The Breaches in Our Walls

I am teaching at Bible fellowship in my home on Sunday. Here are the teaching notes:

God has built a wall of protection around our lives as believers, but the impenetrability of this wall is determined by our faith in God and our obedience to His Word. Most Christians have massive holes or breaches in their lives that allow the enemy access to inflict, hinder and wreak havoc in their lives. Our adversary, the devil, is constantly watching the integrity of the wall looking for breaches or holes so he can enter our lives and do what he sees fit to do. The great books of Ephesians and Colossians, addressed to the Church of God, list at least ten habits, actions or deeds that will cause massive breaches in God’s wall of protection and allow the enemy to gain access to our hearts. The Bible is very clear that these works should be put off, blown apart, and eradicated from the Christian life. If we want to have fruitful lives for God and accomplish His purposes for our lives, we must repair these breaches. When we are faithful and obey His word to get rid of thee habits of body and soul, then God as the great repairer will mend the breaches. The enemy does everything he can so that breaches of our walls are not repaired because a Christian with broken walls is of little service to God in the advancement of the kingdom of God and spread of the gospel. The Christian’s witness, service, love and walk with God all become ineffective, weak, powerless and fruitless if these characteristics live and dominate in our hearts. These are the destroyers of a Christian life and we must diligently guard our hearts from being turned and dominated by any of them. It order to be strong and useful to God our wall must be repaired of its breaches.

     Look at the attack and ridicule and scorn of the enemy to try to prevent the rebuilding and repairing of the wall in Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 4:1-7 (NIV) 1 When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews, 2 and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?”

 3 Tobiah the Ammonite, who was at his side, said, “What they are building—if even a fox climbed up on it, he would break down their wall of stones!”

 4 Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults back on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. 5 Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of [a] the builders.

 6 So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.

 7 But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. 8 They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. 9 But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.

Nehemiah 6:1(a) 1 When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it.

The enemy will pressure, ridicule, threaten, mock, lure, plot, fight and tempt you relentlessly so the breaches of our walls remain broken and unrepaired.  

Isaiah 58:12

11And the LORD will guide you continually
   and satisfy your desire in scorched places
   and make your bones strong;
and you shall be(T) like a watered garden,
   like a spring of water,
   whose waters do not fail.
12(U) And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
   you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
   the restorer of streets to dwell in.

God is the great repairer of the breach; the mender of the wall; the rebuilder of ruins.

Ephesians 4:22-32: 22Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion;

    23And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude],

    24And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.

    25Therefore, rejecting all falsity and being done now with it, let everyone express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members one of another.(B)

    26When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down.

    27Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil [give no opportunity to him].

    28Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need.

    29Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.

    30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin).

    31Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).

    32And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.

Colossians 3:1-7 (Amplified)

1IF THEN you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.(A)

    2And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.

    3For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God.

    4When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory.

    5So kill (deaden, [a]deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God).

    6It is on account of these [very sins] that the [holy] anger of God is ever coming upon the sons of disobedience (those who are obstinately opposed to the divine will),

    7Among whom you also once walked, when you were living in and addicted to [such practices].

    8But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips!

God commands us to put aside, put away and kill or mortify these attitudes of the heart. If we do not any one of these can cause a breach or hole in the walls of our life and allow the enemy access into our lives.

Put aside or Put away   (apotithemi from apo = away from, marker of dissociation, implying a rupture from a former association, separation, departure, cessation, any separation of one thing from another by which the union or fellowship of the two is destroyed  + tithemi = put, place) means literally to put or take something away from its normal location and put it out of the way. It was used literally of runners who participated in the Olympic games who cast off their clothes and running nearly completely naked in the stadium.

Figuratively the idea is to cease doing what one is accustomed to doing. Stop doing it.  “Throw” it off. Be done with it..

Mortify or kill- Consider…as dead  (nekroo)  means literally to put to death, to slay utterly, to kill, to mortify. In the passive voice it spoke of a medical condition as of a part of the body, no longer useful because of illness or age (Ro 4:19). In the Latin Vulgate the verb is mortifico which is related to our English “mortify“. Paul’s use of nekroo in this verse is figurative and means to deprive the thing killed of its power and to destroy its strength. Stop the use of bodily members and functions for immoral purposes

The Amalekites are a perfect illustration of the sin nature that remains in the believer’s life. That sin nature—already utterly defeated at the cross—must be dealt with ruthlessly and “hacked to pieces” so to speak or it will revive and continue to plunder and pillage our heart and sap our spiritual strength.

