Twice in the book of John we have recorded Christ talking about being lifted up on a cross. Both references come from the event in Numbers 21 when the people lost confidence in God, complained and complained some more griping against Moses and against God. In judgment, God sent deadly serpents through the camp and many were bitten and died. The people repented of their sin and God told Moses to have a brass serpent made and lifted up on a pole; whoever would look at this brass serpent would live.
In this sermon, Pastor Steve ties these events together as Nicodemus would have understood them and then points us all to the Cross of Christ as the place to look in faith. (This would be a good message to have a friend listen to.)
What does it really mean to have “the mind of Christ?” Paul has called us to “Let this mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus.” The mind of Christ was the mind of humility, the mind of a slave. Jesus Christ was humble throughout eternity and took on human flesh to show us just what true humility is. “Let this mind be in you” is the call of this message to the church of Jesus Christ.
The unity of Christ in the church of Christ should be a given, but alas, the enemy has infiltrated the ranks. In Philippians 2:1-4 Paul calls the Philippian church to a oneness of heart and mind that is unique to the church of Jesus Christ. In the face of trials we need this call to unity even greater. Listen as Pastor Steve opens the Scriptures to call the church of Christ to greater unity in Him.
Christians struggle with assurance of their salvation but the Apostle John wants their hearts filled with assurance from God. In this message, Pastor Steve looks at this passage and seeks to clarify just how we can know that we have the assurance of eternal life from God.
In Ephesians 4:1-6 Paul writes about the importance of walking worthy of Christ and ow to do so. In this message Pastor Steve walks through this passage defining this worthy walk and encouraging us to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Our church culture today needs to consider the teachings of the Apostle Paul in this passage to promote the testimony of Christ to our children and to our neighbors.
There are two great enemies of our communion with God, the devil and our own flesh. In this message, Pastor Steve addresses the realities of these enemies and exposes them for who they are and for what they want, our total destruction. Let us commit to fighting these enemies so that our communion with God may be rich.
We have two enemies, the devil and our own flesh. Both of these enemies are evident from the first temptation to the last temptation. These two can work apart from each other or in conjunction with each other. Oftentimes we can see where the devil might use something of this world to get our attention and then our sinful flesh is aroused to that desire.
James said that every man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lusts and then enticed. Lust gives birth to sin and sin then brings its death.
First of all, we are not tempted to sin by God. James makes this clear. “Let no one say that when they are tempted they are tempted by God for God does not tempt anyone. Every one is tempted when they are drawn away by their own lusts and enticed.” So, our enemies are the devil and our own lusts of our own flesh.
How then do we fight these insidious enemies who do not love us but only love themselves and care nothing for our success or failure only for their gratification?
- There is no silver bullet to beat all temptations.
- Some sins are stronger to one person than to another.
- Some sins have different triggers to different people.
- Some sins are more addictive than others, particularly if there is a chemical involved.
- Some sins are attached to our natural desires for food, sleep, relationships, and sex.
- Some sins are passed down through families by example.
- Some sins just show up and we are not sure how they came into our lives.
- Sin does not respect the age, the wellness, the emotions, the time of day, nor the Word of God. We see this in Satan’s temptations of Christ.
- Therefore, there is not one answer for all sinful temptations.
- There are several Scriptures that deal with sin’s presence and sin’s attacks on our lives. Sin in a serious issue of life not to be taken lightly.
- 1 Peter 5:8-11 Satan is like a roaring lion… whom resist steadfast in faith…
- 2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts… pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
- 1 Peter 2:11-12 Abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, have your conduct honorable
- Romans 13:14 but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its
- Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived, God is not mocked, whatever you sow you will also reap.
- Romans 6:12-23 We are set free from sin but we are enslaved by whomever we submit ourselves to. God has set us free to live for him. Though the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
- 1 John 3:4-8
- We are to resist sin, flee from sin, abstain from sin, not make provision for sin, recognize that we still reap what we sow, have been set free from sin but can still come under its bondage, and we are not to consistently be living in sin. In the 1 Peter passage we are reminded that we resist sin steadfast in faith. This is not something that we get good at but something we must hold faithfully to God’s promises as our constant weapon.
- Ephesians 6:17 …and take the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. This is what Jesus did and we can do no better than to follow His example in temptation.
