Quarter Three Lesson One

20 Sep Quarter Three Lesson One

Overcoming and Motivation

Greetings, friend,

Welcome to the new quarter of study with us here at Gospel Growth Ministries, we’re glad you are back.

In this next section of the Gospel Growth Discipleship course, we will be discussing the topic of overcoming.  Other descriptions of overcoming might be:  “living the victorious Christian life”; “walking in freedom from habitual sin”; “living in freedom”; “walking worthy of the gospel.”   But no matter how we say it, we are overcoming if we are resisting the pull of the world, our own flesh and the devil and not living in habitual sin, by the power of the gospel (1 John 2:13-14).

We remember that, in the Book of 1 John chapter 2, we see distinct phases of growth in the lives of Christians. Believers go from “little children” who understand forgiveness, to “young men” who are “strong in the Lord” and have “overcome the evil one”, to “fathers” who know God and have reproduced the life of Christ in others.

In the last quarter we studied how to grow in the Lord, how to mature in faith. In this quarter we are studying how to overcome.

In this particular lesson, we will be discussing our motivation for overcoming sin in our lives. But before we get to our motivation, it will help to understand what it is exactly that we need to overcome. Please read the following passages of Scripture and provide your comments in the space provided.

And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.Mark 7: 20-23 ESV

Question 1. What sins are listed in Mark 7: 20-23? Where do they come from?

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. 13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:9-20 (ESV)

Question 2. What sins are listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-20?

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV)

Question 3. What sins are listed in Galatians 5:19-21?

Question 4. Are you currently wanting to overcome any of the issues listed in the above Scriptures? If so, please let us know what you are struggling with and what have you done previously in your attempts to overcome.

The problem of habitual sin is so prevalent that the world has many remedies to offer us, and if we are not grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ some of these remedies may look appealing to us. But if we were to examine every therapy that the world offers, we would notice that they all involve a set of rules or steps to follow, and they all promote personal pride. In other words, “self” is at the heart of all worldly remedies which is why worldly cures are called “self-help”. The idea is that I can help myself and then feel really proud of myself if I am not doing a certain behavior like I used to do.

For us who are believers in Christ, it is important to understand that overcoming one certain behavior does not necessarily mean that we growing and maturing in the Lord.  Especially if we stop one habitual sin and then become filled with pride about our success. As we learned in the previous quarter, humility precedes maturity in Christ and a closer relationship with Him.

Now that we are clear about what we need to overcome, let us examine what the Bible gives us as motivation for overcoming.  We will see how this motivation both works in our hearts to free us, and keeps us humble before the Lord:

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (ESV)

Question 5. According to 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, what is the motivation for selfless living?

Question 6. Are you convinced that Jesus Christ “died for all”?

Here we see the biblical motivation for giving up selfish living is the gospel. It is the love of Christ that is to control the Christian, rather than the desires of our flesh (our natural selves) controlling us. And notice how the love of Christ is tied to the gospel: “the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all.”  Jesus is the One who died for all.

This love of Christ in the gospel is a very powerful motivator, enabling us to begin to “no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.” In other words, the redeeming love of Christ enables us to die to our selfish life, our fleshly desires, and live for Jesus.  His love turns us away from gratifying the lusts of our flesh, to instead living for Him Who died for us. It is a powerful motivation—gospel love!

Let us see this truth in another passage:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

From this passage we see the motivation for our “offering our bodies as living sacrifices” is “God’s mercy.” Meaning, in light of the mercy God has shown you at the cross through Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf, offer your body to God as a living sacrifice. To “offer our bodies as living sacrifices” means to die to our lusts, evil desires and selfish goals. Die to those, and live for Jesus. Why? “In view of God’s mercy”. His mercy was shown to you in the complete forgiveness of your sins, the eradication of your guilt and the gift of eternal life you received at the cross.

So the point is this: if we are involved in activity that is selfish, which all sin is, then we need to see the gospel more and more so that our hearts might be changed. We need to see the passion of Jesus’ heart that He would voluntarily go to the cross, and there suffer and bleed and die for us. “For our sake” He loved us unto death, and in so doing He purchased us to be His own bride.  Truly there is no greater love (John 15:13) to motivate us toward Christ centered living.

There is a really beautiful illustration of this love, and the effects of it, in the Old Testament book of Hosea. This is a very interesting book of the Bible for God was communicating with His people through the prophet Hosea and his life.  God specifically told the man Hosea to take to himself a wife who would be unfaithful, even as the nation of Israel had been unfaithful to God.

