Living by the Spirit - 2011

Scripture: Galatians 5:16-26, Romans 7:14-24
Date: 12/17/2011 
Lesson: 12
Though everyone struggles with moral conflict, the converted Christian faces an internal war between the sinful and divine natures every single day.
When you post, you agree to the terms and conditions of our comments policy.
If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.
To help maintain a Christian environment, we closely moderate all comments.

  1. Please be patient. We strive to approve comments the day they are made, but please allow at least 24 hours for your comment to appear. Comments made on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday may not be approved until the following Monday.

  2. Comments that include name-calling, profanity, harassment, ridicule, etc. will be automatically deleted and the invitation to participate revoked.

  3. Comments containing URLs outside the family of Amazing Facts websites will not be approved.

  4. Comments containing telephone numbers or email addresses will not be approved.

  5. Comments off topic may be deleted.

  6. Please do not comment in languages other than English.

Please note: Approved comments do not constitute an endorsement by the ministry of Amazing Facts or by Pastor Doug Batchelor. This website allows dissenting comments and beliefs, but our comment sections are not a forum for ongoing debate.

Greetings from Sacramento central seventh day adventist church. We are so excited that you are joining us to worship with us and to study God's Word together with Pastor Doug this morning. A special welcome to you that are joining us this morning in our sanctuary. We have guests - plenty of guests here and members alike. A very special welcome to you that are joining us across the country and around the world, streaming live on the internet this morning through radio, television, however you're joining us.

Welcome. And I know that you will truly be blessed. Our first hymn we're going to sing is hymn #135 - o little town of Bethlehem. This comes as a request from joyce in Arizona, sharrah and jason in australia, veronica, angel and jasmine in the bahamas, deborah, James and John in england, ken and anja in germany, damar, Samuel, and the neckles family, linda, Karen, wilfred, diand, and damar, in grenada, lloyd in jamaica, mike and eileen in Michigan, selina and jonathan in the netherlands, ken and verna in New Hampshire, maria, elena, and angela in new york, andy josie, jolly and chiemela in saudi arabia, jojie in south korea, and Christa in Virginia. Hymn #135 - o little town of Bethlehem.

We'll sing the first, the second and the last verses. If you have a favorite hymn that you would like to sing with us on a coming presentation, I invite you to go to our website, Click on the contact us link and there you can request any song in our hymnal that you want to sing with us on a coming presentation. We'd love to sing that with you. And we are also, always ready to learn new ones - and that's always dangerous when I say that, but we're good for learning new ones too, so send in your requests.

Our next hymn we're going to sing is hymn #141 - what child is this - #141. And this comes as a request from veronica, angel, and jasmine in the bahamas, althea in Connecticut, navadean in florida, myron and jan in Georgia, springlands sda church in guyana, shirlyn and stephanie in Maryland, magalie and micha in mauritius, joyce in Michigan, howard and dian in Mississippi, beth in New York, jamie, jenny, vern and sandie in north carolina, andy and josie in saudi arabia, steven, jen, kylie, and bruce in south dakota, vikki, veronica, stephen and rodney in trinidad and tobago, becky in Virginia, and my sister alisa in California, who just happens to be standing right beside me singing with me today. So this is her favorite hymn. So hymn #141 - what child is this - and we're going to sing all three verses. Let's pray.

Our Heavenly Father, what a privilege it is to come before you and worship you. Our hearts are full of thankfulness in this time and when we can sing songs about you and what you gave up to save us and we are so grateful. So we ask you to send your holy spirit in a special way as we study Your Word now as we, with open hearts and open ears, open Your Word. And we long to be changed - to be in the likeness of you. So please just touch us.

Help us to apply these things that we learn to our lives, that we can be shining lights for you and that we can do our part to hasten your coming. Lord, we look forward to that day. Again, I cannot wait. I pray these things in your name, Jesus, amen. Our study will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor and he is the senior pastor here at Sacramento central.

Welcome to our Sabbath school class. Those that are studying with us, we're glad that you are joining us today and we are going to be continuing, in a moment, our study dealing with the book of Galatians. We'll probably be finishing out chapter 5 today. And I also want to welcome those who might be part of the extended central family. We have a lot of people that, on a regular basis, study the lesson with us and many people don 't have a church that they can be part of and they are part of the cyber family of Sacramento central.

I want to greet you as well. We have folks that are in the outback of australia and missionaries in africa and people in remote parts of Canada and we - it's just really nice that we're able to minister to you. If you're in that category and you want to know, 'how can I be part of the church family and you want to be able to worship with us through the internet or through satellite, then you can just go to - Something else we're going to start doing - a lot of people say they'd like to maybe have some of the thoughts or the notes or illustrations that are used by the various teachers here at central church. We're going to create a place at Amazing Facts and at sac central where we will post our notes - we'll e-mail them to the office and we'll put them up and then if anybody says, 'what was that quote? What was that reference?' The notes will be there for you, good or bad and you can use them.

