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009 INTEGRITY – THE FLESH

Be Doers Of God’s Word, Not Hearer And Talkers Only

It is very easy to appease our consciences – a bit – to attend a church service, and hear God’s Word. Say the regular ‘Amens’ and then get back to managing lives ourselves. We know that this is not right, but – we tell ourselves – this is better than nothing.

The Lord’s mind on this He has told us …

Revelation 3:15-16
15  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Part, or halfway commitment disgusts the Lord! He wants us to make up our minds! Are we with Him? Are we for Him? Are we His?! Or are we really still our own? What does He see when He examines us? The Lord help you to be honest here!

Folks, we are in a spiritual battle that no Hollywood wickedness (movie) has ever portrayed – not even close! With the Lord we are dealing with Almighty God! We are dealing with our eternal souls! We are dealing with others’ eternal souls with Him! (1 Corinthians 3:9)

The Lord Calls Us To Be Real With Him

James 1:22-25
22  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

There are two main points to this passage:

FIRSTLY, the strong exhortation to be a doer of God’s Word, and not a hearer only. As we saw in the previous study, as we had a look back at what we have examined together over the last month or so. And saw all the foundational Truths from God’s Word that we briefly examined. Foundational Truths that cover most of what the daily spiritual life is all about. Foundational Truths that also set the direction of the child of God’s walk to be in line with the Lord, to be in line with His Truth in His Word. And those who considered those Truths, now have that knowledge. And praise God for that! Important progress has been made! But knowledge is just the beginning of an incomparable walk / life with the Lord Himself. We have to obey the Lord in all that He makes clear to us as His will, His instructions to His children.

When we partake of God’s Word the Lord, by His Spirit ministers to us. Whether in a church service, or Bible Study, or in our own private reading, studying and meditation, or by some other means. That’s the value of His Word. The Lord ministers to our deepest needs, both our eternal and daily needs through it. And it is not okay to not obey what He says to us! When we consider this, it surely makes sense to us. None surely say to themselves, ‘It is okay to say No to the Lord’?

The illustration here is used of someone going to a mirror and seeing themselves in it. And then turning away, and immediately forgetting what they have seen. Especially when we’ve noticed a bit of food from the meal we just enjoyed on the corner of our mouths. We remove it immediately.

When ministered God’s Word, the Lord teaches us things that are lacking in our knowledge. Things that are lacking in our behavior. Things that He wants us to start doing. And the natural thing for a true child of God, who is walking after His Spirit’s leading, and not allowing their flesh to influence their lives, is to obey immediately. This is their Father, Almighty God ministering to them! Not someone giving us their opinion on what they advise us to do.

SECONDLY, we are told that to be a hearer of God’s Word only is to deceive ourselves (verse 22). We are lying to ourselves!

James 1:22  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

This is rather humbling! When I don’t obey my Father’s revealed will, I’m lying to myself! When I think that it’s okay to disobey Him, or when I put it out of my mind and ‘conveniently’ forget about it, it’s not okay! The Lord’s view is that I’m lying to myself! And I am in danger, because I’m walking after the flesh instead of after the Spirit! I’m on a slippery slope, and I am vulnerable to the enemy to carry me further away from my Father, and from enjoying a daily walk – that’s real – with Him!

Folks, our personal responses to the Lord are very important! The Lord help you to make the days, weeks and months ahead a time of moving forward in your personal walk with Him!

We close this mini study with the Lord’s expressed passion for Israel’s obedience to make things good for them. And the same passion is most certainly in the mind and heart of our Father for us in the Church today!

Deuteronomy 5:29  O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!

(If you would like Bible School Studies, or these devotional mini studies to be emailed, or Whatsapped to you write to russell@kingswaybaptist.co.za or Whatsapp to 076 479 2445)

008 INTEGRITY – THE FLESH

Keeping Track Of Our God Given Goal

One of the many things that the Spirit of God will lead us to be, is vigilant, to be aware, to be purposeful in our walk with Him. Where we will make certain that we are walking with Him, and don’t wonder from the tough and narrow path of life with God (Matthew 7:13-14). And pursuing His Truth to get it clear in our hearts and minds, and then worked out in our lives. Keeping us WITH Him through this spiritually treacherous world of ours.

