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Be a Big Loser, Part 3

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Be a Big Loser, Part 3

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Be a Big Loser, Part 3

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The theme found in the popular TV show, "The Biggest Loser," offers a good series of examples in overcoming. Christians are called to lose the pounds, figuratively, by casting aside all weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us. We need to be big losers and shed the sin. Points five through seven for being a successful big loser are shared in this final installment of a three part series.   Point #1 - We need to rely on a well-trained coach! Point #2 - Admit you have a "weight" problem. Point #3 - Commit to lose the "weight". Point #4 - "Exercise" on a daily basis. Point #5 - Eat only good, spiritually healthy "food". Point #6 - Avoid all unhealthy "food". Point #7 - Draw strength from your spiritual family.

Transcript

Well, brethren, I'll ask this question just one more time: Are you a 'big loser'? How have you been doing in the last couple of months since I began this series of sermons on becoming a 'big loser'? Have you been losing the sin that so easily besets you? Now, we've already kept the Days of Unleavened Bread; that was certainly a reminder of what we've been talking about, about losing the sin. The Days of Unleavened Bread obviously picture coming out of sin, putting the leaven out, and the sin out of our lives. Have you been shedding the weight of sin that drags you down spiritually? You might remember that I said before: I don't care if you are the 'biggest loser', but I do want every one of you to be a 'big loser'.

The contestants on "The Biggest Loser" all lost a lot of physical weight, some of them nearly two hundred pounds. They were all big losers, every single one of them. From a spiritual perspective, we also need to be big losers. This is a vital subject and as we look back on the Days of Unleavened Bread, let's ask ourselves: Are we following these seven principles that will enable us to put the sin out of our lives? Are you determined to lose the 'weight', the sin that does pull you down? What will God the Father and Jesus Christ your Savior do to help you along? Certainly, we all need help in putting sin out of our lives. What can you do to aid losing the 'weight', the sin and become spiritually lean and fit? Today, I intend to conclude this series on becoming a ' big loser'. We've covered four of the seven principles for losing the 'weight', the sin that so easily ensnares us and ENSLAVES us. Today, we're going to cover the last three principles after quickly reviewing the first four. If you missed any of the first two sermons, I will review them quickly now.

Principle 1: WE NEED TO TRUST, LISTEN TO, AND FOLLOW OUR COACHES.

Just as on the TV program where the people have physical coaches, we have some spiritual coaches. Our ultimate coaches are God the Father and Jesus Christ. (They're far more than coaches; I hope you know I understand that.) They are everything to us. They guide us, they direct us, and they show us the Way. God has also selected human beings to lead us and guide us. We should be willing to follow those who are following God. The contestants on the 'Biggest Loser' follow the lead of their coaches and as a result, they are very successful in losing physical weight. When we follow God the Father and Jesus Christ, as well as the human leaders who love God and his people and also keep the Commandments of God, then we too will lose the sin that so easily besets us. If we'll follow God's instructions, if we'll keep his Commandments; do those things that are pleasing in his sight, then we are well on our way to losing the sin that so easily besets us. Of course, we know that Christ died for us and it's through his sacrifice that our sins are forgiven in the first place.

Principle 2: WE MUST ALL ADMIT WE HAVE A SIN PROBLEM.

You have a 'weight' problem, I have a 'weight' problem; if we can't admit that, then we have a HUGE problem. We have to be able to admit that none of us is perfect and that we all have a serious 'weight' problem. Those on the 'Biggest Loser' program all knew they had a serious weight problem; that's why they applied for the program in the first place. They understood; it was pretty simple for them to consider that they had a weight problem. For us spiritually perhaps it's not as easy… although it should be in many respects, because we all fall short of God's glory. We are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Those who applied to be on the program did so to help them lose the weight that was pulling them down and affecting their lives in negative ways. We also need to admit that we have a serious 'weight' problem. We all need to have repentant hearts and minds if we are to put sin out and keep it out. We are to examine ourselves and certainly during the Passover season we have looked at ourselves and examined ourselves. We also, of course, need to confess our sins, seeking repentance and forgiveness through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Principle 3: WE NEED TO FULLY COMMIT TO LOSING THE 'WEIGHT'.

We have to make a commitment; a firm commitment and we have to lose the sin, the 'weight' no matter what the cost. We have to be willing to 'pay the price'. SO THIS MUST BECOME PRIORITY NUMBER ONE: SEEKING FIRST GOD'S KINGDOM AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, becoming like him.