So we're developing that. One last thing before we get to our lesson. Please be praying. We shared with you that there's a special program coming in January. January 13th through the 15th.

It's just four presentations - that Friday, two on Sabbath, one on Sunday that are specially designed to try to reclaim missing members. I think everybody here knows some friends, maybe someone they went to school with, maybe family, that once attended church faithfully and, for a variety of reasons, became discouraged and stopped. We're designing a special series of programs to speak to the hearts of those people and address some of the main issues that we encounter. It's called 'reclaim your faith.' 'Reclaim your faith.' How many of you will pray for that program? I think prayer is the key. And not only do we pray that people will tune in for the live program, the 13th through the th - it's on the hope channel - it'll be on direct t.

v. All over the country and the world, but then we hope that they record it and use the discs, the dvds to share these messages with friends they know that maybe have become discouraged. the Lord wants us to go after these missing sheep, doesn't he? Isn't that what the shepherd did? And we need to pray for those prodigals that are out there wandering and, I believe God will bless, so pray for that program. Tell your friends. Oh, by the way, there's a website where you'll find more information.

It's called 'faith reclaimed.' The website is sort of the opposite of the title. It's 'reclaim your faith.' The website is faith reclaimed. That's all that was available, sorry. You'll find more information there.

All right. Our lesson today is in lesson #12. Now, this quarterly actually has presentations. It's the last of the year and that's the way the stars lined up this year with the number of weeks, and so there will be 14 - this is lesson 12. It's called freedom in Christ.

Freedom in Christ. We'll be finishing out Galatians 5 today. During this quarterly we're getting all the way through the Gospel in Galatians. And we have a memory verse, it's from Galatians 5:16. Galatians 5:16 - I hope that you'll say that with me.

Now this is from the english standard version in your quarterlies. You ready? "But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." One of the most important verses we're going to address today is that verse right there, but we can't get there just yet. Walk by the Spirit and you'll not gratify the desires of the flesh." All right. The first section we're going to talk about is walking in the Spirit. Now, have we all heard about those who walk with the Lord? Who's the first person you think of that walked with God? Enoch.

Is he the only one that walked with God? But why do we think of him first? He must have had the best walk because he found his way to the escalator, right? Let's read this. Genesis 5:22 "and Enoch walked with God after he begat methuselah, 300 years, and he begat sons and daughters. All the days of Enoch were 365 years and Enoch walked with God and he was not, for God took him." God took Enoch. What does that mean? He was translated. He was caught up to heaven because his walk was so close.

Now, one reason we're reading these verses. Heading says, 'walking in the Spirit.' Some people think it's impossible to walk in the Spirit. Some people think it's just too hard to walk with God. Do we have examples in the Bible of people that did it? Then can you do it? Were they mortals? I mean, even Jesus was a man when he was on earth and he set an example of walking with The Father. All right, the next one we have is Genesis 6, 9 and 10: someone else.

Okay, I think jolyne is going to read that for us and we are ready. "This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God and Noah begat three sons: shem, ham, and japheth." All right. How many expect to see Noah in heaven? Does the Bible record that Noah ever failed in any particular? Probably a couple.

One being he got drunk and stumbled around his tent in his birthday tuxedo and that turned into another whole story in the Bible. But did he walk with God? You know, when you read through the Kings of Israel, it kind of categorizes the Kings as 'this king walked in the ways of the Lord, he obeyed the commandments of the Lord as his father David had done.' David walked with the Lord. But does it record that David also sinned in a few cases? How many? Well, the Bible records - can you number any? Bathsheba - well, that was several all in one. That was murder and lying and adultery all in one. Just call it one for now, okay? And then he, what else? He numbered Israel.

He neglected the raising of his children. He kind of let them do their own thing and several of them went bad. He pretended he was crazy and slobbered on his beard. He was just crazy like a fox. He just - he wanted to act like a madman so he wouldn't be killed.

It's a little deceptive. I don't know, we've got to give him a pass on that one because in war it seems like deception was often used. But, did he walk with God? What was the consistent trend of David's life. When he knew what God's will - that's what he wanted to do. With those rare exceptions in a life of 70 years.

All right, someone read 1 John , verses 5 and 6. I think you're going to read that for us. "But whoever keeps His Word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. But this we know, that we are in him - by this we know that we are in him. He who says he abides in him ought himself also to walk just as he walked.

