(Go To Meeting)

Tom Fannin—March 26, 2022

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Do you want to be the hunter?

or

  • Do you want to be the hunted?

Kind of an interesting question to ponder. I think most of us would answer that, yeah, I think I would prefer to be the hunter.

I enjoy hunting. I like being outside, I like being in God's creation as I hunt, looking around and see nature and all the things in nature. Hunting itself I enjoy. It takes, as all hunters know, some planning. It takes preparation and you have to have the right equipment to hunt. It takes dedication, patience, time and optimism.

Every time you go out to hunt, you're optimistic that you're going to see something, or maybe more than that you're optimistic that you are going to have success by being able to trap or shoot something and have total success with the hunt.

Thankfully, where I live there's not a lot in the woods that I would say could hunt man. We have occasionally a bear that may pass through, or a lot of coyotes, but most of the time I can enter into the woods and I don't have to be concerned about being the hunted. I can just focus on with being the hunter.

As we're moving toward the Feast of Unleavened Bread, we're all preparing to unleaven; we're all going on the hunt to do this. It's a physical hunt, and we're told to remove leavening from our dwelling places. We know that leavening during the days of Unleavened Bread represent sin and we're to strive to put sin out.

But more importantly, for all of us in the Church, we know that this is a spiritual hunt more than anything. We are examining ourselves, and looking for sin within us to remove.

We also, as we spend time preparing for the Passover and the days of Unleavened Bread, every year we get a better understanding of what sin is, and how important it is that we be separated from sin. We look forward to a time when sin is totally removed. So, each year as we prepare and keep these days, we do get a better understanding of sin and how important the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is for the removal of sin, and our part in it.

All of us can say that we all have a desire to put out sin, to be sin free. We don't want sin to be a part of our lives, but we also know that sin has a desire for us. As mentioned about being the hunter or being hunted, we know that sin's desire is for us.

Gen. 4—it's talking here about Cain and Abel, and they both had an offering that they were bringing to God. In the one case, God had regard for Abel's offering, but not for Cain's. But the message that God personally gave to Cain:

Genesis 4:7: "If you do well, shall you not be accepted?…."

That's what we all try to do, is do well before God and Christ as we live our lives. That's acceptable.

"…But if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. Its desire is for you… [but the command here is]: …but you must rule over it!" (v 7).

Sin's desire is for us continually! But we know that our job is to be mindful of what sin is and to rule over it! In the case here of Cain, he wasn't able to do that. He let sin come into his mind and then, as it says in James, it starts in the mind, in out thoughts. Then it came to fruition and Cain killed his brother Abel. How sad was that?

We understand what God says here about sin and its desire for us. The world doesn't completely understand what's being talked about here in Genesis. But for those of us who have God's Spirit, we understand more about our nature and also the spiritual that's going on in this world, the worldly spiritual things, demonic things that have an influence on us, as well.

Let's look at an example of two people in God's Word—Shem and Nimrod—and it talks a little bit about what went on there. It has a lesson for us.

Genesis 9:26: "And he said, 'Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.'"

Shem was a man that followed God, and the Lord God was His God. You can put your name right there, also, because God is our God! That's Who we obey and follow!

Genesis 10:1: "Now, these are the generations of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth; and sons were born to them after the Flood."

Verse 6: "And the sons of Ham: Cush and Mizraim and Phut and Canaan.

Verse 8: "And Cush begat Nimrod. He began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter against the LORD. Therefore, it is said, 'Like Nimrod—the mighty hunter against the LORD.' And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land he went forth to Assyria, and he built Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth Ir, and Calah" (vs 8-11).

That's a little background on Nimrod, and it says that he was a mighty hunter against God. It also mentions that it also means that he was mighty hunter in place of God!

The Semitic meaning for the name Nimrod—there's not really a Hebrew name for Nimrod—I thought was very interesting. It's we will rebel! We know that's exactly what he did!

When you look at what he was responsible for at that time, the land of Shinar and some of the things that were constructed there. That's the area of Babylon, and also onto Nineveh. It's very interesting how we think of the Assyrians and the Babylonians, and later on how they were used by God to correct Israel.

Those were the things that Nimrod was personally involved in as a mighty hunter against God, and probably without a doubt he was led by demonic spirits, maybe even Satan himself in this rebellion!

It says that he was a hunter of men! He desired to go after men to get them to follow him and worship him. To get men to go into rebellion against God; self-worship and also introducing all sorts of different sins to men, which we know brings man eventually to death if not repented of.

So, Nimrod was involved a lot there in the rebellion against God and leading men to rebel against God.

