Sunday, September 14, 2008

Growing in the Lord "Overcoming the Carnal Mind"

The Great Commission

Part 1 – Growing in the Lord

OVERCOMING: The Carnal Mind

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith – www.PS127.org | www.TruthDigest.org

ANNOUNCEMENTS

6:00PM Evening Service at the church –

“Seminary Students will be preaching”

September 14th – Lynnette Higgins

September 21st – Walker Spriggs

September 28th – Deacon Kurt Ulman

October 5th – Grace Steadman

October 12th – Lori Ulman

WHERE WE ARE AT

Spending Time with the Lord in Prayer

Spending Time with the Lord Reading the Word

Spending Time with the Lord in Fellowship

Spending Time with the Lord, One on One

Growing in the Lord : OVERCOMING The Carnal Mind

INTRODUCTION

The last few weeks we have spoke on spending time with the Lord in various ways.

This is the beginning of our focus on growing close to the Lord in our relationship with Him.

Through Prayer, Reading the Word, Fellowship with other believers, one on one time with the Lord, we begin to grow in our relationship.

This is the beginning.

This is the “Seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened unto you.”

Once you have initiated this, you will immediately find that there are other obstacles which lie between you and the Lord.

All of which will be revealed to you by the Holy Spirit, so that you can get closer to the Lord.

Today we are going to take a look at Overcoming your carnal mind.

Our minds are our biggest enemy when it comes to growing in Christ.

Paul tells us in the Word of His struggles with himself, again and again.

Our flesh and our spirits want 2 different things, and so we battle.

To overcome the obstacles that lie between us and the Lord, we begin with our mind.

Proverbs 23:7

For as a man thinks in his heart, so he is…

I. Everything begins in the mind

a. Sin is in the mind, long before it leaves our body, whether in word or deed.

Jesus made this clear when He stated, “You have heard that you are not to commit adultery, but I tell you that anyone who even LOOKS at a woman with lust, has already committed adultery.”

Because when you look with lust, adultery has taken place in your mind.

b. Hate takes place in our minds.

It may come out in our words and actions, but it first took place in our minds, and if you do not deal with it, it will fester into a disgusting infection that will spew out of you in actions and deeds and it may even infect others.

That is if they do not deal with it.

Scripture tells us how to fight this infection if someone is trying to infect us with their hate.

The defense: “Do not return evil for evil”, this feeds the infection and makes it grow.

And the only “cure” for yourself and the one who is infected, is Love.

That is the only cure.

c. Pride takes place in our mind

Here’s something to think about…

If you think you are better than other people, you look down on them.

You see someone who threatens you for whatever reason, and you feel anger.

That anger grows until it becomes hate.

That hate grows until it consumes you.

You begin to speak that hate, and act out that hate, until it destroys you.

And it all began with “thinking” you are better than someone else.

Pride.

Scripture tells us, “Pride comes before the fall”

It came before the fall of man.

Satan believed he was something, and became nothing.

His pride caused him to fall, and then he turned on mankind.

The fall of man began with Satan “thinking” he was something.

Man’s thinking cause the flood.

Genesis 6:5

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Sound familiar? Sound like the world today…

Are we close to the end? Look around for yourself.

Man’s corrupt thinking built the tower of Babel.

They thought they could make a tower that would reach Heaven.

Listen…many of you try to do this now.

Create your own path to heaven.

There is only one way, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 4:17 – 19

17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

Hardening of someone’s heart is not “caused” by God, but by Him removing Himself from them.

How was Pharaoh’s heart hardened?

God removed Himself and stopped trying to reach him.

Why are these Gentiles hearts hardened? Because they do not have the Lord.

A hardened heart is a result of a lack of God.

How do we get rid of a hardened heart?

By having the Lord!

Ezekiel 11:19 (36:26)

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone (hardened heart) and give them a heart of flesh.

You see, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart by separating himself from him.

Gentiles (those who do not have the Lord) have hardened hearts because they do not have the Lord.

Romans 1:24

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts…

Romans 1:26

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.

Romans 1:28

since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind

You see, when God is working with you, there’s a chance.

When He removes Himself from your presence, you are in trouble.

The result is you are “given over to” because God is no longer working with you, His grace is not there to protect you.

Grace is given to us to give us time to repent, but if we refuse to work towards God, He removes Himself from your sinful presence, and you lose His grace, and the only protection you have.

You are then given over to the sinful desire of your heart, you shameful lust, your depraved mind, and your heart BECOMES hardened.

What are the results of being “given over to”?

Romans 1:28-32

28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

They KNEW what was right, but thought corruptly.

They thought for themselves and their desires over what was right.

And when they refuse to listen to God any longer, He leaves them to their ways, just as He did Pharaoh.

And their hearts become hardened.

II. The dangers of pride

We have seen how thinking can lead to destruction if we think incorrectly.

We are told not to think like the Gentiles, or those who do not follow the Lord.

Galatians 6:3

3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5 for each one should carry his own load.

Verse 3 is talking about thinking you are morally or spiritually superior.

Thinking you are superior is the pride that causes one to fall.

The spiritual man can take pride in himself knowing that without the Lord, he is nothing, and that everything he is; is totally dependant on the Lord.

Each one should carry his own load refers to the fact that we should not rejoice over another persons failure.

Because that could just as easily be us…and if we continue to think not, then it will be quicker than you think.

The warnings in the scripture are our guide.

Romans 13:14

Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Job 24:14-17

14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up
and kills the poor and needy;
in the night he steals forth like a thief.

15 The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk;
he thinks, 'No eye will see me,'
and he keeps his face concealed.

16 In the dark, men break into houses,
but by day they shut themselves in;
they want nothing to do with the light.

17 For all of them, deep darkness is their morning;
they make friends with the terrors of darkness.

They think darkness will hide their actions.

III. How we SHOULD think

We are instructed in the Word of God on how we SHOULD think, so that we can overcome this obstacle which lies between us and a closer relationship with the Lord.

Philippians 4:8

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Negative thinking will always lead to negative fruit.

Remember, our thinking is the seed.

If it be good, a good tree will grow, and produce good fruit.

If it be negative or corrupt, thorns and thistles will grow, and instead of fruit, will bring all of the lowly creatures to dwell within them.

Proverbs 23:7

For as a man thinks in his heart, so he is…

What are you thinking today?

1 Corinthians 14:20

20 Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants (innocent), but in your thinking be adults (wise as serpents).

When you need to be encouraged in your thinking, reprogram your brain with the Word of God.

2 Peter 3

1 Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.

2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.

3 First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.

4 They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation."

5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.

6 By these waters also the world of that time was flooded and destroyed.

7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives

12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.

13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

15 Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him.

16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

17 Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. (you can lose your salvation)

18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Altar Call

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