The contestants on the 'Biggest Loser' must commit fully to losing their excess physical weight and then keeping it off. There has to be a commitment, otherwise the weight wouldn't come off. How much more should we commit to fully repenting of our sins, accepting Christ as our Savior and putting the sin out and keeping it out of our lives? Remember last time we talked about Elisha's complete total commitment when he sacrificed his oxen on his burning plow? Then he went to become a prophet of the Most High God, he answered the call. We're all being called as well; we're not all being called to be prophets, but God is calling us all, and we must all answer the call. We must be totally committed to answering the call that God has given us. So don't look back; keep your hand to the plow. Look forward and keep your eyes on the Kingdom of God; this is our goal. We are marching toward the Kingdom of God together.

Principle 4: EXERCISE SPIRITUALLY ON A DAILY BASIS TO LOSE THE WEIGHT, THE SIN AND TO KEEP IT OFF.

We must exercise spiritually daily if we are ever going to lose the sin that so easily besets us. Now I mentioned last time that the contestants on the 'Biggest Loser' exercise four hours every day. That's the routine, four hours of hard exercise every day. They also did a triathlon where they ran, they biked, and they swam. Now I suggested that we all go on a continual spiritual quadrathlon. Do you remember that word? It basically means four events as opposed to a triathlon, which has three. Those four spiritual events are: PRAYING (We need to be praying continually. We need to learn to pray three times a day like Daniel and David did. That's the example we see in the Bible. Paul goes beyond that and says to learn to pray without ceasing, to have a prayerful approach throughout the entire day.) The second part of the spiritual quadrathlon is BIBLE STUDY. We should be studying God's Word daily because it is through Bible study that we really get to know God's mind and we draw nearer to God and understand his thinking; we understand what He expects of us, we understand what He wants of us. We need to study the Bible, to put the Word of God into our hearts and into our minds. Thirdly I talked about MEDITATION and the importance of meditating on a regular basis. I may have mentioned that as I grow older, I meditate more because I wake up early in the morning and I don't necessarily want to get out of bed at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. So, that is the perfect time to meditate, to think about God, to think about his truth, to think about his way of life. I've tried to make it a practice for many, many years now to meditate continually throughout the day. As employees, we get challenged from time to time on certain things, and if we're in the habit of meditating on God's ways, we'll come up with better answers to those challenges that face us. I would encourage you to develop a habit of meditating throughout the day about God's Way. Ask yourself, 'How pleasing am I to God as I go about my daily business?' Wherever you might be, at work or at home or on the golf course; how pleasing are you to God? Are you doing it his way or are you doing your way? If we'll meditate more, we'll draw closer to God; we'll understand his mind better. The fourth part of the quadrathlon was FASTING. Fasting is a spiritual power tool. Prayer and fasting are spiritual power tools. Some things don't happen except by prayer AND fasting. We need to be fasting on a regular basis. The Bible doesn't tell us how often we should fast, but Christ did say that when He was crucified and went to the Father his disciples would fast. I don't believe He was talking solely about fasting on the Day of Atonement. I think He was talking about having a habit of fasting throughout the year. THAT IS THE SPIRITUAL QUADRATHLON: PRAYER, BIBLE STUDY, MEDITATION AND FASTING.

We'll go on to a new principle number five, but not really new. Hopefully these are principles that we've already been practicing for a long time now.

Principle 5: EAT ONLY GOOD SPIRITUALLY HEALTHY FOOD.

It's a proven fact that physical food that is not healthy for you is unhealthy! It's not good for you, and it will take a toll on your body. When we choose to eat things that aren't healthy for us, we choose to pay the price to some degree. Sometimes it's not much of a price. Something can taste good and the consequences aren't immediate, so we decide to indulge. We all do that sometimes, but we shouldn't be so naive as to think that it's healthy for us. It is critical from a spiritual standpoint that we make the right decisions. It's not as important from a physical standpoint, perhaps, but it is very, very, important from a spiritual standpoint. We can't afford to be bringing in a lot of spiritual junk food. You can get away with some physical junk food, but the spiritual junk food is something you need to be able to identify and reject. This point is the positive aspect. Point six will be the negative. We need to put the good 'food' in our hearts and minds.

