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Facing Your Three Worst Enemies (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
October 13, 2021 8:00 am

Facing Your Three Worst Enemies (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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October 13, 2021 8:00 am

Dealing with the flesh, the world, and the devil; God's promise to reward those who humble themselves; based on James 4:1-10.

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You can condemn sex outside of the will of God, but you can't condemn the person who practices sex outside of the will of God. You got to love them like Jesus loved a woman who just got through practicing adultery.

You can give people a hug without embracing their behavior. Hello and thanks for being here for this Wednesday edition of Destined for Victory with Pastor Paul Shepherd. Wherever you are, however you may be listening, thanks for making this part of your day. I'm sure you've heard the expression hate the sin but love the sinner or hate the world but love the people who live here. These are subtle yet crucial distinctions and today to help us make them Pastor Paul takes us to the book of James chapter four.

Stay with us here or visit pastorpaul.net to listen to this or any recent message on demand. Now, here's Pastor Paul with today's Destined for Victory message facing your three worst enemies. Our second enemy in this passage is friendship with the world. It is the world.

Again, the system by which godless people operate and that's what is opposed to God's plan for our life. So don't be a Christian who lives like a worldly person. Don't be a Christian whose values are based on worldly principles but rather you have to live in this world without being of this world. That means Jesus often went to places where worldly people were but he was never worldly with them.

He was there to be salt and to be light and he didn't go to condemn. He just went to let the light shine. That's all. That's all.

He let the light shine. You could be somewhere if you're strong enough to be, you could be somewhere where they're practicing drug use. You can be there and not have to be well. God must have me here to condemn all this. Y'all going to hell. Put that coke up.

Leave that meth alone. That's not your role. Your role is to be salt and light. Your role is to show I don't need that in order to live my best life.

In fact, I can't use that and live my best life and I'm here because God has good plans for me, the best plans for me and that's not part of his will. That's part of what's forbidden and so I gladly walk away from that. But the people who are hung up on it need your example. They don't need your condemnation. They need your example.

They need you to know how to show them out of a life that often they feel the bondage of and they just need to know is there a better way. So we're called to deal with the flesh. We're called to deal with any allegiance to the world and he says if you're a friend of the world, it's going to make you an enemy of God. So we have to learn to make sure we are a friend of God even if that makes us an enemy of the worldly system. But again, if you live like Jesus calls you to live, you won't be one of those kind of Christians that sinners hate to see coming.

That's a pretty good test. If most people who don't know Jesus don't like you, something wrong with your witness. Because I've heard Christians say, they don't like me because of what I stand for. No, they don't like you because you're nasty and self-righteous.

No, it's true. Standing for truth will be offensive to some people. But it shouldn't be because you added arrogance and judgmental attitude to it.

It ought to be because they're not ready to clean up and they just so they don't want you around them kind of making them feel self-conscious about what they're into. But I promise you, if you just line your life up constantly with the will of God and spend more time getting close to him and becoming like him, you spend more time with that, you won't have a lot of time to be going around judging folk. Personally, I'm too busy lining up every area of my life with his will to worry about you. And so that's the way we ought to be. We ought to be light and salt, influencing without condemning.

That's what Jesus did. So, he says, deal with your association with the systems of this world and bring that into line with the will of God. And then the last thing, the last enemy, verse 7 of James 4, is the devil. The devil. He says about that, resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Who is the devil? Satan is one of the other common names in the Bible. Satan, Lucifer, is the devil.

What is that? The devil is a being who is opposed to the will of God, who though he was created like all other beings to submit to the will of God, he rebelled against the will of God. He was cast down and he now is an enemy of God, though watch this, not an equal of God.

Please keep your theology straight. The devil is not equal to God just on the dark side of the force. That's Star Wars. That's not Bible.

There's the light side, right side of the force and the dark side of the force. See, I loved it when it came out way back in the 70s because it was good, entertaining movie making. Then after a while it just went into all kinds of ways I didn't personally get into. Personally, I've never been into any episode other than the first three.

That's how old I am. Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi. Those were mine. After that I checked out because I enjoyed those. Later on they started coming up with this other stuff, I just wasn't into it. I wasn't even open to it. I just thought the first three were God's Star Wars movies.

