James 4:7

 

Video –

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

The victory over sin is that simple but the battle is for a lifetime.

In the movie, Caleb struggled with the sin of pornography, he also struggled with the sin of greed and selfishness.  He was looking at large boats when the porn site popped up.

 

What sin do you struggle with?

Today’s sermon is about breaking free from sin. Sin in your marriage will destroy your marriage.

Any sin that controls you is a parasite to your marriage. If your “pet” sin is gambling, drugs, alcohol, porn, eating disorder, laziness, whatever.

Whatever the parasite it will suck the life out of your marriage.

The answer is submitting to God and resisting the devil. Today I want to challenge us to rid our lives of parasites and how to keep them out of our lives.

 

This is what James says about temptation and sin

James 1:13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

 

James does not say the devil made you do it. Flip Wilson was wrong – the Devil didn’t make him do it.

James places the responsibility for temptation on the individual, on you, “his own desire leads him astray.”

The Greek words here are fishing terms. Desire baits us and reels us in.

 

This evil desire, if left unchecked, has severe consequences. The process is compared to human growth. Desire conceives, gives birth to sin, which matures into death. This is a stark contrast to the process of maturity James talks about in verses 2-4, where trials develop perseverance that matures into perfection.

James implies his readers must head in one of two directions, either down the path of trial to perfection or the path of desire to death.

 

As soon as desire conceives it must be put to death.  You must not allow evil desires to give birth.

 

Caleb’s parasite was an addiction to pornography, which is a rampant problem in our society.   The porn industry is a Trillion-dollar business.

Several years ago — Promise Keepers – a faith based men’s organization — did a poll among men who attended their conferences to identify the top issues and struggles that impeded their spiritual growth — 62% of these men indicated pornography and sexual sin (keep in mind that these are not just random men — these are not even just men who go to church on Sundays — these are dedicated men, who are actively participating in a men’s movement to become better husbands and fathers — 62% of them struggle with sexual sin.)

 

I saw other statistics (http://prodigalsinternational.org/statistics-on-sexual-addiction.html)

25% of all search engine requests are pornography related

Sex is the number 1 topic searched on the Internet

38% of adults believe it is ‘morally acceptable’ to look at pictures of nudity or explicit sexual behavior

47% of families said pornography is a problem in their home

 

Surveys say –

5 out of every 10 men in the church are struggling with some issue concerning pornography

34% of churchgoing women said they have intentionally visited porn websites online

60% of women admit to having significant struggles with lust

 

We have sin problem among those to claim to be committed to Jesus. One preacher read the stats and thought that the men who attend his church do not have that kind of issue.  He did his own surveys, he was wrong.  I don’t want to think that the men of this congregation struggle but facts are facts, the polls show women are struggling too.   We have a sin problem.  The answer is:

James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 

This moral problem becomes a brain problem. When people sin in sexual ways it rewires the brain, that is not an excuse it means if you struggle with sexual sin you need more help than just trying harder.

 

Romans 7:21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

We desire to obey God but we struggle and are tempted by the flesh to rebel against God and do evil.  It is a war as Paul says.  That is why we must put on the armor of God, so we can stand victoriously.

 

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. …

 

When we are tempted, when evil desires enter our mind we must kill them.  A wise theologian, Vicki, once said, “You can’t keep a bird from flying in your hair, but you can keep it from building a nest.”

 

You will be tempted to sin but you don’t have to choose to sin. Flee, resist, RUN.

 

When we submit to God and resist the devil we will win, we will stand firm, we will be victorious.   There are people here today who are Victorious in Jesus over alcohol, over drugs, over pornography, over gambling, over sexual sins.  Victory because of Jesus.

Be willing to seek help – there are no perfect people here, only sinners who have found the forgiveness of Jesus.

 

Some are thinking, “I would never…”  I can’t believe that Christian people commit those kinds of sins. I am not even tempted to do that.  Are you tempted to be arrogant and self-righteous?  Sorry

We all struggle with different sins – your sin is not worse than mine – sin is sin – sin is rebellion against God’s Holiness.  Let’s not look down on others sins – let’s help one another to become holy in Jesus.

 

Are you mastered by anything? Be honest, God already knows.

If you say, I would never do that, be careful. You have just laid down and challenge to Satan.  When you do not think, you could or would is when you let your guard down and you fall.

 

1 Peter 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

 

How can you be self-controlled and alert?

Know that all it takes is a split second to give into your evil desires and give birth to sin.  If you take your eyes off the road for just a second you could crash.

 

Don’t crash your marriage by not protecting your marriage. You need to plant some hedges around your life, and your family.  Build a fence of protection so the devil cannot penetrate your life, and so you will not allow evil desires to give birth to sin.

 

Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

 

If you struggle with alcoholism do not get a job in a bar. If you struggle with pornography do not use a computer without a filter, if you struggle with anger, avoid situation that you know make you angry.

 

Build a wall of protection around yourself, around your marriage, and around your children. You may feel like a sissy, you may get made fun of or get strange looks (like the business man who always asks the hotel clerk to turn off any movie channels in his room.)

How many of you put your children in car seats?  Why?  To protect them.

How many of you make your kids wear a bike helmet, or a chest guard for baseball?

Why do baseball players wear helmets, why do race car drivers wear flame retardant suits?

Why do football players wear all those pads?

Protection, protection, protection

 

Do you think less of football players or race car drivers because they wear protection? No, that is part of the game.  Only a rugby player would think a football player is a sissy.

 

We live in a rough and tumble world and we had better be protected from the fiery darts of the devil. Being protected does not make us weak it shows we are wise.

 

You are a Christian, You are a spouse, You are a parent – Protection, protection, protection

It is part of the “game”.

 

Read your Bible, pray, confess your struggles to an accountability partner, quit making excuses for your behavior. You can be victorious if you will protect yourself before you get tempted.

 

1 Corinthians 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

 

When you are tempted you can get out of the situation.  Remember Joseph, Potiphar’s wife had him by the cloak, he wiggled out and ran.  Wiggle out and run for help, run and hide behind your wall of protection, hide behind your hedges.  You will be glad you did; your spouse will be glad you did and so will your children.

 

Just in case you think you did not need this message today I want us all to pray these verses.

 

Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

 

Will you submit to God and resist the devil?

If you are in Jesus, you can be victorious over sin.

Do you need to come today and surrender your life to Jesus?  Will you come believing that Jesus is the Savior of the world, will you come repenting of your sin, will you come willing to be immersed for the forgiveness of your sins and gift of the Holy Spirit?