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Supremely Selfish

Supremely Selfish

Paul said of the unregenerate man in Ephesians 2:3 that they live in the lust of their flesh, indulging in the desires of the flesh and of the mind. In this description we find one who is supremely selfish. They are living a life of self gratification with little or no thought of God’s will for their life. They are only concerned with what pleases and benefits them.

In II Timothy 3:1-4 Paul gives a graphic description of the heart of man in the last days, “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” He began this description of the heart of man as being lovers of self and ended the description as these men being lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Clearly this is the culture of which we currently live.

We live in a violent culture, a culture of partisanship, a culture of splits, separations, and stalemates, a culture of tolerance so long as you agree with me, and a culture of throwing a fit until I get my way. James 4:1-2 says, “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel.”

This is the heart of the man of flesh; the unregenerate man. Unfortunately, the church so often appeases this fleshly selfishness rather than opposes it and calling it into repentance. They appease it with their seeker sensitive services in hopes that the sinner will never be uncomfortable. Did God Himself not create our bodies to have pain and fever alerting us that something is wrong? Pain and fever isn’t comfortable. That was intentional by God’s design. A sinner should always feel welcome in church but never comfortable.

When one reads the sermon Peter preached to the Jews in Acts 2 one can hardly say his intention was to make them comfortable. His intention was clear. It was to make them aware of their selfish motives that led to their sin resulting in them being in hostility towards their creator. His intention was for their hearts to be pierced with the truth of God’s word leading them to ask, “Brethren, what shall we do?” This question then led to the conclusion, “repent.”

The gospel of the selfish man tells us to come to Jesus to get healthy, wealthy and prosperous. The gospel of Jesus says, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24). Are there benefits in following Jesus? Absolutely! However, we must “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33). If our heart is what we can get out of God rather than God Himself we stand in need of repentance of our selfishness and rebellion towards God.             Jesus said, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” (Matthew 16:4). In Matthew 12:40 Jesus told them what the sign of Jonah was, “For just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” In other words Jesus was telling us that the only sign we need is the gospel which is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Our only need is Jesus; anything else is selfish.

Jesus said repeatedly throughout the gospels to deny ourselves and to put ourselves in last place. Jesus said of John the Baptist, “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist!” Then He said, “Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11).

Selfishness is sin. It is a mindset of the fleshly man. It is the sin that divides, splits, stagnates, and segregates communities and churches alike; it is the sin that destroys marriages, the sin that neglects the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of a child, and the sin that causes the world to be at war within itself. It must not be appeased. It must be called into repentance whether in our hearts or the hearts of our hearers.

It is Jesus of whom the bible calls us to have the mind of. It is Jesus who showed the ultimate act of selflessness “by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:8). The man of the flesh can never be a man of God until he becomes likeminded with Paul where he said, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” This is the message of which we live. This is the message of which we preach.

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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Understanding the Lost

Understanding the Lost

Naturally, everyone is an individual, therefore everyone is unique. They have different cultures, religious influences, and social influences. Members of the same family can often be vastly different from the other. However, we must keep in mind that we are not focusing on the flesh. The battle we are waging war against is a spiritual battle. Since this is a spiritual battle we can better understand the one who is not led by the Sprit of God, the lost person, but led by the god of this world who is Satan.

Ephesians 2:1-3 gives us the perfect portrait of the one who does not have a personal relationship with Jesus. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”

Paul says that they are dead in their trespasses and sins. They are dead because of their sins. They are spiritually dead because their sins spiritually separated them from a holy God. They are walking according to the course of this world rather than by the Spirit of God. They are free moral agents able to willingly choose between right and wrong. God has given to the Jews the law but all men have been given the law of conscious. Romans 2:15 says, “They show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them.” Although they have the ability to choose what is right they are by nature children of wrath and will inevitably rebel against God since they do not have the Spirit of God to guide them. They are spiritually dead.

Since they are in rebellion against God they not only walk in accordance to the world but also in accordance to the prince of the power of the air. This prince of the power of the air is none other than Satan himself. Satan cannot force anyone to follow him. However, when one makes the choice to rebel against God he has then made the choice to follow Satan. They may disagree with this truth but the bible is clear, they are now on his side and he is now working in their lives manipulating them for his purposes. Paul said they are “of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”

To counter act their rebellion we must firmly proclaim God’s righteous standards that stand in direct contradiction to their fleshly ways. All men will admit that they are sinners. However, all men do not understand that they are in rebellion against a holy God and therefore stand guilty and condemned before Him. James 4:4 says, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” As we proclaim the righteous standards of God we must also proclaim the fact that rebellion against God makes one His enemy. There is no neutral ground. You are either for Him or against Him. Those who choose to live for Him will receive His grace while those who choose to rebel against Him will receive His wrath. God’s will is for all to choose His grace. However, He is a just God and must punish unrepentant and un-atoned for sin.

As those who are in Christ we need to stay mindful that Paul said, “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh.” We must remember that we to were once in this unregenerate state of rebellion against God. We need to continually remind ourselves that it is only by the grace of God that we were saved and brought out of death and into life. With this in mind we realize that we are no better than they. We are only better off than them because we have accepted the grace of God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our boasting should only be found in the grace of God provided through the cross of Christ. As a result we should be busy boasting among those who are perishing so they too will be drawn to the grace of God; drawn out of death and into life.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

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