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LESSON 1 – HOWTO OVERCOME BIBLE STUDY
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LESSON 1 -
HOW TO BE AN OVERCOMER BIBLE LESSONS
HOW TO OVERCOME WORLD FLESH AND THE DEVIL
We need the whole Bible: to neglect any part of it means certain loss. The Old Testament is as necessary as the New, for in the New it is declared that the things which are recorded in the Old Testament were written for our admonition. (1 Corinthians 10:2 (KJV) And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea)
The largest nugget that the Californian gold-fields ever yielded was found upon a claim which was supposed to be worked out. The Bible is supposed by some to be worked out and useless, and they have abandoned it for other fields, but it still contains the nuggets of true gold. This wealth may need “winning,” as the Scotch miners say when they sink a deeper shaft in order to reach a richer vein of ore; but the wealth is there, for, being the Word of God, it is an inexhaustible mine of treasure.
It is with this knowledge that we turn to the Book of Judges. We are not concerned as to what human hand held the pen in the writing of it; it is sufficient that it has its place in the Scriptures, and 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV) 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
There is in the Book of Judges the dark background of the failures and defeats of Israel. Solemn warnings indeed are they all to us, for we are in danger of being overcome and enthralled by foes not one whit less real than were those that enslaved God’s people of old. But this dark background does but throw into bright relief the great victories gained by men whose faith was in God. These victories are illustrative of the way in which we, by the grace of God, may also overcome.
So the title of our talks shall be “How to Overcome,”
And the foes of which we will speak are:-
It is in the foregoing order that they are presented to us and in that order we will consider them, with the earnest prayer that we may all be more than conquerors through Him that loved us.
We shall have little difficulty in proving that the nations that oppressed Israel set forth our foes as already stated, for the marks are so evident upon the face of them; nor shall we find many who will quarrel with us when we assert that the majority of Christians are under the power of one or more of these foes, and that the crying need of the day is deliverance.
THE CHARACTER OF THE VICTORIES
The victories gained by the Judges were not aggressive in their character; they were not the victories of conquest. Their foes sought to quench their light as a free nation, and to rob them of the inheritance which God had given them, and every battle that these leaders in Israel fought was to maintain their national existence, and to retain and enjoy that which belonged to them.
It was God’s intention that these people should be ever victorious; when they crossed the Red Sea He was with them in all the power of His might, and had they continued in subjection to Him no other yoke could have been placed upon their necks. But they turned away from Him and had to reap the bitter fruits of their backslidings. They followed the sins and gods of the nations, and they became the slaves of that which they followed. Now it is the same God, who, in these times which are past, overthrew the Egyptians and gave the Promised Land to Israel, that has now wrought deliverance for us and given us an inheritance incorruptible and which fadeth not away. It is this which the gospel proclaims, and all who have received it can rejoice in a great Saviour, who “through death has destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and delivered them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Hebrews 2:14-15 (KJV) 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage) And this deliverance from the power of the devil has been effected that we might enter upon and enjoy the great riches which have been given to us in and with Christ.
But we are exhorted to stand fast in this liberty wherewith we have been made free, for the danger of being entangled some yoke of bondage is ever sent. It is when we fail in this, and the heart goes after the things of the world and the flesh, that we become enslaved, and, like these sons of Jacob, we become the servants of that which we follow. Then is all service and witness hindered; we become wretched ourselves and useless to others.
But as we stand fast in our God-given liberty, with single eye and undivided we are able to fulfil our high destiny as witnesses for Christ, and so shall we be able to win fresh territory for Him; for every soul saved by our testimony is a fresh bit of territory won from the power of the enemy, for the Lord’s kingdom and glory.
THE SECRET OF CHRISTIAN LIBERTY
The gospel has set us free from the yoke of sin and Satan that we might “yield ourselves to God.” This is the secret of a happy life of Christian liberty, for as we yield our necks to His yoke we shall be free from all others. And this yoke is not irksome but easy, for in yielding ourselves to God, we are yielding to the One whose measureless love has been manifested towards us in the death of Jesus. The blood through which we have redemption is the pledge and token to us of a love too vast to comprehend, and the knowledge of that love constrains us not to live unto ourselves but unto Him whose love it is.
A NOTABLE FEATURE
There is a notable feature in Israel’s history at this time which demands attention it is stated (1 Kings 6:1 (KJV) And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD) that the number of years between the deliverance from Egypt and the building of Solomon’s temple was 480 years. But the actual number according to Paul’s address to the Jews (Acts 13) the total years were 573, showing a difference of ninety-three years in the two accounts.
How can the book be of divine origin when such a glaring discrepancy occurs in it, sneers the infidel, a discrepancy which ordinary human care might have avoided. But that over which the infidel in his blindness stumbles is full of instruction to those who are willing to be taught of God, and in this, which seems to be an error, we have a solemn lesson.
