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Cast Everything Out – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
November 19, 2023 3:00 pm

Cast Everything Out – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Here's Anne Graham Lotz. It's Anne's message today from Romans chapter 7 and Genesis chapter 21. Romans chapter 7.

Paul is describing the very same thing I've been talking about, where the Apostle Paul, the greatest evangelist the world has ever known, greatest missionary we've ever seen, maybe no one greater in all of the New Testament, maybe in all of human history since the cross other than Jesus, than the Apostle Paul. And he's describing this cycle of sin in his own life. Romans chapter 7 verse 7. And he's talking about this cycle of sin.

And he says, what shall I say then? Is the law sin? In other words, you can think of the law as the Ten Commandments, you know, don't do this, don't do that, don't do that. You can think of it as your Bible study when the light of God's word comes into your life. And is that sin for me?

And he says, certainly not. I wouldn't have known what sin was except through the law. If I didn't have a plumb line, if I didn't know God's standard, I wouldn't know what sin was. If I hadn't been in the Bible study, and the light of God's word came into my life, I would never have known that was sin in my life. I wouldn't have known what it was to covet. This is interesting. The Apostle Paul must have had the besetting sin of covetousness. Isn't that interesting?

He's just being a little vulnerable here. And he said, I wouldn't have known what it was to covet if the law had not said, do not covet. In other words, the Ten Commandments gives us this plumb line, the standard. I studied it. The light of God's word came into my life. And I discovered that coveting was a sin. But sin seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment and God's standard produced in me every kind of covetous desire.

Isn't that interesting? That when he was told not to covet, then that's what made him want to covet. So he says apart from the law, sin is dead. In other words, if I didn't know it was wrong, I wouldn't care about it.

I wouldn't want to do it. So once I was alive apart from the law, and this is interesting, your Canaanite neighbor, you know, the person that's saved, they don't struggle like you and I do because they're dead and they don't know what's right and they don't know what's wrong. So they're living their lives the way they were raised. And they compare themselves with the person next to them. And they're a little bit better than that person, not as good as that person.

They're trying to get along in the world and they want to do what feels right and feels good and what works. And so they're just not struggling with this cycle of sin because they're dead to all of that. So while I was alive physically apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died, meaning I was defeated. I found that the very commandment, God's word that was to bring light into my life, when tended to bring life, actually brought death and deep discouragement. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment deceived me and through the commandment put me to death.

Deep depression, I want to quit. So then the law is holy. I mean I know God's standard is perfect. And the commandment is holy, righteous and good. So did that which is good then become death to me? Why is it that God's standard pure, righteous, holy would produce in me this kind of depression and discouragement and defeat. And he says, by no means, but in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death and me, shame, through what was good so that through the commandment, sin might become utterly sinful. And I begin to hate my sin.

And so the law comes in. God's standard of righteousness and holiness and it provokes within us this desire to sin and the sin is sort of like a wound that's festered and you let it fester and come to a head so then you can lance it and deal with it and it festers and the law just brings it to the surface. Things that we hadn't thought about before, things we hadn't known were sinned before, things that hadn't bothered us before and then God's standard and His word comes into our lives and we see the sin and it produces in us a desire to sin but that makes us hate the sin so that sin becomes utterly sinful to us. The trouble is that we're caught in the cycle of it and we just seem to be living defeated in a way that we weren't before we were saved and you can almost become more miserable after you're saved than you were before you were saved because now you're trapped in a cycle of sin and to be told to do the right thing just makes you want to do the wrong thing. So failure is replicated in our lives. Would you recognize that? And I think the first step to breaking the cycle of sin is to recognize that you're in it.

Don't try to cover it up, don't try to pretend it's not there. You and I are sinners by nature and we're caught in a cycle of sin and it produces a conflict. Going back to Abraham's life now in chapter 21, we find that Abraham's home was perfectly fine until chapter 21 actually but going back to chapter 16, let me just fill you in for a moment, a chapter we skipped over. After chapter 15 when God came to Abraham when he was 85 years of age and he said Abraham and Abraham says you know what good does it do if you say you're my reward when I don't have a son and you promised me a son is Eliezer my servant going to be my son and God came to Abraham and said Abraham you're going to have a son from your own body and then he confirmed it swearing by himself and Abraham knew it was true. He knew he would have a son from his own body and Abraham waited and he waited and he waited and he waited and then it must have hit him. Abraham you fool.

