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How Can I Resist?

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How to overcome the temptations of the devil in our lives!

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This morning, before we jump into the sermon topic, I wanted to talk real quickly about what is taking place after the service. (And no, I am not talking about the food and fellowship!)

We are having a baptismal service after the main service and in light of this, I wanted to, real quickly, just explain the need for baptism. Amen?!
I have people ask me from time to time, about “what is” and “why do” we baptize people.
So, first of all, without doing a whole sermon on this subject, let me give you a brief understanding of where baptism stemmed from and how it came to be.
Going all the way back to ancient Hebrew times and Levitical law, the priests would ceremonially wash, or bath themselves, as an act of cleaning. That is, they did this in response to God’s command as found in the books of Exodus and Leviticus, as part of His requirement of them before they could offer up the sacrifices on the altar.
Then, the Jewish leaders used this same understanding for gentiles, that wanted to become a part of the Jewish nation; they had to circumcised as a male and they all had to be submersed in the water. This submersion symbolized becoming purified and leaving one life to come into their new life as a member of the Jewish nation.
This was already in practice when John the Baptist came onto the scene and Jesus who came after him.
No one thought that it was weird to be baptised, because the Jewish people had been doing it for centuries.
John came baptising, not for the conversion of one’s citizenship from one nation to another, but rather he came preaching the message of repentance from sin and the symbolism of being baptized and thus coming out of the water as one who had changed and walked away from their sinful ways.
This was very well understood, as the Jews already had the ritual of mikveh, which was the place and act of immersing someone in water with the faith that the Holy One could cleanse someone’s heart.
The very message that John taught in , “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, the same message that Jesus declared, after His baptism from John, as seen in .
Note: Jesus was not baptized as a sign of repentance and turning from sin, since He was in fact sinless. He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness and His role as our great high priest. (Jesus fulfilled every requirement of the law, as our high priest.) And since the high priest had to washed, or submersed in the water before offering the sacrifice and shedding the blood of the animal for the sins of the people, so also, our high priest was submersed before He shed the blood for our sins!
Both the Greek word and the ancient Hebrew words for “baptism” refer to being submerged, or immersed into water.
In Hebrew, the word, tevilah, is translated “immersion”. In the Greek, the word is baptizo and it means to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge.
The point that I want to make, is that there is no mentioning or even a link of being submersed, to the final act of justification in the eyes of God. THIS IS NOT SALVATION! It is SYMBOLISM, as was the Jewish ritual of mikveh!
John the baptist, who was a descendent of Aaron, the first, high priest, was of the pure line of priests and it was fitting, that a pure descendent of the first high priest, became the one that transferred over the priesthood, to the last high priest, JESUS the CHRIST!
Jesus was from the tribe of Judah, not Aaron and thus, the priesthood was transferred to a new priest once and for all. As we see in
Hebrews 5:9–10 ESV
And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
So, all that said and done, equates to this. Jesus, fulfilled the law and was washed or cleansed, as a priest should be, but even more importantly, He was the final and Great High Priest for the kingdom and for all times.
Through the perfect works of the Cross and resurrection from the tomb, Jesus, as our High Priest, has made atonement for our sins and given us rights to the kingdom of God and thus the command for baptism, as found in , “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” was given.
Our baptism is symbolic, just like that of the ancient Jewish water immersion.
And now, baptism takes on all aspects for the new believer, under the new covenant and under the covering our Great High Priest:
It is symbolic of our leaving one citizenship and entering another, as it was to the Jewish people.
It is symbolic to the person who has just received salvation through their faith and belief and profession of faith in Jesus and His death, burial and resurrection. As it links us to our spiritual death, burial and resurrection into a new spiritual life and as a new spiritual creature!
And as , tells us,
1 Peter 2:5 ESV
you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
We are also immersed and become priests, under the Great High Priest, Jesus, to offer up sacrifices that are acceptable unto God. ,
Romans 12:1 ESV
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
I know that I went a long way around this, but I wanted to show you where baptism came from and why we do it as members of the Body of Christ.
It is an outward profession of your faith and saying to the world, that the atoning and cleansing blood of the Lamb of God, has cleansed you and you are now a new creation in Christ Jesus, through the indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit.
Just as Paul said to the church at Rome, ,
Romans 6:3–4 ESV
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Baptism is an outward profession of faith, of an inward work and change within our heart and soul, and it is a very serious thing, as it was commissioned by Jesus before He left this earth.
Baptism is NOT, however, your salvation! That comes from the work that Jesus, Himself did on the cross and your belief and faith in Jesus, as you are drawn by Holy Spirit to that faith and confession!
Romans 3:25 ESV
whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
Every true blood bought saint needs to and should want to make this profession of faith, as a declaration of who and what they have become! Just as Jesus said they should.
You and I are saved by the grace of God and our faith in Jesus, His Son, not by the works of another person, as in Baptism! No one plays a part in saving your soul; that is done by Christ alone!
Which is why the spreading of the Gospel Message is so important; so that others can receive salvation through their faith in Jesus and then profess that salvation through the act of Baptism.
Just as Paul told us in ,
1 Corinthians 1:17 ESV
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
Within the gospel message lies the true power of salvation, not the symbolic act of baptism! AMEN?!
So, immediately after the service today ,we are going to be baptizing those who have asked Jesus to be the Lord and savior of their life and are thus symbolically showing their conversion through the outward profession of their faith through the act of BAPTISM!

