MAKE NOT PROVISION FOR THE FLESH
By Nick Bibile
Ro 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
As Christians, we realize that our time here on the earth is just a vapor, a drop of water. A flower that blooms then fades and dies. Like a rainbow, it is here for a while then it is gone.
Ps 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Ps 39:5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.
As Christians, we know that we are pilgrims on this earth, and we know our time is short on this earth, and then we need to wake up! It is very easy for us to be focused upon this earth, be tied up with the world, and forget that we have a short time to live and to meet our Lord. We can get into to the flow of the unbelievers as we are living among them in a wicked world surrounded by them and we can easily be caught up with their style of living. However, the apostle Paul is reminding us here, wake up! Jesus said;
Lu Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
Why we need to be awake and watch out? for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
Many have misinterpreted this scripture. If you take only this portion of the scripture it sounds like first we believed, and now our salvation is near. Many Christians get confused and get into bad theology. We need to remember that the moment a person is regenerated by the Holy Spirit that person is saved. Salvation can be used for deliverance from our enemies. Also, Salvation can be used with respect to the complete deliverance of the Christians from this wicked world to heaven. Now we if we continue in context we see, we are need to be spiritually awake and watch out as our time is short there is only one step between us and heaven.
Mt 25:1 then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Take note there are two peoples here, foolish and the wise. Both were expecting the Lord to return. The foolish were living a careless, a lose type of life, these were the procrastinators, they are very excited and busy when it comes to worldly things but very lazy and spiritually asleep when it comes to what the word of God says. The difference is the foolish took oil for a moment only and not to last long. Many live as Christians but their walk is a temporary, a short walk, on the other hand the true Christians walk is a steadfast walk. He will continue in hardships, trials and against the odds he will endure to be truthful to the Lord and will carry the cross to the end, will run the race to the finish. They will fall but by the grace of God they will get up, they will be wounded by the enemy but by the grace of God, they will fight the good fight to the end. Foolish ones are the ones who come to church on Sundays, and that is the only day they open their Bible after that they go shopping and to their worldly business.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
The night here is our days upon this earth and the day is at hand, is not the day of judgment but the day of death. Our life here on earth is like a one night compared to eternity. When the believer dies he pass from this dark world to the light of God. Apostle gives a warning to the believers that our times is short and let us not walk in sin. The darkness here refers to the sinful ways of the wicked.
Darkness is Satans kingdom and the light is Gods kingdom.
Ac 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God,
Col 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
The unbelievers love their sin and will continue to live in darkness of sinful pleasure.
Pr 4:19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
Ec 2:14 but the fool walketh in darkness..
Joh 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
But the true Christians differ from the unbelievers, the difference is like light and darkness.
1Th 5:4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
1Th 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
The true Christian will walk in the light, in the word of God having daily fellowship with the Lord and will hate sin. Will hate the sin of TV, the pleasure of TV and the worldly pleasure but is excited in Gods word and will follow his ways.
1Jo 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
Joh 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
The unbelievers who walked in darkness will also be in darkness in eternity.
Mt 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
The word walk here is conduct or behave, and the word honestly here in Greek is, euschmonwv euschemonos yoo-skhay-mon'-ose, meaning decently. Our behavior should be approved by God. That means our speech, our dress, our attitude, and our moods. How do we behave outside the church? When we are driving on the road, when someone cuts you, what is your reaction? Is it a Christian reaction or an ungodly reaction? What about at work? We are to be a light to the world. Rioting is wild parties, excessive partygoer, and wild person, always disturbing the neighbors. Indulge in pleasure. The word drunkenness here in Greek is methe meth'-ay, means intoxication. Chambering is unlawful lust. Lusting after men and women. What is lust? A sexual desire, lust after sexual appetite. An unlawful desire of sexual pleasure and provoking for sensuality. If you love watching those Hollywood movies, you are definitely feeding yourself your flesh what the flesh desires. Strife is to have rivalry and jealousy.
