Our minds are a place of spiritual warfare, will you allow Satan a hold on this battlefield?
[Ken Martin] Good afternoon everyone. For those who are new, or just came in, or who weren’t here last week, I would like to do a quick review to bring everyone up to speed, and then we will move into part two of our series that we are dealing with.
As the Bible makes it clear, and is mentioned in Romans 15:4 Romans 15:4For whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
American King James Version×, it tells us that our responsibility is to learn. We are here to learn. From little children, the first thing we do is we learn to walk. Then we learn to talk. Then we learn to eat, and all these things are learning processes that we all go through as human beings. It is called maturation through life. The older folks who have already been there – as they say, “been there, done that” they have already gone through that process and their job is to train the next group of individuals coming through in the human family. That is where parents play a very important part with their children – guiding them in this life, helping them to learn the right things and not the wrong things.
We live in a world today that is becoming intensely wrong – wrong in so many ways. And it brought us to a question I poised to you last time – in Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
American King James Version×– where I asked the question, “Why is it that people can’t seem to understand why it says, ‘ Satan the devil, who deceives the whole world’ ?” That is a powerful statement. You can’t get away from it. It means that something has happened that has allowed him to gain control – that he can access and influence every human being on the face of the earth that is alive and moving and functioning.
Jesus, in John 14:30 John 14:30Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world comes, and has nothing in me.
American King James Version×– where Jesus was talking to His disciples – and He says, “ …a prince is coming – the prince of this world – and Satan has no part in Him .” Although Satan bombarded Him with everything he had, he could not get a handle on Him. That is because of the unique way in which Jesus Christ was created by the Spirit of God, and Mary brought Him forth. He was not a child of Adam, He was a child of God – the Son of God. That made a difference. That is a very important difference. That is why we have a wonderful Savior. Because He took upon Himself the breach that happened to all of us and brought us down. He gave us the hope that the scripture gives to us. The word of God is fantastic in this way, because you can’t find any other book – other than the Holy Bible, as it is written from Genesis to Revelation – you will find all these different books put together in such a unique way. Fifteen hundred and some years of time passing by, and people who never knew one another, and yet the message is the same. Somebody else was orchestrating this book. And we make that very clear in our own personal conviction. It had to be God Himself watching over and guiding the affairs.
So, we know now, from what we touched on last time, that something happened. It didn’t happen to Jesus, but it sure did happen to all the rest of us. It is the seed that causes all the problems of human kind and all the problems you’ve had to experience, and I’ve had to experience. It is plain and simple – so simple a child could understand – once you grasp these two concepts. From this review of this past message we gave, and then what we are going to talk about today – this one-two punch – helps you to understand so very, very much of what is going on, where people today are so confused. They don’t know what is going on. They don’t know how to come up with answers. They don’t understand the motives of what is transpiring, but the Bible does give the answer.
So, we know that Satan had nothing in Jesus, but we ask the question, “Does Satan have anything in us?” The answer is, “Oh, yes.” Yes, he has placed his spirit in us through the act of disobedience that took place in the garden of Eden. That is why that story is given. And what it introduced into us is what Paul says in Romans 7, verse 14 through 25. We defined it last time as “the law of sin in our members.” It is what functions within us. And that law of sin is executed by Satan the devil and his power and his influence. We will see more of that as we go along.
As the apostle Paul – and Paul is so critically important for understanding…. God knew this, because Paul was a student of the Old Testament law. He understood the Torah , as they call it, or The Teaching . Most people today don’t understand the Torah or The Teaching . They haven’t been exposed to it. They haven’t taken the time to study it. It is what is called, The First Five Books of Moses. In those first five books, you will find the answers to so many of the problems and difficulties that are happening today – all spelled out in God’s word. He knew these things would happen, because He understands human nature. He knows how the human nature will react when exposed to the influence of the adversary.
So, what we have now is mother Eve, who was seduced by the serpent, and once Adam went along with her, we ceded the power and authority God had given to Adam, as the one who was supposed to be in charge of everything under the earth, under the hand of God. He turned around and ceded it over to Satan the devil. Satan became, at that moment, the god of this world. He became the spiritual father of mankind. Oh, most people will blow their stack! “Satan is not my spiritual father.” Oh yes, he has been. He has been all of our father until we understand that he is the father of the law of sin.
But the true Father – that we are now understanding – is our Father – our heavenly Father, whom Jesus came to reveal – we understand that what now we have…we have something that He has given us to neutralize the effect of the law of sin in our members. It is called the Law of God. And that Law of God is strengthened by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. When we walk in the Spirit, we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. That is very important. This is why Paul could understand this. When he would talk in the New Testament, he would even say, “Now I speak to those who are familiar with the law.” If you are not familiar with the law, he was saying, “You won’t understand a thing I am saying” – plain and simple. He wants us to understand that the New Testament, is the spiritual magnification and explosion of truth, based on the Old Testament Torah – The Teaching .
