Classic Christianity – A New Heart for a New Year Part 1 (1-21-19)
Bob shares from Ephesians 4 starting at verse 17. Bob explains the nature of the human flesh, how that is contrary to the Spirit, and as born again believers that struggle is ongoing until the day we die. Because of this struggle, the outward behavior of a believer can look no different than a non-believer. Yet, there is an internal change. Bob states that in order to change one’s actions one must change the way he thinks.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Starting in Ephesians 4:17, Bob goes into greater detail explaining the conflict between the flesh and the Spirit, showing from scriptures that exhortation to believers in how to live.
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
Were the Gentiles actions real good? No. What is man’s problem? Where is man’s problem? All sin being at the threshold of your mind. All sin begins in the mind.
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he
So instead of changing actions, what is God doing? Changing our mind. Until thinking is changed, actions are only curtailed. You can change actions by putting somebody in jail, incarcerating him. But if his mind is not changed and he gets back out, then he start right back into those actions that got him there in the first place.
For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder,
1 Corinthians 10:13
13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Look also at the subject of anxiety, something so common to all men. There is no sin except that which is common to man (1 Corinthians 10:13). Anything that does not come from faith is sin (Romans 14:23b). So sin is more than outward actions but issues of the heart (Mark 17:21).
If anxiety were unusual, why do the scriptures tell us not to be anxious.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
But what does the world say about anxiety? “That is unusual. Oh, I am anxious. There is something wrong with you. You have a syndrome. Oh, you are depressed, that is unusual!” Depression is not unusual. I can get depressed in 10 minutes. All I need to get depressed is to think depressing thoughts. I can get depressed looking in a mirror. Depression is not unusual yet people have been conned into thinking it is unusual.
The phantom Christian, the one who never gets anxious, never depressed, does not exist. Your problem is you are human. That is all a part of being a human being just as eating and sleeping, so there is nothing unusal about it. The more you think, the more you feel, and so you get depressed feelings. Have you ever seen someone who is never depressed? No. We are human and that is our tendency. So depression is not unusual as if something is wrong with you and you need to see a psychologist. What is wrong with you is your thinking. What is wrong with you is you are human.
That is all a part of being alive and being a human being. Just as much being a human as eating and sleeping. The more we think the more we feel. The down in the dump feelings, depressing feeling and so you go to a counselor and what are you asked? “How do you feel?” How do you treat feelings? You cannot deal with something you cannot see.
So the tendency is to deal with feelings. But you cannot deal with feelings, something you cannot see. All that drugs do is numb your head. Much too often man’s mind is altered rather than dealing with the real issue, incorrect thinking. So does God want to alter your mind or renew our mind? God wants to renew your mind. God says “Let me renew your mind.” When you renew your mind, feelings will also be renewed. God say renew your mind, doctors say alter it, and gives you a bunch of drugs to numb your head.
God says one thing, people say another. So what does God want to do, alter your mind or renew your mind? Renew your mind. If your mind is being renewed, then your feelings will also be renewed. The thinking in this world is contrary to everything in the bible. People in the name of Jesus say all this psychological garbage that puts people in deeper bondage. Are we going to put our faith in God’s word or what man has to say?
There is a difference between believing something and putting your faith in something. So if we are instructed to put faith in God’s word, what does that mean? How does that practically apply to help me?
Bob, like most of us, in his early years as a Christian believed two things. First, that Jesus died for all his sins, past present and future. How many believed that when you were first saved? All born again believers would agree to this. Second, he believed that if you confessed your sins, God will forgive you. How many believed that? How many believe that is double talk? I can believe both things but I can only put my faith in one of them.
Bob used to think “If I confess he will forgive”. That was where his faith was. So then faith is not in “Jesus took away all my sins.” Bob testified he once believed in both of them but could only put his faith in one of them. Bob learned to replace improper thinking in regards to 1 John 1:9 to the totality of the teaching of scriptures so that he is no longer a person who gets forgiven but someone who is a forgiven person. For more details on the true meaning of biblical confession, I refer you to this blog : “https://jesusgiveslife.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-true-meaning-of-biblical-confession.html.”
There is a difference between belief and faith that works the same way in regards to dealing with the futility of the mind. I believe Jesus is totally sufficient for all my problems. How many believe Jesus is sufficient too? How many of you put your faith in that? But what is our tendency as humans. Do we not say in our hearts at times: “Jesus, I believe you are capable of that but I do not have a faith you will do it for me.”
Recall Jesus’s conversation with a man with leprosy.
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Like the man that asked Jesus, Are you willing? We all need to have our faith tested. We can say I believe but then are you sure you can trust it for you?
The man with leprosy was essentially saying, “Are you willing? I believe, but I am not sure you are willing.” If you are not sure He is willing then will you put your faith in Him for that problem. We all have to test our faith. Many things I do not put my faith in. I believe it but not sure I can trust it.
So then we are exhorted in scripture to no longer live as the Gentiles in the futility of their thinking. Notice the specific mention of a non-believing Gentile. In Christ, you no longer need to live as a lost Gentile thinks. The option of a Jew is to think like a Gentile. But there are lost Jews and lost Gentiles. The opposite of a Jew is not a Christian. The opposite of a Jew is a Gentile. A Jew will not become a Christian because he thinks he will lose his heritage and inheritance. So the little rhyme Bob said “I am a Gentile, You are a Jew. I am lost so are you.” to clarify the understanding of this scripture.
We as Christendom can also have the thinking of the lost because they are lost. Many who think they are Christians based on denominational affiliation are darkened in their understanding. They are no more a Christian than a Jew who has confidence in his inheritance and heritage in Judaism.
