God has called us out of this world and He's given us the tools that we need to be able to overcome the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life. What we must do is live in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
I think we all realize that Israel came out of Egypt by night, and the Bible states they came out of Egypt by night beginning on the 15th day of Abib. Numbers 33:3 Numbers 33:3And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.
American King James Version×…let’s read that particular Scripture.
Numbers 33:3 Numbers 33:3And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.
American King James Version× says: They departed from Rameses in the first month, on the 15th day of the first month; on the day after the Passover … So the Passover was the previous evening… the children of Israel went out with boldness in the sight of all the Egyptians.
Now, Deut. 16:1 also tells us that they came out by night . So, if they came out by night, we know that the day begins in the evening, so Israel left on what we would call last night… the beginning of the Holy Day, and proceeded out of the land of Egypt.
They had seen God’s miracles; they had seen God’s power. They had seen God absolutely decimate one of the greatest nations on the face of the earth…destroy its military, destroy its economy, kill the first born…and yet, they doubted God. They doubted His power; they doubted what He could do. And you have to ask yourself a question: Why? Why would they do something like that after they’d seen all of these tremendous miracles, why would they ever doubt God?
There are many Scriptures in the Bible that talk about this, but let’s go back to one that perhaps you haven’t read in a while: Psalms 106. There are a number of Psalms that address this issue. But beginning in Psalms 106:6 Psalms 106:6We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.
American King James Version× we find a summary of the beginning history of Israel and what they did. In Verse 6 we read:
Verse 6 : We have sinned with our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly.
Verse 7: Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; they did not remember the multitude of Your mercies but rebelled by the sea…the Red Sea.
So one of the things, one of the proclivities that the Israelites had, is they forgot…they didn’t remember. And as we’re going to see today, that could be a tendency that we might have if we’re not careful. Beginning in:
Verse 8 : Nevertheless He saved them for His name sake, that He might make His mighty power known.
Verse 9 : He rebuked the Red Sea also, and it dried up; He led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.
Verse 10: He saved them from the hand of him who hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
Verse 11: The waters covered their enemies; there was not one of them left.
Verse 12: Then they believed His words; they sang His praise.
Verse 13: But they soon forgot His works; they forgot what God had done for them…what He did in their life… and they did not wait for His counsel.
And if you’ll remember, they proceeded on in many cases, doing their own thing without seeking counsel from God. So they had a problem of not remembering what God did. Now in Verse 19 it says:
Verse 19: They made a calf in Horeb, and worshipped the molded image.
Verse 20: Thus they changed their glory (they had the glory of God, the Almighty God) into an image of ox that eats grass.
Verse 21: They forgot God their Savior, - they forgot who saved them, who brought them out of Egypt – who had done great things in Egypt,
Verse 22: Wondrous works in the land of Ham,
So, what was the fruit or the result of their forgetting? The fact that they forgot…what actions did they take – what courses did they follow? What path did they trod? What way did they go? You can say it in many different ways. Well, let’s back up to Verse 13 here and get some of the high points of this chapter, and notice what their actions, what their works were. Verse 13 we’ve already read, they forgot His works, the Bible says.
Verse 14: They lusted exceedingly in the wilderness,
Now in fact, in one place, I think it’s in the Book of Exodus, it says: They lusted a lust. In other words, they just gave themselves over to their passions and their desires. And then also it says: They tested God in the desert . They didn’t believe God and they were always putting Him to the test, and they didn’t trust him.
Verse 16: When they envied Moses in the camp, and Aaron the saint of the Lord,
So why did Dathan and Abiram and some of them rebel against Moses, Aaron…well one of the basic problems was simply envy. They wanted to be in the prominent positions; they wanted to be the one who was in charge. And so, they envied. Verse 21 tells us that they forgot God, their Savior.
Verse 24: They despised the pleasant land; they did not believe His word.
So they despised even when they got to the land of promise…they despised the promised land, or the pleasant land, and they did not believe His word. They didn’t believe what God was going to do for them. And then:
Verse 25: They complained in their tents …or as some of the other translations say: they murmured.
So they were murmurers; they were complainers. Now they didn’t do it necessarily always in front of Moses…but in their tents, what we would call in their homes, their cottages. Now, we’ve never complained or murmured in our own privacy, or private homes you know, about anything…but they did!
Verse 28: They joined themselves also to Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices made to the dead.
