Summary: Christians must be careful to walk in the Spirit of God or else they may revert to their old nature.
May 4, 2003
Text: Galatians 5:16-18; 22-25
Subject: Life in the Spirit
Title: Growing in the Spirit.
The war in Iraq is essentially over. The enemy has been defeated. There are still skirmishes being fought but for all intents and purposes the war is over. This was a war in a nation where the people have always been taught that America is the ?Great Satan? and is the enemy. Even though Sadaam Hussein brutally tortured, maimed and even killed many of his own countrymen, America was still the enemy.
Now we have seen the video of American troops rolling into Baghdad and the citizens there welcoming them with great rejoicing. It didn?t take long for the tide of public sentiment to begin to resort to its old way of thinking. ?Americans go home? has now become a common cry from the people of Iraq. Why? Because regardless of how great the experience of liberation may have been for the Iraqis, the newness quickly rubs off and people resort to their old way of life. Once again America is the enemy and needs to leave the Iraqi people to their own way of life and government. Liberation is fleeting and if the Iraqi people had their own way, they would allow another dictator to take over ? not another one like Sadaam ? but possibly even more dangerous. It would be a government run by Moslem clerics much like Iran. So the people soon fall back into the same routine. They return to the only thing they know ? being anti-American.
Paul, in writing to the churches of Galatia, confronts them in a similar situation. You have been liberated from the Law that leads to death, so why are you returning to it? In our passage today Paul gives a clear teaching of what it takes to hold on to Christian liberty and not return to the bondage of sin. The answer to the problem is life in the Spirit.
I. The Spirit wars against the flesh.
a. What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? (Verse 16)
i. ?Walk? is talking about your Christian walk. It is the way you approach the ?road of life?
ii. Have you ever seen a coyote or a fox running across a field a long way off? Even if it was too far to recognize their appearance, you can always tell those animals by the way they run.
iii. A Christian will be recognized by the way he or she walks the road of life.
1. Romans 6:12, ?Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.?
2. Psalm 119:100,101, ?I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts. I have restrained my feet from every evil way.?
iv. If you are walking in the Spirit you allow the Spirit to do what He was sent to do.
1. Guide you.
a. Turn to John 16:13, ?However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.?
b. When the Spirit of truth has come?
i. Has the Spirit come?
ii. What is He going to do?
1. Guide you into all truth.
iii. That tells me that as long as we trust in the lord the Spirit will continue to minister to us. When we get ready to step out in the wrong direction the caution lights will start flashing.
iv. When we are taking that final step into sin the stop - light goes up.
v. If we don?t stop then the Holy Spirit will convict us of our sin in order that we might recognize it and repent.
2. The Holy Spirit will tell you of things to come.
a. If we are truly walking in the Spirit, and the Spirit knows the future, we can rest assured that He will not lead us down wrong paths.
b. ?If we walk in the Spirit you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh? (verse 16). I will go a step further than that.
i. If you walk in the Spirit you cannot fulfill the lust of the flesh.
1. Let?s define flesh.
a. The Greek word, ?sarx? originally meant the soft tissue of the body. It eventually came to mean the whole body. When taken into Christian context it refers to the whole man, which is conditioned by the desires of the natural. Since the natural man or ?the old nature? is born out of the sin of Adam the physical, intellectual, and moral aspects of man has limitations.
i. The flesh is incapable of knowing God apart from special revelation and redemption that removes the barrier of sin.