THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 9-27-09
LESSON TITLE: “THE WORKS OF THE FLESH ARE:
How wonderful it is to know God and to have the health, strength, and will-power to give this time to Him on this Lord’s Day morning. Thank you for putting God first today and choosing to commit this time of offering to His service.
Today, we will again be uplifted through our commitment to serving God as commanded, as we approach His almighty throne. How enjoyable it will be to worship our God through prayer, song and the study of His matchless Word. Won’t you do your part this morning to see that our worship together is acceptable so that our glorious creator may be glorified?
Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!
Well, it’s time to join in our songs of praise. As we think about our first song, consider the fact that many in this life don’t care much about us. However, it is nice to know that someone truly does love us and care for us. So, won’t you join in the first song of the morning as we sing together, “Does Jesus Care?”
(SONG # 1)
If I were to ask the question, “Where does God live,” I would get a variety of different answers. However, probably the most common would be, “in Heaven!” Even if you ask your kids or grandkids about where God lives, the first thing they are going to do is look up or point to the sky. Again, signifying the same point they have learned, “God lives in heaven, up above!”
This morning, I want you to consider with me where God really is! Is He really just somewhere else, or up above, as if we never interact or come in contact with Him?
Let’s begin in Zephaniah 3:17, there we read, “The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Where is God, “in our midst?” The Psalmist David said, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence,” and then in verse 8 and following he answers his own question by saying, “Wherever I go, you are there!”
And what about us today, are we alone, or is our God with us! Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 28:20? There we read, “…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” What an encouragement and strength this must have given to Jesus disciples, not only to know that God was with them but that He would be with them always. Again in John 14:23, Jesus told His followers, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” What a glorious promise! God will truly be with and make His home in those who are faithful to His cause.
Has God made His home in you today? Well, He can not and will not until you obey His Will and commit to a life of service to Him. Are you willing to obey the voice of your master today?
As far as our main study of the day, this morning we will continue our series on, “The Works Of The Flesh Are…,” with our specific lesson of the day focusing on, “Envy.” So stay with us and after our next song together, I will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. But for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “The Great Physician.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
The wise man, Solomon, once said, “A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.” (Proverbs chapter 14 and verse 30).
Certainly as we think about what Solomon says here, we learn what is good, but then in contrast what is evil or wicked and that thing which is mentioned as being wrong or sinful here is the concept of envy. So the next work of the flesh that we will speak of this day that is also found there in Galatians chapter 5 and verse 21 is the concept of being envious or to envy another.
If we were to look up the idea of envy in the scriptures, we would find many examples as we will look at even throughout our lesson today. But what about the definition? If we look into a dictionary we would find the idea of envy meaning, “To be discontent at the excellence or good fortune to another.” In other words, it has to do with something that someone else is gaining, something that they are receiving, something that they have. It also includes distinctively the ideas of malice or also spite.
Another word that we often use in conjunction with envy is the idea of jealousy. However, there is a slight difference between the two. When we consider the idea of envy, we are considering something that is dealing with other’s possessions. It seems to be focusing on what someone else has received that we in a sense resent. Jealousy actually is something that I more struggle with as a personal thing. If you think about being jealous of someone or something else, or jealous of a situation, or jealous of what you see over there… Often jealousy is more of an inward struggle where envy is something that is what is seen of someone else and therefore we have jealousy based on something that is really outside.
Another word that is tied into these things is the concept of coveting or being covetous. The Bible often condemns the idea of being those that covet. Really the idea of coveting is taking that envy idea one step further. Then not only do I see what my neighbor has and am in a sense wanting of that or really not happy that they have it and therefore even are jealous inwardly because of it. I want that thin! I don’t want a house like it or a car like it or… I want that specific one. I want to figure out how I can get what they have. You know you read often in the Old Testament about those who coveted their neighbor’s lands or wives. That meant that they wanted specifically the thing their neighbor had.
And so you can see kind of the progression of where these three terms go. To be jealous, I begin to feel that jealousy at something that is around me or that I see. That idea of envying what my neighbor has as I look to it and wonder, “Why does he have it and I don’t?” But then coveting and saying, “I’m going to get it. I’m going to do whatever it takes and I’m going to get it.”