1 Peter 5:6-9
6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

Discovering God’s Truth For Ourselves

At the beginning of our studies on integrity, we saw the Lord’s goal of our being led by His Spirit into ALL Truth – His Truth (John 16:13; Romans 8:14). And all that we have considered in these studies has been towards this one goal of actually knowing the fulfilling of this goal in ourselves.

That In The Mind Of God, And Revealed Only Through The Bible, Is Only One Body Of Truth For The Church Age

We then saw that for the Church, just as in all previous ages of the Lord’s dealings with His children, the Lord has only given one body of Truth for the Church. And that the Bible is the only source from God to discover His Truth for the Church age.

That The Lord Has Provided Faultless Access To Discover His Truth To Every Child Of God

We then looked at how well the Lord has provided for His children in the Church, so that there is no reason that they should be not able to discover His Truth for themselves in our day and age.

The Bible

If God’s children are to discover God’s Truth for themselves, and be able to be certain that they truly do have it. Then there must be an infallible source. We learnt that the Lord has PROMISED …

  • That His Word was given by “inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Meaning that the Bible record is literally His Words recorded. That the Truths and the actual words are Almighty God’s.
  • That His Word has been perfectly ‘preserved’ as it was copied over the centuries; as well preserved through translation – when led by His Spirit
  • That the Lord did allow a minority of corrupt copies of the originals to exist along with the majority of faithful copies of the originals
  • That the KJV version is God’s perfectly preserved translation, which has proven itself being used by God for over 400 years, where the greatest revivals and spread of the Gospel through missionary work has occurred in the Church age.
The Holy Spirit

From a faultless Bible we also have a faultless Guide in the Holy Spirit. In today’s last days we have such a serious problem with preachers and teachers of God’s Word being so divided as to just what God’s Truth is. And so the Lord in His wisdom has not left us at the mercy of endless opinions, as to what His Truth is in His faithful Word. He has given us His Spirit, to lead us to repentance towards Himself, and to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). So that we all may have the option of being born again. And then led personally by His indwelling Spirit (Romans 8:9) into His Truth – when we do actually allow Him to lead us (Romans 8:14).

Responsible, Honest Study Of The Bible

Every child of God has been instructed by the Lord to study His Word (2 Timothy 2:15). Studying the Bible, with the understanding that our goal is to, with the guide of the Holy Spirit, discover God’s Truth for ourselves. Not just to study and try and understand what we find in a passage, but to search for God’s Truths contained in the Bible, for the children of God in the Church.

This means diligent reading, studying and constant mediating on the Truths that we are studying (Joshua 1:8; Deuteronomy 6:6-7; 1 Timothy 4:15). Motivated by an increasing God given passion for His Truth.

The Opposition Working Against The Believer Discovering God’s Truth

We have spent quite a bit of time examining the opposition of our flesh, satan and the world against our discovering God’s Truth. We have seen …

  • That our flesh is a powerful inner passion to not yield our wills to our Father, but to ultimately remain masters of our own destiny. Therefore making yielding our wills to the leading of the indwelling Spirit extremely tough. That is, until we DO yield our wills and lives to Him (Galatians 5:16-17).
  • That through the indwelling Spirit we will be enabled to resist the flesh and follow the lead of the Spirit, when we make the decisive choice to believe God and not walk after the flesh, but walk after the Spirit. We will find that with time we WILL make significant ground for the Spirit’s leading, and against the flesh’s control.
  • That satan, through the world of lost people he controls, provokes the child of God’s flesh severely. That with the leading of the Holy Spirit, and our obedience in limiting our world’s influence in our live. Through not feeding, or sowing to the flesh, through the sinful ways and entertainment of the world.…

Plan, and strategize with the Lord’s leading as to how you will establish a plan of action … an actual schedule to get what the Lord has been speaking to you about actually happening in your walk with Him.