Some historians say—and I can't verify this; I don't think anybody can verify this—Shem was the great uncle of Nimrod, and he was used to kill him. I can't verify that, but that's what some historians write.

That's very interesting, if that was true, that a man of God was used to go hunt down this person who was in rebellion and put him to death.

We know that eventually that is how it's going to work, that God and the people of God will completely put sin to death in the end, and there will be no sin.

The instigator of sin, the person being Satan—and the demons and all those behind sin—will be put to death also, per God's Word. The penalty of sin is death! Our commitment, the commitment we made, was to hunt sin in our lives! We made that commitment at baptism!

Romans 6:12: "Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal body by obeying it in the lusts thereof. Likewise, do not yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin; rather, yield yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God" (vs 12-13).

Verse 16: "Don't you realize that to whom you yield yourselves as servants to obey, you are servants of the one you obey, whether it is of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered to you; and having been delivered from sin, you became the servants of righteousness" (vs 16-18).

So, at baptism, as Paul talks about, this is our mind, heart, attitude and commitment is that we want to sin. We want to rule over sin. We no longer want sin to be ruling us, knowing its desire for us. We want to be ruling over it.

We want to be servants of righteousness! That's the thing that we want to be involved in, and serving and thinking of the things of God of whom we are.

Colossians 3:4: "When Christ, Who is our life…"

As we think about the coming Passover and what Christ has done for us in becoming flesh and being crucified and having shed His blood for our sins, there is no life with Jesus Christ!

"…is manifested, then you also shall be manifested with Him in glory" (v 4).

Don't we look forward to that day when Christ does return and we have an opportunity then to be firstfruits and be turned into spirit beings and be in glory with Him? But there's our part in preparing for that time. That's what talked about here by Paul.

Verse 5: "Therefore, put to death your members, which are on earth…"

Things we've all been a part of, things we came out of, and things we still struggle with!

"…sexual immorality, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil desires, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience" (vs 5-6).

But while we're here on earth as physical beings, we continue to put to death those things that enter into our mind and heart. We want to put these things out.

As we are preparing for the days of Unleavened Bread it's a spiritual hunt, most importantly. Physical, yes, we removed the physical leaven from our homes, but it's a spiritual thing for us as we enter into these days to be considering.

Let's see how Christ elevated this, too, as spiritual.

Matthew 5:27: "You have heard that it was said to those in ancient times, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you, everyone who looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart'" (vs 27-28).

Christ uses this as an example of it's our thoughts; it's what enters into our mind that we have to be in control of and want to put to death. It's more than just physical acts of doing some of these things. It's what is in our mind and heart. We know that these are things that Christ talks about that defile us. So, we have to be on guard for these things continually, and have that desire as hunters to put these things to death.

Isaiah 55:6: "Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways,' says the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts'" (vs 6-9).

A this time I'll just say that it's a good hunting season, isn't it? While we have time is the point I'm trying to make. God is there for us while we have this time. We need to be doing this; we need to be forsaking our ways and some of these things and drawing near to God and developing His thoughts, developing His mind and Who He is. We can do that now; we have our opportunity. So, we always need to be mindful of this:

  • while we have today
  • while we have the time we have
  • while we have the opportunities that we have

We need to do these things now and take care of these things! There may be a time later when the hunting season isn't good. It may be too late to take care of some of the things that we need to be taking care of. I think everybody understands the point I'm making here. It's time to take care of the things we need to take care of while the hunting season is good.

We know that Christ overcame sin for us to become a perfect sacrifice. He was very mindful of sin and what it does to mankind. He was in control of it perfectly! Let's read in Heb. 4 what's written by Paul of Christ:

Hebrews 4:14: "Having, therefore, a great High Priest, Who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, we should hold fast the confession of our faith. For we do not have a High Priest Who cannot empathize with our weaknesses, but One Who was tempted in all things according to the likeness of our own temptations; yet, He was without sin" (vs 14-15).

Christ lived this life just like we do in the flesh. He understood that sin has a desire for us. He was the One Who was there with Cain and Abel at that time and gave instruction to Cain. So, Christ was fully aware of what our battles are, what sin is and its desire for us. But He took care of it in the flesh. He was without sin, although He had all the temptations and went through the things that we went through; yet, He was without sin!

Verse 16: "Therefore, we should come with boldness to the Throne of Grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

We have to continually look to Christ to remember that He is our High Priest, and He understands all these things we go through, including the hunt we are continually on to try to remove sin and find sin within ourselves and put it to death!

