THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 10-4-09
LESSON TITLE: “THE WORKS OF THE FLESH ARE…: EVIL THINKING”
Isn’t it great to know God and to have the privilege of gathering together and praising His name on this wondrous Lord’s Day? Thanks for joining us on this special day. We are so happy to have you this morning for this time of offering to God. How blessed we are in this country to have the freedom to assemble this day and to give this time to our Creator. It is my hope and prayer that we will each do our part to make this time of worship acceptable in God’s sight and according to His Will!
Now as we begin to focus our thoughts on God, will you bow with me before His throne in prayer?
Now it’s time to join in with the congregation in song. The name of our first hymn this morning is, “Blest Be The Tie That Binds!”
(SONG # 1)
If you were able to choose in this life, what type of country would you want to be born in and live in? I think if you asked most of the world, they would agree that they would want to live in the greatest, strongest and freest country that this world has to offer! Now as Americans, we have certainly been blessed beyond measure, but most in this world are a whole lot less fortunate than we are.
With this in mind, think of how wonderful the words of the Hebrew writer must have been to those who were under, controlled and ruled by the Roman Government. In Hebrews 12:28, the Bible says, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” What a wonderful promise they had, as well as those of today’s world. Consider the great gift we have through the wondrous grace of God. The writer said, we “have” received a Kingdom, which cannot be shaken. So in Christ, no matter who we are, or where we live; we are all in a spiritual Kingdom that is far greater and stronger than those of this world. And better yet, a kingdom which is eternal!
As followers of God, isn’t that what we have been put in. This is what Paul told the Colossian church in Colossians 1:13-14. There we read, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Wow, what a blessing and what a promise we have from our loving God.
Finally, look back at Hebrews 12 with me, but let’s drop down to verse 29. Here we find the answer as to why all of this is possible, there we read, “For our God is a consuming fire.” Do you understand the strength of God? He is a wondrous, powerful, mighty and awesome God! No wonder we choose to serve Him. Isn’t it great to be a follower of the King? If you’re not His child today, do what it takes to get right with your God!
Our study of the morning will again focus on the, “The Works Of The Flesh Are….” As far as the specific message of the day, we will consider, “Evil Thinking.” So please stay with us and after our next song, we will be lead in this study from God’s Word.
As far as our guest speaker, we are happy to again have brother Kevin Patterson. Brother Kevin is the minister for the Highway 13 Church of Christ, in Bolivar, Missouri. We thank Him for being with us this Lord’s Day. Now let’s join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, “Count Your Many Blessings.”
(SONG # 2)
By Kevin Patterson
Good morning and thank you for staying with us. What a glorious day it is to come together and to study another portion of God’s Word, and thank you for tuning in so that you can be a part of this study of God’s Will for us.
Over the past several weeks we have been studying a series of lessons on “The Works of the Flesh.” Most of these works of the flesh are included specifically in Galatians chapter 5 verses 19-21 where Paul wrote the Galatian churches and he said to them, “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries and the like of which I tell you beforehand just as I have told you in time past that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
For those who are trying to live a godly life, for those who are trying to live in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, for those of us who yearn for a home called heaven one day, that means that there are certain things in this world that we have to say, “No” to. We’re going to have to live according to a different pattern than what those around us might choose to live. These works of the flesh are the things that we are to say, No” to as we say, “Yes” to God and His way.
This is why Paul said in the verses just prior to this in Galatians 5 verses 16-17, he said, “I say then walk in the spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh, for the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things that you wish.”
This week we are going to take a look at another lust of the flesh. We’re going to take a look at another work of the flesh or a deed of the flesh that is not contained specifically in Galatians chapter 5, but we do see it mentioned in the words of Christ in Mark chapter 7 verses 20-23 and that is the work or the deed of evil thinking. Jesus said, “What comes out of the man, that defiles a man, for from within out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness, all these things come from within and defile a man.”
You see the problem is not just evil deeds or evil actions but it is also evil thoughts as well. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount He mentioned one time He said, “You’ve heard don’t murder.” Well that’s true. We don’t want to murder. We don’t want to commit that deed or that evil action, but He goes on and He says that you know how you feel about your brother is what precedes that actions. In other words, if we have evil thoughts about someone, if we have things like anger or malice or envy toward another person then that might lead us, that thought process might take us to the action of actually taking a life.
Jesus also said in Matthew chapter 5 verses 27-28 in the midst of His Sermon on the Mount, He said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old you shall not commit adultery.” Now Jesus was quoting here one of the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20 and verse 14 and He is saying, “You have understood now do not commit adultery. Do not commit this action.”
But Jesus then goes on to say that there is something that precedes that action. There is something that brings us to wanting to choose that action in our lives that we also need to stay away from as well. In verse 28 He says, “I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
You know people do not just go out and commit murder. Usually something brings them to that point, some kind of a thought process. In the same way, people do not just commit adultery. It is usually a thought process, a process of lusting, a process of desiring something that is not theirs that causes them to ultimately choose that action.
Well that brings us to really what we are going to focus on today in this subject of evil thinking and that’s one of the biggest problems that we face in our modern world today and that is the problem and the sin of pornography.
What is pornography? The word “pornography” can be broken down into two parts: the word “pornea” which simply means illicit sexual intercourse, but can also simply in a general way be something that is described as something that is filthy, and also “grapha” which means to write. Therefore pornography literally means the writing or the depicting of filth. Well modern definitions of pornography describe it in this way: “Pornography is obscene writings, drawings, photographs or the like, sexually explicit pictures, writing or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal, still and moving images usually of women in various states of nudity posing or performing erotic acts.”