The Lord guide you in making decisive steps in obedience to Him!

(If you would like Bible School Studies, or these devotional mini studies to be emailed, or Whatsapped to you write to russell@kingswaybaptist.co.za or Whatsapp to 076 479 2445)

007 INTEGRITY – THE FLESH

Taking Stock!

For some time now we have been looking at a number of glorious Truths from God’s Word. Truths that are so foundational to the spiritual life of the child of God, that no matter where we are in our personal response to the Lord – we have been challenged. Only Christ Himself Who is perfect is not challenged by His Word.

And so after considering these foundational Truths for some time, it would be wise to stop and take stock. We have considered Truths that should have led us to examine ourselves ‘right down to the bone’ so-as-to-speak. Truths that teach what the spiritual life with the Lord is in its essence.

And the Truths being from God’s Word, we have had the Lord Himself ministering to us. These have been HIS Truths. And He expects responses from each of us. And if our personal responses to the Lord have been honest, then we will have obeyed Him with action. Bible study is not just for our understanding – which IS incredibly important – though not enough. The Lord expects us to obey through decisive action in our lives. Obedient action that will CHANGE our daily lives with Him. Change us to bring us more and more into line with Himself. And make us more and more spiritually minded and less and less carnally minded. Steadily moving us from being like the carnal world to being more and more like Christ – and like our Father.

The Lord, through James, challenges us …

James 1:21-25
21  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
22  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
23  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass
[MIRROR]:
24  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

As we look into God’s Word, especially if we are honestly yielded to the Lord, and really want Him to lead and guide us. Then He WILL minister to our souls. He will guide us in learning what He meant in each Scripture and guide us into His Truth. He will ALSO, as James writes, give us better understanding of our personal spiritual condition. And what we need to do in order for us to truly walk with Him, and truly be brought into close fellowship with Him. He will guide us from carnality to spirituality of heart and mind.

James speaks of the child of God seeing their spiritual condition through God’s Word, and when they don’t obey the guidance / instruction that they have been given. As someone who looks into a mirror and then forgets what they saw in the mirror straight afterwards. This seems very foolish, and it’s exactly what we do when we know God’s will, through Him speaking to us through His Word, and then we will not obey Him! Or we will only partially obey Him.

Guys, the Lord calls for, expects, complete obedience from us! Don’t let the world, and the typical believer today be your measuring stick. Let the Lord through His Word be your infallibly guide in your spiritual life with Him!

In verse 22 James tells us exactly what is happening within ourselves when we don’t obey God’s speaking to us through His Word.

James 1:22  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Here we are told that when we hear / learn God’s Word only, and do not respond in obedience that we are deceiving ourselves. Strong words! We are lying to ourselves when we definitely know God’s will, and His guidance and think that it is ok not to obey Him! It’s not ok!

In the long run, not occasional setbacks, but in the long run those who ARE His children do obey Him. And DO grow to be more and more like. They grow significantly!

1 John 2:3  And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

(If you would like Bible School Studies, or these devotional mini studies to be emailed, or Whatsapped to you write to russell@kingswaybaptist.co.za or Whatsapp to 076 479 2445)

006 INTEGRITY – THE FLESH

“The Pride Of Life”

The world of the lost, as well as carnal believers, are following their flesh and its passions instead of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit attempts to lead the lost to repent towards God, and believe in Christ with all of their hearts. And He leads yielded children of God to being spiritually minded, where they know life and peace with God as only He can give. When people follow their flesh they are rejecting being yielded to the Lord and being led by the Holy Spirit to being spiritually minded, and having life with the Lord. Instead they resist being led by the Holy Spirit, in favour of life after the flesh – according to the lusts / passions of their flesh.

And in this third division of the “flesh” explanation, “the pride of life” primarily refers to people resisting the Holy Spirit’s attempts to lead them to repent towards God – i.e. to yield their will under his authority. Instead they hold onto their wills, and their passion for self-determination, and ‘enjoy’ its deceptive ‘freedom’.

