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Cast Everything Out – Part 3

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
November 26, 2023 3:00 pm

Cast Everything Out – Part 3

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Living in the Light
Anne Graham Lotz
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Living in the Light
Anne Graham Lotz

Here's Anne Graham Lotz.

It's Anne's message today from Romans chapter 7 and Genesis chapter 21. For what I hate, I do. Have 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. 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, Anne, I know a lot of people who 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 good 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 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 and we point our finger at somebody else 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 it 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 in 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 easier and you can more relax 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? In olden days, in Paul's day, when someone murdered someone, and they were convicted of first degree murder, they took the dead victim and they strapped it to the criminal, face to face, chest to chest, leg to leg, until the body rotted.

That's the body of death. And Paul is saying, who will free me from this body of death? My new nature, new emotions, new will, new intellect, and I'm strapped to this old nature, and I'm wretched with fighting it, and who will deliver me from it? You and I are in a cycle of sin, and we're caught up in a conflict with sin. And I don't know if you've ever reached the point that the apostle Paul did an emotional outburst.

I just can't stand it anymore. What's more miserable than trying to do the right thing and always doing the wrong thing, trying to please God and failing again and again, trying to be a witness and just blowing it and ruining your testimony so you never want to witness to them again because you can't live it before them anyway? And you're miserable, and you hear messages like this when you want to do it, and boy, you're all motivated, and you go home, and you're right back in the same old, same old, and it's because you haven't cast out your Ishmael.

You haven't put to death your old nature. And so Abraham had to take action. If he was going to conquer the conflict within his home, he had to take drastic action. Go back to chapter 21, and in chapter 21, and this is sort of sad except you understand what it's illustrating, and by the way, I'm taking liberty to use the New Testament because Galatians tells us that what's going on in Abraham's home is an illustration of what takes place in our hearts, and Ishmael is, according to Galatians, an illustration of your old nature, and Isaac is, according to Galatians, an illustration of your new nature, okay? So even though this actually happened in Abraham's lifetime, but in chapter 21, verse 10, when Sarah comes and says we have conflict within the home, the only solution, Abraham, is to get rid of that slave woman and her son because we'll never have peace unless you cast Ishmael out. And looking at it just from, you know, the actual story that's taking place in Abraham's life, this was painful. And I think Abraham with tears coming down his cheeks said, Lord, how can I do this? This is my son. He's been my only son for 15 years.

I love the boy. And God says, listen to your wife, Sarah, because Isaac will never grow into the man he's supposed to be. He will never be free to reach his full potential until you cast Ishmael out. And Abraham did.

What an act of obedience. And the latter part of that chapter, there's a beautiful scene of God reaching out to this boy and his mother, God looking after them, so don't feel sorry for Ishmael. And he's 17, 19 years of age. He ought to be on his own.

He ought to be setting up shop somewhere. And verse 20 says, God was with the boy as he grew up. And God looked after him. God blessed him for Abram's sake. And God put a lot of oil reserves under his desert, you know.

He's doing really well. So don't feel sorry for Ishmael in that particular instance. It was something that had to be done. And it was a very difficult choice for Abram to make. But if he wanted Isaac to become the man God intended him to be, he had to cast Ishmael out. And listen to me.

It's a hard choice for you. But if you want the new nature within you to grow, if you want to reach the full potential God has in mind for you, if you want other people to see Jesus in you, if you want peace in your home, if you want to end the conflict, you must put to death that old nature. You must cast Ishmael out.

And I want to explain this to you in as practical terms as I can so that you'll understand how you do this. Because it's one thing to say you need to cast it out, but you're still stuck with it. So how in the world do you get something out that just is clinging to you? And Ephesians tells us in chapter 4, you were taught with regard to your former way of life to put off, cast out your old self, your Ishmael, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires and be made new in the attitude of your minds. Put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Colossians 3 repeats the same thing.

Put to death, therefore. Cast out your Ishmael. Whatever belongs to your earthly nature, your old nature, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, which is idolatry, now you must rid yourselves, cast out all such things as these, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language from your lips. And put on the new self, put on your Isaac, live in your new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator. Your new nature will never develop fully until you cast out the old.

So let me explain how you do this in as practical terms as I can. Your old nature are all the rings outside. The new nature is on the inside. New emotions, new will, new intellect. And every day you and I are faced with choices.

How we're going to respond, how we're going to act, how we're going to think, how we're going to spend our time, how we're going to spend our money, who our friends are going to be all day long, choice after choice after choice. So I've been born again and I have a new nature within me. And my husband, he liked his supper hot on the table when he walked in the door. And so I would work hard to have, and I love to cook, so I would have a hot meal there on the table when he walked in the door. And for instance, if my husband, and I knew he was coming home at six o'clock and the meal was hot on the table, and I waited, and I waited, and I waited, and he didn't come, and the supper got cold and it was ruined, and two hours later he comes in the door as though nothing happened, and I say, Danny, where have you been? And I just throw it at him.

