The Dangers of the Flesh
Well does anyone know what yesterday was.
It's a trick question yesterday was the day that the evil Ohio State men's basketball team lost to the wonderful make Nissin Gonzaga Bulldogs gone is there right out of.
Adams and I.O.C. fan I'm a gun Sega fan because I'm from Spokane you know God's country up there and is my favorite basketball team there by far my favorite college basketball team and they were playing against my least favorite college in the universe Ohio State and so it was yesterday was a good day and then on top of that my favorite college is probably the University of Michigan I don't have a talk about that here but I like the University of Michigan and they won on a last second three pointer to be Houston to go to the Sweet sixteen so yesterday was a really good day for me unfortunately guns a good Michigan my two favorite teams they actually have to play each other next Thursday so I know if that's the worst part of my week you know life's pretty good right now I carry care of the plane but obviously yesterday was St Patrick's Day I don't know if you guys did anything you had corned beef and cabbage or whatever you had my family decided to celebrate in a way I think probably most Americans celebrate but before before I tell you how we celebrated. I have really tried this year to cut out sugar from my diet like completely and I've done really well in fact I can probably count on one hand how many times I've had a dessert in two thousand and eighteen that is until yesterday. And so after Jackie's soccer game we're like oh we need to have something for St Patrick's Day and someone came up with the idea I don't know who was maybe maybe it was me is probably me hey let's get some shamrock shakes from McDonald's How many do you like those those are those are awesome so I drove over to McDonalds Kyle and I went over there and I got two large shamrock shakes who came back and we split it all up into five cups and we all drank I'm. And boy it was really sweet not having sugar for a long time was really good and then Kristin and Jackie went to Safeway and Kristen came home with a box of donuts.
And it were it was the old fashioned Don't you know what the buttermilk in the frosting on top and they were just speaking calling out to me and I was thinking No I already had it I already had a milkshake I shouldn't have anything and I looked at those and you know what those donuts are like the best tone in the world for dipping in coffee you know yes some people are already saying coffee you know you break it up and so I'm thinking you know I resist as long as there's no more coffee I won't make any coffee so I went over to the craft and lo and behold it's a stainless steel craft so I can see what's in it it's about halfway full so.
I can always coffee right so poor a cup of coffee heated up and I had a donor and at that point I'm thinking well I've already had a shake I might as well have a donut right. It's kind of like there are a lot of things are like that and like you say well I've already started so I don't necessarily need or want to stop you know. We need to be very careful in our life because a lot of things are just like that on they can take on a life of their own if we're not careful some of you are probably heard the parable of the two wolves if not all share that with you right now it's amazing how many worldly parables actually have a lot of spiritual significance in them as well but the parable of the tools goes something like this. A grandfather is talking with his grandson and says that there are two wolves inside us which are always at war with each other and one of them is the Good Wolf and that represents love and kindness and bravery and love and the other is a bad wolf which represents things like greed he treated and fear and the grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then looks up his ground when he says will which wolf wins. And the Grampus says the one that you feed. Many of you probably heard something like that before the funny thing is it sounds a lot like what Paul is teaching us here in Galatians chapter five and so I'd like you to open your Bibles right now to Galatians chapter five we're continuing in our passage or in our series on Galatians
and we're definitely into the practical section and here in Galatians chapter five what we looked at last week was Paul revealing to us the calling that has on our lives one of the many callings there's plenty of different places in the Bible where God says that we are called to do something or called to live a certain way and last week Paul mentions to us Elise what we read last week is how we have been called to freedom we've been called to Liberty and then Paul goes on to say and you have two basic options two ways to use your freedom and to use your liberty the first thing you can do with your freedom is you can use your freedom to indulge your sinful flesh you can use your freedom to focus on yourself and find out all the fun things that are going to make you sell yourself a really good and you could do that or you can use your freedom which is what he's telling us to do to love and to fill the greatest commandments and what Paul is about to do and will look at this I'm after Easter is next week's Palm Sunday than Easter but he's about to show us what good fruit looks like if someone is allowing the Holy Spirit to take control of their life they will exhibit the fruit of the spirit and will look at that in a few weeks but first he shows us what it looks like if we use our freedom to feed the Bad Wolf if we use our freedom to focus on ourselves and so today's sermon is about how not to use your freedom and is followed by a very specific warning that will look at and so let's go ahead and we'll read in what I want to do is just because it's three verses let's let's read our verses from last week and then we'll get into our verses for this week's of glacial chapter five beginning in verse thirteen glacial chapter five beginning of verse thirteen says.
