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Deliverance from the Fleshly Nature
We are systematically working through the different ways in which the cross is to be applied in our lives and pointing out that it is the safeguard, and I believe the only safeguard against coming under the influence of witchcraft. We have looked hitherto at three things from which we are delivered through the cross. I think it would be good just to put them up before our eyes. See if you can remember them. No. 1 is The Present Evil Age. No. 2 is The Law. No 3 is Self.
So now we are going on to the fourth area of deliverance which is stated in Galatians 5:24.
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
That speaks about the application of the cross to our fleshly nature. It defines those who belong to Christ. That’s very important. The Bible never talks in terms of denominational labels. It never says Presbyterians, or Baptists or Pentecostals or Catholics. It defines people by what they really are. To belong to Christ, this is a criterion. We must have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. That’s a very searching analysis. Keep your finger in Galatians 5—we’ll come back. Turn to 1Corinthians 15:23. This is speaking about the return of the Lord Jesus, His second coming.
But each one in his own order: [We’re speaking about the resurrection.] Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.
Exactly the same phrase that is used in Galatians 5:24, “Those who are Christ’s.” So my logical mind tells me the kind of people Jesus is coming for. It’s not Baptists, Presbyterians, Charismatics. It’s for those who have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
To crucify means to apply the cross. This is done by a decision of our own will. No one else can do this for us. It’s interesting to see the progression that comes. Romans 6:6, “Our old man was crucified with Him...” That’s something that God did. Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ...” That’s the application to my ego, my self-will, my self-life. Then Paul says, “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh.” Now it is something we have to do. We have to apply the cross and what it accomplished to our fleshly nature. Nobody else can do that for us.
Now we need to define what is meant by the “flesh.” The flesh includes many unruly passions, emotions and desires. It is wrong to limit the flesh merely to certain obvious carnal sins like drunkenness and immorality and lust. It’s scope is much wider. It includes fear, resentment, anger, greed, covetousness, sexual lusts, and I’ve added, because I think it’s important, moods. I find far more Christians that I deal with have problems with moods than with sexual sin. In fact, I would say it’s pretty common to meet Christians who are the victims of their own moods. That is because they have not learned or have not been willing to apply the cross. A mood is just as much an expression of the carnal nature as lust or drunkenness.
For a moment you can keep your finger in Galatians. We’ll probably come back there and turn to Revelation 21:8. This is a very gloomy list. It’s a list of those who are going into the lake of fire, to a lost eternity.
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire...
Notice that the first two people that head the list are the cowardly or the fearful and the unbelieving, and they are grouped together with the immoral, murderers, sorcerers and so on. You see, we all tend to have religious categories of some sins which we don’t tolerate and other sins which we tolerate. But everything that is of the flesh needs to be dealt with by the cross, particularly moods.
Now if you are training to counsel people, you will have a lot of people that will come to you with moods, depression, fear, loneliness and many others. I think it is very legitimate to find out the background of those problems. Often that helps us to provide the solution. But remember, there’s only one real solution—that’s the cross.
Let me give a little personal illustration. I was wonderfully saved at the age of 24. I mean totally saved in one night. Totally transformed by a personal encounter with Jesus. I didn’t have any doctrinal knowledge, I couldn’t say I was born again, but I was radically, permanently changed. God called me almost immediately to serve Him although I didn’t know what a call was. In due course, when I got out of the British Army, after spending some time in Jerusalem, I moved to London with my family and I became the pastor of a Pentecostal congregation which I established. By the standards of that time we were successful. We saw people regularly saved and healed and baptized in the Holy Spirit and that was rare in those days.
But I had a tremendous inner personal problem. It’s one that none of you know anything about. It was depression. I struggled with it every way I could. I prayed, I fasted, I read Romans chapter 6 and I reckoned myself dead, until somebody said I wore my reckoner out. And every time I fasted and prayed it got worse. Every time I really dedicated myself to serve the Lord it got worse. That was the most frustrating thing. If I let up on my consecration to the Lord, the pressure lifted. I had come absolutely to the end of everything that I could do and by the Holy Spirit, supernaturally, I was directed to Isaiah 61:3 where it says that “God will deliver us from the spirit of heaviness....” The Holy Spirit said to me, “That’s your problem.” And for the first time I realized I was not dealing with myself or with a mental condition, I was dealing with a person, an evil spirit. A whole field of truth opened up to me by revelation. I saw that this was something that had followed my family. I saw that it was particularly strong in my father before me. It was like, almost a familiar spirit that was the problem of the Prince family. I got a whole series of insights into this thing at that time. It was a tremendous release to realize that I was not dealing with myself. I was blaming myself for it all the time. It was another person.