" Okay. Let's do some math. Did Jesus say that we are to abide in him? All right, let's add that verse to the verse that says that those that abide in him walk as he walked. So, is it possible for us to abide in Christ? And then, if we abide in him, what does that mean? What is a Christian? You mean we're supposed to really try to live like Jesus? Long hair, robe, sandals, the whole thing? That's not the part it's talking about. It's talking about behaving like Christ.

A Christian is not just forgiven, yet that mind set has permeated a lot of Christians in North America. That Christians simply accept the grace and forgiveness and then you're saved, and they forget the important part that is the evidence of a life of sanctification. One where you walk - walk means, you know, from the time you get out of bed and your feet hit the ground. You walk as he walked. I think we ought to pray over our shoes every day, so that they'll walk as Jesus walked.

You know what I'm saying? And really live out the life of Christ. How do we do that? It's in Galatians there. If you walk in the Spirit - we need to have spirit-filled lives. How can we have a life in the Spirit? I tell you what. I got ahead of myself.

Before I answer that question - you know, as we've been going through Galatians I've sort of made a vow that whenever I teach the class, I want to at least to read through the entire verses we're considering so that we can say that we have at least all read it together. And so go with me to Galatians 5. We're going to read verses 16 - it says in the lesson 16 to 25, but I'm going to 26 because it's the last verse in the chapter. Galatians 5:16-26. Matter of fact, I'm going to read it out of my Bible instead of my notes here.

"I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." Notice the word 'shall' there. It means that if you do this you will not be fulfilling the lust of the flesh. "For the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary one to the other, so that you do not do the things you wish. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are these:" - now he says, 'in case you're in any doubt about what it means to walk after the flesh and walk after the Spirit, let me define them for you.

First, let me define what are the works of the flesh. Not all of them, but at least so you get an idea. - "The works of the flesh are evident," - they're obvious - "which are these: adultery, fornication," - now is there a difference between adultery and fornication? Adultery typically involves someone being married. Fornication on the other hand is any kind of sexual immorality, married or not, outside of the marriage vow. - "Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery," - everything to do with the occult and witchcraft.

- "Hatred, contentions," - hatred involves anger, outbursts of wrath - "contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders," - now he's going to the extremes. - "Drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past," - he says, 'I've been telling you all along" - "those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God." - So, let's pause - I'm going to finish reading, don't worry, but let's just pause and think about this for a minute. I want to go to heaven, I really do. I'm glad you want me to go to heaven too - I heard an amen out there. Or were you amen-ing for your own desire to be there.

I thought you were all amen-ing for me to be there. But I really - I hope you don't think I'm selfish, but I really want to go. I want eternal life. And Paul here is making it very clear that if there is a practice of any of these things in your life - a pattern of any of these things in your life, anger, the envies, and the selfish ambition, and - I mean, it's already obvious to you about the murders and the adultery - I hope that's all clear, but it's more than just that. Those who practice these things will not inherit the Kingdom of God, which means, you can't just say, 'I accept Jesus and thank you for your forgiveness, you then must not walk in the flesh.

You need victory. Is that clear? If you're abiding in him you're not walking in the flesh. Okay, now let's talk about the fruit of the Spirit. And we have sections on these later. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love," - it's the antithesis of all these other things we've talked about.

- "Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." Now, when it said earlier that 'if you're led by the Spirit you're not under the law' have you ever heard that misapplied? So, somebody thinks, 'well, once you accept Jesus and he gives you his spirit, you don't have to obey the law anymore.' That's not what he's saying. He's saying, 'if you have the fruits of the Spirit, that always involves obeying the law and there is no law against these things. In other words, obviously there's no law against love, joy, peace.' "And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh" - so, if a person thinks you can still live in the flesh and be saved, no. - "Those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

" - Is crucifixion ever easy or painless? Is it sometimes hard to crucify the desires of the flesh and that lower nature? We've got a whole section here talking about the flesh and the Spirit. - "With it's passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." - The two need to go together. - "Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." That's verse 26. Okay, we've read that all.

Now, before I run along, just while it's fresh in my mind, in Galatians chapter 5 verses 16 to , Paul uses five key verbs to describe what this walk looks like. What the Spirit reigning in the life looks like. He says, 'walk in the Spirit." In the Greek there it means to walk around or to follow. It's like the disciples of aristotle. They were pedestrians, they followed him around wherever he went.

It was a way of life. And so, that's one of the phrases that's used. He's not talking about the occasional walk, but a daily experience. The second verb is to be led - and that's in verse 18. This suggests that we need to allow the Spirit to lead us.

