THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 4-1-07
LESSON TITLE: "WALKING IN THE SPIRIT: THE WORKS OF THE FLESH ARE EVIDENT: UNCLEANNESS AND LEWDNESS"
Daniel once prayed to God and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments," Truly what a great and awesome God we serve!
Let me welcome you this morning and say thanks for joining us for the Living Word Program. It is always a privilege to have you with us for this time of offering to God. We welcome you to this service for our Creator.
Today, we have the opportunity together to worship and praise our God. This morning we will glorify our Lord through songs of praise and through the study of His perfect Word. Won't you do your part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.
It's time to start our praise through song. Won't you join in the first song of the morning, as we sing together, "The Great Physician!"
(SONG # 1)
Throughout the Old Testament, we see that writers found there, continually acknowledged the wonder and magnificence of our God. How encouraging it is to see their faith, through the things which they proclaimed to the people of their time.
In Deuteronomy 3:24, Moses said the following to Israel, "O Lord GOD, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds?" What wondrous words were said here, confirming the great power and glory of our God in Heaven.
Also, read with me from 1 Samuel 2:1-2, there Hannah prayed, "My heart rejoices in the LORD; My horn is exalted in the LORD. I smile at my enemies, Because I rejoice in Your salvation. No one is holy like the LORD, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God." This follower of God confirms here that God is our rock and can be counted on in every facet of life.
However, the most wonderful part of these expressions of faith in God is the fact that these individuals understood that true salvation was only found in God. I love the way Jonah put it in Jonah 2:9, there he said, "But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD." You see these servants of God were willing to clearly proclaim who there God was, as well as give Him the glory for the salvation which He offered to those who followed His Will!
So, what about today, don't we have an even better covenant through Jesus Christ? That's what the Hebrew writer said in chapter 7, and verse 22 of that book! There we read, "by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant." How blessed we are to know that Jesus has secured our salvation, by making a new covenant and sealing it with His own blood, Hebrews 9:14-15.
Finally, we read the words of Peter in Acts 4:14, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Sound familiar? We also have salvation in God, through His own Son - Jesus Christ. Have you done what is necessary to receive this blessing from God?
Our topic today will again focus on our series called "Walking In The Spirit!" Our specific study this morning is entitled, "The Works Of The Flesh Are Evident: Uncleanness and Lewdness!" So stay with us and in a few minutes I will return and lead us in our thoughts of the Day. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thanks for continuing with us today. We now go back to our main study as we look at a text from Galatians chapter 5.
Last week, we began together looking from that text and finding out actually what it means to walk in the Spirit. In fact, you might notice there in verse 16 that that's the instruction that Paul gives to the churches of Galatia, that they walk in the Spirit and by doing so that they will not be caught up in the flesh. Isn't that true in life? When we learn to focus on good and wholesome, righteous, pure things, it is much harder to get caught up in those things that are improper or impure or unholy. On the other hand, when we are bogged down in the sinful things of life and we allow ourselves to be caught up in that, it is hard to turn to righteous things often as well. So he says here that if you'll walk in the Spirit, you're going to be way ahead as far as not maybe having such trials or tribulations with those sins that so often beset us.
He not only talks about that but he goes on in the same text and he clarifies for us not only the works of the flesh, but then the fruit of the Spirit. And so really the purpose of our study is going to be as we continue on looking at not only those things we should not do, that we are walking in the Spirit, but then eventually looking at those things that we should do, that we are seen by God and others as being in the Spirit and walking in the Spirit of God.
So again, what are those things that are evident that are of the flesh, that are of a sinful nature? Well, they are introduced to us there in verse 19, those things that are really without question wrong in the sight of God. Four things are mentioned first of all in that text. Last week, we looked at adultery and fornication. We find types of sexual sins here that are mentioned, problems that were not only there in Galatia, but in Corinth and many other places as well as Paul also addresses this issue in other texts which he wrote. But in this letter, he mentions those and then he adds to it, uncleanness and lewdness. Interestingly enough, these first four deal with the type of sexual or physical sins, those things that we often might get caught up in before we even know it. We allow ourselves to become weak and do things that we should not whether married or not married. We often allow Satan to slip in and before we know it, we are deep in sin and doing things that are contrary to one who walks in God and therefore we are walking in the flesh which would be synonymous with walking in the ways of Satan.
