Lesson I gave for Wednesday night invitation on March 24th, 2010. It’s all about picking your side.
In many things in life, you have to pick sides.
In sports around here we typically pick Auburn or Alabama. When you play games, it’s Red or Blue team.
You’ve seen the “I’m an Apple, I’m a PC” ads, right? These ads are geared towards convincing you that Apples are better than PCs. They’re trying to get you to pick their side when choosing what type of computer to buy. And if you are going to buy a computer, at some point you will have to choose a side.
When picking sides, typically you look at the benefits of choosing one over the other. In the Apple/PC debate you choose based on which one you’re most familiar with, or which one is the easiest to get technical support for, or runs the programs you need. In deciding Red or Blue you look to see who has the highest score, or has the fewer teammates to try and balance things out. In choosing Auburn over Alabama — well, that one’s not always completely rational.
Just like these companies and teams which have run nation-wide campaigns trying to convince you that they have the better product, that they are the one who deserve your time, money, and devotion, that given what the other side offers you’d be better off choosing them, God and Satan have been campaigning for our souls! Each tries to convince us that they have the better offer for us.
We have to make a choice:
Luke 16:13: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
In choosing whether or not to serve God, we can consider His power:
Genesis 1:1 tells us that God created the Heavens and the Earth. I think we often miss the full meaning of this: In creating the universe, He defined the very way our universe works — he defined things like physics — and then set them in motion. And He did it by just speaking. We have scientists that have spent billions of dollars building machines like the Large Hadron Collider to try and figure out how just a tiny part of the universe works. But God already knows how it all works because He created it.
He saved His chosen people by delivering the 10 plagues upon Egypt and by parting the Red Sea.
And he gave everyone in the world a chance for salvation by sending His son, Jesus. A man who performed so many miracles that John says in chapter 21, verse 25 — the very last verse of his book — “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.”
But let me just list a few:
He had full control of the weather and the sea — He was able to calm it simply by speaking. He walked on water, He healed the sick, He raised people from the dead, and even came back from the dead Himself.
Even beyond the power and support and comfort that God provides Himself, He has also given a more earthly, physical support system to all Christians: the church. We are to strive to help each other by bearing one another’s burdens. Galatians 6:2. We are to comfort and edify (build up, encourage) each other. As well as recognize accomplishments and good works. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-14.
Now Satan on the other hand, offers earthly pleasure, albeit temporary. Hebrews 11:25 But that pleasure comes at a price. Not only will it often have earthly consequences, but it will have an eternal consequence as well. Satan lies and tempts and is described as “a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8. He doesn’t care about you, he only seeks to drag you down with him.
He has no real power, however, only the power we let him have. Matthew 8 starting in verse 28 shows us a confrontation between Jesus and demons that have possessed two men. There was no contest. The moment they saw Him they acknowledged His power.
James 2:19 says that demons believe and tremble.
In the face of God, Satan is nothing.
Knowing all this, wouldn’t you want the supreme creator of the universe on your side? When life throws trouble at you — and it will, no matter what — wouldn’t you want the best possible guide helping you through it?
I know that most of us here are Christians and understand this already. My goal tonight is to give you a renewed sense of hope because of the power on our side. Much like the book of Revelation, I want you to understand that no matter what happens to us here and now — as long as we are faithful — we will be victorious. Like Paul notes in Romans 8:31 “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
The flipside to all of this is that if you are not a faithful Christian, you are on the side that’s against God. God has drawn a line that needs to be crossed. That line is sin, and everyone has been on the wrong side of the line at some point or another. Romans 3:23
God has provided a way to take care of sin. To go back across that line of sin and join the winning side. For the unfaithful Christian, you only need to confess your sins and repent — to turn away from the sin in your life. 2 Cor. 7:9-10. Refuse to let Satan determine which side you’re on. If you’re struggling, prayer and study of God’s word will make it easier to resist temptation in the future.
For those of you who haven’t yet chosen a side, the reality is you let Satan choose you. You’ve done nothing to ally yourself with God, so you belong to Satan because you’re on the wrong side of sin. In order to come to God’s side, you have to make a choice to do something .
First hear God’s word, Romans 10:17, which you have heard both in your bible class and by what I’ve spoken tonight. If you believe what you’ve heard, then let that belief become action by obeying God in repentance of sin Acts 3:19 and confession of His name Romans 10:9-10. Then, you must come into contact with the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ through baptism. 1 Peter 3:21. Finally, a faithful life of service to God is required. Being a Christian isn’t just a single moment in time, but a continual growth in Christ.
If salvation is what you desire — if you want to be on God’s side more than anything else in the world — His invitation to cross the line is always open, but now is the only time we are guaranteed.