2THE BATTLE WITHINFour important events for God’s children as a people are:The CreationThe Fall of ManThe Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus ChristThe General Resurrection of the DeadFour important events for an individual child of God are:ConceptionBirthRegenerationPhysical DeathFor those who are between events C and D, a great battle has begun – a battle between light and darkness, between truth and falsehood, between our service to the Prince of life (Acts 3:15) and our service to the prince of this world (John 14:30).What does this battle look like?What is at stake, and what is not at stake?How does one win?
3An Imperfect Attempt to Depict The Human Condition CreationFall of ManThe CrossResurrectionAfter Death,but before Final JudgmentAfter Final JudgmentOn earth, beforeRegenerationOn earth, afterRegenerationE1E2E3E4soulbody(Adam)spirit& soulElectspiritspiritsoulsoulbodyHoly SpiritbodybodyspiritbattlespiritN1N2N3N4soulbodyspirit& soulNon-electspiritspiritspiritsoulsoulsoulbodybodybodybodyTotallycondemned- separate from God and His blessingsLegend:Dead, spiritually,but breathing- sinful, separate from GodInnocent,but able to fallPhysically Dead, “Asleep”Alive and righteous
4- sinful, separate from God MAN BY NATUREOn earth, beforeRegenerationBefore regeneration (or being born again) the elect children of God are by nature the same as the non-elect : [Ephesians 2:1-3] “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”Unregenerate man has a human spirit, but it is separate from God: [I Corinthians 2:11] “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.”Unregenerate man is too dead to choose God, or seek God, or please God – and God is so sovereign and mighty that He does not need man’s permission, nor would He heed man’s denial, to give His people life.ElectspiritsoulbodyNon-electspiritsoulbodyDead, spiritually,but breathing- sinful, separate from God
5MAN BY GRACEThe CrossBut Jesus Christ redeemed all of God’s elect on the cross, and – sometime between conception and physical death, the Holy Spirit comes into each of those people to dwell, and they are born again, or regenerated. [John 3:8] “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”Being born of God’s Spirit is a big, fundamental change!And yet, you may not recognize it has happened, just as you do not remember being born physically.The gospel tells the good news about what has happened.The enemy (Satan) wants to hide, or contradict, that good news, and persuade you to continue serving him.The law of sin still dwells in you, so you are susceptible to listen to the enemy, and yet you are able to hear God.And so, if you are born again, and yet still on earth - a battle rages within you.On earth, afterRegenerationE2bodysoulHoly Spiritspiritbattle
6A Biblical Description of the Battle [Romans 7:14-25] “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”[Romans 8:1-2] “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”
7So, Are You Good, or Are You Bad? Before regeneration, man is bad – but may appear outwardly good: [Matthew 23:27] “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.”After regeneration, man is good, but struggles with sin: [Romans 7:22- 23] “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”Poem and Drawing byShel Silverstein
8WHAT DOES THIS BATTLE LOOK LIKE? A Born Again Child of God, Losing the BattleA Born Again Child of God, Winning the BattlebodybodysoulbattlesoulbattleHoly SpiritHoly Spiritspiritspirit[Galatians 5:19-21] “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.[Galatians 5:22-23] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
9WHAT IS NOT AT STAKEA Born Again Child of God, Losing the BattleGod’s love is everlasting, and Jesus Christ is Faithful and True.So, Eternal life is not at stake -bodythat is, God will not lose His child just because His child loses the battle – for Christ has won the war.So, why fight the battle - why not even try to lose it? Well, something important is at stake…soulAfter Death,but before Final JudgmentAfter Final JudgmentbattleHoly SpiritspiritspiritA Born Again Child of God, Winning the BattlespiritsoulsoulbodybodybodybattlesoulHoly Spiritspirit
10A Born Again Child of God, Losing the Battle WHAT IS AT STAKE - LOTA Born Again Child of God, Losing the BattleConsider Lot, Abraham’s nephew, and read his story in Genesis 13, 14, 19 and II Peter 2:7-8:Lot was just and righteous – and that means he was redeemed by Christ, and born of God’s Spirit (II Peter 2:7-8, Genesis 19:1-3)God prospered Lot, and he lived the outdoor working life along with Abraham. (Genesis 13:1-7)Then Lot chose an easy life, surrounded by the idle, sinful people of Sodom. (Genesis 13:11-13)Living among the Sodomites, Lot had to be rescued by his uncle Abraham. (Genesis 14:8-16)Lot became despised by his neighbors and family, and he became indecisive. (Genesis 19:8-16)Lot became timid and fearful. (Genesis 19:17-22)Lot lost his wife to disobedience. (Genesis 19:26)Lot became drunken and incestuous. (Genesis 19:30-38)bodysoulbattleHoly Spiritspirit