One of the finest scriptures we could turn to in this regard is in Philippians. This has always been one of my favorite scriptures because I've seen the importance of it and I've seen the power in it for many, many years. When I came into the church, I was only eighteen and at that time I realized that my heart was deceitful above all things. It was desperately wicked, because I had a human heart and Satan would try to infiltrate that heart and that mind by broadcasting his ways. He is the prince of the power of the air, so we are fairly regularly being bombarded by ungodly thoughts. Satan tries to bombard us with these spiritually unhealthy, evil thoughts. This scripture gives us sound advice about how to deal with this temptation, and we have to recognize it for what it is, and we have to say 'no' to this temptation. Philippians 4:8 Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
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"FINALLY, BRETHREN WHATEVER THINGS ARE TRUE," (This is telling us what to think about, what to meditate on; if it's not true don't dwell on it, don't meditate on it because it isn't healthy.) "WHATEVER THINGS ARE NOBLE," (If something is the opposite of noble, why are we thinking about it? Why are we dwelling upon it? That type of thing leads to gossip. Don't be thinking about things that aren't noble, that are against God) " THINK ABOUT THINGS THAT ARE JUST, THAT ARE RIGHT AND GOOD, THAT ARE PURE" (Don't be thinking about things that aren't pure.) "WHATEVER THINGS ARE LOVELY, WHATEVER THINGS ARE OF GOOD REPORT, IF THERE IS ANY VIRTUE, AND IF THERE IS ANYTHING THAT IS PRAISEWORTHY, THEN MEDITATE ON THESE THINGS." THAT is principle number five; you have to be very selective in what you think about all day long. You cannot afford to let Satan to put his thoughts into your mind. You've got to reject those thoughts and you have to be proactive by first putting in the good things. If you have lots of good thoughts going in, it's a lot harder for Satan to interject his evil thoughts. Make the right choices from the beginning. Meditate on those things which are good!

Here's a little acronym that I want you to remember: GSI GSO: GOOD STUFF IN, GOOD STUFF OUT. If you bring the good stuff in, you're going to get the good stuff out. Philippians 4:8 Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
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is all the good things. Think on those things that are pure and lovely and right and good and noble. If you think on that, that is what you will produce; that's the kind of fruit you will be producing in your life and you won't have the opportunity to get weighed down by sin.

At the 'Biggest Loser' ranch, the contestants are taught to eat good, healthy, nutritious food. They're taught to eat good things like lean meats, lots of veggies, only healthy carbohydrates. These are the things that are put on the table before them. That's the kind of food that is served at the ranch. We need to do the same thing in a spiritual way; our banquet should be spiritually good things, not the spiritual 'junk food'. Satan would like us to banquet on those things that are evil, things that are contrary, that aren't noble, and that are bad for us. Meditate on the things that are right and good.

I remember Holly, one of the contestants on "The Biggest Loser" saying, "I can do anything I put my mind to." That reminds me of something Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

If we put on the mind of Christ, we're thinking about good things. Put on the mind of Jesus Christ; that's a pure mind. Philippians 2:5 Philippians 2:5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
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"Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." Think about the things Christ would think about, and you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

I remember Jennifer, another contestant saying, "I know there's been a change on the outside, but even more change on the inside." She was beginning to think differently about herself; she was beginning to make better choices; she was eating better foods; she was exercising more. She was starting to do the things that would make a difference in helping her to reach a goal of putting the physical weight out. If you have a goal of putting the sin out of your life, then you have to change your thinking from the inside. You have to clean yourself up; God is actually the One who does it by living in you. Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
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"…Christ lives in me; and the life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me." We need to put Christ in.

This fifth step of conversion, putting sin out of our lives could be labeled a lot of different ways. These seven principles put us on the road to God's Kingdom. They help us clean ourselves up and do the right thing. The fifth step in putting sin out and keeping it out is to eat only good, spiritually healthy food. You should also be making good choices about the physical food you eat; you should be eating lots of good food. Don't stock up on the junk food; eat more of the good stuff than the other stuff. From a spiritual standpoint, it's even much more important to stay away from the spiritual junk food.

Principle 6: AVOID AND RESIST ALL BAD AND SINFUL THOUGHTS AND ACTIONS

Principle number six is the opposite of principle number five in the sense that before we were proactive about bringing in only good things. Now let's be proactive in avoiding all the bad stuff. I made it two points because I think it's important to get this concept from both angles. We have to also avoid all the bad stuff, the 'weight gaining' thoughts. We have to focus on the good things, but we also have to say 'no'. When it comes to exercise, there are different types. There are exercises where you resist, and that makes you stronger. You need to learn to spiritually exercise by resisting Satan. James 4:7 James 4:7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
American King James Version×
"…Resist Satan and he will flee from you." We have to resist him; we have to put up a resistance.

