1-10-15 “Lord, Help Me Change!” – Pastor Shane Idleman

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COMPLETE SERMON NOTES

 

Lord, Help Me Change!

INTRO: “Here I am, Lord, and I’m drowning in your sea of forgetfulness. The chains of yesterday surround me – I yearn for peace and rest – I don’t want to end up where You found me. And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight – I know You’ve cast my sin as far as the east is from the west, And I stand before You now as though I’ve never sinned, But today I feel like I’m just one mistake away from You leaving me this way.”Casting Crowns; East to West

  • Our responsibility and God’s role in changing us. We have responsibilities, yet we are totally dependent on God. We must do our part, but we can’t do His. It is God who makes us stand firm in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:21).

An Unclean Spirit Returns: Matthew 12:43, “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”

Clarification: not to warn Christians; the context is rejecting Christ

  • This “wicked generation” – the last state will be worse than the first –  seven is probably completeness: the final end.

“The unclean spirit leaves for a time, but when he returns, he finds Christ is not there to shut him out; the heart is swept by outward reformation…and the man becomes a more decided enemy of the truth. Every heart is the residence of unclean spirits, except those which are temples of the Holy Ghost, by faith in Christ.” ~MATTHEW HENRY

BUT: there is a very important principle – We must fill our heart with the things of God . . . THE DEMONS RETURN AND FIND IT “VOID OF GOD”.

  • ‘No good parallel has been cited for the journeying in waterless places, but the imagery is probably based on the idea that the demons will move naturally in realms where conditions are antithetical to human well-being, and devoid of the blessing of God’ – Nolland John. (2005). The Gospel of Matthew.

This is profound: Demonic activity will move naturally in realms where conditions are opposed to our well-being and devoid of the blessing of God. They look for, and feed on, environments where God is absent.

WE EITHER PROVIDE FERTILE GROUND FOR SATAN TO WORK, OR FERTILE GROUND FOR THE THINGS OF GOD TO GROW

  1. Do not give the devil a foothold (cf. Ephesians 4:27): “A secure position from which further progress may be made.”

  2. The Doctrine of Balaam (cf. Numbers 22).

  3. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).

When we abandon God’s plan for our lives we also abandoned His covering…His shelter…His protection.

______________ Help Me Change______________

  1. Expose the sin: bring it to the light so it loses it’s power. Sin grows in darkness.

  • Lusts often don’t vanish, but their power fades when exposed!

http://www.settingcaptivesfree.com: There is deception thinking you can ‘handle’ this yourself (pride). When you are at that point, you no longer look to the Lord for your help. Then there is shame because you are living a deceptive dual life. One person noted, “I had gotten to the point that I could not even look another Christian in the eye. Their walk with Christ was convicting to me. Because of the overwhelming shame and guilt I felt, I ran to alcohol to numb myself because I didn’t want to feel the very things the Lord was using to get my attention. . . My heart began to get harder and harder.”

Sin is debilitating, exhausting, and paralyzing. This “sapping of strength” keeps us powerless to fight the Enemy and ineffective in serving God. It’s the opposite of “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and it leaves us spent, tired, and emotionally drained. Fortunately, there is a way out!

US: Expose, Repent, Ask God for HELP!

GOD: Fills us with His strength

  1. Safeguards are guardrails: Drastic change requires drastic measures – when people fall it’s often because they use a baby gate to guard a lion.

  • After a fall, a person is quick to repent to get back on track but safeguards need to be in place for later on down the road. Once a person goes back to sin, it does NOT get better… “The last state is worse than the first.”

  1. App that allow parents to monitor children. Why wouldn’t they want this?

PIR: Parent in room; CU46: See u for sex; 53X: sex; 9: Parent watching; 99: Parnet gone.

  1. App that helps with unaccounted time. Why wouldn’t they want this?

  2. Website accountability. Why wouldn’t they want this?

What about sharing Facebook? A lot of people are friends with people they shouldn’t be.

  1. Checking in with those who love you and will help. Why wouldn’t they want this?

  2. Evaluate relationships: True friends build up – they don’t tear down.

  3. Avoid the triggers – internet alone, a lonely Friday night, places that fuel lust.

  4. Are you a trigger?

How bad do you want it? Can’t play w/ a lion who goes about seeking to destroy

US: Install safeguards

GOD: Keeps the lion caged – “greater is He who is in you then he who is in the world.”