One cannot be merciful with his “Agag” or indwelling sin will turn and try to devour him. In fact, the sin remaining in Christians often becomes more fiercely determined after the gospel initially overthrows it. We dare not obey partially or halfheartedly as we seek to eliminate sin from our lives. We cannot stop while the task remains incomplete.

Sin, like the Amalekites, has a way of escaping the slaughter, breeding, reviving, regrouping, and launching new and unexpected assaults on their victims’ most vulnerable areas. 

BREACH # 1-BITTERNESS  In the NT pikria is used in a metaphorical sense to describe animosity, resentfulness, harshness or an openly-expressed emotional hostility against an enemy. Pikria defines a settled hostility that poisons the whole inner man (it does more damage to the one who is bitter, than to the intended “victim”!). Somebody does something we do not like, so we harbor ill will against him.   Pikria is the opposite not only of sweetness (gleuketes) but of kindness (chrestotes). It is the spite that harbors resentment and keeps a score of wrongs. Pikria in this verse denotes that fretted and irritable state of mind that keeps a man in perpetual animosity, that inclines him to harsh and uncharitable opinions of men and things, that makes him sour, crabby, repulsive in his general demeanor, that brings a scowl over his face and infuses the words of his tongue with venom. Bitterness reflects a smoldering resentment, a brooding grudge–filled attitude, an unwillingness to forgive or a harsh feeling.  Wiersbe has this practical comment on “bitterness” to which even believers can fall prey…

An unforgiving spirit is the devil’s playground and before long it becomes the Christian’s battleground. If somebody hurts us, either deliberately or unintentionally, and we do not forgive him, then we begin to develop bitterness within, which hardens the heart (cp Mt 6:12, 14, 15). We should be tenderhearted and kind, but instead we are hardhearted and bitter.  Bitterness in the heart makes us treat others the way Satan treats them, when we should treat others the way God has treated us. In His gracious kindness, God has forgiven us, and we should forgive others. Learning how to forgive and forget is one of the secrets of a happy Christian life.

Bitterness always inflicts a deeper wound on the person who harbors it than the person against whom it is directed.

Hebrews 12:15 (NLT)- 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

Overcome with kindness and tenderheartedness.

BREACH #2-WRATH- Wrath(thumos-from thúo = move impetuously, particularly as the air or wind, a violent motion or passion of the mind; move violently, rush along) describes passion (as if breathing hard) and so speaks of an agitated, vehement anger that rushes along relentlessly. Thumos describes a tumultuous welling up of the whole spirit; a mighty emotion which seizes and moves the whole inner man.

 Thumos is a blaze of sudden anger which is quickly kindled and just as quickly dies. The Greeks likened it to a fire amongst straw, which quickly blazed and just as quickly burned itself out.  It is used by the writer of Hebrews to describe Pharaoh’s murderous fury at Moses (Heb 11:27note; cf. Ex 10:28). It is used by Luke to describe the fury of the Jews in the synagogue at Nazareth who wanted to throw Jesus off a diff (Lk 4:28,29). It is used of the pagan Ephesians who resented Paul’s preaching the gospel and especially his claim that their idols “made with hands [were] no gods at all” (Acts 19:26, 17, 28).

(Thumos) does not denote a settled and prolonged wrath. It denotes sudden explosions of passionate anger. It is the kind of anger which Basil described as the intoxication of the soul that sweeps a man into doing things for which afterwards he is bitterly sorry. The ancients said themselves that such outbursts were more characteristic of beasts than men. The beast cannot control itself; man ought to be able to do so; and when passion runs away with him he is more kin to the unreasoning and undisciplined beast than he is to thinking man. (Barclay, William: New Testament Words:. Westminster John Know Press, 1964)

This is overcome and the breach is repaired by patience, longsuffering and love.

