Summary: A sermon examining the battle between the flesh and the Spirit

Nail It To The Cross

Galatians 5:24-26

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(The introduction to this sermon was inspired by Dr. Adrian Rogers sermon Nailed To The Cross from Colossians chapter 2)

There was a certain custom in ancient Rome, when someone was convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison, they would nail a placard or a "certificate of debt" to his prison door. That certificate of death would contain the crime that had been committed and the number of years, months and days that the individual was to remain in prison. When that person had served his time his certificate of debt was marked paid in full. It would then be taken to the judge, to be notarized. That individual would keep his certificate of debt with him at all times. If someone were to accuse him of that crime he could then take out the "certificate of debt" and prove that he had already paid for his crime.

If a man was guilty of a capital offense the authorities would take the offense that he had committed and place it on a placard and then nail it to the cross above his head. This is familiar to us because of Jesus' crucifixion. Matthew 27:37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. - Pilate allowed Jesus to be crucified because He had rebelled against Caesar and claimed to be King.

Criminals were crucified in public view so the citizens would see these people suffer and die in pain, agony and anguish upon the cross. And when the citizens saw that placard nailed above their head containing the crime that had been committed, the people would say "I will never do that because I don't want to face the same fate"

There were several things that we nailed to that cross at Calvary:

1) Obviously our Savior was nailed to that cross!

2) That placard containing the title "King of the Jews" was nailed to that cross!

3) God's Law was nailed to that cross! - Colossians 2:13-14 Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. - This "handwriting of ordinances",(the Law) from God’s point of view, was nailed to the cross

4) Our sins were nailed to that cross! - Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

The people thought Jesus was dying for sins against Caesar, but Jesus was dying for our sins! We should have been on that cross with the 10 Commandments nailed above our head! But God sent His only Son to take our place - 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

This illustrates an overriding theme throughout Galatians. Paul had been combating the false teachings of the Judaizers who were trying to add to the work of Jesus at Calvary. That Law that the Judaizers promoted with such zeal had been nailed to the cross with Jesus! Though that was the case, many of the believers at Galatia had begun to revert to the ceremonies and rituals of the Law. In Paul's words they had returned to the bondage that they had been delivered from.

Chances are pretty good that some of you are in a similar situation. You have been born again, your sins have been forgiven and you have been washed in the precious blood of Jesus. But for some reason things aren't like they were before, something seems to be missing.

- Maybe you find yourself giving in to temptations.

- Maybe you are seeing less and less of the "fruits of the Spirit" in your life.

- Maybe you are seeing more and more of the "works of the flesh" in your life.

- Maybe you are just not as close to the Lord are you were in the past.

- Maybe you are consumed with guilt and shame.

I want to look at these few verses in Galatians 5 and see how you can return to a place of victory. Notice how our selected text is translated in the NLT - 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there.

* I ask you to join me as we consider this thought "Nail It To The Cross"

* The Whisnants sing a song with the same title. Listen to a portion of the lyrics:

" Is there something in your heart - between you and the Lord"

" Are you drifting apart - not as close anymore"

" There's nothing you can do - that He will not forgive"

"Bring it to the cross - let it die so you can live"

"Nail it to the cross - get it under the blood"

"Drown your pain and every stain in the mercy flood"

" Nail it to the cross - find hope and forgiveness"

"Kneel at the tree and walk away free - Nail it to the cross"

Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

The context of these verses speaks of the believer judging his own sinful flesh. This is a description of repentance, not just repentance at the point of conversion but daily repentance. We must realize that following the desires of the flesh causes us to sin. "Crucifying the flesh" is the process of rejecting that sin.

* Consider what Paul says in - Ephesians 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Repentance is a sincere turning away, in both the mind and heart, from self to God. Repentance is an aspect of faith in Jesus Christ. The flesh was crucified once and for all at Calvary through Jesus sacrifice. As we look at these verses we continue the concept that was introduced in the previous verses. Remember what we read in verse 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.

It is not up to us to kill the flesh, but we are told to crucify it. In order to explain this let me use the act of crucifixion to illustrate my point: Crucifixion takes time... it was a long agonizing painful death. We find that Jesus' crucifixion lasted approximately 6 hours. Other methods of death were instant, but Jesus for an extended period of time. Just as we saw last week, our souls are saved but the flesh is still lost. And the process of it's demise is a slow one! Our flesh will not fully die until we go to be with the Lord and leave it behind. As a result we still struggle with the old sinful nature and ALL of it's desires. This is that battle between the flesh and Spirit that is found in the previous verses.