Let me ask you a question this morning. What is “resistance”?

Now many of you could just whip out your smartphone and look up a definition, right?
Let me save you the trouble, according the dictionary, resistance is: the act of resisting, (which is: to withstand; oppose; fend off; stand firm against; withstand the action of; to keep from yielding to, being affected by.)
If you develop an infection in your body, your body instantly and naturally, begins to oppose, or RESIST that infection.
If you are watching a football game, the defensive team is trying to oppose, or resist the efforts of the offensive team in getting the football into their respective end zone. The same applies to other sports like soccer.
Just like in a game of chess, you are trying to outwit your opponent and provide resistance to them getting to your king.
In physics, it is the same way. According to Ohm’s Law, if you have a decrease in the resistance, you will have an increase in the current, but if you increase the resistance, you decrease the outflow or the current. (Like a garden hose.)
OK, so with a general understanding of what resistance is, let’s look at it in another arena.
When you know that the devil, our spiritual enemy, (or any of his representative agents as far as that goes), are attacking you, what do we say, as Christians, we are supposed to do?
Resist him, right? We say that we are supposed to resist the devil.
Which, by the dictionary definition, means that we are to oppose him, right?
And what is the outcome of resisting the devil?
Well, according to the Bible, the devil will flee!

So, does this sound about right to you; the enemy comes against you with temptations and alluring thoughts and you stand your ground and you tell him who and what you are and what you did through your profession of faith and who you believe in and that because you have a faith and belief in Jesus, he has to go?!! Does that sound right to any of you?

And does it sound right that we resist the enemy so that he departs and upon his departure from our midst, it allows us to draw closer to and begin to submit more to God and His will for our lives?
That is, with the enemy out of the way, it gives us the necessary time and space to begin to draw near to God and develop that relationship without the hindrances and distractions of the devil! Sound about right to anyone?
The answer to this scenario is WRONG! This is not what the Bible says. Like so many other things the enemy has deceived us with, this is only a partial truth as to what the word of God tells us to do.
Well, then ,the question that many of you are probably asking yourselves right now, the question that many people ask monthly, weekly and even daily in their lives is, “What must I do to make the devil flee?” “How and what does it mean to RESIST him in such a way that he will flee from you?”

Well, to answer that question, let me start by telling you what will not work, in your quest to RESIST the devil!

You CANNOT resist a devil that you just slept with! You cannot resist a devil that you are committing adultery with! (I mean in the natural physical sense as well as the clarification that Jesus gave us when He said, “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
You CANNOT resist a devil that you went out and got drunk with, or did a line of cocaine or some other drug with!
You CANNOT resist a devil that you just gave legal access into your home through the viewing of pornography, or as far as that goes, anything that you have watched or looked at that is contrary to the Word and the will of God for you and your family!
So, when your spouse or your children are under attack and they are being tormented with nightmares and suicidal thoughts and a host of other things that the enemy brings in, because you have given legal access from what you have opened your home up to, and then you turn around and try to say, “Satan, I rebuke you in the name of Jesus, depart”’ you just wasted your breath! You have no authority, because you have given him the entrance into your home and he knows it!
You CANNOT resist something that you are actively embracing in your life!
You CANNOT resist a devil that you are flirting with through your impure thoughts, thoughts of greed and a covetous heart, thoughts of lies and deception.
Look here, you may look good pulling up in front of the church in your new $65,000 luxury sedan and you may look good walking in all styling & profiling with your $800 outfit on. You may look really righteous and spiritually healthy as you raise your hands toward God and sing during the worship music!
BUT KNOW THIS: if your hands are raised towards God, but your heart is truly being held by the devil (that is, your thoughts, your words, your actions and your desires; if they are in love with this world and the things of this world) then the devil owns you! And if God calls you out of this world, in that condition (not matter how GOOD of a person that you think that you are and how many good deeds you do for others), if your heart is in the devil’s hands, then when God calls your name and you leave this world lost in that hidden condition, you’ll split the lake of fire wide open and for all eternity. And someone else will inherit your luxury sedan and wear those nice clothes that you desired!
You CANNOT resist a devil that you are actively engaging! PERIOD!!
If you’re flirting with him and the things of this world, then he knows you all too well already. He has already started buying you and the rights to you through the mutual investment of his time into you and your time into him!
In essence, you’ve been bought by the deceiving lies of the devil, when you should have and could have been bought by the precious blood of Jesus!
Today, in this church and in churches all over the world, there are many Christians who are asking a question similar to, “How do I win. How do I RESIST the devil, as the Bible says, so that he will flee from me?”
Well, here’s a hint. If you are trying to “resist” the devil so that he will flee from you, so that you can then submit yourself to’ve got it all backwards and it will not work for you!