When I realized my problem was not a thing but a person, I was 80 percent of the way to victory. I only needed one other Scripture. “It shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lordshall be delivered.” So I acted on that. I went to God very simply, quoted that Scripture, and said, “Lord, you’ve shown me that I have a spirit of heaviness, a spirit of depression. I’m calling upon You now in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Deliver me.” And I was delivered. I didn’t know anything about deliverance, but I was delivered.
Well, then I realized something. God had done for me what I could not do for myself. He had delivered me from this spirit. But my whole way of thinking by my background was negative. I don’t want to seem anti-British, but I think it is a characteristically British attitude. I think most Britishers are pessimists. In my life I was trained to worry. In my family if you weren’t worrying, you’d be worrying about the fact that you weren’t worrying.
Now God delivered me from the spirit, but He then made it very clear to me, “It’s your business to reeducate your own mind. That is not something that I will do for you.” So I was faced with a need of personal discipline in my mind. I think there are some of you that probably don’t realize that your mind is a major area of discipline. God showed me that to entertain negative thoughts was a denial of my faith. One specific scripture, Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” So if I’m loving God and walking in His calling everything that happens is working together for my good. So there is never a reason to be pessimistic. God showed me pessimism is a denial of your faith.
So He showed me that I had to replace the negative with the positive. Replace every pessimistic thought and attitude and reaction by a positive one based on the Word of God. Now this was a process that lasted a number of years. Systematically I had to reject the negative and replace it by the positive. Over the years, thank God I say to His glory, I was transformed. I’m a totally different person inside from what I was in those days.
Deliverance played it’s part. It released me, but it didn’t do for me what I could do for myself. Some people want deliverance to do it all. Deliverance will do what it is designed to do, but it will not take the place of what you are responsible to do for yourself. I want to say to you each one of us is responsible to bring our whole inner personality, our attitudes, our reactions, our desires, our motives under the discipline of the cross. That I believe is what Paul is talking about when he says, “Those who are Christs have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Let me give you another example that you are not to tolerate. Turn to 2Timothy 1:6–7, Paul is writing to Timothy.
Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear [or timidity], but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
That kind of fear, negative fear, timidity, does not come from God. You are not free to entertain it. You are not free to yield your mind and emotions to it. God has given us a different kind of spirit. A spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind. Another translation says, “A spirit of self-control....” A sound mind means we think in line with Scripture. We think positively. We apply the words of Scripture to our situations, to our decisions, to our emotions. It’s a disciplined mind. It is our responsibility to cultivate that kind of personality within us, but it can be done only through the cross. The cross is where the old, unruly, self-pleasing, self-asserting, fleshly nature was dealt with. And there’s no other place that it was dealt with. God had the one provision which was all sufficient, it was the cross. So whatever area we are tempted in, anger, fear, jealousy, pride, lust, lying, and a lot of others. There comes a point where we have to say, “I don’t permit myself to indulge in that. I crucify it. I put it to the cross.”
It’s wonderful to be counselors and to be counseled. But you’ve got to be aware of people who enjoy being counseled, because they can go on talking about their problems endlessly. And that suits the old ego because it leave “I” in the center. It’s not so pleasant when the “I” is set aside, when the flesh is crucified. In the last resort, many of you are here struggling. I know because some of you talked to me last night. And anyhow I know because I know what people are like. Some of you are struggling with fear, some of you with loneliness, some of you with depression, some of you with anger, some of you with lust. Listen, a counselor can help you so far, but in the last resort the solution is in your hands, and the solution is the cross. You can either apply it or not apply it. But don’t expect somebody else to solve that problem for you in an unscriptural way. The ultimate solution for every problem of that kind is the cross.
Let me go a little further for a moment. You’ve got to identify this nature where it rises up. It can be sort of very religious. Self-pity is a tremendously powerful tool of Satan. In the ministry of deliverance I concluded there were two demons that were the gatekeepers for the rest. They would just swing the door open for the next one to come. One was self-pity and the other is resentment. I told people you just cannot afford to indulge resentment. It’s too expensive. It will let the others in. And likewise self-pity. You see, you can counsel people in such a way you nourish their self-pity. At some point we’ve all got to be ruthless. The cross is very ruthless. There’s nothing comfortable, there’s nothing attractive, there’s nothing sweet about the cross. But there’s point we thank God for it because it’s a way out. It’s the answer, it’s God’s provision.