So, they went totally contrary to what God said. They had corrupted the worship of God and began to worship other gods…they ate sacrifices that were actually made to the dead. And Verse 33 we find:
Verse 33: Because they rebelled against His Spirit,
It was the Spirit of God that was leading and guiding and directing them, but they rebelled against that. Now:
Verse 35: And they mingled with the Gentiles and they learned their works;
So, instead of setting the example before all the other nations, so the other nations would be attracted to God, to Israel, want to learn of His ways…that’s what they were supposed to be – they were supposed to be a beacon in a dark world , shining out and everyone would see that they were blessed and come and inquire and try to find out. Instead, they followed the nations around them.
Verse 36: They served idols… and
Verse 37: They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons,
So, you find that when they were following these false religions, they were actually doing it to demons. And:
Verse 39: And they were defiled by their own works, and played the harlot.
So their own works defiled them. Now, this is only one chapter in the Bible…there are many others. In the Book of Psalms, …you could just read the Book of Psalms today and really cover almost the same thing being repeated over and over. But this one chapter summarizes what happened between Israel and God. They were coming out of Egypt, headed to the promised land, and we know that their coming out of Egypt is a type of our being called by God, out of this world to go His way, to head for the kingdom of God. And every time I hear the song…I don’t know how many of you saw the Western, but… “I am Bound for the Promised Land “. And of course at that time it was going west; they were headed for the promised land. But we truly are headed for the promised land.
But, many of them were not able to make it. And why were they not able? Well, Hebrews, Chapter 3, beginning in Verse 16 summarizes why they did not make it. Beginning here in:
Verse 16: For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses?
See, that older generation…they all rebelled.
Verse 17: Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness?
Verse 18: And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey?
Verse 19: So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
So brethren, the great challenge for us in this age is to believe – not forget. Not to compromise, as they did. Notice:
Hebrews 4:1 Hebrews 4:1Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
American King James Version× Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, (you and I can enter into the millennial rest in the future) let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it.
Verse 2: For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
Now, what do we read in the Bible about the end time? When Christ comes back, the Bible says, shall He find faith on the earth? Now we’re living in an age that just seems to be like quicksand – it just keeps subtly shifting along and our faith keeps being undermined if we’re not careful. But you and I have come too far; we’ve lived too long and been in the church too long, come too far, to fall short now. How many started this journey over the years and have not endured? The Bible says he who endures to the end … it’s he who overcomes . In our former association one-half, the people who came in the front door went out the backdoor…they just left. They did not remain faithful. And that was a huge number. We estimate that if everyone who came in, were baptized, had remained faithful, the church would have been double or triple its size when things blew up in 1995. How many remained faithful in 1995? Now did they look upon themselves as being rebellious? Did they look upon themselves as engaging false religion, false approach? Well, obviously not.
But we know that God has called us to be a part of his kingdom. And the Bible says it’s God’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom . He wants us in His family…in fact, He’s like a parent out there rooting for their children. I can remember going to many track meets when our sons were growing up, and you’re sitting there rooting for them, that they could run faster, or you know, that they might be able to win the trophy, whatever it was.
Well, God wants us in the family, His family , and He’s rooting for us, He’s pulling for us – He’s pulling all stops out to help us to be there. In fact, He sent us a helper: He has given us His Spirit, to assist us, to aid us, to help us to be in His family. We don’t want to make the same mistakes that Israel made because they kept making them over and over and over. All you have to do is read the Book of Judges, Joshua, and Judges, and you see that they constantly were doing the same things over and over. They forgot what God had done for them. They doubted His power; they tested Him. Doubt is probably the greatest enemy of faith that we can have. When we have doubt, we will be double-minded in what we do. They rebelled; they lusted. They became absorbed in the world and what the nations around them were doing, and their ways.
When you take a look at this list, you realize the Scriptures warn us not to fall prey to the same pitfalls, because human nature hasn’t changed. We live in an age where moral values, ethical standards, and culture norms, are changing so fast that it’s hard to really keep up with them. Everything becomes relative today. No one is supposed to judge anybody else, or judge their values, or judge their ways. No religion today is painted as being morally superior, or more correct than others, when we know that that’s an absolute lie, because the Bible, and the religion of the Bible, the true religion, is the right way…all others are false.
