The Dangers of Spiritual Privilege (1 Corinthians Sermon 32)
September 08, 2019 | Andrew Davis
I. The Warning: Israel’s History of Privilege and Sin
Turn in your Bibles to the text that was just read for us, 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 1-13, and as you've heard these words, and as we look at the seriousness of what was said, we realize we're coming to a very serious warning passage in Scripture. And that the Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostle Paul, has given a timeless warning to Christians. Now, as I was contemplating this warning passage, I was thinking about the usefulness of all warning passages in Scripture, and how can we hear them properly, how can we hear this warning properly? There is no doctrine that is as sweet and encouraging to Christians, as the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer. Commonly, we speak of once saved, always saved. You can't lose your salvation. And there are so many scriptures that testify to the truth of that comforting doctrine. Jesus said of all that the Father has given Him, He will lose none but raise them up on the final day. He's not going to lose any of them. He'll raise them all up on the final day.
And that He has a grip of grace on them, that His sheep have come to him, and no one can snatch them out of His hand, and His Father who has given them to Him is greater than all. And no one can snatch the sheep out of the Father's hand. "I and the Father are one." The Apostle Paul himself wrote many comforting and assuring words to Christians, that we cannot lose our salvation, that He who began a good work in us will most certainly carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. And that the sovereign God has a plan, that He's working out here in space and time. And He is orchestrating things for the benefit of His chosen ones. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. "
All of it spoken in the past tense, as though it's a done deal. And at the end of that marvelous chapter, Romans Chapter 8, he asserts very plainly that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. And yet, here we have this morning, a very serious warning given from the Apostle Paul to a Christian church. We need to find a way somehow to harmonize those, to have a sense of the absolute security of our position, if we're in Christ. But to know as I pray that we're constantly in danger, we're in enemy territory, that we're assaulted, our souls are assaulted every moment by the world of flesh and the devil, we are assaulted. And we're in danger and the only safety for us is a healthy fear of sin, a healthy fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom. And as we have that healthy fear, we're able to understand the Apostle Paul calling on us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in us to will and to act according to His good purpose. He's at work in us.
And part of that work He does in the genuinely converted is to give us warnings like this, we need to heed them. The healthiest thing we can do is say, "This warning was written for me, and it was written for my brothers and sisters here at First Baptist Church. I need to be constantly vigilant over my own soul. I need to be vigilant over the souls of my brothers and sisters. We're not in Heaven yet, we're not out of danger yet." And that's the way we should hear this warning.
Well, let's try to understand the context. The Corinthian church that Paul is writing to here, was the church that was richly blessed, but also deeply dysfunctional. Richly blessed, but deeply dysfunctional. So the Corinthian church have been lavishly blessed, with the greatest spiritual teachers the world had ever seen. The Apostle Paul planted that church, also Apollos, who was eloquent in doctrine, a solid brother. Even it seems the Apostle Peter in some way ministered to them, don't know if he was there but maybe they got hold of his writings or some of them are following his doctrines, but all of them were below the greatest teacher that has ever lived, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
And so, they had received the teachings from Christ, mediated through these great human teachers. And so they were blessed, they were blessed doctrine. They're blessed with every spiritual gift. There was a super abundance of spiritual gifts in that Corinthian church. And many of them had attained a very high level of doctrinal proficiency. They understood doctrine, very well, they had a lot of knowledge. But for all of that, they were deeply dysfunctional. They were divided. There are factions and divisions, among the Corinthian church. Some of them were indulging in sexual immorality, even visiting temple prostitutes, and other forms of sexual immorality. And worst of all, they were very proud of themselves, they were a proud Church. And Paul knew that this gifted, talented, sinning church was actually in great danger. And he wanted to warn them lovingly, about their danger and to call them to constant vigilance over their own souls and the souls of their brothers and sisters.
And that's the purpose of this text. Paul's most recent assertion has to do with his own fear about himself and his own vigilance over his own life, and his body. Paul himself had been lavishly blessed by the Lord Jesus Christ, three times, Paul had seen the resurrected glorified Lord, three times. It's incredible. He had been spared death on the Damascus Road, and then he had been miraculously healed from blindness, by Ananias who laid hands on him. And he had been given this incredible ministry, what a privilege. He was called the Apostle to the Gentiles. He learned the Gospel directly from Almighty God Himself without any human mediation. God Himself, taught him the gospel. He was caught up to the third heaven, caught up to paradise, and heard inexpressible things. He was raised from being stoned perhaps even to death.
