Intro: In the early days of Pentecost, a common expression of greeting when the saints would come to church was, "Have you got the victory?" And the response was, "Praise the Lord, I sure do!" Somewhere along the way, we dropped this greeting. Could it be we did because of the response we began receiving?
It is God's will for you to be an overcomer! It is God's will for this church to be an overcoming church! It is God's will for your family to be an overcoming family!
I want to begin a three part series tonight on the subject, "Be an overcomer or you'll be overcome!"
There is a teaching in Christendom that states, "Once a person has been saved, they are eternally secure-regardless of the way they live." In fact, one man said he felt that he was so eternally secure that he could even commit murder and still be saved.
Nothing could be further from the truth of God's Word. Jesus said, "He that endureth to the end shall be saved."
You have a free will. You have a choice. Your family has a choice. This church has a choice. You can be overcome, or you can be an overcomer!
WHAT CAUSES PEOPLE TO BE OVERCOME?
1. Unforgiveness and bitterness.
Matthew 18:21-35, "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.  Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.  But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.  The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, P!
ay me that thou owest.  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
Hebrews 12:14-17, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man
shall see the Lord:  Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;  Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.  For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."
Romans 12:18-21, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
2. Evil habits that cause bondage and addiction. Drugs, Alcohol, Sex, Gambling.
(Man in Las Vegas whose 3-year-old daughter was killed)
2 Peter 2:19, "While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage."
Hebrews 12:1-2, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."