Sunday, March 4, 2007

They Must be Giants - P6 - Our Flesh



Most of us are all familiar with the story of David & Goliath.

1 Samuel 17

We are continuing our series entitled “They Must be Giants!”

We have spoken on;

David & Goliath





Un-forgiveness can hold us captive to ourselves.

These Giants can literally make us a slave to it.

Fear can cause us to make irrational decisions, or even do nothing at all.

We have but two emotions. Love & fear, All of our behavior stems from one of those two emotions.

Hate comes from unresolved anger.

Anger comes from unresolved fear.

Remember, we only have two emotions, love and fear.

Everything else is a behavior.

We are told in the scriptures to do everything in Love for God is love.

And those who do not have God, do not have love.

Everything positive, including our behaviors, comes from love.

Such as the fruit of the spirit.

We are told that the fruit of the spirit comes from having the spirit of God, which is love.

All of our negative behaviors originate from our fear.

Such as with Cain and Abel.

Cain feared he would not be accepted by God as Abel was.

That fear could have been, should have been dealt with.

Cain could have voiced his fear to his brother or to God and received instruction.

But he didn’t.

And his fear of rejection grew into anger towards Abel.

Because God accepted Abel’s offering.

That anger should have been dealt with.

It was unrighteous anger; therefore Cain was living in a state of unrighteousness.

His anger then grew into hate.

And that hate led him to commit the first murder.

When battling against the giants in our lives, we do need to remember the lessons from the story of David and Goliath.

The battle between the Palestinians and the Israelites was a spiritual one.

David had the Holy Spirit just as all of those who belong to God have access to.

David recognized the battle was spiritual even though everyone around him could not. He was walking in the spirit, not by sight, but by faith.

When David faced the giant, he knew the battle was not a man against a giant, but a giant against a man of God.

The battle was the Lord’s!

We must remember these points in our lives as well when we face things.

  1. It’s a spiritual battle
  2. We have the Holy Spirit
  3. The battle is the Lord’s

Today we are talking about our flesh.

More specifically the battle between our flesh and our spirit.

Like many a great books, one of the plots that intrigue us as human beings is man-against-self.

I took creative writing in school, and there were three major themes we saw repeated in novels.

Man-against-nature, Man-against-man, and man-against-self.

We live “man-against-self” everyday as a Christian.

Romans 7:21 - 25

21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

This is why we need to win the war within our minds.

As the scriptures say; to take every thought into captivity of Christ Jesus.

The battle is in our minds.

Not that it doesn’t exist, but that it not only exists, but begins there!

Here something very interesting.

When we accept Jesus Christ, our souls are redeemed.

BUT, our flesh is not!

Our flesh is not redeemed when we become Christians.

We are redeemed souls living in corrupt flesh.

Have you ever wondered why even though you accept Christ, you are still going to die and we are going to receive glorified bodies?

God will never contradict His Holy Word.

God warned Adam that if he ate of that tree he would surly die.

The scriptures say that it is appointed to man to die once.

Genesis 3:17 – 19

17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife (instead of God’s Word) and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' (committing sin)
"Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return."

Our flesh has been cursed because of sin.

When Adam sinned, when he chose unrighteousness over righteousness, when he behaved in fear instead of love, God’s spirit was severed from Him.

Fear of what?

Adam could have behaved in love for God and His Word.

Love for his wife, knowing that God warned not to eat of the tree.

But he behaved in fear, perhaps fear of rejection from his wife.

Relationship & communion with God was broke, and the spirit of God which sustained Adam and Eve was removed.

From this point on, food would sustain them, and only for a time.

Their flesh must be returned to the dust.

This is the curse.

When we make Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, we return to relationship with God the Father.

Our souls are redeemed through the Holy Spirit.

But our flesh must return to the dust as the Lord has said.

In case you missed it, until this point, Eve was called woman, for she was taken out of man.

But after the curse fell upon them, she was called Eve in Genesis 3:20, because she WOULD become the mother of all the living.

There are no other people living at this time.

There were no other races.

No other humans.

Because the scripture says, she would become the mother of all the living.

There was no pre-ademic race. This is a myth thought up to explain things we don’t understand but there is NO SCRIPTURAL PROOF.

So our flesh is cursed even after we accept the Lord.

This is why when we become Christians, we are not, and can not become perfect.

We cannot be perfect, because our flesh is sinful.

As the scripture says in Romans, it is a constant battle between what our redeemed soul led by the spirit WANTS to do, and what our flesh led by worldly desires wants to do.

This is why we are told to walk in the spirit, because although we have accepted Christ and are redeemed, we can still walk in the flesh.

Walking in the flesh is easy to do.

It’s easy to act in unrighteousness.

It’s easy to behave in unrighteousness.

King David is a perfect example.

He received the Holy Spirit at a young age, and yet gave into his flesh and sinned with Bathsheba.

Jeremiah 17:5

This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.

We put our trust in people, in ourselves, in flesh.

We depend on people, on others, on ourselves for getting things done.

Flesh is not our strength, but our weakness.

For the flesh of man is not redeemed, but cursed.

Does this mean we cannot live righteously?

No, absolutely not.

But it is in my weakness He (the Lord) is my strength!

But it does mean that we cannot live righteously all the time.