The Days of Unleavened Bread picture God calling us out of the ways of Egypt, out of this world, out of its influences. Human nature has not changed, as I said - we can fall into the same pitfall, same ruts, same mistakes that Israel did - they doubted; they rebelled; they lusted. They were slowly absorbed by the teaching and the culture around them and they just became influenced and overwhelmed by it. Let’s go back to 2 Peter 1:4 2 Peter 1:4Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
American King James Version×…there’s so much that we could speak on that deals with this, but we’re going to try to narrow our focus down.
2 Peter 1:4 2 Peter 1:4Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
American King James Version× since by which have been given to us exceeding great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, - see God wants us to cultivate, develop His very nature – having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Now, I want you to notice, that you and I, once we are called by God, have escaped the corruption that is in the world. And how does that corruption take place? The Bible says : through lust…through the wrong desires . Israel escaped Egypt, and yet as they were coming out of Egypt, what do we read? They wanted to go back. They said : When we were in Egypt we had cucumbers to eat; we had onions and we had garlic…all these good things – fish…and here we are out here and we’re just eating this manna. They didn’t like the manna. And so, they wanted to go back.
We have escaped from the corruption of the world, and God says that if we go back into the world, what’s the analogy the Bible uses? That it’s like a dog returning to its vomit. Or it’s like a pig going back to the wallow after it’s been cleaned up. God says that’s exactly what it’s like for us to go back into this world after we have escaped . If you were in a prison camp… and we’ve seen you know, there are many movies, many shows that we’ve seen, but you know, they’re based many times on factual information, where armies were captured, held slaves, and they tried every way in the world to escape, digging tunnels, or whatever they could figure out to be able to get away.
Well, you and I have been held prisoners by our own lust, by the world, by Satan…and it’s only through God’s mercy that God shows us the way to escape, that there is a way out. And so God brings us out. Now in 2 Peter 2:19 2 Peter 2:19While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
American King James Version×…Let’s notice – it says:
2 Peter 2:19 2 Peter 2:19While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
American King James Version× While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.
Whatever overcomes us, we then become slaves to that, and as it says here: slaves of corruption. The word here means to be mastered or enslaved by what overcomes us. So brethren, we’ve all examined ourselves coming up to the Days of Unleavened Bread…are there things that you’re struggling with that master you – that control you, that enslave you, that you find you’re still struggling with…or you thought, “well I overcame that forty years ago”… and here it is again, you’re still struggling with it, or it comes back. And we all have these struggles, and with things that seem to ensnare us. In 1 Peter 2: 11 – seems like Peter wrote on this quite a bit…he says:
1 Peter 2:11 1 Peter 2:11Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
American King James Version× Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,
So there’s a warfare going on…there’s a warfare that we’re all faced with, and we’re faced with warring against fleshly lust, the wrong desires…a fight taking place. And whether we’re in God’s kingdom or not depends on if we win that fight; we’ve got to win the war. You might lose the battle, but you’ve got to end up winning the war. In the Second World War, the British, the allies, the Americans, lost many battles, and yet they won the war in the end. And so we have to win the war. Titus 2:11 Titus 2:11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
American King James Version×…let’s notice in Titus, Chapter 2:
Verse 12: teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts , - you and I are to live a certain way – we should live soberly , - in other words, be sober-minded – righteously, and godly in the present age,
This world is not to overwhelm us, so we should be the beacon of light to all of those around us. Let’s take a look at what the Bible talks about when it comes to the lust of the world, the lust of corruption. Brethren, what is lust? How do you overcome it? And how do you resist it? Now you might say, “well that doesn’t apply to me because, you know, I was baptized…I don’t have lust.” Well, there’s not a person sitting here who doesn’t struggle with that element in their lives. In 1 John 2:15 1 John 2:15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
American King James Version×we’re told clearly by John that this is what this world is all about. When God calls us out of the world, what does that mean? Well, it doesn’t mean you go to the moon or Mars, or you get in a spaceship and hover in outer space…or go to the space station. He defines here for us: What is the world? It says:
1 John 2:15 1 John 2:15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
American King James Version× Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Verse 16: For all that is in the world – now here’s his definition to what he’s talking about the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.