And then went on with his courageous bold energetic preaching ministry. He heard doctrine directly from God, through the Holy Spirit, and wrote down 13 epistles that make up the bulk of our New Testament. He wrote the Book of Romans. Paul was lavishly blessed by God. He had been empowered by the spirit to perform signs and wonders, healings even raising the dead. He had preached boldly, in city after city. Everywhere he went it seems he planted a church. Perhaps thousands of people owed their salvation to hearing the Gospel from the Apostle Paul. Certainly from those that Paul also trained, he was a leader of leaders, a disciple of church leaders. And he was clearly beloved, and dearly beloved by churches everywhere. But he lived in fear in a sense.
Look again at 9:27, what we just covered last week, he said, "I beat my body and make it my slave, lest after I've preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified from the prize. For I do not want you to be unaware brothers," goes right on into this warning. You see, it's tied together. As Paul was concerned and he's applying the warnings to himself first, but then to them, the Corinthian church. Paul was afraid that his own body, his own flesh, his sin nature, would drag him off the path of Christ, off the path of holiness, with the result of him being disqualified from the prize of first and foremost being a faithful servant a fruitful servant of Jesus Christ. He'd be disqualified for ministry.
Now, he knew his own weakness, how horrible that would be, how devastating it would be to the church as if he fell into sin, and was evicted from the ministry by a Holy God after he preached the Gospel in so many locations. So he beat his body, he said, he made it his slave. Now, this is the fear as I said last week that I have as well and should have, it's healthy for me to have it. All pastors should have it. Richard Baxter, in his classic, Reformed Pastor, said this to his brother pastors, he said, "Take heed to yourselves lest you live in those sins which you preach against in others." Will you preach Christ's laws and willfully break them? If God's threatenings be true, then why do you not fear them? And if they be false, then why are you needlessly troubling men with them and put them into such frights without a cause? "So take heed to yourselves brothers pastors." Richard Baxter, would say, the Apostle Paul would say in Acts 20. "Take heed to yourself."
The Great Danger: Privileges Can Lead to Complacency, Pride... and Sin
But it's the same warning given to all Christians, not just those in vocational ministry, it's given to all of us. We all need to take heed to ourselves, to our souls, the great danger here is that spiritual privileges, great spiritual privileges can lead to complacency and pride and sin. God gives to sinners lavish blessings of His grace. We sinners, we deserve to be condemned eternally to hell for our sins. But instead, God because He's rich in mercy covered our sins with the blood of His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And furthermore, once we have come to forgiveness of sins, He is incredibly patient with us day after day with all of our sins. He continues to forgive us our sins, whenever we confess them to Him. We sinners we deserve to be excluded from the presence of God, instead God has reconciled us to Himself, and this is incredible, He has actually adopted us as His sons and daughters, to be in his family forever. But we sinners deserve to waste our earthly lives in frivolous pursuits, to spend our whole lives storing up wood, hay and stubble that'll just get burned at the end. Instead, God has richly blessed us with spiritual gifts, and has actually gone ahead of us, to repair good works in advance that we should walk in them.
Now, beyond all of this, God has lavished so many other spiritual blessings on us, and I want to say specifically here in our American church context, incredible spiritual resources, seminaries that teach true doctrine, authors that write excellent books that help us in our Christian lives. Christian media making sermons and podcasts and other resources available to us constantly. Beyond that, there's just material blessings, ample food, clothing, shelter, for us, myriad luxuries, myriad pleasures, Common Grace blessings, beautiful scenery, stable government, good economy, peace, the blessings go on and on. And for us, specifically at this church, First Baptist in Durham, we have been so blessed by the spiritual gifts of other brothers and sisters. It's been going on for years. My family and I've been blessed for almost 21 years by a river of blessings that have come from the spiritual gifts of other brothers and sisters in this church.
There's a heritage here of faithful gospel ministry has been going on for a long time. We have a strategic location, we're surrounded by good places of employment. The areas attractive to people. People are pouring in here, we have open doors of ministry opportunities here, lots of people who need to hear the gospel. So we are lavishly blessed. So, the danger is clear. I've already set it up, you understand what it is. These blessings, this river of blessing that's come to us by grace can make us complacent, can make us lazy. And actually bold in sin, presuming on God's patience and grace. Jesus Himself said in like 12:48, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." And we've been given much brothers and sisters, we've been given much.