And in a world filled with people living according to their flesh, they are among millions who are approaching life exactly the same way – will a passion for self-determination according to their will! And therefore many don’t realize that there is a better way with God. Everyone around them is struggling with the same things! And this is their approach to life … ‘i WILL decide what i WILL do with my life. I WILL decide who i WILL live life with, and WILL make decisions in my life based on my WILL.’

Satan is the epitome of “the pride of life”:

Isaiah 14:12-14
12  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13  For thou hast said in thine heart, I WILL ascend into heaven, I WILL exalt my throne above the stars of God: I WILL sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14  I WILL ascend above the heights of the clouds; I WILL be like the most High.

The lost of the world are living as their spiritual father, their “god”, their “prince”!

John 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4
3  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Ephesians 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

And so when the Spirit of God is wooing a lost soul to Christ. The first step is to woo them to be willing to“repent toward God” Acts 20:21. Until then they have been like satan their spiritual father, and have lived by their selfish wills – their pride. This has to change! There has never been a period in the history of our world – as recorded in the Bible – that the Lord has not require people to yield to His authority as God over them.

Acts 20:21  Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, AND faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

It surely goes without saying that God’s children must not live according to their flesh, and it’s wicked passions. The Scriptures say that a son / child of God IS led by the Holy Spirit. And so when a child of God is living according to the passions of their flesh they have resisted Him, refusing to yield to His authority over them!

Romans 8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Galatians 5:24  And they that are Christ’s HAVE crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

It’s not natural, it’s not right for a child of God to resist Him! To resist His authority over them! And in many cases an individual who is clearly walking after their flesh and it’s sinful passions, is an indication that that have never been born again.  Though they have perhaps believed in Christ, their belief was not preceded nor accompanied by their being repentant towards God.

Whatever your spiritual state is between you and the Lord right this moment. Yielding to God, and purposing in your mind to be led by the Holy Spirit EACH DAY – with Godly determination – WILL ensure your EVERY spiritual need WILL be met by the Lord. And that a discernable life with Him will develop over time. Leading to what we ALL NEED, hope from God that is as an anchor to the soul!

(If you would like Bible School Studies, or these devotional mini studies to be emailed, or Whatsapped to you write to russell@kingswaybaptist.co.za or Whatsapp to 076 479 2445)

005 INTEGRITY – THE FLESH

“The Lust Of The Eyes”

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

The gift of sight from the Lord is truly amazing! Through it we are able to enjoy our world around us. A world of colours and shapes of endless variety making sunsets, landscapes and trees and flowers incredibly beautiful! Our visual capacity is enhanced by our ability to see and appreciate our world in 3 dimensions. So much of our world is very beautiful, and many creatures and plant life that the Lord created are really beautiful to see. And so enjoying what we see is a gift from the Lord.

Where we get ourselves into trouble is when we forget, or ignore the Lord, and indulge in that which we find is visually beautiful and attractive. When we don’t actually have a relationship with the Lord, and find our life’s purpose with Him central to life. Then our deep inner need for significance, purpose, personal security, and our joy of life are looked for in what our world can provide us. The result being that we will NEVER be satisfied with our lives. The Lord designed us so that it is in our personal lives WITH Him we will be COMPLETELY FULFILLED. Fulfilled in EVERY aspect of life while away from Home and still in this world.

Romans 8:6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded IS life and peace.

Examples

Mary the mother of the Lord Jesus

Mary said the following to the angel when she was told that she would be impregnated by miracle by the Holy Spirit …

Luke 1:38  And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Fully knowing that she would be shunned by people for getting pregnant outside of marriage, and that her fiancé Joseph would reject her! But Mary trusted the Lord with her life, with her future, with her happiness! Mary KNEW that life was to be found WITH the Lord, no matter what life’s circumstances hold.

