EXPOSING THE ENEMY
I hardly ever watch TV and when I do, it’s mostly FOX News. But 2 days ago, I was scanning through the cable channels, paused at FOX TV ( not News – mostly series and sitcoms) and lo and behold, this particular detective series ( I think its is called “Bones”) was showing two females locked in a passionate kiss. To say I was shocked was to simply understate it.
But I am not here to warn about homosexuality on TV. My task is to deal with something more sinister.
There is no doubt that we live in a very sexually charged culture in which sex is treated like a casual thing to be engaged in casually; and just in case you think I think I am saying something novel, let me say that I know I am not.
What is however worrisome to me is the casual approach that we as Christians seem to have adopted with respect to our exposure to the desacralizing of sex
We have gradually become unmoved by this flagrant display of sexuality and have bought the lie that it doesn’t matter, we can handle it, “we are, after all, mature enough”.
But let me share Scripture with us.
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.- James 1:14-15 (ESV)
Notice the progression, Desire –> Sin –> Death.
Many of us miss this vital link between sin and desire and only start to battle sin when the sinful pattern is noticed (sadly, at this point the leakage has grown into a stream of thoughts and/or actions) at which point the battle has become so fierce and the damage great.
However, sin should be fought at preconception or at conception, at the stage of “desire”; that is when it is weakest.
And how do we fight?
By taking heed to ourselves with regards to the “seemingly harmless” entertainment we allow ourselves be exposed to.
The “seemingly harmless” entertainment plant seeds in our minds and these seeds stoke our sinful desires. The very sinister thing about these seeds is that they grow unnoticed, tucked away in the recess of our minds, slowly chipping away at our sense of scandal at the sighting of the casualization of sex.
Soon enough we see nothing wrong with watching it, and with that comes our excusing it in the lives of others and in our own lives.
This is what God’s word says:
Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil. – Proverbs 4:23-27
I know that there are many people, who struggle not only with sexual temptation, but with sexual sin. This without a doubt is frustrating and defeating, especially for those who love the Lord and want to please Him.
Let me share something with you!
Sin wants you dead!
And it wants you dead so badly it uses you to fight you!
The Apostle Paul said, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
So you best be killing sin, or it would be killing you.
Notice I said, “Be killing” and not “kill”.
You see, Sin is that enemy that employs every means possible, for as long as you are in this earthly body, to arrange your destruction. It never stops trying, it never tires. So, your task is to bring your body under subjection, by the Spirit’s power.
Notice also that it is YOU ( by the Spirit) that must put to death the deeds of the flesh!
“…sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” – God (Genesis 4:7)
Beloved brothers and sisters, we have an obligation as Slaves of Righteousness, not to yield our members as instruments of unrighteousness. This obligation is made much obvious by the fact that We are dead to sin and one who is dead to sin has no obligation to that which he/she is dead to.
We are at war friends! Not only against the sins of others, but especially against our own sins.
The Apostle Paul said, ” But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)
This discipline is both preventive and corrective.
The Scripture over and over again warns us to be on our guard against the corrupting influence of the world system. To be on the look out for patterns in our own lives and thoughts generated by our own hearts, and speech proceeding from our own mouths. And against the corrupting influence of bad company.
WAGING THE RIGHT WARFARE
In fact, it appears that the enemy of our soul is content with our fighting against others at the expense of taking heed to ourselves.
We are great expositors of God’s word, proficient and efficient heresy detectives but we alas fall flat on our faces when it comes to living holy lives.
But this ought not be so dear brothers and sisters, we ought to “adorn the gospel of God with our conduct”
Our very lives ought to be on display for all to see that indeed God does save men from the power of sin!
But How do we wage war?
What should we do (or keep doing) to be killing sin?
Let me start with what we shouldn’t do.
1. We should NEVER put any confidence in our flesh. Like they say, “I get am before no be property”
“For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” – Philippians 3:3
Quite a lot of us trust in our discipline, our past victories and not in the Lord. Our confidence must be in what God has accomplished not in our “maturity”. And if we rely solely on what God has accomplished, then we wage war according to God’s instruction. Now if God says “Guard your hearts diligently…” then we must guard our hearts diligently. To rely on some mythical maturity is to set ourselves up for a fall.
2. We must not put confidence in our rules.
“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” ( referring to things that all perish as they are used) —according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self- made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. – Colossians 2:20-23
The issue isn’t so much what you are refraining from, but what you are doing in their stead.
It is not enough to keep sin out, you have to let something else replace it. In fact, it starts with what is being put in.
“Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13:13-14
The battle is won because we are the Lord’s not because we keep rules or wear chastity rings or the likes.
The danger in identifying and pointing out these tactics of sin and calling us to warfare is in our assuming that we are safe behind our rules rather than in the reality of our calling and election.
IT STARTS INSIDE!
Please brothers and sisters, I urge you to chew and digest these words from the Apostle Paul:
15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. – Romans 6:15-22
The Apostle has clearly shown us that our lives are a function of our beliefs
Our beliefs must therefore be right for our lives to be right
But even when we claim we have right beliefs, we can’t say “we believe” if we don’t live as we say we believe.
Question: What are we therefore meant to believe about ourselves and how should these beliefs be worked out?
1. We are under grace not under law.
2. Grace isn’t license to sin; in fact it is the very opposite – ( 11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self- controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. – Titus 2:11-14)
3. We are slaves of whatever governing principle we yield ourselves to. If to sin, then we are its slaves; if to righteousness, we are its slaves.
4. Slaves of sin end up dead, while slaves of Righteousness end up righteous.
5. Righteousness is according to “a standard of teaching” in order words, we don’t decide what is righteous and what isn’t and our obedience to this standard of teaching must go beyond lip service.
6. We ALL were at one time slaves of sin and didn’t bother about righteousness, doing only that which pleased sin; but God through Christ set us free from sin’s bondage and brought us into another slavery; that is, slavery to righteousness.
7. Now think back to when you were slaves of sin; were you not completely sold to sin, doing whatever pleased sin with whatever part of your body that was required for that? Remember how it was so “natural” for you to do those things that you did as a slave of sin for which you are now ashamed. Imagine, you did shameful things with ease because you were sin’s slaves. Now that you are now slaves of Righteousness, shouldn’t you do only what is pleasing to Righteousness? Well, the truth is, not only should you do it, you can!
8. Okay, so you fail at it, that doesn’t mean you should stop keeping at it. You must press on, insisting that as a slave of Righteousness, you are under obligation, only to righteousness. You owe ALL your body members to Righteousness!