14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
There are many who are calling themselves Christians, they live under the light of the gospel and they know the dangers of hell and they really wants to go to heaven, yet they live a very careless lifestyle. Some are dull, sluggish and slothful in the spirit. When you speak about Christ they look bored, but when someone change the topic, they become alive in the flesh. They hear many strong sermons calling out for repentance, as they have heard those sermons over and over again, and gradually they have become numbed. Their hearts have become calloused. The word callous is a medical term, when a part of your body when you touch you do not have any feelings, because it has got hardened or thickened. In the same way when the heart is calloused how much ever you preach it, there are no feelings, as it is numbed by the callousness of sin around it.
They are not making an effort to grow in Christ. It is not just on the Lords Day we need to put on the Lord Jesus Christ, but daily. Just like we need to cover our naked bodies with clothes, we need to realize that we are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.
Re 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Re 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
Oh! How we need to realize we need to be dressed in Christ, daily. To put on Christ, says Calvin, Means our being surrounded and protected in every part by the virtue of His Spirit, and thus rendered fit for the performance of every duty of holiness. For the image of God, which is the only ornament of the soul, is thus renewed in us.
We are soldiers of Christ, and we are in a battlefield. Then daily we need to wear the soldiers uniforms; if we wear our own clothing, we will lose the battle, as no soldier will go to the battlefield with civilian dresses.
Do not make provisions for the flesh to fulfill it lusts. Your flesh is against your spirit, it is your enemy. Do not go the gray areas of sin. Remember Herod; he loved to hear John the Baptist preach. But when it came for him to make a critical decision between John the Baptist and Herodias, spirit vs. the flesh, he sided for Herodias. Remember the rich young ruler, he wanted to do the things of God, but when it came to make a decision of selling all his wealth and then to follow God, he could not do it, as he wanted to yield to the flesh, he was looking for this life and did not care of the next life, was more concerned of his flesh, now rather than the spirit. I remember a shepherd was telling this story about his sheep. Usually the sheep are all flocked together and they are helpless without the guidance of the shepherd. But there was this one sheep, always wants to go to the boundary line, always spending time there. Although the shepherd spent time on this sheep bringing back to the main area of the flock later on this sheep goes again to the boundary line, then the shepherd found there were other few sheep also now following this sheep. Then for the sake of the other sheep, the shepherd had to kill this sheep.
If part of our flesh is going to be a problem for our spiritual growth, then we need to crucify the flesh. Let nothing stand in competition with the spirit, but make everything fall before it. If the flesh must be crossed, then cross it, spare it not, crucify it, and do not be afraid of being too cruel to it.
Ga 5:24 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.
Elizabeth Wallbridge was a dairymans daughter, who lived during the 1800s in England. A minister was there in her dying moments, he asked a question, "What is your present view of the state in which you were before He called you by His grace?"
"Sir, I was a proud, thoughtless girl; fond of dress and finery; I loved the world and the things that are in the world; I lived in service among worldly people, and never had the happiness of being in a family where worship was regarded and the souls of the servants cared for, either by master or mistress. I went once on a Sunday to church, more to see and be seen than to pray, or hear the word of God. I thought I was quite good enough to be saved, and disliked and often laughed at religious people. I was in great darkness; I knew nothing of the way of salvation; I never prayed, nor was sensible of the awful danger of a prayerless state. I wished to maintain the character of a good servant, and was much lifted up whenever I met with applause. I was tolerably moral and decent in my conduct, from motives of carnal and worldly policy; but I was a stranger to God and Christ; I neglected my soul: and had I died in such a state, hell must, and would justly, have been my portion."
Then she tells the story how she went to hear a sermon as a visiting preacher was coming to preach in the church, the motive she went was just to show off her new dress to the people. The minister asked more questions on her conversion and this is what she had to say.