  1. Change is NOT easy: prepare for the battlefield of the mind.

GENESIS (NIV study bible notes): Esau acted on impulse, satisfying his immediate desires without pausing to consider the long range consequences of what he was about to do… When we see something we want, our first impulse is to get it… We might feel such great pressure in one area that nothing else seems to matter and we lose our perspective. Getting through that short, pressure filled moment is often the most difficult part of overcoming a temptation.

Praise God if your desires vanish, but many times its a battle – the mind is where victory is won or lost.

   a] Do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh – don’t plan ahead to sin. Romans 13:14 NIV

    b] No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. 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 endure it. 1 Cor. 10:13 NIV         –     WE CAN SAY “NO”

      c] Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor. 10:5 NIV

US: Renew the mind and apply it

GOD: Strengthens and renews – brings peace and joy and hope

When desires, pressures, or bad habits come, change the environment  –  prayer, worship, and the Word

  • We cannot live like hell all week and expect to overcome besetting sin. We cannot fill our mind with darkness all week and expect the light of Christ to shine. We can’t feed the lion and expect him to die.

*Brief NOTE about the health seminar we just had on 1-3-15: You can watch it on our site under Vimeo here,http://vimeo.com/116170033, AND it’s on our FB page.

I’ve often seen a parallel between physical and spiritual health: LET THIS IMAGE SINK IN: Many are strung out on caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, pain meds, and poor eating habits – they are trashing the temple – they are wrecking this wonderful gift that God has given us.

AND THEY WONDER WHY THEY HAVE NO PASSION FOR GOD…WHY ANGER AND SELFISHNESS ARE DOMINATING THEIR LIFE. WHY THEY ARE MISERABLE AND UNHAPPY. THEY ARE ALLOWING THE FLESH TO CONTROL THEIR LIFE. Often, WE create this environment.

  • Not in all cases, but in most, depression, anxiety, irritability, and so on, could be severely curtailed if health (spiritual and physical) was a priority.

  • I’m often take back at how many people get upset when I say things like this – almost as if they’re protecting their addiction.

Personal Testimony – SEE ARTICLE IN YOUR BULLETIN: Are We Responsible for Most of Our Behavioral Problems?

  1. It is God who makes us stand firm in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:21).

2 Corinthians 12:7 (NIV) “…In order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

  • The weakness can keep you humble, honest, and transparent. You’re alert, on guard, and wearing the armour.

  • God rebuilds the Broken. He exalts the Humble. He protects the weak. He strengthens the sick. HOW?By turning to His strength you create an environment where faith flourishes.

I TRIED THAT! IT DOESN’T WORK!       …   Often, the reason is because they tried outward reform, rather than inward renewal.

  • If a person drifts, it’s because they let go of the anchor!

CLOSING: Re-peat: 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with thiswicked generation.”

Anyone who rejects God is wicked.

WICKED: “…denotes perversity of mind (Pr. 15:26; Rom. 1:29) by which the natural man surrenders himself to evil impulses (Ps. 10:1–11). Wickedness has its seat in the heart (Je. 17:9; Mk. 7:21–23), and is inspired by Satan (Mt. 13:19; 1 Jn. 3:12). It is progressive (Gn. 6:5) and contagious (1 Sa. 24:13)…” Flavelle, A. (1996). Wicked. In D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer, & D. J. Wiseman (Eds.), New Bible dictionary (3rd ed., p. 1238). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

1] Those who are progressing down the wrong path and you may even be leading others down (sin is contagious).

  • One way the devil appears as an angel of light, is by showing us the party not the hangover; the fun not the misery.  Example: Google Executive

2] Those who are trying to hold the line by outward reformation – surrender it to God.

3] Wickedness is seated in your heart – you’ve surrender yourself to evil – you need to “repent so times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

US: Expose the sin by confession and repentance, Ask God for HELP! Renew Your Mind Right Now Through Worship and Prayer…then let that environment continue.

GOD: Restores the broken fellowship, or he saves you. He Fills us with His strength – joy and peace flood our hearts…there’s renewed hope.

“Here I am, Lord, and I’m drowning in your sea of forgetfulness. The chains of yesterday surround me – I yearn for peace and rest – I don’t want to end up where You found me. And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight – I know You’ve cast my sin as far as the east is from the west, And I stand before You now as though I’ve never sinned, But today I feel like I’m just one mistake away from You leaving me this way.”

“Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west ’cause I can’t bear to see the man I’ve been come rising up in me again – In the arms of Your mercy I find rest ’cause You know just how far the east is from the west – From one scarred hand to the other.” Casting Crowns; East to West