It's one thing to follow someone, it's another thing to be led and - so that you know where you're going. Our job is to follow. And the next verb is to live in the Spirit. Paul here is referring to the new birth experience that daily must Mark the life of every believer. So, it's not just where you go, it's something happening on the inside that you're living in the Spirit.

And then he uses the word 'to walk' again and that word walk is more like the Greek word for March. That means to be in formation - to have a life of order, one of discipline, like a soldier. All this is in here. And then he says, of course, part of that walk is a walk to the cross. It's that death March.

That final walk. That self-surrender. To be crucified. And I know this is a little shocking, but that's what it means if you make that decision to follow Jesus - that it's a denial of self and you really don't live until you first die. You can't be born again until you bury and crucify that old man.

So, that's something about what that walk means in those verses. Now, we're on to the section now, 'do not love the world.' And I've got a verse - who has James 4:4? Okay. Gene, we'll get you a microphone and before you read that, I've got some verses. They always need a moment just to focus and aim the cameras. Talking about not loving the world, I can't help but go to John 2, verses 15 to 17.

I memorized this a long time ago, because to me it was such an obvious summary of what that Christian life is all about. "Do not love the world or the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of The Father is not in him." Can you do both? Can you love both? "For all that's in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of The Father, but it's of the world, and the world is passing away and the lust of it. But he that does the will of God abides" - for how long? Notice there's a contrast between loving the world and the will of God. You cannot be doing the will of God and loving the world.

They don't go together. All right, go ahead, read for us James - read for us gene - James 4:4 please. "Adulterers and adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." You can't do both. You can't say, 'you know, there's good things in the world - I want to enjoy some of the pleasures of the world. A little bit of worldliness and a little bit of church.

' And typically those that are trying to ride the middle of the road are really laodicean. They're not hot and they're not cold, they're just plain old Lukewarm. And what does Jesus - how does he deal with laodicea. It's nauseating. They have just enough religion to fool themselves, but not enough to save them.

And in the book 'steps to Christ' it says that they're really the most miserable of all people because they don't have the peace - the real peace of having a spirit-filled life but they've got just enough self-denial where they're not really enjoying the world with both hands. That's why Paul says, 'above all men we are most miserable if we're trying to live the Christian life and there is no eternity.' - If you don't have everlasting life. But, you know, why does he say, 'adulterers and adulteresses?' Is he only identifying the sin of adultery? I think there's more to it than that. In the Bible, when you're baptized, you're married to Christ, and there's to be a loyalty to Christ and the things of God. If you're trying to love the things of the world, all of those things are summarized as adultery, because it's a kind of spiritual adultery when you say, 'I'm a Christian but you're really living like everyone else in the world.

And there should be a distinction. There should be obvious differences. Your neighbors ought to know that you're different because you're letting your light shine and there's some consistency. You know, I was thinking about an illustration last night. Years ago, one of the worst maritime disasters in north America actually happened right after president lincoln was assassinated and almost nobody knew about it.

A steamboat caught on fire and blew up in the Mississippi. And, I think it was like 5 - -500 people - they never got the final tally - died in that disaster. And they were within a mile of land. Because it just exploded - it was dark, it was at night, there were flames, and a lot of people got on pieces of the broken ship and they couldn't tell they were in the river, because the river is moving, but when it's dark and you can't see the shore, you have no context. So they were drifting down the river, but they felt like they were standing still because all they could see was each other.

And it wasn't until the sun came up they realized that they were moving four or five miles an hour. So, you know what's happened with the church? Picture that you've got 100 life rafts out in a foggy river and you look around - it's a big river - you don't see the shore, but you see all the other life rafts. You see leaves that are in the water - and they're all perfectly still. Because you're all looking at everybody moving the same speed, you feel like you're not going anywhere. But it's not until the fog melts and you see the shore, you realize that you're really drifting towards the waterfall.

What's happening to the church today is we are spending so much time looking at everything that is drifting together that we don't know where we're heading, because our point of reference is the television, other Christians, all the compromise we see in the world together, so we're not looking at anything stationary. And finally, if you drift along in the river and you come to a big old rock sticking out of the water, you can see the waves pushing up - the current pushing up on the rock and you realize, 'hey! We're moving' - it's not the rock moving - I remember I was at a - I was at a - I think, actually, it was on watt avenue - I was at a stop light. Watt avenue - I pulled up at the stop light - I was first in line there. All the cars began to pile up around me - right. Left, behind me - and I look in my rear-view mirror and - I don't know why he started doing it, but the man behind me had put his car in reverse and started backing up.

And then I looked to my right and the guy to the right of me had put his car in reverse and he started backing up. And I looked to the left of me and the guy on the left of me, he put his car in reverse and he started backing up. And I started feeling a little self-conscious and then I looked ahead of me and I realized I let my foot slip of the brake - I was in drive, I was going forward. Nobody was moving. It was me.