There's another acronym that you've heard before: GIGO Garbage In Garbage Out. I'd like to also add another one: BSI BSO Bad Stuff In Bad Stuff Out. If you put the bad stuff in, you are going to get the bad stuff out." Garbage In, Garbage Out" is something that has been used in the computer field for a long time. If you input something into your computer that's not accurate, then you're not going to get the good stuff out. You'll get the garbage, it's not going to be accurate; it's not going to be right.

You won't find all the candy bars, all the chocolate, the cakes, the pies, the cookies, the cinnamon rolls, the greasy foods, or the French fries on "The Biggest Loser" ranch. It's not there! In order to be a big loser, you can't have all that bad stuff around. It doesn't work, you have to resist it, put it away. You can only imagine if every day after they exercised for four hours they had piles and piles of chocolate; ice cream of every imaginable variety; scrumptious everything that is decadent, they'd minimize the affects of all the exercise that they just did. They'd have to exercise even more. But if they eat good lean foods, powerful foods that would give them energy, good carbohydrates, good vegetables then it would be much more effective.

To avoid sin, you must really learn to hate sin and see clearly the devastating danger and damage it is doing to your own personal life and those that you love most in life. You have to look at this logically, realistically. You have to see it for what it is and learn to hate sin if you're ever going to put it out of your lives. This next scripture is talking to all of us. Psalms 97:10 Psalms 97:10You that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserves the souls of his saints; he delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.
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"You who love the Eternal hate evil. He preserves the souls of the saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked. " Verse 11 "Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart." Verse 12 "Rejoice in the Eternal all you righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holy name." He who loves the Lord learns to hate evil. This was written by David; a man after God's own heart. David had his problems, but his approach to God was wholehearted. He who loves God, learns to hate evil, he learns to reject that spiritual ' junk food' that is unhealthy. The prophet Amos in chapter 5 also says that we need to hate evil. Amos 5:14-15 Amos 5:14-15 [14] Seek good, and not evil, that you may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as you have spoken. [15] Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
American King James Version×
"Seek good and not evil" (that's point 5 and point 6 of this sermon) "that you may live; so the Lord God of hosts will be with you." If you want God to be with you, you have to follow these two points, number 5 and 6: love good, reject evil. Verse 15 "Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the gate. It may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph." Brethren, we need to learn to hate evil and love that which is good. A very powerful verse is in 2 Corinthians will help you greatly if you will follow the advice given here. This fits very well with the point to 'keep the garbage out'. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 [3] For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: [4] (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) [5] Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
American King James Version×
"For though we walk in the flesh" (we're all fleshly, right? If we do the pin test we'll all pass it, it'll hurt. If we stick ourselves with a pin, we may even draw blood; we'll see that we are all flesh.) "We do not war according to the flesh." Verse 4 "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but our weapons are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds." What is he talking about? What is a stronghold? Any sin that has power over you is a stronghold. Anything that you do on a regular basis is a stronghold. Satan has set up a stronghold in your life. So what are some of the strongholds that a person could have? Think about any addiction. If you're addicted to drugs, that is a stronghold. If drugs have control over you, whether or not they're prescription drugs, or pain medicines that have control over you and they're hurting you; that's a stronghold. There has to be a balance; I know some people have to take pain medication and it's healthy for them to take it because they have so much pain they have to do something. But, I'm talking about when you're going overboard. Some people just get addicted, and then they just keep on doing that sort of thing. Another type of addiction that happens in people's lives is pornography, it becomes a stronghold, it gets a grip on someone and then they seem almost powerless when it comes to pornography; so that is a stronghold. We have to be careful that we don't allow any of these strongholds to be set up in our lives. He's telling us what to do about strongholds. There are other strongholds, it could be anything; gossip could be one. If you continually gossip, that's a stronghold Satan has set up in your life. It's something that you need to resist and you need to stop doing. Gambling can be a stronghold; there's a lot of gambling that goes on in the world. Oklahoma is filled with casinos. I drive by four or five every day. If I'm out driving any distance, I'm going by several casinos. There are about one hundred and fifty casinos in Oklahoma. If you are addicted to gambling, that is a stronghold Satan has set up in your life; I've been told that it is one of the strongest addictions. If the addiction for gambling gets a hold of someone, they have a difficult time controlling it. They lose money they don't have and they get themselves into financial straits, so gambling can be a stronghold. We have to be careful that we don't allow any of these strongholds to be set up in our lives; we have to be able to recognize strongholds in our lives. In these verses, he is telling us what to do about strongholds. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds. With any stronghold, what does the Bible tell us to do? The key is going back to point 5, thinking on things that are noble and right and good and lovely that are virtuous. That will help you to have strength over these strongholds. It will help you cast down arguments and every high thing. That may be talking about how we argue (I'm not sure, this is just something that came to mind) with ourselves and sometimes we rationalize our behavior. We can say to ourselves, "Oh, pornography is not so bad; God made the human body." We can rationalize about the things that people play games with, saying gambling isn't so bad. You can go on and on with the rationalizations; these are arguments that we set up in our lives, and they are destructive arguments. This will help you to cast down those arguments: there is no argument, if it is unhealthy, if it's ungodly, strive to find the strength to pull down the stronghold in your life. 2 Corinthians 10:5 2 Corinthians 10:5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
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-6 "Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ." Verse 6 "And being ready to punish all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." Frankly, you can't do much if you're setting a bad example yourself. If you're setting a bad example, how are you going to deal with problems that other people have? You have to put the plank out of your own eye before you can help someone else. That is a tall order: bringing every thought into captivity. That's not easy: to imprison these thoughts. Because if Satan has a stronghold set up, trust me, he is going to be throwing those thoughts out there. He's going to want to keep his grip on you. We have to be careful, very careful that we don't allow that to happen. We have to bring every thought into captivity.

