Summary: What is the fruit of the flesh?
A. WHAT IS THE FRUIT OF THE FLESH?
1. Avoid the lust of the flesh. “Love not the world . . . for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life” (1 John 2:15-16).
2. Flesh can mean the requirements of air, food, water, exercise, etc.
3. Flesh here means desires of the old sinful nature; sex outside of marriage, self-promotion, etc.
4. It is attempting to offer God self-effort, as opposed to doing the will of God, the way He wants it done.
5. God promised Abram a family (Gen. 12:2-3), but he attempted to have a son by Hagar (16:1-16). Ishmael was the fruit of his flesh.
6. Abram spent 13 years playing with the fruit of the flesh, outside God’s plan for his life.
a. Abram was 86 years old when Hagar gave birth to Ishmael (16:16).
b. When Abram was 99 years old the Lord appeared to Abram (17:1).
c. The number 13 stands for rebellion.
d. This was passive rebellion, not hard-hearted rebellion.
B. GOD RESTORES ABRAM
1. Those in rebellion to God don’t repent nor seek God. “The Lord appeared to Abram” (17:1).
2. If God hadn’t taken the initiative, Abram would have missed the full blessing of God.
3. The covenant renewed. “I will make My covenant between Me and you” (17:2).
4. What should be our response to God? “Abram fell on his face” (17:3).
5. A new standing. “No longer shall your name be called Abram . . . but Abraham” (17:5).
Abram = High Father
Abraham = Father of many nations
6. Renewed promise of the land. “I will give . . . the land where you are a stranger” (17:8).
7. A new sign of the covenant. “You shall be circumcised” (17:10).
8. Sarai is included for first time in 49 years. “I will bless her . . . give you a son by her” (17:16).
9. A new name (17:15). Her old name Sarai changed to Sarah which means Princess.
10. The response of faith. “Abraham fell on his face and laughed” (17:17).
b. Surprise, i.e., no warning.
c. Astonishment, the “wow” factor.
d. Insight, some things come together and you see it for the first time.
11. He expected immediate fulfillment. “Shall a child be born to him that is a hundred years old?” (17:17).
12. It’s hard to give up the fruit of the flesh. “O that Ishmael might live before thee” (17:18).
Why Do We Hang On To The Flesh?
• We think we need it
• It pleases us
• It fulfills us
• It is a habit we cannot break/live without
• We’re not completely yielded to God
• We think God can use it
13. When we hang on to the fruit of the flesh, it has future consequences. “As for Ishmael, I have heard you . . . twelve princes shall he beget” (17:20).
C. HOW TO HANDLE THE FRUITS OF THE FLESH
1. Recognize its dangers (Rom. 7:15).
2. Avoid their temptations (2 Tim. 2:23).
3. Keep prayer lines open (James 4:3).
4. Yield completely to God once, then repeat it daily (Rom. 6:13).
5. Christ in you (Gal. 2:20).
If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God and rejoice with you.
All PBC lessons are available online at trbc.org/pbc. Go to www.Hopenow.tv for the current program schedule.
Dr. Towns' email is ELTowns@liberty.edu
Dr. Towns’ web address is www.elmertowns.com