Summary: Looks at how to learn to live like a winner.
Victory always assumes an opponent. You are victorious over or against something or someone. We accomplish living like a winner in the face of temptation and adversity. Today we are going to take an in depth look at our battle against temptation and the tempter. As we learn in the Bible the tempter or enemy is Satan. Dietrich Bonhoeffer describes Satan’s strategy this way, “He does not fill us with hatred for God, but with forgetfulness of God.” If we can be made to forget God and who we His children are, Satan can have his way with us. Satan is strong but the unforgetful Christian is stronger yet. With the strength of the Lord in our lives we can fend off the attacks of Satan. We read in 1 John 4:4; “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” The opponent is strong but the mindful Christian is stronger yet through the power of God. If you desire to resist Satan and to learn to live like a winner you dare not ever forget who you are.
I. Who are you? God’s child!
A. Paul’s message here is one of hope. You belong!
1. The phrase “in Christ” is a favorite with Paul to signal the personal, local, and dynamic relation of the believer to Christ.
2. You are a valued member of the family of God.
3. You have been adopted into the King’s family.
4. Everything the Father desires you to have is yours including power to defeat Satan, are you need to do is claim it.
5. Those who are “in Christ” got into that position through faith as expressed through the act of baptism.
6. It is through faith, not through works, that you enter into this family relationship.
B. What does it mean to be a child of God?
1. Believers are God’s children and have the power and assurance of His indwelling Spirit and are enveloped in the life of Christ, they should bring honor to His name by the way they live.
2. Since we are children of God we are also heirs to great treasures in Heaven.
3. Without struggle there is no victory.
4. As children we gain courage from knowing that a loving and stronger parent is near, making sure that we are not going in too deep or going to far out.
5. So the first step in dealing with temptation is to remember who you are.
II. Even though you are a child of God, you are not invincible.
A. Your defenses can be penetrated and your resolve can be weakened.
1. We face temptations on a daily basis which consistently threaten our growth in Christ.
2. The more we grow in Christ, the more we begin to see how we fit into His plan for our lives.
3. We should carry out the spiritual disciplines not because of the threat of judgment, but because of the loving guidance of the Holy Spirit.
4. Our goal should not be to seek merit from God, but to experience fully all the blessings He has given us through Jesus Christ.
B. Our hope is not in our ability to overcome temptation, but in the Father who picks us up when we fall and is our strength in our weakness.
1. 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. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
2. However this promise is not for those who deliberately try to flirt with temptation.
3. Will Rogers often talked about a pharmacist who was once asked if he ever took time off to have a good time. The pharmacist answered, “No I haven’t, but I have sold a lot of headache medicine to those who did.”
4. Many treat God like a morning after medicine, undoing all the damage from the night before.
5. God never smiles indulgently as His children participate in self destructive behavior.
6. To count on His indulgence no matter what is to flirt with disaster.
III. We are more vulnerable at the times we feel our greatest strength.
A. We often come to the point when we feel strong enough to handle things on our own thinking we don’t need God’s help in this area of our life.
1. We often flirt with disaster by keeping the temptation around, and then praying for God to help us resist it.
2. This could be called the cheese cake in the refrigerator strategy.
3. If you really did not want to eat the cheese cake you wouldn’t be keeping it in the refrigerator waiting on to your desire for a piece or two to overpower your contempt for your widening waist line.