Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Faith, Hope & Love P31 (06-29-20)
Let us learn about laying a solid foundation of Christ Jesus living in you. You must start with and continue on with gaining a deeper understanding of Christ, who is your life. It is not only going to be a foundation of what your hope of glory is, but it will be a foundation for you for subjects like predestination and election, which was discussed last week. It is a foundation in which to live in all godliness, which is by faith.
With any foundation, if your premise is off, then everything else will be off. Without a proper understanding of these things, without a foundation, you really cannot understand the scriptures correctly, they make no sense, and you are tossed to and fro by every wind of teaching. So we looked at Pentecost and how Christ is the head of the body, the church, the Ekklesia, made up of both born again Jews and born again Gentiles. So you have a place to start and build on, to form a solid foundation. From there, as you read through Romans, Ephesians and Hebrews, you begin to understand things more and more, such as the difference between law and grace and between the old covenant and the new covenant.
So let us move on to maturity in Christ. So what do people try to do? Why do people ask such questions as, “What is wrong with me?” or “Why do I do what I do?” So people go to psychologists to try to understand themselves. Why go to men for understanding? Why not go to God, the one who made you and know how the mind works, and look into His word? But that is what we naturally do. We go to the world first, until we are exhausted. What did the apostle Paul discover on this matter? He said he does not even understand himself. The good he wants to do he does not do and the things he hates to do he does anyway. So if he cannot understand himself, why should we expect to?
The real crux of the problem is that man is dead to God due to sin, and in need of new spiritual life. Before we are able to put our faith in the Spirit of God controlling our flesh, we first of all have to recognize the wretchedness of our flesh. If I am not dead, what in the world would I want with life. If I am not sinful, what in the world would I want forgiveness for? If I do not see how wretched my flesh is, why would I need or even desire the Spirit to control me? Until I come to grips with my own wretched flesh, then why would I want Jesus to control my flesh? If I thought my flesh was okay,then I say, “I do not need His control. I can do quite well, thank you, on my own”. And when you become born again, with new spiritual life, you have to learn what God has freely given. Your mind has to be renewed so as to live in the new life God has given. That is called growing in maturity in Christ. You need to grow from being a mere infant in Christ to becoming a mature adult in Christ.
If you look into Romans 7 more carefully, you discover that Paul learned something about himself, that there is sin-indwelling flesh. So, whether you are lost or saved, you still have sin indwelling flesh. That is important to know. If your premise is off, your findings are off. So if your thinking is that when you are born again, that you will be changed so that sinful desires and thoughts will no longer be there, then your findings are off. You will find yourself living a defeated life, not knowing your new identity as a child of God and not knowing that God has given you everything you need for life and godliness.
This flesh of ours is what we inherited in Adam, the choice Adam made in the garden of Eden, where he chose for himself what is right and wrong, what is good and what is evil. He chose to live independently from God, to be in control of his own destiny. That is just like a fleshly man, to want to control everything, to become his own god. This attitude formed in mankind, and is now in all of humanity.
The human race has fallen and cannot get back up. The power of sin is the law. When the law informs you what is holy, right and good, the flesh fights that and says “I am not going to do that” or you pick and choose what you think you can do and ignore the rest, or you say you will do what the law says, but then you fall short. Paul even said he would not have known what coveting is if the law had not said, “Do not covet”. So Paul said, “when I tried not to covet, I found myself coveting all the more”. That is sin-indwelling flesh.
That is why God sent Jesus Christ to the rescue. As Paul said, “Who will save me from this boy of death? Praise be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ, our hope.” So now the apostle Paul writes entire epistles to churches explaining the grace of God, what law is and what grace is, and how to live under the grace of God.
So the apostle Paul learned that he could not put any confidence in the flesh, fallen as it is, weakened by sinful flesh. Now he listed reasons he could have put confidence in the flesh, his heritage, his background, the law, his education, his knowledge, but all of that he considered as worthless. They never could make him right before God or able to make choices to defeat the flesh. He came to the conclusion that he is a wretched man. But then he realized the solution, which is Christ in you, your hope of glory.
