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Week 9 Day 5

The Circumcised heart

Day ___________________________ Date ___________________________

 

Genesis 17:11-14 and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. 13 He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”

 

Circumcision, doesn’t it seem an odd way to begin a covenant? What exactly is circumcision? The dictionary defines it as to cut off the foreskin of…  blank (___)! it doesn’t  specify that it is only the penis. In the Bible, We learned earlier, that after Jesus was crucified we no longer need outside laws to guide us, because we have the Spirit inside, to direct us. In the Old Testament God reveled spiritual truth as a physical law first, so we can comprehend the spiritual truth in the New Testament.

 

Every single one of the Old Testament laws, God gave for a reason.  Some of them, like circumcision seem so strange for us.  For instance, the killing of a spotless lamb, for the forgiveness of sins, we know as a physical example of Jesus being without sin and dying for our sins. Or when Moses lifted the Serpent in the wilderness, Jesus tells us in was a representation of Himself being lifted to the cross.  God first established spiritual truth with natural law.

 

John 3: 1-15 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

 

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

 

4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

 

5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

 

9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”
 

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

 

There may be some confusion about the word “flesh”, we tend to think of flesh as the outside or covering of our bodies, but that’s not what the Bible is talking about when it says flesh.  The dictionary defines flesh as: the physical nature of humans as distinguished from the soul (or spirit) we are Flesh and spirit the flesh is the physical nature of human beings.  the human part of us and our will, fleshly: not spiritual, worldly, carnal sensual. The Biblical descriptions of flesh is the weakness of man, Mark 13:48, such as apostles sleeping in Gethsemane. The flesh is the earthly part of man it represents lusts and desires.

 

Ephesians 2:3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

 

So let us examine the physical dynamics of circumcision. Circumcision is a procedure to remove the foreskin, a fold of fleshy skin that covers tip of the penis

 

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 

 

The physical removal of the flesh of the penis so a child is conceived without the fleshy covering, is a physical act of the spiritual truth of being born again.  

 

When a male is circumcised in the Old Testament, it was done by somebody else, the priest.  They didn't circumcise themselves. They surrendered to the physical act of circumcision.  

 

What is the spiritual truth we can glean from that information? ________________________

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The spiritual truth is we are not expected to perform the Spiritual circumcision on ourselves.  Only God can do that, we are asked only to yield to the surgery.   Spiritual circumcision is a process that takes time, and is often painful. The physical circumcision cuts away flesh, The spiritual circumcision cuts away our vises.

When Jesus died on the cross it wasn’t only to make it possible for us to go to heaven, it accomplished much more.  He made it possible for you and me to become like Him.  He never intended to leave us in bondage to our old natural man. When you become born-again, Jesus begins to cut away our old sin nature like the priest cut away the useless fleshy part of the penis.

 

Colossians 2: 9-14  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Not Legalism but Christ

 

11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

 

Romans 8: 29,30 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

 

Romans 2: 28,29 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

 

What is your part of the spiritual circumcision? ____________________________________

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First of all we have to yield to the cutting away of the flesh. It is hard to distinguish between the times we are trying to be obedient and the times we are trying to circumcise our selves, by helping out God.  We have to stay close to Him, pray for strength and leave the results and consequences to Him. Sometimes it takes time to get the job done.  Leave it up to God, it is going to happen any way.  Learning to yield to the voice of God, no matter what, is humbling and it hurts sometimes, but it is the only way.

 

Deuteronomy 30: 6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

 

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart..

 

So how do we yield to the cutting away of our flesh/vices. Just like the physical law of circumcision in the Old Testament, was not optional, neither is the cutting away of vises optional. It has to be done so you might as well just yield to it, don’t fight it, don’t murmur.  It is a process that is sometimes confusing, I didn’t even know that  my deepest and most habitual fault was the obsession with being thin.  I thought my sin was overeating, but God revealed through many hours of cutting flesh, that the spirit part of me is what is valuable.

 

Just as the physical act of circumcision is, removal of useless flesh and not so much in our culture, because of advances in hygiene, but certainly in the wilderness, it was an unhealthy part of the body, we don’t need it.  God will not cut away any flesh that is needed.  Submit to the process. Don’t go around complaining about the process, God will work it out, trust Him.

From the time I was a little girl I always wanted children.  I was the type of teenager, who would grab all the younger kids on family holidays and make up plays.  The parents loved me because I would keep their kids busy while they visited.

 

Because of the abuse I suffered as a child, I married in my teens, a lot of sexually abused girls do, to get away from the abuse.  In fact I was married one month before my fifteenth birthday, and started praying for a baby right away.  I wanted a child more than anything.  Every month, every twinge that went on in my body, I would think, I must be pregnant.  I would talk to my sister for hours on end about how I thought I might be pregnant. I can’t believe how sweet she was to always listen, and hope with me. and day after day, month, after month I hoped.  I stayed married for five years to my first husband, and when we divorced I figured that’s why God hadn’t given me a child.  

 

Then when I was in my late twenties I met the man of my dreams.  The man God chose for me, and soon after we got married, we decided to start a family.  It happened again, I could not get pregnant, we tried for two years and month, after month, I was devastated.  I would pray and cry, and demand, and murmur, and beg, but still no baby.  