God helps those who help themselves. He said you would have a son from your body but he didn't say anything about Sarah having a son. Obviously Abraham you're supposed to do what everybody else in your day does you need a surrogate mother.

So he calls Sarah in and says Sarah do you think that you're going to have a baby? Abraham that's the funniest thing I ever heard. You know I'm 75 years of age I couldn't have a baby when I could have had a baby I'm not going to have one now and Abraham if you're going to have a son it must be that it's going to be through somebody else and I've got the perfect person Hagar she's a beautiful young girl that we brought up from Egypt she'll make the perfect surrogate mother for you and Abraham goes into Hagar and he produces a son by Hagar named Ishmael and now this is interesting because from that point in time until Abraham's 100 years old so about 14, 15 years there's a gap and God doesn't speak to him and there's no record of Abraham's walk with God and did Abraham delay God's blessing in his life? Did he delay having Isaac because he took matters into his own hands? Watch out don't think that you have to help God fulfill his will for your life. You just surrender to him and submit to him and you walk in obedience step by step make very sure you stay close to him don't be jumping outside of his will. Abraham jumped right outside and Ishmael was born so 14, 15 years Ishmael is the only son in Abram's household and Abraham loves Ishmael and he spends time with him and he teaches him and he pours himself into Ishmael and then comes the day when Abram's 100 years old and God comes to Abraham in the heat of the day when he's back in Mamre near Hebron and he says Abraham within the year I'm going to come and Sarah is going to have your son and this will be the seed that I promised you this will be the child of promise the one through whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed and so we come to chapter 21 and the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised and Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age at the very time God had promised him and they named the son Isaac do you know what Isaac means laughter there was so much joy in that home oh this was the child of promise this has been what he has been praying for and dreaming of and what he left Ur of the Chaldees to claim and this little bundle of joy and the new life is coming to Abram's home and everything is wonderful for about five years and Ishmael is there maybe when the baby is born Ishmael sees this little baby and I mean it's cute maybe gets to hold it and you know it's just sort of fun and Ishmael is an older brother he's about 15 when Isaac is born and and maybe when Isaac starts to toddle Ishmael likes to hold him by his little tiny hand and feel the little fingers wrap around his knee takes a little toddler through the tents and and then Isaac's about five years old and Ishmael has been noticing that Isaac gets a lot of attention the attention he used to get and Isaac is not the son of a slave woman Isaac is the son of a princess and Isaac is going to be the heir and Isaac is the one in whom all the promises of God rest and he's just like the prince in the home and Ishmael was there first and he was the only child for 15 years and there's a resentment and a hatred that begins to build in him and the day that Abraham throws this big feast when Isaac is weaned and it's a big celebration Sarah catches Ishmael mocking Isaac and Ishmael is about 17, 19 years of age at this point Isaac is about five which is about the age when they were weaned in those days and the New Testament tells us that it wasn't just like sibling rivalry or just teasing the New Testament tells us that Ishmael was actually persecuting Isaac and Sarah goes ballistic and she tells Abram you've got to do something about this and there is conflict in Abraham's home and the reason for the conflict everything had been fine when it was just Ishmael but when you bring in the new life after a little while it's the conflict between the new life and the old life that creates the conflict with an Abram's home and that's a conflict that's replicated in our own lives and it's caused by the same thing it's when you and I unsaved and we're just going along in our unsaved lives when you're born into the human race you're born as a sinner we're all moral failures all of us have sinned and so when you're born in the human race you're born with your Ishmael that's your old nature it's your Ishmael and your Ishmael is just permeated with sin you're born you have emotions you have a will and you have intellect but it's all permeated with sin and James says if you've ever sinned once in all of your life have you ever done that I mean once once you've worried once you lost your temper once one moment you didn't love the Lord with all your heart mind soul and strength and one sin indicates you're riddled with the disease of sin this is your sinful nature when my daughter Rachel Ruth was a baby or about two years old she came to me and at the supper table and she said mommy something's bitten me and I pulled up her shirt and there's a little bite there and so I looked in her shirt and I didn't see anything I said well now he's gone you're okay a couple minutes later she came back said mommy he's bitten me again and I pulled up her shirt and she had two little bites and this time I took her shirt off and I looked all over and I didn't see anything so I put her clean shirt back on I said now you're okay and a few minutes later she came back and said mommy he's bitten me all over and I pulled up her shirt and she was covered with red spots she had the chicken pox the first little spots indicated her whole body had the disease even though she