THE MASTER’S WALK
THE SEA OF FLESH
As one goes deeper and deeper into a body of water it gets darker and darker, since the light penetrates less. It is the same with our hearing; as we go under water the sound becomes muffled, and as we go deeper the sound eventually disappears. The spiritual parallel is our walk in the flesh, and its resulting sin. The deeper one goes into the flesh and sin the more they lose their spiritual sight and hearing, until they are spiritually blind and deaf. This became the issue with Israel as spoken to the prophet in Isaiah 6:9, 10. Just as Israel could not see their legalism, hatred, and spiritual blindness, we too often do not see how much we justify our flesh and allow the devil to use us.
Our prayer and desire in making the Sea of Flesh available is that churches, pastors and individuals will realize their current spiritual condition, and that they would be led to repentance and seeking the face of God in these troubling times. It is offered as a tool to let you see the extent your flesh is stopping you from fulfilling your calling.
Introduction to the Sea of Flesh
One evening at bedtime I was discussing the wickedness of the day’s world news with my wife and the Lord spoke three words to me, “sea of flesh”. I could not recall any scripture with that specific phrase in the Bible, but did recall that there were prophetic references in Daniel (7:3) and Revelation (13:1) where evil beasts came up out of the sea. I also recalled that God will “… cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” I later noted the “… dragon that is in the sea…” in Isaiah 27:1. Knowing that God spoke this for a reason, I endeavored to study this. I began by using a Strong’s Concordance to find and list scriptures related to the sea and flesh.
However, as I reviewed scripture, the verses that appear to most confirm the “sea of flesh” have none of the words in that phrase;
Revelation 17:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me,
saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many
Revelation 17:15 And he said unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are
peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
The “many waters” in this spiritual word are then strangers, races, tribes, classes, and languages of mankind, or flesh.
As I studied and reviewed the list of scriptures, God added related topics (with additional scriptures) about our position, our condition, and our answer in God. I wound up with three full pages of notes for what I thought might be a Bible study or teaching opportunity. After weeks of waiting for a Bible study opportunity that did not appear, I felt compelled of God to go further and establish this written text. I purposed to give as little commentary as I could while giving as much scripture as God provides. It is imperative that we hear from God, and not man. I have always been a literalist in relation to the word of God, cringing when I hear “quotes” from the Bible that are not there. After years of having this reaction to hearing about “… the sea of forgetfulness …” I was advised that several scriptures had to be combined to obtain it. Other than the foundation of Micah 7:19, I cannot tell you what those scriptures are. I pray that the study “Sea of flesh” is complete enough to follow and provide the foundation of what God has given.
Over time I have realized how presumptuous I was in thinking God needed me to share this with others. This presumptuousness, pride, or self-assurance can leave us squarely in the following scripture;
I Timothy 1:7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
Frequently the word God gives us is for us first! God was extending his mercy in showing me my failed, flesh-controlled life. While everything God was giving me was full of spiritual truth, my lack of humbleness and my daily walk in the flesh was preventing me from receiving it. In his enduring mercy God was showing me the failings in my flesh; my position, my condition, and my answer in God, and I could not perceive it!
As I studied the sea of flesh, the lost condition not just of the sinners of the world, or of “churched” individuals, but of church congregations and even entire denominations became very apparent. Why does one congregation flourish in the Spirit of God, while many languish near closing their doors? While some still espouse a full Gospel, and continue to hold out the full list of gifts and promises of the Spirit, have they abandoned the full Gospel message? Are they stopping at justification, and failing to seek the righteousness, consecration, and sanctification that are available through the leading of the Spirit, and that lead to holiness? Are we satisfied with temporary ventures into the realm of the Spirit, and then returning to our walk in the flesh? Paul addressed this with the church at Galatia;
Galatians 3:1-3 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Galatians 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
While we have a desire in our spirit to see the Spirit move and to see the power of God in our midst, by remaining and walking in the sea of flesh we hinder receiving those promises;
Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
The “sea of flesh” should also give us a different perspective of Jesus calling to Peter and Andrew;
Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
If we know Elders who can recall the fullness of the Spirit operating in the church we are fortunate. Many churches have been “fishing” in the sea of flesh and leaving those they have caught on a stringer (or in the wet well of the boat) for so long that it is all that they know. We are giving them programs and rules (the Letter) and telling them not to return to the depths of sin (the sea of flesh) that they have been brought from (and remain in) but leaving them in the sea of flesh. The schools (quantity) of fish on the stringer are what have been valued to the church! It is in this precarious, unprepared, condition that entire congregations, including the pastors and teachers, attempt to live. We must return to an understanding that our overcoming is only in God;
II Corinthians 3:4-6 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God, Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Several years ago we heard a word from God in our church in which he said in part “You say you struggle to serve me, it is no struggle to serve me, let not your heart be divided…” We cannot remain in the sea of flesh, trusting in self, walking in, or with, our past iniquity and expect to be overcoming. In this condition we come with a divided heart reserving to ourselves our desired sins, and walk with a continual struggle in the flesh. Humbleness, self-denial, prayer, and total obedience will lead us to an easy walk with God.
As I got deeper into this study God began showing me many things that were present in my flesh that were stopping me from receiving the promises he has for me. I must repent and pray through my anger, complacency, and the pride that always arises with the flesh. I must also remove the diversions/distractions the enemy places in my life to stop me from being productive for God (for me, secular television, sports, the newspaper, etc. were all just time-eaters that fed my flesh). In this wicked world we live in anyone with ears to hear can receive a closer walk with God by considering our ways.
After several months of attempting to eliminate things from my life and feeling chastisement for my failures, I realized that trying not to walk in the flesh does not equate with walking in the Spirit. Humbling ourselves and opening ourselves to God and a walk in the Spirit allows us to rely on His sufficiency and life, not ours. Yielding is much simpler than trying to fight the war ourselves and failing.
I can identify with Amos saying he was a “… herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit”. I am an engineer, and feel like I am spiritually “dense”. It has been over three years God has been giving me this word, due to my hindrances in the flesh. I thank God that he is showing me the failings in my flesh that were preventing me from receiving, and pray he will continue this work, so that I may receive the promises he has for me, and so he will be glorified. I trust he will help me overcome and obey him. At the same time, I am making this study available for use and edification. I pray God will open spiritual eyes and ears to these truths in his word.
Throughout the study the scripture references will be in bold, and the actual scriptures in bold italics. Underlining of the scriptures has been used for emphasis.