The Apostle Paul

Paul was living the ‘high life’ as a Pharisee, and outwardly had no reason to turn from such a life. But when confronted by the Lord on the road to Damascus, Paul (then Saul) gave what he had up to that point and through his lot in with the Lord completely! Another example of someone who was born again because they were truly repentant towards God, and had faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). And so was able to say …

Philippians 3:8  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

When we are not satisfied then we will covet others’ lives that seem to have what we feel we need to be satisfied ourselves. Not realizing that if those whom we envy do not have life with the Lord, according to His Word, then they too are not satisfied in their deepest needs either. Even though they may be happier than ourselves, they still have insecurity and dissatisfaction driving them to pursue that elusive goal of happiness and satisfaction. Most give up at some point and ‘just live’ with what they have, just trying to maintain what life they have managed to achieve.

In such a state of life, we place too much value in that which we find visually attractive. Then, without consciousness of our ever present Lord, we don’t just enjoy the beauty around us – we indulge in it. We place too high a value on how beautiful, or how attractive things and people look. And so where our attention should be on the Lord and developing our life with Him, and expressing our gratitude to the Lord for the beauty we see in creation. Our attention is on creation, and ourselves, and we are glorying in what the Lord has given us instead of Him Himself.

This passion, “lust of the eyes”, refers to the passion motivated by what we see, and the value we place on things that are visually attractive to us. Things of no eternal value that just meet basic needs are highly coveted when they are visually appealing. RELYING ON ENHANCING OUR SPIRITUALLY LACKING LIVES THROUGH THIS PASSION.

Examples

  • Clothing isn’t chosen just to cover our bodies and keep us warm, but the clothing must look really good and impress those who see us. We are not saying that clothing that is well made, or made from quality materials, or even looks good is wrong. It’s the too high a value we place on things, and people when they are visually appealing, or attractive.
  • A bicycle is not good enough if it is able to take our weight, and be the right size for our height, but it must really look good and impress those who see us on it.
  • A motor car is not just a means of transport, it must look impressive and impress those who see us in it. There are many who see owning an impressive car as a status symbol. That their car immediately tells others about themselves and their financial status.
  • A beautiful face and a trim body is highly coveted by women because of the attention that they bring a women from men. Where a handsome face and an athletic body is highly valued by men because of the attention that it brings men from women.
  • An attractive looking home that is visually appealing is important to the worldly person, which causes the modern home to be far more expensive than they would. They have impractical designs and parts that are built solely for visual appeal. But bring us attention from those who admire us because of our beautiful homes.

The Lord warns us through the Scriptures that allowing our “flesh” – in this case motivated by what we see in particular – to unduly influence us. That it will corrupt us according to the Lord’s values. That the Holy Spirit’s goal of leading us in our spiritual development to maturity, both ‘in ourselves’ and ‘in our life with our Father’ will therefore not happen.

Galatians 6:8  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Covetousness

Seeing, wanting, and coveting that which we SEE. The Lord looks at covetousness as dissatisfaction on our part with His provision to us.

Exodus 20:17  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

When we are not committing the sin of “the lust of the eyes” in our attempts to impress others. We are LOOKING at what others have and wishing that we had what they have for ourselves. This is breaking the tenth commandment not to covet what our neighbour has.

We covet what others have when we have no real life with the Lord in our daily experience. Neglecting or forgetting the Lord in our daily lives causes us to look at what we have and compare it to what others have, and sure enough we will envy others better possessions. Those who have been born again are been provided for by the Lord, and if we covet what others have then we are dissatisfied with what the Lord has provided us. The Lord, rightfully, takes our dissatisfaction personally. We are sinning against our Father, and we are offending Him!

(If you would like Bible School Studies, or these devotional mini studies to be emailed, or Whatsapped to you write to russell@kingswaybaptist.co.za or Whatsapp to 076 479 2445)

004 INTEGRITY – THE FLESH

“THE LUST OF THE FLESH”

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

In Romans 8 and Galatians 5 and 6 the references to “the flesh” refer to all three of the “lusts” in this passage in 1John 2.

Romans 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Galatians 5:16  This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Galatians 6:8  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

In 1John 2:16 what is called “the flesh” in the above three passages is divided into three distinctly different lusts or passions. The reason for this is to help us grasp the full scope of all that “the flesh” is – both in the individual and in the world (lost people).

