Loved ones, would you take a Bible and turn to Galatians 5:19. "Now the works of the flesh are plain: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control: against such, there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."
So often you and I think of the flesh as our body or we think of it as sex. And flesh isn't either of those. The flesh is just living independent of God, and in dependence on the world. It's just depending on the world of people and of things and of circumstances to give us or to get for us what we want. That's the flesh. If you live that way, you produce those kinds of things in your life: envy, anger, jealousy, pride and strife. Those are the things that come if you live that way. And if you do those things you won't get into heaven. That's what the Bible says.
So to get rid of those things, the only thing you can do is to get rid of yourself because those things are woven right through you. Pride is part of you, envy is part of you, and jealousy is part of you. It's just you and the only way to get rid of that is to get rid of you and that's what God did in Jesus. That's why I encourage you, don't fiddle with those things, don't tamper with them, and don't try the psychological games where you ease back your anger a little. Don't!
God has got rid of that in Jesus. He has put you in His Son, put your old self there, destroyed you and remade you completely. That's the only way you'll ever be free from those things and that's the way you can be free. You are able to be free by faith not by works of the law and not by trying. It's not by trying and trying and trying, but believing that God has put you and your old self and all that you have been in the past, into His Son Jesus and has destroyed you there. You can say good-bye to all that and you can welcome His Spirit who comes into you and begins to produce in you the fruit of the Spirit.
Here is the difficulty that we brought up about that wondrous thing. If you take the teeth out of a lion, you certainly render the lion harmless so that he can't eat off your hand but you also render him defenseless and you never put him out in the jungle again because he is defenseless. In other words, if you take the fangs or the claws out of any animal, you not only render it harmless but you make it unable to defend itself and that's why so often when we bring animals into captivity, we would not dream of putting them out into the wild again because we've taken their very fangs from them.
Now many of us find ourselves in that spot with these works of the flesh. It's not only the marines that yell "kill, kill" as they get into bayonet practice, but corporate executives do that too. Our secretaries and our bosses do that too. Salesmen on commission do that too. In other words, many of us would like rid of the impurity and the drunkenness and the carousing but the envy, anger and strife is part of the weaponry that we use at work and many of us wonder, "Well, okay I do want to be free of those things. Those are the things that are destroying my personal life but back at corporate headquarters if I start believing this within, they'll move through me, and over the top of me. They'll kill me. These works of the flesh are both motivators and weapons. I need a bit of strife and a bit of anger and a bit of jealousy and a bit of pride and a bit of drive, that's the only way I can exist there."
I think many of us are in that spot and I think many of us lose it because of that. We get back to work on Monday morning after having a good time here on Sunday and the secretary has already told a lie about us to the boss and you're faced with either destroying her credibility or allowing your own relationship with the boss to just go down the drain. We're all facing these kinds of situations. Or the general thrust and drive of our company and our business is such that we're meant to get in there and smash them, smash the opposition, kill, kill. Everybody is doing it. We feel, "Well, that's what I am programmed to do, so all right Lord, you'll understand that that's what I am doing. I don't really mean it but this is what I have got to do to make a living." But by the end of that day, we've lost all love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness. We've lost every ounce of the Holy Spirit that we started the day with. It's a fact that even though we didn't mean it, we have done it. We have acted that way. We have lived like the children of this world using the weaponry of the works of the flesh to get the job done.
Loved ones, I think that's what many of us face. Is there any other way? Oh yes, our God doesn't leave us defenseless. He knows fine well that this is a fallen world and that's the way it works and that you will be smashed if all you have is just love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness. Sometimes that works; I think many of us agree. Actually many of the big corporations work to a certain extent on that, don't they?
They are kind to their employees up to a point. And they do try to encourage us with rewards. So they do use it, but when it comes to the time that they will have to go under, then the love ceases. So it isn't really love. It's just manipulation of one of God's laws. But God knows that. God doesn't leave us defenseless. God has given us a way to deal with that secretary who has told a lie to the boss about us.
God knows fine well that there's a whole cosmic system here of pecking orders, of Murphy's laws, of gain and profit, of trying to play this guy against another guy. God knows that there's a whole system of financial leverages in this world that make this world able to operate independent of Him. And He knows that that world will crush you, once you separate yourself from it. It will. Once you separate yourself from the games people play and the games businesses play, once you separate yourself from those weapons, that world will crush you. That is unless God has done something about that person who has told a lie about you to your boss. Loved ones, He has done something.