In James speaks to the church about its source of quarreling and conflict. He says that these things come from the people’s desires for the things of this world.

He says that our friendship with the world makes us enemy of God!
He tells the church that they are adulterers because of their love for and desire of the things of this world. (Spiritual adultery!)
He then calls the people adulterers because their desires have been for the world, even though the Spirit within us, the Holy Spirit is in with and married to and in love with God.
He mentions that the spirit that God has regenerated within us, desires and longs to be in fidelity and communion with God!
James then says in verse 6, “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
It is God’s will for our entire spirit and soul to reside within His care and in an intimate relationship with Him, while here, in this body.
So, in the midst of this great struggle with the flesh and its desires for the pleasurable things of this world and our spiritual fidelity with God, He provides for us something that is greater than the struggle and the war that rages on within us.
He gives us a GRACE that is greater and more powerful than anything that we can do on our own!
It is by the grace of God and the faith that is afforded to us to begin with, that we ever get to know Him as Lord of our lives.
And the only way that we can begin to overcome the desires for this world, are found in the empowering GRACE as given by God.
And God only gives this greater measure of grace to those who are HUMBLE!
So, in verse 7, right before James tells us to RESIST the devil, he tells to SUBMIT to God.
The Greek word for SUBMIT, is hupotassō, and it is not the word that many think of in the English that has the connotation of being passive/weak, or struggling and ultimately submitting to authority out of futility, that is, we struggle against something and finally we relinquish or yield to it out of exhaustion and with no other choice! This word, however, is used by James as an ‘enlistment’ word. That is, we have taken up allegiance to a Superior authority, by free choice and we look to do the will and the await the commands of this superior, within the war that we are engaged. IT IS VOLUNTARY/WILLFUL OBEDIENCE TO ANOTHER!
You cannot submit to the will of another, if you are seeking your own will and desires.
Henceforth, you cannot receive the empowering grace of God that He freely gives to the humble, if you are not willing to freely submit to Him!
Without the grace of God that you need to empower you, you cannot even begin to RESIST the devil.

Within verses 7-10 of , are a series of 10 things that we must obey, if we want to receive this empowering grace of God. These 10 things spell out the terms of a humble walk with God, and the effect of walking them out is spelled out in verse 10, as it says there that God will exalt, or lift us up!

Understand this; if you are submitting to God then you will be able to accomplish all of the commands in verses 7-10. If you oppose God, however, and do not humble yourself in submission to Him, then He will do to you what you should be doing to the enemy.......God will resist, or oppose you!
James 4:7–10 ESV
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Note that the last command is a repeat of the starting of this list; humble yourself before God! In order to submit, you must humble yourself; this never ends and is a daily decision!

So,if you are humbling yourself and submitting to God’s authority and you are then able to “resist” the devil, what does it mean, to resist him, how does the Bible says this happens?

Well, in order to oppose your enemy, you must know your enemy and what he is capable of. What are his tactics, what does his attack look like?
2 Corinthians 2:11 ESV
so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
God gives wisdom, as part of His grace to those who ask Him for it. This wisdom, which is pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable and full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering and without hypocrisy, is a complete diametric to the schemes of the enemy and his designs. If you know and possess Godly wisdom, then you will recognize the the ungodly wisdom that does not come from above, as James mentions in chapter 3.
The schemes, or ploys of the devil are demonstrated in ,
1 John 2:16 ESV
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.
So, our ability to “resist” the devil, is of knowing and recognizing when he is trying to lead us into his schemes; we need to know how to recognize his presence, in order to resist, or oppose him.
Another thing to keep in mind with resisting the devil, is to never give him a place in your heart with which he can begin attacking. says,
2 Timothy 2:22 NLT
Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.
Did it say entertain youthful lusts? NO.......RUN/FLEE from them!
As soon as you see them being presented to you, turn and get away. . says to not give the devil an opportunity!
I love how one pastor said it, “If you want to know how to beat the devil at his game, it’s simple. DO NOT EVEN GET INTO THE RING WITH HIM!”
You and I are not powerful enough to take on the devil one on one in his arena. This is why God says to draw close to Him and He will draw close to you.
That is why the devil flees! He is greater in might than we are in the natural and yet, “Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world!”
The command to submit and then resist is saying that we have enlisted in God’s army, under His authority and are now standing on the front lines, the firing lines of this spiritual war and we will not move when the enemy keeps attacking!

Let me close by saying this, in the book of Ephesians and chapter 6 we see a very familiar passage written by the apostle Paul, which says, “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”

Because these commands hit all areas of our lives: cleaning the outside and the inside. The person who
How many of you are battle wearied and tired and worn down, trying to fight a spiritual battle every single day in your life and you’re getting hit right and left by the blows of the enemy?
If you will humble yourself and submit, COMPLETELY, to God, then and only then, will you be able to finally put on the FULL armor of God and resist the devil and be victorious!
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