Sermon Illustrations

Recognition of an Enemy

Romans 8:12-14, "Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God."

Before a battle can be won, there must be the recognition of an enemy: The most continual aggressive enemy the Christian has is the "sinful nature" or rather the "flesh." The "flesh" (sarx) or that sinful nature has been compared to cancer. It is not like a rotten branch on a tree that can be broken off and gotten out of the way, thus protecting the rest of the tree. No, it lies deep always looking for its opportunity to grow and cause more damage. Matthew Henry wrote, "Sin is a brat which nobody is willing to own up to, a sign that it is a scandalous thing." It is that part in you that always wants to put the blame on someone else.

The apostle Paul writes about the character of the flesh in Galatians 5:17, "For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want." Romans 3:23 says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." The Bible tells us of the fruit that comes out of a life that has lost its battle with the flesh. It says they "...are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21)

"Victoriously Living Over the Flesh" begins with an honest look at oneself and then agreeing with God's Word that this enemy is real and powerful enough to keep mankind out of fellowship with the Lord.

God's solution:

Accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord!

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