by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Colossians 3:1-15
I. Timothy was admonished to fight the good fight - I Timothy 6:12
A. We are in a battle for our lives, and we must have the courage to do battle - Ephesians 6:10-18
B. We cannot be passive against sin - James 4:7
C. But a person trained in warfare will tell you that it is foolish to think that every skirmish is best fought head on. There are times when the best strategy for ultimate victory is to run.
D. Jim Sasser tells of a story from his childhood: In his boyhood he lived in the country, across the road from his aunt and five cousins. He and the boys spent a good deal of their time hunting in the woods or fishing in the river. One day they jumped a rabbit that ran into a culvert pipe. The boys got the marvelous idea that if one entered the pipe from one end, while the other entered from the other, they could catch the rabbit between them since it would have no way to get around them. Unfortunately, the rabbit wasn’t the only animal in the pipe. They found a momma skunk with her six babies in the pipe. They made a hasty retreat, exiting faster than they had entered. It would have turned out alright, but one of the boys just couldn’t leave well enough alone. He decided to chase the mother skunk, in his frustration of losing the rabbit, and give her a kick. She loaned him her perfume instead.
E. There are times when Christians need to stand and fight, but Christians need to realize that there are times when victory will not be achieved by an attack.
II. Flee Youthful Lusts - II Timothy 2:22
A. Timothy, undoubtedly, was a godly man, but you don’t prove your godliness by seeing if you can resist the lusts of the flesh - I John 2:16
B. I had a young man tell me once that he had gotten caught up in looking at pornography. In discussing how he got trapped by this sin, he told me that he had followed a link that he knew probably led to a pornographic site. Why, I asked, did you click on it? His reply? I wanted to see if I was strong enough to resist.
1. There’s a hot pot on the stove. Mom’s told me that it is hot. Now do I need to touch it to find out if it will burn me or not?
2. People get trapped by drugs and alcohol in a similar manner. Curious to see what it is like and why people say it is so hard to avoid addiction, they sample it, just to see.
3. Avoid every form of evil - I Thessalonians 5:21-22
4. When you know something is bad, it is foolish to test it to see how bad it is.
C. Joseph is a tremendous example of this. When Potiphar’s wife trapped him in the house in an attempt to get him to have sex with her, Joseph ran - Genesis 39:12
1. Staying to see how long he could resist would have been foolish.
2. Flee fornication - I Corinthians 6:18
3. Sometimes running is the only safe course
III. Flee from the Love of Money - I Timothy 6:10-11
A. Did you notice what was the very next verse?
1. Right after telling Timothy to flee from the love of money, Paul told Timothy to fight the good fight
2. Sometimes the best way to fight is by running
B. Materialism is a temptation that can destroy Christians
1. It is so prevalent in our society that we often overlook it.
2. A young man, wanting to enter heaven, asked Jesus what he needed to do - Matthew 19:21-22
3. Don’t think that it can’t happen to you as well
C. You cannot serve money and God - Luke 16:13-15
IV. Flee from Idolatry - I Corinthians 10:14
A. False religions, false gods have pulled many people away - Romans 1:19-23
B. It happened to Israel over and over again - Jeremiah 3:20-21
C. We are married to the Lord Jesus, and to him we must be true - Ephesians 5:25-27
D. We often think that idolatry is a thing of the past, but false religions continue to exist.
1. One of the fastest growing religions in the world today is Islam.
2. How often have you heard people say, well, we worship the same God. We just call him by a different name.
3. The god of the Muslims is not the God of the Bible! To a Muslim, the words of Colossians 2:8-10 are blasphemous. To acknowledge John 1:1-4 could get a person killed.
E. No, Christians ought not to toy with idolatry
V. Flee from the Wrath to Come - Matthew 3:7-8
A. Christians ought to know the dangers of sin - I Peter 4:17-18
B. We must all appear before God - II Corinthians 5:10
1. Do we really believe this?
2. Shouldn’t this make a person pull back as far as they can from sin?
3. But so many want to see where the line is; how close can they get to the edge without falling in.
4. Ephesians 5:5-8 - Do not be partakers with them
C. God’s wrath will come upon sinners - Colossians 3:5-6
D. And how show we escape if we neglect our salvation? - Hebrews 2:2-3
E. When I teach kids self-defense, I show them techniques to get another person to let go of them, but once they are free I tell them “RUN!”
1. It is the safest thing that they can do.
2. Jesus freed us from sin - Romans 6:6-7
3. The safest thing to do in regards to sin is to flee - Romans 6:1-2