Are you Glorifying God by staying pure in your committed relationships? If we tend to Honor God this is what we’re called to do as born again followers of Jesus Christ.
Title: Engage in Battle
Reference: 1 Peter 2:11-12
There are parallels between physical wars and spiritual wars:
- Wars are costly and the causalities of war are real with serious consequences.
- War can last a long time and it is easy to forget that we are at war unless you or someone you love is engaged in battle.
- Wars involve deception and the enemy is always plotting the next attack.
- The Christian life is a war.
- It’s easy for us to lose sight of this.
- We can be blinded by our culture.
For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Romans 7:22-23
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. Ephesians 6:10-18
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
Here are the main points from Part 1:
1. Run! Flee from sin!
- A. Sin will betray you
- B. Your body is God’s temple
- C. The infinite cost Christ paid
- D. God’s will for you
In war there are 2 types of planning:
1. Strategical planning which looks at the big picture or the overall strategy.
2. Tactical planning which gets into the details.
Part 1 was more strategical and Part 2 is more tactical
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:11-12
- Peter was writing to dispersed Jewish Christians in the 1st-century church.
- They could not stay put because of the persecution.
- Peter wanted to encourage them to stand firm in their faith as they faced persecution.
Heart of the Matter:
God reveals that our internal battles produce our external testimonies.
The external testimony is the effect that our witness will have on the watching world
1. Engage in battle on the inside (v. 11)
- A. Our heart response to temptation
- B. Our heart response to sin
2. Reveal God’s glory on the outside (v. 12)
1. Engage in battle on the inside (v. 11)
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 1 Peter 2:11
Beloved is an endearing term reflecting the love that God has for believers.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15
“Sojourners and exiles”: The earth is not our home.
Soldiers who are devastated in battle just want to return home. Heaven is our home.
While we are here, God wants us dressed in the full armor of His protection and engage in warfare.
- Soldiers in battle become more vulnerable the longer they are behind enemy lines.
- They can get lazy and fail to put their full armor on.
- We are to continually distance ourselves from that which entices us to sin.
- This is heart work, and heart work is hard work.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Ephesians 6:10
Many equate fleshly lust with sexual lust, and it includes sexual lust but also other lusts.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15-16
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.
- Whenever you see the word lust, think instead of the word lies.
- Our lusts are really lies and deceive us.
- We are told by the lies of our heart that we need to look a certain way, but God’s Word is different.
- We are made in God’s beautiful image.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
The lies of our heart tell us to do what feels good and dismiss the consequences, but this is not what God’s Word says.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
The lies of our heart can make us think too highly of ourselves.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Romans 12:3
These passions continually ” wage war against your soul”. Soul defines the entire person. At the most fundamental level, it involves our hearts.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death. James 1:13-15
God wants us to see the importance of identifying the lies
What lies are you currently believing?
- Hate is equated with murder.
- Impatience is a big deal to God.
- Pornography is a sin.
- We need to peel the sin onion all the way back to the lie/lust.
- If sexual temptation comes, don’t flirt with it, run for your life!
We need to consider the lies we are believing, and the biggest lie is that this sexual experience will satisfy you.
This is a lie from the pit of Hell
Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, “Go to your brother Amnon’s house and prepare food for him.” So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, where he was lying down. And she took the dough and kneaded it and made cakes in his sight and baked the cakes. And she took the pan and emptied it out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, “Send out everyone from me.” So everyone went out from him.
Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” She answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing. As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now, therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.”
But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!” But she said to him, “No, my brother, for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me.” But he would not listen to her.
He called the young man who served him and said, “Put this woman out of my presence and bolt the door after her.” Now she was wearing a long robe with sleeves, for thus were the virgin daughters of the king dressed. So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. And Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went. 2 Samuel 13:7-19
The lust is promising you something that it can never deliver because it is not rooted in righteousness.
- Only God’s way can satisfy.
- Only God’s will for your life in keeping yourself pure for marriage and saving yourself for the one you will marry will satisfy.
The price of Amnon’s sexual experience cost him his life. Amnon was later murdered. The lie of his heart could not deliver what it promised.
To protect in purity we must engage in battle on the inside:
A. Our heart response to temptation
This involves 2 practical steps. When the lust of our heart tempts us, we need to:
1. Reach out for help.
- Reach out to the Lord for help.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble Psalms 46:1
We are not adequate in our own strength. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father:
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:13
Victory is found in the Lord. He is the Rock and the Refuge.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Ephesians 6:10
- b. Reach out for help from other Spirit-filled believers who will pray for you.
The mark of a maturing believer is to reach out for prayer support to prevent you from sinning.
- Are you calling someone before you sin or is it afterward to confess it?
