Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The War With The Flesh

Temple Baptist Church - 2-9-2011

Ephesians 4:21-32


A. Last week, we saw the method of “putting off” the Old Man and “putting on” the New Man. It takes a “reprograming” or “renewing” of the “spirit” of the mind. The world has programed our thinking in such a way as to agree with the wickedness of our flesh. Our flesh takes no encouragement in order to continue in sinfulness. To live a life of sin takes no change at all.

B. In order to live a Christ like life, you must determine in your heart to both “put off” and to “put on!” Both actions are against nature or the “natural man.” It is a daily death to the things of the world: a self crucification.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth 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.

C. The flesh or the “Old Man” has so many wicked characteristics. We that are saved are tempted by the flesh in a myriad of areas. It is of no wonder that the Bible speaks of the sin that “so easily besets” us.

1. Man was created in righteousness and innocence - Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Genesis 5:2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. (They were created in innocence and placed into the Garden but were given responsibility to Law.)

2. Man was deformed by his disobedience to God’s Law - Genesis 2:15-17 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Romans 5:12-14 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. (Man died both physically and spiritually. Adam died physically in Genesis 5 at the age of 930 years but died spiritually in Genesis 3 and blood had to be shed.)

3. Man was transformed through faith in the gospel - 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (Notice with me that the King James Bible says “creature” and not “creation!” Most new versions use the word “creation” here. God did not recreate man, He transformed him. Let me give you an example: I have a dog who was born innocent but she chooses to be disobedient at times. If I take her to Obedience School, they can transform her and teach her obedience. She is still the same dog but now is educated to right and wrong. She has not been changed from being a dog, just transformed into a new creature that is obedient. We become new creatures, not recreated! Ephesians 2:10 does not contradict this as we were created unto good works, before ordained to walk in them. Now that we are saved, we are to once again walk as we were created to walk.)

Romans 6:3-4 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

4. Our spiritual man is now transformed but the body remains in a cursed, unregenerate condition until either death or rapture - 1 Corinthians 15:52-54 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (Now, the fight is on!)

D. Failure to understand what I have just said leads to total defeat in this war with our flesh which is contrary to the new creature that lives inside. Can two walk together except they be agreed? We are enemies of the flesh and the flesh is an enemy with us so, you had better quit pampering and feeding it!

1. The Depravity Of The Flesh - Romans 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (I need to clarify something at this point. Depravity does not mean inability! Men can and have done good. Many lost people are what we classify as good people. The are good neighbors; they are moral; they have good manners; they have great accomplishments; and many are better on these points than some professing Christians. By Total Depravity, I mean that man has the capability of doing all of the below listing of evil works.)

2. The Deception Of The Flesh - Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (The flesh can never be trusted! “If I know my heart.” You don’t! Paul said, “For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.” [Romans 7:11])

3. The Defilement Of The Flesh - Romans 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (You cannot get away from your flesh. You can abstain from all appearance of evil in almost every of life but your flesh is always there with you. You see it and you live in it! It is defiling to the spiritual man. It causes him to do unthinkable things and spend much time weeping over its failures.)

4. The Devastation OF The Flesh - Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (It is because of the weakness of flesh that man sins and this body much be changed before we can go to Heaven. Your flesh will destroy your life if you give into it.)

1. The Warning Of The Flesh - Ephesians 4:21-24 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: (22) That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (23) And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (24) And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Romans 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

2. The Walk Of The Flesh – It is Pleasing. Hebrews 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; (This is the walk of the old life. When we got saved, everything became new and we began our walk in the Spirit. Salvation did not make sin any less pleasurable to our flesh though. I still have the same cravings and desires that I had before salvation but have been delivered from them through Christ Jesus.)

a. The Lost professors will eventually return to their walk in the flesh - 2 Peter 2:20-22 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Matthew 12:43-45 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

b. The Carnal believer will eventually return to their walk in the flesh - Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (Notice the “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” in this passage as well as our context passage of Galatians 5.)

c. First, let me say that failure to walk in the Spirit is to walk in the flesh! There is no middle ground. We are either spiritual or we are carnal! We cannot be both at the same time. If we are spiritual then we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. If we are carnal then we do not fulfill the walk of the Spirit. (We pamper and feed our flesh instead of starving it and bringing it under subjection.)

