I Corinthians 9.27
“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
“The Greater Within You Controls You”
I Kings 21.1-4
1. And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.
2. And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.
3. And Naboth said to Ahab, the LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.
4. And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.
We will be looking at Romans 7.15-25 as well.
“The Greater Within You Controls You”
Naboth had a vineyard. That vineyard was coveted by Ahab the king of Samaria. When the Children of Israel entered the land of Canaan, they were required of God to do certain things. God divided the land amongst the tribes and families. They were told that they could not sell the land. In Leviticus 25.23, the Bible states, “The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.” God provided the land (It was His) to the Israelites and included the proviso that it must not be sold. If through poverty, the land was lost to another Israelite, the original possessor had the right to redeem it prior to the year of Jubilee. If he were not able to do so, a near kinsman could redeem it for him.
To Ahab, the vineyard was convenient. It was near to his house. It was appealing because of its location. Ahab desired to have this vineyard. Though there were other vineyards, this was the most convenient for him. It was not going to produce any more herbs than any other vineyard. Ahab offered Naboth another vineyard for it. He offered a ‘better’ vineyard. He also offered the worth of it in money, if Naboth so desired. It seemed like a fair offer.
It never ceases to amaze me how convenient religion has become. In Acts, on the day of Pentecost, the scripture relates, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” The word used, ‘katanusso’ means to pierce thoroughly. The preaching of Peter agitated the guilt within and caused them to be pierced by the weight of their actions. They realized that while they may not have stood in the crowd that day, their sins were there. Their actions, past and present, had caused the death of the Christ. The knowing of this was too much for them and they cried, “What shall we do?”
The revelation of the identity of Jesus Christ was not a message of convenience. In a previous Bible Study, we talked about the difference between religion and salvation. Religion may be a matter of convenience. Salvation is not. I recall an incident that occurred while I was still working as an electrician. My partner and I were working on an addition to a large church in Lexington. The leader of the church asked my partner and me about an issue. The leader wanted to know if I did this thing. I told him I did not. He asked if it was a church issue. I explained that it was a church standard and a personal choice. My partner, who attended another church, stated that his church taught against it, but “we all do it anyway.” The leader of the church questioning us said, “Well, we like to do it, so we teach that it is okay.” Convenience.
It would have been convenient for Naboth to sell or trade his vineyard to Ahab. It would have been profitable as well. However, Naboth’s convictions compelled him to turn down a substantial sum of money for his vineyard. This vineyard, to Naboth, represented God’s promises. His ownership was a direct result of his ancestor remaining true to God. This vineyard and his continual ownership represented his dedication to keeping the word of God. Something inside would not allow him to let down on this promise. The promises of God sustained Naboth. He would not depart from them. He would not deviate from them. He would not lessen them.
These promises are not for sale or trade.
His conviction was greater than his flesh. His conviction was so strong that it did not even consider the consequences of his actions. It recoiled in horror at the thought. It was evident in his response. “The Lord forbid it ..”
His greater conviction led to his death.
Ahab pouted about not getting the vineyard. Jezebel, his wife told him to make merry. She would see to him getting the vineyard of Naboth. She sent letters sealed with the kings seal to the leaders of the city. She told them to proclaim a fast and to sit Naboth in the high seat. She further instructed them to have two men sit by him and to proclaim the Naboth cursed God and the king so that he would be stoned. This went according to plan. Naboth was stoned to death. Ahab claimed his vineyard. God spoke to Elisha and sent him to Ahab. He proclaimed, because of his wickedness, that the dogs would lick Ahab’s blood in the same place where Naboth was killed. He further proclaimed that the dogs of Jezreel would eat the flesh of Jezebel.
Paul said in Vs 16, “I give my consent to the law ..” I give my vote to the law. I approve of it as it is. The Scriptures tell us that there are those that will wrestle with the word to their own destruction. They will seek to wrench or pervert it. Jesus said those the reject the Word as it is will have one that judges them, even the words I have spoken. After all the twisting and perverting, the Word will stand in the last day and judge them all.
The bible tells us that the “weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Co 10.4) One of the primary weapons of the Christian is the Word. Weapons are good only if in working order. In Germany, one may own guns only if they are non-firing. The firing pin must be removed. It makes the weapon void. When we wrest the scriptures, we make the weapons of God of no effect.
In the Garden of Eden, Eve made a mistake when she added to the Words of God. Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were commanded not to eat. When Eve spoke with the serpent, she added the admonition “not to touch.” This would seem to make the commandment even stronger. However, the Word of God is pure. If one takes pure gold and adds anything to it, no matter how pure the additive, we make the gold worth less. When we add anything to the Word of God, we make it worthless.
