Live By The Spirit, Enter His Rest

Series: Other speakers

Sun am 29 March 2015 – Shane Egypt

Rom. 8:4-5, 14; 2 Pet.  2:2; 2 Cor. 4:16; Rom. 7:22; Gal. 5:16-17; Eph. 3:16; 1 Cor. 3:1; Luke 22:31;
(Matt. 14:25-33); Mark 9:5-6; (John 16:14); (Josh. 9:3-15); (John 13:37); (Matt. 19:27);
(Matt. 16:21-23); (Eph. 4:22-24); (James 3:11); (Rom. 8:28); (Matt. 16:17)

In the subject of rest, I want to link it to the outer man, the man of flesh as opposed to the man of spirit. We can only walk in rest if we walk according to the Spirit. So that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit  (Rom. 8:4-5). If we define a walk according to the Spirit, it is a way of walking. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned (2 Peter 2:2). Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man (Eph. 3:16). And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ (1 Cor. 3:1). He compares the man of the flesh with immaturity. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please (Gal. 5:16-17).

We see the tension between the outer and inner man. Why this struggle? What the outer man wants is in conflict with the conviction of the inner man. Everything in the world system, how we think, act and react are all according to the outer man. It influences us as to how to think and how to act and it is often deceiving. Most of our efforts are spent on the outer man because we want to project something to the world.

Let us look at Peter, what he said and how he reacted as a man of the flesh, not understanding the things of the spirit. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32). It looks like Peter’s faith failed. He had to return to Christ. The last Adam perfected that which the first Adam failed to do. When Jesus said, once you have turned again – that place is a place of life and the place of rest, the place of the spirit; that is the place Christ has created for us. We cannot be led by the outer man and the flesh because it is deceiving. We cannot live an earthy, sin-conscious existence dominated by religious activity. The perfect Sacrifice created a place for us where we can enter into that rest.

When Peter walked on the water, he saw the wind and the waves, he doubted and became frightened and cried out to the Lord (Matt. 5:24-33). Peter started out on a word from the Lord and on that word he started walking. He stepped out in faith.  We endeavour to step out on a living Word, but then life happens and we look at circumstances, and we waver and doubt. But Jesus said, “Peter I have prayed for you.” We need to return to the place of the Spirit and walk according to the Spirit and not according to the outer man.

In the wilderness there was a forty year delay to entering the Promised Land because of unbelief. Because of this wavering, generations died in the wilderness without receiving the inheritance of rest.

On the Mount of transfiguration, Peter was impulsive and did not know what to say because he did not have understanding of what was really happening (Mark 9:5-6). Let us first have understanding of a situation before we speak. Peter was speaking as a man of flesh. We need to be renewed to know the things of God. Jesus said of the Spirit, He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you (John 16:14).

The Gibeonites put on old clothing, they took old bread and made it seem like they came from a far-away place. They came to make a covenant with Joshua because they feared the people of Israel. So the men of Israel took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the Lord. Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore an oath to them (Josh. 9:3-15). We do not know why Joshua did not consult the Lord. The Gibeonites came with a wrong motive and a deceiving heart. The influence of the Gibeonites was destructive among the people of God. Like Abraham who requested that Ishmael may live while there was the promise of Isaac, it caused situations that we have to deal with for the rest of our lives. Its result is that we will not walk in rest.

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You” (John 13:36-37). Famous last words. In another instance the disciples wanted to know what was in it for them because they had left all to follow Him (Matt. 19:27). When Jesus started speaking of His death at the hands of the chief priests, Peter took him aside and rebuked Him. Jesus’ response was, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s” (Matt. 16:21-23). Peter was not setting his mind on God’s interests, but on man’s; the interests of the flesh.

That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (Eph. 4:22-24). What Peter needed to do was to turn to a new place which God created. If we want to follow Christ fully, the Bible is clear that we need to die to ourselves, the outer man. The old cannot co-exist with the new. Clean and muddy water cannot come from the same fountain (James 3:11).

Jesus was sleeping in the boat during a storm (Mark 4:35-39). Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances where we feel that God is not part of the circumstances. We may not utter it but we think, “Where is God in this situation?” What are we creating when we speak a word? Can we release a word to calm the storm as we speak from the inner man? It can happen if we walk in the spirit. We need to speak and act out of our true nature; out of who we are in Him.  We were created in His image. We come from the Source. So when the storm comes again we react in a different way. We can calm the storm; we can calm the outer man because Christ is in the situation. All things work for good for those who love the God (Rom. 8:28).

After Jesus died Peter went back to his old life of fishing, so did the other disciples. When they had caught nothing, Jesus appeared but they did not recognize him. In the flesh we cannot recognise the things of the Spirit. Peter put on his outer garment and jumped into the water. Peter tried to cover up. The outer garment reminds me of Adam and Eve, who when they were disobedient also clothed themselves. This is what religion does to us. We are deceived by the outer man. What does God say? Walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.

In another instance, And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven (Matt. 16:17). We can see where Peter returned from if we look at the book of Acts. Like Saul who became Paul, there was a change of identity. The disciples were transformed, renewed and empowered by the Spirit of God. Peter on the day of Pentecost, stood up with the eleven and recognized the prophecy of Joel. He now had an understanding of spiritual things because he returned from the place where he had gone wrong (Luke 22:31-32). There is a place created for us in Christ where we are not deceived by the flesh.

God has ushered in a new and living way. That inheritance is ours. He dealt with the outer man. We do not have to be dominated by the flesh. We have been given a new mind, everything has been made new. We should not be controlled by the old self and sin consciousness the way we walked before. Walk in this newness of life, this realm of the Spirit.  Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Rom. 8:14).