Verse 17: The world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
So, if we do God’s will, we’ll abide forever, but we cannot follow the lusts of the world. So it talks about the lusts of the flesh, lust of the eyes; the pride of life. What is lust? Well, one of the definitions is: a craving, or a passionate desire . It can be good, or evil, according to the context. Same word is translated, in some cases: a good thing; that you can desire what is good . You can desire for God’s Sabbath to come; nothing wrong with that. But you can also lust. In this context though, it’s talking or referring to evil or wrong cravings. The word lust is obsolete today…you know, most people if you’d say: “Well, are you lusting?” They wouldn’t necessarily know exactly what you’re talking about. Probably the word is, in today’s society, would be better defined by saying: immoral desires; wrong desires and immoral desires, sinful desires. I think this is the Lonita Greek definition of lust: is to strongly desire to have what belongs to somebody else… at least that’s part of it. Somebody’s got it and you want it…you take it. You know - that can be lust. Or to engage in an activity which is morally wrong: to covet, to lust, evil desires; lust and desires.
Now you might ask the question, well what’s wrong with lust? Well, lust leads to coveting, leads to taking, leads to violence, leads to fighting, leads to wars. James Chapter 4…don’t want to forget James 4 in this context. James 4 - James asks the question:
James 4:1 James 4:1From where come wars and fights among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
American King James Version× Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?
Verse 2: You lust and do not have. (In other words , your wrong desires here.) A lust is a wrong craving or desire…you lust, or crave something that you do not have, and – You murder, and you covet and you cannot obtain. You fight and you war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.
Verse 3: You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss…
Why do nations go to war? Well, they can say and give every reason in the book. You know: “The Arch Duke was murdered, so we’re going to go to war.” You know: “You’ve got our property – we want to take it back.” You know, make all kinds of excuses, but when it gets down to its basic element, it is a wrong desire, a lust, and coveting.
Now let’s notice, going back over here to 1 John 2:15 1 John 2:15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
American King James Version×so that we clearly understand – it says:
1 John 2:15 1 John 2:15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
American King James Version× Do not love the world or the things in the world.
The word here for world in the Greek language is the word cosmos, which is used hereto…as defined… and I’m quoting again here from the…I think in this particular case Wuest’s Word Study of the Bible, since it’s used here, and Vincent defines it as the following: “The sum total of human life in the ordered world; considered apart from and alienated from, and hostile to God”… you know, the earthly things which seduce - from God –” or anything that would lead a person astray from God.” And you’ll find society is geared in that way, is it not? Everything you look at in society seems to be geared to e ntice you to do what’s wrong…to lead you in a wrong direction. It goes on to say: “ Cosmos refers to an ordered system “…here it is… the ordered system… “of which Satan is the head; his fallen angels and demons are his emissaries, and the unsaved of the human race are his subjects, together with the purpose, pursuits, pleasures, practices in places where God is not wanted. Much in this world’s system is religious, cultured, refined and intellectual, but it’s anti-God and anti-Christ.”
Now, if you were to go and talk to the average individual who’s quote-unquote “religious” in society today and tell them that they’re anti-God, or anti-Christ - they might smack you! You know, they would be upset with you, because people believe that what they do is right, and their religion is right, their philosophy is right, their education is right, their approach is right. And yet, the Bible says: every man does what seems right in his owns eyes, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.
So, human beings do what they think is right. And you can grow up and you can be taught that something is right and you believe that it’s right. I grew up in the Baptist church and we used to always say: “Well, there could be good people in some of these other churches, but we Baptist’s are right!” I remember having that discussion on a number of occasions. And why did I believe that? Because I was a Baptist. What if I’d been a Catholic - “We Catholics are right! There might be some good people out there in all these other churches.” Everybody believes what he thinks, what he’s doing, is the right faith.
So, the Bible says, don’t love this world…talking about the world’s system, its practices, its way of life…you know, the way they do things, because they are not of God; they’re not based upon the Scriptures. Now the end of this verse says : Do not love the world or the things in the world . What are the things in the world that do not come from God that you and I have to look out for, that we have to be aware of? Where do these things come from? They do not come from God…they come from Satan the devil, because Satan is the God of this world. The Bible says this present world is called what: This present good world? Great world? Wonderful world ? Now we talk about the wonderful world tomorrow…what is the present world called: this present evil age… it’s not called this present good age, but evil age. This is his world , his age; he influences the culture, the philosophy, the education, the music, the religion, the media…all approaches in society. He influences us; he influences every human being.