When you are born again, the Spirit of God in you is a powerful force in conquering the flesh. All of us, as long as we live in this body of ours, will experience this conflict between the flesh and the Spirit. But when you learn what it means to walk by the Spirit, you will put to death the misdeeds of the body. Walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.
But oftentimes people have not understood the totality of the cross or the meaning of the resurrection, of being made complete in Christ Jesus. What is it about what Jesus did that we can consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God. Those are such foundational truths to grab a hold of, so you can walk in true freedom in Christ Jesus.
What is the importance of the teaching of the finality of the cross. Jesus judged your sin one time and one time only. Your sins were all placed upon the cross of Jesus Christ, who shed his blood for you. There he who knew no sin became sin. All of the judgment of God in regard to the entire sin issue was placed upon Jesus to the point he became sin for us so that in Him we could become the righteousness of God.
That is either the truth or a lie. God dealt with your sin once and for all, paid the price, took the penalty, presented his blood to God the Father who said, “propitiation has taken place. I am satisfied. The worth of your blood was of such value that it took away the sins of the entire world. I have dealt now with sins once and for all, never to be dealt with again”. When Jesus returns, it says, he is not coming back to deal with sin, but to bring salvation for those who are waiting for Him. Why is he not coming back to deal with sin? He has already dealt with it. He has dealt with it once. He dealt with it for all. He said, “it is finished”. He said it is paid in full. Now he said, “Consider yourself dead to what killed Me”.
Now, that is one thing to consider yourself dead to sin. So we thank God for the cross for that. That took away my sins. God is not dealing with you, my friends, on the basis of sin today. He already dealt with you on the basis of sin. There is no more punishment for your sins. If there was more punishment for you, then he did not take them all. There is no more judgment for your sins. Your sins were judged once. They were judged at the cross. You were declared guilty. Your punishment was death. Jesus took it all. There is none left for you.
But now, let us move on to life in Christ Jesus. Consider yourself alive in Christ Jesus. Let us not continue talking about sin and death, but life in Christ Jesus. Let us move on to the teaching about the new covenant and of the grace that is ours in Christ Jesus, about Jesus who is our life. Let us move onto faith in what God has said, that He has given us everything we need for life and godliness. Let us move on to maturity in Christ Jesus. Let us learn about this new covenant of grace we are under, as can be understood through the book of Hebrews. He is not dealing with you on the basis of sin and death, but the resurrected life of Christ in you, the real dynamic of the grace of God living in you.
We know that if a person’s premise is off, his findings will be off. If your foundation is not solid, your home will ultimately fall down. Last week we laid a solid foundation in regard to what Ekklesia is, the church is, and how it was formed. If that is not true, everything will fall off. But if it is true, then we need to build on that foundational truth. Unfortunately, people build a foundation on something else, a roof or a wall. You cannot do that. If you build a foundation on a piece of plywood, you will have a real tough job on your hands.
We have to realize you better make sure your foundation is the foundation. So when you are going to lay the foundation for the Christian world, you have to go back to where it began. You go back to that day of Pentecost. You go back to the situation the world was in at that time, to the Jew and the Gentile. Once you understand those things, then you begin building upon that and scripture begins to fall into place without this confusion and confusing doctrines that get developed by people, where you sit around and scratch your head. There is no understanding of it at all. Then God has to reveal it to you. Well, how can He reveal it to you when it does not even make sense? So you have to start building on a solid foundation.
I say this to say this. If you did not hear the last several programs, then I suggest you listen to it again and again. Check it out with scripture, but it will be a foundation. It is not only going to be a foundation of what your hope of glory is, but it will be a foundation for you for subjects like predestination and election, and all of those things that, again, have been built on a flimsy foundation.
We are in chapter 7 in our Closer Look at Faith, Hope and Love. Turn to our key verse in Colossians 1:27-28.
27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.
We teach with all wisdom, to present everyone, both Jew and Gentile, fully mature in Christ. There is no hope in our flesh. There is no hope in our religion. There is no hope in our righteousness. We do not have any. There is no hope in our good deeds. There is only hope in Christ. That is what he is trying to tell us, that our only hope that we have is Christ.
