In My Flesh Dwelleth No Good Thing

Romans 7:18 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.

7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

Have you ever discovered this inside yourself? Do you want to do good? Do you want to do the right thing – for to will is present? We do want to do the right thing but how to do it – that is the question? How to perform that which is good I find not.

Exodus 24:7 And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient.

These were the Israelites at Mt Sinai. They said we will do the right thing. They were all willing to do the right thing. Notice this will was even sealed by blood. He took the book of the covenant and sprinkled it with blood. So they made this pledge of obedience and another word for pledge is a covenant. So they covenanted obedience. Could they obey. Did they obey? Shortly afterwards we know they worshipped the golden calf in mirth and revelry. They pledged obedience but they couldn’t carry it out. They said we will be obedient but how to perform they found not.

The good resolutions made in ones own strength avail nothing. Not all the pledges in the world will break the power of an evil habit. Never will men practice temperance in all things until their hearts are renewed by divine grace (that is the answer). Ministry of Healing p191

Have you ever made a good resolution where you want to stop a habit and you resolve that you are no longer going to do it and then the next thing you know you are doing it again? You make a pledge but you can’t keep it, you make a covenant even sealed with blood. It was broken. What is the solution?

Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day [that] I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:

They made a pledge and they broke it. If we make a pledge in our own strength and in our own flesh it avails nothing – we need something more than our own strength. A new heart renewed by divine grace. This heart is discovered in the next verse.

Jeremiah 31:33 But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

God will take your heart and give you a new heart and that is what is needed. All the pledges in the word and all the resolutions made in your own strength are useless without a new heart. We need a heart renewed by divine grace. There were two sons. One son pledged his obedience – yes father. The other son made no pledge.

Matthew 21:28 But what think ye? A [certain] man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work today in my vineyard.

21:29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.

21:30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I [go], sir: and went not.

21:31 Whether of them twain did the will of [his] father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

In the son who said, “I go, sir,” and went not, the character of the Pharisees was revealed. Like this son, the Jewish leaders were impenitent and self-sufficient. The religious life of the Jewish nation had become a pretense. When the law was proclaimed on Mount Sinai by the voice of God, all the people pledged themselves to obey. They said, “I go, sir,” but they went not. {COL 276.1}

This puts the parable together with the pledge they made at Mt Sinai. Jesus told this parable to the Pharisees and they likewise pledged themselves to obey. Did they obey? They said they would but did they?

Romans 9:31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

9:32 Wherefore? Because [they sought it] not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

Committed to the children of Israel were the oracles of God and they knew the standard of what was right. As their fathers had done before they pledged obedience to this standard of righteousness but they went not and it says they attained not. They didn’t do it. They said they would, they followed after it but they didn’t do it. So much for their pledge. Although they sought to attain righteousness and there was a certain standard to keep because they were religious leaders and they wanted to maintain their influence over the people and maintain reverence over the people so they had to give the appearance of being righteous holy men.

They said I go sir and appear as though they were and they kept up a certain standard of religion. There was certain pressure upon them to keep up the standard of righteousness because they were the religious leaders. But the flesh being like it is in their hearts were passions of lust. Neither were their hearts renewed by divine grace so what were the results of this. What sort of religion did they have? Why was there so much pressure to keep up religious standards and yet they were men of lust and passions?

Matthew 21:27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

21:28 But what think ye? A [certain] man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.

The pharisees kept the appearance of outward holiness.

It is true that there may be an outward correctness of deportment without the renewing power of Christ. The love of influence and the desire for the esteem of others may produce a well-ordered life. Self-respect may lead us to avoid the appearance of evil. A selfish heart may perform generous actions. By what means, then, shall we determine whose side we are on? {SC 58.1}

There is this outward holiness that is not accompanied by an inner holiness. The Pharisees hearts had an inner rottenness, full of lust and selfishness. Jesus said to them you will do the lusts of your father. They didn’t like it because they thought they were holy men. But there was nothing to cleanse the heart they were without the renewing power of Christ. Like a white sepulchre on the outside but a stinky rotten corpse on the outside.

John 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

8:4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

8:5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

What was Jesus writing in the ground? These men wanted an answer from Jesus but he was actually tracing out the secret sins of the Pharisees.

