The Fight of our Lives
We just celebrated the 65th anniversary of D-Day. On June 6th, 1944, around 160,000 Allied troops left England, crossed the English Channel, and landed on the beaches Northern Frances amidst a flurry of bullets. It was one of the largest amphibious assaults in history, and many soldiers from both sides died. The Allies prevailed over Nazi Germany and established a stronghold on the European continent. It was a very decisive battle in World War 2, but the War was not over.
The end of the war didn't come until almost a year later, May 8th, 1945: Victory in Europe Day or V-E Day. Nazi Germany unconditionally surrendered to Allied troops, and the war was finally over.
Between D-Day and V-E Day, fierce battles were fought. D-day was such a decisive victory that one could say that the outcome of the war was almost assumed at that point; however, the war still raged until Germany surrendered on V-E Day.
1. War for our Lives
a. Christ's Life and Death is our D-Day
i. Outcome of our battle with Satan, Sin, and Death was determined
b. Christ's Second Coming is our V-E Day
i. Victory will be completed
c. Between the Days
i. We battle the flesh everyday!
ii. Life is a struggle, even though we know the outcome!
Because the war rages between our flesh and the Spirit, we must fight on the side of the Spirit!
Point 1: Battle Briefing
Talking about the Spirit:
o Last week: started us off.
1. On-Going Battle between our Flesh and the Spirit
Galatians 5:17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
o Flesh = our sinful nature we inherited from the fall
i. Romans 3:23. for all have sinned
ii. Jeremiah 17:9 the heart is deceitful above all things
iii. Without God, we are bent towards all kinds of evil. We desire the things that are contrary to God.
o Spirit = the Holy Spirit (3rd person of Trinity)
i. When we are "born again" or "converted" we are justified.
1. Sin causes 2 problems: Guilt and Corruption
2. Guilt of sin is removed (remember last week--legal standing)
3. The corruption of sin remains.
4. We battle the corruption sin has caused in our hearts every day of our lives.
o Our hearts are divided between our flesh and the Spirit
i. Affects every decision of every day (illustration of 954 call)
ii. Battle is for our desires and how we live our life.
iii. How we act and what we say.
iv. Who are we going to let rule in this conflict?
o This is our Sanctification
i. Last week...Ryle: sanctification is necessary for our salvation
ii. This is a battle that we must go trhough
This battle can't be avoided. And it will continue until 1 of 2 things happens: you die, or Christ comes again.
Point 2: Strategies
1. The Enemy's Strategy
I actually don't need to go into a lot of detail here. The struggle is realy and we expereince it every day
Frustrated with ourselves after the fact:
o Why did I chew that person out?
o Why did I just waste my time doing X when I could have been doing something else?
o Why can't I stop doing X?
o Devil will try to distract us in order to keep us from hearing God's voice
i. Fill our lives with distractions and noise
ii. Make us too busy to think about God: kids, job, meetings, activities, house, groceries, friends, projects, hobbies, favorite shows, always having music on…
iii. When we are busy and distracted, that is when our flesh is the strongest and we are susceptible.
iv. Silence is strange and not the norm. Quiet is rare, but that is where God speaks. His still small voice.
o Devil uses our culture and the media to keep us from God's spirit
i. Temptations are everywhere you look: TV, advertising on billboards
ii. Hundreds of ads per day…thousands per year. All telling us what to do or who to be or what to buy!
iii. PBS Special on Advertising to teenagers.
1. Get inside the mind of a t teenager to find out what is cool
2. Give kids what they want, not what they need.
3. Concerned with feeding the flesh.
iv. Media is not concerned about the spirit. They are concerned about feeding the flesh because the flesh spends the money!
In the process of sanctification, the time comes when we need to realize that feeding the flesh never satisfies. We realize what we've been doing, and we become convicted.
Every once in a while, what will happen is that we realize what is going on in our lives and think to ourselves: "O what a wretched person I am! Who will rescue me?!"
1. First things First: We need to know this and be confident: Victory is certain! The Spirit wins. The outcome is secure because of Christ's death and resurrection!
2. Victory Comes At the End
a. Our Glorification is certain because of what Christ has done.
b. But while we live, we will continue to struggle. This is our sanctification.
c. We continue to grow develop as Christians…trust, believe, give up.
3. What not to do:
a. Self-help, motivation speaker routine:
i. Try harder! If you keep at it, you can overcome it!
ii. Just be a better person! You can do it!
iii. This only leads to slavery because you are constantly performing. You are not free.
4. What to do:
a. Feed the Spirit and Starve the Flesh
i. Starve the flesh
1. Admit it: This is a struggle that we are engaged in. It is ok. Even the very best of us struggle.
a. Sins and struggles should not be a surprise. It is the battle that rages in all of us.
b. Even Paul--the Christian of Christians--struggled as we do.
c. Romans 7: I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…O what a wretched man am I!"
d. Hearing of people's struggles should not be a surprise.
e. Famous pastor caught in sin: sad but not surprising.
f. This is a struggle we all face.
b. Starve the flesh. Cut it off.
i. "The most effective way for a Christian to oppose the desires and deeds of the flesh is to starve them to death…The surest way to fall into sin is to allow oneself to be in situations where there is temptation to it. On the other hand, the safest wat to avoid a sin is to avoid situations that are likely to pose temptations to it."
1. Fireproof: take the computer out back and take a bat to it.
2. Better to go to heaven with one hand then to hell with two. Mt. 5:29-30
c. If we don't, we will spend our lives pursuing things that don't satisfy us.
i. We will look back on our lives and wonder if we have wasted it.
ii. Piper wrote a book about it: Don't Waste Your Life
b. Feed the Spirit--Give the Carpenter its Tools
Pastor Charlie last week: spirit is a carpenter who needs his tools
Youth: read and pray
1. Read the Bible
a. We find time for our favorite TV shows. We have time for the movies. We make time for the important things in our lives. Make this one of them.
b. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 -- training in righteousness!
2. Spend time in prayer
a. Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
3. Christian Fellowship
a. We need each other's encouragement. This isn't a battle to be fought alone. There's no need for that because we are all in it together. We are fighting the same enemy, doesn't it make sense to fight together?
b. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
a. Lord's Supper this morning
b. WSC 1:96 96 What is the Lord's supper? A. The Lord's supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ's appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace.
c. "With all his benefits:" be reminded of the benefits of Christ: salvation, justification, a right standing with God, freedom from slavery to sin, eternal life, a restored relationship with God, the presence of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.
d. Reminder that the victory has been accomplished! We know the outcome of this battle that we are in!
As we toil on this earth between the D-Day of the Christ's death and resurrection and the V-E Day of his return, let us always remember and be encourage by the fact that the victory is ours through Christ. The outcome is determined. The Spirit wins! But until that moment of Christ's return, the battle will rage.
1. Walk by the Spirit
a. Sanctification is a process like walking: slow and steady
b. But 'walking' means that progress is happening.
c. Starve the flesh and feed the spirit. Take extreme action if you need to. our sanctification is that important!
d. As we are engaged in this battle for our very lives, let us provide the Spirit with the tools that he needs to create a masterpiece in our lives as we look forward to Christ's return. Amen.