Flesh or Spirit?

Persuasive Words or Spirit Power?

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NASB)

In our world today, we have many men and women who are wise in the ways of this world, who are gifted orators, with smooth tongues, with charming personalities, and winsome tactics. And, I am not talking about just people out in the world, but I am speaking also of those who profess the name of Jesus, many of whom are pastors of mega churches, and even small church congregations (church in the sense that most people call it).

Many of these people are trained in how to be persuasive, and in how to manipulate and use people for their advantage, in order to grow their churches (businesses). They are trained in marketing techniques and in the use of gimmickry, games, stage productions, and humor, etc. in order to draw in the masses and to keep them coming back for more. So, their wisdom is based in the wisdom of this world, and it is not of God.

But, this is not how we are to be. This is not how the church is to operate, either, for the church is the people, not a business. It is a living organism, not a human-based organization. The “building” of this church is not a physical building but a spiritual one with Christ as the chief cornerstone and with us, the people of God, as the stones which make up this building.

So, we are to be totally dependent on our Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit living within us to guide us and to lead our gatherings. God is the one who builds his church and who makes it grow, for its growth is not through attendance at meetings or through “church” memberships or even baptisms, but real church growth is through people being added to the body of Christ through death to sin and living to righteousness, through faith in Jesus.

So, when we share Christ with people, we are to share him in the power of the Spirit within us and in the wisdom that only comes from God through the Holy Spirit speaking his truths into our hearts and minds. And, we are to share him according to the whole counsel of God in scripture, and not use human tactics to please the flesh of man. Then, when they truly trust Jesus to be their Savior, hopefully their faith will be true faith. For, it will be based on biblical truth, in context, not on human wisdom which often placates sin and undermines the cross of Christ being lived out in our daily lives.

Godly Wisdom or Human Wisdom?

Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written,

“Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the heart of man,
All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. (1 Corinthians 2:6-13 NASB)

So many of today’s preachers and Bible teachers are relying on human wisdom over and above the wisdom of God. “Bible studies” are often studies of books written by mere humans with select scriptures intermingled between the thoughts of these human authors. Scriptures are often taken out of context or are conformed to the thoughts of man rather than man (humans) being conformed to the thinking (mind) of God.

Marketing books are replacing the Holy Spirit as the guidance of the church. Many feel good highly repetitive songs are replacing hymns and spiritual songs which are deep in the truths of scripture and its application to our daily lives. Sermons are often “canned,” because they are borrowed from others or are found on the internet already prepared, so they lack the power of the Holy Spirit in them, because they came from man, not from the Spirit.

It becomes really obvious that many of these sermons originated in the mind of man, and not of God, if you watch (listen to) a variety of them from various preachers, for you will begin to notice common elements among the messages themselves that are humanistic, plus you will notice common preaching techniques among the preachers, which are also of man. And, what should become really apparent is how the sermons are often geared more to entertain the people and to appeal to their human flesh.

You won’t hear many of these pastors preaching the cross of Christ in the life of the believer in Jesus in the sense of our need to die with Christ to sin and live with him to righteousness as part of the faith which saves us. For, those who are truly teaching what Jesus taught will not have people coming to hear them preach by the droves, at least not here in America. Or, if the people do come initially, once the “hard” teaching becomes apparent, they will desert only to find for themselves preachers who will tickle their itching ears by telling them what their flesh wants to hear.

Discerning the spirits or The Spirit

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 NASB)

So many people are fleshly minded, even many who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. In our sin nature, this is how we are, but if we believe in Jesus Christ, we are to no longer be that way. For, the Spirit is now living within us, thus we have the mind of Christ, and we should be able to discern the difference between what is of the flesh and what is of the Spirit. Yet, I do know that this is also part of our process of sanctification, too.

If we have Christ living within us, though, because we have died with Christ to sin, and we have been resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, then we should have the mind of Christ. Thus, we should be accepting of the things of the Spirit, not rejecting of them because they conflict with our flesh. We should not be looking for loop-holes to excuse away our sinful behaviors, but we should desire to submit to Jesus Christ with our lives.

I see so many people who claim Jesus as Savior, though, live just like the world, and have little regard for the commands of their Lord or for holiness and purity and integrity being lived out through their lives. And, yet they will say that they look forward to the day when they get to go to heaven, but it is usually in the context of reuniting with some deceased loved one more so than it has anything to do with being with our Lord face to face.

Thus, they appear to be living more in their natural man state than in the Spirit, which then brings into question whether or not they were really ever in the Spirit of God. For, if they were, they should have the mind of Christ within them, and they should be able to spiritually discern the things of God. But, many do not even seem to have a consciousness of what pleases the Spirit and what does not, but they still live according to the flesh.

So, if that is where you are today, then please know what the Bible says about that. For, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. If we, after having made a profession of Christ as Savior, still live according to our flesh, and not according to the Spirit, then we will die in our sins, not have the hope of eternal life with God (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).

Broken Cord

An Original Work / August 29, 2018

Your bond is broken
With your Lord and Savior
And, your testimony is
Separate from Him.

Your words not matching
Your actions today.
Repent of your sin and
Bow down and pray.

Live what you testify
In truth always.

Purity’s lacking in
Your life and witness,
For you profess one thing,
But other you do.

Not moral, spiritual.
Still of the flesh.
Not living in truth to
What you confess.

Lying about it
Puts you in a mess.

Living a lie is your practice,
‘tis true of you.
Masquerade righteousness –
None of it true.

Your heart is not given
To your Lord God.
Because of how you live,
You are a fraud.

Turn from your sin and
Give your life to God.

Friday, September 28, 2018 – Lord, I pray for all who have read this today that they will realize that their salvation is not guaranteed them if they do not submit to you as Lord of their lives and thus walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!

 

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