* This is also the conflict that Paul describes in Romans 7:21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.22 I love God’s law with all my heart.23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.24 Oh, what a miserable person I am!

When we fail to "walk in the Spirit" and begin to fulfill the "desires of the flesh" then we become prisoners of our flesh once again. We are told to "walk in the Spirit" in verse 16 - "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh"- This is reiterated in verse 25 "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit".

In order to do this we must "crucify the flesh" daily! Picture "the old man" ...your old sinful nature as being nailed to a cross. It is hanging there securely nailed to that cross, but it still appeals to you, asking you to take it down and give it a chance. When you give in to temptation, when you fail to walk in the Sprit.. when you fulfill the lusts of the flesh you are doing just that! When you do this you are headed for disaster! You are making a conscious choice to return to the bondage that you have been delivered from! In order to be what God would have us to be, we must NAIL THE FLESH AND THOSE SINS TO THE CROSS!

In verses 19-21 Paul examines the "works of the flesh". He covers many issues that the flesh... our old sinful natures craves. Each of us have certain issues that affect us in a powerful way. There are things that I struggle with that may not be an issue for you and there are things that you struggle with that never cross my mind. Whatever the issue... whatever the temptation... whatever the sin, we must take those sins and NAIL THEM TO THE CROSS!

* The first time I ever heard the phrase "Nail It TO The Cross" was just after I came here to Stockdale. Bro. Jim and I went to visit one of his nephews. This man was walking through a dark valley. He was battling alcoholism. We witnessed to him and told him that Jesus was the answer to his problem. Just before he prayed to receive Christ, Bro, Jim looked at him and said you need to take that alcohol and NAIL IT TO THE CROSS!

- I would like to consider some things that you may need to nail to the cross today... Saved or lost, the answer for everyone here is found AT THE CROSS!

1) Alcohol: Maybe you struggle with alcohol. Perhaps it is a constant temptation for you. Maybe you are at the point where you don't event put up a fight. It controls your life! You have tried in your own power to quit with no success. If this is a struggle for you REPENT and NAIL IT TO THE CROSS!

2) Drugs: We live in a day where there are countless types of illegal drugs and unlimited access to them. It is not just the hippies and Hell's angels who are involved in this lifestyle. Drugs impact people of all ages, races, and genders. Drugs are used by businessmen, soccer moms and high school students. It would be foolish to assume that in an assembly of this size that there is not someone who is struggling with this issue. If this is a struggle for you.... REPENT and NAIL IT TO THE CROSS!

3) Sexual sins: When you examine the "works of the flesh" found in the preceding verses, nearly half of them are related to sexual sins.

a. Pornography: A recent poll indicated that among professing Christians... over 50 of men and 20% of women admit to being addicted to pornography. Our society today is bombarded with impure images from the newsstand to the TV to unlimited access on the internet. Along with this comes:

b. Lust: lust is perhaps the easiest sin to hide from others. It is within the mind and no one has to know... BUT GOD KNOWS! And remember what Jesus said about lust - Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Many times lust leads to actual adultery.

c. Adultery: You might think that in a church house on Sunday morning that this would not be an issue that had to be addressed...You would be dead wrong! The number of people in our day who are involved in illicit affairs is staggering. So much so that our society has almost become numb to the reality of it. You say "but preacher we are all Christians, that would never happen to anyone here!" Can I remind you that David was "a man after God's own heart" and it happened to him!

* Then there is fornication:

d. Fornication: - Any kind of immoral sexual activity, including adultery, premarital sex, homosexuality, incest, prostitution. This is a far to common occurrence and there are consequences to this type of rebellion! If this is a struggle for you...REPENT and NAIL IT TO THE CROSS!

4) Social Sins - these are sins related to our dealings with others.

a. Lying: telling and spreading an untruth.

b. Slander: making a false statement damaging to a person's reputation.

c. Gossip: casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people. Pierre de Marivaux says "Some people will believe anything if it is whispered to them"

d. Backbiting: malicious talk about someone who is not present. Many times we try to justify ourselves in these sins, but they are still wrong and SINFUL!

Pastor Alan Redpath shares a simple formula to apply before speaking of any person or subject that was perhaps controversial.

