Summary: There are things we can do to overcome the opposition.
INTRO.- ILL.- A Mr. Duffy said, “MY SON David enlisted in the Marine Corps and was sent to San Diego. At the base, he was greeted by a poster of a ferocious-looking drill sergeant, placed on a wall where no recruit could possibly miss it.
“As the DI glared out of the picture, the caption read: ‘We never promised you a rose garden.’ Halfway through boot camp, David again passed the poster and noticed that under the caption was added: ‘Yes, but you never told us about the fertilizer!’”
We were never promised a rose garden here on earth regardless of our choice of work, labor, vocation, etc.
Life will always have its ups and downs, its positives and negatives, its cleanliness and its filth.
Job 14:1 “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.”
Eccl. 2:23 “All his (man’s) days his work is pain and grief, even at night his mind does not rest.”
Doesn’t sound very good, does it? Even at best, life is tough, rough, hard, hard to swallow, etc.
ILL.- WASILLA, Alaska - A 54-year-old hunter says he can laugh about it now - but he sure wasn’t laughing then. Bill Murphy survived an attack by a grizzly bear this month while he was hunting on a remote trail in Alaska.
Murphy says he used duct tape to bind his bite wounds, then rode an all-terrain vehicle to his pick-up truck and drove himself to a hospital. The hunter says the attack happened when he surprised a grizzly cub and its mother.
He says the mother bear quickly pinned him facedown, clamping her jaws around his shoulder and shaking him like a rag. He says he felt teeth pressing on his skin - then a “pop” as they sliced through.
The bear then let go, standing over Murphy and panting and drooling on his head. It then moved away. Murphy says he has no idea how long the attack lasted - but says it felt like “two lifetimes.”
I’m sure that none of us would have wanted to trade places with Bill Murphy. However, do you realize that everyday we are engaged in a ferocious battle for our lives?
I Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
We’re engaged in a ferocious battle with our enemy who roars like a hungry lion or perhaps comes at us like an angry mother bear.
We’re also engaged in a battle against the world.
I John 2:15-16 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world.”
The world, with its desires and ideas, is trying to seduce us and draw us away from God and Christ. WE’RE ENGAGED IN A BATTLE WHETHER WE REALIZE IT OR NOT! But we must realize it or wake up about it.
ILL.- Ulysses S. Grant once said, “The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon you can. Strike at him as hard as you can and as often as you can, and keep moving on.”
Instead of doing nothing, we must strike back. We must take a stand for God and Christ. We must do something!
PROP.- In our text, Paul gives three essentials for victory in this war against the enemy.
1- Consistency (27a)
2- Cooperation (27b)
3- Confidence (28-30)
I. CONSISTENCY IN LIVING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
V. 27a “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a many worthy of the gospel.”
ILL.- PENSACOLA, Fla. - Some convicted drunken drivers in the Florida Panhandle have been ordered to put bumper stickers on their cars asking, "How’s my driving? ... The judge wants to know!!!"
The judge said, "We want to influence people to correct their behavior rather than just use this as sort of a monitoring system."
The application for us is: HOW’S MY LIVING? And the world is watching. Our conduct should be worthy of the gospel.
ILL.- Just before the election for the governor of California many people were debating over Arnold Schwarzenegger’s past with women, etc. I personally felt that Arnold answered his critics quite well. He was big enough to apologize for his past errors. But Arnold’s conduct is not nearly as important as ours is! We represent the Lord Jesus Christ! Arnold represents Arnold!
How’s your conduct record? We all have our days, our good days and our bad days. We’re not perfect every day, as much as we would like to be.