For you are called to freedom brothers only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh but through love serve one another for the whole laws fulfilled in one word you shall love your neighbor as yourself but if you buy. Devour one another watch out that you are not consumed by one another now for a passage for this week. Or sixteen but I say walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the spirit and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh for these are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to do but if you are led by the Spirit you are not under law now the works of the flesh are evident sexual immorality impurity sensuality idolatry sorcery enmity strife jealousy fits of anger rivalries dissensions divisions envy drunkenness orgies and things like these I warn you as they warned you before that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
And so in this passage we see Paul's desire for us to live free and he tells us how not to use our freedom and he starts by telling us this kind of point number one don't use your freedom to focus on the flesh Look at verse sixteen again.
But I say walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh and of really descriptive phrase or so what exactly are these desires that we're not supposed to gratify or is he talking about milkshakes and donuts I mean I have those desires you have those kinds of desires Well obviously in life there are some good desires and there are some some bad desires that we have and some of our bad desires are not necessarily sinful and maybe there are unhealthy think a lot of things fall into that category or maybe some of them are unwise but many times in the Bible we are shown that some of our desires are actually sinful I mean obviously sinful the word for desire can be translated using a few different words. It can also be translated other places using the word lost or cravings or longings what I want you to do is stay here and in Galatians but go over to the Book of Romans chapter one. And as I've discovered as I've been going through teaching through the book of Galatians Romans is the perfect. Companion to the book of Galatians it goes on and explains things English and even in more detail and so there are several passages that we're going to look at in the book of Romans today the kind of pick up where glaciers ends so Romans chapter one
and God teaches us in Romans about some of these desires and house they are in fact sinful so Romans chapter one beginning in verse twenty four will just read a couple verses here Romans one twenty four. Says Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity the word for Lust is the same word it's the desires the desires of the flesh so therefore God gave them up to the loss of their hearts to improve. To the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves because they exchange the truth about God for a lie and worship and serve The Creator rather than the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever amen and so in this passage it tells us that God is trying to restrain us from going after these selfish sinful desires and at some point with some people he just he lets them go and he says if this is what you are are totally consumed with doing I'm just going to allow you to do this and says God gave them up to the lusts of their hearts. Go over to chapter six of Romans. Romans Chapter six.
Beginning in verse twelve Romans six twelve.
Another passage says.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body to make you obey its passions same word for desires or lusts do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life and your members to God as instruments for righteousness for sin will have no dominion over you since you are not under law but under grace so I think we all understand this some of our desires their good desires and some of them are obviously bad and where do these bad or sinful desires come from you know what does it source what is its its energy or its strength Well back to five in verse sixteen it still tells us where these desires come. From Paul says inflation's five sixteen but I say walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of what of the flesh the Greek word for flesh is the word SARS and it has to mean senses whenever you see the word flash in the New Testament as one of two meanings two primary senses the first is flesh can be our skin literally what holds the bones in the blood and everything together but from a spiritual standpoint the flesh is talking about the human nature that without any divine influence it is prone to sin and it is opposed to God you know the song that we sing Prone to wander Lord I feel it we all understand what that is that's our Sark sore our flash sometimes I think the N.A.V. translates that word a many times sinful nature that's our sinful nature and it's not so much a substance like our flesh is but rather more like a force in Romans if you're still in Romans go to look at Romans chapter eight.
Romans chapter H. talking about the flesh and how we're not to focus on the flesh Romans chapter eight beginning verse six
it says for to set the mind on the flash or the SARS is death but the set the mind on The Spirit is life and peace for the mind that is said on the flesh the sinful desires is hostile to God for it does not submit to God's law indeed it cannot those who are in the flesh cannot please God Another example is just in the chapter before this in chapter seven Romans seven five. Romans Chapter seven verse five it says For while we were living in the flesh our sinful passions aroused by the law were work in our members to bear fruit to death and so this is hopefully this is fairly obvious if you're a human being it doesn't take much to understand that our flesh there's something in us that just has these longings and cravings and desires that are opposed to God's law and backing Galatians a strong back there now we get a list of what these fleshly desires look like and Paul is telling us not to focus on these kinds of desires so back to Glacier chapter five Look at verse nineteen.
