Buck Commander Sunday: The Hunted

The Robertsons of Duck Dynasty aren’t shy about their faith. They unashamedly confess that it is faith in their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that is the foundation and catalyst for who they are today and the great success that they have been able to achieve.

This morning’s service is inspired by an event shown on Duck Dynasty called Duck Commander Sunday. They do basically what we’re doing here this morning. We all come together in camo to celebrate who we are; mostly western PA rednecks who love to fish, hunt, and trap. We love God, our country, camo, and our guns.

However, before we go off eating some local critters and shooting in our rifles, we’re going to dig into a more important purpose for which we’re all here today; to dig into God’s word and get to know a bit more about Him and ourselves.

If you have your Bible with you, turn to Luke chapter 4. If you don’t have a Bible, raise your hand and we’ll get one to you right away free of charge.

Luke 4:14-21
14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom.

In other words, Jesus came back home and went to church that Sunday.

He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written (chapter 61 for us):

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus said that He came to set the prisoners and those who are oppressed free; that this was being accomplished right then and there. Now, we know that Jesus didn’t go around unlocking prison cells so that the inmates could run around these towns freely sowing and reaping havoc. So, what was Jesus referring to? Who were these oppressed people and these prisoners that Jesus set free? How were they being oppressed and who was oppressing them? If these people weren’t in the local jails, then what prison were they in?

We’re going to answer these questions this morning and you might just be surprised as we unravel them!

There is first a fundamental truth that we first need to understand. Not everyone accepts this as truth, but we’ll also find out why this is the case as well. There is a living God out there who wants to give us a rich and abundant life through a relationship with Him. Secondly, although he wasn’t this way originally, there is also a thief out there with a third of the angels following his lead who wants to prevent you from receiving that abundant life (Satan and his demons).

How many here have ever been outdoors before? Did you know that the Bible says that you’re then without excuse for not knowing God? This is a scripture that often comes to mind whenever I’m out hunting or fishing.

Romans 1:20
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

That’s something to think about the next time that you’re out in the woods. Everything that you see reveals something about what God is like. He’s actually revealing Himself to us through His creation!

Alright, well, moving along to these prisoners and those who are oppressed that Jesus was talking about…

Jesus said,
John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (or abundantly).

For those of us who hunt, fish, or trap, we understand something that would otherwise be missed about this thief that Jesus is referring to whom is Satan, himself.

Whenever we rig up our fishing line,
Whenever we setup our blinds and tree stands,
Whenever we camo up,
Whenever we eliminate even our very own odors,
Whenever we setup our decoys,
Whenever we bait the trap,
we’re making every effort possible to hide ourselves and our trap from that animal in order to lure it into the perfect position for the kill at just the right time.

Satan does exactly the same to us. However, unlike us who instantly hook or shoot that animal on the spot, Satan acts more like a leech and uses that foothold that he gains into our lives to slowly take us down and keep us far from the full and abundant life that Jesus came to give. He literally sucks the life out of us by keeping us from God.

Those who are oppressed that Jesus spoke about are Christians, followers of Christ, who still have a few ticks on them that allow Satan to suck from their lives. He doesn’t have control over them, but he’s keeping them from the fullness of life and freedom that Jesus gives us. That’s why Ephesians 4 calls us not to give Satan a foothold in our lives.

Ephesians 4:26-32
26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Those who are prisoners are those who have not yet accepted Christ’s salvation. For them, Satan has full reign in their lives.

Ephesians 2:1-5
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (Satan).

Don’t feel like you’re getting called out or put down, though, if you haven’t yet accepted Jesus and are still living this way. Guess what? It goes on to say:

3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

In the same way that we hide ourselves, our decoys, our lures, and our traps – all of these fake things that give the appearance of being real – Satan is a master of disguise. At one time, we all were prisoners to him. Although we didn’t know it, he had his hook in our mouth slowly pulling us out of the waters of life and into the dry shores of death. Although we didn’t know it, we enjoyed the pleasures of life and chased after all that this world has to offer thinking that it was the real thing. We just had no idea that it was a trap intended to lead us to death and that there was far better things available to us.

At one time, we all acted like this poor turkey…
(Duck Dynasty – Winner, Winner Turkey Dinner Decoy Scene)

We went for the decoy and was satisfied with it, but we missed out on the real thing. We were lead to death instead of being wise enough to choose life! The sad thing is, Satan is so good at what he does that most of us do not even recognize the fact that we’re oppressed or imprisoned.

Why? Think about this, when does a fish realize that the mill worm that he just ate was going to give control of his life to a fisherman? Not until it tries to resist and swim away from the fisherman, right? So long as that fish doesn’t put up a struggle and keep swimming right toward the shore of death, it may have no clue that it is hooked.

It’s the same with us. Think about your own life for a moment. Is there something that you just can’t seem to break free from? Is there something that you’re ashamed of, but have been able to hide it or just live with it? Is it easier to just keep swimming along in life instead of trying to shake it? Chances are, these things are the hook of Satan in our lives.

This morning, my challenge for all of us here is to allow Jesus to break us free from the oppression and imprisonment of Satan. That’s what Jesus said that He came to do! He came to grant freedom to the oppressed and the imprisoned and to give them an abundant life!

If you’re here this morning, and you’re ready to break free from the snare of the thief and walk into an abundant life, it’s easier than you may think. Satan doesn’t want you to realize that, either. He wants you to try to earn your way into Heaven by living a good life, which simply can’t be done. None of us can ever be good enough, we’ve all sinned and owe an enormous debt to God because of it.

God knew that on his own, mankind could never get it right. We’re all born into sin and all ensnared by the enemy. That’s why God came in the flesh as Jesus. He lived a perfect, sinless life and then gave it away on the cross. He then rose again to life to also give us hope. Since He defeated sin and death, we can too, through Him! He paid the price that we owed so that we can be with Him now and forever! Breaking free is as easy as putting your faith in this fact. Staying free from future traps of the enemy is as simple as living life by God’s word, the Bible, to the best of your ability.

However, just like an animal accidentally caught in a trap, some of us have a tendency to snap at those who try to set them free.  When people come up to them and say, “Hey, I can help you with that!”, they snap at them as if they are the ones to blame for the trap.  They accuse them of being judgmental and critical and viscously begin to attack back out of the pain and fear that they are feeling.  Please don’t feel that way this morning!  Scripture says that we all have fallen short, we’ve all gotten tangled up in the trap of the enemy.  Some of us have just figured out how to break free from that trap and want to help you out!

If you’re here this morning and you’ve never put your faith in Jesus or you had at one point, but got ensnared by the enemy again, you can break free and receive the abundant life that Jesus promised. Just pray this simple prayer with me. Let’s all bow.

(salvation prayer)

If you placed your faith in Jesus and you haven’t been baptized since making that decision, I want to open up an opportunity for you to be water baptized this morning. This is what the Bible teaches us to do just as an outward sign to show that you’ve chosen to lay down your old life, which was leading you to death, and to rise up in the new life that Jesus has given you. If you want to be water baptized, just come on up. The water’s warm and we’ll be able to get you dried up afterwards. Don’t miss this opportunity! We want to celebrate with you this new life!