Teaching Sermons For Pastors and Laymen

                                                                                                                                               Friday, September 16, 2005
Drive Out Sin or It Will Drive You
 Judges 2:1-2:22
 

One of the greatest problems that I see in the church is that fact that too many people follow the same path that Israel followed when they first entered into the Promised Land.

They were quick to forget the great miracles of deliverance that God had given them and they were quick to pick up the habits of those who occupied the land.

One of the most frequent complaints by Christians is the hard time that they are having in serving the Lord.

A pastor was taking care of some business at one of the local schools when a young man who attends a church nearby came to him with a common dilemma.

These are his words: “I know that I should do better. I know that I need to turn my life around.  I know that I can’t keep on going the way I’m going, but it’s just so hard to change.”

You know what, he was right.

It is very hard to change.

In fact, unless you are washed in the Blood of the Lamb and walking in obedience to God’s Word, you can’t change.

You don’t have the power to change.

No matter how much will power you may have; no matter how much you attempt to break old habits that keep dragging you down; no matter what you do to try to erase those old memories and past sins; you don’t have the power to do so!

If you had that power then Jesus would not have had to go to the cross and die for those sins.

That young man was right!

He could not change his own heart.

He could erase the guilt that he felt.

But he could not erase from his memory all the things that he had done that were part of his nature to do.

The worst part of this situation with this young man is that I know that he attends a Bible believing church and I know that the Word of God is preached to him.

Now you would think that attending a church where the Word of God is preached would help us to overcome sin in our lives and to remain faithful to the House of God and obedient to God’s Word, but attending any church, won’t make any difference in whether you live a victorious life in Christ or not.

It’s not the church; it’s not the preaching; it’s not being around other Christians that will make you over comers.

The only thing that church can do, or I can do, or other brothers and sisters in the Lord can do, is to encourage you, strengthen you, pray for you and watch over you.

We have no power to deliver.

If you really want victory in your life; if you really want to live above sin; if you really want to be a consistent Christian with a consistent lifestyle that gives glory to God; if you really want to live the way that God intends for you to live; then your only answer is complete abandonment from the things of this world that continually drag you down.

You can’t play around with the things of this world and live in victory.

It just doesn’t work.

Israel tried to do that same thing and all they did was fail miserably and bring God’s wrath down upon their heads.

Yes God had delivered them from Egypt.

God had brought them through the wilderness, and they had crossed over the River Jordan.

The old nation of rebellious and faithless Jews was supposed to have been left behind in the wilderness and God brought a new generation across the Jordan River.

Now they were to walk according to the Word of the Lord that had been given to Moses and then passed on to Joshua.

God had told them to drive out every inhabitant of the Promised Land.

He had said that if they would cleanse the land of every idol and every idolater, if they would cut down the groves and altars that were built to honor those idols, and if they would keep themselves pure and obedient to his commandments, that God would help them to be victorious and give them their land just as he had promised to Abraham so many years before.

God’s promise had not failed.

He had brought them through in his own time and in his own way so that Israel, and the whole world, could only say that it was God’s miracle working power that had done it.

The power of man, the arm of the flesh, had no part in God’s deliverance.

But did Israel listen to what God had to say?

No they didn’t!

They only heard the part that they wanted to hear!

They only heard the part that sounded good to their ears and satisfied their own desires!

All they heard was that God would give them their Promised Land.

They never heard the part about driving out the inhabitants.

At least, if they did hear, they didn’t obey what God had said because they not only let the idolaters stay in the land, they actually joined them in their worship of idols.

In the Book of Judges, Chapter 2, we reed the story of what happened to Israel because they didn’t listen to God.

Let’s examine this story for a few minutes and see if we can learn from Israel’s mistakes before those same mistakes become a curse to us also.

I will begin by reading Judges 2:1-3: "And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you."

Here in these verses we see God’s commands to the Jews.

Don’t make any agreements with you enemies.

Throw them out – all of them!

Get rid of every man, woman and child of those who inhabit the land or they will bring you into a place of judgment because they will drag you down.

God is saying the same thing to you and me today.

God delivers us from sin, and then He lifts us out of the miry clay of sin.

He brings us out from under the bondage of Satan’s power over us and sets our feet on the Rock, and then He begins to lead us gently on toward our eternal home.

Moses did not drive Israel from behind with a giant cattle prod.

He didn’t take out a whip and force them to move on.

He just started walking toward Canaan and Israel fell in behind him.

Even the Pillar of Fire by night that gave light to their path and the Pillar of Clouds that would be visible in even the brightest sunlight, didn’t surround them and force them to go where it went by pushing them within its walls like they were in the middle of a giant tornado where it was calm and fire was everywhere.

The Pillar of Fire and of Clouds went on before them, gently leading the way.

They could follow or they could stop or go back.

It was their choice to follow.

God will not push you, prod you, whip you, or force you to follow him anymore that he did the Children of Israel.

His Word is given to light our path.

His commandments are written down so that we can hide them in our hearts and meditate upon them continually; and the Holy Spirit goes before us to lead the way and teach us the ways that we should walk.

But, it is up to us to follow, to read, and to learn.

God only leads, he doesn’t push.

He wants obedient servants, willing to follow him.

He doesn’t want a bunch of slaves whose only thoughts are to escape from his presence!

God wants us to drive out everything from our lives that is not holy, not right, not sanctified, and that reminds us of our rebellious past, or our life of sin.

That means old friends and acquaintances.

That means we just don’t go to the same places we used to go to.

That means that we dump everything out of our homes that might tend to drag us down and make us compromise our faith in Christ.

That means that we quit doing what we did when we lived in sin!

HOW MUCH DO WE REALLY LOVE JESUS?

