Do or Die

The Determination to Break Sin’s Grip on Your Life

Hebrews 12:4


Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland

2 May, 2010  AM


I.       Introduction


A.     Do or Die


1.      This phrase just jumped out at me over the past several weeks as I studied WHY Christians are winning against sin in their lives! Why we aren’t winning souls like we should be! And WHY so few Christians actually ever start doing God’s will for their lives

2.      To them, life is just something you “go along with”

3.      But in the Bible, the Christian life is a battle! And not just a battle, but a Do or Die battle!

4.      It means,


a.       Desperate, Last chance effort, Doing Whatever it takes, Requiring Supreme Effort to Avoid the Dire Consequences of Failure

b.      To do something At all costs! As in It’s Now or Never!

c.       You Won’t be Deterred by Any Obstacle!

d.      To be Resolute, Unshakable in your Determination

e.       It means An Irrevocable Decision to Succeed At All Costs!


5.      Not THAT’S an attitude Christians need once again!


B.     It is said all the time in the following circumstances today:


1.      In Sports Matches


a.       India face do or die cricket match Mahendra Sinh Dhoni likely to play tomorrow”

b.      “Division One Previews: Do Or Die Time For UCD And Harlequins in Rugby Match…”

c.       “Football's do-or-die weekend: Chelsea and Liverpool - Chelsea’s trip to Liverpool could all but decide the title. Elsewhere, though, others are also faced with do or die encounters, from Sheffield Wednesday’s dogfight with Crystal Palace to Barnet’s league survival death match with Grimsby!”


2.      In Politics


a.       “Obama's healthcare reform enters do-or-die week…”

b.      “Gordon Brown in a do or die situation for his party’s place in government…”


3.      By Soldiers


a.       Battles on foreign soil in WWII were fought in do or die situations – each battle was fought as if it was the deciding battle – and that was why the Allies WON against both Germany and Japan!

b.      Believe me, that is the ONLY way to fight a war!

c.       And it is the only way to fight the spiritual wars we all face in our lives!


C.     “Do or Die” NEEDS to be applied to the following situations:


1.      In times of wrestling with sins and temptations

2.      When trying to win a soul

3.      When Submitting to the Will of God

4.      None of the above can tolerate defeat!


a.       Sin kills

b.      Souls are headed to hell

c.       And the Will of God can be thoroughly missed!


D.     Our Opponent is a Killer – a Destroyer (Zech 3:1; 1Peter 5:8). He aims to stop us from doing any of the above! And as long as we don’t take the fight seriously – the fight for souls, for freedom from sin, for the will of God – he will continue to just “walk all over us!”

E.      The stakes are HIGH


1.      If you neglect so great salvation, hell is forever!

2.      If you play around with secret sins, they will be your ruin!

3.      If we neglect to actively preach and win and souls, then our world has no hope!

4.      If we are unconcerned about doing the will of God, in each of our lives, then we will ALL end up miserable, bitter, regretful, cold-hearted hypocrites!


F.      We Can NOT play with Sin


1.      We all used to play and toy with sin

2.      But, only FOOLS make a mockery of sin and its effect (Pr 14:9)

3.      Pornography is NOT a game, or a toy (Pr 10:23; 26:18)! Gambling is not a game! Drinking is not a past-time! Drugging is not a hobby! Anger is not healthy! Laziness is not beneficial! Covetousness is idolatry! And hatred is the same as MURDER in God’s Book!

4.      Sin is like a fire (Pr 6:27; James 3:5,6)

5.      It is like a plague, like cancer that only spreads, and kills (Rom 6:23a)

6.      Sin is like a black hole – always enslaving you more and more (Pr 5:22)

7.      David “played” with the sin of adultery and it burned him, and scarred him for the rest of his life! It affected his family, and his kingdom! He found out that you don’t play with sin! It always wins!

8.      Go ahead and live any way you want – but know this! God will bring everything you do, and think, and say into judgment (Eccl 11:9)!