Says now the works of the flesh are obvious are evident. Sexual immorality impurity sensuality idolatry sorcery enmity strife jealousy fits of anger rivalries dissensions divisions envy drunkenness orgies and things like these.
And up to this point in a sermon you're probably thinking you know there's nothing that I have been taught this morning that I didn't already know or I've already been made aware of I think by nature most of us know right from wrong and even people that don't even have the Word of God They know the difference between right from wrong but what Paul is sharing with us is an important truth that we have a choice we can choose to focus on these kinds of desires and to satisfy them. Or we can choose to focus on the spirit one last passage of the glitter Romans.
I think this is the last one A Romans Chapter thirteen.
And I think in here Paul add something I think is definitely worth remembering Romans thirteen beginning in verse thirteen
Romans thirteen thirteen. He says Let us walk properly as in the daytime not in orgies and drunkenness not in sexual morality and sensuality not in quarrelling and jealousy but put on the Lord Jesus Christ and then he says this phrase and make no provisions for the flesh to gratify its desires the word for provision means just that it means to provide for something I like of the N.I.V. puts this verse where fourteen and I.V. says rather close yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh and this is what Christ set us free from the bondage of always thinking how am I going to satisfy my flesh how am I going to do how many in a spend my Friday night or my Saturday night one of the activities that I want to do so that I'm being satisfied and fulfilled and so that is what God has has set us free from it says Do not focus on those things and so I was a reading in the book of Galatians and as we read anywhere in scripture one thing that we already know is that if we sin our sins have been paid for because Jesus Christ died on the cross our sins are paid for and so someone might say and you might think this yourself I think all of us at some point might think this all of our sins are already paid for then what does it really matter if I go ahead and indulge my Flash because it's paid for Christ has already paid for those things well this is where the warning that Paul gives us comes in and so the things that Paul is telling us hearing Galatians are here is how not to use our freedom he tells us first and foremost to not use our freedom to focus on our flesh and then he gives us a warning for those who choose to focus on their flesh Now look again a verse twenty one of glaciers five. Questions five twenty one says in these drunkenness orgies and things like these I warn you who is he talking to here he's talking to believers right. I warn you as I warned you before that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God Now what exactly is Paul saying here is he saying that people who do these things won't go to heaven when they die because if that's what Paul is saying then we're we're all in big trouble right and of parenting Christ sacrifice wasn't enough and that's what we know that's not the truth that that's not true at all so look again at verse twenty one he says I warn you as I warned you before that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God you know this passage can be taken a couple different ways we have to ask ourselves is he saying that people who live like this are obviously not saved and they will go to heaven when they die we know that that is true in and of itself but is this what Paul is saying here or is he saying is he warning believers about living like this and he's giving believers A warning now there are three passages in the New Testament that are almost identical to this one hearing Galatians glacial five there's also one that is in first Corinthians Chapter six verses one through eleven and there's also one in the fusions chapter five and for the rest of this morning what I want to do is I want to transition to the Ephesians five passage of turning your Bibles through fusions chapter five.
And some of you might be thinking you know I think he's talked about this before so I know that all of you pay such close attention to my sermons that you can just reciting you know from memory but actually I preach a sermon on the fusions five back in August of two thousand and fourteen August tenth two thousand and fourteen and the reason I'm bringing this up is because this passage got me thinking as I was going through fees and is this passage a warning for people who do not have a relationship with God he's warning them that these are activities of the unsaved or is he warning believers that if you live like this there's the possibility that you can lose out. On something and Paul uses this phrase three times that you will lose out on something it in he calls us an inheritance in the kingdom and so what I did is back in August of two thousand and ten or two thousand and fourteen I actually wrote some of you might remember this I wrote to thirty of my pastor friends or people that were ministry and I asked them these two questions I said is this passage any talking to believers warning them that if they live like this they are losing out on potential rewards in heaven or is he writing to people who are unsaved and warning them to stop that because that is obviously the activity of someone who will not go to heaven.