Now, Satan can use our blessings to lull us into carnal ease and arrogant over confidence, and we can relax our spiritual vigilance, and we can start playing with sins and with worldliness, and little by little become corrupt, and worldly ourselves. And by these devastating processes, Godlier and more gifted men than I have been disqualified from ministry. By this devastating process, Churches bigger and more lavishly blessed than ours have become corrupt and eventually Christ has removed the lamp stand.
Key Command: Verse 12
So the key command is in Verse 12. Look at it if you would, "Therefore, but anyone who thinks that he stands, take heed lest he fall." That's the warning, that's the central warning in this text. If you think you're standing, you better watch out, you better take heed lest you fall. So the Scripture is a clear warning and it's a warning given to Christians, it's a warning given to spiritually blessed people, to Christians everywhere, in every generation for 2000 years, it's a warning to all of us, that we should live in a healthy fear of sin, that we would respond to the danger that every generation faces with the same kind of vigorous holiness and commitment to the Apostle Paul used to pursue his own race, "I beat my body and make it my slave, lest I will be disqualified."
Israel’s History of Privilege and Sin
And in order to make this point, and drive it home, Paul reaches to the history of Israel, the Jews, and Israel's history of spiritual privilege and their history of sin. So he's broadening this, now, the Corinthians were gentiles, so they might not have known Israel's history, as well as Paul did as a Jew. Paul then lists out Israel's lavish spiritual blessings in part, their spiritual blessing, but he does so remarkably using Christian imagery Christian language. Look at verse 1-4, "For I do not want you to be ignorant to the fact brothers that our forefathers were all under the cloud, and that they all passed through the sea, they were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, they ate the same spiritual food and they drank the same spiritual drink, for they drank from the Spiritual Rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ." So, just walking through it, He says, "I don't want you to be ignorant, I want to instruct you or remind you about some things from Jewish history."
Our forefathers, when Paul writes that he means our Jewish ancestors. So Paul was a Jew so they were definitely his ancestors, but they were also the Corinthians' spiritual ancestors. Because we find out in other places in the Scripture, we who are believers in Christ are actually honorary sons and daughters of Abraham. We're honorary Jews. We, who are wild in nature and grew up in some wild olive tree, were cut off and grafted into a cultivated olive tree, a Jewish olive tree. And we derive life-giving sap, nourishing sap from this Jewish foundation of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Jewish heritage. So we are honorary Jews and we're drinking in that heritage. So it's your heritage too if you're a Christian. And notice the word, all, he emphasizes the word all. He says, "They were all under the cloud and they all passed through the sea and they all were baptized in the Moses in the cloud and the sea, and they all ate the same spiritual food, and they all drank the same spiritual drink." In other words, this wasn't a special privilege class of the Christians all of them had, or the Jews, all of them had that experience, all of them did. Universalizing it.
Under the Cloud
And then he says, they were under the cloud. So what that means is talking about the pillar of cloud, remember that went ahead of the Jews and led them and guided them where they should go. Pillar of cloud. And he says, they passed through the sea, this is referring to the Red Sea, which God miraculously opened up for them. So they passed over on dry ground when Pharaoh's army, the most powerful on earth at the time, pursued them the water crashed in and they drowned and they were destroyed. But Israel passed by in safety. And they were Paul says, baptized into Moses, in the cloud and in the sea. The word baptize means to be immersed. They were plunged in the Moses. They were immersed in Moses the leader, his leadership. They were immersed into his ministry, they were immersed into Moses's laws, they were immersed into the common experience of a super natural deliverance from Egypt and from bondage. They were immersed in that, they were baptized into it. And he says, they ate the same spiritual food. That is the mana, the bread from heaven that God provided for them every day in the desert. There was no food in the desert and God miraculously fed them with mana, the bread of heaven. And they all ate it.
Eating Spiritual Food
And he says, they drank the same spiritual drink, that was the water that flowed from the rock miraculously. There was no water for them to drink in the desert. And so, Moses struck the rock with his staff and the water just flowed and they drank from that rock. Now, Paul Christianizes these experiences using the word baptized into Moses and ate spiritual food and drank spiritual drink, like the Lord's supper, so he's I think bringing it over into Christian language, for their purpose. And he emphasizes that all of these spiritual experiences, the Jews went through were foretaste of Christ. Actually, he says that rock was Christ. So the Jews in some sense, partook in Christ at that time, Christ was the Angel of the Lord, who led them by the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire. God sent His angel, the angel of Lord ahead of them to leave them where they should go, that angel was Christ. And the one delivering them truly was not Moses, it was Jesus Christ. And Christ is the accompanying rock and He never changes, He's the same yesterday, and today and forever. He is the unchanging rock. Christ was alive back then pre-incarnate, He was saving his people from slavery in Egypt, He was their salvation.