We approach God and Christ boldly! We can do that! Ask for help in time of need. We hunt boldly whatever it may be that is going on in our lives: past, present or future! We hunt boldly for these things, because through God and Christ, no matter what we come up against, we can overcome it and put it death through Them. All of us need to do this hunt, without fear.

Now I want to talk about one of the biggest helps we have, and that is the Spirit of God within us. That power of God that all of has within us; those of us who are in the Church that went into covenant with God and Christ.

I'll just ask of all of us, because it's something we should meditate on and always thank God for:

  • Where would be with God's Spirit dwelling within us?
  • Where would we be without that?

We know that we couldn't do these things without God's Spirit in us. That's one of the reasons that Christ was crucified and raised up to glory; so we could have the Spirit sent to us, thought Him and the Father.

All of you listening in that may be considering baptism, and you want to serve and follow God, this is why you need to be baptized. So you can have the indwelling of God's Spirit! It's our Helper and our Comforter; it leads us and teaches us all things. We need that within us. So, if you're considering baptism it's very important to do that and have that, so you can have God's Spirit.

John 6:63: "It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you, they are Spirit and they are Life."

As we have a little bit of discussion about God's Spirit, it is the Spirit that gives us life, and it's the Spirit that gives us these opportunities and understanding that we have! Without it, we have no life within ourselves. We always have to remember, especially as we approach these days of the Passover and Unleavened Bread, it's because of God's Spirit dwelling within us so we can understand and do these things!And again, have an understanding of sin and its desire for us. This Spirit is what brings us this life, this understanding.

That's why it really good to continually thank God for His Spirit within us, and ask God to use the Spirit as it works within us to lead us and help us, and thank God for it. We never want to be in a position where we lose that.

David talked about that; he didn't want to lose God's Spirit, because he knew that without God's Spirit there was no hope.

Galatians 5:16—Paul says: "Now this I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh."

That's how we are to approach every day of our lives! We are to be walking by God's Spirit as it:

  • leads us
  • teaches us
  • guides us
  • makes things known to us

We are to walk by that each and every day!

Verse 24: "But those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live by the Spirit, we should also be walking by the Spirit" (vs 24-25).

Through our baptism and our receiving of God's Spirit, the things in our past—the sins of our past—have been forgiven and we move on from them. We continue to walk by the Spirit.

This is very much needed, and our pursuit to find sin and put sin away, IF we're not walking by that Spirit and using God's Spirit THEN we're going to really struggle in hunting sin and trying to find these things in our lives that we need to put to death.

Speaking about being hunters and hunting, when you go to hunt typically you go into the woods armed. You have some type of a weapon with you that you're going to use for the hunt. Likewise, we as God's children need to have something with us continually and using continually when we go on the hunt. That's talked about here:

Ephesians 6:17: "And put on the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."

When we go to hunt, we have to hunt with the sword of the Spirit. We have to hunt with the Word of God. This allows us to have an understanding of:

  • what we're doing
  • what we're looking for
  • how to overcome

It gives us clarity of sin in our lives and examining. It gives us understanding of what the Truth is, God's Word.

We have to go on the hunt for these things very much grounded, knowing that we have to have God's Spirit to do this, and understanding and knowledge of His Word as lamp to our feet.

If we go hunting in any other way, we're not going to have success. We have to be prepared this way to go on the hunt for sin.

Verse 18: "Praying at all times with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…"

Continually praying and having our supplications go to God in the Spirit, and the Spirit cries out for us and moans and groans for us. We ourselves don't understand; it's a spiritual thing that we go on these hunts for sin.

It's very much needed that we have this mind as we prepare for the days of Unleavened Bread in considering sin and its desire for us. So, we go on the hunt armed this way with this mind.

When we're talking about ourselves, sin and our desire to rule within ourselves, and remove sin and sin's desire for us, Paul makes it pretty clear by his example what a struggle that is for us.

Let's see what Paul wrote about it. When I read about Paul it's somewhat comforting to know that he struggled with these thing. Everyone in the flesh who is striving to live by God's Laws and to walk by the Spirit has these same struggles that we're going to read about here. Paul clearly mentions that he had his struggles with this, too, even though he was an apostle he still struggled with the same things.

Romans 7:18: "Because I fully understand that there is not dwelling within me—that is, within my fleshly being—any good. For the desire to do good is present within me; but how to work out that which is good, I do not find." He wanted to, but it's a struggle!

Verse 19: "For the good that I desire to do, I am not doing; but the evil that I do not desire to do, this I am doing. But if I do what I do not desire to do, I am no longer working it out myself, but sin that is dwelling within me." (vs 19-20).

