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I Will Not Fear What Flesh Can Do

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Brother Jason Corum preaches a sermon on dealing with our own worst enemy: ourself.

I. We are our own worst enemy (Reference sermon by Pastor Conrad Jarrell “Satan’s Devices).
a. Eph. 2: 2-3 compare with Phil 2:13
i. “worketh in” – God works in you, Devil works in you. Possession is a given.
ii. When the devil works in your flesh he is also working in the mind – the mind directs the flesh.
iii. All actions result from mental decisions. The flesh has its own desires but the mind must direct it to act.
iv. It’s always important to remember what we have been taught many times – our Christian walk is a battle for the mind!
b. I John 2: 16 compare with Gal. 5: 19 - 21
i. Lust of the flesh is works based (Gal. 5:18 compare with 5:22-25)
ii. Works of the flesh contrasted with fruit of the Spirit
iii. Works is contrasted with Grace
c. Everywhere we go we carry our own worst enemy with us – our flesh.
II. Are you afraid of your worst enemy?
a. David had many enemies contend with and they caused him fear.
i. I Sam. 21: 11-12 this verse describes the reality and Psalm 56 describes how a child of God processes fear.
ii. We are justified in looking in the OT and drawing out practical lessons from those real fleshly experiences to use in our NT walk.
1. I Cor. 10:11
a. Ensample: (Irregularly formed from example or sample) An example; a pattern or model for imitation.
b. A physical reality David had to deal with when he fled to Gath (real historical event) is a sample we can take into our Christian lab and study under the microscope of scripture and extract practical cures from.
2. Rom. 15:4
a. The word “hope” has its primary etymological sense from words in other languages that mean to extend, to reach forward.
b. We read in the OT and then extend or reach forward into the NT with our learnings – this way of learning requires patience but it is worth the effort for the fruit of this method is comfort.
c. Comfort: Relief from distress of mind; the ease and quiet which is experienced when pain, trouble, agitation or affliction ceases. It implies also some degree of positive animation of the spirits; or some pleasurable sensations derived from hope, and agreeable prospects; consolation.
d. Notice that it is the “mind” that receives the benefit from comfort and then the “flesh” is revived to greater service in hope.
e. Hope: A desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety. (2) Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well-founded expectation of good; as a hope founded on God’s gracious promises; a scriptural sense.
iii. While David’s enemies were flesh and blood the sample we shall extract is how to handle our own worst enemy which is our own flesh. We shall study the internal processing of David’s fear and patiently seek comfort from the oppression our own flesh causes us daily.
b. Psalm 56 Exposition
i. Vs 1
1. David calls for Mercy from God.
a. Mercy: That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which come nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being (Num. 14:18).
b. Grace: Favor; good will; kindness; disposition to oblige another; as a grant made as an act of grace. In contradistinction to right or obligation. (2) Appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.
c. Psalm 57:3 – The vehicle of God’s salvation is Mercy and Truth.
i. Truth: Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be. The truth of history constitutes its whole value. We rely on the truth of the scriptural prophecies. (10) Sincerity (“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” John 4:24). (11) The truth of God, is his veracity and faithfulness (“thou art my trust from my youth”; “Now also when I am old and greyheaded”; “I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth” Ps 71). (12) Jesus Christ is called the truth (“I am the way, the truth, and the life” John 14:6).
d. Mercy and Truth go together in salvation. All of our appeals for temporal salvation start in Grace and Truth and end in Grace and Truth. Mercy and Truth are the defining attributes of the God we serve and as such we must appeal to these frequently if we are to succeed in our Christian walk.
2. Man would swallow David up
a. A serpent swallows its prey whole (“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the filed which the LORD God had made.” Gen 3:1 and “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which decieveth the whole world” Rev. 12:9
b. There is a tight allegiance between our flesh, the world and the devil – there is a Trilateral Commission against us.
c. Is there a man you look at in the mirror that would swallow you up if he could?
3. It is an everyday oppression that needs to be dealt with.
a. Oppress: To load or burden with unreasonable impositions; to treat with unjust severity, rigor or hardship.
b. The default position flesh finds itself in is in contradistinction to the temporal salvation Jesus Christ call us to through the Gospel (Matt. 11:28-30).
i. You are burdened daily prior to your baptism.
ii. You are burdened daily after your baptism.
iii. However, the way a Christian processes it is through Mercy and Truth – this makes a difference as to how well you bear the burdens.
iv. Is there a difference in your life? How do you process oppression?
ii. V. 2
1. David re-iterates the case of daily oppression and the serpent nature of the destruction that is intended for him.
2. David calibrates the odds – they don’t look good, he is outnumbered. It is a daily oppression because of the numbers against him – one enemy can rest while the other enemy fights where David doesn’t get a break between onslaughts.
a. Paul has the same odds against him as the members (plural) of his flesh seek to captivate him
b. Rom 6:13 and Rom 7:23
c. When a serpent swallows a little chick is the little chick getting squeezed and oppressed the whole way down the serpent’s digestive track?
d. Do you feel this squeezing daily?
