THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST (LESSON 5)
Tonight we are still on the topic of the Lordship of Christ. As we already said earlier, if Christ is Lord in your life, that should mean that he is King and that you live your life to please Him. But a lot of us struggle with giving Christ total control. And even though we want to live good Christian lives, we seem to commit the same sins over and over. It's as though there is a battle going on inside of us. Well, tonight we're going to talk about what might be hindering you from following Christ's voice and letting him be Lord.
Did you know that the moment you decide to live for Christ, you get Satan's attention? Satan's sole desire is to take as many of us as he can to hell. When you didn't care about God, you were already on your way to hell, so Satan didn't bother you. But as soon as you accepted Christ into your life, you became a target. The bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." This verse is telling us that we have to be self-disciplined and on guard at all times. Satan is your worst enemy, and he is trying to figure out ways to keep you away from God. And you know how he does it? By getting you to compromise in your walk. Does anyone know what the word "compromise" means? It means to give in. Instead of standing firm on something 100 percent, you "make a deal." (Give examples)
Satan (and our own flesh) will talk us into believing that we should hold on to our old friends, you know, the ones who are always up to no good. And he'll tell us that getting high and drinking is a habit that we don't need to give up, that we can handle it. Ultimately Satan tricks us into not giving God our all. This is why we repeat the same sins over and over. And by our actions we tell God, "You can't have this area of my life. This is my territory." But the only way you are going to be successful in your Christian walk is if you leave behind all of those old sinful friends and habits. You have to stop playing both sides. Christ said, "He that is not with me is against me" (Matthew 12:30). You can't have two homes. Either heaven is your true home or this world is. God wants to lead you to a new place, but there is no room for all of your old junk. Deuteronomy 30:15-18 reads, "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; in that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish; and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go possess it."
We are given a choice: Choose life and good with God, or death and evil with Satan. God wants us to follow his words while we are on this earth until he leads us to our heavenly home, but are you obeying his voice or still allowing Satan to have a stronghold in your life?
Well, let's see what you have to do to break Satan's hold in your life. There is a story in the bible that we can learn from that tells us of a man who was very similar to Satan. This man tried to manipulate a group of God's chosen people because he wanted to keep them in bondage. This man owned these people and didn't want to let them go, similar to how Satan used to own some of you and is still trying to keep you in his grip. This man we are going to read about had the title of Pharaoh. We'll compare his strategy to that of the devil's. (Give background on the Israelites being in slavery and God sending Moses and the plagues to Pharaoh to get him to let the people go so that they could serve God.)
But Pharaoh was stubborn. The Israelites had been his slaves for 400 years, and he wasn't about to let them out of his sight. In Exodus 8:27-28 we read that Moses told Pharaoh: "We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the Lord our God, as he shall command us. And Pharaoh said, I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away: entreat for me."
* Moses wanted to take the people to a place to worship the Lord that would have taken them three days to reach. Pharaoh was saying, "I'll let you serve your God, only stay here and do it where I can see you," i.e., where I can still control you. This is similar to how Satan works. Satan will tell us "Okay, you can serve the Lord, but don't go too far. Don't become too radical. Be an undercover Christian. Blend in with society. Walk, talk, and act just like the heathens of the world do. And don't go to church. Only go to church on Easter and Christmas."
Satan knows that if we really prayed and read our bible and fellowshipped with other believers, that we wouldn't have time to be tempted. We would grow strong. So he wants us to remain weak baby Christians who are easily manipulated and who easily fall into sin. And Satan lies just like Pharaoh did. Pharaoh said that he would let the Israelites go, but then he said no, that he wouldn't let the Israelites leave for even three days. And because Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go, God caused some more bad plagues to happen in Egypt, until even Pharaoh's top advisors were telling Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. But Pharaoh was still trying to control the situation.
Let's read what happened next. Exodus 10:8-10, "And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the Lord your God: but who are they that shall go? And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the Lord. And he said unto them, Let the Lord be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you."
At first it sounds like Pharaoh is going to let them go, but in the very next sentence he says this: "Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the Lord; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence." (Exodus 10:11).
Did you catch that? Pharaoh said, "I will let the men go." Moses wanted everything and everyone to go serve the Lord, but Pharaoh said that only the men could go. Pharaoh knew that he could control the situation if he held the women and children and all of their possessions under his power. He was trying to make a compromise with Moses!
* What areas of your life does Satan still hold you hostage with because you have compromised and you have not yet entrusted that area to God? Maybe you feel as though you can't give up your ways to make quick illegal or ungodly money, and that is holding you back (selling weed, stealing, cheating on your taxes, credit card scams, illegal cable) . Or maybe you can't let go of your lustful thoughts and actions, and that is keeping you from 100% obeying God (R-rated movies, flesh magazines, fornication, masturbation, porno). Or maybe your pride is holding you back. You have a certain reputation to uphold, and that is keeping you from walking the way God would have you walk (gang activity, being accepted at work amongst your unchristian friends, wanting to seem "manly" with the ladies). Maybe you are as bad as this greedy monkey: (Click here to read this illustration). What are you letting trap you?
Now, back to the story. If you truly want to follow Christ, but you have been struggling to give the Lord full control in your life, this final verse tells you what you must do. Pharaoh and Moses met one final time, and Pharaoh still wouldn't do what Moses asked. Exodus 10:24-26 reads, "And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you. And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the Lord our God. Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not a hoof be left behind."
We can learn a lot from those final eight words that Moses said: there shall not a hoof be left behind. A "hoof" is the foot of an animal. Moses was telling Pharaoh that all of the Israelites were leaving Egypt (from the oldest to the youngest, men as well as women), and that they were taking everything that was theirs with them. Pharaoh could not have any of it. And the reason this is important is because, like we said earlier, if you don't bring every area of your life to the Lord -- your thought life, who your friends are, where you spend your time, how you make your money -- Satan will try to trap you with those left-behind areas. If he has even a small part of you, HE'S STILL GOT HOLD OVER YOU. So think of a "hoof" as being anything that is keeping you from totally being the person God wants you to be.
Let's use the example of a bear. A bear is a big, strong beautiful animal that is free. But if that bear's foot, his hoof, gets caught in a little bitty trap, then he is no longer really free. His arms are free, his head is free, his chest is free, his other leg is free, but that hoof is keeping him from being totally free. He's trapped. And now he's miserable, and soon he will be dead. And if you are miserable being a Christian and it feels like a hard life to live, it is probably because you have a hoof or two left behind still. How can you ever be truly free of Satan and the temptations of this world if you keep opening yourself up to sin and people who will hold you back? Friend, when you accept Christ as Lord in your life, it is as though you moved from an old run-down house to a brand-new mansion. But don't give Satan your new address! (Give examples)
How many of you have one foot on its way to heaven, but the other foot is still stuck in the traps of this world? Remember, you don't have to live like that. You can tell Satan, "Not a hoof shall be left behind. I'm dedicating my ENTIRE life to my Lord Jesus Christ." It's just that simple. With God's power, you can overcome Satan's traps. Deuteronomy 30:19-20, "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: that thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him; for he is thy life, and the length of thy days." That verse tells you to "choose life" that you may live. In John 11:25 Jesus says, "I am the resurrection and the life." Let Christ be your choice. Let Him be your life. Follow Him as your Lord without compromising. Stop living as though you are dead or enslaved. You are free in Jesus, so follow Him and let him be your Lord!