Now, if we have hope in Christ, it is also going to tell me to put no confidence in my flesh. My hope cannot be in Jesus and my flesh at the same time. That quite frankly does not work. So, we are going to have to learn something here. Where is your hope? Is it in you? Is it in your denomination? Is it in your religious practices? Is your hope in the fact that I have my quiet time today? Is my hope in the fact that I study my bible and pray? Or is your hope in the fact that I meditated upon Christ Jesus. I studied to get to know Christ Jesus, who is my hope. I was talking to Him, which is what prayer is all about. Nothing mysterious about it. It is the means of communicating to the one you love. All of those things is for the purpose of seeing the total sufficiency of Jesus, and in so doing, seeing the total insufficiency of yourself.
So my hope is not in anything else. My hope is in nothing less than Christ and His righteousness. That is just all there is to it. When we understand that truth, and then we also understand, as it says in 1 Timothy 1:1.
1 Timothy 1:1
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
Paul said, “Christ is my hope”. Now Paul was not too bad of a Christian. So you realize that if the apostle Paul, who would have had all the bragging rights necessary, but he says, “I consider all of those things rubbish in comparison to knowing Jesus Christ my Lord.”
4 If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith
Paul wanted to be found in Christ, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law. Here is the apostle Paul saying that I have no confidence at all in my flesh. He said it up there earlier. He said earlier, if anyone had the right to have reasons for such confidence it would be me, and he tells us why. When are we going to get to that point where our hope is no longer in being a baptist, a presybyterian, a methodist, or a charismatic. My hope is in the fact that I am in Christ Jesus. I do not have any pride or hope of being in anything, except in Him. These buildings will someday be gone. But our relationship with Christ is eternal. So where should your emphasis be, folks? I think it should be eternally.
1 Peter 1:3
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
So, you and I have been born into a living hope. In other words, we have been given a new birth into a living hope. We have been born into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. So in all of these passages, we are talking about this great blessed hope that we have been called into. It is called the living hope, or hope. It belongs to us. It is the hope that we have, not in ourselves, but the hope that we have in Christ Jesus and Him alone. No confidence in the flesh, but walking now in the newness of life that is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now, we will look at this and say, “Well, how does this hope work itself out in our human experience? How do we deal with some of the problems that we have in life? In Romans 7:15-17, Paul shares that he does not understand what he does. The things I want to do, I do not do, and the things I hate to do, I do any way.
15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
I look at that and laugh every time, and say, “Who does?” That is what the psychological profession is about, to try to help you understand what you do. If Paul could not figure it out, how do you think you are going to? I do not understand what I do. I am trying to understand myself. Maybe I am doing what I am doing because I was potty trained too early? Maybe I am doing what I am doing because of a bad childhood? Maybe I am doing what I am doing because I had a mother? Maybe I am doing what I am doing because I was a middle child? Maybe I am doing what I am doing because I was the child of an alcoholic, or this or that? We also have the question, “I wonder why I do not understand what I do?”, and always with the assumption that someone does. I got news for you. The man you are paying $100/hour to does not understand what he does either. He probably does not know what he is talking to you about. None of us understand what we do. That is why we need this constant in our life to bounce our misunderstanding upon.
6 He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.
The only understanding we are ever going to have is going to come from the wisdom that comes from God. When you have a person who does not understand what he does, he is a variable. A constant does not say that. He knows exactly what he is doing. He is a constant. He knows 2 + 2 = 4 every time. That is a constant. A compass knows what he is doing. He knows what he is doing every minute of the day. He has a compass in front of him. We are variables. If we do not have a compass in our life, if we do not have a plumb line in our lives, that is our constant, to bounce off the fact we are a variable off of, how are we going to make this experiment of life work? You cannot do an experiment in chemistry without a constant. How are you going to make this experiment of life work without a constant?
Here is Paul saying that here is a dilemma I am in. The first time I read that I thought someone was peeking on me.
For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.
I am not going to say that there is something wrong with the law or that I am going to change it. He is just saying, “I am not able to live up to that thing. So, I am going to agree that the law that tells me what is right and wrong is good”.
