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Summary: Steps to overcoming besetting/habitual sins.

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WINNING OVER HABITUAL SINS

- Read Hebrews 12:1-12:2

In chapter 11, the writer of Hebrews takes us through a gallery. With rapid brush strokes he paints portraits of the OT saints. There hangs a picture of Enoch as he disappears into the heavens. Beside it hangs a picture of Noah, as he leads his sons to build the ark while animals gather in the foreground. Just a short ways further there hangs a picture of Abraham waving goodbye to his family and friends, when, by faith, he left all he knew to follow God to a foreign country.

Further down the hall hangs a picture of Moses as a babe, lying in a basket in the bulrushes. Beside it, a picture of him as a grown man, leading the Israelites through the Red Sea, with the water stacked above their heads on both sides. He leads us beside pictures of Samson, David, Daniel, and all the others saints of old.

Then, in chapter 12 he says, “Since we are surrounded by all of these witnesses, run the race that’s set before you.” He says, “Look, all of these guys, all of these people are witnesses. Ask them. They will tell you that there is no better way to live. These guys never had the joy of seeing Jesus Christ while they were living, some of them died terrible deaths, and yet every one of them will testify that serving God is the best thing in life you can ever do.”

You know, most of us started out believing that very thing. Do you remember when you first accepted Christ? Do you remember how excited you were? Why aren’t you as excited today?”

I believe one of the primary reasons we don’t do a better job of living the Christian life is found there in chapter 12 and verse 1. Read that with me please.

> Hebrews 12:1 Therefore since we also have such a large crowd of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that lies before us,

I want you to underline that phrase in the middle, “the sin that so easily ensnares us.” Every believer is surrounded by opportunities to sin. Every day we have many opportunities to sin, but each of us have sins that we are especially weak to. Some people struggle with pride. Some struggle with fear. Some struggle laziness, while others struggle with overwork. Some struggle with lust, and others struggle with food. Some struggle with spending, while others struggle with greed. If you’re like me, there are sins you’ve committed that you’ve asked forgiveness for, only to turn around and do it again. The Apostle Paul struggled with sin. He said, “The things that I want to do, I don’t do; and the things I don’t want to do, I do. Oh, wretched man that I am.”

This morning I want to look at why we struggle with these sins, and second I want to look at ways we can get out of the traps our sin has put us in.

I. WE STRUGGLE WITH HABITUAL SINS BECAUSE:

1. Sin looks good -

- Proverbs 23:31-32

Let’s face it. Sin looks good. If it didn’t look good, if it wasn’t attractive at least for a while, we wouldn’t do it. Sin can be fun for a while. …

2. Sin is powerful

> John 8:34 Jesus responded, “I assure you: Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.” Who in their right mind would want to be a slave? Probably none of us. And yet, people are made slaves of sin. Why? Because sin is powerful. It is a trap that grips us. It grips our minds, our bodies, our imaginations. It is powerful.

3. Sin is sneaky

Sin sneaky. Sin can sneak up on you so quickly. Let me ask you, when you give faithfully, when you tithe, don’t you sometimes feel a little proud of what you’re doing and how you’re obeying Christ when maybe others aren’t? You ever have that sneak up on you?

You ever spend time with your children and then begin judging other people because you don’t think they’re as good of a parent as you are? You ever share a prayer request with someone and in the middle of sharing think, “I’m glad I’m not like that?” Several years ago, I went to a ballgame with my Mom because someone gave her some box tickets to a Braves game. I remember sitting there looking at the people around us ordering all kinds of food and souvenirs and thinking to myself, “I wish we could afford all of that stuff.” Man, the people in the nosebleed section wished they could sit where we were sitting, and there I was coveting someone’s hot dog. My friend, sin is sneaky. Covetousness, pride, anger, whatever; it can slip up on you in an instant.

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Michael Hamilton, Th.d.

commented on Nov 11, 2006

I enjoied this lesson. It made me think.

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