And so in 1John 2:16 “the flesh” referred to in “the lust of the flesh” is limited to the physical body. The passions (“lusts”) of the body where people have taken natural physical passions and indulged in them. These physical passions are natural and exist because the Lord made them. These passions are good and even necessary in our lives. They do however need to be managed, and like all areas of our lives, be subjected to the Lord’s revealed will in the Scriptures.

Sexual Passion

Our sexuality was created in us to prolong life in the world, as well as provide intimate pleasure between a man and his wife. In the marriage physical relationship the husband and wife are to meet one another’s sexual needs.

1Corinthians 7:1-5
1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.
2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.
5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

WHEN people are indulging in “the flesh” (in the broad sense as used in Romans 8 and Galatians 5 and 6), where their spiritual lives are dysfunctional, and they are walking after the flesh instead of after the Spirit. One of the things that they look to, in the absence of the abundant life in Christ, is to sexual pleasure.

Television

Psalms 101:3  I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: …

This is “lust of the flesh” AND “lust of the eyes” because TV content provokes us both sexually in a sinful way – to lust after people not our marriage partners. As well as provoking us to sinfully value people and things that appeal to us visually.

The television features content that appeals to sinful physical lusts of people. My late Bible college president, rightfully I think, referred to the TV as the devil’s pulpit. When there is not sexually stimulating, and violent content portrayed from the screen, the content is worldly and the very opposite of Who and What the Lord is. And so I cannot find a single reason for someone who has been born again, to for a single instant, to consider allowing this spewer of moral and spiritual filth into their homes provoking their flesh.

Pornography

The Lord is clear in the Scriptures about seeing (“uncover”) the nakedness of a member of the opposite sex. In those who have been born again, their “flesh” lusts after such sexual stimulation, but their spirit and the Spirit of God in them, knows that indulging in such a practice is wickedness.

The following Scripture is not about pornography, but the principle of seeing a member of the opposite sex naked, that is not our marriage partner, is sin is the same.

Leviticus 18:17  Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman …

Pornography is available in public shops, from unsaved acquaintances (kids friends at schools, colleagues at work, etc.), from the internet. Each person may indulge in this wickedness in private without anyone knowing. AND THIS IS ITS DANGER! This means that we each must make up our own minds regarding this soul corrupting, marriage and spiritual life ruining influence that is tempting us from so close – smart phone and internet connected computer.

Food Passion

Our passion for food of course is natural too. This natural need may also be over indulged in, to where we don’t only want food to meet our body’s needs, and for healthy enjoyment pleasure. But look to the passions of the flesh to enhance life, because we are not living the abundant life from the Lord. Where by walking after the Spirit we have all our needs met.

And so one of the things that carnal people turn to is sinful indulgence in the world of food. They don’t just eat for need and natural pleasure in good tasting food. They look to food to bring a bit of pleasure in their spiritually lacking lives. A spiritual state where the Lord will not allow them fulfilment, because He designed us to get our fulfillment from our life with Him! Nothing else will do!

CONCLUSION

The spiritual harm, and damage to our person, is happening when we do as we please instead of as we know is right before the Lord. Where we look to the “lust of the flesh” to bring pleasure in our spiritually lacking lives. And so it is not so much the particular act, that seems so ‘harmless’ to most, but the fact that we are doing as we please instead of what we know to be right in the eyes of the Lord. Even here many will struggle to appreciate this point because it seems so harmless, and such a ‘small sin’. It is VERY IMPORTANT to look to the Word of God so that we learn the Lord’s view of all things. And in this point, the Word of God is clear – if we sow to the flesh we WILL reap corruption. Corruption of ourselves – our person.

This has been a very brief introduction to each point. This study is available giving more discussion through the following files…

 

A4, normal document size, and A5 for tablets and smart phones:

(If you would like Bible School Studies, or these devotional mini studies to be emailed, or Whatsapped to you write to russell@kingswaybaptist.co.za or Whatsapp to 076 479 2445)

003 INTEGRITY – THE FLESH

The World

The world, or as in the below Scriptures’ context, are the people of the world, who are revealed as contrary to the Father …

1 John 2:15-17
15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

V15/ The people of our world are contrary to the Lord, in that those who love the ways of the world do not have His love in them.

