Two Opposing Life Courses
I am reading in Jeremiah 17 with regard to two types of people – those whose trust is in the flesh of man (humankind), and those whose trust is in the Lord (God the Father, God the Son Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit). And both types can be people who profess faith in Jesus Christ, but only one type has genuine God-given faith. The other has flesh-born faith which is not true biblical faith in Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior. So it is only one type of faith that saves lives from hell and promises them heaven.
Now the Lord helped me to see an interesting picture here this morning. For this second type of people, whose trust is in the Lord, are described as those who are like trees planted by the water, that send out their roots by the stream. And it was this word “stream” that the Lord had stand out to me. And so I looked up its meaning in several dictionaries and in a thesaurus, and I found that the definitions give a very interesting picture. First of all, the word “watercourse” was a synonym for the word “stream.”
Now, in the Scriptures, “water” is often a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and of the life of the Spirit within us and of eternal life with God. And, as followers of Jesus, we are on a life course (a path, a way, a walk). So, I was seeing “watercourse” as our life path of walking in the ways of the Lord, by his Spirit, in obedience to our Lord, living holy lives pleasing to God. We are no longer walking according to the flesh, but now we are walking according to the Spirit, by the Spirit, in accord with God’s Holy Word.
But then I saw other meanings of this word “stream” which may describe a life course which is opposite of the one just described above. For “stream” can also mean to run or flow in a continuous current (flow, movement) in a specified direction. Or it can mean a large number of things that happen or come one after the other, or a steady succession of events, or a continuous moving procession or a prevailing attitude. So this can also be speaking of slavery (addiction) to sin, which is a life course of the flesh, not of God.
So, what we are going to be looking at this morning is a picture of two opposing life courses, one based in the flesh of mankind and the other founded in Jesus Christ, which is being guided and directed by the Holy Spirit. The way of the flesh is going to send people to hell, not to heaven, even if they profess faith in Jesus Christ. But the way of the Spirit leads to sanctification of the Spirit and to eternal life with God. And this is the ONLY way to God and to heaven and to salvation from sin and eternal life.
Trust in Man
Jeremiah 17:5-6 ESV
“Thus says the Lord:
‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.’”
There are many people today here in America making professions of faith in Jesus Christ who are still on a path of destruction. They are still walking (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit. Their minds are set on the flesh and not on the Spirit, and sin is what they are obeying, not the Lord and his commands (New Covenant). And if our minds are set on the flesh, it ends in death, not in life eternal. And if we live 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 will live with Christ.
Some people are calling this “works salvation,” which it is not. And so they are rejecting the truth of the gospel of our salvation in order to follow after lies, instead. For the lies tell them that they don’t have to die with Christ to sin (repent), and they don’t have to walk in obedience to our Lord. The lies tell them they can “believe” (not defined) in Jesus and have heaven guaranteed them when they die, but that it doesn’t have to alter their lifestyles. Even if they are being taught repentance and obedience, many are not making these requirements for salvation, but God’s word does indeed!
For Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if for Jesus’ sake we die with him to sin that we might live with him to his righteousness, we will have eternal life with God. For Jesus also said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one DOING the will of God the Father. For many are going to hear Jesus say one day, “I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of lawlessness” (Luke 9:23-26; Matthew 7:21-23).
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:23-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Trust in the Lord
Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
So, what does this trust in the Lord look like? It requires that we die with Christ to sin and that we are reborn of the Spirit of God and raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, not like our old lives, but created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. It means our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness. Therefore, we are to not let sin reign in our mortal bodies, to make us obey its passions, for sin is to have no more dominion over us.
And it means that we no longer walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh, but now according to the Spirit. And sin is no longer our master, but Jesus Christ is our Lord and Master. Sin is no longer our practice. We do not obey sin in practice. Now righteousness is our practice, by the Spirit of God. We no longer walk in the ways of the ungodly, and we do not give ourselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. For that is not the way we learned Christ. We learned to put off our old self and to be renewed in the spirit of our minds and to put on the new self in Christ.
And if this is how we are living, by the Spirit, in walks of holiness and righteousness, in obedience to our Lord, then we have the hope of eternal life with God, and we will bear spiritual fruit (outgrowth, results) in keeping with repentance. And we will have peace of mind and heart because we know that we are walking in the ways of the Lord and not in the ways of the flesh. This doesn’t mean we are perfect people (1 John 2:1-2) but that sin is no longer our master and Jesus is our only Lord, and our lives are now surrendered to him to walk in his ways and not in the ways of the flesh.
[Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 8:1-14; Lu 9:23-26; Matt 7:21-23; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2; Heb 12:1-2; 1 Co 6:19-20; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; Eph 2:8-10; Jn 15:1-11; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:23-31; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Welcome To Our World
By Chris Rice
Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting
Welcome Holy Child, Welcome Holy Child
Hope that you don’t mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at home
Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven’s silence
Welcome to our world, Welcome to our world
Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born, Unto us is born
So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God, Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world
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