Tag Archives: Victory

Winning the War – Victory Through Submission


11. Winning the War Obedience Submit.001

You are at war! This war is spiritual. Within you and around you this war rages and you are a combatant. There are no neutral parties.

Who does not long for peace? We think that we may find the peace we long for by surrender to the passions that rage within us. As we feed our selfish longings and desires we find ourself in conflict with those around us. You are at war with others.

Not only are you at war within and with others, but you fight with God! As we seek affirmation of the world we desire what the world offers, it looks so good! The world system feeds our passions and affirms our self-centeredness.

The more we feed our selfish desires the greater the raging emptiness. We fail to find satisfaction that was promised and this leads us to anger and ultimately despair.

How many times have you heard of one of God’s beautiful created people who have committed suicide? Perhaps you have contemplated that at some time yourself.

If you want peace – be sure you are fighting the right enemy! Some of us have made friends with God’s enemy the world, thus we make ourselves the enemy of God!

We are at war! Our enemy will not negotiate, our enemy will not surrender, our enemy must be conquered. Victory is the only path to peace. As children of God, we are all engaged in war whether we realize it or not. There are three enemies that war against the Christian the flesh (1-3), the world (4-5), and the devil (6-7).

  • In the NT. the word “Soldier” is used 4x in reference to the child of God.
  • In the NT. the word “war, warfare” is used 5x in reference to the child of God.
  • In the NT. the word “fight” is used 4 x in reference to the child of God.
  • In the NT. the word “resist” is used 4x in reference to the child of God.

In this war there are two types of attack:

Indirect Satanic attack – comes as an “angel of light” through the flesh, world – base of this attack is temptation, to get us to act independently of God. (2 Co. 11:12-15)

Direct Satanic attack – Satan himself – comes as a roaring lion, purpose in this attack is to cause fear, and to render the Christian ineffective in the fight. (1 Pt. 5:8)

NOTE: The design of both attacks is ultimately to destroy the child of God.

This morning I want to pause in our study through the Book of James in order to take a careful look at how we can live a victorious Christian life. “Winning The War – Victory Through Submission.”

There are two parts to winning this war: Submit to God, and Resist the devil (7).

Are you completely surrendered to God in every area of your life? Is there any area of your life where you are holding back from obedience? If so this is the enemy territory in your life from which Satan will launch his attack in an effort to keep you a defeated Christian.

THE BATTLEGROUND IS THE MIND (1-5)

The flesh wants to please itself. (1)

This war is going on in our own flesh (members).

James 4:1 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?

The flesh looks for ways to fulfill its own desires (2-3)

James 4:2-3. 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

  1. Lust – to have affections toward something, to desire, to long after. No matter how you lust the desire of your affections is always out of reach.
  2. Murder – Jesus equated anger with murder (Mt. 5:21-22). The flesh becomes angry at anyone or anything that stands between it and what it desires.
  3. Covet – to desire zealously, aggressively, consumes the whole being. As much as you try you still cannot grasp the illusion. NOTE: These first three are inward. The next three are outward:
  4. Fight – to contend physically in a private quarrel.
  5. War – strife, everyone around is involved in the conflict. You have manipulated every option and been in conflict with everyone around you and you still lack that pleasure you desire. You do not have because you do not ask – you are man-centered, instead of God-centered.
  6. Pray – you ask in an attempt to manipulate God. You still don’t receive because of your motive is impure. Your desire is to consume that thing to please yourself. Pleasure – lust, sensual pleasure, enjoyment, physical pleasure
    ILL: Prodigal son – wasted all his possessions on prodigal living (Lk. 15:13)

What the flesh desires the world claims to have. (4-5)

James 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?

  1. Because the flesh has failed to satisfy its own sensual pleasures it turns to the world, and what the flesh desires the world is happy to provide.
  2. To gain the pleasures we desire, we make friends with the world (Ps. 50:18)
  3. To make the world your friend is to display hostility toward God (I Jn. 2:15). You become God’s enemy!