And I thought everybody else was in reverse. We lose our perspective sometimes because the world is drifting further and further from God and the church in the world - we're so in the world, we're looking around us and we think, 'I don't see anyone moving.' Because we're all moving together. But if you go back and you look at what the standards of the church were 50 years ago. Now, some people think it's progress that we've changed. But if you look at what the standards of the church were 50 years ago, I think you'd be shocked if you started to line some of those points up.

And it happens so slowly that it's almost imperceptible. It's like when the dentist - if he's really skilled and he gives you your novocain - he just puts a little swab on your gum first to numb the surface of the gum, and then he puts the needle in and it just goes in a little bit and he injects a little and goes in and injects a little and goes in and injects a little and you never - pretty soon he says he's done and you didn't even feel it - if he's good. That's what the devil does, we're all being numbed by the world. And I think we really need to pray and say, 'all right, what is it that's stationary that we can look at that isn't moving?' That's the Word of God. It doesn't change.

That's the rock. It doesn't change. These things that Paul identifies as the fruits of the spirit and the lusts of the flesh, those are things that don't change. Romans 12, 1 and 2. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice.

" This is talking about being crucified with Christ. - "Holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you might prove" - that means test, evaluate - "what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God." So, for the Christian that wants to be led by the Spirit as opposed to by the flesh, you want to be transformed by the Word of God and not conformed - everyone's got the choice - transformation or confirmation? You'll either be conformed to the world, and it happens little by little. And you know who I think is especially at risk, in my short time - comparatively short time as a seventh day adventist Christian? People who have been in the church for two or three generations are the most vulnerable. I was reading an article last night, written by someone who'd grown up in the church, and they began to question everything. They said, 'you know, I really want to stay in the church because it's the - I'm just used to this church, but I don't like what they believe anymore, but I don't know where else to go because all my friends are here and, you know, all the people I graduated from school with.

" And so they feel like they got to - stuck with the church even though they don't agree with the beliefs, because culturally they are surrounded with the things of the church and the friends and the heritage and certain idiosyncrasies, but in their lifestyle they say, 'you know, I don't agree.' And they start defending the things of the world. And it's possible for a person to grow up in the church and sort of just be immersed in the culture and never really be converted by Christ and have a relation - and understand what sin is. And if our values are being defined by the church, we are comparing ourselves among ourselves and by ourselves. Instead of saying, 'the Bible tells us that the church from the time of abel up until today, always drifts away from God. What was the history of Israel? Every generation, it seemed like they might shape up and have a revival for a little while, and then they'd drift away and they'd be oppressed and they'd suffer and they'd rediscover the truth again.

They'd repent and they'd convert and God would bless them and then they'd feel good and they'd start becoming lax again and they'd take their eyes off the Word of God and they'd drift away and become like the nations around them. And then some terrible crisis would come and God would raise up a judge and deliver them from their enemies and they'd have a revival and they'd read the Bible again and then they'd get one or two good leaders and then, pretty soon, they'd get a scoundrel and they all - it didn't take long for them to drift away, sometimes 20 years a whole nation forgot about God. And they were worshiping like the pagans around them. Has history changed or can that happen to us? Are we transforming the culture that we live in - as a church - or is it transforming us? Don't answer that. So, we are - no - what does it mean when it says, 'love not the world.

' Doesn't God love the world? You realize when it says, 'God so loved the world it's talking about the world in a different sense. When God says, 'he so loved the world, he's talking about the planet, the people that he made. When it says, 'love not the world' it's talking about worldliness. Every Christian ought to have a passion to reach the world and we are in the world, but the world's not supposed to be in us. That's the difference.

Okay? So, the Christian's conflict is our next section. And we're discovering what some of the challenges are. Have you ever discovered if you try to live sort of a mediocre life you don't have as much temptation? But every now and then you say, 'I'm going to go all the way.' And it seems like all these bad things happen. I'm going to totally surrender. Anyone? Have you ever noticed that the birds seem to always be in tune with the harvest? Birds seem to know when the fruit and the corn is ripe.

Those ravens just seem to know when the corn is ready. And those birds seem to know when the peaches and the apples are ready. Whenever you begin to produce the fruits of the Spirit in your life, the devil seems to know, doesn't he? And he will then try to send his attacks to discourage you. When the children of Israel began to escape from Egypt, before they took the first step out of Egypt, when they were just thinking of leaving. When Moses went to the pharaoh and said, 'let them go.