When you look in what we are reading, or going to read here in verse 16, is the origin of “where do things come from.” Do they come from God? You find the word desire here, or lust in the New Testament - is translated thirty-eight times in the New Testament. Three times it’s used in a good sense; thirty-five times it’s used in a bad sense, meaning a lust or a wrong craving. John explains the origin of the influences that influence the wrong cravings. Does God’s Spirit create wrong desires? Is that the influence that influences people to lust…God’s Spirit? Well, you know better. You know, even the question itself is facetious, but yet you ask the question, where do wrong cravings come from, to lead us in the wrong path, the wrong direction? Is God’s Spirit lustful? Is God’s Spirit filled with inordinate desires or wrong desires? Is God’s Spirit vain? Is God’s Spirit rebellious? Is God’s Spirit full of hatred? Is God’s Spirit self-willed? Whenever you see self-willed, rebellion, pride, vanity, lust, you don’t have to, you know, be a genius…that is not of God. And when you see it in yourself, you need to recognize that that’s not God…that’s not God in me producing those fruits. If it were God’s fruits, it would be something totally different.
I want you to notice that there are two spirits that influence mankind. 1 Corinthians 2:11 1 Corinthians 2:11For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.
American King James Version×– 1 Corinthians, we’ll read here in Chapter 2, beginning in Verse 11, it says:
1 Corinthians 2:11 1 Corinthians 2:11For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.
American King James Version× For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of man which is in him? So, there’s a spirit in man that gives us the ability to think, reason, have intelligence… Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
It is the Spirit of God that reveals to us the things of God. Now notice…draw a contrast. We were discussing the things of the world, contrasted with what? The things of God.
Verse 12: Now we have received not the spirit of the world, - so there is a spirit of this world. That’s Satan’s spirit; that’s his influence. He broadcasts in attitudes; he broadcasts in moods; he broadcasts in wrong thinking – but the Spirit who is from God – so there is a Spirit from God; there’s a spirit of this world – but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
We’ll be taking a look at the things of God as we go along here. So, two spirits – the spirit of the world is what influences the world. It is the predominant influence in society. John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version×clearly states this if you want to know where that spirit comes from.
John 8:44 John 8:44You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stayed not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
American King James Version× “You are of your father the devil, and the desires (or the lusts) of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
So, Satan the devil is lustful, and you’ll notice here…here were the Jews, here were religious people at that day. They kept the Sabbath, they kept the Holy Days, and yet Christ had the audacity to tell them : that you are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. So he clearly spelled out where their desires and wrong influences were coming from. Now, let’s back up again to 1 John 2:16 1 John 2:16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
American King James Version×because here is defined for us what are the things of the world.
1 John 2:16 1 John 2:16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
American King James Version× For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the father but is of the world.
The lust of the flesh means: the wrong cravings, desires, and passions of the flesh that can be misused. Now God created us. God did not…when He created Adam and Eve, God looked out and said: It’s good . And they weren’t bad…or, as human beings are not innately bad just because they’re human beings. But a little baby is born neutral. It can be influenced for good or evil, and guess what the predominant influence is as it grows up? Well, it’s evil. And it grows up being influenced by the devil, society, parents, families, culture, schools etc. And so it begins to take on certain attitudes and certain approaches. And depending on how susceptible a person is, people can be influenced greater, or lesser, by Satan. But the flesh, the desires of the flesh, the desire to eat is not wrong, but to overeat is. The desire to have a drink is not wrong, but to abuse alcohol is wrong. And so, the desires can be misused; misappropriated. And so, the lusts of the flesh involves things like sexual desires that are wrong, power, prestige, authority, vanity, ego, wealth, money…you know, all of these things can be cravings of the flesh – desires.
Then it also talks about the lusts of the eyes. The lusts of the eyes can be desires and cravings and passions that we look at. You drive through a neighborhood, you see a beautiful house…it’s nice to admire beautiful homes. But they say, if you’re going to buy a house, never look at a house more expensive than you can afford, because you get spoiled. So, you know, you can have wrong cravings…the lust of the eyes generally lead to covetousness. And you find that the lust of the eyes have to do with attitudes and approaches that we begin to have.