So, Paul struggles with these things within himself, too. There's this law within him that the things he desires to do he's not able to do it. The things he doesn't desire to do, those things he finds himself doing.

We get that from a couple of different sources. We get it inherited through Adam, as Paul says earlier in Romans. This inherited nature that we have that's human, fleshly and against God. Also, the spiritual influence that's out there that truly understands and recognizes that and can continually bombard us with things. We struggle with that; our own human nature and also the influences that can be around us.

Verse 21: "Consequently, I find this law in my members, that when I desire to do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the Law of God according to the inward man… [we all delight in God's Law, because we have this understanding of it] …but I see another law within my own members, warring against the law of my mind, and leading me captive to the law of sin that is within my own members" (vs 21-23).

Verse 24: "O what a wretched man I am! Who shall save me from the body of this death?…. [here's the answer coming]: …I thank God for His salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…. [this is where salvation comes from, through Jesus Christ] …Because of this, on the one hand, I myself serve the Law of God with my mind; but on the other hand, with the flesh, I serve the law of sin" (vs 24-25).

We're in the flesh for now, but we keep warring and hunting sin. We keeps striving and trying and working at it, putting it down, hunting it and destroying it with God's Spirit. That's our desire to do that, but it's a war and constant fight because of how sin works and its desire for us. But our command upon entering into the covenant that we did through baptism is to war against it and put it to death.

Thankfully, for all of us, there is an answer to this.

Romans 8:1:1: "Consequently, there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus…"

We are under the New Covenant. We have committed ourselves to God! Because of that we can continually repent when we find these things within us, and those sins are forgiven if the right of repentance occurs. That's what we have to do is have the right repentance before God.

"…to those who are in Christ Jesus who are not walking according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit… [that's what we were called to do] …because the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has delivered me from the law of sin and death" (vs 1-2).

Through the process of our calling and baptism, we've been delivered from that through Christ. We continue to walk in the Spirit and put sin to death through repentance.

Let's read more about how we put sin to death once we find it within ourselves.

1-John 1:7: "However, if we walk in the Light, as He is in the Light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His own Son, cleanses us from all sin."

I tell you, when you read God's Word, and you see the harmony and agreement of it continually—no matter who the writers were that were inspired by God—you see the same message, maybe worded differently, comes through.

We are those who walk in the Light and Christ Himself, because of what was done through His sacrifice we are cleansed from all sin.

But, v 8: "If we say that we do not have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the Truth is not in us. If we confess our own sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (vs 8-9).

How do we put sin to death? Well, when we find sin we confess our sins to God and Christ! Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we repent and then we are forgiven for our sins, because we will continue to sin. As we continue to sin and find sin within ourselves, if we confess those things and repent, they're forgiven, and we can put those things to death.

1-John 2:1: "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And yet, if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father; Jesus Christ the Righteous; and He is the propitiation… [continuing atonement] …for our sins; and not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (vs 1-2).

Remember that Jesus Christ came to die for the sins of the whole world, even the things that went on in heaven. Jesus Christ died for sins  so that we can be reconciled to God!

Verse 3: "And by this standard we know that we know Him: if we keep His commandments. The one who says, 'I know Him' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the Truth is not in him" (vs 3-4).

That's where we get the confidence! If we continue to be led by God and strive to keep His commandments, we can have that confidence to really say,

I know Him! This life I'm leading by walking by the Spirit I know Who Christ is, and I have confidence in that!

Verse 6: "Anyone who claims to dwell in Him is obligating himself also to walk even as He Himself walked."

That's what we do, we continually walk as Christ walked. We find things within ourselves that we need to repent of and change. That's what we do!

  • we repent
  • we change
  • we continue on walking just as Jesus Christ walked

That's how for our part we can put sin to death!

There's a warning given to all of us in the book of Numbers. Sin can find us, and we do not want sin to find us. But sin can find us and do a lot of harm and damage if we don't take care of sin and do our part. Let's see an example of this.

When Israel was getting ready to go into the 'promised land' there were different areas that they were going be able to inhabit as a possession. Num. 32 mentions Reuben and Gad. It doesn't mention Manasseh there, but part of the tribe of Manasseh asked if they could keep as their possession on the other side of the Jordan River. Not the side where the 'promised land' was, but on the side that they were currently on as they crossed over. They wanted that to be their possession. It was a good land for livestock and they had livestock. So, they asked for that as a possession.