But then, after she was unfaithful Hosea was to go and love her again, even as God had set His affection on a people who were unfaithful to Him and were worshipping other gods but who would be forgiven and restored at great cost to Him.

Please read the below passage and notice what love would accomplish in the life of Hosea’s wife who was named Gomer:

The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and about a homer and a lethek of barley. 3 Then I told her, “You are to live with me many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will live with you.” 4 For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol. 5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days.  Hosea 3:1-5 (NIV)

Question 7. How did Hosea take his wife back to himself again, after she had been unfaithful? (See verse 2).

This is shocking, isn’t it? That Hosea would purchase his adulterous wife back? That is, he would pay a price—fifteen shekels of silver and some barley—to receive his unfaithful wife back. This purchase of his adulterous wife was to demonstrate his love to her and illustrate God’s love for His people.

But what are shekels and barley in comparison to the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ? Jesus loved us so much that the price He paid was His body and life’s blood. Think on that for a moment and let it settle into your heart. Your Husband, Jesus Christ, loves you dearly. He paid for you with His precious blood (1 Peter 1:18-19).

If we truly let this love of Christ permeate our hearts and minds, it does indeed begin to control us—our behavior and lifestyle. When we truly believe that we are precious to our God, that He died for us, and that He wants us to live for Him then we begin to experience the controlling aspect of the gospel. As the Holy Spirit “sheds the love of God abroad in our hearts” (Romans 5:5) that love begins to change our attitudes and our actions. We begin to want to give up our past sinful pleasures and instead walk with our precious Husband Who loves us.

Question 8. According to Hosea 3:3-5, how was the love of Hosea for his wife going to affect her behavior? And how would God’s love for the Israelite change them (verse 5)?

This change in Gomer, that she would no longer live in the lusts of adultery, would “no longer be intimate with any man” but her husband, shows us just how powerful a motive sacrificial love can be to make changes in lives.

This story was given to point us forward to Jesus and His love, and the changes His love would make in us:

“…you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”    1 Corinthians 6:20 (NIV)

Now some might object to the comparison of ourselves with an adulterous woman. And yet this is exactly what sin is: it is spiritual adultery, turning to a lover other than Jesus Christ (Romans 2:22). The truth is our hearts are born sinful, adulterous, turning away from the Living God to things of this world:

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”  James 4:4 (NIV)

And yet right in the midst of our “adultery” Jesus came and laid down His life for us, literally loving us right in our sin: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NIV)

Question 9. According to Romans 5:8 above, of what is Christ’s death a demonstration?

On Veteran’s Day 2012, in the state of Texas, a young army veteran and his wife were celebrating with family and friends by riding on a float in a town parade.  As the parade progressed slowly along their route, a tragic and shocking thing happened.  The army veteran and his wife were on the last float in the parade and as the float was passing over some railroad tracks a train crashed into the float.  Before the impact, the young husband pushed his wife out of harm’s way, but sadly he died in the process of saving her.  Oh, how this man loved his wife so much that as death approached all he could think about was saving her.

Now consider this:  Jesus did not just suddenly decide to give His life for us in an act of heroism; He planned and purposefully laid down His life for sinners knowing that He alone could save us. For us who had rebelled against Him and spurned His love through our sin, Jesus laid down His life.

As we live in consideration of Jesus’ powerful love and meditate upon it, our lives begin to change. Sin begins to lose its shiny appeal in light of the overwhelming love of our Lord Jesus.  His love is the biblical motivation for change.

This love as shown in the gospel has been life changing for millions of people throughout the ages (Hebrews 11). People have grasped His love for them and turned away from sexual impurity, gluttony, drunkenness, greed, deception, thievery, and all other forms of sin. These millions of people who have turned from their sin and overcome the evil one are living proof that the gospel frees people from their chains of sin, and that it can free you too Do you want to grow strong in the Lord and overcome the evil one? Then the answer is to study, meditate on, and apply the gospel.

Should not His dying love motivate you to turn from selfish living and begin living for Him Who died for you?

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”  2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (ESV)

Question 10. Do you see from the biblical teachings in this lesson the importance of experiencing the love of Jesus Christ in the gospel? What do you see this love accomplishing in your life as you continue your studies? Please share:

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Lesson: Quarter Three Lesson One

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