V16/ The reason for the people of our world being in conflict with the Father, is because they live by the sinful passions (“lusts”) of their flesh – “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”.

V17/ The Scripture here also reveals that their rebellious ways of living by the passions of their flesh, is going to be brought to an end. And only those who have the love of the Father in them – those truly born again – will continue with God forever.

Once again, this is Almighty God’s view of our world and as verse 17 says, this way of living by the passions of the flesh, will not be allowed to continue forever. Where those in conflict with the Lord are allowed to make their choices now, but such rebellion against God will be brought to an end.

What we are taught here ties in with what we already learnt in Romans 8, where we learnt that those who walk after the flesh are carnally minded, and as such are “at enmity with God:” – in conflict with Him. Here we are additionally told that they don’t have His love in them.

Folks, I don’t want to be in conflict with Almighty God! I want the life that He offers WITH Him! Life with Him here and now, and then afterwards with Him in Heaven forever.

How does this fit in with our study on the flesh? Well, you will probably have noticed that the opposition of our world is described in terms of fleshly passions or lusts of the flesh. And these passions are the passions of the flesh that drive, and control those who are not in Christ – those who have not been born again. This passage, that absolutely condemns the world of lost people and their ways. Condemns them because they do not have God’s love in them, and because they live according to their sinful fleshly passions.

And so we have a very enlightening lesson on the flesh in this passage.

This enemy of our life with our Father, is here divided in three to assist us to appreciate the scope of how our flesh can be a problem to us:

“The lust of the flesh” – This is referring to the passions of our physical flesh.

“The lust of the eyes” – This is referring to the passion of coveting what we see.

“The pride of life” – This is referring to sinful pride, and maintaining independence from God’s rightful authority over us.

God’s children also have the physical passions of the body, and they see what others have, and what may be gained in our temporary world. They have the challenge of selfish pride within their hearts and minds. But through walking after the leading of the Holy Spirit, with godly determination, these sinful passions are brought under control, and are not allowed to rule them! They are made spiritually minded and are developing life with their Father that is real and not blindly assumed.

The Spirit of God is the One Who makes their life with God real, and certain:

Romans 8:14-16
14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15  For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Walking after the Spirit, instead of the flesh, will bring the child of God to look to their God as their Father, with the child to Father love and respect. And also, very importantly, the Spirit’s success with us through our obedience to His leading in our lives, will bring assurance that we are children of God.

And so, by the Spirit we will be brought to love our Father, and we will have divine assurance in our hearts and minds that we are indeed born again, that we are really God’s child.

Looking ahead, we will look into the three sinful passions that we are warned about, so that we adequately understand how to resist them, and limit how our world provokes us in these three areas.

The Lord lead you in your walk with Him!

002 INTEGRITY – THE FLESH

The World And satan’s Opposition

Out of the three primary enemies that the Lord warns and teaches us about, our flesh is most certainly by far the most dangerous to the child of God. That doesn’t mean though that the world and satan aren’t enemies that we need to know about, and know what type of opposition they pose to our spiritual lives with our Father. As you will see they both pose a very serious threat to every child of God. And, very importantly, they both pose a serious threat because of our sinful flesh. It’s their way in to oppose the work and leading of the Holy Spirit in our spiritual lives with our Father. But they are only a threat when we are walking after the flesh instead of after the Spirit.

SATAN

1 Peter 5:8-9
8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

We are warned here to be spiritually clear headed (“be sober”), to be spiritually alert (“be vigilant”), because our enemy the devil is as a violent, hungry lion on the hunt, looking for people to destroy (“devour”). Peter is not being over dramatic. He is giving the needed warning because careless children of God are vulnerable to him, when they are negligent and walking after the flesh.

How Does He Attempt To Destroy God’s Children?

2 Corinthians 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Here he is called “the god of this world”, again because of his influence. “god” not as Creator, but because he blinds the minds of all those who don’t believe – billions of people! We either purposefully follow Almighty God, or unknowingly follow the creature god – satan!