Jesus Christ, did He not, clearly stated, that if a man looks on a woman to lust after her, he’s already committed adultery in his heart. So you can commit adultery in your heart; you can lust. The lust of your eyes, namely the passions and cravings of the eyes, can also be for satisfaction. So, you have the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Brethren, whether we realize it or not, these are the elements that we will wrestle with till the day we die. Because these are the ways of the world, these are the influences of the world around us. These are the things of the world, and we have been influenced by it. The word pride of life , is an interesting word…Wuest’s Word Study says this word means: vainglory . Vincent says it means originally: empty braggart talk or display. So, somebody brags: “Well, you only have a Chevy – well I’ve got a Mercedes!” And so, they brag about what they’ve got. “You only have a thousand dollars in the bank? Well, I’ve got a million!” And so they’re proud of who they are, what they’ve done, what they’ve accomplished, and maybe their education…whatever it is - also expressed by: braggart talk, or display, swagger . So hence, it is an insolent and vain assurance in one’s own resources. You look at what you’ve done, what you’ve accomplished, who you are, and you begin to think: “Well, I’m somebody.” So you depend on your own resources, what you’ve accomplished; or in the stability of earthly things. So you think that it’s going to go on forever. What about the rich man who had a bumper crop – tore down his barns, built bigger ones and he said, you know: I’ll lay up for the future. And God said what …you fool, tonight you will die. And he died. What good was it? What good is it for a man who labors, doesn’t have anyone to leave it to, and he works himself, he never enjoys life, and he dies and he’s “got the most toys” – you know, he’s won, so to speak. He’s got a big bank account…then who gets it? Oh he shares it with the government, and you know, they’re very happy to have it.
We go on to find that this particular word, the pride of life – the vainglory of life is a vainglory which belongs to the present life. Sayer defines it as: An insolent and empty assurance which trusts in its own power and resources, and shamefully despises and violates divine laws and human rights. You and I, before God calls us, have been used to doing – what? Depending on our own power; our own resources; our own ingenuity. And God wants us to come and learn to depend - upon whom? Upon Him - to rely upon Him, to trust Him, to realize that we can’t make it on our own. In fact, the word life here, the pride of life, refers to that which sustains life, namely food, clothing, and shelter. And it’s interesting when you read the last part of Verse 16 – it says: this is not of the Father but is of the world. The expression of the Father would more properly be translated: out from the Father - as a source. So, these things: the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life, are not from the Father as the source. What is the source of them? Well, the same expression here: they’re out from the world as the source. That’s where they come from. And who is the god of this world? Well, Satan the devil.
So brethren, with that in mind, let’s go back to Chapter 5, the Book of Galatians – Galatians 5:9 Galatians 5:9A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
American King James Version×. It’s interesting, this day, the day that…first day that we should be totally unleavened, physically and hopefully spiritually, Paul wrote to the Galatians:
A little sin, a little leaven, a little wrong attitude will leaven the whole lump. Then in:
Verse 13 : For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh …
The word opportunity here means an excuse, rather than a real cause. So don’t use our liberty that we have as an excuse to give in to the flesh. We have the liberty to drink alcohol but don’t use that as an excuse to abuse it. We have certain liberties that God gives us, but we should not use those as excuses to disobey God. And the last part of Verse 13 goes on to say: but through love serve one another. So God has called us to serve – we do it out of love.
Verse 14: For the law is fulfilled (or filled to the full) in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Now we covered this at the Passover, and we know that this is one of the great commandments. People all the time talk about love: all you got to do is have love! And yet, the Bible shows us how we’ve got to love one another – we’ve got to love one another as we love ourselves; and we serve one another. Now Verse 16 of this Chapter…we come to the key verse in this sermon that we want to focus on.
Verse 16: I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
God has given us a helper to help us to overcome the lust of the flesh. Now walk by the Spirit means: Let your conduct be directed by God’s Spirit; be guided by God’s Spirit. To live, or to behave, in a customary manner with possible focus upon continuation of action; To live , to behave, to go about doing - the Lonita gives definition. Another, it says you will by no means fulfill the desires of the flesh, as it goes on to say here – walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the desires of the flesh. See, that’s a strong negative talking about the future, expressing a promise to us that if we do this, if we learn to walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. So that’s a promise from God.
Now, you might want to hold your place here, and let’s go back to Chapter 8 of the Book of Romans, Chapter 8:4….Chapter 6,7,8 of the Book of Romans are commanded reading and study at this time of the year. You know, they contain many extremely helpful principles. It says:
Romans 8:4 Romans 8:4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
American King James Version× that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh… So you and I are not to allow the flesh to guide us, to direct us, but according to the Spirit. So we are to walk according to the Spirit.
Verse 5: For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
Verse 6: For to be carnally minded (fleshly minded) is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Verse 7: Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; (knows it’s hostile against God; it hates God – His way) is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Verse 8: So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (When it says in the flesh, it means those who are not being guided and directed by God’s Spirit… because we’re all human.)