What is the teaching? The teaching is how to live the life that God has given us – a life that has been led amiss. You have lived life amiss. I have lived life amiss. I wish I could have done everything perfectly, but I can’t, and neither can you. But I want to. I want to be perfect like my Father in heaven. And so do you. You want to do the things that God has commanded you, because as long as you do that, you are under the mantle of God’s divine hand and you have nothing to fear. When you walk away from that, and you go to the world, and the law of sin in its members – which we all have – you have forfeited a very important relationship. Because now you have gone – as they say – like the dog back to the vomit. You’ve gone back to the world. We came out of this world by the grace of God. We were given a wonderful clean bill of health through the blood of Jesus Christ, and we are to walk in newness of spirit.
So the law of sin, since any law has to have a force behind it – like the law of gravity – we touched on that. It means the force – the power associated with that law – that is what Satan uses to get at us – to give us works that are contrary to the work of God. You and I must have works in our lives. And those works have to be predicated on the Spirit of God, not that spirit of this world.
Now here is where the conflict begins. Because once you are converted to the word of God, you begin to sense this law of sin in your members, and you understand there is a struggle going on – because of the Law of God that you should be living. Now, most people today have been sold a bill of goods, and they have been told that the Old Testament is done away. You know, everybody wants…you want a new car anyway, don’t you? You don’t want an old car. So what’s here is, people have translated that in their minds, “I want the New Testament. I want the New Covenant. I don’t want that Old Covenant.” Well, we were not called to the Old Covenant. We were called to the New Covenant in Christ Jesus, but we must understand the Old Covenant and what it was given for – as a school master to train us and teach us to what the New Testament explodes with – Paul’s admonition, because now he understands. He understood the letter, but never understood the spirit. Now he understands the spirit and he begins to explain that to those who are called. That is why Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice.” Why did He say that? It goes right back to the book of Genesis in the Garden of Eden. “Who told you, you were naked? Have you done something you shouldn’t have done?” There is another little clue. Every time we do something that is not right, we will hide. If you are doing something that is not right, you are going to hide. You are going to do just like they. They went and hid themselves. You won’t speak the truth. You will hide it. You will come up with something – an excuse. When God talked to Adam, he said it was the woman. “It was her.” He blamed her. So, what do you have in the world today? The blame game. Everybody blames somebody else, because, “Hey, it can’t be me! It’s got to be that other person who did it. That’s the reason.” No, we are all complicit in this matter, and God reveals to us in the scripture that in the Garden of Eden, Satan the devil pulled a fast one on mother Eve. Adam went along for the ride. He didn’t really stop to count the cost. He just did it. It could have been for multiple reasons. We will never know. It may have been that he, as we are told in the beginning stages, there were male and female creatures of all kinds, but there was none for Adam. Now, he was so enthralled with Eve – “she is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh and I don’t want to be apart from her.” So, when she offered it to him, he just saw Eve, and he just took it and went with it. How many men have done that very same thing? They’ve gone along when, in reality, they should not have. Well, history shows there is this type of thing that happens in the lives of many people.
How were their eyes opened? Just a quick reminder of that. It says, “After she took of the fruit and gave it to Adam,” it says, “suddenly their eyes were opened.” Now we know for a fact, from a biblical point of view, they weren’t blind. Physically, they could see. Everything was there before their eyes and they could see just like any other human being could see. But something was opened as a result of that. Now the particular word translated – the Hebrew word for the eyes there – it comes from the Hebrew dictionary word, number 6491. In it, it states that the word eyes could also be translated as open to the senses . See, your eyes, taste, smell, feel – all these things – are senses that we have that allow us to relate to the world and to one another. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to function in this world. You need these senses and God built them into us. It was part of his divine plan. Now what we also learn, at that particular time, is that, one, “their eyes were opened” is talking about the spiritual aspect that they never saw behind the scenes. God said if they did, they would die. Satan comes along and says, “No you’re not. Really, what is happening here is God is not giving you the full story. Now let me give you an update,” Satan tells her. He gives her a smooth talk. He is a smooth talker. He is very good at what he does. What he is saying, in essence, “Has not God told you, you can have everything in the garden to eat?” That’s the setup question, because one of them, we know, is not. That’s verboten . You can’t do this. And she comes back and says, “We can have everything, except that one.” And Satan says, “Oh ho, there you are, Eve! No wonder! See, He’s not telling you everything. He said, ‘You could have everything,’ and then He says, ‘You can’t….’ You know why? He doesn’t want you to know the knowledge of good and evil. He is keeping it for Himself. But if you take it, you will be like God – knowing good and evil. You’ll step up a notch. He won’t be holding you back. You’ll be free.” Oh, you talk about subtle and shrewd – very logical to her. She looked, and saw – lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, pride of life – and she did it. She succumbed to his seducing influence. And all of us have done the same thing through the process of time.
There are things we have done, or we are doing and what do people do under these conditions? What do people do if they are doing something wrong? Let’s just say, since we have a big drug problem in this country, what happens today if you are taking drugs? You don’t want anybody to know you are taking drugs. So, you do what? You hide the drugs. Why? Because it is wrong to have them. So, in the same way, you can add infin-item all kinds of different subjects and you can fill in the missing blank.
