Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: God has the power and Satan is powerless against Him


Part 4

All Bark and No Bite!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pastor Brian Matherlee

Last week’s Fighter Verse—Proverbs 3:7, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.”

While visiting Loretta’s parents in Indiana last summer I spent each morning walking several miles. They live in the middle of farm country. The roads are straight and long with corn and bean fields lining them. There are few houses and fewer cars. As I was walking one morning with my “Ipod” playing a dog charged right at me from a field where they were building a grain silo. Needless to say, I was startled. They were there for several days and so after a couple of days being charged at by this dog I decided to walk “in town”. There are only 100 or so residents of State Line and so walking the entire town doesn’t take too long. I made one lap around the main part of town and decided to go down another road that would take me around the “suburbs”. As I approached one house I thought to myself “that looks like a shady place with dogs”. Sure enough as I got to the corner of the house I saw in the side yard at least 4 dogs. These weren’t Chihuahuas. These dogs were Cujo’s kin! Amazingly they weren’t chained and there was no fence. They didn’t look both ways before crossing the street. They made a bee line straight for me. Now I had a little stick and wish I had mace. The lead dog came right up on me and I put that stick right in his face. It worked. He couldn’t figure how to get around it and the others stayed at a distance watching what he was going to do. When I had walked about a block with them trailing, they gave up and retreated home. I didn’t make another lap past them.

That experience with those dogs is much like the experience we can have with the devil and this world. He comes after us and brings everything he’s got. He bares his fangs, he barks, he lurks, he stalks. We can be overwhelmed. We can wonder what we’re going to do. But if we realize what we have on our side and we don’t give in or panic we find we can make it away from defeat. What has the devil been barking at you?

1Corinthians 1:26-30, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

Today, you’re going to furnish part of the sermon outline. It’s the problem and solution part. On your outline in the bulletin you’ll see two blanks and the word “too” in between. The devil will try to discourage or accuse us in some way to defeat us. But all he has is bark. The truth is God has something for every problem. Maybe you have already figured out what it is the devil is telling you:

• I’m too

• It’s too

• Etc.

Let’s see what the Scripture tells us about Satan’s accusations and God’s victorious responses.

1. I’ve sinned too much

a. Closely associated with this is “I’ve wandered too far”, “it’s too late”, or “I’m too bad”.

b. Jesus encountered a woman at a well in Samaria while His disciples went to get provisions. He spoke with her about her life and shared the “gift of God” with her. (John 4)

c. Jesus was challenged by a mob of religious leaders dragging a woman caught in adultery and shoving her in front of Him and demanding an answer to what they should do with her—the law said she should be stoned—and Jesus replied, “you who are without sin may cast the first stone”. (John 8)

d. What about Christians? What happens when we fall into sin? 1 John 2:1, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”

e. This doesn’t excuse sin or give license to sin. Those who sin intentionally or presume God’s grace in all things without the need for confession and repentance misunderstand the nature of salvation and the keeping grace of our God.

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