11A Born Again Child of God, Losing the Battle WHAT IS AT STAKE - SAULA Born Again Child of God, Losing the BattleConsider King Saul, and read his story from I Samuel 9 to I Samuel 31:God gave him another heart I Samuel 10:9 and made him king over all Israel.He began his reign in humility and courage. (I Sam 11)He then began to disobey God. (I Sam 13, 15)The Spirit of God which enabled him to reign well departed. He lost his peace of mind, and was afflicted by an evil Spirit. (I Sam 16:14)He became unreasonably jealous. (I Samuel 18:6-12)He became conniving and murderous. (I Sam 19 & 20)He became superstitious and fearful. (I Samuel 28)Three of his sons were slain in battle before he slew himself. (I Samuel 31:1-4)His was beheaded and his body tacked to the wall of a Philistine city. (I Samuel 31:9-10)If we give up in this battle, we can sustain similar losses.bodysoulbattleHoly Spiritspirit
12A Born Again Child of God, Winning the Battle WHAT IS AT STAKE - DAVIDA Born Again Child of God, Winning the BattleConsider David, and read his story from I Samuel 16 to I Chronicles 29:God’s Spirit came upon David (I Samuel 16:13), and God kept David and made him king over Israel.David sinned greatly by committing adultery with Bathsheba, having Uriah killed, and numbering Israel in an unscriptural manner. (II Sam 11:1-27, 24:1-10)In both sins, David sincerely repented. (II Sam 12:13-25, 24:13-25)God nevertheless chastised David severely, but David took the chastisement humbly, and continued to try to serve God. (II Sam 15:23-26)After years of trials and afflictions, David was blessed to see his son Solomon on his throne. (I Chron 28:5)Before he died, God gave David great riches and the plans for the temple to be built (I Chron 28:11-19)David died in peace and great honor. (I Chron 29:9-30)bodybattlesoulHoly Spiritspirit
13A Born Again Child of God, Winning the Battle WHAT IS AT STAKE - PAULA Born Again Child of God, Winning the BattleConsider Paul, and read his story from Acts 7 to II Timothy 4 (his name originally was Saul of Tarsus):Paul was zealous, but very cruel – persecuting the early church terribly. (Acts 7:58-8:3, 26:9-11)God changed him. (Acts 9:1-20)After his change, he obeyed God. (Acts 26:13-20)In his efforts to serve God, he suffered greatly (II Corinthians 11:23-32), but found great joy (Acts 20:24).Paul’s life was fruitful:Of the 22 books of the New Testament, Paul wrote 13 or 14 of them.God blessed him to establish churches throughout Turkey and Greece.When imprisoned in Rome, he converted members of Caesar’s household to Christianity!At the end of his life he had fought a good fight, finished his course, and kept the faith, and his Lord Jesus was with him. (II Timothy 4:7,17)bodybattlesoulHoly Spiritspirit
14HOW DO WE WIN THIS BATTLE? A Born Again Child of God, Losing the BattleA Born Again Child of God, Winning the BattlebodybodyHow do we go from darkness to light?soulbattlesoulbattleHoly SpiritHoly SpiritspiritspiritTake this battle seriously.Start fighting early.Prepare for a life-long, patient effort.Put on your defensive armor.Practice on offense with your weapons.Avoid peer dependency.Seek out fellow soldiers.
15HOW DO WE WIN THIS BATTLE? Take this battle seriously.[Ephesians 6:12] “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”[I Peter 5:8-10] “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”The stakes are high
16HOW DO WE WIN THIS BATTLE? Start fighting early.Early in your day.Early in times of need.Early in your life – when you are young (that is, now).[Ecclesiastes 12:1] “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;”[Lamentations 3:27] “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.”[I Timothy 4:12] “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
17HOW DO WE WIN THIS BATTLE? Prepare for a life-long, patient effort.Stick with it – there’s a good promise waiting. [Hebrews 10:36] “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”Stick with it – fruitfulness takes time. [Galatians 6:9] “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”When you stumble and sin, repent, and start following the Lord again. [I John 1:9] “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”Faint – lapse into worldliness and sinFaint – sink into substance abuseAlcoholFoodDrugsFaint – harden into bitterness and self-righteousnessFaint – suicide
18HOW DO WE WIN THIS BATTLE? Put on your defensive armor. (Ephesians 6:13-17)Girdle (belt) – truthBreastplate - righteousnessShoes – gospel preparationShield – faithHelmet – salvationPractice on offense with your weapons.Sword – word of God (God talking to you)Prayer (You talking to God)
19HOW DO WE WIN THIS BATTLE? Avoid peer dependency.“Peer pressure” can be good or bad, depending on the peers, and the direction of the pressure – but peer dependency is always bad. Trust in God alone.Help the down and out; be compassionate – but do not choose companions who will hurt you in this battle. Remember Lot in Sodom.[Proverbs 22:24-25] “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.”[Proverbs 14:7] “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.”Seek out fellow soldiers – real disciples of Jesus Christ.[II Corinthians 1:9-11] “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.”[Hebrews 10:23-25] “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
20THE BATTLE WITHIN Conclusion If you have a battle within you between a desire for righteousness and a desire for sin, it’s because Jesus Christ has purchased you with His own blood, and heaven will be your home.This battle is very serious, and your enemy is exceedingly cruel and clever.But the God within you is greater than that enemy – and you can win this battle.Get ready for a long fight, and may you overcome!