So whatever your particular problem is, most of us have what the Bible calls a “besetting sin.” A besetting sin, as I understand it, is one we are so used to that we think it is part of ourselves. We just find it hard to hate it because it’s like hating ourselves. I could tell you what mine were and is. But why should I? After all it’s not your problem. I mean I’ve learned by the years. Interestingly enough, it was my father’s problem before. You see, children inherit an awful lot from their parents, and also we have certain patterns of behavior set before us, apart from what we actually inherit. I can see even so many years ago, things in me which are really the direct reproduction of my father.
My father was a good man. He wasn’t a Christian, at least until his dying moments, but he just had certain problems. There are not many of us who have parents who have no problems. That’s one of the things about parents. We are so preoccupied with the problems of children, we tend to forget that parents have problems too. Anyhow, what I am trying to say to you is, ask the Holy Spirit to identify the real nature of your problems. Call it by the right name. It probably won’t be pretty. It could be lust, it could be lying, it could be pride. And then you’ve got to say, “But in Jesus it has been crucified. I put it to the cross. I will not let it dominate me. I am free from it through the cross.”
What you will discover the first time you say that Satan will laugh at you. What you’ve got to do is keep saying it. Satan is the tempter but he is very methodical. He doesn’t waste his time. He’ll tempt you as long as he gets any response from you. When there’s no more response he doesn’t bother to tempt you. So you can be tempted in the area of let’s say resentment. You keep saying, “It was crucified. It has no power in me. It has no place in me.” The devil says, “That isn’t really true. That’s just something Brother Prince said.” But you keep saying it and after a while it becomes real. After a while it becomes so real that the devil doesn’t waste his time trying to tempt you any longer.
One of the things we have to do is build the walls of our character. The Bible says the person who has no control over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls. We face a culture today in which many people are growing up like that because of bad homes, because of drugs, because of all sorts of evil influences. Anybody that has been deep in drugs is definitely a city without protective walls. It’s one thing to be delivered from the craving for drugs, it’s another thing to build the walls. You build the walls by strengthening your will. By asserting your rights bought by the cross against every evil force that comes against them. You think this is a terrible experience, but you don’t realize how much good it is doing you. At the end of it you have built a character.
Our gifts are temporary. They are only for this life, but our character is permanent. We will go with that into eternity. God is infinitely more interested in your character than your gifts. Whenever I find a person saying to me, “This problem hinders my ministry,” I tend to think there’s a wrong emphasis. You should say this problem vitiates my character. Because God is much more concerned about your character then your ministry. That doesn’t mean your ministry is unimportant. Basically the people who put ministry before character end up with character problems.
Let’s look at some of the results of this. Perhaps I can make it clear to you that way. One thing more I want to say. If you have been in the occult or under some real strong satanic bondage, I have learned over the years Satan’s way of thinking. He views you as his legitimate possession. When somebody comes along and preaches to you and your saved and delivered, he doesn’t give up. He still really believes he has a claim to you. As I understand it he’s aggrieved that somebody that belonged to him has been snatched from him. You will almost invariably find he will keep on acting as if you belong to him. You say, “God this isn’t fair. Why is this thing allowed to come back again and again? Why am I continually assailed in my mind with this thing.?”
God says if you could hear Him, “We’re building the walls of your character.” When you come to the point where the wall is high enough and the devil is wasting his time, he’ll find somebody else to bother. But this is a process that you have to go through. If you understand it, it will be much easier for you to cooperate with God.
Let’s look at the results of this deliverance from this fleshly nature on your outline on page 5, No. 1. Freedom from sin to do God’s will. How do you react to that? To me that’s exciting. Fancy being free from sin to do God’s will. It’s a wonderful statement in 1Peter there which I have pondered over for years. I don’t know that I understand it all, but I understand some of it. 1Peter 4:1,
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, [notice that your set of mind is your armor. That’s very important. You go into a situation if you had the right set of mind you’re armed, and if you had the wrong set of mind you’re not armed.] arm yourself with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.
