Posted by: pastortomvabeach | May 17, 2016

Thought for the Week May 22, 2016

First, many thanks to Pastor Doug and Cheryl for filling in for me so that I could take a brief vacation and attend my grandson’s graduation from the University of Nebraska. If I said I was proud of him (my grandson) that would be an understatement. I am also proud of the way Pastor Doug handled a very touchy situation while I was gone.

Apparently some good sized animal (cat, raccoon, possum?) found its way through the moisture barrier and into the insulation under the floor of the 3-5 age group class room. We don’t know why, but once in there it died. Well, it doesn’t take long for decomposing flesh to make itself known and on a Thursday, with just three days before Sunday, a foul odor filled the room and seeped out into most of the Children’s Wing. While there was not time to locate the source and no time for the smell to dissipate, Pastor Doug and the staff did everything they could to try to find the source and, then, to juggle classroom assignments and limit the exposure of anyone to the problem. They are all to be commended for their swift and wise actions.

This incident is an striking example of what happens if we allow the enemy to trick us into believing that we are just poor sinners who are destined to struggle with sin and fail most of the time as we plod our way to heaven. I say trick us because that statement is a lie according to the Scripture. Romans 6:6-7 reads We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. Paul is saying that once we are saved that old man of sin that we were is dead and when something is dead it has no power or influence any more.

In II Corinthians 5:17, he says Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! As a believer in Jesus Christ, I am not a poor sinner doomed to struggle with sin all my life. Rather I am a new creation in Christ, a saint in the eyes of God and have been given everything I need to live a godly and holy life that is pleasing to God. That is the truth that Jesus said will set us free!

What more often happens is that we listen to the enemy’s lie which says, “That’s just the way you are. You can’t avoid sin. You’ll never win.” When we do that we dig up that old man and guess what? What the Bible says is true; that old man is dead! When you dig up an old dead body, what does it look like? You got it; it’s rotted, decayed, corrupt, and it stinks! When we choose to believe our old man still lives the stink of that old carcass gets all over us and like the odor in the Little Lambs room, it doesn’t take long to spread everywhere we go.

Paul tells us how to get rid of the odor. With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. (Ephesians 4:17). Choose to live like saints then do this: Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy (Ephesians 4:22-24).

Notice what he says about the old nature; it is corrupt which means it is decayed and rotting. He says throw it off. Isn’t that what you would do if a rotting carcass was handed to you? You would drop it like a red hot piece of metal and then get as far away from it as you could. That’s what some brave men did this week. They crawled under the building and located the offending animal. It was so decomposed that they could not even tell what it was. They covered their faces with respirators anointed with bleach, wore surgical rubber gloves, and immediately disposed of it in double plastic bags. That’s what you do with a dead body. We can and should do the same with the old man.

On the up side, the Scripture says that the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth (Ephesians 5:9) and that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). These are the products of our new life in Christ. As we walk in the Spirit these are the kinds of fruits that come out of our lives. Paul says that as Jesus walked in love He became a sweet smelling savor to the Lord (Ephesians 5:2). That same sweet smell arises out of our lives when we produce the Spirit’s fruit, a pleasing aroma both to the Lord and to all those with whom we have contact.

Which would you rather represent your life? Is it better to have the stench of the old man or woman going before us and lingering everywhere we go or is it better to have the fragrance of God’s righteous fruit filling every relationship? I kind of think that’s a no brainer, don’t you. So who are you going to believe? God’s truth in the Word that the old man is dead and can’t “make” you sin or the enemy who tries to trick you into just giving up and smelling like it? Just a thought.

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