All right? Now that's a choice I made, and that's just adding a ring to my old nature, okay? And if I'm a mother of a little two-year-old, and I've told the child I'm trying to talk on the phone, don't interrupt me, and the two-year-old comes and interrupts me for the tenth time, and I put my hand over the receiver and I say, get out of here or your mother's going to break you in half and whatever, and I just, that's a choice, and I add a ring to my old nature. And somebody comes to me and says, Ann, didn't you say such and such about so and so, and you know, I've heard something and that's not quite right, and I say, you know, I never said that.

And I lied. And I'm just adding a ring to my old nature. And it's easier to do that, you know? We just let go and just be the way we've always been and do what comes naturally, and choice by choice by choice by choice, we're living in the old nature until the old nature continues to dominate. And a person who's living like this, born again but living, making the choices in the old nature, and you can make some new choices and some old choices, you know, but that old nature is stronger, remember, and even though this new nature has the power of the Holy Spirit, it's the force of habit in your old nature that makes it seem stronger. And a person who's living like this, other people will look at you and very rarely will they see Christ.

And you can claim to be a Christian and they think, well, I guess it's because she goes to church on Sunday, but they look at you in the nitty-gritty in the choices you make, and you're no different than they are, because you're living in your old nature. All right, let's flip it around. If you choose to live in your new nature, so when Danny walks through the door, two hours late for supper, and it's gone cold, but I put some plastic wrap over it and kept it in the oven warm, and he walks in the door and I say, Danny, you're late, and I know something must have come up. Why don't you sit down while I get you supper and tell me about your day? It must have been hard.

Did you have a meeting or, you know, couldn't get that wisdom tooth out? And then I just choose to respond in my new nature, and I add a ring to my new nature. And I'm on the phone and my little two-year-old's interrupted me five times, and I put the hand over the receiver and I say, sweetheart, mommy's on the phone, I'll be off in just a minute, here's a toy or here's a crayon or here's a, you can play with it just for a minute, and then I'll talk to you. And I respond in my new nature. And you add rings to your new nature. And when somebody comes and says, Ann, you know, did you say such and such about so and so? I don't think that's quite right. And I say, you know, I did.

And I said the wrong thing, and I need to go tell her I'm sorry, and I just tell you I said the wrong, I lied. And I add a ring to my new nature. Do you see? And if you do that choice by choice by choice, your new nature becomes dominant. And you live in your new nature. And as you do that, now listen to me, you will always, always, always, always have your old nature.

You know, that's just the struggle, isn't it? We always have our old nature until we see Jesus. And when we see Jesus face to face, that old nature is going to drop off. And there'll be no struggle with sin in heaven. We're not going to be caught up in that cycle anymore when we get to heaven. But until we get to heaven, there's going to be a struggle always with the old nature. But a person who is living in the new nature, the new nature becomes a habit.

And when a crisis erupts or you're surprised by something, it's amazing how you just react in your new nature because it's a choice. Since I've been traveling so intensely in the last few years, and as I've grown older, I can confess, I've gotten weaker. I walk three miles a day, but my upper body is really weak. And so I've gone to a personal trainer and asked her to show me some simple exercises I can do on the road to just strengthen my upper body.

So she's given me some bands. And these bands, I know if I work on them once and just pull them once, you know, it's no big deal. It seems like it would do nothing.

So the key is to do it again and again in different repetitions day after day after day to build up the strength of the muscles. And your natures are like that. Your new nature, one choice doesn't seem to make any difference. What difference does it make if I just lose my temper today? What difference does it make if I react to my husband that way? What difference does a small white lie make?

The difference is because you're flexing in a sense your muscle and you're making choices in your old nature and one after another after another will make that old nature stronger and dominant. On the other hand, you can think, you know, if I make this choice, I'm going to get walked over like Abraham when he gave up all the plane of Jordan or he gave all the things to the king of Sodom. And it might look insignificant like he lost and he got walked over. But you know what he was doing? He was exercising his choice to be right with God, to live in the new nature.

And so really his is the advantage. When people think they're walking all over you and if it's the godly thing to do and you submit to it, then actually you have the advantage because you're exercising your choice to live in your new nature and you're getting stronger and stronger and stronger. And so the Bible tells us that we must put to death the old nature the way you do it. You decide that you're going to crucify that old nature and at the same time you put it off, you put on the new nature choice by choice by choice.

So actually you're putting it to death, crucifying it, casting it out a hundred times a day. Because it's moment by moment choices to live in the Spirit, the encouraging thing. Romans chapter 8 verse 1 says, Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. In other words you're not condemned to live a life of conflict and struggle and defeat anymore. Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set me free. And then the last of verse 4, For those who live not according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. You can be set free from the domination of that old nature as choice by choice by choice you choose to live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit.

So would you break the cycle of sin? Would you acknowledge the conflict that's raging within you? And a lot of people who have that conflict within, I think at that point instead of choosing to live in the new nature, instead of choosing to cast the Ishmael out, they just wear a mask and they just pretend. And they think something's weird with them, something strange and they cover up and they pretend to be more spiritual than they are because they just don't know how to get rid of that body of death.