BREACH #3-ANGER-(orge from orgaô = to teem, to swell) refers to to an inner, deep resentment that seethes and smolders. Orge as used of God refers to His constant and controlled indignation toward sin, while thumos (which originally referred to violent movements of air, water, etc., and consequently came to mean “well up” or “boil up”) refers more to a passionate outburst of rage. Thumos type anger represents an agitated, vehement anger that rushes along relentlessly. The root meaning has to do with moving rapidly and was used of a man’s breathing violently while pursuing an enemy in great rage! Orge is more subtle, deep flowing anger. It is an inner, deep resentment that seethes and smolders.

A lady once came to Billy Sunday and tried to rationalize her angry outbursts. “There’s nothing wrong with losing my temper,” She said. “I blow up, and then it’s all over.” “So does a shotgun,” Sunday replied, “and look at the damage it leaves behind!” Getting angry can sometimes be like leaping into a wonderfully responsive sports car, gunning the motor, taking off at high speed and then discovering the brakes are out of order.

Ogre Is anger which has become habitual…Orge is anger which has become inveterate; it is long-lasting, slow-burning anger, which refuses to be pacified and nurses its wrath to keep it warm.

Proverbs 16:32 32He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

Overcome with love, tenderness, patience, longsuffering and forgiveness.

BREACH #4-CLAMOUR (krauge from krázo = clamor or cry = a word like “croak” ~ suggests a rough and guttural sound = croaking of ravens = croak or cry out with a loud, raucous voice like donkey in Job 6:5, childbirth Is 26:17, war cry in Josh 6:16) can refer to a chorus of voices (one voice in Lk 1:42) speaking loudly at the same time (outcry, shout, clamor). In the present context krauge obviously refers to the shout or outcry of strife and reflects a public outburst that reveals loss of control (think of an out of control crowd rioting in the street in protest, etc). It is a a loud and confused noise, especially of shouting. It is a cry of strife. Lange says that clamor…is wild, rough crying, refers to the voice, improperly strained and sharpened, as in scolding, upbraiding, to the casting about of words uninterruptedly. It is the steed of anger.

MacDonald

Loud outcries of anger, bawling, angry bickering, shouting down of opponents.

II Timothy 2:24-26 (NIV)- 24And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

BREACH #5-EVIL SPEAKING/SLANDER, A/K/A CORRUPT, FILTHY COMMUNICATION OUT OF YOUR MOUTH

Slander (blasphemia from blapto = hinder, injure, hurt + pheme = report, rumor, fame from phemí = to speak; refers to verbal abuse against someone which denotes the very worst type of slander. It is speech which seeks to wound someone’s reputation by evil reports, evil speaking.  Abusive speech against someone by telling lies or otherwise offending them.

In Classical Greek blasphemia/blasphemeo represented the strongest expression of personal defamation.

Blasphemia means literally to speak to harm and in general therefore means to bring into ill repute and so to slander, to defame (to harm the reputation of by libel or slander), speak evil of, to rail at (revile or scold in harsh, insolent, or abusive language and rail stresses an unrestrained berating), to speak calumny (noun form = a misrepresentation intended to blacken another’s reputation = the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to damage another’s reputation), to calumniate (verb form = to utter maliciously false statements, charges, or imputations about – calumniate imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions)

Blasphemia is speech that is harmful, which denigrates or defames and thus refers to reviling, denigration, disrespect, slander, abusive speech (as against a person’s reputation), evil speaking. In the Book of Revelation blasphemia refers to that evil speech directed against the nature and power of God and especially characterizes the speech of the Antichrist (Rev 13:1, 5, 6)

The Life Application Bible has an interesting note on this gossip, referring to it as

“passive slander” — “We don’t often call it by its right name, but gossip is passive slander, and it is a massive problem in churches today. It may be even worse than slander due to its dishonesty. A slanderer actively wants to attack and hurt someone, so that person is easily identified. Gossipers don’t care whether or not a person is hurt as they pass along dishonest and harmful information. Churches can save a lot of headaches and heartaches by not allowing gossip (or gossipers) to gain a foothold.” (Barton, B, et al: The NIV Life Application Commentary Series: Tyndale)

