“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.” –Philippians 4:8
Scripture Reading: Mark 7:14-23
Some of man’s greatest ingenuity is invested in devising evil. Much of this was to create new battle implements or techniques of torture.
It takes a depraved mind to focus on ways of harming other people. The flood in Noah’s day and the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah in the days of Abraham show how far violence and immorality can go and how God stepped in to remedy the situation.
History abounds with examples of such degeneracy. The Bible describes some at the time of the judges and kings of Israel, and how it also involved their idolatry. But all the major empires—Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome—fell for the same reasons. The rise to power involved hard work, strict discipline and strong morals. Then much of their success “went to their heads.” Because of slavery, many people had too much idle time and their thoughts turned to fun and games. The human appetite never seemed satiated and demanded the games become more gruesome and immoral. Soon, the nations had become so undisciplined and degenerate that they couldn’t repel invading conquerors. All their thoughts were only evil continually. The few who tried to warn of impending doom were often ignored, but some of them were made subjects in the “blood sport” games. When Rome fell, the people weren’t clamoring for better defenses or a stronger army, but for more circuses and grosser immoral activity. Wickedness feeds on itself, leading only to greater and greater wickedness.
Jesus declared that evil begins in the hearts of men and it is these imaginations that have caused suffering since time began. Rebellion and selfishness are at the core of man’s fallen nature. It takes a change of heart touched by Christ to bring us to a righteous way of life. With this conversion our lives can be directed for good instead of evil.
- What does God see as a general condition of man? Genesis 6:5; Matthew 15:17-19; Psalm 94:11. (Note: This would include man’s purposes and desires.)
- Are we able to hide our inner feelings and thoughts from God? I Samuel 16:7; I Kings 8:39; Jeremiah 17:9-10.
- What contributed to Sodom’s downfall? Ezekiel 16:49-50. What was behind much of the wickedness of Israel? Deuteronomy 29:16-19.
- What was involved in some of this worship? II Kings 16:2-4; II Kings 21:6-7; II Chronicles 28:1-4; Isaiah 57:3-5.
- What horrible things did men devise against our Savior? Matthew 27:26-31.
- What admonition did David give to Solomon? I Chronicles 28:9.
- When left to themselves, how far will men go in depravity? Romans 1:21-31.
- What is God’s judgment against such things? Romans 1:18-20, 32.
One of the most important conversions that God wants to make in us is our way of thinking (II Corinthians 10:3-5). We have been given powerful spiritual weapons of truth to overcome proud, evil and corrupt thinking. The primary battle fought for a man’s life is within his mind. This is not a struggle for power but for truth. Jesus said, “…if you continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” John 8:31b-32. If you believe the Lord and you realize that we are given power to pull down the strongholds the enemy has erected in our minds, then you will strive to know God’s Word and apply it to your life. The battle for our lives, families and churches, can be won; but we must be willing to fight the good fight of faith. Are you equipped for battle? Study Ephesians 6:10-18 this week and Be strong in the Lord!