2) THE FIGHT - The Fight For Freedom
II Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”
I Corinthians 9:26 “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air.”
Fight Legends Example: George Foreman
He only lost a handful of matches his whole career
He was a dominant force in boxing for a number of years
“The referee is going to be the most important person in the ring tonight, besides the fighters.”
“Generally, when there’s a lot of smoke, there’s just a while lot more smoke.”
“I cannot remember a time when I was not getting into a fight.”
Life is a fight – it feels that way sometimes
Maybe not a physical fight, but a grind nonetheless
It’s a struggle – constantly chipping away
There’s an enemy against you, constantly fighting
2 Tim 4:7 & 1 Cor. 9:26 – I have fought the good fight; I don’t fight aimlessly…
When I go at this thing called life, I’m going to go at it with intentionality
Realize what’s at stake, know the purpose/point
Realize there’s more to it than I actually see
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. – we’re not fighting against flesh & blood
There is a fight, and it is spiritual
You’re in a fight, you're in a battle and you can feel it
Part of it is because we live in a sin-cursed world
Part of it is there’s a spiritual attack that is constantly coming against you
If you fight it like a “normal” fight – you know, you try hard and push past it – if you don’t fight a spiritual fight spiritually, then you’re going to watch your life be overwhelmed, one moment after another after another after another – it’s going to knock you out.
I remember when I was a kid - I didn’t get in many fights because I was small. I had a mouth because my brothers were big.
But one time I got in a fight with Richie Ward. - It was a physical fight – I won that one.
But I also got in a fight with Louie down the street who was a year older than me.
I made the mistake of picking a fight with him when my brothers were not around.
Did you think you could win the battle physically – beat the other guy?
Did you think you could talk your way out of it?
How did that work out – when did you realize you were in a battle you couldn’t win?
Didn’t instigate it
Didn’t ask for it
Didn’t know how to get out of it
Did you realize it was a fight and you were in it!
That’s the truth as well about this thing called life that we’re in
We’re in a battle where the enemy of our souls is coming against us
Need to recognize it
Need to do something about it spiritually or we’ll be taken out
In the book of Ephesians – it is a whole book telling us what we have in Christ
God has already won the fight and He’s given His victory to us
This means we can fight with confidence
The biggest victory that could ever be had over death, hell, the grave, has already been won by Jesus
Fight not FOR victory, but we fight FROM victory
Ephesians 1:7-8 – 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; - the battle that you could never win, God won and made you victorious
Ephesians 1:18-21 18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: – when you put your faith in God – it’s as simple as faith – you have access to the incomparable power of God and you can live different
You can live with victory behind you
Ephesians 2:6-7 – 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
What does it mean? God won so you win! You can live different
You can have victory
You can fight like a champion
You don't have to be bound by the sin of this world
Two Ways to Live Your Christian Life:
1) Fight like a champion
or 2) Cower like you’re being dominated by every will and whim of the enemy:
Every time he shows up, just give yourself over
Give in to that temptation
Oh, I’m just going to be bound by that addiction, sin, whatever
This is NOT God’s will for your life
God wants you to fight like a champion because he’s already fought like a champion for you.
How Do You Fight Like a Champion?
Boxing School – George Foreman said He went to boxing school and his first fight was against a skinny guy - He swung and he got hit and then the guy wasn’t there.
Because of Ephesians 1, 2 and 3, everything God’s given to us, we can now live in response to this:
God has done it so we live from that
We don’t try to get to God, God has already gotten to us
Don’t fight like an underdog or a loser, fight like a champion
So many of us fight like both hands are tied behind our back
When we fight like that, we’re always going to lose
There’s a certain way you fight like a Christian that leads to victory; and there’s a certain way you fight as a Christian that leads to defeat – nobody wants to be that way; fight like a champion.
Three ways to do it right:
Don’t fight in the dark
Always fight in the light
Remember your “WHY”
Don’t Fight in the Dark
For you were once darkness (v.8)
Speaking to the Ephesian Church
Experienced God – forgiveness, wholeness, God is changing them
Many of us experience the same thing – light is turning on for you
Paul reminds us of where we once were – we all start in the dark
When you’re away from God, you’re in the dark – cold, lonely, desperate place
Don’t go back to that – it will always be a temptation for us
If you fight in the dark, you'll always lose
There will be pulls on your heart to bring you back to where you were
You have been brought into the light from God’s redemption, but little compromises bring you back into the darkness – don’t go there
God has more for you – don’t settle for less than His best for you
God wants to be your All-in-All
He wants to be the centerpiece of your life
He wants to be the thing you are most passionate about
Wake up saying, God, I love you, I worship you and I seek you, I pursue you – that’s where life is found, where joy is found – the best thing in the world
Anytime we allow something else to replace that, we compromise and miss out on experiencing God’s move in our life
It’s sin, it hurts us and we walk in the dark
Always Fight In The Light
Verse 8: Live as children of the light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
Three ways to always fight in the light:
Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather, expose them.
Expose the things of your life that are not good – bring the light of God to it
When you bring God’s light into the dark areas of your life, the darkness has to go – it can’t stay, it has to leave
The “mold” in our life can’t grow where the Son of God is able to shine
Expose it and bring it into the light.
Many people think they can keep things hidden in the darkness, no one will find out.
But it eats away at them and keeps them captive
James 5:16 – Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. - confess your sins and you will be healed
Bring it out in the open and experience real change – get honest
Get hungry for God’s word – open the bible and digest what it says so when the temptation comes, when the thought or mindset sets in, you’re so full of God’s word it doesn’t even look tasty.
Makes you able to say, no thanks, I’m satisfied
I don’t want that
Big part of overcoming sin, greed, anything is becoming thankful for what God has given YOU.
May not like the job you’re in, it’s ok to ask for a different one, but in the meantime be thankful for the one you have – that it’s providing for your family, preparing you for the next step–don’t take it for granted.
Something about gratitude changes the perspective of our heart
Remember your “why”
Every great fight movie has the “fight montage”
The front part of movie is the reason for the fight
That’s what drives them to the training and gives the the ability to stick it out and realize the goal
Important to have a good why
As Christians, we have the best why
God loves you – he picked you up, he chose you
You don’t deserve it, but God picked you for his team
God lived and died for you – sacrificed so you could come to him
He’s fighting for us
He already brought us victory, we’re living in it
When temptation hits we can say, no thanks – my God has chosen me, he’s fighting for me so I’m going to fight for him
Example: Buster Douglas upset over Mike Tyson – when asked why it happened he said because his Mom had been bragging to everyone that her boy was going to beat Mike Tyson; she died 2 days before the fight – his “why” was stronger than Tyson’s – he was doing it for his mom
The Why will drive you to victory
This is how we live the Christian life and experience victory.