounted to them their history of rejecting deliverers,
          2. they finally had enough of him,

            54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep (Acts 7.54–60).

            1. Jesus did not let down or disappoint Stephen,
            2. although his enemies stoned him.
              1. Look at Stephen do what the Lord did,
              2. asking Him not to charge them with the sin of murder.
                1. Then the Lord opened the door of forgiveness
                2. for at least one of them, Saul of Tarsus.


  1. What is the solution?
    1. Make Jesus the foundation of your life,

      11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3.11).
    2. Build upon anyone else, you will experience disappointment.
  2. The reason you should make Jesus of Nazareth your foundation is this:
    1. He is the Son of God.
    2. He is the one whom your Creator sent to be the foundation of your life.
  3. He will teach you how to live.
    1. Follow His
      1. teachings,
      2. wisdom, and
      3. commands
        1. and your life will be formed in His image.
        2. You need to have your life formed by Him.
    2. Therefore, put away your old self and
      1. build your life on Him.
      2. Wash the old self away when you submit to baptism in Jesus.