But now their senses were wide open. Satan now had a way to get to mankind and influence all of us. They were naked prior to that and they were not ashamed. Now, all of the sudden, they’re awkward, they don’t know what to do, they’re hiding, they feel bad, they’re fearful. All these things now become part of Satan’s spirit that he generates. Adam and Eve, like every human being, have sinned and been disobedient to God – Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
American King James Version×. And 1 John 1:8 1 John 1:8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
American King James Version×, we’re reminded that we have all sinned and fall short. You see, where we were intended to go, we missed the grade. We fell short of the glory of God. It is all designed for the glory of God. And, if we claim we are without sin – say, “Oh, well, I’ve never done anything” – then we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.We have to acknowledge it, and we have to see it, and call it for what it is.
Satan created access to our minds through a breach that was created. It would be like putting in a computer virus…suddenly the program has been breached and it is not acting right. We are not acting right, are we? None of us have been acting right. Mankind has been breached ever since the beginning. Proverbs 15:4 Proverbs 15:4A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
American King James Version× tells us that a wholesome tongue is a tree of life but a perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit. There is the problem. The spirit in man has been breached by Satan’s spirit. This has opened the door and has allowed Satan to work on us in ways that we did not see or recognize. We thought it was our desires. We thought they were our thoughts. And we went marching off in certain directions, and all of a sudden, bingo! There is the backlash and we had to learn the hard way that there are consequences for your actions.
No, Satan has this ability. He has the ability, and in Matthew 13, we touched on the fact – verse 19 – that Satan has the ability to take away understanding that has been sown in your heart by the word of God. But you just don’t understand it, and you don’t search to make a deeper understanding of it, so Satan comes along and says, “You don’t need to mess with that. You don’t need to mess with that at all. You’ve got more important things to do instead of wasting time there.” So, distractions…. How many have of us been distracted from time to time? Our intention is to go in a certain direction – that we wanted to really knuckle down, but we didn’t do it, did we? As a result of that, it went just the opposite way.
So, Satan takes advantage of us time and time again. That’s why the apostle Paul gives you a very important admonition in the book of Corinthians, where he says, “We are not ignorant of his devices.” He uses all kinds of little things to distract us – cause a rift between husbands and wives, between parents and children.
The marketing of evil is something fantastic. When you read a book that was written some year’s back, called The Marketing of Evil , it goes in and it shows how that marketers for profit created a breach between parents and children. And suddenly, guess what? Many of us who grew up didn’t know we were teenagers when we were teens. Nobody told us. We were just part of the family. We had chores. We just did things. But, by the time you were in your fifties now and at the post-war years of World War II, some marketing people said, “Look at all these young people who have all this extra money. Why don’t we begin to market them.” So remember, they had to get their records –45 RPMs. They get their own music and it started coming in. And the next thing you knew, there was a generation gap. There wasn’t a generation gap prior to that and now we have a generation gap. These are the things that we have lived through.
We see one example – and then we’ll move on to the second part of this series – that when Jesus was telling the disciples He was going to Jerusalem, and He was going to have to suffer this terrible fate at the hands at the religious leaders, suddenly Peter says, “Well, no, Lord.” He grabs Jesus, and says, “No, no, I don’t want you going there. We need you here. We don’t need you there. If they’re going to do this to you, then no, you can’t go.” And Jesus turns around – famous saying – and says what? “Get thee behind me, Satan” – He didn’t say, “Peter.” He said, “Satan” – because He says, “You savor the things of men. That kind of wording coming out of your mouth, Peter, is from Satan.” That is what Jesus was saying. Peter thought it was his own words. He thought it was sincere. He thought it was…because Satan can blind us, remember. He has the ability to blind our eyes to the real motives and the real goals that go on.