DO WE REALLY WANT TO MAKE HEAVEN OUR ETERNAL HOME?

IF SO, THEN THERE IS A PRICE TO PAY!

THERE IS A LIFE THAT WE ARE REQUIRED TO LIVE!

IT IS A LIFE OF OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S COMMANDMENT TO DUMP THE JUNK OF SIN!

GET RID OF IT ALL!

DON’T ALLOW ANYTHING TO HANG AROUND THAT REMINDS US OF OUR OLD LIFE!

Now I will read Judges 2:11-14, "And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies."

Now we see why so many wrestle so hard with the sins of the past.

It’s because they never really drive them out completely.

There is always some link to the past left behind.

Perhaps it’s a favorite movie that we know is wrong but we like it too much to trash it.

It’s trash anyway – so trash it!

Perhaps it’s a favorite CD or music album that glorifies sin and we don’t want to throw it away.

You can either throw it away or it will ever be a draw on your flesh to drag you back down into sin.

Perhaps it is your porn magazines, or your last cigarette, or that last bit of dipping snuff that you just can’t seem to throw out!

Throw it out or it will ever be a reminder and a draw to bring you back into partaking of it!

You can’t play with sinful things and expect them not to have an impact on your life.

It’s not surprising that so many of God’s people fall away into sin when they never really get rid of every desire to do the sin in the first place.

How can we get rid of the desire for that sin if it is allowed to linger near us all the time?

Notice that God says that he will not drive out those sins from your life that you allow to hang around!

He will not overstep your will to sin.

If you want to live with one foot in the world and the other in the church God will let you do just that, but you will never experience real freedom in Christ or real victory over sin.

God says that if you don’t get rid of every “idol”, everything that gets between us and our God that those things which we allow to remain in our lives will be like thorns.

Every time you turn back to them, they are going to stick you!

Every time you make a move toward God they are going to scratch and poke you again and again until you finally stop moving.

Not only that, but every time you partake of them you are going to be reminded by the Holy Spirit that you are walking in disobedience.

The life of a half-hearted, half committed and worldly-minded Christian has to be the most miserable life that anyone can live.

You are experiencing the worst of both worlds.

On the sinful side you can’t enjoy your sin because God’s Spirit keeps you under conviction and you feel terrible because you are failing so badly.

On the side of Righteousness you never feel “saved” because you are living in defeat.

You continually bring up that old dead man, your old nature, out of his grave and allow him to hang out with you.

No wonder the attitude and spirit of so many church folks stinks so much.

If you carried a dead man around with you everywhere you went, not only would you be tired, but you wouldn’t have many friends either.

The only good news I can give you is that God doesn’t give up easily.

He will keep after you, and keep trying to gently persuade you to walk away from that old life, to get rid of all the past idols and those who serve them.

Clean out you life, your mind, your house and throw all the junk away for good.

Now I will read Judges 2:16-19, "Nevertheless the LORD raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so. And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way."

Even though God continually attempts to reach out to us and never gives up, he will not do for us what we must do for ourselves.

We can’t forgive our own sins.

Only God can do that.

But, we can decide, and make a conscious effort to live without sin.

Will we sin?

Yes we most probably will.

But there is a difference in making mistakes and willfully holding on to sin.

Both will condemn you to hell if they aren’t made right but those who willfully sin won’t seek forgives as quickly as those who just fall into sin from time to time.

Willfully sinful people are making a choice to live on the line between Heaven and Hell and the wind is always blowing hard toward Hell.

Few, if any, will ever fall into Heaven.

How can you fall up?

Everything falls down unless it is held up by some greater power.

If you fall, it will be down.

If you are going to rise up to meet Jesus in the air, you will need the under girding and lifting power of the Holy Ghost to make it happen, and the Holy Ghost will not hang around when we willfully sin.

God will do everything in his power to persuade us to follow after him and live obediently, short of forcing or using coercion.

He is a perfect gentleman and only wants us to live for him by our own choice.

But there may come a time when he decides to take a “hands off” approach to those who continually live in sin and play around with the things of the world.

*      *      *


Listen to Judges 2:20-22, "And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not."

As you can see, God finally decided to let Israel have its way.

If they wanted to allow the idols and their enemies to hang around then he would let them have it their way.

God says that he was going to “prove them”.

God is going to prove us too!

He will let us go our merry way and allow us to prove to ourselves that we can’t live half in and half out of his ways of righteousness.

He will let us prove to ourselves that we can’t serve both God and the Devil at the same time.

He will prove to us that living for God is far more enjoyable if we drive out the sin from our lives completely.

He will prove to us that he is a God of love, mercy, grace and gentleness by allowing us to do what we want and then just watch to see if we will call on him again.

Do you want to live victoriously in Christ? Are you tired of the roller coaster ride of feeling saved one day and lost the next?

Are you ready for your walk with the Lord to be steady and over coming?

Then drive out all of the idols.

Drive out everything that reminds you of your past life.

Drive out every little weight that holds you back.

Either drive them out or they will drive you.

If you let them stay, then notice what God said about Israel.

He said that he wouldn’t drive their enemies out for them.

God’s original promise still holds true.

If we will get rid of all the idols and things in our lives that are not pleasing to him, then he will help us to defeat them and get rid of them completely.

But God also says that if we allow them to hang around, that he will not help us get rid of them but will allow them to remain with us to be a constant reminder of our disobedience and to force us to make daily choices on whether we will serve him or not.

Aren’t you tired of making a daily choice to serve the Lord?

It’s time to make a one time, quality decision to serve him.

It time to sell out, not to hold out!

You can either drive out the sin from your life, or it will drive you for the rest of your life, and then drive you right into the pits of hell itself.

Now is the time to make your choice!

Amen.

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