Summary: How do you fight to win against sin? There are at least 4 principles we need to know if we're going to overcome sin in our lives.
OPEN: One man told about the time, when he was a boy, that a bully used to demand his lunch money every day.
He wrote: “Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. But then I decided to fight back.
I started taking karate lessons, but the instructor wanted $5 a lesson. That was a lot of money.
I found that it was cheaper to pay the bully, so I gave up karate."
(Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey)
Last Sunday we talked about the fact that everybody sins at one point or another in their live. As Romans 3:23 says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We all fall down and stumble… we all sin now and again. And I went on to say that we shouldn’t beat ourselves up over those times when we fail, because when we do fail, God wants us getting back up off the mat.
When we sin, John writes: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
It’s by the grace of God that our sins are cleansed when we confess them.
But all through my sermon prep for that sermon I kept having this nagging thought… some people are going to say: “well if I’m going to sin anyway, why bother fighting it? I mean, God’s gonna forgive me… RIGHT?”
Now Paul actually thought there would be people who might think that way so he addressed this matter in the first verse of Romans 6:
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?” Romans 6:1
I mean, if I’m going to sin anyway… why lose sleep over it. Just go ahead and sin, and go talk to God in the morning, confess your sins and plan on doing the same thing – day, after day, after day. Just not worry about fighting against your sins. Just depend on God’s GRACE to cover your them.
Or as Paul said; “Shall we go on sinning so that GRACE may increase?”
It’s like that young boy figuring it was cheaper to pay the bully than to fight him.
It appears that the church in Corinth had fallen into that trap.
So, Paul starts out saying: “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be DISQUALIFIED” I Corinthians 9:25-27 (ESV)
Notice what he’s saying:
He disciplines his body just like any athlete would.
He exercises self-control in ALL things
Because he doesn’t want to DISQUALIFIED.
Now what does Paul mean by that – “Disqualified”?
Well, let’s look at his examples.
He starts out by having the Corinthian Christians view the people in the Old Testament as being similar to themselves.
• Just like the Corinthian Christians, the Israelites were all "baptized" - in the cloud and in the sea (10:2)
• They all ate the same “spiritual food” (10:3)
• They all drank the same “spiritual drink” (10:4)
Just like we do at Communion.
Here at this table we all eat the same spiritual food and drink the same spiritual drink.
And yet those Old Testament Saints (who were “baptized” and partook of their own form of the Lord’s Supper) ended up believing it was cheaper to pay the bully than fight the sin.
“We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.”
In other words: when it comes to whether it’s cheaper to pay the bully or fight the sin,
FIGHT THE SIN!
It is WAY cheaper.
Paul lays out a strong warning for the Corinthian church:
“...these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” 1 Corinthians 10:11
Don’t take God’s grace for granted.
Don’t try “playing” God for a fool.
He HAS saved you and He DOES love you, but if it looks like you’re trying to mock Him by your behavior, you could be in for a rude awakening.
Don’t pay the bully. Fight the sin.
Now, the question is: How do I do that?
How do I fight the sin?
Well, first I have to WANT to win.
One of the leaders here at church once made an interesting observation.