Verse 9 : But you’re not in the flesh but in the Spirit if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. So, there’s the definition of being in the Spirit: The Spirit of God dwells in us, lives in us. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Verse 10: And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Now, let’s notice in Verse 13:
Verse 13 : For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Verse 14 : For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, (it’s not just to have the Spirit; you’ve got to be led by that Spirit; corrected by that Spirit - guided by God’s Spirit, empowered by God’s Spirit) – these are the sons of God.
Verse 15: For you did not receive the Spirit of bondage… he goes on to talk about.
So we’re told here, we’ve to walk according to the Spirit, live according to the Spirit, be spiritually minded; have Christ living in us. Let’s back up again to Galatians 5:16 Galatians 5:16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
American King James Version×. Let me read this out of the NAS translation – it says:
Galatians 5:16 Galatians 5:16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
American King James Version× But I say: Walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. And then, the NIV, the 84 translation: So I say: Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nation.
So the key, brethren, to us, for us to overcome, is using the Spirit of God in our life, to change us, to mold us, and to motivate us. God gives it to us. The problem is, so often we allow it to lie there dormant; we don’t use it, we don’t stir it up. Here in Verse 17 of this Chapter – Galatians 5 again – we read:
Verse 17: The flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary one to another, so you cannot do the things that you wish.
So, there is a conflict going on in every one of us. When you start to obey God, you want to do what’s right, as Romans 7 says…there’s a challenge – the flesh is there, Satan is there, our human nature, wrong thinking. Most people…you realize that most people don’t have the struggle that we have. The average person in the world going along, just follows the dictates of the flesh…does what he wants to do. He stands on the corner, watches all the girls go by! You know, he goes out to the bar and tries to pick people up. They watch pornography. You know, they do whatever they want to on the Sabbath; they have no consciousness of the Holy Days – and you could go on and on and on about what individuals do. But you and I struggle , not only with that, we struggle with attitudes, with thoughts, with what comes into our minds we want to put out. We struggle with, you know, this world. Many in the world just give in to their impulses and desires. And quite frankly today, with so many people being taught not to judge one another: ”My way’s just as good as your way; my thoughts are as yours…nothing’s absolutely wrong”, they think. That, you know, they go and they do their own thing. But you and I have a constant struggle on a daily basis.
Notice the NIV translation of Verse 17:
Verse 17: For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, (So, there is a conflict going on here) - so that you do not do what you want.
The SV translation says : 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.
So what has to be the dominant force in our lives? It has to be God’s Spirit, not our nature. Beginning here in Verse 19, notice it says:
Verse 19 : The works of the flesh are …then it enumerates what the works of the flesh are…it says , the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness ,
Verse 20 : idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions, heresies,
Verse 21 : envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you before, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice… in other words, a way of life – practicing, doing it constantly – will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Some of these things we fall short in; we have to pick ourselves up and repent and go on. Is God’s Spirit filled with thoughts of adultery, lewdness, idolatry, hatred, murder, drunkenness? Now, if you see these actions in your own private life, or in the world, they did not originate from God; they did not flow from His Spirit. They come from a different spirit. Now notice though in Verse 22 – if you walk in the Spirit… in order words, you have God’s Spirit dwelling in you, there are certain fruits that will be produced. Notice, these are fruits:
Verse 22: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Verse 23: gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Now, works are what the flesh desires and produces; or accomplish. Work is something you go out and do. You say: “I’m going to go to work today.” Whatever your job is, you go off and you go to work; you put forth effort. Fruit is something that comes through the Holy Spirit, that God gives to us through His Spirit. When you see these fruits in yourself or others, then you know that they come from God. God is the source of those; Satan is the source of the other - the world is the source. Now in Verse 24 and 25…it says:
Verse 24: And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires - (passions and desires).
Verse 25: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
What’s the difference in living in the Spirit and walking in the Spirit? Are they exactly the same thing? Well the word lives, in the Greek, means; to spend ones existence, simply to pass one’s life, from which is derived a word: biography; the narrative of how one spends his life. So when God looks at our overall life that we’re living, our biography so to speak, our history that we’re writing, it should be one where we’re walking in the Spirit – we’re living in His Spirit. And to walk means exactly that. It means: a role or line or length, to stand in order, to go in order, to advance in rank, such as an army. And in the New Testament, it’s used figuratively to mean to walk orderly, with rules, to live according to the rule or duty; to follow the rule or duty. So when you and I walk in the Spirit, it means that we walk according to the law of God, according to the commandments of God. And that’s going to be reflected in how we live; it’s going to be reflected in our history, our biography, so to speak. We are to live and conform to the standards that God has set. If we live…one translation – this comes from the Lonita – their definition: If we live because of the Spirit, because we have God’s Spirit in us, we should conduct ourselves in accordance with the Spirit. So, the Spirit guides us. God’s Spirit will never lead you off and descend into the wrong way, but you and I have to be receptive, or let’s say, able to receive God’s Spirit.
