Gaining the Victory - Part 2

Scripture: Mark 11:24, 1 John 1:9
Many people are weak in their Christian experience. We cannot, in our own strength, have victory and power in our walk with God. It is only through praying in faith that we receive the strength we need.
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Today I'd like to make religion so real and practical that even little children will be able to reach out and lay hold of it. I'm sure that I speak to those who are not Christians as well as those who have been in the way for a long time. I'm convinced that there's not a soul listening to this broadcast but feels some lack of spiritual life and power in his life.

I could not find a better place to begin than Mark 11:24: "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." What a powerful promise that is! One of the most beautiful Jesus ever gave. He said if you want anything you must come believing and ask for it and then accept it by faith and know that it is yours because it has been promised. Now, friends, I find here absolutely no reservation on the part of God. What a promise it is that Jesus invites us to pray, believe and accept from Him. All of us have had some experience in this thing. We know what pardon is; we know what forgiveness is; we know how to receive the forgiving grace of God, don't we? We claim the promise by faith. And the promise is over in 1 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." That's the only way any of us were cleansed. We came to Him in faith and prayed the prayer of faith and we said, "Lord, now I'm confessing and you said you would forgive." We got up off our knees with the wondrous sense of relief and forgiveness.

But how did we know we were forgiven, friends? Did we ask God to prove that He had done what He said? Did we demand some physical sign, some emotional sense of ecstasy to show us that we had been forgiven according to the promise of God? No, we didn't. We just accepted it by faith. When God says He'll do something, we must not doubt. And when we meet our condition of asking Him and believing, then He will certainly do His part. So we arise from our knees, knowing that without a shadow of doubt our sins have been forgiven.

All right, we call that justification. This is the word that we use. It's simply the cleansing away and the blotting out of all our past transgressions. But listen, that's only the first beginning part of salvation. Why, that's just the first little kindergarten step, you might say, in order to follow the Lord Jesus from earth to heaven. There are much deeper things for us to understand. We cannot live on that level of justification. We cannot live by constantly falling into sin and then praying for forgiveness and falling into sin and praying for forgiveness. That's not very satisfying. You see, salvation is both a cure and a preventive. The gospel forgives, but the gospel also empowers. And here is where multitudes of people have failed to understand. We must have faith and claim the promise of forgiveness, but we must also claim the promise of God's keeping power so that we will not continue to fall into those sins.

What a beautiful text we find in Jude 24: "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy." Oh, don't you ever doubt, friends, but that God is able to give you the victory over every sin. Don't you ever concede the necessity of falling into transgression. You don't have to do it. There is power with God to save you from sinning and to keep you from falling into that same old pit day after day, week after week.

Now this is what we call sanctification. It's that constant revelation of sin to us by the Holy Spirit. It is a day by day experience. And it will require a lifetime for God to point out all of our sins. If God should show you every mistake, every weakness, every sin in one moment of time you would be crushed with discouragement. You wouldn't feel like going on any farther. You'd give up right there and say, "There's no chance for me." But God doesn't do it that way. He will reveal your sins and mistakes to you just one at a time. Today you'll get a flash of revelation. The Holy Spirit will show you something that is wrong. Tomorrow He may show you something else. Next week you may get another revelation, and this is a lifetime process.

Listen friends, let me ask you this: Does God expect us to take a lifetime to overcome the sin once it has been revealed to us? Absolutely not! The revelation of sin may come all during our lives, but when we know something is wrong, we must get the victory immediately. God has instantaneous power to deliver you from that sin. Now don't misunderstand me, I think some people have done it the evolutionary way. I think some people have probably outgrown sin or worn it out or something. They finally got the victory over it, but I'm telling you this is not God's perfect plan. There's a better way. And that way is for Him to give you the victory the very moment you know you have sinned.

What about that promise in 1 Corinthians 15:57? "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." It's a gift that's what it is. The victory you have over temptation and over any kind of sin is a free gift from Jesus Christ. And you must receive it by faith. Now let me give you a text to support this wonderful truth. I know it's a little bit startling to some people to think that they don't have to keep on falling into sin. Sometimes we have come to the place of just taking it for granted that this is a necessary part of growing up in Christ, that we have to just keep on falling into our transgressions until gradually, maybe over a period of many, many years, we will taper off and finally quit.

I remember a woman who was brought to Jesus once, who had been taken in adultery. It was an obvious transgression. The men brought her there and presented her to the Lord and said, "Here she is, Lord, we caught her in the very act." And do you remember what Jesus said? He said to the woman, after He had dismissed her accusers: "Woman ... go, and sin no more." He did not say, "You go and taper off on this sin." Did He? He did not give the slightest indication that she could gradually wean herself away from that terrible wickedness that had fastened itself on her life. He said, "go, and sin no more." And with the command, my friends, He gave power also to overcome.

Now if Jesus could do that for one woman, what could He do for us? Do we think for one moment that we must keep on sinning in order to give God an opportunity to exercise His grace? I think some people feel that it's almost necessary to just sin once in awhile in order to give God something to do. But Paul denies that this is necessary at all. In fact, in Romans 6:1 he says exactly the opposite. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" What is the question? Paul says shall we sin once in awhile, so that grace will have a chance to operate in our forgiveness? The answer is: "God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" No, God was telling the truth when He said, "What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." Mark 11:24.

If you need victory over sin, come to Him, ask Him, and believe that He gives it to you. In that very moment you will have victory. Do you believe that? It's true. You don't have to wear it out by your human effort and struggle. You can't overcome sin. You're not as strong as the devil. None of us are that strong. Only God is stronger than Satan. If you get the victory at all, believe me, it's going to be given to you by Jesus Christ. You're not going to win it by your effort. Since it is a gift, you need to receive it. Hasten to get that victory, friends, because it is very much needed.

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