It wasn't just you that was crucified with Christ. It was the whole world system. Have you ever analyzed what works when she tells a lie about you or your failure to make contact with that customer to the boss? Have you ever worked out what happens? There are subtle little pressures that go from her to the boss -- a kind of adulation, which he knows fine well. He knows fine well why she is doing it, and then she's scared of her boss who is scared of his boss who is eventually scared of the stockholders who is eventually scared of the old lady that sits somewhere in Minnetonka who has put the millions of dollars that her father made out of beer and into that system.
So, it's the whole system of pressure. It is a whole domino system; it's a cosmic system. Actually the Greek word in the New Testament is 'cosmos'. It doesn't only mean the physical world. It means the whole world system that men have devised to get things done without depending on God or without any love. It's that whole system that the dear secretary steps into. It's the same with your friend. You thought he was your friend and as soon as you were on vacation, he stepped right in so that you have no job when you come back. It's the same there. He's being maneuvered by all kinds of powers and pressures and motivating forces.
Now, all those systems God has dealt with in His Son Jesus. Those systems are made up of not just those psychological forces. That's where we are stupid. We think, "Oh it's just the psychological pressure." She is scared of the boss and she knows she has to please him. So that's the way she gets into his confidence, by a claustrophobic relationship with him. That's the way it works.
It's not just those psychological pressures. Those psychological pressures are what the Bible calls elemental spirits in the universe. The world is filled with elemental spirits, spiritual forces that govern those psychological forces inside people and it's all built up of this whole system that is trying to run independent of the Creator of the world. And it all ties itself back to spiritual powers and forces in life. That's what you're fighting.
That's what this dear book says, "We're not contending against flesh and blood." We're not fighting that lady in the office who told a lie about you. You're not fighting that little guy who stole your job. You're not fighting that other person who took your commission. We're not fighting against flesh and blood. They're just little puppets and marionettes. We are fighting against principalities and powers against the world rulers of this present darkness, against all kinds of forces that are spiritual forces.
Loved ones, that's why they're pleased when you use the weapons of the flesh. When you use anger and jealousy and strife to work against those things, they're pleased. You may wonder, why do the bad survive? Because they are using the same weapons as are produced by this kingdom of evil. They're using those weapons, so of course the kingdom of evil prospers them and that's why when you use those forces, you've no trouble. But if you once step into love and joy and peace, you lose the protective power of those evil spiritual forces. And unless you get some other protection, you will be smashed, however Christ-like you are. Loved ones that's what I want to share again, very clearly with you this morning. How do you deal with those things if you have committed yourself to your crucifixion with Christ and to being like Jesus? How do you deal with those powers?
Well, would you just look again at the key verse with me and then I'll take you on into the "how to" and in fact apply it. It's Galatians 6:14, "But far be it from me to glory except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." You see the words "by which the world has been crucified." God, in a miraculous supernatural super temporal miracle, put that whole cosmic system that affects that little secretary, into His Son Jesus and He destroyed it there.
He destroyed death and He destroyed all the things that lead up to death. That death is only the ultimate result of the world's systems working without any prevention. They bring you to death. If they are able to work without being hindered, they bring you to death and when God in Jesus destroyed death, and Jesus conquered death, He conquered everything that leads up to the anxiety, the frustration, the worry, the "kill, kill, kill", the anger, the hostility, the strife; He destroyed all those forces that lead up to that. He did so not in the sense that He took them out of this world, (for He allows them to continue in the world so that people can see that the thing is not right). But He destroyed their ability to effectively stop or prevent your life or God's will for your life.
That power and that ability are yours. It is possible for you to live a charmed life. That's the life these little Israelites lived. That's the life they lived when you reflect. There were very few of them and they repeatedly came up against situations like the walls of Jericho, where they had no power or ability to do anything about it, but they lived a charmed life. They didn't know the name of Jesus but their prophets knew that from before the foundation of the word, the Lamb had been slain.
God had foreseen all that they would face in their life. He put it into His Son, destroyed it and rendered it hopeless and neutral and inoperative in Him. And so, when they came to the walls of Jericho, they were able to exercise faith in that, and that actually affected the material substance of the walls, and that's how it works.