 

In 1988 we decided to move to Germany, my husband’s, best friend had recently moved there and could get Todd, my husband, a job making good money.  We were young and decided we would like to see more of the world so we jumped at the chance.  When we got there we were in for a culture shock,  The same one bedroom apartment we had rented in the United States for One hundred ninety-five dollars was six-hundred in Germany.  The “good money” turned out to be not quiet enough for two of us to live on.

 

We moved to Germany in August of 1988, and in September I missed my first period.  I couldn’t run down to the corner market and grab a pregnancy test because they were done in pharmacies there, so I had to wait until I missed my second period because we couldn’t afford to rush out and grab a test until we were pretty sure it would be positive.  I will never forget that moment, when the pharmacy technician came out of the back room and said it is “poseteve” (sp).  I was ecstatic.  Finally after praying for so many years, but why had God made me wait so long, and why when we were in such financial straits, but it didn’t matter,  I was just so happy to be pregnant.  Other than the fact that I my belly was HUGE, My pregnancy went off without a hitch, until the end.  

 

My sister made plans to fly to Germany a week after my due date, she planned on staying with me for two weeks, so she could be sure to see the baby in case I was late.  My due date came and went, in fact two weeks came and went, I was not dropping at all.  My sister told me about a drug called Pitocin they used in the United States to start labor.  I asked my doctor and was disappointed when he told me they don’t do that in Germany. My sister left without seeing the baby, and when I was two and a half weeks past my due date, the doctor told me I would have to go to the hospital every day to have Prostaglandin Gel put on my cervix.  This was a hardship because my husband worked on commission and they didn’t pay you if you didn’t sell.  

 

For three days they tried the cream and I was still not dropping, so they decided to do something they would never do in the United States, they decided to take an x-ray to see what was going on.  They found that because as a child I had broken my tailbone, it had grown into my pelvis, so I actually had been carrying my daughter in my muscles and skin, outside my pelvis that’s why I was so Huge.  If I would have had the standard medical treatment in the United States, it would certainly have killed my daughter BreAuna, even if I had only had one contraction, it would have crushed her head against my pelvis.  I thanked God and still do every time I think about how He didn’t answer my prayer the way I wanted Him to.

 

God knows what He is doing, and He will do what is best for you, no matter how much you try to manipulate Him.  

 

Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Circumcision is a painful procedure cutting flesh sometimes takes prayer and fasting tearing away from our own will. You are in the flesh when your not trusting God. When you are trying to live by rules and regulations.  If you are trying to keep the laws of God, and expecting others to do the same, then you have to keep every letter of the law.

 

There have been times when I have talked to my children about problems they are having and they are so upset and worried about what is going on.  They want it fixed and fixed now. I say trust God, and they wail “I do trust God but…”  I know how they feel, I still whine all the time, but if we really trusted God, we would trust God.

 

Galatians 5: 1-26 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

 

Love Fulfills the Law

  

7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!
13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

 

Walking in the Spirit

 

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
 

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another..

In your own words, summarize what you think it means to be “Spiritually Circumcised” ___________________________________________________________________________

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To circumcise your heart is to trust God, to allow Him to cut away anything that keeps you from Him.  When you let God cut away those things in your life that are bad for you, without murmuring, just accepting, you fall so in love with Him, and want to obey, not just because of the law but because you love Him. We don’t take care of our children, protect and nurture them because of parental responsibility laws.  We don’t care for our children because it’s the legal thing to do. We do it out of love for them.

 

Spiritual circumcision is an ongoing work, trust God with the process.  It’s easy for us to read over the lives of the people in the Bible that God used most.  We read all about their lives and trials in a few chapters without really thinking much about the timeline.  They all went though times of frustration and trials.  They had promises from God that seemed like He would never fulfill.  Noah was persecuted the whole time he was building the Ark. Abraham had to wait many years for a child.  Jacob had to work an extra seven years for Rachel.  Joseph was wrongly accused and thrown in jail.  Moses was thwarted by the pharaoh’s magicians, and the whole wilderness thing. David ran from Saul all those years…it goes on an on, but through it all, God was at work in each of them, getting them ready for the job he had prepared for them.    

 

Hebrews 12:11  Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

 

Deuteronomy 10:16,17   Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.

 

to love the Lord your God wants the whole person the outward symbols like fasting and circumcision are meant to be total devotion to God, a transforming of our hearts.

Obsessing on dieting and being thin has probably become an idol in your life, if you knew you would never use lose another pound would you still be obedient? God may test you in this. Trust God, let Him be the one in control, fall back on Him, circumcise your heart.

 

The imagery of the church being the bride of Christ is a common theme in the New Testament.  It is a physical description of a spiritual truth. When you think about it, there is no possible way to get any closer to another person than intercourse.  God says you become one flesh.  Don’t be “stiff necked, submit to God.

 

READ: Acts 7

 

In light of today’s study, what was the scripture or statement in today’s lesson that most spoke to your heart? __________________________________________________________

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What steps of faith does God want you to take towards Him today? ____________________

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Rephrase the scripture or statement into an expression of faith_________________________

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Write this weeks memory verse Proverbs 16:9 ___________________________________

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"Scripture taken from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,  Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."