Summary: God gives you the advantage to live successfully
The Odds Are…
Sunday, April 5, 2009
II Corinthians 2:11 Resist the Tactics
Intro: I believe that today many have a question which is unanswerable -- the question being, “How in the world did we get to where we are in our great country in such a short time?”
It is, I believe, documented in history that we have a common enemy. This enemy, despite his approach, has one goal in mind. According to Paul in my verse this morning, his goal is to get an advantage over you. Do you know what an advantage is?
When you have the advantage over someone, you have the upper hand and THE ODDS ARE that you will win every time. The majority will always place their bets on the one holding the advantage.
So today, I ask you, how do you and I stop this? How do we become successful in fighting an enemy we cannot see? That gives him the advantage already. That’s true, but we have options and those options are what I want to share with you today.
If you are a Christian today you probably know the story told by Isaiah in chapter 14:12-15!! Here he describes Satan’s fall from heaven! We read how he was cast from one realm into another realm. Obviously God had an advantage. Having an advantage meant something then and Paul realized that to be a successful Christian, we must be equipped with an advantage now – that can only come from God. After Lucifer’s overthrow, we see his work on the earth continue with the temptation of Eve, suggesting that his overthrow was yet an unfinished task. His ambition was to regain an advantage by suggesting to her that it would be appropriate and beneficial to eat of the fruit forbidden by God.
He continued his ambitious drive throughout the Old Testament. Working his way into the lives of many little by little, his goal was, and is, to gain an advantage over them.
Then we come to Calvary. Paul describes the work done by Christ at Calvary in Hebrews 2:14 this way: “That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil.” Paul continues in verse 15: and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (or disadvantaged).
In other words, up until Calvary, Satan held the ace card and used it to bully people. He obtained this position of power by deceiving Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He had the advantage over them! After God had given dominion to Adam and Eve, they allowed this enemy to steal it from them. Since God had given Adam dominion over the Garden, it was his responsibility to protect it from all intruders. By neglecting his duty and God-given responsibility, he returned the advantage to Satan.
But look at that word “destroy.” In the Greek it means “to make of none effect.” Christ took the advantage away from Satan again, as God the Father had previously, and made the playing field level again for the first time since the Garden.
This verse suggests that God didn’t do away with Satan, but simply returned him to his place!
So we now see that first, Satan had been stopped by God, and secondly he has been stopped by the Son. Because of this we now have the opportunity -- and the responsibility -- of forcing him to stand down in our lives. Is this difficult? Yes! Is this impossible? No! Is this required? Indeed, in order to live a successful Christian life. Is this needed? Absolutely.
“So, pastor, how do I keep this momentum given to me by Christ at Calvary? How do I keep the playing field level?” Well, that’s our first mistake; we are not to be satisfied and complacent with the playing field level. We are to grow in the knowledge and grace of God and we will have advantage over this enemy. This is God’s will for our lives.
We can do this by applying three verses of scripture to our lives:
#1: Ephesians 4:27, “Give no place to the Devil.” That simply means to ignore him! Pay him no attention. He may suggest he only wants to be your buddy and as your buddy he tells you that you can go ahead with that little sin or that small thing in your life that you know is wrong. He will defend your flesh by saying it’s alright. He has daily briefings with your flesh, and always suggests that being a Christian is like being a nerd (dull, non-eventful, boring, unpopular, etc.). Don’t be deceived! Being a Christian is exactly the opposite! But many times the flesh goes along with his suggestions, because the flesh, according to God’s Word, is weak. He wants to be more than your buddy. His desire is to be your master, and once again put you in bondage. He lets you think he is satisfied at first in being just a small part of your life, but believe me, he’s like a termite that has the appetite to consume you.