John 16:11  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

Ephesians 2:1-3
1  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
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.

The lost follow the lead of satan, “the prince of the power of the air” by living / walking “according to the course of this world”. i.e. According to their cultures instead of according to the leading of the Holy Spirit through His Word. As God’s children we are to make sure that we are being led by the Holy Spirit, and are not carelessly STILL walking “according to the course of this world”.

James 4:7-8
7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Here, dealing with satan is described as firstly, “Submit yourselves therefore to God”, and deliberately drawing“nigh (close) to God”. And secondly, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” The way we resist him is to be aware of how he uses our world around us, to provoke us to walk after our fleshly passions. And then making certain that we keep our focus on the Lord, and ARE walking after the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 6:11-13
11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

This classic Scripture on the spiritual battle of the child of God, gives us a lot of insight into how to have victory in the spiritual battle. Very basically, here we are taught to “Put of the whole armour of God”. That the WHOLE ARMOUR is needed to “be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Study the whole passage: Ephesians 6:10-18)

In the context of our study on the flesh, it is vital that we are aware that our flesh is our vulnerable access for satan to ruin our spiritual lives, or even to destroy us. That our flesh is only vulnerable access when we are disobedient and sinfully walk after our fleshly passions. We will have a look at what these fleshly passion are when we look at the enemy of ‘the world’.

001 INTEGRITY – THE FLESH

Galatians 6:8  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

From the Scriptures we see that the Lord sees two groups of people in our world, the lost and those who have been born again. The lost are also described as those who walk / live according to their sinful flesh’s passions. Those who have been born again are enabled by the indwelling Spirit of God to break free from their flesh’s sinful passions – and control.

An Overview

Our sinful flesh is an enemy because it will pose a serious threat to our spiritual life with our Father, and do more than hinder our spiritual progress to maturity, if not acknowledge daily and taken very seriously.

Romans 8:1-7
1  There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

In this Romans 8 passage we are taught that the child of God, those “in Christ” who walk after the Spirit, will be enabled by the indwelling Spirit to break free from the control of their flesh, and live according to the to the righteous demands of God’s law (v2-4). And that they will be “spiritually minded”, which is life and peace with God (v6b).

This same passage also describes the life of someone not a child of God. Who does not allow the Spirit of God to lead them, but rather they choose to live according to the passions of their flesh. And the end result is a “carnal mind” that is in conflict with the Lord (v6-7).

Galatians 5 teaches the child of God about the inner conflict that they have with their flesh and the indwelling Spirit …

Galatians 5:16-17
16  This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

And so just as when anyone is born again, they had to make a conscious decision to yield themselves to God (repent towards God), and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). As children of God, NOW we have to also make a CONSCIOUS DECISION to make certain that we ARE being led by the Holy Spirit, AND that we will not allow our sinful flesh to control our lives.

This passage in Galatians 5 ends with the vital challenge …

Galatians 5:24-25
24  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

i.e. Those who are Christ’s will not allow their flesh to control their life by its sinful passions, but as they have spiritual life through the Spirit (John 3:6), they will also daily make sure that they are led by the Spirit and not their flesh.

Galatians 6:7-8
7  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

In verse 7 we are taught a principle of ‘sowing and reaping’. A principle that is easy to appreciate. What we put into life we get out. What we put into a task we get out.

In verse 8 we have the application of this principle to the spiritual life. Where we are given vital insight into man’s psychology, the way the Lord designed us. It is very straight forward, if we sow to the flesh, we will reap corruption. Meaning, if we walk after the flesh we will be corrupted. Living by our flesh’s sinful passions will ruin our spiritual lives. The Holy Spirit is attempting to lead us to be spiritually minded – like Christ, and sowing to the flesh does the opposite. It makes us like those whose minds are in conflict with Him, those who are “carnally minded” (Romans 8:6-7). And the more we are influenced by our sinful flesh, the more like the “carnally minded”we too will find living to the Lord’s very high standard impossible (Romans 8:7).