Have you noticed today that people are having a hard time understanding what the motives and behavior of people are all about. They can’t quite get a handle on it. Well, you won’t find it in any textbook, and people can guess it’s this, it’s that, but it comes from the word of God – to give us an understanding – that Satan uses the breach of that spirit in our minds to work his insidious plot. And what is his plot? To destroy mankind. He is a destroyer. Jesus came to be a Savior – to bring us salvation, to redeem that which was lost. We were like lost sheep and Jesus said – when a person becomes converted – He says, “My sheep hear my voice. They follow My instruction.” They understand the importance, that you have to live by every word of God to the best of your ability. And God helps us by the power of His Spirit - His Holy Spirit – working at first with us, and then after repentance and baptism and the laying on of hands, it comes to dwell in us and allow us then to have an inner strength, so when the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes rises up – that old nature – the law of sin in our members – we can fight it and we can resist it. Let’s go to Romans, chapter 7, and you’ll see how the apostle Paul clearly saw this and gives us this analysis so that we can follow in his footsteps. Remember? He said, “Follow me as I follow Christ” – because He is the role model. You can’t follow other human beings. They’re in the same bad situation you are in. But Jesus is alive at the right hand of God that Father – our High Priest and Savior. Here is what the apostle Paul said. He goes through in Romans, chapter 7, and let’s begin in verse 21…. He discovers, he says, that:
Romans 7:21-22 Romans 7:21-22 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
American King James Version× , “ I find that there is a law – a power, a force that’s working,” he says, “ is present with me always present with me.” Then he explains further. He says: “Personally , I delight in the law of God .” Please note that. The law of God is critical. Today people have been told and misled, because Satan does not want you to have access to the law of God. He wants you to lose that. Because if you lose the law of God, you lose your sense of direction. Only God can guide you and show you how to stay out of the minefield of life. That requires the law of God. If you don’t use the law of God, like God tells us to use it, then we revert back to the law of sin in our members. We go back. Ever notice that sometimes, when you struggle with a problem – whatever that problem may have been – and you just didn’t like it, and you hated that, and you stopped, and you said, “I don’t want to go there anymore?” Maybe it was this, that or what have you. You fill in the missing blank. I am not here to point out people’s personal problems. I’m here to show you why we have problems – all of us – and we struggle. It is not our intent. We didn’t wake up in the morning and say, “I want to have a problem today.” No, we didn’t. But problems come and problems have to be dealt with. We in a world filled with problems. Sometimes we get a little bit of a respite. Sometimes Satan gives us a little ceasefire in this war we are involved in, but then he comes right back. He left Jesus for a little bit and then he came right back at Jesus. Now notice here it goes on to say – he says:
Romans 7:23 Romans 7:23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
American King James Version×– For I see another law in my members . He discovers this thing now. He is really focusing in on it. He says: And it is waring against the law of my mind . What is the law of his mind? What has been added to the law of his mind that he didn’t have before? The answer is the law of God. He was now understanding the spiritual application of the law of God. There is a physical application and there is a spiritual. The physical Israelites had the physical aspect. They had the physical law of God – Ten Commandments, written in stone – but God is writing them in our hearts and in our minds. He is making them a permanent fixture of our character. He goes on and says – just like he said in verse 22: I delight in the law of God after the inward man. Notice it is what goes on within .
That brings us to the title I want to give you for the second series: Your Human Mind: A Spiritual Battlefield . Your Human Mind: A Spiritual Battlefield. We have discovered the law of sin in our members and why we all have to struggle. And it’s fight every day to do the right thing. We now find and explore together, this mind that God has given us, and it reveals something that, when the law of God is brought in to play, now you have a war going on – a battle between doing what is right and doing what is wrong. Plain and simple – so simple a child can understand.
So he goes on to say:
Romans 7:23 Romans 7:23But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
American King James Version×- I see – this law in my mind – he says, …and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members . The struggle is going back and forth. He says the result of it left him very discouraged. Looking at it that way, he says: Oh wretched man that I am! Who can set me free – from this problem – and notice he says: this body of death? – because the wages of sin is ultimately death. I submit to you: Do you see death in the world? I see death in the world. It is all over the place. People are dying all over the place. Right now, there may be even more going to die because of the terrible pestilence that is rising up in Madagascar – the old bubonic plague. Now it has gone airborne – viral – and now they’re concerned that it is a pneumonic plague, which means somebody can cough and spread the germs to somebody else – if you are an infected person. These are frightening things to think about. Many nations in Africa right now are on high alert for this type of thing. Yet the Bible has taught and prophesied that there would be disease epidemics, plagues, and other problems of this type in this world. This is one reason why we’ve got to stay close to God – that we may be under His umbrella of divine protection. Paul said he understood – because of the danger of this situation – he felt: Who would deliver him from this condition? And then he gives the clue. He says, I thank God . It comes from God. It does not come from man. They can sit around all the tables and talk all they want – their dialogues – but they will never come up with the answers of life. He says: I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So that with my mind – notice this: What are you supposed to do? Use that mind – with my mind I myself serve the law of God . The law of God has not been done away. It is supposed to be written in your mind and heart. So, what do people do today? They think the Bible says that the law of God has been done away. Even Jesus Christ says, “Think not that I have come to destroy the law. I’ve just come to fulfill it – to show you, by my sacrifice for the sins you have committed, that the law of God is there to guide you how not to sin. I didn’t come to do away with it.” That is like coming to an intersection with automobiles and you do away with the stop signs. What are you going to have? You are going to have 4-way crashes going on. It is going to be terrible. So, in this particular case, Paul understood. He says, “I serve it with my mind – the law of God. But if I don’t – if I stop doing that” – what is he saying? The flip side of the coin is – “ with the flesh – and I am flesh – I would serve the law of flesh” – in his members. That is what he is talking about. So, these are the things we have to keep in mind.