"I accordingly went to church and saw a great crowd of people collected together. I often think of the contrary states of my mind during the former and latter part of the service. For a while, regardless of the worship of God, I looked around me, and was anxious to attract notice to myself. My dress, like that of too many gay, vain, and silly girls, was much above my station, and very different from that which becomes an humble sinner who has a modest sense of propriety and decency. The state of my mind was visible enough from the foolish finery of my apparel.
"At length the clergyman gave out his text: 'Be ye clothed with humility.' He drew a comparison between the clothing of the body and that of the soul. At a very early part of his discourse I began to feel ashamed of my passion for fine dressing and apparel; but when he came to describe the garment of salvation with which a Christian is clothed, I felt a powerful discovery of the nakedness of my own soul. I saw that I had neither the humility mentioned in the text, nor any one part of the true Christian character. I looked at my gay dress, and blushed for shame on account of my pride. I looked at the minister, and he seemed to be as a messenger sent from heaven to open my eyes. I looked at the congregation, and wondered whether anyone else felt as I did. I looked at my heart, and it appeared full of iniquity. I trembled as he spoke, and yet I felt a great drawing of heart to the words he uttered.
"He opened the riches of divine grace in God's method of saving the sinner. I was astonished at what I had been doing all the days of my life. He described the meek, lowly, and humble example of Christ; I felt proud, lofty, vain and self-important. He represented Christ as 'Wisdom;' I felt my ignorance. He held Him forth as 'Righteousness;' I was convinced of my own guilt. He proved Him to be 'Sanctification;' I saw my corruption. He proclaimed Him as 'Redemption;' I felt my slavery to sin and my captivity to Satan. He concluded with an animated address to sinners, in which he exhorted them to flee from the wrath to come, to cast off the love of outward ornaments, to put on Christ, and be clothed with true humility.
"From that hour I never lost sight of the value of my soul and the danger of a sinful state. I inwardly blessed God for the sermon, although my mind was in a state of great confusion.
"The preacher had brought forward the ruling passion of my heart which was pride in outward dress; and by the grace of God it was made instrumental to the awakening of my soul. Happy, sir, would I be if many a poor girl like myself were turned from the love of outward adorning and putting on of fine apparel, to seek that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
"The greater part of the congregation, unused to such faithful and scriptural sermons, disliked and complained of the severity of the preacher; while a few, as I afterwards found, like myself, were deeply affected, and earnestly wished to hear him again. But he preached there no more.
"From that time I was led, through a course of private prayer, reading, and meditation, to see my lost estate as a sinner, and the great mercy of God, through Jesus Christ, in raising sinful dust and ashes to a share in the glorious happiness of heaven. And, oh, sir! What a Saviour have I found! He is more than I could ask or desire. In His fullness I have found all that my poverty could need; in His bosom I have found a resting place from all sin and sorrow, in His word I have found strength against doubt and unbelief."
"Were you not soon convinced," said I, "that your salvation must be an act of entire grace on the part of God, wholly independent of your own previous works or deservings?"
"Dear sir, what were my works before I heard that sermon but evil, carnal, selfish, and ungodly? The thoughts of my heart, from my youth upward, were only evil, and that continually. And my deservings, what were they but the deservings of a fallen, depraved, careless soul that regards neither law nor gospel? Yes, sir, I immediately saw that, if ever I was saved, it must be by the free mercy of God, and that the whole praise and honour of the work would be his from first to last."
"What change did you perceive in yourself with respect to the world?"
"It appeared all vanity and vexation of spirit. I found it necessary to my peace of mind to 'come out from among them, and be separate.' I gave myself to prayer; and many a precious hour of secret delight I enjoyed in communion with God. Often I mourned over my sins, and sometimes had a great conflict through unbelief, fear, temptation, to return back again to my old ways, and a variety of difficulties which lay in my way. But He who loved me with an everlasting love drew me by His loving-kindness, showed me the way of peace, gradually strengthened me in my resolutions of leading a new life, and taught me that, while without Him I could do nothing, I yet might do all things through His strength."
Ps 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.