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Summary: The fight with sin is very real but God never intended for us to live in bondage; He has given us the keys to victory over sin and they are found in His Word.

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Winning the fight. There is a fight! Rom.7:15-19 - “I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree that the law is good. But I can’t help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things. I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway.” The usual suspects: all familiar with desire, temptation and sin. Desires aren’t necessarily sin but they can lead to temptation. Temptation alone is not sin but what we do with it determines that. Sin defined: not matching up to who God is. That pretty much defines me very well. 2 types of sin: Sins of commission and sins of omission. Sins of commission: doing what is wrong. Sins of omission: not doing what I know I should. James 4:17 - “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” Heb.11:25 says that sin is pleasurable for a season! Pr.26:11 says it’s the same as a dog returning to its vomit. Jesus offers true joy: Jn.4:14 - “whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.” James 1:14-15 - “but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” You have power over temptation by cultivating godly desires. Start the fight at the level of desires. Ps.37:4 - “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” He doesn’t just make you change what you do, he changes what you want to do. 1 Cor.10:13 - “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” You are not powerless over any temptation no matter its strength. Heb.12:4 - “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” Continue the fight at the level of temptation. Heb.4:15 - “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin.” Fight by running to Jesus and away from the temptation. Joseph’s example (Gen.39). 1 Cor.10:13 said “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. That’s talking about ACCOUNTABILITY! Fight temptation by standing with your brothers and sisters. 1 Jn.1:7 - “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” You do not have to sin, but when you do: 1 Jn.1:9 - If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. When you fall in the fight run to Him. Don’t let your sin prevent you from running to Him, when you fall run to Him all the more. Wrestling analogy. We aren’t who we used to be. We’ve been given His power! Gal.3:3 - “Have you lost your senses? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” The point is not to try harder, but to connect with Him and live in His power! His Holy Spirit lives in you to empower you to live a Christ like life. Gal.2:20 - “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Who will win? 2 dogs analogy. Victory over sin starts in your mind. Repentance! Gk: Metanoeo: to change one’s mind or thinking. Thought precedes action. Rom.12:1- “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Think like Jesus - act like Jesus! Get in the Word! God gets at the root - our thoughts and desires and the corresponding temptation which leads to sin. This is the difference between being a hypocrite or the real deal. This is the difference between a program and true transformation. Don’t make your stand not sinning - Make your stand pursuing Christ. There’s is no rehabbing your flesh. It is getting worse every day. The only hope is to kill it. Col.3:5 - “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Mt.18:9 - “And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.” The more you just try not to sin the more you will. Benjamin Franklin decided to “live without committing any fault at any time.” His list of character traits to aspire to, published in his autobiography: Temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity and humility. He did good with many of those virtues but wrote specifically about pride: “Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive,” and he noticed even if he could conquer pride he would, “probably be proud of my humility.” He realized the harder he tried the less he won! He wrote: “I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it.” The more you pursue Him the more you won’t want to fall! The cycle goes both ways: Try not to sin, end up sinning, and on and on. There is no victory through trying harder. Or the opposite: draw close to Him, you won’t want to sin, and on and on. Let grace set you free. Draw near to Him, keep eyes on Him he will transform you from the inside out. There is a point to the fight, it is a good fight. This fight is developing you to be more like Christ. Heb.12:1-2 - “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” The point isn’t to be perfect but to grow closer to Him. Dependence forces that. All of life designed to develop dependence on God. Phil.3:3 - says to put no confidence in the flesh. Constantly dependent, never trusting myself. Summarizing: practically, how do you win? Let the Holy Spirit empower you by faith. Focus on Jesus, not on the sin. Change your thinking - Get in God’s Word. Accountability: get a brother or sister who will stand with you in the fight. Bringing it home: What secret or not so secret sin do you want to give God control of? What desire underlies that temptation? Decide to quit just trying harder not to sin and instead pursue God in that area. How can you pursue God with that desire? What corresponding desire would he like to cultivate in its place? Picking up where we started: Rom.7:24-25 - “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!”


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