So what is this idea then of uncleanness? What is the idea of this lewdness, as well, that is mentioned? I think the best way that we could understand uncleanness is to go back all the way to the beginning. After we know that God created the earth, we learn early on in Genesis that a man named Noah was a good and righteous man and that God had determined that He would spare him and that when He was going to bring a flood, He told him to prepare an ark. When he was going to bring animals on that ark, do you remember what the requirements of the animals were? If you'll look there in Genesis chapter 7 and verse 2, He says, "And you shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and (as He states there) his female, two each also of animals that are unclean, a male and his female." You know we always talk about the two by twos going into the ark, but what else did He talk about? Well, that was the unclean, the two by twos. The clean animals, there were to be seven. Why? For God knew that when they came off, immediately there would be need for sacrifice of the clean animals and then there would be a greater demand on them and they would need more in order that they might replenish themselves on the earth after the flood.
Not only in relationship here to what He put on the ark, but we also move over to great books of law in the Penteteuch as well such as Leviticus. You might notice there as well that early on in the book of Leviticus after the giving of the Law, being reiterated clearly for us there and told to us what was found at Mount Sinai, we find in chapter 7 again and verse 19 that there are some specific things said that should be done that are clean and unclean. He says, "Anyone that touches something that is unclean shall not eat of that flesh, but it shall be burnt of fire." Verse 19 continues, "And as for the clean flesh, all who are clean may eat of it." You see, holy and unholy. He goes on to say that, "Those who eat of that which is unclean and those things that belong to God and the holy," verse 20 says, "shall be cut off." That means they would be killed for their sins. And then he goes on to say why. "For the person who touches an unclean thing whether it is uncleanness of a human or an animal or whatever it is," it says, "that person shall be cut off for it is an abomination." You see, cleanness, uncleanness, holiness, unholiness, righteousness, unrighteousness.
And I think what helps us more than anything is as we move over a few chapters to chapter 10 where now he begins to deal with the priesthood. You and I, Peter says, are also priests. But in that day, the priesthood was told to do certain things. Begin with me in verse 9 of chapter 10. "Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you nor your sons with you when you go into the tabernacle of meeting lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations." But hear verse 10. "That you may (do what?) distinguish between holy and unholy, between clean and unclean." Then he goes on to say that, "You might teach to your children and know and obey all the statutes of God." You see what we're looking at is a way of life. What we're looking at is that there are two ways to do anything. There is a clean way, a good way, a holy way, a right way, a good way, obviously all those things that would be according to God, and on the other hand an unclean way which would include again the unrighteousness or imperfect or improper, sinful things, evil. Then if we look at these two sides, then we begin to see what cleanness and uncleanness are all about. God had set a standard of cleanness and uncleanness, not only early on but also in the days of Joshua.
I might remind you there in Joshua chapter 22 and verse 19 that God told Joshua, "The land that you are about to enter into and receive as an inheritance is an unclean land." Why? The sin, the paganism, the nations there were abominable and they were not followers of God and had no interest in knowing the God of Israel. God said, "Therefore the land is unclean."
I remember Isaiah in Isaiah chapter 6 around verse 5, he stated there, "I have unclean lips."
Think about now what we are beginning to see about uncleanness. It is not only in reference to something that possibly we would eat as the Bible would instruct us not to eat maybe blood or such as that things that have not been cooked. It not only instructs us in areas of our words, the things that we say, but also our deeds and our thoughts. So what is it that we strive for as those who love God. We strive to be clean. We strive to focus on and meditate on things that are holy. We strive to say that which is pure and right and we strive to do those things that bring glory and honor to God. So when we read a work of the flesh that is obvious is uncleanness, we are saying anything that is not of God or according to His Will or proper in His sight is unclean and therefore those that partake in such, he adds also in the same text, verse 21, shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Now I really like the idea of uncleanness as well for a final reason because the fact when we say uncleanness is so broad. You know when we talk about adultery and fornication, a lot of the other sins that we will find in the book of Galatians, a lot of those things that are certainly wrong, idolatry and sorcery and hatred and jealousy. We know exactly what he is saying, exactly what he is referring to. Well we know what he is saying with uncleanness, but the point I'm trying to make is almost anything that is wrong can fall into uncleanness. In fact, any of these other things could fall into uncleanness. So we learn a way of life again. We learn a desire to serve God, to know His Will, to do it His way or to do it another, therefore, being unclean.
Will we choose to be holy as God is holy? Will we choose to be clean as God is clean? Or will we choose to walk according to the flesh and then not be those recipients of God's promises?
The other word that we look at this morning is the idea of lewdness. You see, we've mentioned again adultery and fornication, uncleanness. This certainly would encompass all types of other sins including sexual sins, and now we look at lewdness. The Old King James calls this lasciviousness. If we were to find a simple definition of lasciviousness, it is basically the handling of one's body in a way that causes it to be perceived as improper, an unchaste handling of males and females, as some might put it, an unrestraint, an uncontrolled action.