Matthew Henry comments that we are

“to speak evil of none, unjustly and falsely, or unnecessarily, without call, and when it may do hurt but no good to the person himself or any other. If no good can be spoken, rather than speak evil unnecessarily, say nothing. We must never take pleasure in speaking ill of others, nor make the worst of any thing, but the best we can. We must not go up and down as tale-bearers, carrying ill-natured stories, to the prejudice of our neighbour’s good name and the destruction of brotherly love. Misrepresentations, or insinuations of bad intentions, or of hypocrisy in what is done, things out of our reach or cognizance, these come within the reach of this prohibition. As this evil is too common, so it is of great malignity.” (Bolding added) (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)

The related verb blasphemeo refers to a “malicious misrepresentation”. Note that in several of the New Testament uses of blasphemeo, we see that the actions of professed Christians can speak louder than their words and thus convey “malicious misrepresentation” of God and/or the Gospel to those who observe those actions. In such situations God and His Gospel have in effect been blasphemed. Thus Christians for their part must take care that they do not, by their own conduct, give cause for blasphemy against God or against his Word.

ABUSIVE SPEECH: aischrologian:

The “new man” has (should manifest) a “new language”! =

Ephesians 4:29-Let no unwholesome word proceed (present imperative – With the negative = a command calling for cessation of this activity so characteristic of the “old man“) from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Abusive speech (aischologia is from from aischrologéo = to be foul–mouthed, which in turn is derived from aischrós = filthy or improper + légo =to say) refers to speech of a kind that is generally considered in poor taste, obscene speech, filthy or dirty speech.

Lightfoot calls it “foul mouthed abuse”! The word was used for both abusive and filthy talk. Such language should never come out of the mouth of a Christian with Christ now his very life.

Such talk is expressly forbidden in Scripture, Paul writing in fact that…

 There must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. (Ep 5:4note)

Jesus said,

The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.  (Matthew12:35, 35).

BREACH #6-MALICE (kakia) is the general term for evil that is the root of all vices. Kakia is synonymous with the quality of wickedness and thus in a moral sense means depravity, vice or baseness. It is the opposite of arete and all virtue and therefore lacks social value.

In reference to behavior kakia conveys the idea of a mean-spirited or vicious attitude or disposition as indicated by words such as malice, ill-will, hatefulness, and dislike. It is an attitude of wickedness as an evil habit of one’s mind. Kakia is used in NT to describe the wickedness which comes from within a person. Malice desires to hurt another and rejoices in it!

Trench says that kakia is

“that peculiar form of evil which manifests itself in a malignant interpretation of the actions of others, an attributing of them all to the worst motive”

Webster says that “malice” is a desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another and implies a deep-seated often unexplainable desire to see another suffer.

One Greek scholar terms malice “the vicious character generally.”

Malice is not only a moral deficiency but destroys fellowship. To varying degrees, the unsaved spend their life maliciously.

I Peter 2:1-3 (NIV) 1Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

BREACH #7-SEXUAL IMMORALITY Immorality (porneia)  originally referred to any excessive behavior or lack of restraint, but eventually became associated with sexual excess and indulgence, of every kind of extramarital, unlawful, or unnatural sexual intercourse

Christianity brought chastity, a virtue that was foreign to the Greco-Roman world. Into this world of pagan idolatry where sexual immorality was not only condoned, but regarded as normal, the Christian faith came as a purifying fire. Twentieth-century America has reverted back to the “normality of sexual immorality” and the revival fire of the Christian faith is desperately needed.

Kenneth Wuest records that

The moral life of the Graeco-Roman world had sunk so low that, while protests against the prevailing corruption were never entirely wanting, fornication had long come to be regarded as a matter of moral indifference, and was indulged in without shame or scruple, not only by the mass, but by philosophers and men of distinction who in other respects led exemplary lives. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)

Porneia originally was used especially to describe the practice of consorting with prostitutes (porneis = “prostitute”) and eventually came to mean “habitual immorality.” Porneia is the opposite of the Greek word enkrateia/egkrateia (literally “holding oneself in”), which usually referred to sexual self-control (see Acts 24:25)

Porneia as used in the Scriptures describes any illicit sexual activity outside of the divine bounds established by marriage and thus includes the ideas of unlawful sexual intercourse, unchastity and fornication.