I revealed to you the results of the survey back in August tenth of two thousand and fourteen so if you don't remember that sermon you're just never going to know the results of the survey it maybe I'll let you know but let's you were an efficiency or let's go ahead let's read this passage the fusion chapter five beginning in verse one and we're just going to read these for several verses here and you'll notice how almost identical This is to our passage in Galatians he says five beginning of verse one therefore be imitators of God His beloved children and walk in love as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us a freighter an offering and sacrifice to God So already it sounds a lot like glacial doesn't it verse three but sexual morality and all impurity are covetousness must not even be named among you as is proper among saints let there be no filter in this nor feel foolish talk or crude joking which are out of place but instead lead to rethinks giving for you may be sure of this that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure or who is covetous that is an idolater has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God let no one deceive you with empty words for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them so again who is being warned here is that sinners like if they don't change their they can't go to heaven or is this a warning to believers who are living like this if they continue to choose to live like this that they will lose out on what he says here an inheritance or a reward in Eternity a look again of verse five of the seasons for you may be sure of this that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure or who is covetous that is an idolater has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. You know I I wouldn't say that this is necessarily a controversial passage and people take different positions on this. But there is a good motivating force here is the motivation that God is giving us the fear of punishment to sinners that they will go to… or is it on that of a reward that we might miss out on an inheritance or reward if we choose to focus our lives by living according to the flesh Well this passage for sure and most possibly I think the collation passages as well it's written to believers and I believe it's a warning that believers can lose out on their potential rewards if they choose to live in a way that they will live to feed the flesh so want to look at this passage a little closer so like just like in Galatians this passage is written to people who already have a relationship with God through facing Christ look at verse one again of effusions five well just look at this little closely little more closely if he says five one who is he writing here to he says therefore be imitators of God as BE LOVED children so as Paul writing here to believers I think obviously these are people who have a relationship with God you don't tell the unsaved who don't have a relationship with God to be imitators of God You don't call them children so he's talking here to believers first to and walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself. Up for us those who are redeemed as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God verse three but six you sexual immorality and impurity are covetousness of this not even be named among you as is proper among the saints so who is he talking to here obviously he's talking to people who are redeemed he's talking to the proper way for believers to live verse for. Let there be no filth in this nor foolish talk more crude joking which are out of place but instead let there be thankfulness and then we get to our key verse verse five for you you believe years may be sure of this that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure or who is covetous that is an adulterer has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ in God So as Paul reminding believers that sinners without Christ are in danger of going to… or is this God through the Apostle Paul warning believers that there are consequences for believers who act and live like the unsaved and I think the next couple of verses confirm that that's exactly the case verse six Let no one that deceive you with empty words for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience Paul is not wanting believers to be deceived we are not deceived about the unsaved not having a relationship with God There is no deception there the deception is that the believer can live like that without any consequence and the proof is the God's wrath is going to come upon the unsaved because he hates sin and hate sin in unbelievers just as much as he hates and in the life of believers and so he says in verse seven therefore you believers do not become part with them for one time you were darkness but now you are light in the world walk as children of light so here Paul is trying to say to believers he's warning them do not behave and do not. Live like the unsaved because if you do you will have no inheritance in the kingdom of God or of Christ and another thing that's important to point out and maybe the most important thing for this morning for us if you're wondering where this is going is verse five Look at verse five again it says
everyone who is that everyone who is sexually immoral and goes on continues the verb for who is there is a present active indicative and the significance of that is this Paul is talking to people who are living in on going open unrepentant lifestyle and there is no desire to change he's not referring to people who have committed any of these things in this list and realize that was wrong I need to get right with the Lord because I think all of us can look at this list and say several of those things all of us are probably partaking of in some sense but here Paula saying for those people who are living in ongoing unrepentant people who are choosing to live in the sin they are in danger of not losing their salvation but losing out on a potential reward in heaven.
