This is the sermon I preached at the First Baptist Church Hebron in Carrollton, TX yesterday. The audio got (accidentally) deleted (not my fault). Technically, I had to run to a birthday party after church, so I didn’t have time to save it as an mp3 and left it there thinking I would come back afterwards to convert it. When I got there, the window had already been closed and the files removed (do you want to save? no.).
1 Timothy 6:11-12
Thank the Lord 2010 is over. I don’t know about you, but Rachel and I have faced a lot of problems in 2010.
Rachel was forced to quit her job at the beginning of 2010 for health reasons at the beginning of the first semester. She quit her masters degree for the same health reasons a few months later. We had a miscarriage. While our hearts were still broken from the miscarriage, the church split and it tore our hearts further apart. My grandfather died and my uncle has terminal cancer. That’s just to name a few of the battles we’ve faced… But God is good!
God has brought us through all our troubles and we’ve grown closer to him through them. Obviously, what James said is true — to “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” -James 1:2-3 (HCSB)”
It seems to me that I’m always on the defensive. We’re trying to protect the definition of marriage. We’re defending freedom and liberty, we’re making our airports secure, and we try to have safe neighborhoods. We need to run from temptation and live in unity with other believers so we can carry his banner high.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being on the defensive. I’m ready to take the fight to the enemy! I’m ready to fight the good fight of the faith.
Here are my battle plans for 2011. Here are my blueprints for spiritual warfare this year. Before I give them to you, though, I think it is good to point out that our war is not with any human enemy, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” -Ephesians 6:12 ESV
To quote John Piper, “There is a mean, violent streak in the true Christian life! But violence against whom, or what? Not other people. Not muslims. Not Hindus. Not Buddhists. Not Atheists. Not Seculars. Not Nominal Christians, Wives, Children, or ornery bosses. It’s a violence against all the impulses in us that would be violent to other people. It’s a violence against all the impulses in our own selves that would make peace with our own sin and settle in with a peacetime mentality.”
1.) Clean up – kill sin (rom 8:13)
• If you love Jesus, you’ve got to Hate Sin!
• Jesus was talking about the sin of loving money, but it works just as well for any other sin… You cannot serve two masters. You will either love one and hate the other or serve one and dispise the other.
• John Piper has a sermon series on killing sin in 3 parts. You can get it on desiringgod.org. If you want, I can email you the link to the mp3’s or burn you a CD of them.
• Note: Killing sin isn’t what makes you a Christian. A lot of non-Christians are moral people. They are living according to the flesh to be moral people. We live through faith in Jesus — and because of that, we kill sin. Faith in Jesus saves us, not being moral. We kill sin because of our faith. When we follow the Holy Spirit’s lead, we walk according to the spirit and we kill sin. We kill sin because we’re new creatures in Christ and because we love him and we want to glorify him.
• So “Clean Up!”
2.) Look up – God’s armor and how he fights for us (Isaiah 11:1-5; Isaiah 59:15-20ish)
• We know from Exodus 15:3 that “The Lord is a warrior. Yahweh is his name.”
• We see Him fight for Israel all over the Old Testament.
• We see Him go to war Himself in Isaiah 59:15-20
• As we look up to God for guidance and protection, we also see (as Paul did) that we need to suit up for battle ourselves.
3.) Suit up – armor of God (Ephesians 6)
• As Jesus does in Isaiah 11, we put on the belt of truth (for Jesus is the Truth!) and breastplate of His righteousness
• We prepare our feet with shoes — that we may go and spread the good news of the gospel
• We take up the shield of faith — that is Faith in Jesus that HE can spare us from the wiley schemes of the devil.
• We wear the helmet of salvation
• And we MUST know how to “rightly divide the word of truth” as Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:14-15: “Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:14-15
• We must be In the word like the bereans — testing everything that any preacher says against the scriptures.
• Pray. All the spiritual weapons are rooted in prayer.
4.) Build up – stop friendly fire & edify each other with our spiritual gifts -1 Corinthians 12-14
• All Christians are given spiritual gifts.
• We all have different gifts and combinations of gifts.
• All gifts are needed and useful for the kingdom.
• We must use our gifts to give glory to God and to edify or “build up” one another.
• Friendly fire tears each other down, but using your spiritual gifts to heal wounds and return our fellow soldiers to the spiritual battle field builds us up.
5.) Don’t ever shut up – spread the gospel; watchman on the tower -Ezekiel 3 & Ezekiel 33
• You are the watchman on the tower. You know that a day is coming in which all men will have to give an account.
• You know the truth
• You have the cure for the cancer of sin
• You, as the watchman, have not just the opportunity, but the duty to warn your friends, neighbors, family, fellow Texans, all Americans, and all Nations that, as the great preacher R. G. Lee once said, there will be a “payday someday,” and the wages of sin is death and Hell, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
• As Winston Churchill said in 1940 (and I paraphrase), “We shall never surrender and… carry on the struggle until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and liberation of the old.
• We Christians are of the New World. We are a new creation in Christ Jesus. We have all the power and might of the living God because he fights for us, gives us strength, and gives us His armor. We fight For the liberation of the old — so that they too can be freed from sin and death and hell.
• You are the watchman on the tower… Blow the trumpet and never shut up.
Let’s quit being on the defensive in 2011 and take the fight to the enemy. We need to Clean up, Look up, Suit up, Build up, and by all means, Don’t Ever Shut up!