What does it mean to bring every thought into captivity? If Satan sends you a thought or you come up with a thought on your own (we are fully capable of doing that as well), no matter where the thought comes from; if it's unhealthy, you need to imprison that thought. You have to imprison it immediately and you have to cast it out. Cast it away and don't allow it to get inside your head, and get inside your mind or your deceitful heart… because you will rationalize doing the very thing you know you ought not do. So let's cast down arguments, let's cast down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Let's bring every thought into captivity.2 Cor. 10: 6 " Be ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is fulfilled." It is very important that we learn to cast down these imaginations and every high thing, every proud thing that exalts itself, and bring every thought into captivity unto the obedience of our Savior, Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 10 is a powerful scripture to help us deal with addictions. If we put ourselves in compromising situations, we are making provisions for the flesh. Romans 13:11 Romans 13:11And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
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"And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep;" Paul made this point and it is a valid point because, frankly, none of us knows how long we are going to live; none of us knows when we will meet our Maker. Paul was under the impression that Christ was going to come back much sooner, this was close to two thousand years ago that this was written. Paul was wrong about thinking Christ was coming back right away but we are nearly two thousand years closer to the return of Christ. How much more should this apply to us now? We are definitely getting closer. Things are happening very quickly these days; knowledge has increased, prophecy in Daniel is being fulfilled and so we are drawing ever closer to the return of Christ. We should take this even more seriously than the ones in Paul's time, although they needed to take it seriously, too because we don't know when we're going to die. They all died, none of them are living today. It is high time to awake out of sleep. Romans 13:11 Romans 13:11And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
American King James Version×
"…for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed." Verse 12 "The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the deeds of darkness ad put on the armor of light." The conclusion is that because we are drawing ever closer to the return of our Savior Jesus Christ we need to stop doing the deeds of darkness and do what's right. The church at Rome and Corinth, Philippi, and Thessalonica were real human beings and real human beings have problems no matter where they live or what age they live in. Paul knew there were people sitting in that congregation who were doing works of darkness. They were not yet perfect; they had not yet put sin completely out of their lives. Verse 13 "Let us walk properly as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust". Some of them were involved in lewdness, they were involved in lust and revelry and drunkenness. Verse 13 "…not in strife and envy." We see people today in God's Church who struggle with these same things. Verse 14 "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ". That's what we're supposed to do, put on Christ. Point five and six are covered here. We are to draw near to God and He will draw near to us. We are to resist Satan and he will flee from us. Verse 14 "…and make no provision for the flesh". That's the point I really want to bring out. Sometimes we make provision for the flesh. Instead of staying as far away from something as we possibly can, we want to see how close we can get, thinking we'll have the strength to say 'NO'. But, the closer we get, the harder it is to say, "No". So the principle is to pull away from it, get as far away as you possibly can, and do not make provision for the flesh. It's no wonder we can't overcome these things, because we are making provision for the flesh. You have to be on guard and make wise choices so that you don't make provision for the flesh. I'm not picking on anyone specifically at all today; I don't have anyone in mind, but if gossip is an issue in your life then you might have to be careful about who you hang around. If you're hanging around all the gossips in town, then that's going to rub off on you. If when you go to the beauty salon, everyone around you is gossiping it is much easier to get into that spirit and that's a wrong spirit. It is true with any evil thing in life; that is why God says to pull away from people who are adulterers or adulteresses or that type of thing. Don't get involved with that. Make no provision for the flesh.