Psalms 106:13-15 They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: 14 But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. 15 And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul. (Fat bodies make for lean souls!)

1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

d. Secondly, to walk in the flesh is to do despite to the Spirit of grace - Hebrews 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (We grieve Him! We vex Him! We resist Him! The Holy Ghosts lusts against the flesh in order to bring us into obedience to Christ. It is an insult to the Holy Ghost when we ignore His leading and pleading. He loves us and Satan hates. Whom should we follow? Duh!)

3. The War Of The Flesh – It is Perpetual. Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Sometimes, some believers lose the war with the flesh because it is perpetual. It is never ending and through spiritual anemia, the believer becomes weak and worn down thus giving in to the flesh. I know that many of these are unsaved “dogs” and “sows” who clean up for a while and then return to their old ways but then we have Demas who loved this present world.)

a. It is a heart wrenching struggle for the child of God - Romans 7:14-23 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (You may sin but, if you are saved, it will tear your heart out. This is one acid test to see if you are truly saved. I hate it when I fail. It sickens my heart when I sin. I despise it with all of my heart.)

b. Though we should be spiritual and Spirit filled all of the time, we do fail God miserably sometimes - Psalms 51:2-4 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. (A man after God’s own heart. The sweet psalmist of Israel. The king who established a perpetual throne.)

1) Earthly victory is most often only temporary. 1 Corinthians 15:31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

2) Earthly values are distorted by our flesh. Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

4. The Works Of The Flesh – They are Powerful. 1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

a. We need to understand the Possibility of the failure in this war - Romans 6:12-14 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Romans 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. (This is the Apostle Paul! If he struggled and lost many a battle, I need to understand my weakness also. Sometimes we are harsh on those who have sinned; those who have failed; those who have gotten discouraged; and those who have just plain quit! Be careful!

1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (No one is exempt from the possibility of moral failure! No matter how godly and spiritual we may be, our war is day to day, hour to hour, moment by moment!)

b. We need to understand the Possibility of the flesh in our failure - Walking in the flesh will always manifest it’s works! Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, (21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

1) Adultery – God’s married people

2) Fornication – God’s single people

3) Uncleanness – Un-chastity in either thought of deed. Unnatural lusts or perversions.

4) Lasciviousness – plain old filthiness in thought, deed, or gestures.

5) Idolatry – In our day, covetousness or the love of money is still the root of ALL evil!

6) Witchcraft – Magic, sorcery, astrology, drugs [pharmaceutical comes from this word])

7) Hatred – We are to love even our enemies much less one another! We are to love the Lord our God and our neighbor as ourselves.)

8) Variance – contentious, debate, quarrelsome instead of easy to get along with.

9) Emulations – indignation, jealousy, unfavorable zeal.

10) Strife – faction, always fighting about something. Some fight everything. We need to fight the right kind of fights.

11) Seditions – disunion, division, or uprising. Be followers of me as I follow Christ!

12) Heresies – false doctrines that cause disunion.

13) Envyings – We are do desire the best for others, not desire what they have. Dissatisfaction!

14) Murders – to slaughter, either by killing the flesh or destroying with the tongue!

15) Drunkenness - means just what it says! Intoxication!

16) Revellings – carousing, letting it loose!

c. This is talking about the saved, not the lost! Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the desires of the flesh! Walk in the flesh and anything is possible!

5. The Warning Of The Flesh – It is Pricey! Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Our works are rewarded two-fold: at the Judgment Seat of Christ and during the Millennium.)

a. At the Judgment Seat Of Christ we win crowns - 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (These we will cast at His feet because only He is worthy!)

b. During the Millennium, we rule and reign according to our works - Luke 19:17-19 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. 18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. 19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.

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