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Summary: This sermon deals with the consequences of allowing "little" sins to remain alive within the life of the believer.

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Gaza, Gath and Ashdod

Text: Joshua 13:1-3; Hebrews 12:1

Joshua 13:1-3

Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the Lord said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed.

This is the land that yet remaineth: all the borders of the Philistines, and all Geshuri,

From Sihor, which is before Egypt, even unto the borders of Ekron northward, which is counted unto the Canaanite: five lords of the Philistines, and the Gazathites, and the Ashdodites, Eshkalonites, the Gittites, and the Ekronites; also the Avites:

Hebrews 12:1

Wherefore seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Introduction:

For years the doctors had told him to stop his alcohol consumption and the use of tobacco. “Continued excessive consumption of alcohol and the habitual use of nicotine is bringing rapid degeneracy within the liver and the lungs.” Now as his body lay on the cold steel autopsy table a strange reality began to set in. Here was a man in apparent great physical shape. Obviously proper diet and physical exercise were a part of his lifestyle. However, although he had included things that were beneficial to him, it was those things that he had not removed that ultimately destroyed him.

It does not matter how much we pray, fast, read the Bible, attend church, pay tithes, or practice spiritual physical fitness, if a remnant of sin is allowed to remain it will destroy us. All the good intentions won’t make a difference if sin is still allowed a place in your heart.

I. Gaza, Gath and Ashdod

 These places represent a remnant of unconquered Philistines.

 They also represent the source of Israel greatest torment

 The inhabitants of these cities wreak havoc and terror on the Israelites to this day.

 What is their spiritual importance?

 Gaza: Where Samson Lost His Vision

 Gath: The Birthplace of Goliath

 Ashdod: The Seat and Center of Dagon/Idolatrous Worship

If I Were the Devil

If I were the prince of darkness, I’d want to engulf the world in darkness, and I’d have a third of its real estate, and I’d have four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree. THEE. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first. I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve. DO AS YOU PLEASE. To the young, I would whisper that the Bible is a myth, I would convince them that man created God, instead of the other way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is square. And the old, I would teach to pray, after me, "our father, which is in Washington." And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors in how to make lewd literature exciting so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d peddle narcotics to whom I could; I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.

If I were the devil I’d soon have families that war with themselves, churches that war with themselves, and nations that war with themselves, until each in its turn was consumed, and with promises of higher ratings, I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.

If I were the devil, I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions, just let them run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every school house door.

Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography. Soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches, I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priest and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money.

If I were the devil, I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas, a bottle. And what’ll you bet I couldn’t get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich. I would caution against extremes, in hard work, in patriotism, and in moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old fashioned, that swinging is more fun. That what you see on TV is the way to be, and thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.

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