Now, these experiences were told, they're types and shadows, they're acted out prophecies. The living prophecies of the salvation that Christ would bring in the new covenant. So the Jewish nation that were brought out of slavery in Egypt experienced amazing things, they saw the 10 plagues, miraculous plagues on all of Egypt, they saw it with their own eyes. They saw the awesome Red Sea miracle, I think the most spectacular miracle God has ever done in history, just in terms of spectacle and the massive force needed to do it incredible. And they saw God descend in fire on Mount Sinai, and they heard the actual voice of God speaking the 10 commandments. Nevertheless, what a terrifying word that is? Nevertheless. Despite all of those blessings, nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them, their bodies were scattered all over the desert. God killed them all, except Joshua and Caleb, that generation, He killed them all.
That whole generation of Jews ended up being scattered throughout the desert over 40 years. They did not die all at once, but God killed them off little by little, allowing their children to grow up in their place, and to them, He would give the promises of crossing the Jordan and inheriting the promised land. They themselves died in the desert because they refused to believe God and trust Him and cross over in the time of the 10 spies. And they did not trust God and so God judged them and their bodies were scattered in the desert, He was not pleased with them. This is terrifying. And so, the apostle Paul is taking this terrifying history of the Jews and pressing it on to the conscience of Christians.
Israel’s History of Sin Presented as a Direct Warning to All of Us
Look at Verse 6. "Now, these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did." It's why it happened, God orchestrated this history and wrote it down through Moses, so that we could read it and take it to heart. Look again in Verse 11, "These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come." Look what Paul specifically said about them. In other words, we are reading Old Testament history to learn spiritual principles for us today as Christians, and part of that friends is warning. Part of what we get out of reading the Old Testament is warning.
Look what he says about them. They set their hearts on evil things. All sin begins with lust, an evil desire that leads us astray, James says in James 1:14-15 "Each one is tempted by his own evil desire, lust, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin when it is full-grown gives birth to death." Our hearts are prone to wander. And the same lust pull on our hearts is on theirs. These Jews lusted after sexual immorality, and they lusted after food and the pleasures of this world. So at this moment, you just have to stop and say, "Oh God, this is for me. This sermon is for me, this moment is for me, what is enticing my heart right now? What lusts are assaulting me? What is having an in-road into my life right now? What do I need to fight God? What areas of my bodily life do I need to beat down and enslave to Christ?" It's what we need to do, all of us.
Secondly he said they indulged in idolatry and sexual immorality. Verse 7, "Do not be idolaters as some of them were, as it is written, the people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry." So idolatry is not just bowing down to a golden calf as the Jews did, it's living for any created thing, any creature of God. So at that time when Moses went up on Mount Sinai and he was receiving the 10 commandments engraved with the finger of God and tablets of stone, they made a golden calf and they were feasting and getting drank and getting up from the feast to have an orgy. Exodus 32:6 literally says, they got up to play. And the word play there in the Hebrew is the same thing that Isaac was doing with his wife Rebecca, it's definitely sexual in nature, he's playing in that sense. And so they were just running wild in that play, sexual immorality.
And then Paul makes it very clear in Verse 8, "We should not commit sexual immorality as some of them did, and in one day, twenty-three thousand of them died." The same desires assault our souls as well. They're a deadly danger now as much as they were then, God is no less holy now, the same God that killed 23000 of His own people then, He's just as holy now. He's just as against fornication now, sex outside of marriage, as He ever was then, He hasn't changed, He's the same God. And He killed people for those sins.
Thirdly, these people tested the Lord. Look at Verse 9, "We should not test the Lord as some of them did and they were killed by snakes." This means to test God's patience, to provoke Him to His face, to be arrogant and push hard against God's laws, and challenge His authority and presume upon His grace. God sent poisonous snakes and many of them died. And they tested him again and again. Now some of you, I don't know who, I don't know who, but some of you may be living bold lives in sin right now, you may be pushing hard against what you know God has forbidden. And you are trying His patience, you do not realize that God's patience is meant to lead you to repentance.