Well as we think about that then, why is it so wrong? Well we can certainly see that the principles in and of themselves are contrary to what Jesus would do and contrary to the Bible. We know that already because we have mentioned not only what Solomon said about it being rotten, the idea of envy, but also there in Galatians 5 the idea that Paul gave the Galatian church that, “Envy is certainly a work of the flesh.”
But I would like you to look with me in the book of Romans chapter 1 as Paul again deals with the Roman church, most likely a place he had never been, but a place he certainly knew of great corruption and wickedness. That is the city of Rome. No doubt because of that what has happened to the Roman church? We find that most likely some of these things have crept back in. Sin has begun to plague the Roman church as they live in a very corrupt city. And so he begins to remind them of the real God, a God of wrath in verses 20 and following of chapter 1. But now I want you to notice with me near the end of this section after he has mentioned many different sins including the sin of homosexuality. Notice what he goes on to state there in verse 29 continuing. He says, “Being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit evil-mindedness. They are whisperers.” Then he goes on to say, “Backbiters, haters of God…” He gets down to things like, “Being disobedient to parents and even those who are not loving or merciful.” In other words, anyone, anyone who engages in anything contrary to God whether it be a principle, a characteristic or a word. Guess what in verse 32. “Those knowing the righteous judgment of God,” he says, “that those that practice such things or like things are deserving of death and not only do the same but also approve of those who practice such.” In other words, those who do such are deserving of death because they are involved in sin and sin leads to death. Even those who approve of such!
Have you ever met people who say, “Well I would never do that?” Then they turn around and condone people that do it. Somebody says something that is so foul and nasty and you say, “Well I wish they wouldn’t say that.” Then they say to you, “Well it’s not right for you to judge.” Well how ridiculous that we and others can’t clearly see that when someone transgresses this law that we must address those things and we must correct them and if we don’t, what does it say here? We are guilty of the same types of sins. In fact the book there of 2 John verses 9-11 confirms the same teaching from the Word of God.
Now though as we go back to here we find certainly those who practice envy. I like the way he gives as a terminology there. Not only the idea of being covetous, but he also says, “Full of envy.” That’s somebody that is past the boiling point. They have seen what it is that someone else has gotten as gain and it is driving them nuts. They are just losing physical and mental control as they envy what that gain is or what that credit is that their neighbor has been able to receive.
So what about some examples of envy in scripture, some of these examples that would be very familiar to us? We could back up all the way to the book of Genesis. We certainly remember there the story of Adam and Eve, but then their sons, Cain and Abel. Do you remember there why it was that Cain killed Abel? Well certainly it was jealousy involved and it was from inside of him and he was getting built up and it was bursting out and he was so angry at his brother because God had received what he had done. But guess what it was. This concept of envy. He saw what his brother had done and he was envious. He was envious because it had been accepted and his had been rejected.
Another idea we find is when Joseph was a slave. You might remember before that that his brothers were those who saw the dreams and heard the dreams, who saw how that he was favored by his father. Do you remember the statement that was made there in verse 11 of Genesis chapter 37? You might not have known the specific text, but you remember what was said because it says, “And they envied him.” When they saw the love that their father had for him over him and the preference that he showed them, they were envious, not only jealous and pouting, but they looked and they longed for it and they very much were angry about what they were seeing in the relationship of their father and Joseph.
What about in the New Testament? Well we also find Jesus dealing with this same situation. You might recall there that when he had been delivered before Pilate in Matthew chapter 27 that there Christ was ready to be crucified, but do you remember what it was that was spoken there in verse 18? The Bible says, “And they knew that they had envied him and therefore had delivered him up.” What was the reason that Jesus had been forsaken and delivered up by man that He might be punished by the Jews? Well they envied Him. The Jewish leaders envied how the people looked at Him. They were not only jealous, but they envied. They looked at His power. They looked at how the people flocked to Him and how they wanted to touch Him and hear His every word. And what were they doing? They were sitting over there and nobody cared about them. Nobody even listened. They fell asleep when they were preaching. But when Jesus spoke, everyone listened and people cared. It says that they envied Him because of that ability and because of that power of God.
And so we clearly see that envy is something condemned and we clearly see ways that the Bible expresses to us those who were envious.
Now we want to move over to the opposite. Rather than envy, what should I desire when I look and see that profit of my brother? When I look and see that somehow he has received gain in an area that maybe I am not sure how he got it and I am really not sure why he got it and I didn’t get it, but then I tend to rejoice and I am happy for him. When he weeps and I see the loss and I look over there, then I also weep with him. Do you see the Biblical principle?