So I don't know any of this new stuff. I like those old old Obi-Wan Kenobi and all those folks. And then later on they came up with Yoda.

He was in what, the third one, Return of the Jedi, I think that's when we met Yoda. Ugly dude, but he had power. You all remember Ugly?

How many? Ugly! But woo, that little ugly man, he had power on the right side of the force. But over on the other side you had Darth Vader and who else was over there? Yeah, the Emperor and Darth Vader, all those folks.

And that was fun, but don't make that theology because in those movies you got this epic war between the two sides of the force. No, no, in the Bible God is the only all powerful, all knowing being. He's the only one that's omnipotent, all powerful, omniscient, all knowing.

He is the only one who's omnipresent everywhere at the same time. Satan is not that. That's why Satan operates in the world, according to scripture, and many of you have found it out to be true in your everyday life. He operates in the world through demonic beings, beings who are under his authority.

And I know a lot of you intellectual folks choose to not believe that, oh I just don't believe that. You think everything that's real has to be in the arena of the five senses, I feel sorry for you. Because what you're wrestling against is not flesh and blood. The Bible says we're not wrestling against flesh and blood, we're wrestling against principalities and powers, rulers of darkness, spiritual wickedness in high places. I've cast out demons out of people, I know they're real. When you get through intellectualizing about it, I can assure you there are more demons at work in people and in things around us than you can shake a stick at. But the good news, if you walk with the Lord, you have his authority.

You have his authority. So we don't have to fear Satan or his army because in Christ, greater is he that is in me than he that's in the world. And so we're told to resist the devil, never fear anything satanic. Never fear anything demonic because in Christ you have authority. You have authority and you can take that authority and use that authority in the name of Jesus.

And it's very, very real. So we have to resist, actively resist anything that a demonic force is trying to entice you to do or to engage in, you have to resist it and declare victory over it in Jesus' name. We'll be right back with more of today's Destined for Victory message from Pastor Paul Shepherd, who is Senior Pastor at Destiny Christian Fellowship located in Fremont, California. Listen to the program anytime by subscribing to our podcast at Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. We can also be heard on demand at PastorPaul.net.

That's PastorPaul.net where you'll find a host of great resources at our online store. And stay with us after today's message when Pastor Paul joins me from his studio in California. But first, from the book of James, let's rejoin him for the second half of today's teaching, facing your three worst enemies. If you want to experience God's best for your life, James says do three things. Face and defeat the battle of the flesh. Face and defeat the battle of the world.

And face and defeat the battle of satanic forces. And the good news is in Christ we can do all three. You have nothing to fear, you have nothing to worry about. You can live your best life. Now a whole lot of people use that terminology, living your best life. Your best life is in the will of God. Most folk who talk about their best life aren't talking about that.

That's your best life. It is what God's will calls for in your life. You can prosper in the will of God. You can be joyful in the will of God. God isn't out for you to be miserable. When you see church people and they are trying to demonstrate their spirituality by how miserable and mean they are, they're missing the boat. When your testimony for Jesus is a constant frown, you're missing the whole point. When sinners run from you, you're missing the whole point. When all you know about holiness is what you don't do, you're missing the whole point. And I know Christians, they specialize in the don'ts. They're born in the wrong dispensation. They should have been born under the law.

Because they would love that. Thou shall not, thou shall not, thou shall not. We live in grace, which doesn't give us permission to be out of God's will, but does give us permission to enjoy the many blessings and promises that are in His will. And if God tells you to avoid something, you don't know it, but that too is a blessing. When God tells you to leave something alone, He's blessing you right now.

You don't know it. Because you feel like something's being taken from you. But He is actually blessing your life. There is nothing in the will of God that the will of God calls for you to leave alone that would be good for you.

Absolutely nothing. When God tells you how to do your relationships and how you do your priorities and everything else, He's giving you a blessing. And so James wants us to understand that. Now, when he ends the passage and talks about, Come near to God, He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners.

Purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn, and wail. Let your laughter turn to mourning, your joy to gloom.

