Living in Bondage and Finding Victory

When we come from the outside to the inside of the kingdom of God that is only the beginning. The world around us, the temptations, the struggles, they are all still very much a part of our lives.

Romans 6:17-18 – Even people who are in the kingdom of God struggle. There is some debate around holiness and how “free from sin” God want’s/needs us to be. How much is too much? How much is enough? Perhaps the real question should be, how healthy do we want to be? If we would go to the doctor for cancer and he asked how cured we want to be, the obvious answer is that we would like to be entirely cured!

God’s will for our lives is spiritual health, freedom from sin and living as servants of righteousness. When God says he wants us to be holy like he is holy, he wants us to be as healthy as he is.

Dealing with temptation is different than “simple choices” – although dealing with temptation is a choice. We all know what it is like to struggle… and hopefully we all know what it is like to be victorious.

Revelation 3:21 – The one thing that is common in all of these letters to the seven churches, is that there was always something that was worth encouraging, there was hope. Even though the entire church around you is going the wrong way you can make a different life, there is hope.

What does overcoming look like? We would love to see the enemy laid out cold on the canvas… however it isn’t like that for us, the victory for us is often that we are still standing at the end of the day. It’s a daily struggle.

Defeat is sometimes spectacular. Some people end their Christian lives with a “big bang.” Often though it is very subtle and very quiet, something that happens gradually over a long period of time. Satan doesn’t care how he gets you off of the path of life. He just cares that he can get you off the path that you should be on.

How we approach our lives and the battles that we experience is vital to victory.

Ephesians 2:1-7

The Course of the World

Society is not holding still. There is a constant movement from where it is, to where it is going.

There are lines drawn in society around us that people think they will never cross. Interestingly enough all of those lines seem to be “subject to change.” Things have changed and shifted. We are 45 years down stream from so many things that if we were to compare today to 50 years ago, we would see have changed drastically.

Satan is definitely involved with shaping the course that the society around us is on. The world around us is not a lake. It is a river… it is coming from somewhere and it is going somewhere. When we talk about nonconformity we need to realize that satan is trying to mold people slowly but surely.

James 1:14 – There are two words here, temptation and lust. Temptation is what the world is incredibly good at. The world promises to please and fulfill us. Lust on the other hand is our problem, the desire of forbidden things. Temptation and lust work together like two magnets. There is a tremendous force between the two that often brings them together.

John 8:34, 2 Peter – In our battle with temptations, who has the advantage? Who is going to win? There is a bondage factor for a person who is used to living in sin. We are free to choose a master, but we are not free to choose the consequences for that choice.

What is bondage? Sin is no longer a choice, it is a reaction. A lot of times it begins with curiosity. At some point it is no longer a choice, it is the result of a series of decisions over a long period of time.

Luke 4:18 – Jesus is a breaker of chains and a freer of captives. So why was Romans 7 written? (I know what I want to do but I do the other thing.)

God provides us a method to break the chains that we can become bound with. If we are instantly made sinless we wouldn’t appreciate the freedom as much, the more we struggle and understand the cost of freedom the more we will value it.

What Separates The Victorious from Defeated?

1 John 5:4 – The key to victory is being born of God. Two thousand years ago Jesus was born. He was full of the spirit. He had a relationship with his father. Jesus was offered so many things by Satan and he said no… Jesus was born of God, he had a relationship with God.

1 John 4:4, John 15 – The need is clear here that we need a continued connection to the vine a dependence upon the vine. Sin takes our appetite away for God.

1 John – Confession is a powerful thing to start on the path recovery. At some point confession to a brother or sister can also helpful. Why is it so easy to confess to God and so hard to confess to a brother or sister? Confessing past sin does nothing if we continue on in sin. What is the point of closing all the windows and doors except for one?

Romans 6 – A cross bearing attitude, the willingness to bow the desires of my flesh to the lordship of Christ. Jesus bore his cross for us… shouldn’t we be willing to identify with him and carry a cross of our own. Every day we carry our cross is another day we choose to identify with Christ.

There is power in cumulative choices. The longer we go making good decisions the more likely we are to make the right choice “next time.”

Revelation 15:2 – A picture of victory. All those who have gone through life doing battle against self and sin in the world… standing together in victory. Is there anything worth missing this for?

The question isn’t if we are perfect or if we haven’t failed. The question is whether or not Satan has an advantage in our lives that he shouldn’t have… are we a slave to him or are we free?