' They hadn't gone yet. What did he do? He tightened his grip. I think you've heard me use the illustration before of a choke chain for a dog. You know what a choke chain is? When you train some dogs they've got a chain that goes around the neck. It's got a big old loose ring at the end, a chain goes through that ring - you put it around the dog's neck, and when he pulls away from you it gets tighter and it teaches him to heel.

And so, if he fights too hard, it gets tighter - the harder he pulls away, the more uncomfortable it is. Kind of like as a kid - we used to have these little toys called chinese finger torture. It's a little bamboo cylinder, a little tube - how many of you know what I'm talking about? Okay, yeah. And you - I don't know why kids do this to torture themselves but everyone thought it was pretty neat. And you put your fingers in it and then as soon as you pulled your fingers out, it would tighten and it would cut in.

And there you were with your fingers locked. And don't ever do it to all five fingers. Have one on each finger, because then your brother could beat you up and you couldn't do anything the more you pull away the more it would tighten. The devil's like that. The more we seek to resist - and on their way to the red sea the pharaoh chased after them.

And when we're on our way to baptism, which is like the red sea - I've seen it. Whenever I prepare a person for baptism and you go over the baptismal vows, and you pray with them and I say, 'now, one more thing. Just be advised. I know you're planning on getting baptized this Sabbath, but I want you to schedule that there's going to be some kind of disagreement between you and your spouse just before church. Or some relative is going to call and have some crisis that's going to try and keep you.

Or you're going to wake up with a - sniffles or something.' I said, 'the devil is going to try to stop you, because do you think he wants you to get baptized? When you ever make an effort to really surrender to the Lord, what do you think? The devil's going to wish you well and wave his hankie and say, 'bon voyage and have a nice life, and' - no! He's going to try and stop it. And so you've got to be prepared for that. So there's a constant conflict. If you're in the stream - if you're in that river that's flowing towards disaster and you want to be a Christian, you have to swim against the current. And being a Christian in a world that is heading for destruction, you have to swim upstream and you're going to just meet with resistance.

But God - you're with him the whole time - Jesus is with you. You're following Christ. Did Jesus have to go against the trends? He said, 'if the world hated me, it's going to hate you.' You'll have conflict in the world. In our lesson it asks us to read Romans 7, verses 14 to 24. So bear with me, I'm going to read this familiar verse.

We studied it not long ago. "For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin." Carnal means fleshly - "for what I am doing I do not understand. For what I will to do, I do not practice, but what I hate, I do. Then if I do not what I - then if I do not do what I will not to do" - this is difficult wording, sorry - "I agree with the law that it is good. But now it is no longer I who do it, but sin who dwells in me.

For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, nothing good dwells. For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do I do not. For the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now, if I do that which I would not do, it's not long I who do it but sin that dwells in me.

I" - and the I there means the spiritual side of our nature isn't wanting to do it. - "I find a law that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man or the Spiritual man, but I see another law, the carnal side, in my members warring against the law in my mind and bringing me in captivity to the law which is in my members. Oh wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death?" So he's crying out for deliverance.

Can we be delivered? Just before we go to that other verse here. What does he say in Romans chapter 8? Can we experience deliverance from those things? Look at Romans 8, verse - oh, I probably ought to read verses 1 and 2. "There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus" - notice, we're talking about walking - "who do not walk" - if you are in Christ we "do not walk according to the flesh" - that battle Paul just described - "but, as opposed to in the flesh, we walk according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free." How many of you would like to be free? But is there a struggle before you experience that freedom? Yeah. It's just like crucifixion - you're crucifying yourself.

But you go through that struggle. "It will make me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh on account of sin. He condemned sin in the flesh." In his body he condemned sin that we might have the victory. That the righteous requirements of the law might be fulfilled in us, 'who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

' Now, we've got a verse on - we're all tempted. And you think well, 'Paul said I can't do it.' Paul didn't say that. Paul said in his old unconverted state he felt that battle and he kept doing what he didn't want to do. But then, through Christ, praise be to God, he got the victory. Do not have to walk according to the flesh.

Now walk according to the Spirit. And Paul wrote these words. We're going to read - what did I say? Corinthians 10:13. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man. But God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you're able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it.

" This is a wonderful, wonderful verse. If you always know that you've got a choice to escape temptation, that's encouraging right there. Sometimes we think there's no way out. And the Lord is saying, through Paul here, God will not allow you to be tempted without a way of escape. For one thing, think about it.