3. David is pleading the case to the highest court from which there is no further appeal. This is the first inkling of temporal hope in this desperate situation; David has access through Mercy and Truth to the God that is sovereign over both himself and his numerous enemies (see Sermon entitled “Trusting In and Fearing Men”).
4. Your own flesh is subjected to the sovereignty of God – there is help for your struggles with sin by pleading through Mercy and Truth.
iii. V. 3
1. David states his declared intent. He has soberly weighed the odds and made his appeal. He has moved towards resolution.
2. Afraid: Impressed with fear or apprehension; fearful.
a. Fear: A painful emotion or passion excited by an expectation of evil, or the apprehension of impending danger. Fear expresses less apprehension than dread, and dread less than terror and fright. The force of this passion, beginning with the most moderate degree, may be thus expressed, fear, dread, terror, fright. Fear is accompanied with a desire to avoid or ward off the expected evil. Fear is an uneasiness of mind, upon the thought of future evil likely to befall us. (6) In scripture, fear is used to express a filial or a slavish passion. In good men, the fear of God is a holy awe or reverence of God, and his laws, which springs from a just view and real love of the divine character, leading the subjects of it to hate and shun everything that can offend such a holy being, and inclining them to aim at perfect obedience. This is filial fear [henceforth I shall call this Gospel fear]. Slavish fear is the effect or consequence of guilt; it is the painful apprehension of merited punishment.
b. Spiritual Chemistry – 2 types of fear considered
i. Gospel fear is the result of the new birth. “And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” Jer. 32:40
1. Gospel fear in practice – Joseph with Potiphar’s wife. “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9)
2. Gospel fear is rooted in love. Rom 12:9 with I John 4:18
3. David is processing slavish fear (“sore afraid”) and transmuting it into Gospel fear. “I will not fear what flesh can do”.
a. This transmutation of slavish fear into Gospel fear is a type of spiritual chemistry and is described in Rom 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is the good, and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
b. This spiritual chemistry has many Satanic imitators: Alchemy, St. Germain , I’am Movement and 33 Discourses, Taoism. These counterfeits are not worthy of considering in detail. Remember, God deals in transformation and the Devil deals in transmutation/transubstantiation.
c. The genuine formula of spiritual chemistry is the transformation of slavish fear into Gospel fear and the catalyst of this transformation is perfect love.
ii. Example of slavish fear – “Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile” Rom. 2:9 with “And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Rev. 6:16-17
1. Sin has no more power over us to invoke only slavish fear – “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Rom. 8:15
2. The flesh wants us to sin so we will be fearful and so it oppresseth us daily to that end with the lusts of the flesh – if it wins we will disintegrate our Gospel fear back into slavish fear. Heb. 10:26-27.
3. The expectation of evil is no part of our Christian heritage, instead it is a part of our Adamic heritage since the fall: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned;” Rom. 5:12
4. David’s challenge is to take his fear of man (King Achish), death and sin which he has received from Adam and transform it into gospel fear with trust – he accomplishes this with the formula of this verse and the next.
5. Our challenge is to take our flesh with all of its slavish fears and subjugate it to the will of God by love and Gospel fear. “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God: but with the flesh the law of sin.” Rom. 7:24-25
iii. Because David is born again he is able to access the Supreme Court of Heaven, plead his case and make resolutions before his God. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Heb. 4:16
1. Mercy and Grace tied together at the throne.
2. Remember David starts with Mercy and then processes his oppression and fear.
3. There is a direct relationship between fear and oppression: As fear diminishes oppression diminishes.
iv. V. 4
1. The formula completed – David has transformed slavish fear into Gospel fear. The resolution of the previous verse is good and sound he may move forward in the process. David is ready to trust and praise.
a. Trust: (n). Confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person. (v). To place confidence in ; to rely on. We cannot trust those who have deceived us. (3). To commit to the care of, in confidence. Trust your Maker with yourself and all your concerns.
b. Praise: The expression of gratitude for personal favors conferred; a glorifying or extolling.
c. The mind rests in the midst of enemies and conflict.
i. Oppression is lifted because there is rest.
ii. There is still tribulation but there is no more anguish.
d. Paul describes the technical details of this transformation in Rom. 8:28-31. He reaches the same conclusion as David: “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
i. This transformation begins before the new birth and moves all the way through the life of a believer until they are glorified and beyond.
e. Psalm 57: 1-3, 5, 10-11
i. Antecedent: Mercy and Truth come down from heaven.
ii. Consequent: Exaltation and Glory go up to heaven.