Besides thoughts and words, can Satan put other things into our minds – such as, can he teach us to be deceitful? Can he teach us to be lying? Psalm 32, verse 2 reminds us. It says:
Psalms 32:2 Psalms 32:2Blessed is the man to whom the LORD imputes not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
American King James Version×– Blessed is the one in whose spirit is no deceit . No deceit. Because people are deceitful. They don’t tell all. They have ultimate reasons for doing a lot of the things they do, because Satan is always at work like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
With this kind of power, Satan is able to make you feel afraid. Have you ever felt afraid before – for no logical reason? You woke up in the morning, and it should have been a good day, but for some reason you feel antsy, you feel awkward. There is something working on you. There is something working on a lot of people and they just don’t know it. 2 Timothy, chapter 1, verse 7, tells us what God provides and that is this:
2 Timothy 1:7 2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
American King James Version×– For God has not given a spirit of fear …. All right, if God has not given us a spirit of fear, who gave us the spirit of fear? Satan, the god of this world. So therefore, a lot of times people are afraid of things they shouldn’t be. Ever heard about being afraid of the dark? Simple things that affect people’s lives and traumatize them. These are things God wants us to stop and consider. No, these fears do what? They spiritually paralyze you. When you become fearful, instead of faithful, then you are living for the wrong reasons. This is what causes so many problems for people. God wants us to use the power of His law to stay away from the problem areas, and with His law, let it guide us to Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ is the answer. The law of God is a schoolmaster to take us to Christ. You keep the commandments. You do what God has told you, because we have to live by every word of God. That doesn’t mean we pick and choose. We have to live by all of it. What do we discover? We see that Satan does what? He enslaves us to be fearful. We don’t want to step out in faith, because what will people think? Who puts that into our mind? Who cares what people think? It is what God thinks that is important. I mean that in a proper way. We should be concerned about what our fellow human beings think. We want to set the right example. We don’t want to just discard them – we don’t care about anything – about what they think about.
Thinking about God first is what’s so important. Everything about the Bible tells you…why did God bring them out of Egypt? So, that they would be reminded that He delivered them. What are you and I supposed to do? Why do we keep those days? People say, “Oh, we don’t have to keep those days.” They say, “They are Old Testament.” They’re reminders to us of who brought us out of bondage! Why do we eat certain types of food and other foods we don’t eat? And people see that, and say, “Why don’t you eat that? That is good.” “No, I can’t do that.” “Why? Do you believe in the Bible?” they might come at you and say? “Yes, I do. I really do. I believe in the Bible and what the Bible plainly says is, if I eat of this other material, that God says not to – and He told me to live by every word – the teaching of the Torah – what do we end up coming up with? If I eat the unclean thing I have defiled myself! And I’m supposed to give glory to God by being clean and holy to the best of my ability to honor my God – not to take that pork hot dog because I just gotta have a taste of that pork.” You see how Satan just laughs. He laughs behind the scenes, because people say, “It doesn’t matter what you eat.” It doesn’t? Then why did God put it there? He could have left it out. He didn’t need it there. It is so valuable to us. Young people need to understand - their future, the same way. The reason we do these things is to please our God. If there is no God, then you don’t care what you do. But if there’s a God, you want to do what He tells you to do – that you might receive His blessing.
Satan’s power enslaves us. It causes us to be tormented – to live a fearful life. 1 John 4, verse 18 - in the King James Version – reminds us:
1 John 4:18 1 John 4:18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.
American King James Version× – There is no fear in love.
That is what you and I have been called to – to become sons and daughters of the God of love. His Holy Spirit is designed, as Paul says in Romans, to be shed abroad in our hearts – the love of God – so that we know how to love our God with a deep reverence, and honor, and appreciation, and also to understand that, when we are talking about God, He is not to be trifled with. God is supreme in all things. He sees all, He knows all. There is nothing we can hide from him. Therefore, His eyes see the good. His eyes see the evil. He doesn’t miss a trick. But people who try to philosophize, rather than believe the word of God, try to come up with answers.
Why would God allow all these terrible things to happen, such as what happened down there in Texas recently – just a church - people going to church there in Southerland Springs – and this madman goes in there and creates this terrible thing? Why would a God of love allow that? Because man hasn’t learned his lesson yet. He is trying to solve all of his problems his way. And he can’t do it. So, these individuals, do what they do.
How about Las Vegas? Where was God in Las Vegas? See, the question is always phenomenal in my mind, because nobody gives a hoot and a hang about God, for the most part. All the sudden, something erupts, “Why didn’t God…?” Oh, wait a second, why did you bring God into this question? You didn’t care about Him before. Now you’re, all of a sudden, interested in God. So, it is very important to realize, “You wanted to hide from Me?” Now God is invisible and He hides from most people today. Only when people are willing to listen to His still small voice – if they are willing to do that – they can find God. He is able to be found in the scriptures. No, look what we see in our world today.