- There are teachings about God that will strengthen us in our temptations.
- God takes us into His presence, to His right hand to enjoy His pleasures:
- Psalm 16: 8 -11
- God save us, show us that we are important to Him, protects us, and He alone satisfies us:
- Psalm 17:6 -9 & 15
- Psalm 23, John 15 The Lord is my shepherd, ever with me, ever guarding me, ever protecting me.
- God is greater than our enemy: 1 John 4: You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
- The devil and all of his hosts are a defeated enemy, Satan was defeated at the Cross and at the empty tomb. The last enemy to be destroyed will be death, but even he will be defeated. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that God will always make a way of escape for us.
- God takes us into His presence, to His right hand to enjoy His pleasures:
- How do we cleanse our minds from the filth of our past, from the repetitive sins that we do?
- With the washing of the water of the Word of God – Ephesians 5:25-27, Hebrews 10:19-22
- By presenting your bodies as living sacrifices and by renewing our minds with the Word of God – Romans 12:1-2
- Romans 6 – by not yielding ourselves to our fleshly desires but to the Lord.
- By constantly putting off the old self and putting on the new self made in the image of Christ – Colossians 3
- By regularly gathering with God’s people – Hebrews 10:22-25
- Will we ever get ultimate victory over sin in this life? Will we ever have a time when sinful desires won’t be attacking us?
- We are to be putting off the old
- We are to be being sober and diligent
- We are to continually walk in the light
- We are to continue yielding ourselves to Christ – the verb forms are continuous action.
- Paul wanted to depart this life and to be with Christ, which would be far better. Philippians 1:23
- Paul called himself the least of all saints and the chief of sinners.
- We are called to war against sin, to wrestle against the spiritual enemies of this life. These are aggressive terms defining the actions we must take against the enemies of our communion with God.
- 2 Corinthians 10:2-6
- Psalm 19:7-11 The Word of God is perfect, sure, clean, true, righteous, enlightening to the eyes, making wise the simple, gives warning, brings reward; it teaches us what is acceptable to think about and what is acceptable to speak about.
- 1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,
- Ephesians 6:12 -13
- What benefits are there from fighting the enemies of our communion with God?
- Psalm 16:8 …gladness, rest for the soul, life, fullness of joy, pleasures forever.
- Psalm 17:6-15 speaks of several benefits in this life and full satisfaction in the presence of the Lord.
- Psalm 1 speaks of the one who lives the blessed life.
- Paul started every epistle with the greeting of grace and peace.
- 1 Corinthians 15:58 speaks to the live lived in the power of the resurrection knowing that their life was not in vain but had great purpose both now and forever.
- The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
- In the kingdom parables, the ones who were prepared for their Lord’s return were always glad to see him.
- All of God’s promises are true. 2 Corinthians 1:20 22
- In contrast, what the benefits of walking in sin? John 10:10, the enemy comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. We are to resist this roaring lion by remaining steadfast in the faith of God, His word, the work of Christ, and the communion of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
- A final reason to fight the enemies of our communion with God is the opportunity we gain to rejoice with the saints of all of the ages in praising and worshipping, having communion with, God.
Revelation 19:6 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”
1 Peter 1:3-9
Luke 10:18 -20
Revelation 3:1-17 is the call to the faithful church, the church of Philadelphia. There were many promises given to this faithful church, promises for now and for eternity.
2 Timothy 4:6-8
Those who love the coming appearing of the Lord Jesus are those who are fighting the good fight of faith, enjoying communion with God, and never fully giving in to the enemies of this life.
There is no positive fruit that comes from sin. The fruit of sin is shame and death. Romans 6:21,23 Though we will never be fully free from sin in this life, in Christ we are able to battle against sin, enjoy victories, confess defeats, get help, get back up and continue in the battle for the glory of God and for the souls of those around us.
When a Christian battles Satan and the flesh, that Christian is a testimony of the grace and love of God. When a Christian stops battling Satan and the flesh they become a reproach to the name of Christ and lose any influence in caring for the souls of others. We are called to be faithful. We can faithfully battle the enemies of our communion with God and enjoy His presence within us day after day until we find ourselves in His eternal presence where we will finally know fullness of joy and eternal pleasures at His right hand.