12 Nov 2017

Efforts for victory

On November 12 Egor Stepanischev, a teacher from Moscow Theological Institute, preached at the Sunday service in “Philadelphia” church in Izhevsk. The minister expressed his condolences and joined the prayers of the believers about those who suffered from the explosion in the apartment building.

Egor Stepanischev offered the church to think how a Christian can confront evil. Evil entered the world in the garden of Eden, when a person thought it possible to be equal with God. The Bible does not say that when we become believers we are totally separated from evil but through His word God gives us an answer to an acute question, “How to confront evil that is trying to invade our heart, mind and destiny?” The minister pointed out that our sinful nature always groans for justice and recognition of our righteousness. Jesus in His sermon on the mount is offering a completely other way (Matthew 5:38-45). A believer is able to hold back evil but not alone but with God’s strength (Romans 8:37). What will help us to cope with evil? The minister drew attention of the church to the fact that evil is stopped by a sacrifice. Jesus gave Himself up as a sacrifice and got the victory over sin, having showed us love in action. We should act the same way: crucify our selfishness, groan for justice, and our desire to protect ourselves and to take revenge.

Aleksey Obukhov, the pastor of the Pervomayskiy region in Izhevsk, continued to preach on this topic, looking at the parable about the good Samaritan (Luke 6:30-37). Is it possible for us to recognize ourselves not only in the place of a person who was robbed, beaten, humiliated, in a word – evil was made towards him, but also can we see in ourselves indifference and cold-heartedness typical of the priest and Levite in this parable? The Samaritan did a good thing to a stranger and he did not look for an excuse to ignore him. Surely, he beat evil and cold-heartedness with his actions, even if it was not easy for him. The minister offered to think about three spheres of life where the efforts are needed to win. First is the sphere of thoughts. The Lord not only sees our actions but He also knows our thoughts, about which He said: «every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time » (Genesis 6:5). The apostle Paul suggests that we should fix our eyes on Jesus and says, «Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners …» (Hebrews 12:2-3). We will not have place in our hearts for evil when they are occupied by Jesus. Second is the sphere of our words. Our words contain great power, which Bible often reminds us of. The third sphere is close relationships, what and how do we tell our parents and children? The minister offered to remember the story of Joseph to whom his brothers did evil things having sold him to slavery. Later when Joseph became a well-known and powerful person in Egypt he met his brother with such words, « You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good » (Genesis 50:20-21). Joseph did not take revenge on his brothers but he showed them mercy.

The minister encouraged the church to remember the love and mercy that the Lord shows us and to overcome evil with good, as the Bible teaches us (Romans 12:21).


Alisa Zorkina






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