Now there are many things that fall under that category. For instance, we might say some types of dance, in fact the modern dance. Many types of dances that actually or almost imitate types of acts that really are of a private nature. But yet, then we do that in a public way. Well, that's what lasciviousness is. It is doing something that is an uncontrol of the body, an unrestraint, something that is again going to be perceived in an improper, impure and back to (what?) unclean way. Now think about that for a moment because it is not only dancing but it could even be the way that we dress. When is the last time that you went to Wal-Mart or the Mall and somebody walked by and your eyes almost popped out of your head because of the lack that they had on or maybe their backsides were hanging out of their clothes? It is ridiculous sometimes the unclean things that are worn! So as we read here, that is exactly what he is talking about.
But now, I want you to look a bit further with me because there is an intent here. You know the thing I always hear from folks is, "Well, if somebody looks that is their problem." Well, is it really? I think it is their problem, and I think the Bible teaches and we read there in the scriptures in Matthew 5:29 that if one looks on someone to lust then he has committed that adultery, that sin in his heart. He is guilty. But what does the Bible teach also in the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 8 about that one who might handle themselves in such a way, who might act in an unclean way or even we might say a lewd way, a lascivious way that obviously might cause someone to look? Now grant you, some people might just have a problem and it might not be your fault at all. But what if, let's say, that you wear things or you say things or you do things that cause people to look two, three or four times because you want them to? What is it that the scripture teaches us about that? In 1 Corinthians chapter 8, I wish you would look there with me at verse 9 because it says there, "Beware, beware lest somehow the liberty that you have through Christ become a stumbling block to the weak." But then notice what he goes on to say there later in verse 12. "But when you thus sin against your brother." Read the context. Take time and read all of this text. When you do things and it causes your brother or someone to stumble and he then says that if you sin in that way, notice what happens. Well, we have offended that brother. We have sinned against that brother. Verse 12 also says, "You also sin against Christ." It makes me think of Matthew 25. Do you remember when Jesus said to His disciples, "When have you done good to Me? When have you fed Me? When have you clothed Me?" And they said, "Well, Lord, we never saw you in that situation." He says, "Well, when you don't do it to everybody else, you don't do it to Me." Isn't that the same thing He is saying? When we sin against our friends and our neighbors and our brethren by doing things that are lewd and wrong and we cause them to be tempted and then to stumble, not only do they sin, we sin, and we sin against Christ. We sin against God. Therefore, we read in verse 13, therefore Paul says, "If I am going to be one who knows that even food causes my brother to stumble, I'll never again even eat meat so that he won't stumble." Think about that. Paul says, "I'm going to go to the extreme here." And hopefully nobody is going to have a problem with the things that we eat, but even if that be the case, when I'm around that person, I'm not going to do it. Why? I don't want to be guilty of sin against that brother or that person nor against Christ.
So I want us to understand when we talk about uncleanness, when we talk about lewdness, we're talking about things that we ourselves have control of. When we back up in verse 19 and we talk about fornication and adultery and again uncleanness, we're talking about things that you and I have control and have a handle on if we choose. If we don't choose to, that's what Paul is talking about in our main text, Galatians 5. We then choose to walk according to the flesh. We are not and cannot be a part of the kingdom of God and we will not receive the rewards that God has promised.
So let me encourage us all today to look at our lives and to look honestly not only in these areas, but in the areas that you read there that we also are going to discuss in the near future. Make sure that what we are doing today and everyday is according to God, that the things we do are not unclean, but clean, are not lewd, but pure and righteous, are not according to adultery or fornication, but according to marriage and godliness. When we do that, what do we learn in the same text? Well, that we are a part of the kingdom of God and those who are a part of the kingdom of God are recipients not only of the blessings that God has promised us now but also of the blessings of eternal life after we die. You see, we have every reason, as we read in our text, to walk in the Spirit.
Will you choose today to walk in the Spirit, to no longer serve the flesh? If you have not been a child of God, do what it takes this day to get right that you might be proper in His sight and that you might begin that walk so that you are blessed as we have spoken of. But all things being considered, make sure that what you do today and everyday is according to God rather than Satan so that you will be found faithful in the end and receive the crown of life.
(SONG # 3 - "Blest Be The Tie That Binds!")
Let me thank you again 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. Let me also 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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May we never be caught up in those things which are unclean and improper in the sight of God. Rather let's focus on that which is becoming of a true child of God as we walk in His Spirit.