BATTLE PLAN FOR VICTORY – SUBMIT TO GOD (6-7)

God’s battle plan for victory in this war is two-fold: 1.) Submit to God (7a); 2.) Resist the devil (7b).

Draw near (8a)

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

  1. Honestly examine yourself (8, 1:22-25). To “Draw near to God” is to examine yourself in the light of God Himself. (I Co. 11:28,31,32; Ps. 139:23).
  2. Submit is a military term, to place in order, to place in orderly fashion under command.
  3. Submit is to surrender completely to the will of another. To be controlled by another. We are to be controlled by the Spirit of God. (Eph 5:18 be “filled with the Spirit.”)

Get right (8b)

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

  1. Cleanse your hands” – Actions – outward sins (8). The outworking of passions.
  2. “Purify your hearts” – Attitudes – inward sins (8). The seat of our passions, the problem of double-mindedness.

Humble Yourself (9-12)

  1. Repent of your sin (9). Become broken-hearted over sin. Mourn over your sin! laughing and joy turn to mourning and gloom. This happens when we catch a glimpse of God and his holiness, we view sin from God’s perspective.
  2. Yield yourself to God (10) “humble yourself”. This is an act of will, yield all areas of your life to God. Obey God’s revealed commands in Scripture. Live in an attitude of submission – “Lord, what do you want me to do?” (Acts 9:6)

VICTORY IS ASSURED TO THOSE WHO ENGAGE IN THE BATTLE (6,8,10)

A Warning! (6)

James 4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

  1. God resists those who are proud and will not surrender to Him (6)
  2. God fights against them by allowing Satan to work against us in our life (Lk. 22:31)
  3. When we refuse to submit to God we “give place to the Devil” (Eph. 4:27)

A Promise! (6,8)

James 4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

God is full of grace and willing to give that grace to those who humble themselves in submission (6).

  1. Grace is available – as much as you need. Grace upon grace. Saving Grace – for by grace you are saved through faith. Sanctifying Grace – grace for living every single day in a way that glorifies Him! Serving Grace – the grace to obey and live for Him regardless of circumstances.
  2. Grace is sufficient (2 Co.12:9). Like a river flowing fully and forcefully is God’s amazing grace!

When we draw near to God in humility, He will draw near to us (8)

James 4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

An Evidence! (10)

James 4:10  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

When we humble ourselves in submission before Him, He will lift us up (10). This is VICTORY!  A life submitted to God will produce the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-26). As the branch submits to the vine the life flows into it and bears fruit. A spirit controlled life will be bold in its witness / testimony (Acts 4:13,29,31)

CONCLUSION:

You win the war through surrender! Humble yourself today! Come as a wicked, thirsty sinner longing for the water of life!

Only the humble will receive God’s free-grace! The proud will never come to Christ because they refuse to acknowledge that He is the answer to their need.

Child of God: Are you surrendered to God in every area of your life, or are you giving Satan opportunity to war against you?

Ask the Holy Spirit to search you, cleanse you and fill you (Eph. 5:18, Lk 11:13). Take God at His word, recognize you are being controlled by the Holy Spirit. Act by faith not feeling, take God at His word. (Ro. 14:23)

Listen to the sermon or download the sermon here.

The Beginnings of Despair


Beginnings of Despair.001

Romans 1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

The way down to despair is always predictable and preventable. Just as there is a way down, there is also a way out!! We don’t have to live in despair. We need to understand where despair begins so we can stop it at its source.

Rom 1:21 – When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God. Though Rom. 1:21 is referring to the unsaved man, it is still the natural bent of all of our hearts.

We think up vain imaginations about our God that are not true of Him. Then we try to live in the world He created and we wonder why we struggle with the truth.

Isa. 55:7-9 let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts

We exchange the truth of God for a lie. “Let the wicked (speaking of God’s people who have sinned) forsake his way” … (note God’s disposition toward us) .. “He will abundantly pardon.” God is waiting like the Prodigal Son’s father, looking down the road, wanting us in fellowship with Him.

