Lifestyle Of The Spirit

Galations 5:16-26

There are three enemies:

DEVIL (Temptor) – The outside reference to sin. He cannot make anyone sin but he is seeking to lure me away. He came in the form of a creature over whom man already had dominion.

WORLD (Temptation) – This is the bait the devil uses to lure me away. The world is Civilization Minus God. I John 2) The world appeals to our lower nature. There are three bullets in the devil’s gun:

Lust of the Flesh

Lust of the Eyes

Pride of Life FLESH (Tempted) -The Enemy Within  the devil and the world cannot get in unless the flesh opens the dooor. This is the old nature. The world will never appeal to your higher nature.

 

There is a command: “…walk by the Spirit”. v. 16.

 

There is a promise: “….you will not carry out the desire of the flesh”. v. 16

 

The SPIRIT and the FLESH dwell in you and are in opposition. Only one person can defeat the

flesh. It is the HOLY SPIRIT. We get into the picture and try to defeat the flesh ourselves. WE

HAVE TO DECIDE WHO IS GOING TO WIN THE BATTLE. Victory is the result of my

SUBMISSION to the Spirit.

 

I. WE LiVE A LIFE OF CONQUEST. v. 17

 

Walking in the Spirit overcomes the desires of the flesh. This conflict will always be, but the believer determines who is victorious.

 

II. WE LiVE A LIFE OF CHRIST LIKENESS. v.22,23

 

Walking in the Spirit produces the life of Christ:

 

Love

Joy                        Our relationship to God

Peace

 

©Ron Dunn, LifeStyle Ministries, 2002

What To Remember When You Can’t Forget

1 Chronicles 17:1-5; 2 Chronicles 6:1-9

INTRO:

Everyone writes two books, one with their dreams and ambitions, the other with their actual performance. To compare the two is to face disappointment.

Sometimes God says “No” to a dream, vision, ambition or plan. With David, there was an earnest longing and a fixed purpose. He had built the Temple every night in his dreams; it was to be a fitting climax to his life and a monument to his service to God. “It was in my heart” But God said, “No.”

We forget the good things, remember the bad. We forget the compliments, remember the criticisms. We forget the many times God says, “Yes”, but always remember the one time He says “No”. Sometimes this leads to cynicism, bitterness an resentment. It will cloud our outlook on life and we can misinterpret God’s actions.

WHAT TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU CAN’T FORGET:

I. A GOOD IDEA IS NOT ALWAYS A GODLY IDEA.

You can find nothing wrong with David’s idea; it was a great vision and plan.

1.   It was needed. God dwelt in a tent.

2.   It would unite Israel and Judah, the kingdom.

3.  The motive was to honor God.

4.   God wanted a permanent temple. (I Chron. 28:12, 19.)

5.   Nathan the prophet agreed with and confirmed it.

But God said NO. How many of our prayers are like this? GOD HIMSELF SETS OUR TASKS, CHOOSES WHAT WE SHALL  DO.

Later, God explains why David couldn’t build the temple. “Your hands are bloody.” God uses some for BATTLE, others for BUILDING.

Illustration: Some great churches are built on the battles that others before them have fought. Of course, the builder gets all the credit and glory.

DAVID’S FAILURE DOESN’T MEAN GOD’S FAILURE; The temple will be built.

(There were three temples: The first was destroyed in 587 BC by Nebuchadnezzar. The second was Zerubbabel’s from 527-168 BC. The third was Herod’s from 19 AD to 70 AD. Today a Moslem Mosque occupies the spot. So much for your everlasting monuments!)

II. GOD JUDGES US NOT BY THE ACHIEVEMENT OF OUR HANDS BUT BY THE AMBITION OF OUR HEART.

II Chron. 6:8,9 “Thou didst well that it was in thine heart.”

1.    To want to do it is the same as doing it, both with sin and righteousness. Jesus said, “Whoever hates is a murderer, whoever lusts is an adulterer.”

2.    God is the only master who pays his servants for inclination as well as action. He accepts the intent and the accomplishment.

III. GOD SAYS “NO”, NOT TO DEPRIVE ITS OF A BLESSING, BUT TO DRIVE US TO A GREATER BLESSING.

If all we see is the disappointment, we will miss the blessing.

When God withholds one blessing it is only in order to give us a greater blessing. If he takes something from us with his left hand, He has something better to give us in his right hand.

GOD NEVER LEAVES US EMPTY HANDED OR EMPTY HEARTED.

David wanted the Temple as a monument to His love and devotion to God. It was the best thing David could think of.  But God had something better in mind. IT IS CALLED THE PSALMS. The temple was destroyed and today a pagan religion sits on the location, but not a jot or tithe from the Psalms has passed away or been lost.

1.    The Blessing of Remembrance. I Chron. 17:7,8

God reminds David of where he was when God found him. He was FOLLOWING SHEEP. That means “watch your step”. God reminds David of all He has done for him. This denial doesn’t mean David is being abandoned.

Illustration of taking our children to Six Flags for a 12 hour day, riding everything, buying everything but forgetting to purchase a little balloon that had been promised as we entered the park because they would lose it. On the way home, one of the children started crying and when prompted to tell what the problem was, cried, “I didn’t get a balloon” rather than thanking us for all the fun things we did do. WE CONCENTRATE ON WHAT GOD HAS NOT DONE RATHER THAN ALL THE WONDERFUL THINGS HE HAS DONE.