G.     Christians MUST Get Serious About Striving Against Sin


1.      Ephesians 6:12 - Wrestle

2.      Luke 22:44 – Agonize

3.      Hebrews 5:7 – Strong Crying

4.      Hebrews 12:4 - Strive

5.      Rom 8:26 – Groan

6.      Rom 15:30 – Strive Together in Prayer – earnest praying

7.      James 4:7 – Resist

8.      1Peter 5:8,9 – Resist Steadfast

9.      1Cor 10:12 – Fear losing the battle and falling captive to the enemy

10.  These are all action words – aggressive, offensive action words that every Christian needs to do when there is a sin to defeat, a sinner to save, or God’s will to accomplish!

11.  Every Decision About Sin is a DO or DIE decision!


H.     Christians MUST Get Serious about Winning Souls (1Cor 9:22,19)!

I.        Christians MUST Get Serious About Doing God’s Will for the Lives (Rom 12:1,2)!

J.       Our example we are going to learn from is a man named Jacob! He had a great Do or Die moment that changed his life and direction! I pray it will change YOURS too!


II.    Message


A.     Jacob’s Past


1.      He was a Special Son – he was the son of Isaac, the promised son of Abraham


a.       Isaac had two boys: Esau and Jacob

b.      Both of them were destined for greatness, but Jacob was special


2.      He was a Stealing Son


a.       Jacob turns out to be trouble from the start - His name means ‘Crooked, Deceiver, and Schemer!’

b.      He stole Esau’s ‘birthright’, or position in the family as ‘head’ - which meant that he got all the inheritance from his father Isaac.

c.       Jacob then stole Isaac’s spiritual blessing from Esau!

d.      He ended up having to run for his life (27:41-43)

e.       Later, when he married Rachael, Jacob worked for his father-in-law (Laban) and worked so that everything came out always in his favour at Laban’s expense!


3.      He was a Spiteful Son – He made nothing but enemies


a.       His brother Esau – who wanted to kill him!

b.      His uncle Laban – Jacob has to run from Laban!

c.       Everywhere Jacob went, he became hated and hunted!

d.      You see, God says, You reap what you sow!


B.     Jacob’s Problem (Gen 32:1-6)


1.      He now wanted to go home. Wanted to start doing right. Wanted to even try and patch things up between him and his brother Esau

2.      He wanted to be right with his brother! Sent a message to his brother, and talked real nice and said everything was going great with him, and just wanted to meet up and catch up on the news. He just hoped that everything was just “forgotten,” and that they could get along again.

3.      Discovers he is going to have to face Esau now in battle!


a.       Jacob finds out his brother is coming to meet him, yes… but with 400 men – a small army! Evidently Esau HASN’T forgotten what Jacob had done to him!

b.      Jacob only has women and children with him! No soldiers, no bodyguards

c.       Up until this point, Jacob has always been able to get out of every problem by his own wit, and his own scheming. He was able to buy his way out of trouble, or talk his way, or sneak his way around problems!

d.      But this time, he is outnumbered, and Esau’s bitterness has grown, and Jacob KNOWS he is going down!


4.      But all this is God working in Jacob’s life to get Jacob to deal with God


a.       Jacob was very good at dealing with other people and had a knack at always coming out ahead. But here he is at his wit’s end. The only way to look is up!

b.      And it is here that Jacob deals with the Lord - he ‘wrestles’ all night with Him (32:24), and discovers that to really win in life is to lose your life – lose it to Christ! For the first time, Jacob lost, and was humbled - but for the first time Jacob also truly won, and was a different man! THAT’S the KEY!

c.       After this encounter, Jacob must still face Esau - he must still face those whom he has wronged and hurt! But now he is ready for THAT fight because he won the more important fight the night before!


