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Romans 1.24

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Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

This verse is remarkable in what it says, so I have included several translations to give you a real opportunity to meditate on it:

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], (AMP)

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. (NIV)

So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. (NLT)

This word “gave them up”, translated as abandoned in the NLT, is the Greek word paradidomi. It is the same word used for Judas when he betrayed Christ (Matthew 10.4). However, it is not always used in the context of betrayal or abandoning.

It can be used to committing a trust to someone – for example in Matthew 25.20, it is used about giving money to someone to look after. In Acts 15.26 it is used to describe people committing and risking their lives for Christ. In 1 Cor. 13.3 it is used for giving up your life as a martyr.

It is even used for revelation knowledge. Paul in 1 Cor. 11.23 talking about communion says that what the Lord has delivered to me, I deliver to you. It is the same word. In Jude 3, Jude tells us that faith has been delivered to us.

So what is the context of this word which as we shall see as we read through Romans 1 is used three times in the next 5 verses. It is vital we understand what this word means to understand this verse and indeed this entire passage.

The word, looking at several classical Greek dictionaries, means to give up or let go of what you have been entrusted to look after. It can therefore mean betrayal, or it can mean a sacrifice. Now, has God betrayed us like Judas to Jesus or is God making a supreme sacrifice of love by giving us up?

I am sure it does not take a theologian to know that the nature of God is love (1 John 4.9) and that God, who cannot lie (Hebrews 6.8), could NEVER betray His creation.

So God is actually making a sacrifice here. He is doing the most loving thing that can be done.

Remember the context of this verse. In the previous two verses we find that we are talking about people who have stepped away from a living relationship with God and turned to idolatry.

As soon as someone turns to idolatry, God hands them over. He passes them on to someone else. He should be looking after every human on the planet, but when they willfully reject Him and turn to a false god, He passes them on. He gives them up.

And what does God give them up to? Uncleanness.

This is the start of the downward spiral of EVERY nation, EVERY community, EVERY individual, EVERY Christian that rejects God and creates a false god.

The first step is uncleanness.

Now, God gives you up out of love and sacrifice. God could come and visit you in ALL HIS GLORY and MAJESTY. You would fall at His feet and beg for His mercy and love. But God is not a bully who shows off His strength every chance He has. If you want to leave, He will NOT lock you in and imprison you. God never misuses the fact He is God. He always operates in love. God makes the most powerful sacrifice of all: He gives up His happiness in walking with you and sacrifices it so you can have free will and decide to ignore God and create a false god.

But, as soon as you are outside of God’s hand, uncleanness grabs hold of you. Uncleanness is the Greek word akatharsia and means impure motives. Have you noticed as soon as you try and do things apart from God’s will, God’s plan and God’s leading your motives go all over the place? You start to question yourself, you start to do things out of arrogance, to prove a point. You lose the security of knowing God is your source and your joy and your place of acceptance, so you start pushing about making people accept you, forcing people to like you, criticising people who succeed.

But then uncleanness develops and leads to dishonouring your body. Now yes this includes sexual immorality such as fornication, masterbation and homosexuality. And one of the things that happens as soon as you create false gods is sexual immorality. You lose the perspective that sex is for marriage, and marriage is for life.

Every false religion on the earth leads to sexual immorality. Whether it is a Muslim blowing himself up for 72 virgins, or a practiser of Wicca involved in a skyclad (naked) ritual, every false religion will lead to sexual immorality. This is a Scripture principle and cannot be denied.

If you are living an unclean life, you can try and fight it but you will fail. You will fail again and again. You might weep and repent each time, but you will not succeed in living clean. Because your problem is not uncleanness – uncleaness is the fruit.

Remember this truth: your problem is NEVER the fruit, it is ALWAYS the seed. If you don’t like the fruit, change seed.

Your problem is stepping away from God. Failing to glorify God, failing to thank Him for the things He has done for you, failing to control your imagination, and failing to fill yourself with the Word.

If you watch TV with adultery and “scenes of a sexual nature” you are filling yourself with the wrong seed, you are committing idolatry and you will end up in uncleanness. Fighting that harvest after sowing the wrong seed is nearly impossible.

You need to change your seed! Spend your time thanking God, glorifying God, and imagining your life of victory and meditating in the Word. Then change will be effortless. And fun!