Eventually, somewhere in your life you will slip.

This is told to us in the scripture.

We all sin and fall short of the Glory of God.

But we don’t stay in that sin.

We recognize our sin, confess to the Lord and repent so that we can have forgiveness.

If we continue to live in sin, or unrighteousness, we are choosing to separate ourselves from relationship with the Lord.

The scriptures say the Lord does not hear the prayers of the unrighteous.

This is a very important scripture to remember.

When we walk in the flesh instead of the spirit, we are living in unrighteousness, and God cannot hear us.

Save but one prayer, Lord forgive me.

Forgiveness only comes through confession to the Lord and repentance.

That’s it.

So we battle against our flesh.

Our flesh which is not, and cannot be redeemed.

So how do we walk in the spirit?

How do we live righteously?

How do we choose love over fear?

Believers have the Spirit of Christ, the hope of glory within them.

Colossians 1:27

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Those who walk in the Spirit will show forth daily, moment-by-moment holiness.

Not that we won’t slip and fall occasionally, but that when we do, we get back on our feet and continue righteously.

This is brought about by consciously choosing by faith to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide in thought, word, and deed.

Romans 6:11-14

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

John 3:3

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

Philippians 1:27

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.”

We can know that we are walking in the Spirit if our lives are showing forth the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22,23).

Being filled (walking), with the Spirit is the same as allowing the word of Christ (the Bible), to richly dwell in us.

Colossians 3:16

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”

The result is thankfulness, singing, and joy.

Children of God will be led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14).

When Christians choose not to walk in the Spirit, thereby sinning and grieving Him, provision has been made for restoration through confession of the wrongdoing.

Ephesians 4:30

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

1 John 1:9

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

To “walk in the Spirit” is to follow the Spirit’s leading.

When the devil tempted Jesus, He tried to tempt His flesh, His human side, underestimating and not understanding that the righteous have the Holy Spirit.

And you can not tempt the Holy Spirit for He is God!

The devil tried to tempt Jesus’ flesh.

And after He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." - Matthew 4:2-3
The First Temptation
Satan tried to place doubt in the mind of Jesus with the words "If you are the Son of God."

The Trap
The danger of this temptation was not in making bread. Jesus was not under a prohibition from miraculously creating food. On two occasions Jesus used his power to create bread for a multitude of people (Mark 6:35-44, Mark 8:1-21).
The real peril lay in Satan's proposed reason for creating bread.

That reason being "If you are the Son of God."

Satan was challenging Christ's credentials.

Jesus quotes Moses
But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" - Matthew 4:4

Jesus immediately perceived the real danger, and responded with a passage from Deuteronomy 8:3. In that passage, Moses reminded the Israelites that God humbled them in the wilderness when He provided manna from heaven.

His humble attitude
This quote gives insight into Christ's mindset during this ordeal. His reliance on God's will is contrasted with reliance on temporal things, like food.
Jesus humbly relied on God. He rendered obedience by not doubting God's declaration, "This is my beloved Son."

Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If you are the Son of God throw yourself down. For it is written, 'He will give His angels charge concerning you,' and, 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone." - Matthew 4:5-6

The Second Temptation
Satan took Jesus to Jerusalem to stand on the temple. There Satan challenged Jesus to throw himself down. Although the exact spot is not given, Josephus recorded that Herod's royal portico towered 450 feet over the Kedron Valley (Antiquities XV.412).

Satan quotes scripture
Having lost the first challenge, Satan appeals to scripture by quoting Psalm 91:11-12. When isolated from other passages, this proposal seems reasonable. If Jesus were God's Son, then scripture promised to save Him.

Jesus Responds
Deceptively, Satan tried inciting Jesus to test the scripture. Jesus addressed the real issue by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16.
Jesus said to him, "On the other hand it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'" - Matthew 4:7

Testing God
To commit this act would have tested God, not scripture. Putting God to the test does not refer to an exam. Rather, the idea of "experimenting with God" is contained in this phrase.
Had He fallen to this temptation, Jesus would have substituted humble faith in God's guidance with a blatant challenge to the Father's lovingkindness. God protects His children, but also expects them to exercise sound judgement.

Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory. And he said to Him, "All these things will I give you if you fall down and worship me." - Matthew 4:8-9

The Third Temptation
Since no mountain stands high enough to view all the world's kingdoms, it's likely that Satan exercised some supernatural power to show Christ "all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time" (Luke 4:5).

Satan's authority
Jesus did not question Satan's authority to grant the world's kingdoms. Bear in mind, however, that Jesus did not directly address Satan's apparent deceptions in the first two temptations.
His suggestion violated the first commandment, "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:3).

Jesus Responds
Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only. (Matthew 4:10)"
Again, Jesus quoted Moses; this time from Deuteronomy 6:13.

It is essentially to “walk with” the Spirit, allowing Him to guide your steps and conform your mind.

Just as we have received Christ by faith, by faith He asks us to walk in Him, until we are taken to heaven and will hear from the Master, "Well done!" (Colossians 2:5; Matthew 25:23).

If you are at war with your flesh, your mind, sin, unrighteousness, come forward today. Let us pray for you.

Walking in the spirit is possible, and living a fruit bearing life is possible through walking with the Lord.

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