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1543. The Flesh: The Enemy Within

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
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June 29, 2023 7:59 am

1543. The Flesh: The Enemy Within

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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June 29, 2023 7:59 am

Dr. Mark Minnick of the BJU seminary faculty and Pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church continues a doctrinal series entitled “What Is Man?” from Ephesians 2:3

The post 1543. The Flesh: The Enemy Within appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University

Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. This semester we've had really a wonderful series on the theme of what is man. And one of our desires at our chapels is to be able to teach sound, solid biblical doctrine that will make a difference in sound, solid biblical living. Because ultimately we live out in our lifestyles what we believe in our heart.

Our behavior is affected by our beliefs. And so this semester we have dealt with the theme of what is man, understanding man in creation, how we relate to God, man in the fall, man in salvation, and all that has been taking place. And we've had some really very wonderful messages. We're going to end up the semester next week, which is our final week of chapel services, on really dealing with the idea of relationships that we have with one another and all the aspects of that relationship. Starting with God in the Trinity and how that there's a relationship in the Trinity and that actually is what happens in our life as we become believers.

So it's been a help to you this semester as we've covered these subjects. Today's speaker is Dr. Mark Minnick, pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina. The flesh.

It is the enemy within. Dr. Pettit has asked that we give our consideration to that subject this morning. So I want to begin with an old Greek dictum, know yourself. And the question is this morning, do we know our flesh? And I want to begin with the question of what the scripture actually indicates the flesh is. And there are two passages that we will weave together.

We'll look at the first one very briefly. You've turned to it. It's the second chapter of Ephesians. And without calling attention to context this morning for the sake of time, we're going to dip in and I just want to call your attention to certain expressions in these two passages.

Would you look please in Ephesians chapter 2, first of all, at the third verse where it's talking about us before our conversion. And it says, in the past, we all had our conversation, our manner of life, now note this wording, in the lusts of our flesh. We are asking ourselves, what is the flesh? And here evidently is a component of it, the word lusts. That's a word for passion or you could even use the word feeling.

So we're going to just chalk that down momentarily. And that is that my flesh, whatever it is, it has feelings, passions. Let me just go on in that verse. It also refers to the desires of the flesh. And if you would look in your marginal notes, if you have a King James version in front of you, I guess particularly if you would have a Cambridge King James version, you'll see in the center reference, the center column, there's another word there for the word desires.

It's the word wills or wishes. So again, whatever the flesh is, it has a volitional aspect, a will or a wishing aspect to it in addition to feelings. And with those two things in mind, I want to ask you to turn now, if you would, to the eighth chapter of Romans. And we're going to be pretty well camped in Romans 6, 7, and 8 for the remainder of our message this morning.

So once you turn there, you'll be located where we're going to need to be. But I want to call your attention to the sixth and the seventh verses of Romans 8. And remember the question before us is, what is the flesh?

And we're approaching this by getting its components. And Ephesians informed us that it has what we could call feelings, an emotional aspect, and it has its own will, a volitional aspect. And now if you would look at the sixth verse of Romans 8, where it says to be carnally.

And what's the next word? Maybe you don't have a King James in front of you, but it's the word minded. To be carnally minded. And the word that is translated carnally there is this word for the flesh. You have the exact same expression in verse 7, though it's translated a little differently there in our King James version. It's translated the carnal mind.

Or if you this morning are looking at a modern language translation, it probably renders it something like this. The minding of the flesh. Or the mind of the flesh.

But however you cut it, all of those translations are communicating what actually the underlying text is informing us about. And that is that the flesh not only has feelings, and it not only has a will, but it has a what? It has a mind. Now when you put those components together, what it means is that the flesh is not just an inclination.

It's not just a kind of a drift inside of us. Those are the three constituent elements of personhood. And that's why I'd like to suggest this morning this word, though it's not a word that occurs in the scriptures, but it is a handy word. And that is the word nature.