Are you still working hard and eating right spiritually? Since we first started this sermon, have you been working hard or are you putting negative selfish thoughts, unhealthy 'junk food' entertainment into your mind? There's a lot of entertainment in the world these days and not all of it is suitable for human consumption. There's a ton of it out there that is unsuitable. You have to be careful about the choices that you make. Stay away from these spiritually 'weight gaining' foods; don't bring them into your minds and your hearts. Don't meditate on spiritually harmful things. If you have a problem with lust, don't sit around dwelling on the object of your lust. You have to say, 'No.' You have to pull away from that. If you have a problem with lusting, you don't want to pick up 'girlie' magazines, you don't even want to pick up the magazines that aren't considered so 'girlie' because there are a lot of things in them you don't need to see. They may not be the worst, but they may be unhealthy for you. Keep your thoughts out of the gutter and the cesspool of life. I remember one of the contestants saying, "I lost more than weight; I also lost emotional and mental baggage." There are all kinds of emotional and mental baggage that we need to lose. So principle number six is to "Avoid and resist all bad and sinful thoughts and actions.

Principle 7: DRAW STRENGTH FROM YOUR SPIRITUAL FAMILY

We started with point number one, which was to follow your coaches, both God and Christ, but also human leaders who are also following Christ and setting a good example for you. Point seven is related to the first point but it goes a little bit further in some ways… draw strength from your entire spiritual family. The first point was mainly about the leaders, God and Jesus Christ and also human leaders that speak to you giving sermons and sermonettes and so forth; the ones God is using to teach you and guide you, but frankly, we are all in this together. We are all God's family and we can learn from each other. Ministers can learn from members; members can learn from ministers; we can learn from each other. We need to benefit from friends of like mind who love us and have our best spiritual interest in mind. That includes everyone in this room. I consider all of you my brothers and sisters in Christ. I can learn from you. My association with you can benefit me, so I want to draw strength from my spiritual family. Every Sabbath I look forward to coming here and getting together with all of you; it is very, very important that we look at each other in this way. We're all in this together; we feed off each other in many respects. We need to draw closer to each other; just like how the ones on the "Biggest Loser" program draw close to each other, knowing that they have something that goes beyond what physical team they're on. Not only do they draw closer to each other, but to the trainers also. It's a complete family operation here, you might say. Mark 10:28 Mark 10:28Then Peter began to say to him, See, we have left all, and have followed you.
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"Then Peter began to say to Him" (to Christ), " 'See we have left all and we've followed you.'" That's what we've done as well, we've left everything, and we’ve followed Christ. Verse 29 "So Jesus answered and said, 'Assuredly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands for my sake and the gospel's" Verse 30"'Who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time". We have lots of brothers and sisters, mothers, fathers, in the faith. God has given us each other to learn from and to draw from. It does say that there'll be persecutions so we need each other to stick together and battle against the ways of Satan the devil, who will try to persecute us. Verse 30 "…and in the age to come eternal life." God is going to give us eternal life, but now while we live here in the flesh, we need to learn from each other. We come together with others of like mind, we have the same goals; we want camaraderie, we want support, we want encouragement from each other. We have a responsibility to give that to each other… to encourage each other, to support each other, to be friends, to be friendly. This is a very friendly congregation. It's a small congregation and you've had to pretty much pull together and you've done a marvelous job of doing that. As we grow larger though, it needs to be infectious. What you have now needs to infect everyone who walks through the door. If there's anything we need to deal with now, we need to deal with it so that we will be better examples as God gives us more growth. I have a feeling that God is going to help us grow in the future; if we will be pleasing to Him, He will help us grow. There are many principles in the Bible that say that to us. I don't think God is done with us yet; I personally believe we are going to see some growth and I hope we are going to be ready for that growth. There's plenty of room in here. We could go this way and talk to the whole filled congregation. We have to have faith that God will work in us and through us. We do need to become a church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.