17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
At least we have someone to blame now. It started in the garden of Eden. That woman you gave me, she is the one to blame. She said it is the snake you put in the garden, and I don ’ t even know what the snake said.
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
But you are always in a blame game. Paul says there is something you can blame. It is called sin living in us. But that is a reality. Now, I do not have to say I do not understand what I do. Now I do understand what my problem is. It is called sin living in me.
18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
“It is no longer I who do it. It is sin living in me”. Folks, his arguments, was he talking about the lost or the saved? It makes no difference at all. It is talking about somebody under the law. Under the law, the power of sin is the law. You are mastered by the law until you are in the grace of God and so we understand something that inasmuch the law is there and indwelling sin is there, the law is going to be saying, “do this”, and the power of sin, being in the law, is going to say to your flesh, “I am not going to do it”. So the things you do not want to do, and the things you hate you do. So he has identified your problem. You do not have to sit around and analyze yourself, this or that. You can have someone who has the opposite environment than you and they have the same identical problem as you.
1 Corinthians 15:56
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
You can have two people growing up in the same family and the same circumstances. One child goes one way. Another child goes another way. What is the problem? You do not want to sit around and analyze it, going into introspection. He already told you what your problem is. It is called sin living in us when we bring it down to that simplicity, that there is a force living in us that is contrary to the law, a force living in us that wants to rule. That to me is what indwelling sin is. It is that insatiable desire in us that wants to control everything.
I want to control my life. I want to control your life. I want to control my circumstances. I want to control my children. I want to control my congress. I want to control the president. I want to control everything. That is why people, quite frankly, go out and vote, in order that this guy wants to control the same things I want to control. So I am going to vote for him. And I am going to raise money. He wants to control the same thing I want to control. So I am going to vote him into office. And if he does not do right then I am going to get some lobby group in there. What does a lobby group do? It tries to get people to do what I want him to do. Is that contrary to the world? That is the world. We have to understand that. We have this thing living in us that says, “I want to control”. And if you want to control, then what do you really want to be? God.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”
It is the garden of Eden all over again. The day you eat thereof you will know right from wrong and good from evil and you will become like God. To yourself, you will not need Me. You will be your own god. You will determine right from wrong, good from evil. You will go out and control things instead of leaving things in My own hands. You will try to control things yourself. That is man.
When we realize that is the condition of fallen man, and fallen flesh, whether flesh indwelt by God or flesh without indwelt by God, that is the condition of fallen flesh. When you are born again, your flesh does not become unfallen. Your flesh is the same flesh the day you were lost. The difference is the Spirit of God living in there to control that flesh. But the flesh still wants to raise its ugly head, as much today as it did when I was lost. The only difference is there has been some time now to learn about the sufficiency and hope in Christ Jesus, to do what? For the Holy Spirit to control those desires. It is not that the desires go away. It is now the fact that they can be controlled by the Spirit of God.
17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Before we are able to put our faith in the Spirit of God controlling our flesh, we first of all have to recognize the wretchedness of our flesh. If I am not dead, what in the world would I want with life. If I am not sinful, what in the world would I want forgiveness for? If I do not see how wretched my flesh is, why would I need or even desire the Spirit to control me? Until I come to grips with my own wretched flesh, then why would I want Jesus to control my flesh? If I thought my flesh was okay,then I say, “I do not need His control. I can do quite well, thank you, on my own”.
Paul had to come to the point of seeing something about himself. He does so in verse 24.
24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body [not the spirit] that is subject to death?
This body contains indwelling sin, this flesh of mine that wants to control everything, this flesh of mine that is at enmity with the Spirit of God that lives in me. The desires of my flesh are contrary to the desires of my spirit and the desires of my spirit are contrary to the desires of my flesh. There is a conflict going on. There is a war going on.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Who is going to rescue me from my body? That is one of the joys of death, to get out of this body. There is going to be no conflict when we are absent from the body and present with the Lord. In the meantime, we live in this body and we live in this indwelling sin. That does not shock God. It is designed that way. In the midst of the strength of this flesh of yours, there is someone more powerful than the desires of the flesh. That is the Spirit. If you will put your hope where it belongs, not in the hope of fulfilling your flesh, not in the hope of getting your own way, not in the hope of controlling everything around you, not in the hope of wanting to be the one, not in the hope of never wanting to be submissive, always wanting to be right, never admitting you are wrong, put your hope in Me. Those things fade. Put your hope in Me and I will control those attitudes. I will change your attitudes, to give you the attitude of the one who lives in you, and that is Christ Jesus. To his question, who will rescue me from this body of death? His answer is.