Whatever the flesh is, it is not again, it's not just an inclination, but it actually is something like a nature within me. A nature that knows things. What does it know? I would assume it knows everything I know. How much money I have in the bank.

Where I'm going to go on vacation. I'd assume it knows all the people that I know. It knows all the Bible that I know.

It knows what's going to be available when I go to certain places, it knows what I know. And it has its own feelings about that knowledge. Its own passions about those facts. And that knowledge and that passion is what turns its wishes. In other words, folks, there's an agenda that is running within us.

Now, the question is, in addition then, just exactly what is the character of that nature? And this is where Romans 7 and 8 are very, very helpful to us. And I want to ask you to look across the page in your Bibles to chapter 7. Look at the 18th verse, and again, I apologize for just dipping in, but if you, in your own devotional life, go back and read through these chapters carefully with these few bullet points in your mind as you do, I think you'll see that the entirety of the discussion within the chapters confirms what we're arriving at by just looking at particular details.

Chapter 7, look at verse 18. Now this is very interesting wording. I know that in me, that is in my flesh, that part of me. Like, this isn't the whole story on me, it's something in me. It's not the entirety of who I am, but I can't deny this.

This is inseparably me. I know that in me, that is in my flesh. I want to clarify, in that part of me. In my flesh, verse 18, dwelleth, now this is an amazing statement. No good thing. In that part of me, not the entirety of me, that part of me, that nature, there's no good.

And that may sound to us like that's extreme. We may wonder if that's even just hyperbolic for the sake of making a point, but I want to ask you to look back across the page at chapter 8 and the seventh verse again, and there are two more statements here that will help us in understanding the character of this nature. Look at the end of verse 7 where it says, That part of us, the flesh, as it controls our minds, that part of us is not subject to the law of God. There's no good in it. It's not subject to God's law or God's will.

Now this is really the revelatory statement. Look at the last thing that's said at the end of verse 7. Just glance at it, look at it at the end of verse 7. It's not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

You're talking a constitutional impossibility. Now I want to just pull back from the Bible text then and let's just combine those features for just a moment. If we're understanding this rightly, there is something in us that is not the entirety of us, but it is there. And it has a mind and its own feelings about what it knows. And it makes decisions like our wills do. And there's no good in it. And it never makes a decision that is in keeping with the law of God. And if you try to pressure it to, it can't.

You're talking a constitutional impossibility. And folks, what that means is you can't cure this part of yourself. I can't remedy it in myself. It isn't even redeemed. It basically is unredeemable, it is not subject, and it cannot be subject to the law or the will of God. You're never going to grow out of it. This isn't the part of us that is ever going to be more mature.

It is always going to have an agenda that is contrary to God, and there's simply no possibility of it doing any other thing. If somebody asks, you know, that's hard for me to really understand, why is it that's so? You can just think of it this way. Why does wood burn? Why does sand blow and shift? Why does water run? And the answer always is, because it is their nature.

It's their nature. You know, this is one of the most helpful things that I ever discovered in scripture when it comes to the matter of my personal sanctification. The plain spoken statements of scripture that help me understand why, no matter how old I become, or how much I know of scripture, or how dedicated I am to the will of God for my life, there is a part of me that never changes, and it always feels exactly the same way about God, and about doing anything that is His will.

And that brings us to this, secondly this morning, just exactly what is the activity of this nature inside of us. Well, we can get at that pretty simply, and I'm going to move through this pretty quickly, but I'm going to ask you, if you will, to compare two statements in Romans 6. You'll have to just maybe turn a page back in your Bible to do this. But if you would look at chapter 6, verse 17. The scripture says there that we were the servants, that's the word for slave, that at one time, previous to our conversion, we were the slaves of sin. But now look, if you will, and compare at verse 22. You look at verse 17, look at verse 22, but now being made free from sin.