1. Exalt: To raise high; to elevate.
2. Glory: Brightness; luster; splendor. (8) The divine perfections or excellence.
3. Because we receive Mercy and Truth from God we Glorify and Exalt him. Also, God is Glorified and Exalted by exercising Mercy and Truth on us. He does not owe us the Truth. He does not owe us Mercy.
2. Jesus Christ is Mercy and Truth and comes down from Heaven. We on Earth that receive this, in consequence to it, send Exaltation and Glory upwards. This praise is offered according to God’s word. These actions are an expression of love, God loves us first and then we respond with love. Because love is involved in this transaction, fear is cast out. God also glorifies and exalts himself in the Mercy and Truth he shows to David.
v. V. 5
1. Wrest: To distort; to turn from truth or twist from its natural meaning by violence; to pervert.
2. The tongue is a member of our flesh. James 3: 1-10
3. Do you ever find your words wrested by your own worst enemy? Does this happen daily to you?
4. Thought life struggles, your flesh has a hand and an eye in these also. Matt 5:27-30
5. Do you ever find your thoughts within you that are evil? Do you find them daily?
V.6
6. “gather themselves together”
a. Matt 12:43-45
7. “hide themselves”
a. Pulling down strongholds – II Cor. 10: 3-5 (Reference sermon by Pastor Mott “Spiritual Freedom and Fullness)
b. If we leave the flesh (our own worst enemy) with a stronghold we will back-slide. “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.” I John 2:8
8. “wait for my steps”
a. Someone is watching and waiting for you to screw up and it isn’t just the NSA. It’s your own flesh – remember to “look to yourselves”!
b. If you feel like you’re not alone then your right – you are being watched and your steps are being marked by your own flesh waiting to deceive you and drag you down.
c. Our flesh is our enemy and is with us always but David takes heart in a sovereign God to deal with enemies of the flesh. In a sermon entitled “Trusting in and Fearing Men” our Pastor taught us to:
Think of all the saints whom God has protected from wicked men and governments who tried to kill them.
A. God provided for Moses when the government tried to kill him (as a baby).
B. God provided for Elijah when the government tried to kill him.
C. God provided for the prophets of the Lord when the government tried to kill them
(hid them in a cave).
D. God provided for Daniel and his three friends when the government tried to kill
them.
E. God provided for the apostle Paul when the government tried to kill him.
F. If they kill you, you just get to go to heaven sooner (John the Baptist, Stephen, etc.).
vi. V. 7
1. David finds that the judgment of God will come upon them and he encourages God to exercise it.
2. Paul reasons that there is no escape from iniquity – Rom. 6: 15-16
3. Paul calls for the death of his members as David calls for the casting down of the people – Rom. 6:13
vii. V. 8
1. God sees it, watches over sparrows and knows the hairs on David’s head – he will also be able to count up all of David’s tears (Matt. 10: 29-31)
2. David will be judged out of a book singular, not plural (Rev. 20: 11-12)
3. Do you cry over the sins of our flesh and mind? Do ask God to count them and put them in a bottle?
viii. V.9
1. The Son of David experienced this very thing – John 18: 4-6
2. God will do this for David and all the saints that cry unto him.
ix. V.10
1. David is fixed – his mind is made up – he is on solid ground to praise his God and LORD – Ps 57:7
2. He praises God and Jehovah and this action gives strength Is. 26: 3-4
3. He praises “in his word” – he doesn’t make stuff up with religion, he stays in the Bible and praises according to this. I Tim 3:15 – this happens in church.
x. V. 11
1. King Achish is a man and as such is nothing to consider --Matt. 10:28
2. Our flesh will not be successful in condemning us either – Rom 8: 1-6
xi. V.12
1. Vow: (v) To give, consecrate or dedicate to God by a solemn promise. (n) A promise of something to be given or done hereafter.
2. God’s promises are good, he will perform the things he promises.
3. This honesty in vows causes the saints to praise Him: Ps. 52:9
4. This honesty in vows causes the saints to sacrifice unto Him: Ps 54:6
xii. V.13
1. The conclusion of the matter.
2. Rom 8: 32-39
a. Therefore, let us make sacrifice. Rom. 12:1
b. Therefore, let us die daily. I Cor. 15:31
c. Therefore, let us be dead with Christ and let us live with Christ. Rom 6:8
d. Therefore, let us be crucified with Christ, mortify our member, yield our members and be counted sheep for the slaughter. Rom 6:6, Col 3:5, Rom 8:36
3. “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” Matt 16:25

Amen.

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