You see even our culture understands that there is a problem here, but the question is: How does God view this? What is God’s position on nudity? How does the Bible describe this?
After all if we go back in the beginning to Genesis 1 and verse 27 and we see God creating man and woman, we realize in chapter 2 and verse 25 that they were both naked, the man and his wife and were not ashamed. Now there are two things we need to draw on from that passage of scripture. The fact that they were naked, and number two that they were not ashamed. That’s because they had not yet chosen sin. They had not yet chosen to go against God’s Will and therefore have something to be ashamed about. But in chapter 3 we start to read how the serpent starts questioning Adam and Eve about the instructions that have been given to them by God not to partake of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, not to eat of its fruit, not to even touch it, as Eve says. And we read in that passage of scripture that although the serpent lies to them and deceives them and tells them really they are not going to die if they do this, we see in verse 6 that, “The woman saw that the tree was good for food. She saw with her eyes that it was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes and that the tree was desirable to make one wise. She took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her and he ate.” Now listen to the next passage of scripture. In verse 7 of chapter 3, “Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they knew that they were naked.” Now they had been naked all along, but for the first time they realized that there is a problem here. “And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings and they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ So he said, ‘I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked so I hid myself.’ And he said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?’”
You see later on that as God is preparing to expel Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden so that they would no longer have access to another tree, the Tree of Life and eat of its fruit and live forever, as He is expelling them we read in verse 21 that, “The Lord God made tunics of skin for Adam and Eve and He clothed them.”
What we see here is a change, a change in what happened in the relationship between man and God. When we sinned, the nakedness, the purity that God created us with suddenly became something that would cause man a problem. We would give in to the lusts of our flesh now. We would desire things that are not ours and so as a result, God did not leave man and woman to be naked as they walked through their lives, but rather He gave them clothing to cover their shame.
Now here is what’s interesting. We see further depictions of this in the book of Leviticus and I would encourage you sometime to read Leviticus 18 verses 6-19 where verse after verse, passage after passage, scripture after scripture details how we are not to uncover the nakedness of another person. Over and over and over again it says, do not do this. This is not something that you have the right to do. In fact, it is Hebrews chapter 13 and verse 4 that describes for us the time where it is appropriate and this is only between a husband and his wife. Hebrews 13 and verse 4 says, “The marriage is honorable among all and the bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”
Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 9 that, “Women should adorn themselves in modest apparel.” In other words, they were to cover themselves because of this problem of looking at someone, because of this problem of lusting after someone and committing adultery in the heart.
But you know pornography is not only something that promotes nudity and the desire for this kind of thing outside of the bonds of marriage. It is also something that degrades the men and the women who participate in it and create it. It destroys the minds and the bodies of those who would be a part of it.
Let me have you consider some of the following statistics. 66% of porn stars have herpes, a non-curable disease. 12-28% of them have other sexually transmitted diseases. 7% of them have HIV. 70% of sexually transmitted infections in the porn industry occur in females. 20 suicides and 28 drug related deaths among performers are known to have taken place since the year 2000. Over 100 straight and gay performers have died from AIDS. Worldwide pornography revenue in 2006 was a little over 97 billion, that’s billion with a “B” dollars. Of that, approximately 13 billion was in the United States. The United States adult film industry produces 4,000-11,000 films a year. There are 4.2 million pornographic websites on the internet. 420 million pornographic web pages and 68 million daily search engine requests for things of a pornographic nature. If that doesn’t disturb you, listen to the following. More than 11 million teens regularly view porn online. The largest group viewing online pornography is the group from ages 12-17. J. Edgar Hoover who was the ex-head of the FBI said, “It is impossible to determine the amount of harm to impressionable teenagers and to assess the volume of sex crimes attributable to pornography, but the influence is extensive.” Americans spend 20 billion dollars annually on pornography in its many forms and there are more outlets for hardcore pornography in this country than McDonalds food stores. Those claiming to be Christians are not exempt either. Experts say that some 39% of men claiming to be Christians are sexually addicted to pornography. And according to a recent report 7 % of preachers and 15.5% of married Christian men use pornography regularly.
People say that there are no new sins, that there are just new ways to commit the same old sins and that’s true. Back in the Garden of Eden, Eve saw something with her eyes that she desired, that she thought would be good or pleasurable for her body and we are seeing the same thing here today. We are seeing the same thing when people give in to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life. But just because something is out there for us to look at does not mean that we should. Eve looked at the forbidden fruit until she desired to eat it and then she did and she was cast out of the garden. People today look at pornography until their minds are filled with corruption and then they desire to participate in it.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians 16 and verse 18 that, “We are to flee sexual immorality.” Anything that is immoral of a sexual nature, we need to flee from it.
He said in 1 Thessalonians 5 and verse 22 that, “We are to abstain from every form of evil.”
1 Corinthians 16 verses 19 and 20 asks the question, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you have from God and you are not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s.”
What we need to do is fill our minds with the Will of God rather than with the filth of the world.
There’s a passage of scripture I would encourage you to read in Proverbs chapter 6 verses 20-28 that ultimately concludes with these questions. “Can a man take fire to his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be seared?” I would ask the question, “Can one view pornography without being influenced by it?” I would ask the question, “Can one fill his mind with evil thoughts without someday acting on them?” I would ask the question, “Can one meditate day and night on sin and not eventually become a sinner?”
Spiritual pornography is a deadly fire that consumes those who participate in it. Therefore, let us make sure that we focus on God, His Will, His purity, and abstain from the sin of the world.
(SONG # 3 - “To Christ Be Loyal And Be True!”)
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today? I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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As followers of God may we learn to control our thoughts? Because we know that evil thoughts can keep us from our ultimate reward from God. Is your mind set on things above?