Summary: the battle within
Intro: a subject that is often over-looked or passed by is the flesh verses the spirit teachings in the Word of God. They are found throughout the New Testament, but are never heard in our society. Why? Because teaching on overcoming the flesh is not popular, and in a sensual, carnal, worldly system, it is hard to swallow and digest anything that goes against the flesh. But in our society, it is of the essence that there is teaching on overcoming the flesh by the Spirit of God. Tonight we will look at the Flesh verses Spirit found in Galatians 5:16-24
Verse 16—walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Our first principle in overcoming the flesh, it isn’t a me thing, it is in my power to overcome the flesh, it is God’s Spirit working in me that wins the battle.
So many people have tried to win over the flesh in themselves, and have been defeated so many times in the same areas, that they just stop trying.
Walking in the spirit means a constant living with the Spirit. If you try to get just enough of God on Sunday, and live from one fill up to another, you will run dry during the week, and lose in battles with the flesh.
Verses 17-your flesh isn’t God’s friend— God’s spirit battles against your flesh. The more you yield to the Spirit of God, the more flesh will be crucified until you are completely dead.
Contrary—they are opposites—what the flesh wants you to do, and what the Spirit wants you to do, are totally opposite. If we give into our nature, we wound the Spirit, if we give into the Spirit we wound our flesh.
Cannot do the things you would—I can’t pray, I can’t read my Bible, I can’t witness—until we get the Spirit working in our lives, we will live with a lot of can’t, but it is the Spirit that gives us liberty to do the things we should.
Verses 19-21 we will not do a study on each and every manifestation of the flesh, but will look at a few key phrases in these verses
· Manifest—your flesh produces these things—just as the Spirit produces love, joy and peace, your flesh produces adultery, envy, hatred, murders. When you see someone who commits a horrible crime, realize this: your flesh unchecked by the Spirit of God, can produce the same results.
· And the such like—just to name a few—Paul writes by the Spirit of God, this isn’t the full list, this is just a partial list of what the flesh can produce.
· I have told you this all before—Paul evidently had preached this sermon before, but it was still needed. Paul didn’t avoid the unpopular message, he preached the thing that was most needed at the time.
· They that do these things won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Here is the punch line, people let the flesh win lose, and those that let the Spirit win, win.
Before we look at what the Spirit produces: I would like to break these flesh manifestations into a few groups
a. man is prone to seek out constant pleasure—gratification—adultery, fornication, lasciviousness (lewdness) revellings (let’s party) Solomon tried pleasure but found it all unfulfilling.
b. Idolatry, witchcraft, heresies—Satanic—anyone who allows their flesh to control them, they will generally give themselves over to Satanic, cultic influence.
c. Wrath, Stripe, seditions, hatred, murders—another thing that is so obvious is this, generally someone who is without Spirit control, and let’s the flesh be in charge, generally will be given over to a spirit of rebellion against authority, against others, sometimes against themselves.
Fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace—22,23—this is such a wonderful list, when you let the Spirit of God lead your life, He will produce good things in you.
v.24—our goal is to die to the flesh, and be alive in the Spirit. Paul said, He was crucified with Christ. He said, the world was crucified to him and he to the world. If we are risen with Christ, we seek those things that are above, we set our affections on things above.
Close: Kathryn Kullman—in one of her books she relays how she could take you to the very place where she had died. She knew the very moment that her life was totally surrendered to the Lord. That is our goal, to live is Christ