THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 10-1-06
LESSON TITLE: "WALKING WITH GOD: WALKING IN THE FLESH"
Welcome to our program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. Here we are together on another glorious day which the Lord has blessed us with. Thanks for choosing to be with us this day for this time of worship to God. Let me encourage us all to do our part today, to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now let's begin by approaching His throne in prayer.
I hope you have already mark your calendars for October 22. This is the date which we have scheduled for another opportunity to come together and sings praises to God, songs which will be used in the future on this program. I hope to see many of your there as we take this time and commit it to the service of God.
Now consider the many good songs we sing together about our great savior, Jesus Christ. Just consider the great blessing He gives us throughout our life. This morning we want to sing about one of the greatest things Jesus ever did for us all, which assures us all of the forgiveness of sins! Won't you join in with the brethren at this time as we sing together, "Low In The Grave He Lay!"
(SONG # 1)
In the book which Paul wrote to the Thessalonians we see that he continually exhorted them to do what God wanted them to. In fact, I like his reference in 1 Thessalonians 2:11, when he refers to his exhortation as similar to that between a "father and a child." In that verse he told them, "as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children." What wonderful love and concern this statement shows for the brethren. Paul told them that he was only trying to help them be their best by exhorting and encouraging them, just as a parent would motivate his or her child.
Now, look at verse 12 with me, there he goes on to say, "...walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory." Wow, this is a massive statement here, which I don't think we often really comprehend or understand ourselves. Have we forgotten who our God is? Have we failed to remember that He is all righteous, all powerful, the creator, and giver of all? Now with that in mind, let's read Paul's words again, "walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory." Scary isn't it! How can we truly walk worthy and acceptable, before such an awesome and magnificent God.
Well, the good news is we can, because God is only asking that we give it our best. He realizes that we are not perfect and never will be. He understands that we have sinned, and will sin - remember that He made us with an ability to choose! That is why the writers of the Bible always talk about the need we have to be more like Christ, and to go on toward perfection. However, God knowing all along that as human beings we can not reach it!
Remember what the Hebrew writer said in Hebrews 6:1, "...let us go on to perfection...." Paul said, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ," 1 Corinthians 11:1. As Christians we must strive every day to be more Christ like, thus proving ourselves to be worthy of His promises and blessing, which we receive through His grace!
So, I would ask you this morning, how are you living for Christ in this present world? Are you doing your best and striving to walk worthy according to what He wants of you? Are you giving it your very best so that God can be pleased with what you are doing? If not, why not commit yourselves to being more like Him, even today - so that you may truly receive His gifts, if you do all of that which is according to His Will.
Today, we will be continuing our series of study entitled, "Walking With God!" Our specific lesson this morning will be, "Walking In The Flesh!" So, please stay with us this Lord's day and in a few minutes I will return to lead this study from the God Word. But for now, let's join in our second hymn of the day, the name of the song, "All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
We're glad you've continued with us and now we're going to begin our topic of study this morning in 2 Corinthians chapter10. If you'll notice with me there in verse 3, we read the following statement by Paul the apostle. He says, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh." Notice the idea there. We've been talking together about walking in God, but this morning our main topic of study is "Walking In the Flesh." So what is this talking about? The reality is that the Bible deals a lot with this concept of that which is according to the flesh and then that on the other hand which is according to the spirit.
One of the best passages perhaps we might turn to understand this thought completely is found over in the book of Galatians, if you'll turn in your Bibles with me to that passage. In Galatians chapter 5, we read about a walk, a walk in God, but more specifically "a walk in the Spirit of God, God's Holy Spirit." But I want you also to notice here as he contrasts the concept of walking in the Spirit, what does he contrast it to? Walking in the flesh. What are those things that he mentions here that the flesh really identifies with? Look at verse 19 with me. He mentions this, "The works of the flesh are evident which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousy, outburst of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions, heresies, envies, murders, drunkenness, revelries," and he goes on to say, "and the like." He here mentions a whole list of things that identify for us something that is of the flesh. So what we begin to see is exactly the idea that he is trying to present here and is so similar to other ideas that we as well read in the Bible. For instance, we looked at "Walking in the Light." Well, what is the opposite? Walking in Darkness. If walking in light is doing what God says and being obedient and righteous and holy, what would Walking in Darkness be? Well certainly just the opposite. Anything that is wrong or sinful. That's what we read here. If Walking in the Spirit, that's with God, is those things that are good as we read there in verse 22, "The fruit of the Spirit is peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..." He says, "Against such there is no law." Then certainly the opposite would be those things contrary to God again, those things we read here are sinful, those things that are of the such like who actually he clarifies there in verse 21, that "those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." You cannot be a child of God and have the mansion over the hilltop and have the rewards that God has promised if you choose the flesh, if you choose a walk in the flesh as opposed to the walk in God's Spirit.