C.     Jacob’s Priorities (32:7-12, 22-26)


1.      He divided his family into two groups (32:7,8)

2.      He then prays – like he has not prayed ever before (32:9-12)


a.       He humbles himself before God – he had never done this before

b.      He asks for help – for protection – for victory instead of just accepting defeat. He could have done what most of you do when faced with daunting problems and looming defeats – he could have just rolled over and died! But he didn’t! He prays! O that we would pray like Jacob prayed that night!

c.       He starts to believe God for himself! His granddaddy had believed God, and his daddy had believed God, but now JACOB was finally starting to take God literally at His word

d.      He starts to care about the real treasures he had – his family (32:11). No longer only caring about the cattle he had gotten, and the wealth, and the opportunities for success he always was looking for!


3.      He then got really alone (Gen 32:22-24a) – this is the best part!


a.       Now God can work

b.      God cannot work on you when you have surrounded yourself with your materialism, and your friends, and your studies, and your worries, and your cares, and your entertainments

c.       God waits for you to be alone so just HE and you can talk!

d.      Have you ever noticed how many times God’s people get alone, and it was THEN that God’s still small voice could speak with them, and comfort them, and change them?!


4.      He then Wrestles a Man (Gen 32:24b)


a.       An angel appears in the tent – remember it is late at night. The light is out. He didn’t see the angel. Didn’t hear him come in.

b.      And the angel attacks Jacob!


1)      Pushes him down to the ground

2)      Pins him down and starts holding him and restraining him

3)      Jacob is terrified – Jacob thinks it is a man, and is terrified! He thinks maybe his brother has caught him off-guard and is going to kill him in that tent!

4)      But this was not Esau, or some thief or mugger that had snuck into his tent to rob him! This was the Angel of the Lord, I believe the Lord Jesus in the Old Testament!

5)      Oh thank God for the wrestling work of the Spirit of God! Even when we don’t know what is going on, and who it is that is bearing down upon us, we can rest assured that it is the Lord of glory, working, wrestling to free us from our burdens!

6)      The truth is, Before Jacob could wrestle anybody, Jacob had to be wrestled and broken!


c.       And boy do they wrestle! Jacob was twisting and turning, trying to break free from the grip of that angel!


1)      Jacob struggled long and hard against the strength of that angel

2)      He struggled to be free from that grip! But God wants us to see that THAT was Jacob’s problem all along – he always wanted to be free from God’s grip; from God’s will. He wanted only to be free to do as HE pleased – and that had now brought him to near ruin!


5.      The Fight Changes (Gen 32:25,26)


a.       And after a long while (all night) Jacob – as tired as he was - becomes truly, fully determined, do or die, to win! He has to do something to be ready for the coming of his brother in just a few hours, or all was lost!

b.      It was then that Jacob saw this wrestling match CHANGE!


1)      The angel of the Lord started to release Himself from holding Jacob down. The angel starts to LEAVE!

2)      The angel begins to try to pull away and Jacob won’t let him

3)      Jacob starts to take hold of the angel now. He changes from pushing away the angel to pulling him back!


c.       That’s when the angel reaches over and touches the tender inside of Jacob’s thigh and puts the leg out of joint (32:25)! Stronger than any other muscle in the body, Jacob’s thigh muscle was now useless – he was crippled! But Jacob was not letting go!


1)      Oh praise God for the humbling work of the Spirit of God!

2)      Jacob is NOT going to let go now! Never again! This STILL was a do or die fight! But now for the right reason!


a)      He needed God’s blessing to help him win the fight that was just hours away with his bitter older brother!

b)      Just on the horizon was Esau with 400 men headed to meet Jacob and his small family of 18 people


3)      Instead of fighting to BE in control… (oh THAT is the norm today)…

4)      The fight changed to Jacob YIELDING control!


a)      Jacob, the hustler was only interested in fast bucks, and pretty women! He only had time for God if he was blessing him materialistically. He lived 70 years as a stubborn, selfish, hurtful man towards the world around him – he was only out for what he could get… and he was good at it too!

b)      But now, during this long lonely night, with his family at risk of being slaughtered, and with his own life in danger of being struck down by his own bitter brother, Jacob finally began to wrestle in the fight of his life


(i)     A fight for WHO would be in charge of his decisions, his plans, his attitudes, his possessions, his will!

