Summary: 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.”
Title: Victoriously Living Over the Flesh
Theme: Mortifying the Flesh
Introduction: Donald Ballar, Reader’s Digest, shared this story of an instructor of student truck drivers. The instructor gave this scenario to his class. “You are in an 18-wheeler with a heavy load, barreling down a mountainous two-lane highway. Ed, your co-driver, is asleep. There are six trucks behind you, and as you come over the top of a hill, one of the trucks behind you pulls out into the left lane to pass. As he comes along side you, you see several trucks coming from the opposite direction moving towards you. One of the trucks coming at you is in your lane because it is passing an on coming truck. There are five trucks behind and one beside you. There are several trucks in front of you and the two out front have both lanes blocked. The question is, ‘What will you do?’
‘The answer is simple’ a student called out. ‘I would wake up Ed.’ ‘Why would you do that?’ asked the instructor. The student replied with, ‘Because, Ed ain’t never seen a truck wreck like this before!’”
Proposition: I would propose to you that Christians need not wait for a potential wreck with the flesh before they try to prevent a tragedy from happening. God’s Word has preventative measures that will keep the child of God from having a tragic accident with his most aggressive enemy, “The Flesh.”
Listen as I read Romans 8:12-14, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. Ro 8:13 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, Ro 8:14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
Let us pray!
Interrogative Sentence: Where is this battle with “the flesh” fought and how is victory achieved? What are our obligations in regards to the price that Jesus paid upon the Cross of Calvary? Where is the power to overcome “the flesh” to be found?
Transitional Sentence: All great armies that are victorious in battle are made up of soldiers who know that they have an obligation to fight with all their mind, heart and strength. To whom do Christians have an obligation?
In Romans chapter 8, verse 12, the apostle moves from instruction to exhortation, from what God has done through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to what is expected of the child of God in way of response. There is a strong emphasis on human responsibility in regard to what is truly the reflection of a repentant heart renewed by the Holy Spirit. (The Expositors Bible Commentary)
The obligation is to God, who created man’s body, mind and spirit. (Thru the Bible) He gave His one and only Son for the redemption of sinful mankind. (John 3:16) The obligation is to Jesus Christ who purchased God’s chosen with His own blood. (1 Peter 1:1-2)
“Obligation” (opheiletes) means to be bound by a duty. (Practical Word Studies of the New Testament) It is important to note that this is not an ambition, it is a duty (Bishop Handley Moule). The application is this. With the position that the child of God has in Jesus Christ comes an obligation to live a life worthy of the gospel. (Word meaning in the New Testament) The Christian has a debt to mortify the flesh. (Vines Dictionary of the New Testament) Because of the price that Christ paid for the Christian’s soul the child of God is obligated to surrender his mind, heart, tongue and literally every part of His body to the will of God.
Transitional Sentence: 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.”