If God has let you go and you are aware that uncleanness has grabbed you realize this: God let you go because YOU wanted to be let go. Want to be back with God and He will set you free, pour His love in your heart, rejoice over you with singing and enable you to live pure and clean in this world.

Glory and freedom,
Benjamin

Dealing With Temptation (Andrew Wommack)

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Everyone faces temptation. But the truth is, very few people deal with it effectively. That shouldn’t be the case, and it doesn’t have to be the case for believers. There are some very simple and effective ways of dealing with temptation that you should know, and if you’ll put them into practice, I guarantee, you’ll come out the winner.

It has been said, “Fail to plan and you’re planning to fail.” That statement could not be truer when it’s applied to temptation. I don’t know anyone who gets up in the morning and prays to fail when faced with temptation, but I know many people who get up each morning and fail to plan for what the Bible says we will all certainly face. So, first and most important, you must be prepared. That’s so simple, you have to have someone’s help to misunderstand. But, we must have had a lot of help because very few people have taken the time or made the effort to prepare.

Second Chronicles 12:14 says it this way,

“And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.”

This was speaking of Rehoboam, the king of Judah and the son of Solomon. He started off as a good king who was seeking the Lord. But just like many people today, he wasn’t prepared for what would inevitably come his way. When Satan throws temptation your way, if you’re not already prepared, it’s too late. You’ll probably lose the fight.

Jesus prepared Himself. He spent thirty years getting ready for His encounter with the devil, and He started preparing early. At the age of twelve, He was asking questions of the doctors of the Law and astounding them with His answers. He had obviously spent many hours reading and studying the Scriptures. I’m sure that study continued all His life, but even Jesus needed more.

Before He was tempted by Satan face to face, He was anointed with the Holy Spirit at His baptism by John in the Jordan River. Jesus went into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, full of the power of the Holy Spirit.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit is an absolute necessity for overcoming temptation. There are many Christians who received the Holy Spirit years ago and haven’t been full of the Holy Spirit a day since. It’s not about what happened to us long ago; we have to stay full of the Holy Spirit. One way of doing that is to speak in tongues on a regular basis. Jude 1:20-21 says,

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

Praying in tongues builds us up on our most holy faith. How many times have you needed your most holy faith to take you through a certain trial, and yet you haven’t used this gift of the Holy Spirit? Verse 21 also says we keep ourselves in the love of God when we speak in tongues. Have you ever asked the Lord to pour out His love on you? I imagine you have, but this doesn’t say to pray that way; it says we are to keep ourselves in the love of God. We do that by speaking in tongues. We don’t ask God for that which He’s already given, we simply stir up the love that has already been commended toward us, by speaking in tongues. This is a powerful gift. Isaiah 28:11-12 says,

“For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.”

Do you ever need rest or refreshing? I guarantee that you do, and this verse says speaking in tongues is the way to get it. We have a tremendously powerful gift available to us through the Holy Spirit, but few people take advantage of it. Instead, we ask God to do what He told us to do. We need to use this gift of speaking in tongues to stir ourselves up, or we risk sinking to the bottom.

You must also know who you are. Matthew 4 and Luke 4 record the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. One of the most amazing aspects of those temptations was that Satan began two of the three temptations with the words, “If thou be the Son of God.” Many people have missed this point. The real temptation was Satan’s attempt to get Jesus to doubt who He was. That’s the same way he attacked Adam and Eve. The serpent told Eve that if she would eat the forbidden fruit, she would be like God (Gen. 3:5). The truth was that she was already like God, but she didn’t know it. The first Adam sinned, because he didn’t know who he really was. The second Adam, Jesus, didn’t sin, because He did know who he was. Knowing your true identity in Christ is one of the greatest defenses you can possibly have against temptation.

Jesus had just heard His Father speak to Him in an audible voice saying,

“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17).

There was also a visible sign from God when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus in the shape of a dove. Jesus had to anchor His faith in who His Father said He was. But immediately, Satan came to Him saying,

“If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matt. 4:3).

The real temptation was never about turning stones into bread. It was Satan’s attempt to manipulate Jesus into doubting His Father’s Word and doing something to prove who He was. Satan was trying to find and exploit any insecurity in Jesus.

When you were a kid, I’m sure someone at some time dared you to do something stupid. The real issue wasn’t whether or not you could do it but whether you were “afraid” to do it. And sad to say, many of us took the dare and did something that hurt us or shamed us just to prove that we weren’t. All we really succeeded in proving was that we feared their disapproval so much that we weren’t willing to do what was right. The truly fearless response would have been to walk away, secure in who we were, earning their respect through character rather than performance.

