Sunday, 15 December 2013

principle 4



... the flesh profiteth nothing...

Principle: gleaned from one/most controversial passages/Bible. Not our intention to look at this debate (Between Rome and  Protestants on the so called Real Presence) but suffice/say: That the spiritual interpretation (Protestant) will always prevail over the RC one, because Rome wants us to take the fleshly road and our text puts the nail/coffin: Flesh profits nothing. These words/Jesus were spiritual words (v63) and intended to be taken spiritually. But this is a debate for another day

When we come to Scripture, we must ever remember that anything done in the flesh - even if done by an otherwise spiritual man/God - can never profit. "FAILURE" written over it, even it appears to be succeeding. Flesh can never profit. 


The flesh is anything done without the help of the Spirit/God.
Has its origins in the heart/man and although it might appear to be acceptable (heart/man is deceitful) yet it is not so.

A/ Sometimes the flesh is very blatant: Key passage: Galatians 5:19-21 (Quote)
Ought to be pretty obvious when these things appear that they are most unprofitable.

B/ But sometimes the flesh is not so noticeable/apparent.
Devil is a deceiver and where the most blatant fails to prevail, he will rework his approach and try to be less obvious.
If he succeeds in this, then although we might not be outwardly fleshly, yet flesh it is and therefore seen or not, of no profit.
Please consider this:

[i] If you come across a passage where someone is fighting in their own strength, then you cannot interpret it as a profitable thing to do.
Do not imitate them. Examples:
Joshua/Ai (Joshua 7) Routed even with superior manpower.
David ordering the headcount despite Joab's rebuke (2 Samuel 24)
Avoided: Gideon when Lord reduced army of 30,000 to 300.

[ii] Fleshly when men seek to do something in their own wisdom: 
Distinctly told: Lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)
Joshua again failed here: Asked not counsel/mouth of the Lord (9:14) & spared the Gibeonites.
Paul excelled here: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 & so a profitable ministry. "I kept back nothing that was profitable to thee" (Acts 20:20)
How was this? Avoided the flesh. He delivered not his own wisdom, although his Rabbinical training could've kept him supplied. 

[iii] Becomes fleshly when men seek their own timing. 
Hence we are told with great emphasise to "Wait upon the Lord…wait patiently for Him" (Psalm 27:14/37:7) Those men whose lives profited most were those who walked with God i.e. walked in step with God. As we read of Enoch/Noah, then interpret/passage in light of our principle: Flesh profits nothing. There was nothing fleshly in these men. 

[iv] See/flesh when we read of those who adopted their own methods. 
Never right to leave the Book. Emphasised to Moses: See that he do according to the pattern shown him/mount (Hebrews 8:5) When Uzzah helped introduce the new cart for the ark/God, he introduced a new/novel method and  was so fleshly that he died. Ultimate loss. 

[v] Flesh seen, when we read of men seeking their own glory. 
Consider men like Joab/Jehu. Men who fought on the right side, but there was ever an undercurrent of self seeking. Subsequently, Joab failed to make the list of David's mighty men. His glory was fleshly & therefore unworthy of God's praise. 


A/ If the flesh is the outworking of the heart/man (Those things which are the works/flesh in Galatians 5:19-21 are said to flow from/heart: Mark 7:21-23) then we learn from the fruit that the heart of man is sinful. It never pays to sin. Sin is the ultimate loss maker. It costs to sin. 

B/ The flesh cannot claim the purposes/God. When a man sets out to promote the gospel and holiness etc., he can count on the help/God in this matter, because it is God's declared purpose that one day holiness will reign. Reign/holiness marks the ultimate passing away of sin/fleshiness. Purposes/God oppose the flesh and since the purposes/God always prevail, then flesh/unprofitable.

C/ Similar thought: The flesh cannot claim the support/God. Practical outworking/purposes of God. God always sustains His own work. So David is preserved while Saul perishes. David is supported/preserved while fleshly wise Ahithophel hangs himself. Greedy Judas effectively negotiates his own death. The very thing Ciaphas sought to avoid - destruction by the Romans - came to pass. Why? No support from God. 

D/ Flesh is so unprofitable because it will be burned up. Build your future on those precious stones. To build it on the imaginations of the flesh is to endure a great loss. 


As apply these principles, we are forced to see how we can deal with the flesh. To what end do we interpret our Bibles? Much more than to possess mere head knowledge. As we come across the flesh in the lives/various people in the Bible, we must be forced back to the same Book for principles enabling us to deal with it in our own lives. 

A/ Recognise our proneness to the flesh. Fleshly without the least effort. The battle is to be spiritually fought. Every day, we must fight this battle again. And the next day and the next etc.

B/ Recognise & appropriate the reason why Christ came, died & rose again i.e. that He might destroy the works/Devil i.e. the flesh. We cannot fight the flesh in the flesh. The flesh must win! If you beat yourself at chess, then who won? Who lost? Yourself! By seeking to apply the victory/Calvary, we will be able to resist the flesh & seek to make our decisions etc., in the power/Spirit of God. That's when we start to profit. 

C/ Bible gives us an interesting/decisive instruction as to what to do about the flesh: Best summed up in Galatians 5:24 They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. Pretty decisive is it not? It needs to be done every day. OT illustration of it was when Samuel hewed Agag in pieces. Despite Agag's heart wrenching pleas. By contrast, Saul had let him live. Fleshly and  through it Saul lost his throne. Unprofitable. 

D/ These things frighten us and we say: "I can't!" Cry to God in prayer and tell Him and He has vouched you the help you need. 


A/ Text: It is the Spirit that quickeneth. Galatians 5 & elsewhere all point us to the help of the Spirit/God. We are to be spirit filled etc., We are to walk in the Spirit etc., 

B/ The Spirit is there for every child/God: If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13)

So here is another principle/Bible interpretation. The flesh can never profit. It may appear to be most profitable. The prosperity of the wicked was a thorn to several/Bible (Job 21/Psalm 73) but ultimately the wicked died and  perished while those who ever did God's will shall never see death but reign with Him eternally. 

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