Summary: How to identify when the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. Knowing the difference between the Holy Spirit and the flesh speaking.
Knowing the Voice of the Holy Spirit
Rev. Sean Lester
November 30, 2003
Text: Galatians 5: 13-26
A. Jesus Christ sets people free from having to perform religious acts in order to become righteous before God.
1. Many times in Scripture such acts are referred to as "works" or "dead works," depending on what translation of the Bible you are using.
2. A dead religious act is something you do to appease God. For some, going to church is their dead religious act. Sometimes, people will do many things in the church in order to appease God. It doesn’t earn salvation because it isn’t an act of faith. There is nothing you can do to make God happy with you, and there is nothing you can to do make God unhappy with you.
3. The issue is faith. Do you believe that God exists, that Jesus Christ died for your sins, and that God will reward you for trying to find him?
B. However, some have mistaken this freedom from dead religious acts as a license to commit dead sinful acts.
1. The good news is that you don’t have to be born into the Levitical priesthood to serve in the church. The bad news is that many people see the church as a way to gain position, acceptance, and even indulgence to sin.
2. Some even go so far as to claim that God’s grace will cover their sinful acts because "we are saved by faith, not by works." Which is almost true. We are saved by faith, but we are lost through disobedience to the faith.
D. Conflict is the mark of the Christian who refuses to yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
1. There is an inner conflict between the spirit and the self-will, and the self-will is given the victory.
2. The inner conflict manifests in conflict with family, friends, and at the workplace.
3. Their remains in the "carnal" believer a conviction that believers should love one another, which would be possible as soon as the other people in my life get out of my way.
4. Carnal believes are bad news for a church, or any other organization in which they belong. They don’t get along with people, probably because they don’t like working with certain people. They don’t like authority that gets in their way, which they believe to be God’s will. They are often the reason why churches decline and collapse.
Proposition: But, people who are yielded to the leading of the Holy Spirit will overcome their sinful natures so that they can love God and man.
Interrogative: How is it possible for anyone to overcome the desires of the flesh?
Transition: It is possible because Scripture tells us how to crucify the flesh, that is, to bring your own desires and self ambitions into obedience to the Holy Spirit.
I. First, learn to recognize when your own inner voice is talking to you. (vs. 19-21)
A. This seems like a long list, and yet the passage indicates that it is not exhaustive. You should study the passage yourself, but I would suggest these principles as underlying the acts of the flesh listed here.
1. Acts that drown out the voice of God. Sexual immorality is sexual behavior that is not in step with Scriptural principle. Impurity are acts that are "dirty", unclean. Things done that defile the body to get a "rush" of pleasure. Sensuality (debauchery) are acts done to arouse the body. Pornography is just such an act, or even leering at women (or men). All of these serve to arouse fleshly passions so that the voice of the spirit is drowned out.
2. Acts that manipulate the spirit realm for your own good. Idolatry is the worship of another God or the extreme devotion to a person or organization that you hope will grant you desires. Sorcery (witchcraft) is the act of using supernatural means to gain power over people.
3. Acts that are meant to manipulate people. Enmity (hatred) is taking a position of antagonism or hostility toward someone. Strife (discord) is to compete against someone to win some "prize" that they may be able to get, but you want. Jealousy is when you guard what is rightfully yours, including the loyalty from people that you feel you are owed. Fits of rage is how you back people off who threaten you, your way of intimidating them into treating you with respect. Rivalries (selfish ambition) are when you compete against someone to get something that someone else has. Dissensions are when you quarrel with someone else to get your way. Divisions (factions) are when you actually organize opposition against those who won’t follow you. Envy is the ill-will you feel toward others advantages.