The building of Solomon’s temple runs on the line of God’s intentions for His people. He had redeemed them that they might live wholly unto Himself and prepare for Him a habitation. (Exodus 15:2 (KJV) The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him)
But during the ninety-three years in which they served His enemies and theirs, they were not living unto Him, this was not His purpose for them, and, as a consequence, He could not reckon these sad years in His calendar.
In Acts 13, the Apostle Paul pressed upon the people the fact that Christ was their only hope. He shows them that all apart from Him had failed. Even David, their greatest deliverer and boast, had fallen under the power of death and saw corruption. This was the line of their responsibility, and the years of failure are reckoned that the risen Christ, in His perfection and victory over all the foes, might stand out in blessed contrast to all that had passed before Him.
The ninety three years omitted from God’s reckoning, when it was a question of His purposes for His people, were divided as follows:
8 years under
Judges 3:8 (KJV) Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years.
18 years under
Judges 3:14 (KJV) So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.
20 years under
Judges 4:3 (KJV) And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.
7 years under
Judges 6:1 (KJV) And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.
40 years under
Judges 13:1 (KJV) And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.
total 93 years
We have, in addition to the above, the oppression of the Amorites for eighteen years (Judges 10:8 (KJV) And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead), but here it is distinctly stated to have been on the other side of Jordan only (not truly in the land), and so does not affect the question at all.
If this is the true explanation for the apparent discrepancy (and we believe it to be so), what a weighty lesson it teaches. All the days and years which are not lived unto God are lost days, and we do not truly live unto Him if we are held in bondage by our foes. We can only be said to truly live unto Him as our souls are free; and Christ and His things are supreme in our lives. All else is death and loss. This will all be manifested at the judgment seat of Christ, when every man’s work will be tried. We shall see then, that every day in which we have lived for the world, the flesh, the devil, or for anything instead of Christ, has been a lost day. 1 Corinthians 3:15 (KJV) If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
Let us give earnest heed to this all-important matter, remembering that the days are few. The coming of the Lord is at hand, when we shall be swept by His redemptive power into the eternal felicity of our Fatherland, and, as we look back upon the path we have trodden, we shall be compelled then to write L-O-S-T upon every day and hour in which Christ has not been first in our lives, for then we shall see things as God sees them.
It is evident, then, that to live unto Him is the only life worth living, for this alone will remain for eternity. The world thinks differently, and the flesh within us may make other suggestions, and propose self-indulgence, ease, worldliness, fame, gold or pleasure as being more worthy of our attention; but deep down in our hearts we know better, and taught by the Spirit we clearly see that the great works of men will come to naught, the earth also and the works therein shall perish, while our inheritance and the things of God are precious, imperishable and eternal.
HOLD THE FORT
It is possible for every child of God to carry the war into the enemy’s camp as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, and to boldly follow the unfurled standard of the testimony of our Lord; but this, which is true Christian warfare, is scarcely within the scope of our talks. It is only as the victories of which we speak are gained that we can take up the sword aggressively.
In overcoming the world, etc., we are “holding the fort” against foes that seek a footing within our hearts in order to make us useless for the Lord. We are, in short, “keeping ourselves for Christ.”
We may feel our weakness, and our inability to do anything for the Saviour whom we love, but we can all keep ourselves for Him alone, and anything is possible to those who do this.
But to do this we must keep the line of communication with Himself intact.
From Cape Town to Pretoria there are to be seen the remains of trenches, forts, and blockhouses, and as we travelled along that line we learnt a valuable lesson. It was evidently needful in the days of the war to guard the line of communication. There could have been no victory for the British arms if the army had been cut off from the base of its supply. So that every effort was made by the generals to keep the line intact; food, ammunition, and reinforcements were constantly needed, and to be cut off from the base meant certain defeat.
We must keep in touch with our base if we are to be victorious. Our wily foe will use every endeavour to outflank us in order to cut us off from our supplies, hence the need of the exhortation: “Cleave to the Lord with purpose of heart,” for all our supplies are in Him. He is all-sufficient for us, and we cannot fail if we cleave to Him. Our business is to:-
“Yield ourselves unto God.”
“Cleave unto the Lord.”
“Walk in the Spirit.”
So shall we be more than conquerors through Him that loved us.
TEST - LESSON 1 - HOW TO BE AN OVERCOMER BIBLE LESSONS
TRUE OR FALSE
1. All the days and years which are not lived unto God are lost days.
2. We must keep the line of communication with Him intact.
3. Our inheritance and the things of God are precious, imperishable and eternal.
4. The building of John’s temple runs on the line of God’s intentions for His people.
5. The Apostle Paul pressed upon the people the fact that Christ was their only hope.
6. We need the whole Bible: to neglect any part of it means certain loss.
7. He is all-sufficient for us, and we cannot fail if we cleave to Him.
8. By God’s grace, we can be overcomers.
9. We must keep in touch with our base if we are to be wealthy.
10. We have redemption through His blood.
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Created by Harold Smith
Updated November 2015 2012 by Shelly Allen