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THE HOSTILITY OF THE CARNAL MIND

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Morning, January 14, 2007
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God [is hostile to God]: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).


Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones believed that

Modern preaching…had gone fundamentally wrong. He saw the main proof of that fact in the failure of [preachers] to recognize that the first work of the Holy Spirit is to convict of sin and to humble men in the presence of God… [Dr. Lloyd-Jones believed] that before men can be converted they must be convinced of sin (Iain H. Murray, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: the First Forty Years, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1983 reprint, page 206).

Dr. Lloyd-Jones saw many people come to Christ “from the world.” He preached on the innate, inward stubbornness of man’s heart. He emphasized the total depravity of man, especially during the time he preached in Wales in the late 1920s and early 30s. This emphasis was used by God in the conversion of many hundreds of people in one of the last revivals in Wales. Dr. Lloyd-Jones said that lost people “failed to receive Christ because they were unconvinced of sin” (ibid, p. 207).

Spurgeon believed the same thing. He said,

In the beginning the preacher’s business is not to convert men, but the very reverse. It is idle [it is useless, foolish, and unprofitable] to attempt to heal those who have not been wounded, to attempt to clothe those who have never been stripped [of their clothing], and to make those rich who have never realized their poverty (C. H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Pilgrim Publications, 1976 reprint, volume 44, p. 421).

I am convinced that these two great preachers were exactly right – that there is no use whatever offering the pardon and peace of Christ to those who do not want it, and see no need of it. That’s what Spurgeon meant when he said, “In the beginning the preacher’s business is not to convert men, but the reverse.” He meant that the first thing true evangelistic preaching does is to wound the sinner by the Law. The first thing is to strip the sinner of his false hopes and foolish excuses. The first thing is to show the sinner that he is poverty-stricken in the sight of God, and that he is rebellious to the core against Christ.

And, so, we come with that in mind to this all-important text in Romans 8:7. Stand and read it aloud.

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).

You may be seated.

If you are still unconverted there is no greater description of your heart in the Bible than what is found to be true in our text,

“The carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7).

It is my purpose in this sermon to describe your enmity toward God, and then to denounce it, and finally to show deliverance from it;

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7).

I. First, I will describe this enmity.

The Greek word translated “enmity” is echthra. That Greek word comes from the word echthros. It means that your very heart always, and at all times, is in a state of “hostility” toward God (F. Rienecker, A Linguistic Key to the New Testament, Zondervan Publishing House, 1980, p. 365). R. C. H. Lenski said that this enmity “means personal animosity [bitterness, hostility, ill-will]…dislike, and opposition directed against God” (R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, p. 506). Matthew Henry said, concerning this enmity in your heart, that it is “the opposition of the soul against God; it rebels against His authority…opposes His interest, spits in His face” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson Publishers, 1996 reprint, volume 6, p. 335). And Dr. J. Vernon McGee gave this comment on our text,

This verse reveals how incorrigible [lost, abandoned, reprobate] and utterly destitute the flesh really is. It is a spiritual antichrist…The truth is that man is the enemy of God. He is not only dead in trespasses and sins but active in rebellion against God (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983, volume IV, p. 699).

These great preachers and commentators all say similar things about our text. Your unconverted heart is full of “hostility” toward God (Rienecker). Your heart is in a state of “opposition directed against God” (Lenski). Your heart “rebels against His authority…opposes His interest, spits in His face” (Henry). Your heart “is a spiritual antichrist…in rebellion against God” (McGee). Are the commentators right?

The great philosopher of antiquity, Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” The Bible says, “Examine yourselves” (II Corinthians 13:5). If you will be honest, and examine your own heart, I am convinced that you will discover an ugly truth about yourself, the truth that your heart is hostile toward Christ, rebels against His authority, opposes Him, and spits in His face; that your heart is an antichrist, in rebellion against God; that you are,

“Enemies in your mind” (Colossians 1:21),

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7).

What else could it be that keeps you from coming to Christ? If your heart is not rebellious toward God, what else could possibly be the reason? No other reason than rebellion in the heart is given on the pages of Scripture.

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7).

II. Second, I will denounce this enmity.

You may say, “I am not in rebellion against God. I am simply indifferent. I am neutral, neither for or against God.” I hear your denial, but the facts prove that you are wrong.

If you’re not rebelling against God, then why not come to Christ? Christ said,

“Come unto me” (Matthew 11:28).

Why do you refuse to come to Him if your heart is not in rebellion against God? Answer that now, in your own mind. Christ calls for you to come to Him. But you will not do so. What other reason could there be than that which is given in our text?

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7).

If you think you can somehow be saved without making a clear-cut surrender to Jesus – I denounce that!

Again, if you are not rebelling against God, then why do you refuse to give up lost friends? The Bible plainly tells you to give them up.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord…and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (II Corinthians 6:17-18).

Again, the Bible says,

“Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).

If you think you can be converted without separating from God’s enemies – I have to denounce that!

Again, why are you looking for a quick escape from judgment that places Jesus in a very unimportant place? One girl said, “I was saved when I washed my face in the restroom. I felt better.” Oh, how horrible! She has replaced the Blood of Jesus with a few drops of tap water! She has replaced the cancelling of her sins in God’s great books in Heaven with “I feel better.” But what about God? How does He feel when you think so little about Jesus dying to pay for your sins, that the Lord Jesus’ work in saving you is replaced in your mind by a few drops of water splashed in your face in a bathroom? I have to denounce that as well. I denounce it because you have despised and rejected Christ, seeking salvation without Him.

“[You] hid as it were [your] faces from him; he was despised, and [you] esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7).

III. Third, I will show you deliverance from this enmity.

Deliverance from your hostility toward Christ comes in only one way. You must stop trusting your own thoughts and feelings and submit yourself to Him. Your own thoughts and feelings will forever make you a slave of your own carnal mind, and will forever keep you in a state of hostile rebellion against God.

Therefore, the only way to be delivered from enmity to God is through Jesus Christ, the Saviour,

“The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

That’s why Christ allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross. That’s why He suffered and bled for you – to break down the middle wall, to abolish enmity – so making peace!

Paschal Lamb, by God appointed,
   All our sins on Thee were laid:
By Almighty love anointed,
   Thou hast full atonement made.
All Thy people are forgiven,
   Through the virtue of Thy blood;
Opened is the gate of heaven,
   Peace is made ‘twixt man and God.
(“Hail, Thou Once-Despised Jesus” by John Bakewell, 1721-1819).

Christ brings peace between man and God! Christ abolishes enmity!

“We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

Come to Christ by simple faith and all enmity will be gone – nailed to His Cross! Come to Christ, seated in Heaven at God’s right hand. He will abolish your enmity toward God. He will give you peace with God. He will save your soul – for all eternity! Amen!

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."


Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Romans 8:5-8.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Hail, Thou Once-Despised Jesus” (by John Bakewell, 1721-1819).


THE OUTLINE OF

THE HOSTILITY OF THE CARNAL MIND

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.


“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God [is hostile to God]: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7).

I.   First, I will describe this enmity, II Corinthians 13:5;
Colossians 1:21.

II.  Second, I will denounce this enmity, Matthew 11:28;
II Corinthians 6:17-18; James 4:4; Isaiah 53:3.

III. Third, I will show you deliverance from this enmity,
John 1:29; Romans 5:1.