But there was a requirement of them! They had asked Moses about this:

Numbers 32:20: "And Moses said to them, 'If you will do this thing, if you will go armed before the LORD to war, and all of you will go armed over Jordan before the LORD until He has driven out His enemies from before Him, and the land is subdued before the LORD, then afterwards you shall return and be guiltless before the LORD and before Israel. And this land shall be your possession before the LORD'" (vs 20-22).

So, there was a requirement; they were asked to go ahead and cross the Jordan River with your brethren, armed and do your part and help them subdue the land and drive out the enemies. If they did this then it would be okay for them to have that possession of that land.

Verse 23: "But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD. And be sure your sin will find you out."

So, it's a clear command here that the sin would find them out if they did not do this. We don't want to be in a position ourselves as we think about this, where our sin finds us out.

We don't have worry about this if we are obedient to God and following God's command and doing what God says to do. If we do this, our sins won't find us out. But

  • if we aren't searching for sin
  • if we aren't listening to God
  • if we aren't following God's commands
  • if we aren't living by God's Laws
  • if we aren't seeking to grow and overcome
  • if we aren't seeking to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

IF we aren't doing these things, and we're resisting and not hunting sin and putting some of these things out that we need to, THEN sin will find us!

So, we don't want to be in that position, do we? We want to take care of things while we can and put sin out. We always want to have this mind, a readiness of mind to do this. Paul mentions this:

2-Corinthians 10:3: "For although we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the overthrowing of strongholds" (vs 3-4).

These are not physical wars that we're in; this is spiritual warfare!

Verse 5: "Casting down vain imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ; and having a readiness to avenge all disobedience, whenever your obedience has been fulfilled" (vs 5-6).

  • we're always on the hunt
  • we're always prepared
  • we're always ready
  • we always know that there is the desire that sin has for us
  • we have the readiness in mind continually to cast these things down

To be obedient to Jesus Christ! Even when our obedience is fulfilled, we're clearly looking for a time where we need to bring into control. Always a readiness to do this. That's the mind we want. I know that as we approach the days of Unleavened Bread, this is a lot we study upon, where our mind and heart is.

  • Do we have this?
  • Is this how we think?
  • Is this how we consider sin?
  • Is this how we go on the hunt for sin?

Exo. 12—here are instructions to Israel on how they are to keep these days of Unleavened Bread after the Passover:

Exodus 12:17: "And you shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for in this very same day I have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore, you shall keep this day in your generations as a law forever. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at sunset, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at sunset. Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses, for whoever eats that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land" (vs 17-19).

These are our instructions on how we keep the days of Unleavened Bread. We are to remove sin from our dwelling places, and we are to take in Christ by the eating of unleavened bread each day.

We know that by the sacrifice first of Jesus Christ and what He did for us, and being able to enter into the New Covenant through baptism, we have God's Spirit dwelling within us. We can have an understanding of sin and the importance of removing sin from our lives.

But it took the sacrifice of Jesus Christ first to have an understanding of that. We can't fully become unleavened and remove sins out of our lives without the sacrifice. If we're trying to remove sin out of our lives without Jesus Christ's sacrifice and that understanding of the Holy Spirit, we're not going to have understanding. We can't do that with Christ and God the Father.

This is what we strive to do, is put sin out of our lives, to hunt sin, to put it to death. If we do this we don't have to worry about, as it says that Israel will be cut off. If we're doing this we never have to worry about being cut off from God the Father and Jesus Christ. They will be continue be there with us to help us in all these things.

As we prepare for the days of Unleavened Bread, let remember to go on the hunt for sin, and to use God's Spirit within us to lead us in doing this. Maybe we can remember the story brought out there about Shem and Nimrod, how Nimrod was in rebellion. His name is about rebellion! That's what he did and led many into rebellion.

If historians are correct, Shem went after Nimrod and put him to death. Shem put that sin to death, and hopefully that's our mind, that we desire to put sin to death.

Scriptural References:

  • Genesis 4:7
  • Genesis 9:26
  • Genesis 10:1, 6, 8-11
  • Romans 6:12-13, 16-18
  • Colossians 3:4-6
  • Matthew 5:27-28
  • Isaiah 55:6-9
  • Hebrews 4:14-16
  • John 6:63
  • Galatians 5:16, 24-25
  • Ephesians 6:17-18
  • Romans 7:18-25
  • Romans 8:1-2
  • 1 John 1:7-8
  • 1 John 2:1-4, 6
  • Numbers 32:20-23
  • 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
  • Exodus 12:17-19

TF: bo
Transcribed: 4/28/22

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