2 Corinthians 6:14 2 Corinthians 6:14Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?
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"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness, what communion has light with darkness?" These are questions that Paul is asking on God's behalf you might say. We should not become unequally yoked together with an unbeliever. It's very important that we strengthen our spiritual family by choosing those who will be the best fit for us, someone who believes the same as we do. We don't have anyone here today that we necessarily have to admonish in this way, but it is important not to be unequally yoked with an unbeliever. It's an important principle. The seventh step in the process of conversion and in losing weight is to continually draw strength from your spiritual family. We need to build our spiritual family; we need to draw close together; we need to be here for each other.

These seven principles are important principles. If we will follow them, surely we will continue to put sin out of our lives and we'll be able to maintain. I want to go back to Hebrews 12 where we started as we draw to the end of this sermon. In this series of sermons, we've talked three different times about this topic. Hebrews 12:1-2 Hebrews 12:1-2 [1] Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, [2] Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
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"Therefore, we also since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." Verse 2 "And let's look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Christ is the author and finisher of our faith, and we need to consider that great cloud of witnesses that came before us. It's interesting that when the fifteen contestants enter the gate of the "Biggest Loser" ranch for the very first time, they walk down a walled street and covering the wall on both sides are banners of the names and total weight loss of the biggest losers from the past. These people are just getting started, but they're walking down this hallway and they're seeing what has been accomplished before them. Those past contestants stand as light and inspiration that the goal before these new contestants is not unattainable. They were all very heavy when they started the program and they were all big losers. Now these banners represent the lives of these people, they represent their examples, the story of their battles, their setbacks and their ultimate success. All of this comes into the minds of the present contestants, you can be sure that a lot of those contestants watched those programs in the past. They saw the inspiration that came and they decided they could do it, too, so they applied to be on the program. They have their wall of greats, but we have our wall of greats from a spiritual standpoint. You can sense their admiration and excitement as they realize they have the same opportunity to accomplish great changes in their lives. Looking at the people who have become their heroes from just watching a TV show, they share vicariously in the lives of these people who overcame. They put off the physical weight and became great losers. So the new ones are inspired to walk forward and start their journey, laying aside the weight that ensnared them and they are ready to run with endurance to accomplish their goals. The cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12 that we referred to is our Christian wall of greats. We're not going to go to Hebrews 11, but there it mentions Abel, and Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and even Rahab, and Samson and Jephthah; these are all examples for us; people who overcame, who became "big losers", who put the sin out of their lives by following these seven principles that we've been talking about today. Hebrews 11:40 Hebrews 11:40God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
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says that without us they should not be made perfect; we are a part of that. They have not yet received the promises; they are awaiting all of us. When Christ returns, the first fruits will be raised and those who are alive will be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye. We are awaiting Christ's return; all of us are waiting. There's a great cloud of witnesses that have come before us, but they are also waiting for us. We have something in common with all of those who have come before us. The ups and downs of their lives that are revealed in the Bible and their eventual victory through Christ should inspire us to shed our sinful weight so we can run with endurance to the end as they have done. The goal is ultimately becoming like the glorified Christ as He was at his resurrection; that is our goal. It is He we must fix our eyes on and focus on in order to arrive at the finish line where we will all become 'big winners' as we enter God's Kingdom. Brethren, as we approach the Day of Pentecost, let us be extremely grateful to God and Christ for our calling and for God's wonderful plan of salvation for us and for all mankind. We know fully that we are indeed saved by grace; we're not saved by our own efforts. This is not a " pull yourself up by your bootstraps" sermon. We have to rely on God to give us the strength to obey and to follow these seven principles that we've talked about. God has to live in us. We are saved by grace; Christ is the One and only perfect sacrifice, He is our Passover Lamb that enables us to escape death and to come out of sin, to come out of bondage and slavery. Satan would like to brutally keep you in bondage. Brethren, let us continue to examine ourselves. We've been told to examine ourselves before Passover, so let us continue to examine ourselves, and let us continue to repent of our sins. Let's follow these seven principles and let's put sin out of our lives and next year before Passover, we will look back and we will see that with God's help we overcame, that we are stronger spiritually because we've applied these seven principles. Brethren, let us all become 'big losers' in this life.