If you're tempted and there's no choice or option you have but to fulfill the temptation, is it a sin? If you have no choice? See what I'm saying? What makes sin - if eve was out in the garden before sin and she was just picking radishes and the serpent came and encoiled himself around her and pried her mouth open - it would be hard for a snake to do that, but back then they had wings, maybe they could. I don't know. - Pushed the fruit in her mouth and made her chew it and swallow. Held her nose, pinched her nose until she swallowed it, like giving your children some bitter medicine, then when God shook his finger at her and said, 'you sinned.' Would that be appropriate? She'd say, 'I didn't want to eat it. The snake held me down and pushed it in my mouth.

I tried not to eat it but I had no choice.' Would that have been a sin? No. It's because she did have a way of escape that it becomes a sin. And she chose freely to do the wrong thing. Whenever we sin, we're making a choice. And God is saying, 'you have another choice.

You have a choice to resist. You have a choice of victory. You've got a door - you have a way out. That's good news. And you think, 'oh, but it's such a hard temptation.

' He doesn't say it won't be hard, he says, 'you are able to bear it.' Sometimes it may seem unbearable, but God says, 'there is always a way.' He also knows what you're limits are so it's a question of do you believe the Word of God? If he says, 'I know you and I know what you can do through me and I am promising you I will never - I know what you can handle and what you can't handle. I am promising you I will never give you a temptation that you are not able to bear with my power.' Do you believe him? That means that every time you give in, you're choosing. And you can choose victory too. I believe this because - I'm not bragging because I've got a lot of areas where I still need victory, but I've seen so many victories in my life that I believe that he's able to give you victory in every area. And we can have these spirit-filled lives.

Temptation. When Paul describes the battle between the Spirit and the flesh, I used to think that was a battle between your mind and your body. It's not. It's a battle between your mind and your mind. You have a spiritual side of your nature.

We think temptation always comes from the nose down. Your tongue and your appetites and - or I guess your eyes down too. 'Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, pride of life.' Temptation is not coming from the body, temptation is starting here. And sometimes we invite temptation and, you know, we walk up right next to it and then we struggle and we wonder why. It's like the boy in the old country store, he was standing by a barrel of apples and he was caressing those bright apples.

And the proprietor of the store walked over there and he said, 'young man, you're not trying to steal one of those apples are you?' And he said, 'no mister, I'm trying not to steal one.' We just get right up to the temptation there and - you know, there's another verse. Peter 2, speaking about temptations. Peter 2, verse 9 "the Lord knows how to deliver the Godly out of temptation." Now, this business of sin and temptation - walking in the spirit and walking in the flesh is so relevant and practical, because I'll promise you something - I'm going to make you a promise right now - before the day's over, you're going to be tempted. If you don't know that you've been tempted you may be so far gone that you don't even feel it anymore. But if you're trying to live a Christian life, you will experience some temptation today.

It might be a temptation to be proud or to be selfish. It might be a temptation to be dishonest. It might be a temptation at the potluck. It'll be all good food - it might be a temptation for too much food. Some temptation is going to face you so it's a very practical study for us, isn't it? Because we want to live lives of consistently saying, 'I want to walk like Christ and do" - did Jesus ever sin? You know what that means? He always was successful in resisting every temptation.

Jesus didn't just resist three temptations in the wilderness, that was sort of a crescendo of the battle between him and the devil personally - of resisting those major temptations we're all assailed with - the same ones that eve faced. 'The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.' Those were the three principle areas where he was tempted there. But, Jesus was tempted all through his life every day. Just like we are. But he never gave in - giving us an example that we can walk even as he walked.

Why would a Christian settle for any lower standard than Christ? We're all pretty good at making excuses for sin. But I figure I don't want to lie to myself. I mean, if the doctor comes over and you say, 'look, I've got these symptoms doctor, what's the problem?' And he says, 'well, I don't want to hurt his - you know I'm going to upset him if I tell him that it's terminal unless he deals with his skin cancer. I don't want to upset him. Oh, it's just poison ivy, it'll get better.

' And I say, doctor, I don't like the tone of your voice. Tell me, was it more than that?' Well, it's a serious form of poison ivy.' But he still looks like he's being deceptive, so I take him by his collar and I say, 'tell me the truth.' 'All right, it's skin cancer.' 'What are my chances?' 'Well, if I cut it out you'll be fine.' 'Why didn't you tell me that?' I want the truth, don't you? I mean, do you want pastors and other people to lie to you or do you want the truth? It's really dangerous when it comes to eternal life, for someone to be deluding themself. And you know what, if I'm doing the wrong thing, I always say, 'Lord, if I lie to the world I don't want to lie to myself. I want to tell myself 'this is wrong, it's a sin, and if you do it you're sinning.'' But, as soon as you start to lie to yourself and say, 'oh, but everybody's doing it, it's not that bad.' That's when you're on really dangerous ground. You can get self-deluded at that point.