Isn’t that a remarkable statement? Do you want to cease from sin? You’re probably going to have to suffer in the flesh. What’s the result? Verse 2:
that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh towards the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
You’re set free from fleshly lusts. You can really give yourself to living for the will of God.
Now there are different ways in which we can suffer in the flesh. God will choose the path that leads to the destination he wants for us. For instance, a young woman may know the Lord, be saved, Baptized in the Spirit, be in a good church, have a good pastor, but get enamored with a very unsuitable man. Contrary to the advice of her pastor and those who know better, she marries him. He runs around with her for 20 years, leaves her with three children and runs off with another woman. Okay? What has she been doing all that time? Suffering in the flesh. But at the end of 20 years she’s learned one thing—not to marry the wrong man. It took her 20 years to learn it. God will not give up until we’ve learned.
You take the history of the kingdom of Judah. Their big problem was idolatry. God warned them again and again. He dealt with them but they wouldn’t obey. So what did He do? Sent them to Babylon, the center of all idolatry in the whole ancient world. Seventy years in Babylon cured them of idolatry. They came back and there’s one thing they didn’t want to have anything to do with idols. So if it takes 70 years, God will give you 70 years. When He’s dealing with individuals, thank God He usually chooses a shorter time span. But I’m telling you if you go the wrong way, if you indulge your fleshly nature, if you are stubborn and obstinate and self-pleasing God will permit you to suffer until you just don’t want to have anything more to do with the thing that caused the suffering. Sometimes, let’s be honest, it’s overindulgence in food. That’s a fleshly lust. Did you know that? Most churches are dead against drunkenness and have nothing to say against gluttony. The Bible deals with both the same.
All right, you can indulge your fleshly desires but sooner or later it will catch up with you. If you are grossly overweight you usually have back problems, because your back wasn’t designed to carry all that weight that’s hanging in front. You’re probably going to have other problems in your digestive tract and other areas. You say, “God heal me!” God says, “You learn to live right.”
You know I pray for people with back problems and leg problems. I have women that come with thin stiletto heels that high. I pray for them and God heals them, but it’s almost impossible for them to remain healed with that kind of high heel. It’s designed to ruin your back.
I’ve known the Lord in the power of healing and the ministry of healing for years, but just nearly two years ago I was walking out of my apartment in Florida and I wasn’t thinking about healing. But in between the time I opened the door to go out and close the door behind me, the Lord spoke to me. Totally unexpected. He said, “You can be completely well if you will follow the right lifestyle.”
Well, I was leading the standard “Spirit-filled life.” I wasn’t indulging in anything wicked and furthermore I was pretty healthy. I thought completely well, that’s a very high standard for a person who was 70 years old. What does He mean about the right lifestyle. I took it slowly. First of all I held it before God to check and see if it really was God and I was convinced it was God. So I said, “God, if my lifestyle isn’t pleasing to you, or isn’t right, show me.”
Well, in the last 18 months there’s hardly any area of my lifestyle that God hasn’t touched. You wouldn’t believe a person of 70 could make the changes that I’ve made. I didn’t have to. But I will tell you one thing, I would have suffered if I didn’t. So God says, “This is the way.” You say, “God I don’t want to take that too seriously. I’ll go this way.” So God says, “All right, but you are going to suffer and you will go on suffering until you’ve learned that that’s not the right way.”
There’s another solution. You don’t have to suffer. You know what you have to do? Apply the cross. Now when it says, “They have crucified the flesh,” I always picture to myself my hands and my feet and nails going through them. So you see next time I’m prone to yield to “impatience” and I can give it a lot of religious names but the truth of the matter is it’s impatience. I say, “No you don’t. You’re crucified. There you are, you belong on the cross. I won’t yield to you.” All right, that’s crucifying that particular area of the flesh.
Or the next time you are prone to yield to fear, “God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear—on the cross. That’s where you belong.” Now that’s painful. But it’s painful in a different way. The pain doesn’t last nearly so long. Rejecting the compulsive desires of your fleshly nature is painful, but you’ve got options. You can please yourself and go your way and suffer for it 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, like the Jews in Babylon, until you decided there’s one thing I don’t want to have anything more to do with it idolatry. Or you can say, “God I hear what you say. I realize there’s something in me that rises up, that wants to do things that are not permitted, that are not right, that would be harmful in my life. God I am renouncing that thing. I’m putting it on the cross. I am identifying it with the dead body of Jesus. It’s not going to dominate me.” One is a short way and one is a long way. But which ever way there will be some suffering.