Impatient at His delay and apparent indifference the accusers drew nearer, urging the matter upon His attention. But as their eyes, following those of Jesus, fell upon the pavement at His feet, their voices were silenced. There, traced before them, were the guilty secrets of their own lives. {MH 88.3}

Rising, and fixing His eyes upon the plotting elders, Jesus said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” Verse 7. And, stooping down, He continued writing. {MH 88.4}

They had inner corruptions and Jesus was writing it out.

The accusers had been defeated. Now, their robe of pretended holiness torn from them, they stood, guilty and condemned, in the presence of Infinite Purity. They trembled lest the hidden iniquity of their lives should be laid open to the multitude; and one by one, with bowed heads and downcast eyes, they stole away, leaving their victim with the pitying Saviour. {DA 461.4}

What were they worried about? Why did they all leave? They didn’t want their sins revealed before the people or they might lose influence. These religious men had this outward holiness torn aside and it was like lifting a corpse from a grave. Jesus lifted the cover and it stank. It was the guilty secrets of their own lives. Secret lives, their own iniquity. How else could they satisfy the burning lusts in their own hearts? They were only men. How could they satisfy those sins? They had nothing to keep them from sin and yet they had to keep up this really high standard of holiness. That was expected of them. So their religion became one of double standards and hypocrisy. Let me further illustrate such a religion as that where we have huge standard to meet and yet we are so full of lust and corruption that religion does work we need the heart cleaned.

When the early church became corrupted by departing from the simplicity of the gospel and accepting heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit and power of God; and in order to control the consciences of the people, she sought the support of the secular power. The result was the papacy, a church that controlled the power of the state and employed it to further her own ends, especially for the punishment of “heresy.” In order for the United States to form an image of the beast, the religious power must so control the civil government that the authority of the state will also be employed by the church to accomplish her own ends. {GC 443.2}

What did she lose? She lost the power of God. No more power, no more divine grace to renew the heat and if there was no more of that could the people keep themselves from sin? Could they break the power of an evil habit? Could they deal with their own lusts? Impossible. Not for one moment nevertheless there was a profession of holiness to be maintained that they were the church. The chaste virgin of Christ and they had to keep these standards up.

2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.

What sort of religion did it create?

45. “While thus attaching so fanciful a holiness to virginity, the Church came practically to erect a most singular standard of morality, the influence of which could but be most deplorable on the mass of the laity. In the earlier days of celibacy, the rule was regarded by the severer ecclesiastics as simply an expression of the necessity of purity in the minister of God.. {1901 ATJ, ECE 441.2}

The church came to require a certain standard. The church required the clergy to maintain this standard or purity. But it was without the renewing power of Christ and they were supposed to be? The chaste virgins of Christ but the flesh being the flesh and lust being in the heart the clergy found themselves in an inextricably hard position. They were supposed to be these chaste virgins who could live without a wife yet were men of passion and there was no way to overcome that. They enforced celibacy of the priesthood and obedience to the Latin Church. It was brought in through Europe and was enforced. It has not been accompanied by the gift of chastity so the priests were not chaste but illicit lovers. This is true even today. There was certain pressure to the priests to live up to the standard of the church. It was enforced celibacy and this celibacy of the priesthood was a sign of their purity that they were the chaste virgins of Christ. It was an outward sign that they were chaste. A beautiful whited exterior. What about inwardly? It was a very different story. The celibacy of the priest hood was not accompanied by chastity. Lurking in the hearts of the priests were dark passionate lusts. All uncleanness and dead men’s bones. Worst of all there were not powers to check these evil habits of lust. Christ was not presented in the true light. And they were men of lust but they church required them to live up to the church standard. Pressure was applied and we see the result. What religion did they have? It was a religion of double standards.

We know celibate priests carried on secret lives to satisfy their lusts. Lovers, concubines, children born out of wedlock. Dirty secrets kept. Secret lives, double standards and when they got caught what did the church do? They left the priesthood alone if they paid a bit of money. What an example the church gave to the people of the world. In our own experience, is there pressure to keep church standards? Where does the pressure come from? Is it from the preaching of the word to do what the church says? Maybe we have pressure to maintain our own standard in the church. Is it from other people watching us ready to condemn us? Whether right or wrong, we will feel certain pressures to keep up certain standards. We will come to church and feel pressure to do this and that but us hope it is the word of God. This pressure comes upon us to keep certain standards and uphold them but can we keep them? Yes outwardly we can and it is drummed into us. Uphold the church standards and keep them because they are all important. But if they are pushed like that we could end up with double standards if Christ is not preached. If it wasn’t for the preaching of Christ to clean up my heart how lost I would have been. Is it really necessary to clean up the heart? Can’t we get to heaven with some exterior whiteness? Isn’t that good enough? In John 3 is it necessary? Nicodemus came to Jesus because he was curious.