It all starts with Unbelief.

Unbelief is hard to see sometimes. God did not give this truth to us in the form of a chart, but the flow of thought comes from the Word.

For example, Moses did not get rebuked for his anger when he struck the rock (Num. 20). God said the he did not believe God and that is why he disobeyed (Num. 20:12). God connected his action to unbelief.

Disciples in the boat “Carest thou not that we perish?” Christ – “How is it that you have no faith” (belief)… that I care for you (Mark 4:38-40). It was their unbelief that was challenged.

Heb. 12:2-3 Christ endured the cross… consider him (think/meditate about Him) lest you be weary in mind. When Christ is not our focus, our belief, we have problems. It is always a problem with belief. God made this connection.

All of us have belief (spiritual) problems! You do and I. Being humble and admitting it is the first step to the way out of despair.

Unbelief—“The Great Disorder” of the Heart

      • Unbelief is a “disorder” because it accepts the reasonings of fallen man (“vain imaginations” Rom 1:21) over the revelation of God.
      • The lie—the fantasy—of “The Great Disorder” is that “God is not doing enough for me; God Himself is not enough for me. I need something more.”

You can’t be worried/ anxious/angry if you believe God has given you what you need. Try it! Once your thoughts focus not the truth of

We have interpreted what we know about God from our experience instead of interpreting our experiences in light of what is true about do from the Scriptures.

We think we need something more today … is a fantasy. If we think these things, we don’t know God well.

If we reject what God says to be true, all we can do is live in fantasy world of imagination, because the world as we are choosing to believe it does not exist.

  • A world where God does not love does not exist.
  • A world where God is not in control of all things for our good and His glory does not exist.
  • A world where God is not with me or does not hear my cry does not exist.
  • A world where God is overly tough and mean-spirited does not exist.
  • These worlds are fantasy world of our imaginations. To live in a fantasy world is to hasten our own disintegration.

This is reality!

Phil. 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

God will always meet our genuine need. Always. What we have is what we needed because a loving, wise, powerful, caring God knew we did.

Our God exists, He has spoken, what He has said matters. The world is living a fantasy that will burn up soon. If we are not careful, we will also live in a fantasy world if we listen to our hearts deceptions.

Discontent

Discontent is the dissatisfaction of not having what we have decided we need.

The whining of our discontented heart is familiar.

  • “If only I had what I need.”
  • “I should be/have…”
  • “I don’t like…”

See if these statements of discontent sound familiar: If only my spouse/boss/parents would try to understand me. If only people appreciated me more. If only … I had more freedom/money/authority/better health/less pain/more answers about what’s going on in my life/ I hadn’t messed up/I had different parents or roommates/ I weren’t married /I was married. All these imply that I would have satisfaction if it had been different.

We might, in our minds, attempt to limit God’s ability to help our problems today because of problems in our past. With a God as powerful as ours, He does not need anything different in your past to make you different today.

Our past does not interfere with God’s ability to use us now.

Homework: Begin a list of your own “if only’s,” “I should’s,” and “I don’t likes.”

What’s the big deal?

1. God takes complaining personally. Why? Because He is the Provider. When we complain, we are denying the promise of God. Look at Numbers 11-16. God dealt with the Israelites discontent and He called it unbelief.

2. Complaining is dangerous because a “lust for more” its the basis for every temptation in the heart.

Once you think you have to have something, you are open to being tempted by it. You can’t be tempted with something that you don’t want. (Ever been tempted to pick up road kill for a cookout?)

James 1:14 – Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed.”

Legitimate concerns should be turned into prayer while surrendering the results to God.

Conclusion: Learn to look for the roots of unbelief and discontent when you see the fruit of guilt, anxiety, anger, and despair.

Listen to the message: The Beginnings of Despair

Download the Beginnings of Despair Notes.

Material from Quieting a Noisy Soul by Dr. Jim Berg, BJU Press 2006 used with permission.