If you like to look in 1Peter 2:21.
For to this you were called, [what are you called to? To be a preacher, an evangelist? No.] because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.
What steps? His suffering. We are called to suffering. There are many different forms of suffering, but there is no way to a life of Christian victory without an element of suffering.
I grew up in the old days when you didn’t have to make education interesting. Children went to school to be taught and they got taught whether they wanted to be taught or not. Whether it was interesting or not it was irrelevant. They had to be taught. Well that was unfortunate in many ways, but I tell you the pendulum has swung so far the other way that children don’t want to learn unless it’s interesting, or pleasant or enjoyable. The truth of the matter is there are lots of things we need to learn which aren’t pleasant, but we have to learn them. The only people who really are the people who make up their minds to learn whether they enjoy it or not.
I’ve applied this to education but the real application here is in the Christian life. Are you going to learn whether it is pleasant or not? You’re going to learn, as a matter of fact. The real choice is are you going to learn God’s way or the other way? If you want to cease from sin there is some suffering in the flesh involved. And Christ left us an example. We are called to follow in His steps. Steps of what? Suffering. Steps that lead to what? The cross. The question is how much do you want freedom from sin? How much does it really mean to you to be free from sin.
The second result of this deliverance is release from the curse of trusting in the flesh. Let’s see Jeremiah 17:5. Jeremiah 17:5 in a way is a kind of one verse commentary on Galatians. Well we’d have to take the other verses too. Let me read Jeremiah 17:5 and a little more.
Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord. [That’s the man who relies on and cultivates his own fleshly nature. And notice it says ‘His heart departs from the Lord.’ When you do your heart departs from the Lord and you do come under a curse. That’s not an option. That’s a consequence. And then here’s a wonderful description of a person under a curse.] For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes. But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited.
That’s typical. There’s prosperity and blessing all around, but the person under a curse just doesn’t get any of it. Oh, how true that is to experience. I can tell you, I think of people who wanted to come to a deliverance service that I was conducting. They knew they needed deliverance. But on the way the car failed and they never made the journey, or they didn’t have a map and they never found the right way. You see a person under a curse somehow just never makes it into prosperity. But stop and ask why? What’s caused the curse? Trusting in the flesh.
Look at the other picture so that we see there’s an alternative.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
There’s the two pictures. The one under the curse. The one under the blessing. It’s so vivid. It’s so true to life. I mean I can tell you I’ve dealt with scores and scores of people who fit one or other of those categories. But the root problem, stated by Jeremiah, is really indulging your fleshly nature. Letting it have its way. Not giving it its proper place which is on the cross.
Let’s read also Romans 8:8, 12–13.
So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. [There is no way that your fleshly nature can ever produce anything that’s pleasing to God. It can be very religious, but it cannot please God because it’s under a curse. Then it goes on verses 12–13.] Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, [we owe nothing to the flesh. It’s never done us any good. We don’t need to cultivate it, we don’t need to pamper it, we don’t need to care for it because it is the source of our problems.] we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you lived according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Notice I said before that there are certain phrases in the New Testament which have a very special, kind of technical application, the flesh is one the body is another. In that verse both are used in that sense. It’s not talking about out physical flesh or our physical body, it’s talking about the fleshly carnal nature.
I mentioned that I was an associate pastor in a Pentecostal church in Minneapolis. One of my assignments was to visit the sick in hospital. I had a depressing number of sick people to visit. And yet the church stood for divine healing. So it’s doctrine was God will heal you, it’s experience was you are probably going to end up sick. Well this was a real burden to me. I said, “Lord how is that so many of these dear people—and they were all good church members—were sick. The Lord gave me this verse, “If you live according to the flesh you will die, but if you through the spirit mortify the deeds of the body you will live.” Most of those people were leading basically self-indulgent lives. A lot of their interest centered around the food table. They spent a lot of their time watching television. Very little time in prayer and Bible reading. They were sowing to the flesh. Paul says, “If you sow to the flesh, you will from the flesh reap corruption.” That’s what sickness is. It’s corruption.