It says, concerning the symbolic woman, actual woman, but symbolically named Jezebel. And her followers, they were being led into sexual immorality in the Book of Revelation. The Lord says, "I have given her time to repent but she is unwilling." There is a time to repent, and you're putting God to the test. It's time to repent. Fourthly, the people grumbled against the Lord complaining about His provision for them. God supernaturally fed them with manna and they complained, they were sick of eating the manner, "We despise this loathsome food," they called it. This grumbling and complaining against the Lord's provision is a root issue, there's a roaming discontent that seizes our hearts and leads us into covetousness, and leads us into lust and into other things. We're not satisfied with the boundaries God has set for us and what He's given us, and so we roam and look for something else. So Paul cites this terrible history to prove that the spiritual privileges that we receive in Christ are no protection from the warfare we must fight. There are no protection from the holiness of God if His privileged people indulge in the same pattern of sin. Look again in Verse 6, "These things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did." Again, look at Verse 11, "These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come."
II. Our Greater Privileges and Greater Danger
So let's consider our greater privileges than the Jews, and our greater responsibility and our greater danger than theirs. Paul speaks of those on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. He's referring to the fulfillment that Jesus, the mediator has brought to us in the new covenant. This is the fulfillment of all the types and shadows and images of Israel's history. Jesus is a superior mediator, superior to Moses and to the angels, the author to Hebrews tells us. And this superior mediator has brought us a superior covenant, the new covenant superior to the old, a better covenant. And by that new covenant our sins are actually forgiven. Because the blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins. This is a better covenant. And it should result in a superior life, a life of faith as the author to Hebrews gives us. A life of obeying and following Christ by faith. So a superior mediator brings us a superior covenant resulting in a superior life. That's what it means to be those on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.
Now, because our privileges are greater so is our responsibility from whom everyone has been given much, much will be demanded. And from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. So we're going to be asked for a lot on Judgment Day. God expects us to live at a higher level than the Jews of the old covenant. We have the example of Jesus Christ, the only perfect man that's ever lived, we have the actual finished work of Christ on the cross, His blood has been shed, it's not prophesied now, it's reported as Biblical history, it's occurred. He actually has been bodily raised from the dead, it's testified to in the four Gospels and in the Epistles. He's been raised from the dead, we have better examples, we have better promises, a better covenant. And we have as part of the new covenant blessing, the indwelling Holy Spirit. We have the third person of the Trinity living within us if we are born again. God expects, God demands therefore, a higher pattern of life than what Paul says the Jews did. Therefore, because of that our danger, is greater. God will not overlook our spiritual arrogance, He will not overlook willful wandering into sin. That's Paul's whole point here, the Jews are a warning for us not to indulge in these sinful patterns, in sexual immorality and worldly lust and idolatry.
Now you may ask, "These temptations of the flesh are so powerful, so alluring. How can I possibly stand firm and not yield?" Now, next week's sermon God willing, I'm going to go into great detail on this, I'm going to go back and look at Verse 12 and 13 by itself. But let me give a brief overview of what he says in those sweet verses.
III. Our Responsibility: Constant Vigilance
First of all, constant vigilance. Verse 12, look at it again. "So if you think you're standing firm, take heed lest you fall." That's where it starts, for us as Christians, it starts with vigilance. If you think you're standing firm, I think in that sense means if you are spiritually arrogant or overconfident, if you think, "I got this, that's not going to be a problem for me ever again. I have overcome that area and I'm done with that sin problem." If that's your attitude, you better take heed, lest you fall. You may think, "I'm a Christian, all my sins are forgiven, I'm guaranteed of going to heaven, there's no condemnation for me in Christ Jesus. So I am free from all danger, I can just live my life as I please. I don't need to heed any of these warnings, there's no condemnation for me in Christ Jesus." You better take heed, that is not the way to see these things. Paul knew all about eternal security better than you. He wrote, "There is therefore now no condemnation." For those who are in Christ Jesus, for those who are led by the Spirit. We're going to talk more about that next week. There's a qualification around those words.