25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Did Paul have any understanding why he did the things he did? No. He did not understand why he did those things. The only explanation he had for his bondage is sin. That is bringing things down to the simplicity of life. We try to complicate that. He did not sit and analyze his flesh, folks. I hope you can see this as it relates to biblical counseling. He did not sit there and analyze his flesh. He recognized the source of his problem. If you do not get to the source, and do not get to the root, then you are only going to be dealing with the fruit. In order to solve the problem, you get to the root of the problem. The root of the problem is sin. All of this other stuff you can talk about, try to analyze, try to sympathize, the emphasis on this type of thing, but you missed the root of the problem. The root of all problems of man is the things you want to do you do not do and the things you do not want to do, you do anyway. That is my struggle. The root of that is sin. The solution to sin is hope in Him.
27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
So he calls the shot exactly as it is, wretched man that I am. I have to see there is no good thing in my flesh. My heart can be just as deceitful now and who can know it? The issue is I have a new heart and it is His, and I can draw on that. If I do not draw on that I am forced to rely on the energy of my own flesh. In my mind, I am a slave to God’s law. In my flesh, I am a slave to the law of sin. To my humanity, I am a slave to that law of sin.
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
As far as a new nature is concerned, I am enslaved to God’s law and that is the law of love. When dealing with this type of thing, you see this conflict going on. Then how are these struggles dealt with. Let us look at Romans 6:10-14. So we know sin is the problem, so we say, “How are we going to get through this then? If sin is my problem, how do you deal with that issue? ”
10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Did he say, “inside yourself, you are dead to sinning?” I hope not. He said reckon yourself, or count on, depending upon the fact that you are dead to sin. Why? He died to sin once and for all. That is the importance of the teaching of the finality of the cross. Jesus judged your sin one time and one time only. Your sins were all placed upon the cross of Jesus Christ, upon the body hanging on the cross of Jesus Christ. There he who knew no sin became sin. All of the judgment of God in regard to the entire sin issue was placed upon Jesus to the point he became sin for us so that in Him, we could become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
That is either the truth or a lie. God dealt with your sin once and for all, paid the price, took the penalty, presented his blood to God the Father who said, “propitiation has taken place. I am satisfied. The worth of your blood was of such value that it covered and took away the sins of the entire world.
1 John 2:2
2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 4:10
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
I have dealt now with sins once and for all, never to be dealt with again”. When Jesus returns, it says, he is not coming back to deal with sin, but to bring salvation for those who are waiting for Him.
28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Why is he not coming back to deal with sin? He has already dealt with it. He has dealt with it once. He dealt with it for all. He said, “it is finished”. He said it is paid in full. Now he said, “Consider yourself dead to what killed Me”.
30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Now, he said, that is one thing to consider yourself dead to sin. Thank God for the cross. That took away my sins. God is not dealing with you, my friends, on the basis of sin today. He already dealt with you on the basis of sin. There is no more punishment for your sins. If there was more punishment for you, then he did not take them all. There is no more judgment for your sins. Your sins were judged once. They were judged at the cross. You were declared guilty. Your punishment was death. Jesus took it all. There is none left for you.
We are supposed to consider yourselves dead to what he said he died to. He is not dealing with you on the basis of sins today. If he was, he would have to deal with you on the basis of sin and death. He is not dealing with you on that basis. What is he dealing with you on? The second half of this verse. The life he lives he lives to God.
10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
That is the importance of the resurrection. If all you see is that Jesus took away the sins of the world, which is good news, but you do not see that he did that so that he could give you life and that you could now live to God, through His life, then you missed the dynamic of the grace of God.
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