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Community Bible Chapel Podcast
8/11/19 Gospel of Grace –Walking In The Spirit – Gal. 5:16-26
Today, we are going to continue our study of the book of Galatians.
-Paul has been defending the Gospel of Grace with the legalists in the church.
I invite you to join me in Galatians 5. Page 825, youversion.
Paul has been speaking to our freedom in Christ.
-The legalists concern would be our concern also because we know the deceitfulness of our hearts.
-If we do away with the Law, we will live by the license to sin.
-But, the Law was never meant to be an end in itself because God knows that we can’t keep it.
-The purpose of the Law is to push us to our need for grace through faith in Jesus.
-Paul began to address the question of the legalists who would have argued that grace will lead us to license and wild living.
-Today, Paul will continue to help us understand that conflict of the flesh and the Spirit and how we might live in that freedom for the glory of God.
-Since we are free in Christ . . . .
Setting up the conflict v. 16
-The relationship between the flesh and the Spirit is that they are mutually exclusive.
-Meaning you can’t live by the Law and the Spirit at the same time.
-It’s a one or the other deal.
-Living by the Spirit is not about how much Bible study or prayer we partake in, but in how much doing those things changes our heart.(We’ve been drilling that home for weeks now.)
-A Spirit filled life does not come from how much we do for God (if that doing is driven by the flesh), but how much God does through us by His Spirit.
-The NIV uses the term “live” NASB uses “walk”.
-Both point to a continuous action.
-God never intended that our salvation to be the end of the road, but the beginning.
-In between our salvation and our glorification in heaven is what we refer to as the “Gospel Gap”.
-We could call that . . . “life”.
-Living or walking speaks to a process of learning and growing throughout it.-That living is not to be done by our own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
-And therein lies the conflict.
-The battle is not with political ideology, social evils, or anything else out there . . .the battle is raging in our hearts.
-And Paul writes that as we live by the Spirit, the flesh is pushed away.
-That is an automatic result of living by the Spirit.
Verse 17 lays out the conflict.
-While our salvation, sanctification, and glorification is all the work of God, we do have a part to play in our sanctification.
-Just because we trusted in Jesus, doesn’t mean that all our sinful desires just disappeared.
-Paul explains that our sinful desires are still present and those desires are often in conflict with what the Spirit desires.
–Every decision is a decision that exposes that battle in our hearts.
-Our freedom in Christ means that we now have the ability to engage in the battle.
-Paul is certainly not saying that when we become followers of Christ we become robots with no ability to be engaged.
-Living by the Spirit does not mean “let go and let God.”
-That is not necessarily a bad idea if I am trying to control the events and outcomes of my life.
-But when it becomes a passive inaction it becomes unbiblical.
-Walking in the Spirit is anything but passive, but active participation with Him.
-The flesh is the natural part of us that operates apart from and against the Spirit.
-It’s the part of us that we have to actively put off as we learn to submit to the Spirit.
-That’s where Bible study, prayer, and the rest of the Christian disciplines come into play as they are hugely helpful in walking by the Spirit.
-But they are only helpful if they change our hearts – they are not an end in and of themselves.
-To use them as the evaluator of how spiritual we are is to place ourselves back under the Law is to live by the flesh.
What is the flesh? V. 19-21
-The flesh is the totality of our physical being.
-It includes the heart and it’s desires.
-Since Adam’s sin, our flesh is also fallen in sin, which makes the desires of the heart selfish.
-Paul goes on to describe the acts or works of the flesh.
-Of the three enemies of the Christian – World – flesh – Devil, this list all come from the flesh.
-The flesh is the evil desires of our heart that want something other than God.
-So, none of these are things that come from outside of us, but all of these are generated right in the little idle factory of our hearts.
-Ouch, PJ, how can that be since we are basically good people?
-Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but the Bible tells us we are basically evil.
-That doesn’t mean that we are as bad as we could be, but that we live according to the flesh – living for what is best for us by our own desires.
-Sure we do good things, but when push comes to shove and we don’t get our way, we will react in the natural self – which is selfish rather than loving.
(We had some great conversation about that in our life group this past week.)
-Now, this is not a complete list, so don’t look at it and think you are okay because you haven’t done any of these.
-Some people are more prone to some than others, but they all come out of the heart and we all have the flesh, so it’s really just by the degree in which we do them.
-For sake of time, I will categorize them.
-Immorality (porneia), Impurity, and sensuality – all general terms for any sexual expression outside of the commitment of marriage as God designed it . . . . one man and one woman.-Not very popular in our culture today which lives by the flesh in it’s unhindered sexual expression.
-Idolatry and sorcery speak of man-made religion, our self-effort to reach to God.
-Or use spiritual power for selfish gain.
-We are called to worship God, love people, and use things to that end.
-Too often, we worship things, use people, and just leave God out.
-This last group all speaks to things we do in the flesh to destroy our relationships with other people.
-They all come from the flesh of the selfish heart.
-This is certainly not an exhaustive list of things that can come out of our sinful hearts and are driven by our selfish desires.