What soldier wants to go into battle with weapons that do not work? Wet powder. No bullets. No guidance system. All the intricate parts of the weapon are involved in making it work properly. They are all important. Even today, unexploded mines and mortars from World War II are found. They did not accomplish their task because of some small or seeming insignificant parts failure.
Every verse is important. I remember someone asking me once, years ago, what verse my church was founded upon? I was confused. What verse?!?!? How about Genesis 1.1 to Revelation 22.21? I heard a preacher say once that he believed it cover to cover and he even believed the cover.
In His Word, every facet of human life is touched. He tells us the best way to deal with our husband or wife. He tells us how to treat our parents and our children. He tells us the right way to deal with our friends and our enemies. He gives instructions concerning our relationships with neighbors and strangers. He even tells us how to deal with our employers or employees. He talks about how we are to walk, how we are to talk, how we are to dress, how we are to eat, how we are to act, and how we are to look. God has something to say about everything we do.
We must take the scriptures as they are. John 5.39 tells us, “Search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.” Someone said that the Bible is the Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.
Vs 22 says, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” It becomes a joy. It is not a drudgery to serve God. It is distasteful to God to fulfill only the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law. 2 Corinthians 3.6 tells us that “.. the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Look at the scripture. Notice the lowercase “s” at the beginning of the word spirit. This is not talking about the spirit of God. If it were, the “s” would have been uppercase. He is telling us here that the spirit with which we approach the work of God can be life giving. If we approach the work of God with the drudgery of doing the letter, the exact amount, the precise limit, we bring a death to our works. However, if we, full of joy, excited to perform the work of God, enter the work thusly, we bring life. We are to cheerfully submit to the authority of the Word. “God loves a cheerful giver.”
“I’ll do it, but I ain’t gonna like it.” We must learn to love His word and His ways. We must serve God with all of our souls. Isaiah 12:3 “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” We have become so worried about someone thinking we are a fanatic, that we have left our emotions behind in our service to God. We have been chided about letting our emotions run wild. We have been told that all our Spirit feeling is nothing more than our emotions out of control.
Let the University of Kentucky Wildcats score a touchdown in the home stadium and I will show you over 60,000 people showing some emotion, and that is okay. Let the Cats score a three pointer to win the game in the last seconds and I will show you over 23,000 people showing some emotion, and that is okay. However, let a blood bought child of God get excited about the blessing and deliverance of God, and that is just too much emotion. Let me tell you, you can just cover your ears, because this child of God is going to shout the victory.
He says we are to delight in his law. We are to serve with joy. You may have gotten some of the quiet delight and that quiet joy, I didn’t. The greater within me, controls me.
Vs. 25 says “… with the mind I myself serve the law of God.” He will give us a new heart and a new mind. Naboth professed the heart intent and the mind intent. We must be heart and mind Christians. There will be times when Satan attacks your mind and you hold on with your heart. There will be times when Satan attacks your heart and you hold on with your mind. We must set the throne of God in our lives, in our hearts, and in our minds.
I am heart convinced that His Spirit is true. I am also mind convinced that His ways are true. “With my mind..” Paul emphasized to the Church at Rome the importance of knowing who we believe, what we believe, and why we believe.
1 Corinthians 9.24-27
24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
We are not competing against each other. We are collectively and individually striving for Heaven. We fight a common war, in a common land, with common weapons, against a common foe. We strive under a common banner for a common goal. My battle is within. Your battle is within. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “We are met on a great battlefield.”
There is an old Indian story about a chief talking to his grandson. He is telling him about the two natures living within man. These two natures are constantly warring against each other. There is the desire to do that which is right and the desire to do that which is wrong. The chief tells his grandson that these two natures are like two dogs locked in a struggle. The grandson asks the question, “Which one will win, Grandfather?” The wise chief replies, “The one I feed the most.” The greater within you controls you.
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
The greater within you controls you. Christ must become the greater in me. Naboth’s convictions brought about his death. We must be willing. Paul said he was in peril every day, yet he was willing to be offered.
The Bible talks about the strongman. No one can enter the house without first binding the strongman. Who is the strongman in your house? Who do you feed? Who is the greater in you?
Christ must be the greater in us.
If Satan ravages your house, if you are a slave to your desires, you need Jesus.
If you need Him, you need Him now!
If Christ is not the greater in you, you need Him.
Christ is greater than my desire, greater than my trial, greater than my test, greater than my problem, and He is greater than anything you or I will encounter today.