Now follow this, this is really important, because you'll get snagged right here if you don't catch this statement. In Romans 6, and you'll see it again in Romans 7, the word sin is being used synonymously with the word flesh. It's not talking about particular sins, it's talking about this entity in me. And the Bible calls it, in some of the passages, the Bible calls it sin. And what it's saying is, before we came to Christ, we were its slaves. That goes back to the matter of total depravity, which has been discussed here in this series in chapel. But people who have placed their faith in Christ and have been regenerated by God's Holy Spirit, verse 22 says, have been liberated from that dominion.

Let me use this kind of an expression, if I'm wondering about this thing in myself and its activity, I need to start with this thought as a believer. It has been, I'm going to use this word, it has been dethroned. It used to reign, I was its slave, it has been dethroned.

It does not have that reigning position of dominion. And folks, this is not just something positional, this isn't just something in God's mind, this isn't a paper thing. This is an actual fact. It's what explains why our hearts swell when we sang the numbers that we did this morning. That would not be true of the vast majority of people driving by on Wade Hampton Boulevard this morning. Their hearts don't swell to that kind of content.

How do you explain that yours does? It's this change that this thing that doesn't have any feelings for that kind of content, in fact its feelings are opposed to that kind of content that we sang, this thing is not in the dominant position in my life anymore. It doesn't reign. However, look with me if you will at chapter seven, sorry I apologize, I keep turning you back and forth between these chapters. But look if you will at chapter seven, and I want you to notice there just one statement that we have, and it's a very, very powerful statement here, it's verse 21. Paul says, I find a law, did you know that laws are real stiff?

Laws get really gnarly and very, very difficult to do anything about. And Paul says, I find a law that when I would do good, evil is right there present with me. And the word evil here is again being used synonymously for the flesh.

Think of it this way folks, it works just this way. At the very moment that you're ready to hand out a tract, at that moment evil is right there. Your flesh has a completely different feeling about your doing that, and that never changes. You felt that way when you were first saved and you started thinking about giving a tract to your employer. There was something in you that resisted that.

Now you've been a believer for, I don't know, five years or fifty years. Your flesh is always going to oppose giving the gospel. Your flesh is always going to say, wait a minute, let's think about it. You don't want to do that, you're going to totally ruin your relationship with, oh I can't believe it. You went and did it, you ruined everything by giving him that tract.

That will never change in you no matter how mature you are. When you want to do good, evil is right there, and it has its own agenda. And that's why it's always difficult for us to pray. It's why there's always resistance to our really submitting ourselves to preaching.

It's why we always find ourselves more inclined to read Sports Illustrated or the newspaper than we do to open our Bibles. It's that part of us. And recognizing that, folks, is so liberating, because until you do recognize that, you end up identifying yourself totally in terms of your flesh. So the way your flesh feels is who you think you are. And the decisions your flesh makes, and the way your mind runs under the control of the flesh, you end up identifying yourself like that. And when you do that, you just walk around in a perpetual state of feeling utterly defeated.

It is so liberating to recognize that there is this thing inside me. And the way Peter puts it, I'm going to add in another reference. Peter says it campaigns against your soul. It wars is the way the translation is, but if you look at the word, it's a word not just for a single battle, but for a whole extended campaign.

Your flesh is on a campaign. And what that means, of course, is that that explains why so often really dedicated Christians feel utterly battle fatigued. It isn't that they're not mature. It's that they're in a war. And it's a civil war, which is the very worst kind.

And folks, what you'll discover is that the more mature you are, the more often you will really feel drained in that conflict. You know, you can think about it this way. You watch a mother duck, or you watch a mother rabbit, or a mother bear. With a whole lot of little ducklings, or little rabbits, or little cubs. If you watch them, the mothers have a completely different disposition than the little ones do. You look at even a bear and she's got cubs. The cubs are into everything. They're scampering around and utterly oblivious. The mother bear, she's huge, big claws, teeth. She's totally alert all the time. Head up, eyes around, sniffing, always cautious. Why?

Because she's been around the block a lot. And you'll find out, folks, that the more you grow in Christ, the more you will feel the conflict when you go out into the world. There will be a civil war.

