Summary: Learning to Live in the Spirit versus Walking in the Flesh

Learning to Live In the Spirit

In Galatians 5, Paul says that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. You see, Paul has been kind of building a case for what he is about to say in the middle of chapter 5. For those that watch a bit of TV each week, you will know that there are a lot of shows that have a criminal investigation theme. Shows like, CSI, Law and Order and others I¡¦m sure. Many people like these types of shows because they are filmed in such a way that you get to work alongside the investigators and detectives and try to figure out the case. All the evidence is gathered and then the challenge is to try to fit all the evidence and clues together, and find the truth.

So today, we are going to look at this letter that Paul has written to the Galatians, and figure out why Paul was building a case against the way the Galatians were living. The case that Paul was building started in chapter 1:6 and goes right to chapter 5:16. Chapter 5:16 is the climax of the book. This is what Paul has been waiting to say, since he started writing the letter. But it took him the better part of 5 chapters to get here. Everything the Paul has said in this letter builds up to this verse.

Let¡¦s read this verse,

¡§So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.¡¨

So today, you are going to be detectives with me, and we are going to figure out why Paul was able to build his case against the Galatian Christians, and come to this truth.

And he wasn¡¦t building a case against them so that he could look down on them.

He wasn¡¦t doing this so he could be judgmental and critical of them,

but he did it, so that they would really understand what He was so concerned about.

So let¡¦s begin our investigation.

Just recently, I asked this question of the Galatian church.

¡§What are they missing in their Christian Life?¡¨

Diagnosing the Galatian Church

- What are there symptoms?

o They are lacking Perseverance ¡V 1:6

o They are turning to human effort ¡V 3:3

o They are turning back to the law ¡V 4:9

o They have lost their Joy ¡V 4:15

o Alienated (distant) from Christ ¡V 5:4

o They are lacking Obedience to the truth ¡V 5:7

o Lack of unity ¡V 5:15

So, the evidence that we have just gathered, has given Paul a reason to say,

¡§So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.¡¨

So, why does this evidence result in him saying that the Galatians are to live by the Spirit? To say that would presuppose that they were in fact not living by the Spirit.

The Evidence shows that they are ¡§walking in the Flesh¡¨. They are not living by the Spirit, but walking in the flesh.

So what does that mean? I think the saying; ¡§Walking in the Flesh¡¨ can sometimes be an allusive ¡§Christianise¡¨ saying that some people don¡¦t really understand. A definition for walking in the flesh would be helpful for us.

The Greek word for flesh is - ƒãƒÑƒâƒèƒnƒ{ƒnmeaning, the human body ¡V literal flesh

Human nature ¡V living within the means of humanity

Sinful nature ¡V living to fulfill the desires of the flesh. Carnal as opposed to spiritual

So, Walking in the Flesh would mean:

Living a life in which we depend on our own strength and wisdom and denying the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It¡¦s Self-reliance and Self-sufficient.

Legalism is product of walking in the flesh because legalism is setting up ways to measure your spirituality that is really based on our own efforts and abilities.

For the Galatian Church, walking in the flesh didn¡¦t mean that they were unbelievers. These were Christians, who were either choosing to deny the work of the Holy Spirit, or being deceived into thinking that they could live their Christian lives in their own strength and abilities.

So let¡¦s take a closer look at some of the symptoms of ¡§Walking in the Flesh¡¨.

I think that we will find that the churches of today, and individual Christians of today will find a lot in common with the Galatian Church of almost 2000 years ago.

Let¡¦s see if you can identify with them. Do you ever feel distant from God?

Do you ever feel that it is hard to obey the Word of God?

Do you ever feel like you are just going through the motions of living like a Christian, but inside feel empty, with a lack of joy?

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