Satan was daring Jesus—”If You’re really the Son of God, if what You heard from the Father in an audible voice is really true, then prove it, and turn this stone into bread.” Turning a stone into bread would not have been sin. It would have been sin if Jesus had doubted the words of His heavenly Father declaring who He was by placing more faith in what a miracle could say about Him. You must know who you are if you want to overcome temptation. No matter what form Satan’s temptations may take, they are all directed at causing us to doubt who we are.

It’s also important to understand that all temptation is rooted in selfishness. In fact, our selfishness is really Satan’s beachhead. Jesus stripped him of his power two thousand years ago, so the only thing he can really do is deceive us through our own selfish desires. The Bible tells us exactly what they are in 1 John 2:16,

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”

And in James 1:14 we read,

“But every many is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”

Satan is not limitless; deception is his only weapon. All he can do is try to deceive us into thinking that God really can’t or won’t fulfill our lives. Every single temptation of the enemy is packaged in the form of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life. But they’re all designed to entice us and cause us to doubt that God will meet our needs. Selfishness is always the favorite playground of the devil, and when selfishness rules in our lives, we open the door to his deceptive schemes.

You can’t be tempted unless you have first thought about it. All temptation is linked to what you think on. Therefore, control your thoughts, and you will control temptation. This is a simple but profound truth. It’s the reason most people fall into temptation. It’s like a woman who doesn’t want to get pregnant but continues to have sexual relations without any contraception. Sooner or later, she will get pregnant. Think on the wrong things long enough, and sooner or later you will fall into sin when tempted.

Philippians 4:8 says this,

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Temptation will come, but it’s hard for the devil to deceive you when your mind is stayed on those things. Satan can only work with what you give him, so don’t give him any space in your mind. You’ll be able to avoid many of the temptations you face if you will put this into practice.

The Word is powerful—use it. Jesus countered every temptation of the devil with the Word. Think about it, Jesus was the Word, and everything He said would have been Scripture and more than sufficient to rebuke the devil. Yet He would say, “It is written” then He quoted God’s Word. If it was important for Jesus to quote the Word, it’s even more important for us to do the same. We must know God’s Word to effectively overcome temptation. That goes back to being prepared; you can’t quote scripture you haven’t learned, and there isn’t any power in what you don’t know or understand.

The Sower Sows the Word (VII)

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Today, we are wrapping up our study on the things that stop us from producing the results promised in the Word happening in our lives. We have looked at the danger of not fighting for the Word, for only listening to the Word on an emotional level, of allowing money and wealth to dictate to us and of the desire for people to like and honour us stopping us being the Christians that we are destined to be.

Now we shall look at the final challenge: the lust for other things.

Mark 4.19 says:

And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

If you have the lust of other things enter into your heart, it will choke the Word of God and the Word of God will not be fruitful in your life. You will most likely blame God and His Word, but it is not God’s fault – it is because of what you have allowed into your heart.

Don’t kick yourself though, make a change. Let’s look at what the lust of other things actually is:

The word used for lust here is the Greek word epithymia. It means a strong desire. It does not always refer to something bad – Jesus uses the word to refer to his desire to share the passover meal with his disciples for example (Luke 22.15) – but generally it is used to refer to a strong desire that your body has.

A good example would be:

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof]. – Romans 13.14

If you allow the desires of your flesh to control what you do, what you think and how you behave you will never see the manifestation of the Word of God in your life.

Romans 6.12 says: Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

Now this is where many Christians get themselves into trouble and tie themselves into knots. They read a Scripture like Romans 6.12 that tells them not to obey the desires of their body. It might be a sin-desire like using a pornographic website or spreading gossip. It might be a sickness-desire like lying in bed all day and not fighting off the cold. Either way it is a desire of your flesh. Now if you simply try and fight off that desire you will fail.

Sometimes you will succeed but sometimes you will fail. Your Christian life will be a roller-coaster of success and failure. You will lead a generally unfruitful Christian life. I know many Christians that live like this, and I know I have had seasons where I have lived like this too. Struggled to walk in purity, in health, in prosperity, in love – sometimes succeeding and sometimes not, my emotions flowing all over the place. An up and down Christian.