The apostle Paul made this very clear. He said, “Look, these problems have a big impact on people.” Look at the ministry. We have to deal with these. All ministers have to deal with these problems with people, but they try to salve people’s conscience. They try to make them feel better. You know, “Don’t feel bad, because you know other people are going through it.” Yeah, but that doesn’t answer the question. Why do we have to go through it? Why do we have death? Why do all of these other things that exist? We don’ want it. We just want to be at peace. We just want to live our lives and enjoy life. That’s what God wanted in the Garden of Eden. Mankind chose a different route and all of us have been just as guilty, following different routes. So what God has then said: “All right, I’ll tell you what I am going to do. I’m going to let you have your way.” Because you see, if God came down with all His power – and He could – oh, He could really fast – but if He did, He would have to violate your free morale agency in order to stop you right in your tracks in whatever you were going to do. He could have stopped those men. He could have struck them dead right then and there – that did these terrible crimes. Do you think that would make people change? Answer: No. You just go from one crime to a different crime – from this to that. Nobody learns their lesson. How many times has history recorded the terrible tragedies of man’s not willing to listen.
So history, we say, repeats itself. People say, “Oh, that isn’t going to happen to us.” Oh, you are a special person? You’re different from everyone else? No, we are not. So, we find ourselves caught in the same terrible maelstrom of upheavals that are in this world – depression, self-pity. People are paralyzed spiritually. God does not want us…. He set us free. That’s the whole lesson of the Old Testament. “Why did I do that? That they may know that I have delivered you!” We have been delivered by the hand of God. The glory goes to God! We should tell Him how thankful we are each and every day that He is delivering us from darkness that’s in this world to the light of the gospel – the glorious truth of God – the kingdom of God is coming.
And God is going to correct all the problems and difficulties of this world. He is going to have to teach people how to be happy. They don’t know how to be happy. They want to be happy their way. That’s called the way of Cain . The way of God is, if you repent, everybody can join and have a good time. The way of Cain says, “I want it my way.” Remember, when the blessing time came for Cain, Abel, Abel did what he was asked to do. Cain wanted the blessing – had the audacity to want the blessing, but then he wanted to do it his way. “Why can’t God be satisfied with vegetables? I gave him the fruit of the earth.” Because God asked for a lamb, which was to be a type of what Jesus would be – the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the world. But Satan did what? He put an evil thought into Cain’s heart. And what did he do? The first murder is recorded in human history. Who did that? Why did God allow that? God could have stopped it. Because you have to do something. You have to live your life by doing . You don’t live your life by sitting. You live by “live, move and have being.” What do you do with the life God has given you? Do you live it to the glory of God? Most people don’t and, to me, this really rings solid.
When upheavals happen, people don’t understand why this and why that. There was a situation that happened, that rocked the foundation of many of God’s people, some years back. It struck at the very core belief. You know, when the core belief gets under attack, everything gets kind of wobbly. People don’t know what to believe. So what ends up happening is that a “new truth” was told to us. “We discovered something in the book of Galatians,” we were told. “And the book of Galatians shows we’re not under the Old Covenant. We don’t need any of those Old Testament things. Forget them all, because we’re New Covenant Christians.”
Well, as I mentioned to you earlier, you can’t understand what Paul is talking about if you don’t understand the law. He said, “I am talking to those who know the law.” Most people don’t know the law. They think it’s something the Jews do. We don’t mess with that. The Bible tells us that the Kings of Israel had to study the law of God – the five books of Moses – to understand what is required in ruling and guiding. Ant that’s what we are being trained to do in the Kingdom of God. That’s why God is preparing us and giving us exercises to see whether we are going to follow His law or the law of sin in our members. Because His law won’t save us. It never was a condition for saving. We’re saved by grace through faith. But we have to demonstrate that we have works – that we believe what Jesus said. That’s why James said, “You have faith without works? I’ll show you my faith with works.” Those works don’t save me. Those works validate what I believe, and what I practice, and why I do what I do. That’s so important for all of us, because today people say, “You don’t have to do anything. Just believe and you shall receive.” I don’t think they are going to like what they receive, if they take that approach to life.
Paul really gives a clear understanding to us. Because when the powers that be were telling us, “The book of Galatians sets us free. We don’t have to have all that Old Testament – the law of God and things of that nature,” Paul says, “You don’t understand what I’m writing about.” Because In Galatians, chapter 5, he addresses something. He calls it the works of the flesh – things that Satan puts in the minds of people – Galatians 5, verses 19 through 21 – and he begins with the law of sin in our members. Then when conversion takes place, he talks about the law of God – the fruit of the Spirit.
Notice the difference. Ask yourself, in light of these terrible things happening, Las Vegas, Southerland Springs, what have you….
Galatians 5:19-21 Galatians 5:19-21 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Contentions, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×– Now the works of the flesh are evident: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness. Do we have that in this world? Oh boy, do we have it in this world! How about lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, lust, murders… Is that what we had in Las Vegas? Is that what we had in Southerland Springs? Instead of using a weapon – a firearm – what if they had just thrown a bomb down in the middle of the group? Are we going to ban all bombs? It is not a thing that is wrong. It is how a thing is used. You can have a car and use it rightfully and it is a blessing. If you turn it on another human being, you have attacked them with a deadly weapon, called a Toyota, or Chrysler, or anything. So you see the point being, it is not the thing. It’s the war that is going on in people’s minds. They don’t understand their own makeup. What about sex scandals – the comedians, movie stars and politicians? We are getting blitzed with this stuff right now. And then, if you see who is getting the power – people who are now being voted into mayoral offices…all kinds of persuasion of living life, but not the way God would sanction.
