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Scripture Reading: Luke 13:22-27
Are You Up to the Fight?
1. Saving faith is obedient, active and vigilant, Jas. 2:17; Heb. 10:36-39.
2. Cannot rely on our own strength (1 Cor. 10:12), but we do rely on the strength of faith and the power of God to bless us when we live by faith, 2 Cor. 5:7; Rom. 8:37.
3. Strive (agōnizomai): Thayer's definitions--
a) to enter a contest: contend in the gymnastic games
b) to contend with adversaries, fight
c) metaphorically to contend, struggle, with difficulties and dangers
d) to endeavour with strenuous zeal, strive: to obtain something
4. While God condemns strife (quarreling, contentious wrangling, Rom. 13:13; Gal. 5:20; Jas. 3:16), God commands of us the struggle of strenuous zeal by which we obtain the eternal prize.
5. Three main areas of application of this fight that saves souls.
I. THE FIGHT TO BE SAVED, Lk. 13:22-30 (1 Pet. 4:18).
A. The Struggle to Enter the Kingdom of God, cf. Lk. 16:16.
1. A fight against sin and Satan, Acts 24:24-25; 26:28.
2. A fight against self, Lk. 9:23.
3. A fight to sacrifice ("all to Jesus, I surrender"), Phil. 3:7-8.
4. A fight against tradition and expectation, Lk. 13:25-28, 30.
B. This is a Fight that Values the Goal of Salvation.
1. Struggle to do everything the Lord requires of you to be saved, cf. Cornelius (Acts 10:4-8, 33); Saul (Acts 22:16).
2. Contrast: The rich young ruler, Matt. 19:20-22 (Lk. 18:21-22).
II. THE FIGHT TO HELP SAVE OTHERS, Gal. 6:1-2.
A. This Contest is a Struggle for the Purity of Truth, Jude 3-4.
1. Some had been overtaken by error, Acts 15:5-7.
2. These need correction and the innocent need to be protected from error, Gal. 2:5.
B. This is a Strenuous Endeavor to Teach and Help One Another Mature and be Complete in Christ, Col. 1:28-29.
1. When Paul preached he was contending in the work of God.
2. Warning and teaching to mature the saints, he trusted in God's mighty power to win the contest.
C. We Should Work Tirelessly and Prayerfully through Difficulties and Dangers to Help Secure Souls, Col. 4:12-13.
1. Labor in prayers: Supplication for the spiritual welfare of others.
2. Great zeal: Spend and be spent for your souls, 2 Cor. 12:14-15.
D. This is a Fight that Values the Souls of Others.
1. We fight because we know the value of each soul, Matt. 16:26.
2. We struggle because we know the price that was paid to save a lost soul (death of Christ), Rom. 5:6-8.
3. We fight the adversary because we know by resisting the devil he will flee, Jas. 4:7; 1 Pet. 5:9. (Eph. 6:13)
4. We engage this struggle because we love one another, 1 Jno. 3:16-18; Heb. 12:12-14.
III. THE FIGHT TO REMAIN SAVED.
A. We Compete to be Victorious, 1 Cor. 9:25-27.
1. Exercise self-control, 1 Cor. 9:25.
2. Fight deliberately, with purpose, resolve and determination, 9:26.
3. Successful struggle of faith requires discipline of body and mind (self-control involves both), 9:27.
B. This is a Fight that is not Finished Until We Die, 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7-8.
1. Good fight: A valuable, virtuous contest.
2. My course: The course/path of life.
3. The faith: Guarded, attended, held fast.
1. You must strive for your soul's salvation, Lk. 13:23-24.
2. Struggle to help save the lost (who are overcome by sin).
3. Compete lawfully (2 Tim. 2:5) to finish your contest and be crowned with glory.