Be honest with your own soul. You can't repent of a sin if you don't recognize it's a sin. And you can't be saved without repentance. So, we need to be honest with ourselves. Don't flirt with temptation.

It happens up here. Do not start considering those things. Allowing them to come into your mind. You receive it and you hold it. The Bible tells us in James 1, verse 14.

James 1:14 "each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed, and when desire has conceived it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death." So we know, if we stay on the road of sin, where does it end? Death. 'He that walks after the flesh to be carnally minded is death. To be spiritually minded is life.' These are life and death issues friends. I know sometimes it may seem like, 'Pastor Doug, why do you always end up here?' Because this is the trenches where we live every day. We're dealing with sin and salvation every day.

And we're wanting to be like Christ, to represent him. Not only for our own salvation, but so we can be witnesses to others. And really, we ought to be joyful. We ought to be the happiest people in the world, because if we've got eternal life and we are walking in the Spirit, we ought to be carbonated Christians. Right? Be excited.

I'm reading a book now, I know we're running out of time, let me just tell you this. I'm reading a book now that I found quite by accident. I got it for $1.99 on amazon used. It's called 'the deeper spiritual experiences of famous Christians' and it goes through the personal spiritual devotions and experiences of famous Christians like whitfield and wesley and finney and just a number of - moody and some of these others. And I read about one yesterday called 'billy bray' how many of you have ever read - if you're from england you've heard of billy bray.

I hadn't really heard of him either. I think I had in the past, but I'd forgotten. He was a revivalist that just lived a little after wesley - a coal miner, drunk - found the Lord and he was known as just being the most enthusiastic preacher. He sang. He just praised the Lord for everything.

He was just always praising the Lord, even when - this may seem crazy - when his wife died. He said, 'praise the Lord. Hallelujah.' They said, 'how can you say that when you're wife died?' He said, 'she was a faithful Christian. Her next conscious thought is the face of Jesus. I'm just praising the Lord.

' And I mean just - he always looked on the positive side of everything and he was just rejoicing. He's - I'm not encouraging this - but he was so full of the spirit he was often criticized because he couldn't sit still and he was dancing. He said, 'people are out there dancing for the devil, I'm going to dance for the Lord.' He was just - he was always - not the kind of dances they do in the world, but he just - he couldn't keep still. He was just so excited. He was always - and people knew how religious he was and they'd tease him sometimes.

Some teenagers in his town, one time, they knew he not only believed in God, he believed in the devil. And he was always talking to the Lord all the time and he'd talk out loud to the devil. And so some kids one day wanted to spook him. He lived at a miner's cabin in kind of humble quarters and he was on his way home from church one day by himself and some of the teenagers were out in the hedges off in a little distance and they - it was evening and they wanted to spook him and they started talking and making these mournful monstrous noises and growling and finally one of the boys said, 'billy bray this is the devil behind the hedge.' And he said, 'praise the Lord! I thought you were much closer than that.' He was just always happy. Praised the Lord for everything.

I laughed when I read that. I just read that yesterday. But you ought to read about billy bray. If you want to find out what an enthusiastic Christian is like. And just always trying to convert everybody.

So, it's not that we just want to have the victorious walk so we'll be saved, because we're not - it's first of all for God's glory. Secondly, so others might be saved. And thirdly, so you might be saved. Love the Lord, love your neighbor, love yourself. We want to walk the Christian walk and be filled with the Spirit for those reasons.

And sometimes that involves just saying no to temptation. Titus 2. Let me - I know I'm running out of time here. Titus 2, verse 11. Let me read this to you.

"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men teaching us that denying" - what's to deny mean? It means saying no to. "Denying unGodliness and worldly lusts. We should live soberly, righteously and Godly in the present age looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from every" - how many? "Every lawless deed." Why? Because we're denying them. "And purify for himself" - we're going through this process of sanctification. He's purifying for himself his own special people who are zealous, enthusiastic about good works.

Are we all zealous? Are we positive about good works? Moses refused to be called the son of pharaoh's daughter. Joseph refused potiphar's wife's advances. Sometimes you've just got to say no to temptation. And God's Spirit can give you that power. Do you believe that? I believe we can have a victorious spirit-filled walk with the Lord.

Friends, I apologize. We're out of time. We did at least cover our verses. If you want more information, we have a lot of free studies that go along with our lesson today. Just visit God willing, we'll be able to study together again next week. In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day.

What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who is behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit if you missed any of our Amazing Facts programs, visit our website at There you'll find an archive of all our television and radio programs, including Amazing Facts presents. One location. So many possibilities.

Share a Prayer Request
Ask a Bible Question



Prayer Request:

Share a Prayer Request


Bible Question:

Ask a Bible Question