- T--Is it true?

- H--Is it helpful?

- I--Is it inspiring?

- N--Is it necessary?

- K--Is it kind?

If what I am about to say does not pass those tests, I will keep my mouth shut! And it worked! - Alan Redpath, A Passion for Preaching.

If you struggle with lying, backbiting, slander or gossip...REPENT and NAIL THOSE SINS TO THE CROSS! ...........Let's look at a few more sins that will creep up on a regular basis:

5) Bitterness - Holding on to or showing feelings of intense [strong] animosity. Do you have a problem with forgiveness? Are guilty of holding a grudge? When you refuse to let things go you become bitter! Bitterness is a cancer that spreads and eats away at you. Bitterness must be dug up by the root! - Hebrews 12:15 tells us that the root of bitterness is poisonous and that when it is within you it has the potential to corrupt others!

- Along with bitterness comes:

6) Anger - a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure, or hostility. We often try to justify our anger when there is no real justification for it.

* A lady once came to Billy Sunday and tried to rationalize her angry outbursts. "There's nothing wrong with losing my temper," she said. "I blow up, and then it's all over." "So does a shotgun," Sunday replied, "and look at the damage it leaves behind!"

There is a such thing as "righteousness indignation" but apart from that...ANGER IS SIN! We are in the Bible told to "be angry and sin not" Maybe you would be honest and say that bitterness and anger are issues that you are confronted with on a regular basis... What is the answer? REPENT of your anger and bitterness and NAIL IT TO THE CROSS!

7) Covetousness - The sin of always wanting more! When you have this mindset you are telling God that what He has blessed you with is just not enough!! Have you ever looked at what someone else had and wanted it? Better yet (for the Christian) have you looked at someone who is lost in their sins and living like the Devil and complained to God that they have so much more than you and you feel like you DESERVE WHAT THEY HAVE!?!?!

- This brings to mind another sin that we must consider:

8) Jealousy - resentment against someone because of their successes or advantages. When you are jealous of someone again you are telling God that the positions that He has placed you in is just not good enough! You have it in your mind that you are deserving of what that other person has and you resent them! This often breeds that bitterness and anger that we just talked about.

* I believe that covetousness and Jealousy come as a result of pride!

7) Pride - a high opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority. - Pride is a sin that God hates!!! Pride is a failure to accept and perceive the reality of our utter dependence on God. - Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

- If you struggle with Covetousness, Envy, Jealousy or Pride...REPENT and NAIL THOSE SINS TO THE CROSS! .......Maybe you struggle with:

9) Idolatry - admiration, love, or reverence for something or someone other than God. Is God the number one priority in your life? Or would you admit that there are people, places and things that have come between you and God? If that is the case then there are idols in your life! You must REPENT and NAIL THOSE IDOLS TO THE CROSS!!

I could go on all day naming sins that we all face. But the fact of the matter is that YOU KNOW what sins you deal with on a regular basis! You know what works of the flesh are present in your life! You know what you need to repent of! You know what needs to be NAILED TO THE CROSS! That is what you must do in order to experience VICTORY! ....NAIL IT TO THE CROSS!!

* Notice what Paul says in - Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.

Again I would like to look to the lyrics of the song from the Whisnants titled "Nail It TO The Cross"

"Is there a burden you bear that's got you battered and bound"

"Struggling for strength, do you long to lay it down?"

"Don't take another step, just kneel where you stand"

"Lay it at the cross and take the hammer in your hand"

"Nail it to the cross - get it under the blood"

"Drown your pain and every stain in the mercy flood"

"Nail it to the cross - find hope and forgiveness"

"Kneel at the tree and walk away free - Nail it to the cross"

- Do you have sins? (of course you do!) NAIL THEM TO THE CROSS!

- Do you have worries? NAIL THEM TO THE CROSS!

- Do you have fears? NAIL THEM TO THE CROSS!

- Do you have doubts? NAIL THEM TO THE CROSS!

- Do you have troubles that seem to hard to bear? NAIL THEM TO THE CROSS!

Maybe you are lost and dead in trespasses and sins, If so then you are facing eternal condemnation in a Lake of Fire? God has made a way for you to be delivered from that fate today...HIS ONLY SON WAS NAILED TO THE CROSS FOR YOU!!

Put your faith in HIS FINSIHED WORK!