Se7en intro

A father named Benjamin Brown had 2 sons, Byron & Bradley. When Benjamin died he left a small house in Baltimore to split between his sons. Byron & Bradley were not very fond of each other. They fought over who would own and live in the house. Byron wanted the house to be used for a book store while Bradley was going to turn it into a bead store for his wife. Yet the two could not agree to any compromise. Therefore, Byron came up with an idea. He told Bradley he could have the house if he could keep just one nail that hung inside it. Bradley never gave it any more thought and took the deal. After Bradley moved in to the house and turned it into a bead store his brother Byron returned to take ownership of that one nail. Byron entered the store with a duffle bag and pulled out a dead skunk. On that one nail hanging in the center of the house he hung the dead skunk. Since it was his nail he could do whatever he wanted. After a couple days Bradley concluded he could not keep the store because of his decision to allow a competing owner rule the inside of his domain.

Likewise, we have a decision. Will we allow a competing owner to rule the inside of our lives or will we submit to the rule and reign of Jesus? This decision is life altering. Once you make it you are deciding you will not allow others to return and take back ownership.

In Luke 11:21-28 Jesus teaches a powerful spiritual truth about man and the ways we deal with our sin. We develop means of coping with our sin (mistakes, wrong choices, failures, etc.) to give us emotional and spiritual security.

Some of these strategies are…
Rationalization. We rationalize and excuse our sin. Common phrases are “I can stop any time.” “It’s not my fault… so and so made me do it.” Or worse, “It’s not that big of a deal, I’m not that bad.”
Escape. We escape consequences of sin in many ways. Sometimes through avoiding conflict or perhaps through addiction to alcohol, drugs, lust, manipulation or sex. We indulge our fantasy desires so to avoid feeling conviction or guilt.
Religion. We make ourselves feel better about our sin by adding religion to life. We develop a system of works that balance out the good and bad, hoping the former outweighs the latter.

The reality is all these are god-substitutes. They all fail to withstand the influence and power of Satan. Satan is the “stronger man” attacking our lives. We may cope or manage our sin for a time and feel good about ourselves. However, it’s a false sense of security because you are no match for Satan. He will overpower you. In all, he’s a lying, scheming false god promising to please but failing to fulfill.

The solution for overcoming our sin is none other than obedience to God. The root of obedience starts with our hearts and works outward to the fruit of our behaviors. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” The only secure and sure way of removing sin is the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

TAKING IT HOME
– Our new series is Se7en. The seven deadly sins are not exactly defined in the Bible. However, they are common and prevalent sins that stand out above others. As stated, every sin is condemning to send a person to hell. The issue at hand is the way we seek to deal with our sin. This series will help us understand common sins and how we attempt to overcome. Ultimately, it will point us to our desperate need for grace and appreciation for the cross of Jesus.

– Who is the “someone[thing] stronger” object in your life? In other words, how do you often attempt to deal with your sin based on the 3 coping strategies presented?

– How does sin get stickier or worse… as the 7 spirits who return to make the person’s life worse than at first? Describe possible situations in your life or observations in others.

– How does obedience help you overcome sin (Luke 11:28, John 15:5-11)?

– How does grace help you overcome sin (Titus 2:11-14)?

– Why is obedience more than external actions but deep to the root of our heart?

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