But that is not God’s will – He has redeemed us from this, praise the Lord. To find out how to live free from the strong desires of your body, let’s re-read Romans 6.12, but in context:

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

7For he that is dead is freed from sin.

8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

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

12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (Romans 6.6-18)

Romans is one of the most powerful books in the Bible because it deals with the most important topic in the New Testament: righteousness. I sincerely believe that righteousness is the most misunderstood topic in the Bible and that if Christians truly understood it, there would be a revival across the world that has never been seen before in any generation.

It was a revelation of what righteousness really is that started the Protestant Reformation. It was a revelation of what righteousness really is that started the charismatic move. These are the two most influential revivals that have ever happened in history.

Righteousness is the state of right standing with God. A synonym for righteousness is just. To make someone righteous is to justify them. It means you can stand in the presence of God and not be afraid, not feel inferior, not be condemned. It means you are right with God. A righteous person is as bold as a lion. A righteous person has their prayers answered. They have joy, they have peace. Understanding what righteousness is and how to receive it is the key to life.

Romans 1 tells us that the nations are not righteous. Romans 2 tells us that the nation of Israel and people who obey the law are not righteous. Romans 3 tells us no-one is righteous because of their actions., but that you can only receive righteousness by faith. Romans 4 shows how the remarkable individual Abraham did not even have righteousness by his actions, but was made righteous (justified) by faith. Romans 5 tells us the benefits of being righteous by faith.

Romans 6 then deals with a wonderful question: if I am righteous and have the benefits of righteousness because of faith in the complete work of redemption by the Lord Jesus Christ, then why should I even bother living right?

(If you read Romans 6.1-2 you will find that Paul was accused of teaching you can live however you like if you are a Christian. The technical name for such a belief is libertarianism. It means a Christian can act as selfish as they like and there is no problem.

Now that is clearly not true – but if in your preaching of the Word no-one has managed to accuse you of this, you do need to ask yourself are you preaching righteousness by grace through faith as powerfully as Paul was?)

In Romans 6, Paul gives 2 reasons why we should live a holy and loving life, and not just do what our body feels like. He also gives us 2 ways in which we can live holy.

The two reasons why we should live holy are:

1. Because it is our nature. You are holy, so living holy should be natural to you. Like a bird flying or a tree producing fruit, it shouldn’t be difficult. Verse 7 of Romans 6 says that we are dead to sin. If you are dead to something, it should not tempt you. The more time we spend meditating on Bible verses that tell us our true nature, the easier it is to resist sin.

Once you realize that you are righteous, then it becomes natural to act righteous. Lots of people are trying to act righteous to convince themselves they are righteous – this is the wrong way round! Have a read of 2 Cor. 5.21 and see what you are because of the work of Jesus Christ.

2. We should live holy because living in sin brings death into your life. This concept is addressed in v.17 and in Romans 6.23 which says that the wages of sin is death. If you sin, then you will become trapped by that sin and that sin will bring death into your life. If you lie, you will be tempted to lie more, and the lies will bring sickness, stress, broken relationships and poverty into your life. It will not stop God loving you but it will not allow you to enjoy His love.

Sin won’t keep you from heaven, but it will keep others from heaven. They will fail to see the life of God inside you and will not be attracted to the wonderful news of redemption. Sin makes you miserable – holiness is for your own good.

Why is it so important that we are holy because of these reasons and not to make God love us? Does the motive matter – or just the fact that we are striving to be holy. The answer is that if you are just trying to live right to please God and to become righteous then you will always fail. You will always feel God is against you and you will be defeated.

If you realize you are right, then you can live right. You can enjoy fellowship with the Holy Spirit, you can have confidence when you pray, you can go and lay hands on the sick and know it is not because of you that they are healed but because of Jesus.

The lust for other things can be lorded over if you realize that God has already lifted you above that.

Romans 7 goes on to tell of the futility of still trying to live by the law of God. Romans 8 tells of the wonders of living by the Spirit, aware of your righteousness. If you realize that you are righteous and realize that sin always leads to death, you will find that there is a power inside you – the power of the reborn, righteous spirit, the power of the new creation that you became on the day you became a Christian – and that this power is more powerful than the lust for other things.

If you deal with the lust for other things, then the Word of God will start to spring up in your life. Healing, peace, prosperity, wholeness will no longer be in seed form, planted deep in your life with no evidence they are there, but they will spring up in your life and transform not just your life, but the whole world.

Blessings,
Ben

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