It will be running all the time inside you. And it won't be, when we were more immature, we just were kind of oblivious. But after you have really taken a lot of hits, and really gotten scarred up, and seen other people totally ruin their lives, who are truly God's people, and who do love the Lord.

When you see that kind of thing, the more mature you are, you go into the venues of the world where there are a lot of worldly people, and there's a lot of action, and a lot of stuff going on. And if you really are walking with Christ, in spite of the fact you may be enjoying certain things that are innocent and lawful, there will be this aspect of things, and it will wear you down, and you will be less, actually, as a mature Christian, you find yourself just less and less interested in being in a situation that does that to you. And the answer to all of this is in Romans chapter 6, and I'm going to call your attention in closing just to the verbs of it.

Would you just flip the passage back? Let me just call your attention to these words, and I just want to do this to tip you off so you can work with it on your own. Look at the first word of verse 3. What is the word? Well, in the King James Version, it's the word know. Look at the first word of verse 6, and if you're using a modern language version, it's probably not the first word, but in the King James, it's the word knowing, and you probably have the word know if you're looking at another translation. Look at verse 9, knowing.

Here's the first thing. Romans 6 is teaching us there are certain things we need to know about ourselves. Number 2, look at verse 11. The King James uses the word reckon. In your modern language translation, it's the word consider. That actually is the word for impute, and it's talking about the exercise of faith, that what the passage says I'm supposed to know about myself, that I'm supposed to know. Basically, it's going to teach this, that this thing has been dethroned in my life. It's active.

It's not destroyed, but it is dethroned. Know that, know that, know that. The whole passage talks about that.

Now look, reckon on it. Really count it to be the case that God did something in your life that means that you are capable, I'll enlarge in that just a moment, you are capable of resisting this and doing what the next verse says in Romans. Look at verse 12, and not yielding to, here's the word, it's rain. Meaning that I could momentarily, and in a certain aspect of my life, I could re-seat this thing on the, I could re-crown it.

That is not going to be a permanent situation. The Spirit of God won't allow that. But what it's saying, folks, is no certain things that the Bible tells us that we tend to be rather ignorant of, if you look at the passage you'll see, count on it, and in the light of that now, don't let it resume the throne. And the one other thing I've got to add to that is what was preached on all last year, and that is this matter of walking in the Spirit, Galatians 5 says, you can't keep it, you can't keep it from reasserting itself in your own power, you need to yield to the power of the Spirit of God. It just means you can't go through your day saying no to the Spirit of God. You know, the Spirit of God says get out of bed and read the Bible, and I say no, I'm too tired.

The Spirit of God says be on time for class, and I say well it doesn't really matter. The Spirit of God says now it's time to do your homework, and I say no. And the Spirit of God says now you're in chapel, look at your Bible and listen, and I say no. Well folks, it's no wonder then that at the end of the day when I finally encounter my really besetting temptation, I have no power. The problem is a resisted Spirit of God all day long.

The way to handle that is to train yourself, you have to train yourself like you do, a little child is trained to walk. You have to start saying, you may have to say it right out loud to yourself, the Spirit of God says do this, and you say yes Lord. And we're going to get up out of chapel in a moment, go to lunch, and the Spirit of God will nudge you about something, and you just, yes Lord.

You train yourself to yield, and the power is there. Let's bow for prayer. Father gracious, loving Lord, we thank you for giving us an understanding of ourselves, and we thank you for all the victory that there is in Christ. Help us today to yield to your spirit and enjoy it. We pray in his precious name, amen. If you're looking for a college, please consider Bob Jones University, where our Christian liberal arts education will prepare you academically and spiritually to reach your highest potential for God's glory. For more information about our more than 100 accredited undergraduate and graduate programs, visit or call 800-252-6363. Join us again tomorrow as we continue this series about the doctrine of man on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-29 08:38:20 / 2023-06-29 08:47:33 / 9

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