The gifts of the Spirit. When God’s Spirit and His powers are there, what do they produce? Well, according to this, it says the very first one is:
Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
American King James Version×– …love, joy peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. You see, there is no violation in those things, because God’s Spirit brings you into a state of peace.
That’s why we are told, “Let this mind be in you,” in the book of Philippians , “that was in Christ Jesus,” and how we will be “kept in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee.” Now that’s our problem. We don’t think constantly about it. Our minds are divided. We’ve got Satan attacking on one side, we’ve got our own selfish pursuits in the middle, and we’ve got God trying to work with us, and then again, in us with His Holy Spirit, to neutralize the effects of sin. That is why it is called overcoming, brethren. You can overcome the problems and difficulties that Satan has caused in your life. You really can. That is why Jesus said, “If you can but believe, all things are possible to you.” The sad part of it is, we don’t always believe. We get caught up with that law of sin in our members. Satan’s power of adultery, fornication…these are powers that he puts in our minds. What does it do? It draws us away. Like James said – you can’t blame God – he says, “Every man, when he is drawn away by his own lusts….” There’s something you want, and Satan says, “Yeah, that’s it. Go get it. Go get it. You have every right. You deserve the very best.” According to the Bible, you deserve the very worst. But it is by the grace of God, we are given the very best – by the grace of God. That is to His glory, not ours.
Proverb 11:13 says:
Proverbs 11:13 Proverbs 11:13A talebearer reveals secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit conceals the matter.
American King James Version×– A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter. Today, people are not faithful.
God’s gifts, God’s powers were designed to help us fight against the enemy. Because you see, we have been ravaged by the enemy. This law of sin in our members has been with us from the time we were young children growing up in this world, and it formulated certain thoughts and ideas, and people don’t know how to respond properly to one another. You and I are having to learn that. So God brings us together, from all walks of life, and He says, “All right, I want you to love one another.” “Well, how do I do that, Lord?” “Keep My commandments.” “Well what do your commandments say? Well, they say, “Follow the outline that’s given.” First of all, it says, “Love your fellow man like yourself. Don’t hate him because he is different.” There are a lot of God-created differences in everybody for that reason. He didn’t want to look out there and see a bunch of individuals who look all the same. It is refreshing to look out and see all of you – different varieties of individuals – young and old alike – all at different stages. This is the beauty of God’s plan. He tells us…he says in 1 Peter, chapter 5, and verse 8 – he says:
1 Peter 5:8 1 Peter 5:8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:
American King James Version×– I want you to be sober now . Why? He said: Because your adversary – notice, he is not our friend. He is an adversary. He is working against us. He says, he is doing what? He walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour . He is looking for that breach. Have you opening that door and that breach in your mind, allowing him to get in? Then it tells us what?
V-9 – Resist him steadfast . How? In the faith – following what God has outlined in His laws and commandments – knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. In other words, everyone in the church, out of the church, everybody is going through this. Why? Because he has deceived the whole world. He has done such a good job and you and I have not been smart enough to know it. We just haven’t been smart enough, until God called us out of the world, and He says, “I want to show you what Paul is talking about. What he’s been struggling with, you’re struggling with as well.” This is why you have your flare-ups, your problems, your difficulties. Sometimes you don’t mean it. Jesus said, “The spirit’s willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Sometimes, all you have to do is be given a little situation and you can be irritated. Have you ever been irritated? Have you ever flown off the handle? Have you ever said something and you say, “Why did I say that? I am so sorry. I put my foot in my mouth.” Feet don’t look good in a mouth. God doesn’t want them in there. That’s why He says, “Keep them out.” Make sure you do what God wants by following His instruction.
Now here in 2 Corinthians, chapter 10, here’s a heavy one. This shows you shows you where it really gets, as they say, the rubber hits the road on this one. 2 Corinthians, chapter 10, verses 3 through 6 – it says:
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
American King James Version× – For, though we walk in the flesh – in other words, we live as human beings in the flesh, male and female – we do not war according to the flesh . This kind of battle doesn’t involve guns, knives and spears. That’s physical warfare. We’re dealing with something much more dangerous. Our brains are a spiritual battlefield. And we have to recognize it as such. It says: for the weapons – verse 4 – of our warfare are not carnal . We don’t depend on the flesh to solve this problem. It says they’re not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds . You know, as human beings, we sometimes can get very strongminded – almost to the place where it can become adamant, if you aren’t careful. Strongmindedness is wonderful, but if strongmindedness is not properly used, it can work against you. Your strong point can become your weak point, because now it’s going to come bite you. He goes on to say, “God gives us the ability to pull down.… Why? Because something has been going up, and God says it’s got to come down. It’s called humility. We have walked in a world that is filled with vanity and raising themselves up. God resists the proud, according to the scriptures, and He says we are to do what? Verse 5 – look at this: …casting down arguments . In other words, there are all these arguments against God. We are to cast them down, because we know where they are coming from. …and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Who was the first one who exalted himself and said, “I will be like the Most High. I will be like God?” Satan himself. So, you see where these problems come? He begins to weasel his way into our lives and, as human beings, we fall prey to it. That is why Paul says, “We are not ignorant to his devices.” He is shrewd. He is the serpent alright. But God has given us His law and His Spirit to guide us and to keep us on that straight and narrow path that leads to life. We are to do what? We are to be bringing every thought into captivity. Now that is the struggle. While we are sitting here today and we’re listening to this message, your mind has been going in a dozen different directions at once. Unless you have really forcibly gotten control of your thoughts, and you’re listening intently, you’ve got your mind half running here, half running there, because that’s just the way we are. That is what we are all guilty of. We have to really ask God to help us channel our thoughts in a much more powerful and constructive way that glorifies Him. Instead of worrying about what we’ve got to do here, worrying about what we’ve got to do there, wondering how we are going to do this, how and that, it says, Cast all your care on Him because He cares for you . Walk humbly before him and He will raise you up in due time. It is just a matter of time in God’s eyes. So, these are the encouraging words from God’s own word.