And look at Paul, did Paul live like that, saying, "There's no condemnation for me, I'm fine." No, no, no, he said, "I take my role here very, very seriously. I take heed lest I fall." But he wasn't just looking at himself, he was looking at his brothers and sisters, he's looking horizontally. "I take heed over them too, I'm a shepherd of souls." And that's why he's writing these words, and so the elders of this church do well to shepherd others and be certain. Ask how you're doing, and we do that for each other, we should, we should watch over one another in brotherly love. Ask questions, have real fellowship at home fellowships. How was your prayer life? Is there anything you're struggling with we can pray for you? What kinds of temptations are lining up that are making it hard for you to walk with Christ? How can we really help you?" Have that kind of fellowship, be constantly vigilant. Paul feared temptations. And so he watched, he's constantly vigilant. If anyone thinks he's standing refers to any area of sin at all. You may have a past habit of drunkenness or drug addiction, and it's been a number of years since you fall into that area, you better take heed lest you fall. You may have a past history of internet pornography, you may have been on websites you shouldn't have been on, but it's been years now since you've done that, you say, "I'm never going to do that." You better take heed lest you fall.
I was reading some history of the Romans, and I love history, I love military history. And the Roman Army when they were in enemy territory after days' march, they would make a fortified camp, that always followed a certain established pattern. They would choose high ground in a region, highest ground in the region, and it had to be surrounded by clear line of sight, not in the middle of forest somewhere, but surrounded by clear line of good space, good sight lines. And they would make a square camp, and they would dig a three-foot trench around the camp and they would use dirt to build a rampart, and they would direct a stout log fence or barricade at the top of the rampart, and then they would pitch their tents within the fortress and they would post sentries every 10 meters or so with a clear schedule of relieving them through the watches of the night so they wouldn't become sleepy. And the officers would meet with the commander at sundown and write down the night's password on wooden tablets, and then tablets would be passed to their centurions, and then on to the sentries. And then the tablets were returned to the centurions and back to the commanders so that none of those tablets could go missing. Then and only then were the Roman Army safely bed down for the night.
Now, in the year 73 BC during a slaver volt led by a gladiator named Spartacus, the Roman commander Gaius Claudius Glaber, failed to follow these patterns to protect his army, he greatly underestimated the slaver volt, he did not dig the mode, he did not put up the palisade, they just went to bed. And Spartacus led a night raid and slaughtered the soldiers in their beds. Take heed, put the mode and the wall around, put sentries on the wall, watch. As Jesus said, "Watch and pray, so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak."
Now, he says... "If anyone thinks he stands…" Paul said this, "When I'm weak then I'm strong." That's like a partner verse of this. What it means is, if I know I can't survive unless Jesus helps me, if I know I can't make it through a day without sin unless Jesus feeds me, if I know that He's the vine and I'm the branch and I have to abide in Him, and walk with Him by the Spirit and by the Word, if that's how I think then I'm actually strong. But he turn it around, "If I think I don't need Jesus, and I don't need prayer, and I'm fine in this area, nothing like that could ever happen to me, then I'm actually weak." So how can we be vigilant? Well, friends, we're going to talk more about that next week. But don't expect a single day off, fight sin every day.
We're going to look next week at John Owen's mortification of sin, we're going to learn how to starve it to death and how to fight it. We're going to learn how to put on our spiritual armor every day, Ephesians 6, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. We're going to talk about how to learn from your own sins, how to learn from when you fail, don't just confess it and don't just mourn over it, do that but learn what did He do to get you? What temptations did He use to pick the locks of your resolve? You know one that I found consistently? Self-pity. When you feel like you've had a hard day, and things have been rough on you, and there's other circumstance are happening in your life maybe with your family, with your spouse or something like that, start feeling sorry for yourself, guess what? You probably have left open the door for some temptation to come and lay you low.
So we've got to be vigilant and fight. We're going to talk more about this next week, but praise God for Verse 13, "No temptation that sees you except what is common to man, but God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear, but with the temptation, He will provide a way of escape so that you can stand up under it." What a mystery? Stand up by running for your lives. We're going to talk about that next week.
And I want to say one final thing, we pray every week that God would bring people here who are not yet Christians, and I trust that He answered that prayer again. Now, maybe you are among those who walked in here this morning not yet converted, these things that I'm giving, this advice that I'm giving are for Christians. For you the danger, should cause you to flee for the first time to Christ and to Him crucified and realize you can't fight any sin patterns on your own. The Bible says that apart from Christ, every individual is a slave to sin, you can't help yourself. And so if you see the seeds of your own destruction, you know that you sin in these ways, then God's laws are for you too. What they should make you do is flee to Christ, so flee to Him, don't leave this room unconverted. All you have to do is call on the name of the Lord Jesus and you will be forgiven, you will be saved. And then you can begin battling your sin like the rest of us need to. So come to Christ and trust in Him and receive grace, mercy and forgiveness. Close with me in prayer.