John 3:3 Jesus said verily verily unless a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.

5 except a man be born of water and the spirit you can’t go there

Unless you have a clean heart you cannot even see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus was a strict Pharisee and he prided himself on his good works. Sustaining the temple service. He gave a lot of money to the church. He was startled at the thought of a kingdom too pure for him to see in his present state. That is how important it is. Unless Nicodemus had a clean heart he could not go to heaven. We might be startled but that is the truth. Nicodemus had come to the Lord thinking to enter into a discussion with him but Jesus laid bare the principles and foundation of truth. Jesus said it is not theoretical knowledge as much as a spiritual regeneration. Jesus said you have things in your heart that are still black. You need not to have your curiosity satisfied but to have a new heart. This is what we need. We should not fool ourselves and think we are going to heaven by an exterior religion. How necessary it is to heave a pure heart.

John 3:6 we are men of flesh and blood aren’t we full of lust and all sorts of uncleanness.

Nicodemus was marvelling that he needed his heart cleaned up.

Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean [thing] out of an unclean? not one.

The human heart is naturally evil. We are selfish and full of lust passion anger automatically. We are full of uncleanness. What should we do with our double lives? Come to church and act all holy and then live to our flesh during the week. You are not going to heaven so why come here and act all holy? It is a frightful condition but we have the answers we know how to remedy this frightful condition

No human invention can find a remedy for the sinning soul. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” Romans 8:7; Matthew 15:19. The fountain of the heart must be purified before the streams can become pure. He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. There is no safety for one who has merely a legal religion, a form of godliness. The Christian’s life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit. {DA 172.1}

You must be born of the spirit otherwise there is no change for the better. Our religion will degenerate to a form of godliness denying the power thereof. Denying the power of God to change the heart.

Roman 12:2 Be not conformed to this world

Are we conforming? Do we love the world? A few weeks ago we had a lesson about Jesus knocking at the door of the heart and he can’t come in unless we clear away the worldly rubbish. Do you enjoy the things of the world participating in what the world participates in? If Jesus can’t get in because we don’t have a clean heart then we won’t go to heaven.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We need to clear away that rubbish or we will have double standards. There will be no Jesus and no heaven to look forward to. There is ample supply of God’s grace to cleanse our heart. There is no shortage. We will come to the Lord and he will clean us up. When you come to the church don’t be fooled into thinking you will be cleaned all at once as sanctification is the world of a life time.

God’s inexhaustible supply of grace is awaiting the demand of every soul. {ST, June 4, 1902 par. 1}

We need help we need cleansing it will heal every spiritual disease. By it hearts may be cleansed by all defilement. Do you have defilement and uncleanness? God’s grace can cleanse it.

It will heal every spiritual disease. By it hearts may be cleansed from all defilement. It unites human beings with Christ, enabling them to walk in the path of willing obedience. Through the influence of the Spirit of God, man is transformed; his taste is refined, his judgment sanctified, his heart cleansed; he becomes complete in Christ. The love that was manifested in the death of Christ awakens in his heart a thankful response. The understanding takes hold of Christ. The beauty and fragrance of His character is revealed in the life, testifying that God has indeed sent His Son into the world. No other power could bring about so wonderful a change. {ST, June 4, 1902 par. 1}

In like manner you are a sinner. You cannot atone for your past sins; you cannot change your heart and make yourself holy. But God promises to do all this for you through Christ. You believe that promise. You confess your sins and give yourself to God. {CSA 30.3}

As you do this God will fulfill his word to you? If you believe the promise that you are cleaned God will supply.


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Sabbath Sermons is a small resource information ministry in Australia standing upon the original platform of the Adventist truth. We are dedicated to spreading the special 'testing truths' for our time and are not affiliated with the various denominations. This website is administered by lay members only

Posted on 17/10/2010, in Divine Service Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. pumla mahlutshana

    i’ve read and heard the powerful msg behind this sermon,amen and God bless

  1. Pingback: In My Flesh Dwelleth No Good Thing « Sabbath Sermons | INQUISITION NEWS

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