hadn't broken out so you know some have more spots and fewer spots but one spot of sin indicates that you're riddled with a disease you have a sinful nature and we call this our Ishmael we call it our flesh we call it our old nature we call it the old creation this is the way we were born into the human race and everything's fine this is your Canaanite neighbor and I mean all he's ever had is his emotions will intellect permeated with sin and he's used to accommodate it and sort of cloak it and you know you can drug it you can analyze it you can do all sorts of things to it to make it behave and and we sort of discipline and train and educate our old nature so that we're not all raving maniacs but but this is our old nature permeated with sin and everybody looks like this when they come into the human race and everything's fine and there's sort of peace because you've learned to just sort of live in the old nature and sin doesn't bother you so you don't even know it's sin you know it's just mistakes that you make and everybody fails and you're just trying harder and you know the rest of it and so that's just the way you live so there's really no conflict within your heart until the new life comes and when you're born again you have new emotions and new will and new intellect and this is called your new nature this is called your Isaac this is called your new creation this is called a new life this is Jesus living inside of you and you have new emotions to love the Lord with all your heart mind soul and strength a new will to make the choices that please him a new intellect to think his thoughts and you're born again and you know when Mary the angel came to Mary and she said that you're going to conceive and have a son and and Mary was a virgin and Mary said how can this be since I'm a virgin and the angel said to her because the power of the Holy Spirit is going to come upon you and this thing born in you is going to be a supernatural miracle and Mary believed the angel and she conceived within her the life of Christ and what happened to Mary physically happens to you and me spiritually when we trust everything completely to God and we put our faith in him and we confess our sin and we tell him we're willing to repent and we claim Christ is our Savior and we surrender to him as Lord and we invite him to come into our lives and he comes in in the person of the Holy Spirit and we conceive spiritually the life of Jesus within us and so the new life is coming to the old now you understand they're like oil and water they don't mix so you have the old nature out there you still have your emotions will intellect of the old nature permeated with sin now you have your new nature that's the life of Jesus living within you and for a little while there's laughter and joy how long did it last five minutes five weeks maybe five years and you were just so thrilled peace in your heart joy purpose to live for God was in your life everything was right with the world and everything gets along fine and then one day the old nature just rises up and maybe something you're faced with a choice probably or something happens to trigger that old nature and the old nature dominates because it's been there longer the old nature is older the old nature is used to being in control the old nature is a habit and so you just fall right back in and you're living in your old nature you're still born again you still have your new nature but you're living in your old nature because it's more comfortable it's easier it's more natural it's a habit in your life and then you do that and you hate yourself and you think how could I I'm born again how could I possibly have done that thing how could I possibly have thought that thing how could I possibly have failed in that way again and so there's conflict between the old nature and the new nature and we see them the old nature the new nature and the new nature is surrounded by the old nature although this person on the right has been born again unless that person on the right learns how to conquer the old nature you're constantly going to not only live in this struggle but other people can look at you and sometimes they're not even going to know you're a Christian and sometimes when you really work on it they might see Christ in you but when they're catching you at an unguarded moment they're going to catch you right back in your old nature and you're going to be inconsistent and your testimony is going to be clouded and you'll bring sooner or later shame to the name of the Lord because you're living in your old nature but people know that you call yourself a Christian so there seems to be a contradiction and there is a contradiction in the sense that you're now two people you have an evil twin and your new nature is there but the old nature is the evil twin and you're caught in this struggle and the conflict between the old and the new nature so turn back to Romans 7 and listen to Paul describe this his description is really remarkable because we could have written it ourselves chapter 7 verse 14 picking up where we left off Paul says we know that God's standards his law is spiritual the Bible is good for me but unspiritual and I'm sold as a slave to sin and I'm a slave to it because my old nature has been there for so long it dominates it's a habit it's just easier to fall into and I do not understand what I do for what I want to do I do not do but what I hate I do you ever done something you didn't want to do and you hated yourself afterwards and if I do what I do not want to do I agree that the law is good nothing wrong with God's standards and his holiness and the Bible that brings light into my life as it is it's no longer I myself who do this it's sin living in me in other words there's a deeper problem