Do you ever feel like giving up? Do you ever feel like you’re swimming upstream against the current or that you’re being attacked and you don’t know who it is attacking you or why? I’m sure that most of us do from time to time.
The truth is, the Bible teaches us that we are swimming against the current. Peter tells us that we’re strangers and pilgrims here on this earth, or as one translation puts it, we’re foreigners and aliens. Paul tells us that we’re in spiritual warfare.
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.
You might not believe this but I have heard a voice inside my head that has said to me – “The harder you try, the harder I am going to resist you.” “You might be a better Christian, if didn’t try so hard.” In other words, give up and go with the flow. Yet the Bible tells us –
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil… (Ephesians 6:10-11)
I. Reasons Why We Must Not Give Up
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.
A. Sinning Affects Our Relationship With God
John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Disobeying God and walking in darkness is never the right answer. There is always a price to pay for living carelessly. Moses let down his guard for a moment and allowed his anger to get the best of him and it cost him entering into the Promised Land. David let down his guard for a moment and let lust get the best of him and he lost his family. Demas let down his guard for a moment and allowed his eyes to become focus upon the things of this world and he lost his position as a servant of God.
B. Sinning Affects Our Relationship With Others
1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
During my years in the ministry I have watched several Christians drift away from the things of God and suddenly church became boring, fellow Christians became enemies, and the pastor and his preaching became the problem. The Bible says that sin has the ability to make us stubborn and resistant to the things of God. (see Hebrews 3:13)
C. Sinning Affects Our Relationship With Ourselves
1 John 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
Satan has the ability to make what is wrong seem right. James tells us that we are lured away from God by the lusts within us. Rarely do we see the hooks in the lure. James also tells us that when sin always leads to death. If not physical death, then spiritual and emotional death. Eventually sin will always leave a sour taste in our mouths. Yesterday morning I thought of this when I heard that a major rock star of several decades ago, took a gun and killed himself. I thought, “How sad. Here was a man who could have had almost anything he wanted in life, yet he failed to find happiness.”
D. Jesus Christ is On Our Side
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate – with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
The word ‘advocate’ means helper. We have a helper in heaven who understands what life is like here on earth and who is eager to help us.
II. Christ is There to Help Us
A.The Holy Spirit is My Helper Within Me
The word John used for advocate is the same word Jesus used for Comforter. Jesus said –
John 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
When we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit of God comes to live inside of us to help us understand God’s Word and to enable us to obey it. The Holy Spirit is our constant companion.
B. Christ is My Helper With the Father
I have a helper that is within me, but I also have a helper that is seated at the right hand of the Father, whom scripture says that He prays for me continuously as I strive to live the Christian life. How can I give up and give in when I know that Jesus is cheering me on? How does Jesus seek to help us?
1. Jesus Understands Our Weaknesses
We read from the book of Hebrews –
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God… For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
For thirty-three years Jesus walked upon this earth. He knows what it’s like to be a child or a teenager. He knows what it’s like to be a young man. He knows what it’s like to be an adult. Jesus knows what it is like to be human and it is out of that understanding that He seeks to help us.
The Bible says that Christ is constantly praying for us. (see Hebrews 7:25) Jesus said that He will never leave us nor forsake us. (see Hebrews 13:5)
2. Jesus Stands to Our Defense
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
At the beginning of this message I referred to Satan’s attack upon us. Though we cannot see him, he is always on the attack. Peter said that he stalks us like a lion, seeking to devour us. Paul refers to his schemes and methodology. Satan is calculating and cunning and he is always looking for an inroad into our lives.
Whenever Satan can lure us into sin, he then goes before God and slanders us. Adrian Rogers used to say that the Devil lures us into doing something and then he condemns us for doing it.
The title ‘Devil’ means slanderer or false accuser. We know from the story of Job that Satan loves to slander and attack God’s people. No doubt he thinks that if he can tear us down, he can tear God down and maybe still someday be able to sit on heaven’s throne.
In Revelation 12:10 Satan is called ‘the accuser of the brethren’ who accuses us night and day. That word ‘accuser’ caught my attention and so I took some time to study what it means. It ancient times it referred to someone who would go into the marketplace and publicly slander someone’s character. They’re not just whispering behind someone’s back. They’re attacking them publicly and out in the open. No doubt this means that Satan comes before God and the angels and openly attacks us. “Did you see what such and such did? How can they be a child of God and do that? What’s more, what kind of salvation is this that produces that kind of character?” No doubt Satan is slandering us so that he can slander God.
What happens when Satan comes before God to slander and accuse us? First of all, if we have sinned, God cannot deny our sin. He can’t pretend that it didn’t happen, nor can He pretend that it’s not that big of a deal. The word ‘sin’ means to –“miss the mark.” It means to wander off from the central path of God’s righteousness. God would be sinning against Himself to condone our sin. So what happens whenever Satan brings an accurate accusation against us?
1 John 1:1 …And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
We already know what the title ‘advocate’ means. It means that Jesus comes alongside of us at that moment to help us. Many interpret this word at this point as – ‘Defense lawyer.’ Jesus comes alongside of us as our defense lawyer to help us.
Jesus cannot defend our individual righteousness because we have none of our own. What’s more, we just been caught in a sin. So how does Jesus make our defense? He doesn’t point to our righteousness, but to His own.
Jesus Christ, the righteous one, became our propitiation. What does that mean?
We understand what it means that He is the righteous one. The word ‘righteous’ simply means to be right. Jesus never sinned. He is completely righteous before His Father. He never wandered away from the center of God’s will.
Secondly, He became our propitiation. The word propitiation is a big word and a scary word, but it’s a good word. It refers to an offering that appeased wrath. Let’s suppose that I owed a hundred million dollars to someone. There is no way that I could pay such a debt, therefore in olden times I would have been thrown into what they called ‘Debtor’s Prison.’ I would have been thrown into jail until I was able to pay off my debt. But I can’t pay off my debt, especially when I am in prison. So is there any hope? My only hope is that someone else, who can pay off the debt, will pay off the debt. Someone will come and rescue me from the punishment of my debt. Suppose someone did. That would be wonderful. It would be even more wonderful if the person who paid off my debt was the person to whom I owed the debt. That would be unbelievable. That would be grace.
When Satan comes to accuse us of our sins, Jesus does not try to pretend that our sin doesn’t exist, or that it isn’t that big of a deal. Instead He points to His crucifixion on the cross.
We learn from the gospel of John that the last words Jesus spoke on the cross were ‘Tetelestai.’ In English that means – “It is finished.” In ancient times, whenever an artist completed his masterpiece, he would step back and say – ‘Tetelestai, it is finished!’ Whenever a servant completed the task his master had given him, at the end of the task he would say, ‘Tetelestai, it is finished!’ Whenever someone paid off a debt they owed, the bill would be stamped – ‘Tetelestai, it is finished!’
The Bible doesn’t tell us what our Lord says whenever the accuser of the brethren comes to accuse us, but I wonder if perhaps our Savior says – ‘Tetelestai, it is finished!’
Anyone who takes their Christian walk seriously knows that it’s a battle. We’re fighting Satan, the world system around us, and even sometimes ourselves. However, we are not fighting for victory, we are fighting from victory. We are not fighting a losing battle. We’re fighting a battle that has already been won. ‘Tetelestai, it is finished!’
Dear friend, this victory can be yours as well today. The Bible says that Jesus is God’s perfect sacrifice not only for Christians, but for the whole world.