What's he talking about? He's simply saying, some of you, until you get this straight, you need to grapple and wrestle with what it's going to take to bring your life in line with God's will. And he says that's not a time for having fun. Some of us have to push pause on to having fun until we examine our lives and make sure that everything is lining up with God's will. So he says, don't spend your time being happy when you really need to be crying and wrestling through some things that are wrong in your life. Make the tough decisions first. Do the hard work first so that when you return to laughter, when you return to joy, when you return to the area where you're walking in purity, he says, then you can go back to having fun. But right now, some people need to put fun on pause because you've got some work to do. You've got some relationships to deal with.

You have some decisions to make. And then, once you make them, the rest of your life will be joyful. I don't know about you, but I can tell you that the peace you get from being in the will of God is worth everything you have to surrender. The joy of knowing God is pleased with you doesn't mean you're perfect, just means God is satisfied with your surrender and your yielding to him. And he sees that your heart is pliable and he can shape things and mold things. He can tell you to pull something out of your life and you'll pull it out of your life and you'll surrender it because you know once I do that, there are some blessings ahead of me.

Abraham, he wasn't having fun when the Lord told him to take Isaac up on the mountain and sacrifice him, which of course God didn't want to do, but he was testing his faith. But when he passed that test by being willing to sacrifice his son, God promised him right there on the spot, because you didn't even withhold the most precious thing from me, which is your son, because you didn't withhold him, I'm going to bless you with all kinds of things. And I'm here to tell you, if you'll go on and do the work of surrender, deal with the flesh, deal with the world, deal with the devil in your life, you've got some good things ahead of you. You've got some promises and provisions ahead of you.

Your eye hasn't seen, your ear hasn't heard, nor has it entered your heart what God has prepared for you. I told you in another message that when you love God, he makes promises to people who love him he doesn't make to anybody else. I want those lovers only promises. I want those promises he only gives the people who love him. I want Romans 8, 28, working in my life the rest of my life. All things work together for good, not to everybody, but those that love him. I want that promise where he said, eye hasn't seen, ear hasn't heard, nor has it entered your heart what I'm going to do, not for everybody, but for those who love him.

Saints of God, get to that place where you're fully surrendered because you'll love God and he has some things lined up for you, reserved only for people who love him. I want to be in God's VIP section. You ever been somewhere where they have a VIP section and you can't go in?

And sometimes it's glass and so you see them all in there and you're looking, oh, look at that food they got in there. But you're not on the list. And there's a big old dude making sure nobody not on the list can get in there. Oh, but it's wonderful when you're on some list.

It's so wonderful. I told you, I've been to concerts and I knew the artist so I called ahead and I got put on the list. Years ago, decades ago, my wife and I got on the list to meet Donna Summer.

Because I called up, I was just bold enough, I found out she was saved, yet still singing her hits and stuff in her concerts and she was coming near to where we were and I was bold enough. Back then I was an associate pastor in Philly back in the 80s and I was bold enough to call up the hotel and I put on a preacher sounding voice and I said, and I said, yes, I'd like to speak to Donna Summer, please. This is Reverend Shepherd. And I did the Jedi mind trick on the receptionist because he wasn't supposed to let me ring into Donna's room.

But I sounded like, of course you know who I am. I'm Reverend Shepherd. And I did the Jedi mind trick on her. And she said, who?

I said, Reverend Paul Shepherd from Philadelphia. And she said, hold on. Next thing I know the phone was ringing. Somebody answered the phone and I introduced myself to them and I explained, I just saw Donna Summer video and she witnessed during her concert. I said, I've always been a fan of her music and I heard you all were coming over here.

It was in Atlantic City and I lived in Philly which is just an hour away. And I said, and I just wonder if it'd be possible for me to just spend a few moments. I'd love to just give her a quick interview and find out more about how she came to combine her singing and all with her Christian testimony. And the lady said, oh yes, Reverend. I'm her assistant, gave me her name, said yes.

We're both saved, we both love the Lord. She's in bed because we had late concerts last night but when she wakes up I will tell her about the call and I'll see what we can do. I said, we'd just love to come and come to the concert and then afterwards if we could have just a moment or two with her, that would be so wonderful. And she said, all right, I'll let you know. Later that afternoon she called and she said, Donna got up, I told her about your call. She said, oh yes, have the Reverend come, put him on the backstage list and I'll give him a few moments.

