The Battle

Galatians 5:13-17 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Romans 7:17-23 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

As Christians, we are in a battle – actually, we are in two battles: one against powers and principalities, and another one that is personal – a battle between our flesh and our spirit. Until we die and leave the flesh behind, we will be in this battle. It is a battle that we must fight every day – every minute of every day. It is not a battle that we can win by accident or by chance. It is a battle we can win, but we must determine to win and we must do what is required to win.

Let us look at the combatants, the keys to winning the battle, and what happens when we win the battle.

The Flesh

Born alive but dead in trespasses and sin

Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Every person – whether lost or saved has the flesh. When we are lost, we have living flesh but a dead spirit. The reason why lost people like to seek thrills, alcohol, drugs, and other pleasures is because it makes them feel alive.

When we are saved, we are ruled dead to sin by God

Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

When we come to Christ, God rules us dead to sin. We put on Christ and so when God looks at us, he sees his son.

We are supposed to reckon our bodies dead to sin

Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God did his part and ruled us dead to sin so now we must do our part and reckon ourselves dead to sin. We should no longer allow ourselves to be ruled by sin and sinful desires.

And present it alive

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

When we get saved, we have a living man inside and a dead man outside – we have a dead man on our hands – but God gives us back our dead man and we are to present it back to him as a living sacrifice. God expects us to have rule over our flesh and use it in his service for the salvation of others.

The Spirit wants to serve God and the flesh wants to serve sin

Romans 7:25 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.

Our natural man still serves the law of sin but our spiritual man serves the law of God.

The key to winning – Conscience

The key to winning this battle is something that we all too often overlook or dismiss. We often dismiss it because it can be weakened and may not work properly. But we should not dismiss it or overlook it because the Bible tells us when it works properly we will live void of offense towards God. The key to winning this battle of the flesh versus the spirit is our conscience.

Four Types/Stages

We see there are four types or stages of the conscience.

Evil

Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Weak

1 Corinthians 8:12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

Defiled, Seared

1 Timothy 4:1-2 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

Titus 1:13-16 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; 14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. 15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. 16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Some people think that when a conscience is seared, that’s it – game over. They think the conscience is ruined beyond repair. But that is not so. If you sear a slab of fresh meat, it is just burnt on the outside – it is not burnt all the way through. You can take a knife and slice the seared exterior to reveal a fresh and tender interior. When someone’s conscience is seared, we need to take the word of God and allow it to slice the seared exterior of the conscience to reveal the tender interior.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Good, Pure

Acts 23:1 And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

1 Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

1 Timothy 3:9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

2 Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;

Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

1 Peter 3:15-17 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 17For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

Examples of how it works when it works right

John 8:9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

Our conscience, when it works correctly, will keep us from doing things we should not. It kept the men from stoning the women caught in adultery.

How to get a good or pure conscience

So how do we get a good or pure conscience so that we will live a life pleasing to God?

First get saved

Hebrews 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

When God saves us, he purges our conscience so that it no longer tells us to do those things that are self-serving. That is what dead works are: they are things we do that we think will earn us Heaven.

The word of God is key

Acts 24:14-16 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: 15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. 16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

The word of God, the Bible, is key to having a good conscience. Paul said he exercised himself in all things written in the law and the prophets and that is what produced his conscience that was void of offence toward God and toward men.

Exercise

How did Paul exercise himself in the word of God? What are the things we must do so that our conscience will work correctly and will keep us void of offence towards God and man?

Memorize the word of God

Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Obeying the word of God

Psalm 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Do things through Christ

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

The end of a pure conscience

Galatians 5:13-26 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

When we win the battle

We get our life

Matthew 10:38-39 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Lost people want things their own way – they say it is their life and they will live the way they want. If they would only learn that if they come to Christ, they will gain their life.

And we get it more abundantly

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

God wants us to have an abundant life – not necessarily an abundance of possessions. He wants our joy to be full, to have peace that passeth understanding, to have comfort, to have contentment, to have full assurance. Our lives are not measured by our possessions.

Are you living a life void of offence towards God and towards man? If not, you can take care of it today. If you are not saved, today is the day of salvation. If you are saved, exercise your conscience so that it will be good and pure. Memorize the word of God, obey the word of God, and whatever you do, do it through Christ.

Finally my brethren,

Colossians 3:9-10 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

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