Summary: We are in a spiritual fight, and we need to recognize that we have the necessary tools and forces to not give up, but to go to the last round where Jesus Christ will be the final victor, and peace, truth, and justice will prevail.
“Just Let Jesus”
Many of you are familiar with the blockbuster movie Rocky, in which a very muscular, physically fit, local Philadelphia guy, Rocky Balboa, fights the world’s heavy weight boxing champion Apollo Creed.
In the first smash hit, Rocky fights Apollo for 15 rounds, but Apollo maintains his title.
The movie was so popular, the sequel Rocky II was put into motion in Hollywood and fans anxiously awaited the night of the big fight.
Can you just hear the announcer’s voice?
In this corner we have the World’s Heavy Weight Champion, Apollo Creed, weighing in at 212lbs.
And in this corner, the local favorite from Philadelphia, Rocky Balboa, weighing in at 211lbs.
It’s going to be a great fight tonight folks.
Apollo wants to prove that the first fight wasn’t a fluke.
Apollo wants a knockout in the first round.
He’s looking mighty intimidating.
Now, while that scene is fresh in your mind, let’s transition to our gospel message.
Here in this corner we have the sin of the world, wrought with anger, hatred, abuse, selfishness, greed, murder, lust, and turning away from God.
Satan is ready to do some damage here is this world.
He’s trying to defeat the love God has for His people and he’s determined to win.
He’s put all kinds of lies in peoples’ mind and he’s turning men against women, rich against poor, black against white, young against old.
In the other corner, we have Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Great Almighty God.
Sent into this world to take away the sin of the world.
To fight for courage, justice, and truth.
To establish peace and good will on earth.
To defeat death and destruction, famine, and greed, selfishness, and self centeredness.
Who will be the victor of the fight?
Jesus appeals to the crowd.
He invites us, “Pick up our cross and follow me.”
John said to Him, “We saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.”
Jesus responds, “Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me.
“Whoever is not against us is for us.”
The crowd goes wild.
Satan and Jesus are ready for battle.
Satan’s team is armed with weapons of mass destruction.
Jesus’ team is armed with the Holy Bible and the love of God.
Who in this congregation is going to fight on Jesus’ side?
Who is going to carry the cross and stand up against the evils of this world?
It is time for Satan and evil to be destroyed.
It’s not going to be pretty.
It might get a little bloody.
Are you willing to take the risk?
Are you willing to risk inviting someone to church with the possibility that they might say no and turn your invitation down?
Are you willing to love your enemy no matter how many punches he or she throws you?
Teenagers, are you willing to join hands at school, gathering around the flag pole before school starts to pray?
Are you willing to invite the new kid on the block to lunch or a soccer game?
Are you willing to share your financial resources with the poor, desperate, and needy?
The world is going to try and cause our children to sin.
I don’t have to remind you how much drugs, sex, and violence is being offered to our youth.
It’s on the radio, in the grocery stores, on T.V., on the internet.
Our youth are being bombarded by messages that wealth and beauty will bring them true happiness.
Dare to tell them the truth.
Dare to share the message of the gospel and turn someone’s life around.
Satan is not staying in his corner when the bell sounds.
Satan is not playing by the rules.
Satan wants followers at any cost.
The more hatred and evil there is in the world, the more Satan wants it to continue.
There will be no rest until peace prevails.
Jesus shares His message…
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”
“And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off; it is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.