And they don't know how to live in their new nature. You know it's a wonderful thing to drop your mask and just be real so other people see that you're struggling like they are but they see the choices you make and they see that this week you don't struggle as much as you did last week because of the choices you've made in the meantime and they see you grow and overcome and they think you know if you can do it, so can I. We just need to be real before each other, don't we? Let me tell you one reason this is vitally important. This is not an option, okay?

This is something very important. A person on the left has been born again but they're living in their old nature and their old nature dominates and the person on the left will go to heaven when they die but when they go to heaven the old nature drops off. No flesh can see God. So that old nature drops off and the new nature is what goes to heaven. That's why Jesus said you must be born again because the old nature will never go to heaven.

And so you know they can joke about it or they can contradict you or they can say you mean Jesus is the only way to God and absolutely because you must be born again. Only that new nature goes to heaven. So the old nature drops off. Look how much new nature is there, okay? On the right side, this is a person who's made the day by day choices to live in the new nature and when they go to heaven that old nature drops off.

Look at the difference. Now I don't know if we're going to be different sizes in heaven. Someone once suggested maybe we'd be dressed differently and the person on the left is wearing a slip and the person on the right is wearing a wedding garment.

Maybe there'll be a difference in appearance in some way. Maybe it's a difference in service and the person on the left is given very little opportunity to serve God in heaven and the person on the right has great responsibility. Maybe it has to do with the crowns that were given and everyone will receive a crown when they get to heaven. Maybe the person on the right has more crowns and you don't wear your crowns in heaven. You lay them at the feet of Jesus and when I see Jesus, the wounds on his brow where the thorns were and the wounds in his hands and feet and for the first time I fully comprehend what he went through in order to open heaven's door for me. I'm going to want to give him something in return and nothing I have would be equal to what he's given me but maybe a crown that was given to me in reward for life lived in his spirit, lived in my new nature would be something to place at his feet. The apostle Paul says in Corinthians 3 that when we get to heaven that our lives are going to pass through the fire of God's holiness and our old nature is like wood, hay and stubble. It's going to be burnt up and we'll be saved but as though by fire, not too much to show for it. We'll just squeak through heaven's door but we're there, you know, thank God, as accepted in heaven as Jesus is.

But then he said a person on the right who's lived in their new nature, their lives are like gold, silver, precious stones. They pass through the fire of God's holiness and they're rewarded with crowns to lay at his feet. So when you see Jesus and you comprehend everything he's done for you and you want to give him something in return, will you have crowns given to you in response and in reward for a life lived in your new nature pleasing to him according to his will and obedience to his word and you have crowns to lay at his feet? Or will you have the ashes of a wasted life to press into his nail scarred palm?

That's your choice. Moment by moment, every day. So would you choose to break the cycle of sin, acknowledge the conflict within, don't try to cover it up or mask it or pretend it's not there, but conquer it by moment by moment living in your new nature, choosing to cast everything out that might hinder you from living a life pleasing to God as you embrace the magnificent obsession. Pray with me please. Father, I'm just going to ask you right now, would you please take this message and either because of it or in spite of it, make it make sense. Speak relevantly and personally and clearly to us. This is such a life changing truth and so I just pray you would drive it deep into our hearts that we might understand as we reflect on it, think about it, pray about it, that we might go down from this mountain choosing to cast out everything. Cast out our Ishmael, our old nature and all the habits and attitudes and relationships and things that are associated with it. And that we would choose to live in our new nature, living in the life that you've won for us in Christ. And thank you dear Holy Spirit for the power that resides in that new nature.

It's your power. You enable us to live a life within the new nature that's pleasing to God. So we just ask you now to help us to be the people that you want us to be to make the tough choices and moment by moment choices that we might be those in whom others see Jesus reflected. And it's in your name we pray and for the glory of your son that we ask. Amen.

Now here's Ann with this final word. The growth and strength of our old natures are determined choice after choice after choice. Choice is about spending money and spending time.

About who our friends are, about the places we go, the past times we indulge in, the responses we make to stressful situations. Choice after choice, large and small, public and private, personal and professional. You can live in your old nature by making the easy feel good for a moment pleasure for a season choices then wear a mask pretending you're for real. Or you can make choices that will strengthen your new nature. Don't let wrong choices keep you defeated in a cycle of failure because you'll never fulfill the potential God has for your life.

You'll never be a channel of blessing to others. God has given you His Spirit so that you have the power to make the right choices and your right choices will lead to freedom. Not only do they determine whether you conquer the sin in your life and experience victory over failure but they also determine the validity of your personal witness. As you live in your new nature over time you'll become so Christ-like that even casual acquaintances will recognize the difference in your life. A powerful message from Ann Graham Lotz on Living in the Light. To help you in making the kinds of choices Ann spoke of today go to Look for The Magnificent Obsession and join us here next week for Living in the Light.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-26 16:11:56 / 2023-11-26 16:22:19 / 10

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