2.    The Blessing of Reassurance. I Chron 1 7: 10

God’s promise is “I will build THEE a house.”

(1) God wants to do something for David, not have David do something for Him.

(2) His son will build the temple. What greater joy for a father than to see his son succeed.

DAVID’S RESPONSE: Not sour or bitter–but PRAISE and THANKSGIVING. He took an offering for the building of the temple.

©Ron Dunn, LifeStyle Ministries, 2004

 

Defenses Against Discouragement

Exodus 15:22-27

Intro: Each year 1,000 SBC ministers leave the ministry. One major cause is discouragement. It is an OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD. Discouragement is one of the most effective weapons Satan has forged against believers.

Some leave the ministry; others, the ministry leaves them.

Cause: Things don’t work out as we expect, as we think they ought to. If we know what to expect, we can brace ourselves, roll with the punches.

Moses is a qualified speaker on the subject. He was a man facing discouraging situations and his life ended on that note.

Our text reveals some things we can expect in the service of the Lord.

I.  THE GREATEST SUCCESSES OF LIFE ARE OFTEN FOLLOWED BY FAILURE.

The context is important–the preceding verses record the great praise hymn of victory; then immediately there is FAILURE.

THIS IS A PATTERN IN SCRIPTURE: Jericho followed by Ai; Elijah on Mt. Carmel, then whining under the juniper tree; Peter’s confession followed by Jesus’ rebuke; even Jesus: His baptism and anointing, followed by 40 days in the wilderness..

IT IS ONE THING TO SING A HYMN, ANOTHER TO LIVE THE LIFE.

Surely, Moses and the people thought the worst was behind them.. .they thought their only enemies were the Egyptians.

Usually, when this happens, we think we have missed God; gotten out of His will. But Marah is on the map! God LED them to the bitter waters.

WHAT DO I MEAN BY FAILURE? A bitter experience.., when you can’t get it down and keep it down. Anything that’s tough to swallow. When the sweetness and ease is gone out of it. That which was once refreshing and sweet but becomes bitter.

Discouragement destroys our resistance and makes us vulnerable, susceptible to other spiritual ills, attacks of the enemy…such as unbelief, critical spirit, cynicism, murmuring against God and people.

WHY DOES GOD LEAD US TO MARAH?

1.   To Prove Us. vs. 25 “And there He proved them.” Note the word “there”. WHERE? There! Where’s there? AT MARAH. Prove: To test so as to discover..

Note that it was not at the Red Sea they were proved. God’s approval doesn’t come from the sensational Red Sea experiences, but from the daily experiences of life, like where the next drink of water is coming from. Sad to say, some come through the Red Sea with flying colors only to fail at Marah.

God was wanting to see if they had learned to trust Him. MIRACLES DON’T PRODUCE FAITH….Rich Man and Lazarus…  “If they believe not Moses and the prophets neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.”

2.   To Purify Us. The statutes and commands were meant to purify us. The Israelites were liable to the same diseases of the Egyptians. They needed to be purged of pride and complacency. God sometimes treats us as though we were Egyptians.

3.   To Prepare Us. He wants to make us TRAVELWORTHY. . ..for greater trials and battles and victories. No man is prepared to travel till He has learned to trust God in the Marahs of life.

II.   THE GREATEST SERVICES OF LIFE ARE OFTEN FOLLOWED BY FORGETFULNESS.

Again note the context.. some of the things they said about the Lord and His servants.

1.   We Forget the Lord.

2.   We Forget our Leaders. Prepare to be unappreciated! The example of Christ: the same crowd that shouted Hosannas one day were shouting “Crucify Him” a few days later.

Some suggestions:

(1) Don’t take it personally. In Ex. 16, God makes it clear that they are murmuring against THE LORD!. We are His ambassadors.. .We are in Christ’s stead. “I had a bad experience so I quit.”

It will make you bitter and cause you to wallow in self-pity.

(2) Don’t take it out on the people. It is to Moses’ everlasting credit that he didn’t chuck the whole thing right there. Some preachers take out their frustrations on the people in sermons, etc.

(3) Take it to the Lord.. .There are those who complain to each other and there are those who cry to the Lord.

“And God showed him a tree…” If you will cry to the Lord, He will show you a way to make the bitter waters sweet. The tree was there all the while, but Moses couldn’t see it. God will use something right under your nose to sweeten the situation.

Throw it in the water: “But Lord, the water’s bad enough as it is…” God sometimes does it in a peculiar way.

III. THE GREATEST SHORTAGES OF LIFE ARE ALWAYS FOLLOWED BY FULNESS.

“They came to Elim.” There were 12 wells of water, one for every tribe, 70 palm trees, one for every elder… they didn’t need the trees. That was a bonus.

The miracle of the loaves: 12 baskets left, that’s one for each disciple.

HOW DID THEY GET TO ELIM? They kept going, kept following, kept obeying. When you don’t feel like praying, pray. When you don’t feel like obeying, obey.

They were just 5 miles from Marah–WHAT IF THEY HAD QUIT? You may be about to give up. Elim may be over the next rise. You’ll be glad you didn’t give up. How terrible to die just a few feet from Elim.

When we cannot see our way,
Let us trust and still obey;
He who bids us forward go,
Cannot fail the way to show.

Tho the sea be deep and wide,
Tho a passage seems denied,
Fearless let us still proceed,
Since the Lord Himself doth lead.

Night with Him is never night,
Where He is, there all is light;
When He calls us why delay?
They are happy who obey.