It is possible to live a charmed life if you begin to live by faith that God has already destroyed the world in His Son Jesus and has taken away its power to destroy you. If you say to me, "How will it work?" The secretary tells the lie to the boss and God's power, as you exercise faith in Jesus, in His destructive death on Calvary, the Holy Spirit neutralizes that in the boss's mind. And it doesn't have the effects on your life that it was meant to.
God is able through the power of Calvary to cut this off at the place where it needs to be cut off. The same activities can take place so that the more you walk this way, the more God will let it come close to you and you'll think it's actually touching you. At times, it will actually go through you. At times, like Jesus, the sword will actually go through you except that you won't bleed to death, you won't die.
God will miraculously and usually invisibly turn the whole thing around so that it can work. Even if her lie got you to lose your job, even if it produced that, you can walk on in absolute faith that God has already destroyed this in His Son Jesus and will turn this around to your advantage. That's why so many children of God will say, "Oh, well that's fallen apart. God must have a much better way for us." That's the only reason He'd let it fall apart. Unless you move in that faith, you begin to see the walls of Jericho falling before you.
Loved ones, the reason for this is of course, that all of us were not only crucified with Christ but we were actually raised with Him. And even though we all appear to be just here in our physical bodies, the Bible makes it very clear that in Jesus, in our faith, we are in a different place entirely. I just point that out to you in Ephesians 2. In fact, it might be good to look at Ephesians 1 first because it shows you the position of power that Jesus Himself now has.
Ephesians 1:20, "Which God accomplished in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and made Him sit at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion."
That's above all the spiritual forces that operate in Wall Street, all the spiritual forces that operate in the corporate structure, "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and He has put all things under His feet"... The secretary's little lie, the other guy stealing your commission, the other person who has tried to put you out of the company, "He has put all things under his feet and has made Him the head over all things for the church." Jesus is the head over all things for us, for the church, "which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." And then do you see, that we are in that same spot in the next chapter, Ephesians 2:4.
Ephesians 2:4, "But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)." You see it was all done even before you were born by sheer grace. "And raised us up with Him, and made us sit with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." You and I are there in that spot also. We are in that position "that in the coming ages", this present year of 1984, "he might show the immeasurable riches of His grace and kindness toward us in Christ Jesus."
It's amazing, you know but Jesus says that all power in heaven and earth has been given to Me. Then I don't know if you remember this verse, it's Luke 10:19, "All power in heaven and earth is given to Me", and that means all authority, all authority over the things that happen, and then in Luke 10:19, (he says to even little people like you and me) "Behold I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you." In other words, Jesus says, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, the things that would normally kill you. This means the secretary that would normally tell a lie about you and destroy your chances of promotion.
"I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you." Loved ones, it is possible for you to begin to walk through this wretched old world and not be hurt by it. All you have to do is begin to exercise this faith. See, there's no place for walking in fear, there's just no place. There's no place for walking in fear. When you're walking in fear, you're not walking in faith and if you say to me, "Oh,what's the big deal that you have to have faith? Couldn't God do it anyway?"
Well, you see why He couldn't do it. His whole desire is to preserve our free wills. He can make all the power of Calvary available to us but He will not release it in our lives unless we say the word. We have to say the word, that's why Jesus made such a big deal about speaking to the mountain. He said, "Say to this mountain, be removed and cast into the sea."
Now, I don't know if you're like me, but I used to think, "Wait a minute, I don't need to speak it, I don't need to say it, and I don't need to put my own life on the line here. I believe it Lord, I believe it, I believe it, I got it all in my head. Okay, if I said to the mountain be removed, it would move, okay. Why not just do it now? You said you'd do it, why not just do it?" And God says to us, "Unless you put yourself on the line, unless you exercise your will and actually speak these words and produce action that is in accordance with that, I will not do it."
See, that's the significance of the men walking into the water of the Red Sea. It wasn't just bravado. "Whether it moves back or not, I am going through!" It wasn't that. It was that God told them that He was going to move back the waters and now He would manifest that in time and space if they acted accordingly and of course if He was going to move back the waters, the obvious thing that they were to do is to walk through so they started to walk through right there.