-These are things that were probably prevalent in the culture of Galatia as Paul had already warned them about dealing with such temptations.
-And he warns us today, not only because they are part of our culture, but because they in each of our heart’s desires.
Result of “living like this” v. 21
-Paul says they will “not inherit the Kingdom of God”
-That is a scary statement because each of us here today can recognize that we have committed some or all of these sins . . . even since placing our faith in Jesus.
-It might be by degree, but we recognize our sin.
-And in the case that someone might say, well PJ, I’ve only committed one of those sins in my entire life, I defer to Paul who has already made clear that if you commit just a single sin then you are guilty of breaking it all.
-Now that is cleared up, let’s look at this phrase.
-The key word in it is “live like” or “practice” (NASB).
-Like walking in the Spirit, this speaks to an ongoing and continuous action.-It has become a habitual living and has never come under the control of the Holy Spirit.
-Sometime habits are hard to break, and I know that all of you here today, if you struggle with any sin, would be bothered by it (motivated by the Holy Spirit) and you have or will be knocking on my door for help with it.
-There isn’t judgment or condemnation – just one sinner to another looking for God’s help to put away the flesh and live by the Spirit.
-That is the heart of my favorite passage in I Cor. 6:9-11
“Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
-So we are not talking about occasional sins where we lose the battle in our hearts that day, but habitual and consistent sin that controls us.
-Having said that, James 1 warns us that sin grows, so please knock on my door, I would love the opportunity to come alongside you to help you crucify those sinful desires before they become life dominating.
-Or even if they are life dominating.
-Unfortunately, our hearts are deceitful and we don’t always recognize those heart idols, which is why we all need some close friends who know us well enough to come to us – (next week in Gal 6).
Walking in the Spirit
-Here is the contrast to the flesh – the Spirit.
-And I can’t say it enough, these are manifest in us at the working of the Holy Spirit because we already have our salvation, not to earn it.
-So don’t turn this list into a bunch of stuff you have to do to be saved or to feel like you are saved.
-That’s why Paul calls them the “fruit of the Spirit”.
-It’s the HS that ripens these in us as we live in the Spirit.
-The Spirit is manifest in us in many ways – Paul lists some of them.
-Love – “Agape” love – which is the love that we talk about around here
-Doing what is best for the other person, no matter the cost to myself.
I John 3:16
-Romans 5:5 “God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”
-Thankfully, we don’t have to whump up a love for people.
-We just need to reflect the love of God off onto other people.
Joy – Joy is part of God’s very nature and the HS is the seal of God’s joy with us.
-“The joy of the Lord is our strength”
-Where else can you get joy from? (our ever changing circumstances?)
-We can be joyful in hardship because God is a joyful God.
Peace – Peace is a result of the Gospel of grace.
-We are at peace with God – what is more valuable than that?
-Since we are already at peace with God, we can be at peace in any and every circumstance that might come into our lives.
Patience – Patience is the willingness to be mistreated and to accept circumstances that are irritating and even painful.
-God has patience with us – Right?
-So we turn that outward when the other person is making us wait or irritating us.
Kindness – is a tender concern for others.
Goodness – has to do with a moral quality that matches God’s goodness.
Faithfulness – loyalty and trustworthiness
Gentleness – Meekness – race horse – strength under control. The child of God has the strength of the HS, yet is teachable and humble – considering others as more important than themselves.
Self- control – speaks to controlling the flesh and restraining the sinful desires of the heart.
-No Law can develop these in our hearts – they come as we follow the Spirit.
-They ripen as we put off our selfish desires and follow the Spirit.
-They are a Law to themselves – the living out in practice of Loving God and loving others.
-Our flesh was positionally crucified on the cross of Christ.
-In a practical sense, as we walk in the Spirit, the flesh is crucified day by day.
Living in The Gospel of Grace
A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said, “I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.” The grandson asked him, “Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?” The grandfather answered: “The one I feed.”
-Paul says in Romans 13:14
“put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh.”
-Who will win the conflict of our hearts?
-The one we feed will win.
-If I continue to feed my selfish desires, the Spirit will be crowded out and if I feed the Spirit, my selfish desires will be crowded out.
-And that can be in the simplest ways.
-Jesus said – “He who is faithful with a little will be faithful with a lot.”
-As I resist the need for ice-cream and care for my body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, self-control ripens as I follow the Spirit.
-As I buy lowers for my wife when she is being unreasonable, I remember how God treats me when I’m being unreasonable, the Spirit ripens love and peace.
-As I play with my kids when I would rather sit and watch the game, the Spirit ripens kindness as I consider His endless kindness to me.
-As I resist the desire to complain when the line is long in the grocery store and remember how unending God’s patience with me is, the Spirit is ripening patience in me.
-Those are all little things that reveal the Spirit’s work in our lives, and also how well we follow the Spirit.
-They reveal areas that we are walking by the Spirit or we still need to grow in that area.
-Each instance is an opportunity to grow in God’s grace by following the HS and allow him to ripen His fruit in me.
-That is an active putting off of my desires, renewing my thinking, and putting on the virtues of God.
-Which will you feed?