I want you to go to one other passage in this is in first Corinthians Chapter three. First Corinthians chapter three and this is where Paul tells us about the Judgment Seat of Christ and how what will happen to every single believer that stands before the bema seat that they will either receive one of two things they will either receive rewards for their faithfulness or they will suffer a loss for living the way the God warns us to not live so here in First Corinthians Chapter three. Beginning in verse eleven.
Paul talks about this moment that all of us will have in our lives he says for no one can lay a foundation other than the which is laid which is Jesus Christ now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold silver precious stones wood Hey straw each one's work will become manifest for the day will disclose it because it will be revealed by fire and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done if the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives he. Will receive a reward if anyone's work is burned up he will suffer loss though he himself will be saved but is only as through fire and so this passage is a wonderful passage if if you have place your faith in Jesus Christ there is nothing that can change your status as God's child you will spend eternity with Him no matter what but there will come a day when we stand before him and we have an opportunity to live our lives in faithfulness in this life so that we will not suffer loss but so that we will be rewarded for faithful faithful service you know a good example of someone who is saved and is not going to have any rewards of the bema seat is actually in Chapter five the first Corinthians Oh go ahead read this passage were you talking about a man who was sexually immoral any he just he chose not to repent he was living this lifestyle and process of those people in Corinth he says when you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my Spirit is present with the power of our Lord Jesus you are to deliver this man's man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord that person was living an ongoing unrepentant sin and they were forfeiting I believe their inheritance yet obviously they were see. What coming back to our passage in the lation Zz and what are we supposed to do with this you know Paul is telling us that we are free and that we are to live up to this calling that he has placed on our life and then it is great care for us he shows us what it's like to live in prison to our flesh and also the consequences and I think we should all take the warnings in this passage very seriously you know we're approaching Easter I always look forward to Easter in fact I mention your Sunday School class this morning I think I look forward to Easter more than Christmas if you can believe it Christmas is about the birth of Christ and it's wonderful but Easter is where we find all the fulfillment and this is where we're all of the good stuff really. It happens in the death and resurrection of Christ and the interesting thing is in the nation of Israel as they were preparing for the Passover the Feast of Unleavened Bread and those of you in the Sunday school class you probably remember this from this morning but leading up to this Feast of Unleavened Bread everyone who is a good Jew will go through their house and they will make sure that there is no bread anywhere in the house they will remove all the leaven and leaven represents sin in our life they were very careful to make sure that there is no leaven anywhere in the House and for us today you know even though our sins are paid for if we aren't careful we can allow sinful activity to come back into our life and God is asking us to look at your life and make sure that your life is free from those sins there are to paid for but a little bit of cynic and spread and it can affect everything else and if we go back and we allow sin full activity back into our life it can rob us of our freedom but also like we see in this passage English and also in the fusions and first Corinthians it can possibly lead to loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. So I think what God is wanting us to do and what the Apostle Paul is warning us to do is to pay very close attention to what we are being taught in these passages and make sure that our focus is on The Spirit of God and not on our sinful flesh Well let's go ahead and close in prayer as look forward especially to a Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday next Sunday for the next couple weeks and then also looking at what it means to have the Spirit of God at work in our life so that we can bear fruit for him let's pray
Father thank You for this passage today and I realize you've given us your entire word for so many different reasons first and foremost so that we can know how to be saved were saved through the atoning work of the sacrifice of your Son Jesus Christ you gave him up so that our sins will be paid for the Lord in this passage as we read today I think we all know as long as we have to live in these these bodies we're going to be prone to sin and father even though those sins are paid for there are consequences we can possibly lose our freedom we can get wrapped up in addictions that are very harmful but Lord you want to see you want to stand before you at the judgment seat and you desire to say Well done my good and faithful servant and so you warn us about these things and so Father My prayer is for all of us here to just closely examine our lives and the see if there is any sin in our lives to see if there's any leaven hidden in the corners of the rooms of our heart a lot of that's the case help us to boldly come before you just thank you for the forgiveness that you offer us and to remove those things from our lives and even to depend on each other for help if that's what it takes but Father thank you so much for giving us the book of Galatians and the entire Word of God and Lord my prayer is that we won't spend time focusing in making provisions for the flesh but instead we will focus on the Holy Spirit that you put into our hearts so that we might bear fruit for your holy and most glorious name as in Christ name that we now pray Amen.