So it is with us. There are situations that we have in our jobs where you actually have to act that way. You do. The secretary who tells a lie about you-- instead of responding the way your whole being wants to respond by just cold shouldering her, ignoring her and playing it very cold -- instead of that you love her to death. You just love her. Because you know that the wee soul doesn't know half what has been acting upon her and most of all, she doesn't know that Jesus has already done a work to negate any of the harm that she has done, and so you love her to death. And that is how you express to God that you have absolute faith that He has already taken care of that.
As you express that faith in that action, God's Spirit is released and He works to change the normal consequences of that initiative on her part. And so it works loved ones, works in our homes, works in the family situation. The wife takes unfair advantage of you, you take unfair advantage of her or your dad seems to take unfair advantage... or whatever. Instead of acting as if you had no protection but your own works of the flesh, instead of doing that, you look up to God and you say, "Lord, I say in Jesus' name to this mountain be removed and cast into the sea. Lord I believe Luke 10:19 that you have given me authority to tread on serpents and scorpions here and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall hurt me. Lord, I thank you for that and I am just going to love this loved one to death. I am just going to love her as if she wants the very best for me."
Some of us think it's just the psychological effect of love, it isn't. That has its effects, but it's the power of your faith being expressed to God in an active way that is obvious in the world of time and in the world of actions and words. As soon as you begin to do that He releases the power of Calvary into that situation.
Any questions? It's important not just to be inspirational but practical. That's a lot for us to handle I think today, but I'll try to deal next day with why it doesn't work at times. I'll be able to show you from scripture, how it always works when you do it the way God has shown you. See, you need to start doing it, you need to start doing it at work on Monday, you need to.
Some of you have financial difficulties; you need to start acting in faith. You see there are all kinds of verses in regard to this in the Bible. "Whatsoever you bind on earth"... (it's interesting that the Greek means 'has already been bound' in heaven). "Whatsoever you loose on earth has already been loosed in heaven." There is money that is been bound by Satan and you can loose it in Jesus' name and you can affect your finances. This isn't the wild prosperity teaching. You'll see next day when we talk about why certain people do this and they do it wrongly and God does not witness to it. But you can have a week of doing it as God guides you.Okay. Let us pray.
Father, we do thank You that You haven't left us like little lambs among wolves here. We thank You for that Lord, because we have at times engaged in sheer hypocrisy where we expressed love and joy and peace at home and at church but at work, we've reckoned they'll destroy us if we do it. Lord, we thank you for at last delivering us from this commitment we've made to using the same weapons as everybody else at work. Lord, we now back right off from that. We repent of that Lord. We repent of using the same hatred, same dislike, same lies, same dishonesty, same straining of the truth, same desire for greed and covetousness that the others use.
Lord we have so often felt if we don't criticize the others, we'll be killed ourselves. Lord, we turn away from that hell of life that we've often committed ourselves to at work. Lord, we repent of that, we're going to be what we are in You, Lord Jesus. We've been crucified with You and we're dying to our own rights at our work and our own position and our own pride and the right to have our own way. Lord, we give that over to You. Now Lord, we take our position in You at the right hand of God.
Father, we're going to begin to believe that You have already destroyed the world in Jesus and You have neutralized the power of these forces of evil in our workplaces to destroy us or to destroy Your will. Lord, we believe that. Lord Jesus we believe Your word, "Behold I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall hurt you."
We believe Your words Lord Jesus that if we say to this mountain be removed and cast into the sea, then it will be done. We believe Your words Lord that whatever we bind on earth has been bound in heaven and whatever we loose on earth has been loosed in heaven. So Father, at times we will speak these words when it will not be embarrassing in somebody else's presence and at times we will just mouth them quietly at our desk or at the bench where we work. But Lord, we will give voice to them in some way in this physical world so that You are able to release Your power into these situations.
Above all, our Father, we're going to cast away fear. We're going to cast away fear and anxiety. We're going to cast away worry about what this person can do to me. Lord, they can do nothing to us, they can do nothing to us that You do not allow them to do. Whatever You allow is to execute Your will for us and Your purpose in our lives.
So Father, we thank You for these truths. We thank You for the reality of them and now Lord, we're going to start going forward and speaking to these things in the authority of Jesus' name and seeing these forces begin to retreat before us so that Your will can be done in our lives and the lives of our friends and our associates at work and our loved ones at home. We commit ourselves to this for Your glory.
And now the grace of our Lord Jesus and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with each one of us now and evermore. Amen.