Then He tells us, “Look, when you go out every day, you do what?” You always check for your purse and your wallet, right? Because why? You are going to need those things. They have the commercial, “Don’t leave without it – Mastercard or VISA,” or something like that. Well, don’t leave home each and every day without the armor of God. Ephesians 6 – it says:
Ephesians 6:10-12 Ephesians 6:10-12 10 Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
American King James Version×,17 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Because you see, you and I don’t have any – not against the enemy we’re fighting. So, He gives us this encouragement. He says: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Wow. Without God’s help, it is a stacked deck, folks. We have a real problem on our hands. That is why most people today are struggling and they don’t realize we are to take – verse 17 – the sword of the Spirit, the word of God .
One of the great powers God has given us is patience. Hebrews 10, the concluding verses – it says:
Hebrews 10:36 Hebrews 10:36For you have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.
American King James Version×– You have need of patience, that after you have done the will of God you may receive the promise. Now the difficulty is the fact that all of us have a certain amount. Some of us are very impatient, some of us are medium impatient, some of us have a little bit of patience here and there, but we really want it now. God says some things, that He is working in our lives, require patience. He’s not going to speed it up. He’s going to take His time to do it right, because our minds are a spiritual battlefield and we need the powers that God gives us to fight and resist the devil.
The book of James tells us all about the wars. It tells about the devil. It says, “Submit yourself unto God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” He wants no part of God in your life. He wants God out of your life. The power God gives us to fight and resist is able to pull down those strongholds.
Now the Spirit or power of God has a place in our mind and it has to be renewed. Because just like everything else, if you are talking about a weapon in military terms, a soldier always needs what? Where is the ammo? He needs to have ammunition. Why? His gun is useless to him if he doesn’t have ammunition – if he is in a hostile military thing. Now, if you and I are in a hostile military thing – and we are, spiritually, in a hostile environment with Satan the devil all around like a roaring lion – and you use the power of God today, how do you deal with tomorrow? Well according to the scriptures, it says here in Ephesians 4, verses 22 through 24:
Ephesians 4:22-24 Ephesians 4:22-24 22 That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
American King James Version×– But you are to put off, concerning your former conduct – the old nature – the old man – which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts . That’s the way it is programmed to go because of Satan’s constant pushing in that direction. But it says in verse 23: and be renewed in the spirit of your mind . There’s the key right there. Be renewed by the spirit of your mind . Your mind needs to be recharged with the spiritual things of God.
Ephesians 3:16 Ephesians 3:16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
American King James Version×– …that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man and woman. That’s in Ephesians 3:16 Ephesians 3:16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
American King James Version×.
Well, basically, what we have learned in this two-part series: Number one, we’re all fighting the law of sin in our members and it is much more dangerous than any of us care to admit. You really have to look at it, talk to God about it, and you need God’s strength – which brings us to the fact in part two: Our mind, which is the treasure that God has given us – the treasure which God allows us to be above the animals in the animal world and allows us to be potential sons and daughters of God. Then with the power of God’s Spirit, we are to renew that every day. No wonder Paul says, “Pray without ceasing.” What does that mean? Each and every day make sure you pray. You read back in Jeremiah, when God was talking about dealing with ancient Israel, He says, “My people have forgotten me days without number. They just go about their lives, living every day. They never talk to Me. They never thank Me for the blessings that I give.” We are so blessed, folks. As one man told me recently in talking with him, he said, “As bad as it is – with all the problems we have, look at the wonderful bounty of food and blessings of God that still are given to us out of love and mercy for all of us.” God makes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. The just give Him thanks and the unjust just take it for granted. I hope and pray none of us take God for granted, because we owe Him so much. The human mind is filled with all kinds of powers through the spirit. Which powers are we going to execute? The powers that are given to us by God’s Spirit? Or, the powers that are given to us by the god of this world? May God give us the strength to always make the right choice.