By Way of the Flesh

We read in John 10 about false shepherds of the people who have entered the church, but not through Jesus Christ. They have snuck into the church stealthily and secretively by another way other than the true way, i.e. they have not entered by way of the cross of Christ, but by way of the flesh. They are strangers to the true church, i.e. they are not true sheep, but they are disguised as sheep (as believers in Christ). They pretend that they are there for good purposes, but truly they are there to steal, to kill and to destroy.

They are not true servants of the Lord, but they are thieves and robbers who come to try to steal us away from our pure devotion to Jesus Christ and to try to get us to be followers of man (of human flesh), instead. They are immoral, vile, devious, tricky, manipulative, persuasive, conniving and convincing. They are false teachers and false believers whose goal it is to try to get us to deny our Lord and to return to walking in the flesh (in sin).

“This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves” (Gal. 2:4 NASB).

Some people will see these false sheep as harmless, because they are fooled by them, but they don’t realize that if they join in (unite) with them that they are in danger of being “stung” by them; in danger of being strongly influenced by them away from God to living again by the flesh.

These false teachers and false believers are not followers of God, but they are followers of man, and of their flesh, and thus they teach a fleshly humanistic gospel absent of the cross of Christ in the life of the believer. The authority for what they teach, too, is not Jesus Christ, but it is man-made religion, which is based more in pleasing the flesh than it is in pleasing God. This false authority, i.e. this man-made authority which replaces the authority of Christ in the church, is what is behind human minds which are spiritually asleep.

This man-made teaching is a false grace gospel which promises people a false hope of salvation and of eternal life with God. It is related to the true gospel, in that it is half true, but they leave out the other half which is essential to true faith and to true hope in Jesus Christ. They leave out the part that says that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, and the part which says we must walk according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh, for if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we have eternal life.

They leave out this part, too:

“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Tit. 2:11-14 NASB).

Jesus didn’t die on that cross just to set us free from hell and to promise us heaven when we die. He died to put sin to death in our lives so that we might walk in his righteousness and holiness. His grace is not a free license, thus, to continue in sinful practices without guilt and without remorse. His grace leads us to say NO to sin and to say YES to God.

Counsel of the Lord

The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations;
He frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart from generation to generation.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.
Psalm 33:10-12 NASB

God does not approve of these false teachers and false sheep who are trying to lead his people to a false gospel and to a false hope of salvation. He invalidates their counsel, i.e. he exposes the lies and the deceptions and the manipulations of truth for what they are, and he fills the minds of his people with the truth, which stands forever, and which is based off the teachings of Christ and those of his NT apostles.

But, the problem is that these false teachers are still within the church teaching their false messages, and the other problem is that God’s people are still intermingling (uniting) with the world in these institutional churches, most of which are nothing more than human-originated businesses of men which they call “church.” So, even though he is pouring the truth into his church, oftentimes from the outside (See: Rev. 3:14-22), many teachers (counselors) within the “sheep pen” are contradicting his truth and thus they are leading God’s people astray, and they are convincing them that they can live in sin and still have heaven guaranteed them when they die.

Yet, God’s truth, his counsel, his Word is everlasting, and it will stand forever, whereas these false sheep and false shepherds and false gospels of men are doomed to perish. They will die off, but God’s Word will remain.

The plans of His heart will always remain, no matter what lies these false teachers are telling to the churches. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives of sin we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin) for the sake of Jesus Christ, then we will live with Him for eternity (See: Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 4:17-24).

So, the Lord is speaking to his church concerning all of this, i.e. with regard to the lies they are believing, and he is exposing those lies, and the fruit of those lies in the life of his church. He is also exposing the pride of the church, particularly here in the USA, like he did with the Corinthian church (See: 1 Co. 5) when sexual immorality was allowed to go on within the church unchecked and undisciplined, and yet the church was full of pride. And, he is showing them what needs to be fixed (See: Rev. 2-3), and he is calling his adulterous church to repentance and to renewed faith in him.

And, yet, many within the church are rejecting the wisdom and counsel of God in favor of the wisdom and counsel of men (of humans). They are rejecting God’s gospel, the whole counsel of God, because it is too harsh, severe or stern, in their estimation. They reject the wisdom of God in favor of the teachings of humans because it gives them more “wiggle room,” so to speak. This way they feel they have more freedom to continue in their sinful addictions and they don’t feel any pressure to have to give them up. They reject God’s counsel, his gospel, because it requires dying to sin and living to righteousness in order to have eternal life with God in heaven.

Those Who Fear Him

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope for His lovingkindness,
To deliver their soul from death
And to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart rejoices in Him,
Because we trust in His holy name.
Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us,
According as we have hoped in You.
Psalm 33:18-22 NASB

When we share the counsel of the Lord with others, and we give them the full gospel message, and not the half-truth gospel, some people will receive it with joy, but many will reject it, because they will see it as too strict, for the reasons noted, and because they want to continue in their sinful practices unhindered. Not only will they reject the message, but they will reject the messengers, too. And, this is because their hearts are filled with pride, and they want to be able to continue to control their own lives. They do not want to submit to God or to his will and purpose for their lives.

The sad reality of this, though, is that this includes much of the church which is also rejecting the true gospel out of pride and out of a selfish desire to continue in their sins unhindered. And, so God will come in judgment against his adulterous and prideful church one day, and against all those who reject him, his messengers and his message. A time of tribulation, of famine, of financial decline, of trouble and of hardship will come upon the earth as a result of the people of this earth, and his adulterous people, rejecting his counsel over and over and over again.

But, for those of us who walk in the fear the Lord, who do not reject his counsel, he will keep us in his love, and he will bring us safely home to his eternal kingdom. Although we may be uprooted, due to a time of depression, or financial hardship, and we may have to be relocated to someplace else, he is still completely sovereign over our lives, and his faithful hand will guide us in the way he will take us. No matter what happens, he is with us, and he will walk with us through every storm, through every trial, and through every hardship, and he will use us along the way for his purposes and for his glory. And, he will provide for our every need. We can count on HIM!

It All Depends
Jerry Nelson / Don Marsh

Would I leave the place
Where I have lived and settled down?

It all depends on where He needs me,
For where he leads me my feet must go.

His faithful hand will always guide me.
He’ll walk beside me, let come what may.

Lord, I Need You
Songwriters: Christy Nockels / Daniel Carson /
Jesse Reeves / Kristian Stanfill / Matt Maher

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You…
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

Monday, February 5, 2018, 4:04 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your Word. May you bring it home to our hearts, I pray in Jesus’ name.

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