In Paul’s day Corinth was like much of our culture today, for people were strongly intent on having their own ways, doing what was right in their own eyes, and this aberrant behavior was especially manifest in fulfilling their physical lust. Corinth  was so conspicuous for its immorality that to “corinthianize” was the term for reckless debauchery.

I Thessalonians 4:1-8 (NIV) 1Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. 2For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

 3It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.

BREACH #8-IMPURITY Impurity (akatharsia [word study] from a = without + kathaíro = cleanse) literally describes any substance that is filthy or dirty and cold refer to refuse or to the contents of graves, causing ceremonial impurity. Akatharsia is a broad term figuratively referring to moral uncleanness in thought, word, and deed. It describes a state of moral impurity, especially sexual sin. In the NT akatharsia was also used in reference to unclean or demonic spirits. Akatharsia describes a filthiness of heart and mind that makes the person defiled. The unclean person sees dirt in everything. What a word picture one gets from the secular medical use where akatharsia described an infected, oozing wound. Akatharsia  was also the general term often used of decaying matter, like the contents of a grave. As used in its moral or ethical sense, the word speaks more of an internal disposition. An immoral filthiness on the inside. Acts of ”immorality” are on the outside.

William Barclay writes that akatharsia means…

everything which would unfit a man to enter into God’s presence. It describes the life muddied with wallowing in the world’s ways.

Akatharsia is the very opposite of that clean purity…It can be used for the pus of an unclean wound, for a tree that has never been pruned, for material which has never been sifted. In its positive form (katharos, an adjective meaning pure) it is commonly used in housing contracts to describe a house that is left clean and in good condition. But its most suggestive use is that katharos is used of that ceremonial cleanness which entitles a man to approach his gods. Impurity, then, is that which makes a man unfit to come before God, the soiling of life with the things which separate us from him….Jesus used the word to describe the rottenness of decaying bodies in a tomb (Mt 23:27). The other ten times the word is used in the New Testament it is associated with sexual sin. It refers to immoral thoughts, passions, ideas, fantasies, and every other form of sexual corruption. (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press or Logos)

I Peter 1.13-15(NIV) 13Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

BREACH #9-Unholy Desires- Desire(epithumia from epi = at, toward {the preposition “epi-” in the compound is directive conveying the picture of “having one’s passion toward”} + thumos = passion) in itself is a neutral term denoting the presence of strong desires or impulses, longings or passionate craving directed toward an object. Most uses (as in the present context) of epithumia in the New Testament describe strong desires which are perverted and unrestrained and which originate from our SIN nature, which is corrupt and fallen.

Hiebert has an interesting note that the

“degeneration in the meaning of the term (epithumia from God given desires to perverted desires) is a revealing commentary on human nature. Left to himself, instead of gaining mastery over his base desires and steadfastly adhering to the good, the individual is characteristically overcome by his evil cravings, so that they become the dominating force of his life.” (Hiebert, D. Edmond: 1 Peter. Page 94. Moody)

W. E. Vine summarizes epithumia as follows:

epithumia denotes “strong desire” of any kind, the various kinds being frequently specified by some adjective (see below). The word is used of a good desire only in Lu 22:15; Phil 1:23  1Thes 2:17 .  Everywhere else it has a bad sense. In Ro 6:12  the injunction against letting sin reign in our mortal body to obey the “lust” thereof, refers to those evil desires which are ready to express themselves in bodily activity. They are equally the “lusts” of the flesh, Ro 13:14; Gal 5:16; Gal 5:24; Eph 2:3 ; 2Pe 2:18;1Jn 2:16, a phrase which describes the emotions of the soul, the natural tendency towards things evil. Such “lusts” are not necessarily base and immoral, they may be refined in character, but are evil if inconsistent with the will of God.

God wants our passion directed toward Him.

Romans 12:11(NIV)- 11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

BREACH #10-COVETOUSNESS Greed(pleonexia from pleíon = more + écho = have)  means literally to have more and describes a strong desire to acquire more and more material possessions, especially that which is forbidden. It is a desire to have more irrespective of one’s need and is always used in bad sense. It describes an insatiable selfishness.

It is not surprising that Jesus warned:

beware (gaze with wide-open eyes, stare at, discern clearly) and be on your guard (be on guard from being lost or perishing, protect from greed and so to keep in safe) against every form of greed for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions (Luke 12:15).