What kind of environment does the Spirit of God thrive in? What is it that we should be looking at in ourselves so that God’s Spirit can flourish, that it can grow? You can take a plant, plant it in hard clay…it’s probably not going to grow very well. But you put it in fertile ground; you put it in soil that has a lot of humus, a lot of black soil and mulch, and watch it take off! Well that’s the way we are. There is a soil that God’s Spirit can flourish in, and it’s called humility . So then God’s Spirit flourishes in humility, and you and I must have that attitude - that approach. It flourishes through love. See, when Israel came out of Egypt…they could not come out of Egypt on their own, could they? They wanted…they were slaves; they wanted many times to come out of Egypt. Moses, at one time, before he went off into the desert, he thought he would deliver Israel, because he was a General! He had the education, the background; leadership…God had to humble him for forty years before he could come. And by that time, he said “I can’t even speak.” And God had to provide Aaron as his mouthpiece. He had finally become humble. What does the Bible say about Moses? He was the meekest man on earth. God could use Moses. Can God use us? Can God use you individually? Well, he can if we will humble ourselves and yield ourselves to Him.
See, Israel couldn’t come out of Egypt on their own - they were slaves and they needed help. God intervened on their behalf; He guided them; performed miracles on their behalf. Neither can you and I come out of this world or its lustful ways, and prideful ways, on our own – we need help . And God has given us the helper; He sent a helper, the Holy Spirit, to spiritually dwell within us – Christ lives in us. The Spirit proceeds from the Father through Christ, to us, and they dwell in us. We must use the Spirit of God – not allow it to dry up within us. There are things that we must do in order to have God’s Spirit dwelling within us in a right way: humility is one of the main things. Do you pray daily for God’s Spirit? Do you ask God, every day…give me your Spirit. Do you ask God to rebuke the spirit of this world from you? Do you ask God to stir His Spirit up within you? Do you stir God’s Spirit up through obedience, through study, through prayer? Do you stir God’s Spirit up by hating sin - what’s wrong? God has given us, the Bible says, the Spirit of love, power, and a sound mind. So God gives us love, and it’s love that keeps the commandments. God gives us power, strength spiritually. And He gives us a sound mind…the word sound mind there means: self-control – where you begin to rule over yourself, even rule your mind and your thoughts. That power is unleashed in our lives through prayer and Bible Study. I don’t care how long we’ve been in God’s Church, we can never get over the daily habit of prayer and study…there has got to be times when we fast, we seek God, so that His Spirit is energized within us. The more we obey, the more God pours His Spirit out on us; God gives His Spirit to those who obey Him.
One of the major problems we have today, and we’ll finish with this Scripture…is clearly defined for us in Hebrews 2:3 Hebrews 2:3How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by them that heard him;
American King James Version×– well, let’s back up to Verse 1:
Hebrews 2:1 Hebrews 2:1Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
American King James Version× Therefore we must give more earnest heed to the things that we have heard, lest we drift away.
Brethren, we can be like a canoe on the water that just drifts with the current. We’ve got to go against the current. And Verse 3:
Verse 3: how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation,
Neglect is one of the greatest problems we have in the church today. I see it in myself; I see it in others…for we neglect to do what we need to do on a daily basis. We neglect to pray, or we neglect to study…so we neglect to do it – so easy to just coast. Nothing drastic is happening: the world’s not falling around us – you know, we still have a job, we still have a home – we come to church, we smile…everything seems to be great…but we’re just drifting – we’re coasting. What does Revelation 3 say? That we live in an age that is personified by lukewarm-ness , where people will be lukewarm; not hot, or cold…not on fire, but just sort of lukewarm, and drifting. Lukewarm-ness is drifting. So the warning is there for it.
So brethren, God has called us, and He is leading us out of this world, out of this society, out of this world…He’s given us the tools that we need to be able to overcome the lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life…what we must do is live in the Spirit , walk in the Spirit , and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.