2. Recite truths for battle
Imagine a soldier on the battlefield wielding a sword and prior to the battle, he spent weeks in training. And imagine that when the attack comes he does not even pick up the sword. What would we say of such a soldier?
God’s Word is the sword of the Spirit and it’s designed as our weapon as we wage war against the flesh, but it does us no good if we don’t use it in the heat of battle.
We must fight lies/lust with the truth of Scripture.
We see this on display in the life of Jesus when tempted in the wilderness.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
- B. Our heart response to sin
1. Confess your sin
- a. Confess your sin to God
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
God wants us to confess our sin exactly in the way it was committed. This cultivates integrity in our hearts because God knows our tendency to minimize our sin. This shows the Lord a heart of integrity.
- b. Confess your sin to others
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16
This cultivates greater transparency with those fellow soldiers who are serving with us on the field of battle.
2. Affirm God’s forgiving grace
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
The gospel overflows with God’s forgiving grace.
3. Request God’s transforming grace
Quote by Heath Lambert, Finally Free:
“Forgiving grace is wonderful and essential, but sinners need more than forgiveness. It’s not enough that our record of debt is paid; we also need the grace to live like Jesus; we need grace that changes us so we can be like Him in His holiness and love. In Romans 6:4, Paul declares, “We were buried with [Christ] through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Paul is talking about the death and resurrection of Jesus. For all who trust in Jesus, His death and resurrection is also our death and resurrection. Jesus’ death and resurrection not only pay off our record of debt and gives us forgiving grace; Jesus’ death and resurrection leads to our transformation. Through God’s transforming grace we can live a new life because of what Jesus had done for us.”
- Many people spend time pursuing God’ forgiveness but they don’t know what to do afterward.
- We also need to pursue God’s transforming grace by believing the gospel and walking in faith and obedience to it.
- If you want to use Christ’s transforming grace, you have to do something that many people find impossible—you have to believe it!
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalms 51:10
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalms 139: 23-24
Quote by John Owen:
“Do you mortify sin? Do you make it your daily work? Be always at it while you live. Cease not a day from this work. Be killing sin or it will be killing you.”
Quote by Heath Lambert, Finally Free
“Picture your life as a room. Beautiful hardwood floors are swept clean. Sunlight streams through windows. Photos of family and friends hang on the walls. The furniture is arranged just how you want it for maximum usefulness and comfort. The room is peaceful. It’s just right. But in the corner hidden by shadows, in a tiny crack between two floorboards, a small ugly weed has sprouted. The weed represents pornography. It’s so small it’s easy to hide. You can cover it with a rug or chair. You can ignore it and downplay its significance.
There are so many other good and beautiful things to enjoy in the room of your life. But the weed grows… and grows. Its thorny, twisted vines steadily spread across the floor and climb the walls. They wrap themselves around tables and chairs. They even grow over the windows, blocking out the sunlight. Now no part of your room is untouched. Everywhere you turn the weed has invaded and is choking out life. You feel like a prisoner.”
- This is what it looks like when sin overtakes one’s life.
- Regardless of the sin, it steals God’s glory and ruins our ability to be salt and light because we will look just like the rest of the world.
2. Reveal God’s glory on the outside
Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:12
Christian’s were being falsely accused of many things at this time:
- Rebelling against the government,
- Opposing slavery which opposed economic progress
God did not want them to respond to evil for evil.
A Christian’s gospel witness and good works even in the face of slander and false accusation can result in the unbeliever’s salvation. Do you understand that?!
Quote by John MacArthur
“On this day of visitation, the unbelievers who are currently slandering Christians will glorify God. This glorification is almost certainly the praise of people who have been converted, and not the forced acknowledgment by unbelievers that God has been right. The verb” glorify” occurs 61 times in the NT but it is never used to speak of unbelievers who are forced unwillingly to admit the God or His people are right. They are converted and glorify God because they have been drawn by God to see “your good deeds.” Peter gives examples of this in 1 Peter 3:1-2, where he says that husbands may be converted when they see the gospel conduct of their Christian wives…Christians living in an unbelieving society must avoid, must avoid sinful desires and continually strive to maintain exemplary patterns of life, so that unbelievers will be saved and God glorified. There is no reason to doubt that such a strategy of evangelism would still work today.”
- Our internal battles produce our external testimonies.
- God wants us to engage in battle on the inside so that we can reveal His glory on the outside.
- The Christian life is a war and our heavenly Father longs to bring us home off the battlefield to a place of everlasting joy, but until that day, we must continue to engage in battle and strive to love the Lord from the inside out.
This concludes Part 2
If you missed Part 1 of Glorifying God in your Purity make sure to check it out.
I sincerely hope Glorifying God in your Purity has taught you how God wants you to stay pure.
Remember, keeping pure thoughts will keep us away from wrong actions.
Be prepared to FLEE not FLIRT!