Not surprisingly Paul exhorts believers to

not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints. (Ephesians 5:3)

William Barclay writes that the Greeks defined pleonexia

as “arrogant greediness,” as “the accursed love of possessing,” as “the unlawful desire for the things which belong to others.” It has been defined as the spirit in which a man is always ready to sacrifice his neighbour to his own desires. Pleonexia is the irresistible desire to have what we have no right to possess. It might issue in the theft of material things; it might issue in the spirit which tramples on other people to get its own way; it might issue in sexual sin(pleonexia) is, therefore, a sin with a very wide range. If it is the desire for money, it leads to theft. If it is the desire for prestige, it leads to evil ambition. If it is the desire for power, it leads to sadistic tyranny. If it is the desire for a person, it leads to sexual sin (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press or Logos)

It is the will to have more that consumes your thoughts, actions and heart.

Tozer-There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always possess. It covets things with a fierce and deep passion… The roots of our hearts have grown down into things…God’s gifts now take the place of God and the whole course of nature is upset by this monstrous substitution it is the tyranny of things.

Hebrews 13:5,6- 5Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

 6So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

We should have a heart full of giving and serving others not a heart to covet and possess. God should be our number one possession and to Him only should we cleave.

Quote from “The Magnificent Goodness of God and How it Will Transform Your Life”

         As Christians, we have both a new nature in Christ and a sinful nature inherited from Adam, and each one produces works and fruit according to its nature. We have God’s spiritual seed implanted within us at the time of the new birth. This seed is born within us as we are impregnated with the very nature of God. This new birth totally infuses the  divine nature into us, and it becomes a part of who we are at the very core of our being. This divine nature, or seed, that God creates within us is everything God is, and it becomes a part of us just as much as the old flesh nature is a part of us. The new spiritual nature continually exerts an influence on us to be like Christ in every way and stirs the heart to walk in holiness and godliness. The new nature encourages and influences our heart to walk in the goodness of God and gives us the energy and strength to do so. Our old sinful nature of the flesh influences us to walk ungodly in selfishness and lustful desires that do not please God…

         If we walk after our flesh and habitually follow the longings of the sin nature, then the fruit of sin will be the result of our cultivation of our flesh and sin nature. Each nature can motivate, lead, pull, and direct us to do works according to its nature and thus eventually produce fruit as we grow and are directed in the path of the spirit or the flesh.

These two natures are in constant conflict and struggle against each other as each one tries to dominate our lives. The sin nature and our new nature in Christ are at war and constantly wage a battle for our heart and the fruit we are to show in our lives… Our goal should be to live our lives in a manner worthy of the Lord and to fully please Him as His beloved children. .

        God wants us totally committed to Him, and then we will grow spiritually strong in Him and produce the fruit of that commitment and relationship. The devil through the fleshly nature, wants a total commitment of heart to serve the desires of the sin nature and produce its corresponding fruit. He wants us to continually do works rooted in greed, lust, selfishness, pride, arrogance, hatred, unforgiveness, and hard-heartedness, as this will lead to the producing of evil fruit in our lives.

            One of the primary characteristics of our sin nature is that it’s self-serving instead of God-serving. It takes the wonderful life that God has given us and misuses it for its own selfish purposes. The inward motive is always the promotion and advancement of self, and thus promotes a rivalry and rebellion against God. One nature glorifies self, and the other nature glorifies God. One nature is rooted in pride, and the other is rooted in humility.  One nature promotes evil, and the other nature promotes good. One nature stands opposed to the purposes, plans, and will of God, and the other nature promotes and advances the purposes, designs, and plans of God. One nature promulgates the characteristics and schemes of the devil, and the other nature produces and promulgates the characteristics of God. One nature is incapable of producing good works that please God, and the other nature produces good works that always please God and thrill His heart. The flesh follows the course of this world, and the new nature follows the course of God’s Word… This is the inward war and challenge we face every day: what nature will dominate and lead our lives We determine by our freedom of will what fruit will shine from our heart and what fruit will dominate our character. 

Ephesians 4:1I THEREFORE, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God’s service

About goodnessofgod2010

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