He and his wife, a few moments. And she said, all right, so you're coming? I said, yeah, got our tickets for the 8 o'clock and we'll be there. She said, all right, your names will be on the list.

I was happy before I ever got there. Because I knew my name was on the list. And we sat through the concert, enjoyed the concert, she stopped at the concert, gave her word of witness and all that and then she went on and sang the rest of her hits and I got more excited as it came to an end because I knew our names were written down. And after the concert a bunch of people went to the door for the backstage and they're just standing around hoping to catch a glimpse of somebody and what have you and we didn't even have to rush over there. We just took our time, greeted folk, what have you, walked around and then finally we strolled over to the thing and big dude was standing over there with the list. And he said, name?

I said, Paul and Meredith Shepherd. He looked, oh yes, come right on and he opened the curtain and the other people was trying to peek through the curtain. We strolled through the curtain. I felt like turning around, Adam, and just...

But I didn't, I didn't. Hey, y'all want my autograph now, don't you? You want mine. Went on back there and what have you and then finally she came out and she greeted a few folks she knew and she said, now where's the Reverend and his wife? Where's the Reverend? Looking around for us.

What are you talking about? I'll give you my autograph at the service. And she came up to us, complimented my wife and said, oh, pretty lady, how are you? And what have you.

And Meredith started grinning, you know, so... It's wonderful when you get that VIP treatment and if you will deal with your three worst enemies, you get on God's VIP list. And he's got all kind of things prepared for you. Thanks so much for being here for today's Destined for Victory message. I'm pleased to welcome Pastor Paul who joins me now from his studio in California. Pastor, this message facing your three worst enemies has been a great reminder that we need to humble ourselves and it is the key to dealing with the flesh, the world and the devil. But you know this, if we're honest, humbling ourselves is easier said than done, isn't it? Take just a moment and offer some suggestions you might have for us to daily humble ourselves before the Lord.

Absolutely. I think the key to learning the truth that James shares with us that if we humble ourselves or he says submit to God, then we will experience what God has for us because he promised if you submit to me, I will lift you up. Now here's the issue. Submission is no one's favorite subject, at least nobody I know. Submission isn't just something we want to do. Humbling ourselves isn't something the flesh certainly wants to do. The flesh wants to rear its ugly head every chance.

It wants to fight. It wants to impose its will on whatever situation we're facing. Or if we're dealing with a person, we don't want that person's will to prevail.

We would rather have ours prevail. So this is such an important principle in Scripture. Humble yourself. I'm a preacher's son. My dad, one of the things he used to say is the Bible calls us to humble ourselves and he would say to the church, listen saints, humble yourself. Don't make God have to humble you. He said if God has to humble you, he'll probably have to put you in a casket to do it.

I remember as a boy saying, man, that doesn't sound like too much fun. And so we've got to learn to humble ourselves. Just go low before God, say your way is right, my way is wrong, I'm going to do this your way and wait to see what God will do as a result. Well, that reminds me of 1 Peter 5 verse 6.

Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God and he will exalt you in due time. Thanks for that encouraging word, Pastor. Well, we have a great resource to share with you today, a video message from Pastor Paul called Get Your Hopes Up. You know, the word hope in English often conveys doubt.

I hope my team wins or I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow. But biblical hope has its foundation in God in whom there is never any doubt, even when life throws a few challenges our way. You can learn more about biblical hope in this special DVD message from Pastor Paul. That's Get Your Hopes Up, our gift to you this month by request for your generous donation to Destin for Victory. Call 855-339-5500 or visit pastorpaul.net to make a safe and secure donation online. You can also mail your gift to Destin for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538.

Again, our address is Destin for Victory, Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. Slander is one of the ways that speaking evil of someone can manifest itself. But I want to make sure you understand that you can speak evil, not only by lying on them, you can speak evil by telling the truth. Just because what you said about somebody is true, doesn't mean you didn't sin when you talked about them. That's tomorrow when Pastor Paul Shepherd shares his message, Who Made You the Judge? Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-11 16:47:25 / 2023-08-11 16:57:15 / 10

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