Now to further understand this, we might actually look at another passage by really the apostle John. John helps us with the same thought showing us that Paul and Peter and others were certainly all aligned and understanding the same idea as God had given them by the Holy Spirit. There in 1 John chapter 3, I want you to notice with me in verse 10 what it is that he clarifies for us there in relationship to being of God or not of God. He demonstrates this. He says, "In this, the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest. How do I know a child of God? How do I know a child of the devil?" He goes on to say in verse 10, "Whoever does not practice righteousness (notice) is not of God nor is he who does not love his brother." What do we learn here? We learn that the one who does not practice righteousness is a child of who? The devil. Those who do not practice... What is the concept here of those who do not practice righteousness? Well again, if God is righteous, if God is light, if God is holy, if God is Spirit, if God is all that is good, then the opposite is sin, wrong, evil, wickedness and so all that do not practice righteousness are not children of God, they are children of the devil. However, those who are practicing righteousness, those who are walking in the spirit, walking in God, they are the children of God. You see, he clearly identifies to us those who can be seen and known as followers of God.
Back up in the same text as verse 4. Verse 4 of chapter 3 says, "Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness." Why? "Sin is lawlessness. But in Him," he goes on to say in the next verse, "there is no sin." You know if we are those who have fellowship with God and God is in the light as we read here and looked at in the previous weeks (1 John chapter 1) then we can have no darkness in us at all. That's what he is saying. There is no sin at all. We strive not to sin, not to participate in anything as we read here that is of the flesh.
Now as we look further at this idea, let me again help us to understand we are not talking about anything that is in the world. You know there is nothing really wrong with food. There's nothing really wrong with clothing. There are many things that are actually of the world or made in this world that are actually something that we might could even say is made by or of flesh in a certain sense, but what we are dealing with here in the concept of not walking in the flesh or those who do walk in the flesh or those who are turned away from God in order to serve the carnal, to serve something that is contrary to God. And so walking in the flesh is not something that is generally said of those that are godly. Obviously, it is said of those who are not followers of God at all.
I want you also to notice with me back in the main text we began with. There again in 2 Corinthians chapter 10, notice what Paul is talking about here as he begins in verse 1, "Now I, Paul myself, am pleading with you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ who in presence am lowly among you, but being absent and bold toward you. But," he says, "I beg you that when I am present, I may not be bold with that confidence by which I intend to be bold against some who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh." He says, "I don't want to act like those who walk according to the flesh, have a confidence like those who are according to the flesh. Then he goes on in the passage we've already read, "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh." He says, "Our war is different. We are not in a literal war, a fleshly war where we have guns and maybe bloodshed, physical or literal in nature." He says, "This war against the flesh is a spiritual war." He goes on to clarify that in verse 4. "For the weapons of warfare are not carnal, but, "he says, "they are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts self." Here he again exalts Christ, exalts that which is good, but in verse 6 puts down that which is wrong or disobedient against God. You see again, he says, "We strive in a battle, in a war, but that war is really something that is against spiritual things," that is if we choose to walk in the flesh. But on the other hand, our walk is what? Really according to the Spirit.
I think Paul also had the idea and helps us somewhat when he discussed the two different parts of man. If you'll notice over in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. He mentions there beginning around verse 47 that the first man, such as Adam, was of the dust, but the second man was from what? The Lord and heaven. Verse 48, and was the man of dust so also there is a man of dust, there is a what? A heavenly man. So also there are those who are heavenly. He says that we have that which is born in the image of dust and that which is born in the image of the heavenly man. We have the struggle of God, righteousness, and living a life and acting in a way and talking in a way that is spiritual and holy and good. On the other hand, the flesh pulls us. We strive to walk in the flesh. Our desires often really tempt us to turn away from God and not to obey those things at all that He has stated that we must.
