Here’s a Bible sermon I wrote a number of years ago about how to successfully resist sin. Hopefully it’ll be a help to you.
The Warfare against Sin
Text: James 4:1-8 1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Introduction : All successful military efforts require a sound strategy. Planning is key to success. They say that a bad plan is still better than no plan at all. If we are to be victorious over sin we need a plan. xref Prov 24:6 and 11:14
Transitional Sentence: In the Bible I find three main waypoints
in God’s plan for resisting sin.
Waypoint 1: The first thing we must do is obey commandments of our commander in all respects (vs 6 of James 4) – Pride is the trap that sin lays for us that we often fall into. We can not resist sin in our own strength. If we do we are still sinning, even if we overcome our sin, because the Bible says that whatsoever is not of faith is sin. xref Romans 14:23 We also know that we are weak, but Christ is strong, so we should resist the temptation to resist temptation by our own strength. xref Philippians 4:13 Our commander in chief, Jesus Christ, the captain of the host (Joshua 5:13-15) knows the end from the beginning (Is 46:9) and has the best strategy for us. If you are proud and don’t obey him, you will perish in the war against sin. God will give you grace, but only if you listen to his commands. Always remember to listen and obey.
Waypoint 2. The second thing we must do is submit ourselves to God. vs 7 part 1. This may seem much like the first point and it’s true. The second rule is always to learn the first rule. However let me stress at this waypoint that we submit ourselves unto God in two ways. Firstly, we do it by prayer. Secondly we do it by learning God’s commandments. We must ask God to not lead us into temptation and we must hide God’s word in our hearts (Matthew 6:9-13, Ps 119:11). Mr. Miyagi say, “Best way to block punch is not be there.” It’s hard to resist temptation once you are already in that situation. Don’t get into situations that you know tempt you to sin. It might sound obvious, but don’t go to parties where there will be alcohol, don’t go to a strip joint either. That’s sure to invoke feelings of lust. They are supposed to. That is what they are designed to do. So avoid things like that. Secondly, we learn the Bible to help us resist sin. If you know a verse about how your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost then you are less likely to take drugs aren’t you? (1 Cor 19-20) And guess what? The same verse works for lust too. Look at the context (vs 15-18 xref 1 Cor 3:16-17) Pay special attention to verse 18 which says to flee fornication. Remember what Miyagi said and get out of there! God doesn’t expect you to resist temptation facing it head on. When you have a chance to leave just leave!
Waypoint 3: Resist!
You can’t win a fight without resisting. Try it sometime. Let the guy hit you in the face and see if you come out on top. You won’t. You’ll be put down, so put up your dukes! The devil can’t take a Christian to hell, but he can whack you around a bit. Are you going to let him? You have a sword. Whip it out! (Heb 4:12, Eph 6:17) You have a shield, hold it high! (Eph 6:16-18)
We resist with the word of God! The sword of the Spirit! Quoting scripture which has been hidden in our hearts (Psalm 119:11)
Further proof : Just to prove I haven’t deceived you in laying out God’s plan he repeats it in 1 Peter 5:5-11 It’s so important God lays it out TWICE!
Conclusion : Military commanders learn a lot by studying battles of the past. Has this battle plan ever been put into practice to see whether it is tried, tested, and true? Yes. Who were the two opposing generals? Christ and the Devil! Look at Matthew chapter 4. Read it! Jesus was weak from fasting, the devil tempted him to do things he wasn’t supposed to do, using the Bible against him. What did Christ do? He threw the Bible right back at him by first quoting a verse that submits to the authority of God’s word, then another that says we shouldn’t tempt God by our disobedience, and then another which says that we should never give into the devil. Look at verse 11. The devil lost and left. There it is brother. God’s battleplan. It works every time if executed properly. God did the planning, now it’s up to you to get the job done.