(ii)   Who would be allowed to conquer every one of his enemies? Especially the enemies that he could not handle!


c)      And that night, the Lord Jesus won! Not by brute force (even though Jesus can beat anybody with both arms tied behind his back)! But by Jacob deciding to yield!


D.     Jacob’s Peace (Gen 32:27-31; 33:1-4)


1.      There are Two Events here worth seeing:


a.       One is the change in Jacob

b.      The change in Esau


2.      Jacob’s Change (32:27,28)


a.       No longer can live without the presence of God in his life (John 15:3)

b.      No longer can weasel his way out of troubles – had to look to God for direction

c.       No longer could even stand in his own strength – had to hobble along on a crutch

d.      This is no longer “Jacob” – the lying, scheming, deceiving, hustling, thief

e.       He shall be known as “Israel” – a price with God, a man of power

f.       Jacob starts to see the outline of the face of this angel in the brightening light of that early dawn and he says, speaking of names, what’s YOUR name? What a thing for a hard selfish man to ask? He wanted to know the name of that Angel! He wanted to remember that encounter with God (32:30)!

g.       And it was at that moment that the angel blessed Jacob there, and then disappeared


3.      Esau’s Change (33:1-4)


a.       The two brothers face each other from a distance

b.      But what happened to the fight? Where is the battle? There was SUPPOSED to be a slaughter here! But the fight, the wrestling match was already fought!

c.       This “battle” was made easy because of the hard battle the night before wouldn’t you agree?!


4.      Here’s the key Scripture (James 4:7)


a.       Wrestle with the SUBMITTING to God part, and settle THAT fight first, and the next fight you face will be super easy!

b.      Your and my fight with SIN is won based on our yielding to and gripping onto the Lord Jesus Christ! If you win in THAT fight, you will win in ANY fight!


III. Application


A.     We have GOT to get back to wrestling with our enemies with a DO or DIE attitude!


1.      NOT fighting all our physical, human, visible enemies – those we have to bless, and turn the other cheek to

2.      But wrestling and winning against the enemy of our soul – Satan

3.      We have got to get good at wrestling with our past, and our pains, and our bitternesses and our laziness, and our bad habits!


B.     But we are NOT going to wrestle and win against those enemies until we first wrestle and win WITH God

C.     YES there is a struggle with the sins in our hearts, but our determination to win in that struggle  begins and ends in our time with the Lord


1.      Is it a rushed time

2.      Is it simply neglected because you are too busy?

3.      Is it only a ritual time?

4.      Is it a faithless time, unbelieving in the God of answered prayer?

5.      Is it only for getting THINGS?


D.     Oh that we ALL would wrestle with God, and learn to allow Him to pin us down, and break us, and humble us so that we could wrestle our sins, and bind them and cast them out of our lives!

E.      Start with giving Jesus Christ the right to govern, control, and dictate your life from today onward!


1.      Where you go

2.      What you say

3.      What you drink

4.      What you wear

5.      Length of hair

6.      The world tells us all these things – it’s about time we listen to God’s word and let HIM decide once again what is right and wrong!

7.      Hey! Jesus earned that right, but rarely do believers yield total control over to Him (Philp 2:9-11)!!!


F.      Salvation cannot be wrestled with in your own efforts – you must deal with Jesus Christ, and get HIM (John 1:10-12)!!!

G.     Are you born again? There is a birthing process that several in this room are fighting – wrestling with, and it is time to take a good hold on the presence of the Lord as He is trying to convert you – trying to save your soul – trying to make you His child!





Craig Ledbetter |  Pastor  |  Bible Baptist Church  |  021-4871234  +353-21-4871234  |