DEVOTIONS AND SERMONS

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Fighting The Good Fight
 

1 Timothy 6:11-12
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.


Welcome to the battle! You are now a part of God's army. That makes you Satan's target - number one on his hit list. He will do everything in his power to get you out of God's army. You must be ready to fight.

Hebrews 10:26-39
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,
27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
30 For we know him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," and again, "The Lord will judge his people."
31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.
33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.
34 You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
37 For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay.
38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."
39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.


Consequences of not fighting the fight.

Ephesians 6:10-18
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,
15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.


God has given us power to fight against Satan. He has armed us for battle. The full armor includes :
# The belt of truth - be honest about everything
# The breastplate of righteousness - have a heart that desires to do what is right.
# Feet fitted with readiness - Be ready to serve
# Shield of faith - Stay faithful in every situation
# Helmet of salvation - Because you have obeyed the scriptures, be confident of your salvation
# Sword of the Spirit - Study the word
# Prayer - Pray every day

1 Peter 5:8-9
8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.


The first rule of war is to know your enemy. Satan is roaring lion looking for someone to devour. We must be self-controlled and alert. Never underestimate the power of Satan.

Ways that Satan will attack :

1. Lust

2 Samuel 11:1-5
1 In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.
2 One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful,
3 and David sent someone to find out about her. The man said, "Isn't this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite?"
4 Then David sent messengers to get her. She came to him, and he slept with her. (She had purified herself from her uncleanness.) Then she went back home.
5 The woman conceived and sent word to David, saying, "I am pregnant."


The great king David chose lust over righteousness. We must guard against their sin.

2. Materialism / Worldliness

Hebrews 13:5
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

Don't be selfish. Use your talent for God and his Kingdom.

3. Persecution

2 Timothy 3:12-14
12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
13 while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,


Persecution can come from family, friends, business associates, denominational churches, the news media, the internet. Guard your heart against Satan's attacks.

4. Bitterness / Ingratitude

Hebrews 12:15
See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Never lose your gratitude for salvation.

5. Doubt

Genesis 2:16-17
16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;
17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."


Genesis 3:1
Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

"Did God really say?" Satan can attack us with doubts - about baptism, about evangelism, about who's lost and who's saved, about discipling, etc.

How to deal with temptation :

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

God will always provide a way out of temptation. Find it!

Hebrews 12:1-3
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.


Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Hebrews 3:12-13
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.
13 "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.


Stay close to the fellowship.

Romans 12:21
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Replace evil thoughts and / or actions with good thoughts and / or actions.

Matthew 4:1-4
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
3 The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"


Stay in the Word. Jesus fought temptation by quoting scripture.

Remember

Revelation 2:10
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

We must remain faithful to the point of death. We are not in this for one month, one year or one decade. We are in this until we draw our last breath.