Overcoming Evil

  1. INTRODUCTION:

    1. SCRIPTURE READING:
    2. Romans 12:17-21 = "Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight
      of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly
      beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, 
      Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him;
      if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not
      overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
      "

    3. THREE THINGS ARE POINTED OUT IN THIS VERSE ABOUT THE CHRISTIANS
      CONFLICT WITH EVIL:
      1. The Christian’s foe.
      2. The Christian’s attitude toward the foe.
      3. The Christian’s weapon.
    4. LET US TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THESE:

  2. DISCUSSION:

    1. THE CHRISTIAN’S FOE:
    2. Note: It is evil. It is not an illusion, but a grim reality. We are aware that there is a force, all about us,
      that is acting in conflict with all that we love and hold dear in life. This conflicting foe is described as:

      1. Powerful – Unless we are fortified, it will overcome us as the apostle Paul gives warning to the
        Corinthians.
      2. I Corinthians 10:12 = "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he
        fall.
        "

      3. It is not a flesh and blood enemy, but is spiritual.
      4. Ephesians 6:10-12 = "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of
        his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the
        wiles of the devil
        . For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against
        principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against
        spiritual wickedness in high places
        ."

      5. It takes on various forms:
        1. In evil thoughts.
        2. Matthew 9:4 = "And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil
          in your hearts?
          "

        3. In evil words.
        4. Titus 3:2 = "To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all
          meekness unto all men.
          "

        5. In evil deeds.

      Colossians.1:21 = "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by
      wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.
      "

    3. THE CHRISTIAN’S ATTITUDE TOWARD THE FOE:
    4. Note: We need to assume one of the following attitudes regarding the foe:

      1. The indifferent attitude, of trying to ignore it -- This is suicidal.
      2. The fatalistic attitude, allowing evil to have its way in our hearts and lives -- This also is suicidal.
      3. The compromising attitude, which is in reality to give in, or surrender to it.
      4. The militant attitude, which is the Christian attitude.
        1. He will abhor evil.
        2. Romans 12:9 = "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil;
          cleave to that which is good.
          "

        3. He will be on guard against evil.
        4. Matthew 26:41 = "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit
          indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
          "

        5. He will strive to overcome evil.

      Romans 12:21 = "…overcome evil with good."

      Ephesians 6:13-17 = "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able
      to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your
      loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet
      shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith,
      wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet
      of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
      "

      1 Peter 5:8-9 = "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
      walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing
      that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
      "

    5. THE CHRISTIAN’S WEAPON:
      1. Not retaliation.
      2. Romans 12:17 = "Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the
        sight of all men.
        " Romans 12:19 = "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather
        give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the
        Lord.
        "

        1. We cannot heal one wound by inflicting another.
        2. Evil has never been vanquished by evil

        Matthew 12:25-26 = "And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every
        kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house
        divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided
        against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
        "

        James 1:20 = "For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."

      3. Not denunciation.
        1. Denunciation of evil has its place, but it has never overcome evil.
        2. We cannot heal the world merely by finding its faults and condemning them.
      4. Not legislation.
        1. Just laws are needed, but they have never eliminated a single evil.
        2. Laws can only restrain evil doers but not the evil.
      5. Not physical force.
      6. Matthew 5:39 = "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite
        thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
        "

        1. Physical force has its place in the "powers that be", but this force has never changed a
          sinful heart.
        2. This kind of force can only subdue the body.

        2 Corinthians 10:4 = "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty
        through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
        "

        Romans 13:1-6 = "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no
        power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore
        resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive
        to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.
        Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have
        praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that
        which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of
        God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs
        be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye
        tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
        "

      7. The Christian weapon is "good" or benevolence.
        1. This is the most powerful weapon of all.
        2. It is God’s weapon for the Christian.
        3. John 3:16 = "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
          that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
          "

          Romans 1:16 = "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power
          of God unto salvation to every one that believeth
          ; to the Jew first, and also to
          the Greek.
          "

          Acts 10:38 = "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and
          with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed
          of the devil; for God was with him.
          "

        4. This should be the weapon of God’s people.
          1. Error is overcome with truth.
          2. Curses are overcome with blessings.
          3. Cruelty is overcome with kindness.
          4. Wrath is overcome with a soft answer.
          5. Sensuality is overcome with purity.

  3. CONCLUSION:

    1. WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED ABOUT THE FOE OF CHRISTIANITY?
      1. That when we meet evil with evil, we only intensify it and lose.
      2. That when we meet evil with good, we conquer it and win.
      3. Romans 12:20 = "Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him
        drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
        "

      4. That evil is not invincible -- in comparison with the power of good, it is weak.

      James 4:7-8 = "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from 
      you
      . Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and
      purify your hearts, ye double minded.
      "

    2. WILL YOU USE THE KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THIS EVIL FOE AND ENTER THE RANKS
      OF CHRISTIANITY, STANDING WITH THE LORD AND HELP WIN GOD’S BATTLE
      FIGHT OF SALVATION?

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