Well I want you to look with me there in the familiar love chapter of 1 Corinthians and chapter 13. When we read about love here we learn overall the heart of love, the very foundation and the essence of love. What is it that makes love so special? Well it is something that has all abilities, all powers. We learn there in verse 13 that everything spiritual and of life is built on love, even greater than faith, even greater than hope. But I want you to notice with me there in that same great love chapter what is spoken of there in verse 4 after he has begun to say, “Well although I have given up all of my possessions and I have given my body to be burned, but I don’t have love, it profits me nothing.” Look at verse 4 what he goes on to say. “For love suffers long and is kind. Love does not (guess what) envy. Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up or arrogant.” What does it say? It says, “Love…” which is the ultimate of all things. Love which is God showed us although we didn’t deserve it. The love that Jesus demonstrated by dying and shedding His blood although I was not worthy, the love of God that is unable to be described in any way really because we are mere men and its width and its depth are too great in all aspects for us, it says here, “Love does not envy.” It doesn’t look to the neighbor and have that jealous spirit in a sense as it looks out and considers what gain that my neighbor has.
The next verse, verse 5, goes on to say, “Therefore it does not behave rudely. It doesn’t seek its own and thinks no evil.” Those things to me would build right on it. I don’t look at what my neighbor has got or received and think evil things like, “Boy, I hope he has a flat tire. He got that new car and I hope he has a wreck with it.” It doesn’t think evil things. It doesn’t look at divisive concepts. It doesn’t tear down. What does it do? Love builds up! Love doesn’t envy. Love is not jealous. Love is not covetous. Love is what God has asked us to demonstrate in all that we do and in all that we say throughout life.
Peter understood the same concept as he helps us to understand the idea of envy as well. In 1 Peter and chapter 2 he speaks there of new Christians. As they become those who follow God, what is the challenge that is given to them in verse 1 of 1 Peter 2? “Therefore,” he says, “laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all evil speaking as newborn babes desiring the sincere milk of the Word.”
What is it that all Christians whether babes in Christ or mature must lay aside? Envy is among them! Because it is envy that is contrary to a love that God desires and it is envy that makes me look to my brother and rather than wanting my brother’s good and wanting the joy of my brother and concerning the things my brother has, it is somehow again wishing the opposite, or harm or somehow again wanting to be destructive leading as we have seen to that which is covetous.
Another thing Solomon said we will mention briefly is there in Proverbs 23 and verse 17. You might remember earlier in that text, verse 7, it says, “That as a man thinks in his heart (guess what) so is he.” Then in verse 17 it says, “Let not your heart (what?) envy.” Well if you think in your heart envious things then you are going to show forth that, you are going to show sinful things but don’t let your heart be envious. Rather know that whatever your heart focuses on, whatever is in your heart, that is what will come out.
Job, there in Job 5 and verse 2 said that, “Envy will slay the simple.” If you know that, envy will destroy the simple and certainly who does God love? What does God ask us to be like? Even children, the simple, the innocent. So certainly envy is wrong!
Finally there in Romans 13 verses 11-14 we see the idea of then what should we strive for? It is that concept of putting off the old man, the old shameful ways, the same thing that the Colossian writer spoke about and the same thing the Galatian writer, Paul in both cases, was emphasizing to those churches. He again states here that you must put off certain things to properly walk in God, then you must put off certain things. Guess what verse 13 says. “Envy.” One of those things that we must put off is envy. And rather put on the Lord Jesus. He says, “Don’t make provisions for the flesh or for lust or for sin. Put away sinful things such as envy. That we might do what? Put on Christ. Did you realize as a Christian you cannot be envious because Christ or the child of God cannot wear or demonstrate or have put on envy? They have to have shed envy when they became a child of God.
So are you a faithful child of God? Are you striving to put envy out of your life and jealousy and even covetousness? Are you striving to make sure that your spirit is in tune with the spirit of God? Therefore knowing that you will be blessed today and forevermore. That is the challenge. That is the challenge to turn away from those things that are not of God and to turn to God. And why should you do it? You should do it as we have already made reference that you might have eternal life in Heaven with God forever.
(SONG # 3 - “Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary!”)
What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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May we learn to follow the commands of God and to rejoice with those that rejoice and weep with those that weep? For envy is never becoming of a Christian, as it is contrary to the Will of God!