Now Paul says you can put to death the deeds of the body. How do you put them to death? What is the instrument? The cross. That’s something we have to do. I would have to say of those people, and they were dear people, they were religious, they had the language of Pentecost, they talked about being saved, being born again, being filled with the Spirit—which I think was a misuse myself. But basically, most of them had no concept of what the cross was intended to do in their lives. The results were there. “If you sow to the flesh you will reap corruption.” It doesn’t necessarily mean physical corruption. It may mean mental corruption. I notice through the people that came to us for prayer last night, I would have to say that I got the impression that a lot of people are looking for a quick fix. Lay hands on me and deliver me. Well, that can be done. But the cross is not a quick fix. It’s a way of life. No matter how many times you’re healed and delivered you will never have real victory until the cross does it’s work in you.
I don’t blame those people because in a sense their victims of what’s been taught. Most of the teaching that most of us are exposed to is what you can get from God. If you do this, God will do this. Like I said before, that’s like the restaurant the provides a menu without prices. It’s true you can, but there’s a price. The price is the cross.
Let’s look at the third result. I want to be very clear that these are not absolute final last word. They’re just suggestions to your thinking. I put here freedom to worship God in the Spirit. Let’s turn to Philippians 3:3.
For we are the circumcision who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
The modern translations will say “who worship in the Spirit of God” but the difference isn’t significant for this present purpose. So the circumcision of the people who’ve entered into covenant relationship with God. God said to Abraham under the old covenant any male child that is not circumcised has broken my covenant. Circumcision is the mark of covenant relationship with God. Paul says, “We don’t belong to that covenant. We don’t practice physical circumcision which was only for males. The circumcision for Christians is for males and females alike.” There’s no discrimination with God. Aren’t you ladies happy. But you know even circumcision is painful and it costs blood. There never was a covenant that you could enter into with God without blood. It takes a sharp knife.
So what are the marks of the circumcision that is available to us? Paul says there are three marks. We worship in the Spirit of God. Truly circumcised believers are worshipers. Check with yourself. How much time do you really give to worship? How much does worship mean in your life? It’s wonderful to have a prayer time, but that prayer time should include worship. If you are baptized in the Spirit you’ve got a wonderful way to worship. You don’t have to think it all out. You can lift up your hearts and your hands to God and worship Him in an unknown tongue. That’s one of the great privileges and blessings.
That’s mark no. 1 the circumcised people. No. 2—we rejoice in Christ Jesus. What does the modern translation say? “We glory in Christ Jesus.” We are very, very proud of Jesus. We never apologize for Him. We never push Him somewhere in the background. He’s the real center of our life. And thirdly, we have no confidence in the flesh. That’s the sharp knife of circumcision. You have absolutely eliminated the claims of your fleshly nature. You’re not going to expect anything from it. You owe nothing to it. You’ve cut it off.
Now some people say that in the Christian experience Baptism is circumcision, because Paul says in Colossians 2, “Circumcised and then baptized.” I don’t think that’s totally accurate. I’m making a point because it’s important. Circumcision is the renouncing of confidence in the flesh. When you have renounced your confidence in that sinful body, the next thing you do is bury it. But, it’s no good burying a body that isn’t dead. There’s a whole lot of people who are baptized, but they’ve never renounced their confidence in the flesh. The first requirement is to set aside the demands of the flesh in your life. To apply the cross to your flesh. Then you’re free to worship in the Spirit of God. Isn’t it true, many times when we want to worship God there are all sorts of moods and passions and desires that fight against—I don’t know whether you’ve experienced this but sometimes in me the time I’m closest to God is the time I have the worst pressures from my fleshly nature. Because there is something in the flesh that fights against true worship. It doesn’t want to be set aside. It continues to press it’s claims on our attention.
So that’s the results of deliverance from the fleshly nature. I’m just going to recapitulate them and we will close this session.
First of all freedom from sin to do God’s will. I put there applying the nails is painful. I really don’t believe there’s any way of deliverance from the fleshly nature without suffering. But you can suffer the suffering of the cross and have victory, or you can suffer the suffering of disobedience and not solve your problem.
Second there’s the release from the curse of trusting in the flesh.
Third there’s freedom to worship God in the Spirit or worship in the Spirit of God.
Shall we thank God together for what He’s done for us through the cross. Tomorrow there’ll be one more session which will be Deliverance from the World.
Thank you Father. Let’s take a moment to relax and just thank God. You’ve been under a lot of pressure. You’ve done a lot on concentrating. Just release your spirit to God and begin to worship Him now. Just one minute. No longer than that. Thank you God. Praise You...