than just wanting to be good and wanting to do the right thing and not wanting to do the wrong thing it goes deeper than that and there's a deeper root in my life I know that nothing good lives in me that is in my sinful nature did you know that wake up there's nothing good in that man on the left nothing good at all and you think and I know a lot of people are not saved and they're so good and they're moral and they're kind and they're thoughtful and they put some Christians to shame but you know something the Bible says that the best things they can do all of their righteousness is as filthy rags in God's eyes because it's permeated with sin sinful motives sinful attitudes selfishness pride whatever you know we don't know what God sees from his point of view and there's not anything good in that old nature and we need to recognize that about ourselves because sometimes we think there's some good in us you know I do something nice for somebody and help a little old person across the street or I send Christmas cards to somebody who didn't send them to me last year and you know we do some and we think there's some good in us but in our old nature there is nothing good nothing at all it's saturated permeated with sin it will never please God listen the old nature will never change now you can educate it and you can rehab it and you can analyze it and you can drug it and you can sort of shape it and sort of you know make it seem better but it's always going to be an old nature and capable by the way of anything would you recognize that so when we point our finger at somebody we point our finger at somebody else you know who's in the news and we think how could he possibly have done that listen the old nature in me is capable of anything and that's scary and we see some old natures may be a little violent than others and a little you know because of the way they're raised or what they've been influenced with but an old nature is an old nature permeated with sin so you're never going to make it better and that's why it just has to be cast out it has to be crucified you can't manage it make it better you just have to put it to death you have to cast it out and so the apostle Paul where he says in verse 18 I know nothing good lives in me that is in my sinful nature for I have the desire to do what is good but I can't carry it out and in this old nature in your emotions you can want to do the right thing there's no power to do it you can't do it and so dominates the new nature even though you have new emotions and a new will to do the right thing you just can't seem to because the old dominates for what I do is not the good I want to do know the evil I do not want to do this is what I keep on doing verse 24 what a wretched man I am who will rescue me from this body of death and the word that he uses for wretched is the same word that's used for a soldier who's been fighting and fallujah all day and fighting fighting fighting fighting and he comes back and he's exhausted from the battle and he feels wretched and have you ever felt like that all day long wrestling with your sin maybe you've just given up maybe you just live in your old nature it's easy and you can more like and you're just tired of the battle but if you're fighting it and you don't want to live in that old nature and you've been in this cycle and you're in this conflict and you feel wretched because you want to do the right thing and you keep doing the wrong thing and you don't want to do the wrong thing and that's what you keep doing and you're exhausted who will deliver me from this body of death now here's anne with this final word when paul poured out his heart and what i read you in romans 7 he was describing the wrestling match with his old nature he came to a thrilling conclusion when he cried out in agony who will rescue me from this body of death he answered his own cry thanks be to god jesus will he summed it up by stating therefore there is now no condemnation to live a life of defeat and failure for those who are in christ jesus because through christ jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death free free from the power of sin in my life free next time you're tempted to tell a white lie by exaggerating the truth next time you lose your temper or steal someone's reputation through gossip remember each temptation is also a test that determines the strength or weakness of your will to make right or wrong choices and the choices add up god has given you his spirit so that you have the power to make the right choices and as you do and as your new nature grows you'll instinctively react and respond in the spirit paul challenges you and me to take very seriously the choices we make on a daily moment by moment basis we will never be judged for the guilt of our sin since jesus took the judgment for us on the cross but we will be held accountable for the way we've lived our christian lives when you get to heaven and for the first time see jesus face to face for the first time you fully comprehend what it cost him to open heaven's gates for you don't you think you'll want to have something to give him in return for all he's given you what happens at the future judgment seat of christ is determined by our present choices praise god there's still time to cultivate the habit of making right choices you can hear living in the light with anne gramm lots weekly and for ways to experience the god-filled life as you pursue your personal bible study go to anne gramm lots dot org she'll help you get started with free resources you can use and share with others join us here each week for living in the light you
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-19 16:15:29 / 2023-11-19 16:26:00 / 11

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