Summary: This sermon seeks to enlighten Christians as to the difficulty of the battle in overcoming our fleshly desires that would keep us defeated.
Scripture: Genesis 32:24-31
Title: “Championship Wrestling”
Introduction: It is now twenty years since Jacob made his covenant at Bethel. The place where Jacob made a pillow of stones and laid down and slept. During the night as Jacob dreamed he saw a ladder setting upon the earth and reaching to heaven with angels ascending and descending. Jacob made a COVENANT with God, “And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.” (Gen. 29:20-22)
Before we get into the message let’s take a look at Jacob’s beginning. Jacob was one of a set of twins. Even as Jacob was being born he reached out his hand and took hold of his brother’s heel with his hand. This is where Jacob got his name, "one who supplants", or "one who takes another’s place, or heel grabber".
We get a GLIMPCE of Jacob’s nature even before his birth. While Jacob’s mother was carrying him and his brother Esau there was a struggling within her body, “But the two children struggled with each other in her womb. So she went to ask the LORD about it. "Why is this happening to me?" she asked. And the LORD told her, "The sons in your womb will become two rival nations. One nation will be stronger than the other; the descendants of your older son will serve the descendants of your younger son.”
I. JACOB’S NATURE.
a. Jacob’s entire life had been identified as a “Trickster.”
b. Jacob took his brother’s birthright and blessing.
c. He took his uncles sheep.
d. And he did these through shrewd business dealings.
e. Jacob was a man who pressed on till he got what he wanted.
f. He never gave up.
g. He was ruthless in his nature. It didn’t bother him how he treated people.
h. Jacob was the ruler of his own heart. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) (Heart: mind or inner being. springs of life. - Outgoings of life).
i. It’s easy to think that Jacob’s NATURE is a BAD THING! (But that is not necessarily so, as we will see further on in the message).
II. WE’VE ALL GOT SOME CATCHING UP TO DO.
a. Let me list some Scriptures that every one of us should have memorized.
b. “and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Num. 32:23)
c. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Gal. 6:7 – “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” (Gal. 6:8). NLT
d. It’s easy to forget people like: Saul’s bleating of the sheep. (1 Sam. 15:14); Achan’s SIN in the CAMP. (Jos. 7:19-20); Samson’s refusal to stop playing around with HARLOTS. (Judges 16:18-21); David’s ADULTERY with Bathsheba. (2 Sam. 11:3-4); Jonah being SWOLLOWED by the great fish. (Jon. 1:17); Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus. (Mt. 26:14-15); Ananias and Sapphira LYING to the Holy Ghost. (Acts 5:1-11).
e. Sooner or later the PAST will catch up with us all and when it does a WRESTLING MATCH of Great Proportions will OCCUR.
III. THE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH.
a. The word had reached Jacob that his brother was on his was to see him. This terrified Jacob because of all the bad things he had done to Esau.
b. Jacob devises a plan to appease his brother by giving him a sizable gift as a token of his desire to restore fellowship. (The Old Nature is still doing its WORK!)
c. Jacob has reached the END of the ROAD. He finds himself ALONE with all of the problems PILED on top of him.
d. Always trying to have YOUR WAY all the time will bring you to a PLACE of being ALONE every time!
e. Jacob begins to wrestle with a man that has shown up in his camp. (Jacob’s problem was so big that it forced him to get alone with God.)
f. This BOUT will DETERMINE who will RULE the REST of Jacob’s LIFE! (It is a “Championship Match”)
g. How many of you have watched professional wrestling on TV? * We know it’s fake, but it’s entertaining, so we watch it anyway. * We’ve seen the guy who keeps taking a beating, and when you think he’s just about done for, suddenly he gets a burst of energy or something and he turns it around and starts winning. (That’s Jacob! – He looks like he’s losing, but just the fact that he hangs on shows that he is winning.)