Well you know the book of Romans again, the same author, deals with the same idea, brethren, to me shows that over and over and over they were dealing with the same problems in that day. If you'll notice with me in chapter 7 around verse 13, he says, "Has then what is good become death to me?" He says, "Certainly not. But sin that it might appear was producing death. Sin was killing me. The flesh that I was serving was keeping me from God." He goes on in verse 14, "For we know that the law is spiritual, but," he says, "I am cardinal sold under sin." He says, "At one point, I sold myself to sin. I was a servant of sin." And then in verse 15, "For what I am doing I do not understand and what I will to do, I do not practice, but what I hate, that I do." That really is a mouthful because you know the things I hate, you know I shouldn't. That which I don't want to do because I love God and I want to serve God. Guess what happens. The flesh pulls me and often I do it. You see, what I want is to be strong. I want to make sure that I can endure these things and to somehow get away from that.
Look at verse 17. "But now it is no longer I who do it, but sin dwells in me." What is it that Paul is getting at? He says, "I want to attack the flesh and stay away from it that I might be spiritual, that I might serve that which God has asked me to do and be faithful in it."
But now hear verse 25. Paul finally says, "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord, so then with the mind I myself might serve the law of God but with the flesh, the law of sin." He says, "My will is that my mind be God, that my body be God, and sometimes my flesh does not stay in line with that and sometimes my flesh gets involved with the law of sin, but really what I want, what I'm focused on, what I am really vibrant in my life about is the fact that I want God to be first." Is that what we are striving for? Do we want to walk in the flesh like we saw in our initial passage or do we want to put God first? You see, if that's what we want, then I believe that we can do it and when we do it, I believe that is when God's grace comes and it can help us to be saved because God knows our heart. He knows our motivation. He knows that overall we really want to serve Him and put Him first in all things and so what happens when the sin comes and we are enticed and we give in to it? God will forgive. He will forgive me because He knows I didn't do it willfully. He knows that my desire was not to serve sin. He knows that my desire was to put Him first. So what must we do then at the end of the day? We must not walk in the flesh. We must rather walk in the Spirit.
You might notice there with me in Ephesians 4 there in verse 1 where Paul says, "I therefore the prisoner of the Lord beseech you, Ephesians to (do what?) walk worthy of the calling of which you were called." He says that there is a walk that is worthy. And what is that walk? Well I think you and I again could go to that same passage there in the book of Galatians there as we read it earlier and we could understand truly what is said there again about that walk, that we are to walk in the Spirit, the Spirit. We are to walk in the Spirit of God that we might be what? Those who are seen and known to be His children. You see, that is the whole point. That's what we are brought around to again. Not walking in the flesh. Not a physical war, but a spiritual war against the flesh that pulls us away from our God.
Well turn back with me if you will in that passage there in Galatians chapter 5 and notice with me beginning in verse 24 as it states there, "And those who are Christ's..." We've talked about the children of God, those who walk in God, those who strive to stay away from sin. "And those who are Christ's," Notice this. It is very interesting. "Have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." When I serve God, when I put Him first, when I choose to walk in God in the Spirit, I choose to die to the old man, to become a new man. I choose to crucify that flesh, to crucify those passions, to get rid of those desires and to do everything within my power to make sure they don't resurface, entice me and pull me away again. And why do I do it? I do it because I love God, because I want to serve God.
And how then am I going to be able to accomplish this? Verse 25. "If we live in the Spirit, let us also then (what?) walk in the Spirit." Not in the flesh! Brethren, what gets us into trouble is we walk in the flesh and then when it comes time to serve God we're stuck in the flesh. We have got it backwards. We've got to walk in the Spirit. Walk in God. Walk in love. Walk in the steps of faith. Walk in the things that we've talked about throughout this series. We've got to walk in all of those things. Why? So that we might be able at the end of the day as those who walk in the Spirit to know that we can squash the flesh, that we can put it aside, that we can destroy it in our lives, that we can crucify it, that we can make sure that those desires will no longer pull us away from God, but that we will always look to God and obey His Will.
Do you need to repent this day of those things in the flesh that you have walked according to? Maybe as a child of God you do. Maybe you are not yet a child of God and you have been walking in the flesh. If you are not a child of God, you are a servant of who? The devil we read this morning, not of God. You today can obey God by confessing His name. You can repent and turn from sin in your life and get rid of all that old stuff, all the old fleshly stuff and you can put on your Lord in baptism, washing away the old man, rising to be a new creature. And then the Lord will add you to His church. And then you can walk in the Spirit of God and not in the flesh. Will you accept that challenge? Will you do what God has asked you to so that you can not only be blessed today, but be blessed forever more?
(SONG # 3 - "There Is A Place Of Quiet Rest!")
Thanks for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. And let me invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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As followers of God, may we always turn away from those things which are according to the flesh that we might truly serve our God properly, and Walk in His Spirit!