18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
What is it that keeps thinking futile and separated from the life in God is the hardening of our hearts saying “I do not need instruction of God. I know best.” Is that not like the sin in the Garden of Eden. The lie in the garden of Eden in essence is believing this: “I do not need God to instruct me concerning good and evil. I can figure this out on my own.”
Yet, talking with someone who is lost is totally different. Their mind is darkened and hardened. The mindset of the lost is that all religion is good. How can all religion be good? I think all religion stinks. I do not like any religion. I would have to agree that religion is the opiate of the people. Religion means a return to bondage. Jesus did not come to form a religion but to form a relationship, to give something we do not have, which is life. That life is in Him and when I have Him, who has been raised to new life, I too have new spiritual life. Not only do I have His life, but He is my life.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
When Christ takes residence in our hearts, then we have the ability to think truth and place faith in that truth. Until then, you are darkened in your understanding. Faith is something like a guy in a circus walking across on a high wire with a wheel barrel. The place went nuts. The man came back again and asked, “How many do you believe I can do this again?” Everybody nodded in agreement and with enthusiasm. But then he asked, “Who wants to volunteer to get in the wheel barrel?” There was total silence. That is the difference between faith and believing.
19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
Does that sound familiar? Is this not what flesh does? Lose all sensitivity. Sin does not want less but always wants more. But you, being born again, did not come to Christ that way, through sensual indulgence.
20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
What does it say about our old self? It is being corrupted by its deceitful desires. Do you have a former way of life and old self that is still being corrupted by evil desires? Do you experience like that? What is that called? Your flesh! Do you still have desires of the flesh? If you didn’t you would be dead. So as long as you are alive you are going to have desires of the flesh. This is reality.
Jesus is alive in you spiritually. Your new identity is a child of the living God. You only have one identity. You do not have two identities. You are not a child of God and a child of the devil at the same time. The moment you stepped out of Adam into Christ and He stepped out of Adam into you, you became a child of God.
So we can have all kinds of identities in this world. Satan loves to give us all kinds of identities. In religious world, we love to have identities such as “I am Baptist”, “I am a Catholic”, “I am a Presbyterian” or “I am a Pentecostal.” Do you see any of those names in the scriptures? No. John the Baptist is in there but that does not mean he is a baptist. So would people rather say they are a child of God or say “I am a Baptist”. Nobody says, “Who are you?” in conversation but they always ask “Where do you go to church?” That way they get an inkling of what you believe. They think that at least they might know if you are saved by baptism or not. People call Bob and ask him where did you go to seminary? The reason people really ask that is so they can know whether or not they want to listen to you or not. There is really only one identity and that is a child of the living God.
The conclusion in all this is that there really is a struggle between the flesh and the Spirit. The flesh and the Spirit are in conflict with each other.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
The Spirit of God in you is in conflict with the flesh you are born with. Desires of the flesh are contrary to the Spirit and vice versa. The issue is which one am I going to yield to and which one am I going to allow to control my life.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
When you give into the flesh then you will be mastered by that flesh. The flesh has the capability of mastering you. When you yield to the Spirit then controlled by the Spirit of God. Being controlled by the Spirit is somewhat like being under the control of aerodynamics in an airplane. As you are controlled by aerodynamics, you are going to fly. But the moment you decide to step out to to get fresh air you are immediately under the control of gravity and splat on ground. You don’t choose to come under the control of gravity. It is a by-product of getting out of under the control of aerodynamics. That is like when you and I in Christ and choose not to be controlled by the Spirit of God. It is my desire for you to be controlled by your love. I want to walk in truth. I want to walk in grace.
You cannot walk in the Spirit by walking under the law. The law is not for the Christian. A lot of people want to be Spirit-filled legalists. It is impossible to be controlled by Spirit of God when under legalism. Law is contrary to the Spirit. Like saying I want mercy under law. No mercy in the law. Mercy must be obtained apart from the law. When you put mercy in the law, you have ruined the law. Under law, wages of sin is death. Let’s call it “out of fellowship”, then water down the law so there is no meaning to it. Death, that is another question?
If never been taught wages of sin is death, no respect for life because do not even know I am dead. Jesus canceled the law so He could give us mercy. You cannot put mercy in law for when you do ruin the law. No man greater than the law. If your nation loses law, then it loses the nation. When your laws and enforcement of laws get diminished then you have diminished your country. There is no man greater than the laws of the land.
Born again is when you receive mercy apart from law. Under law you better carry that out. If don’t, you have lost it. Not popular stance today. You will be called bigots and everything under the sun. Do not see ramification when God says law is this, stick with it.
So you have desires with a conflict between the flesh and the spirit. So the instruction in God’s word is to be made new in attitude of our minds.
How are you going to be made new? By changing your actions? No! Changing your thinking. By outward actions sometimes you will not see much difference between the lost and the saved. In Muslim countries, if you do steal something, you can get your hand cut off. Christ came to change the attitude of hearts. Do not think actions can not be duplicated or imitated. How many people in your experience really know what you are really like? Your wife and kids do, but outside that, no one really does.
How many know you what you are really like? Can we not become performers but then get home and say praise God and be yourself and knock people over the head. Do you see why God wants to change attitude of hearts? Outward behavior can be faked. Do not know someone until married. I thought I knew him. Living together is not the same as being married. Not a whole lot of people not what you are really like. Until attitudes change nothing is going to change. Taught to put on new self, to put on true righteousness and holiness. Born of mom and dad but recreated by God. Man is created in the image of God? Is that true? No. Adam made in image of God, Seth born in image of Adam, as one reads in Genesis 5.
This is the written account of Adam’s family line. When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.
Seth born in image of Adam. God created only two people. From that point on man born out of man and woman. When born again, then you are a new creation. If any man be in Christ then he is a new creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
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