Summary: Third in a five part series exploring what it means to live by the power of the Holy Spirit
“Life in the Spirit” Part Three
I have led an expedition through the fifth chapter of Galatians over the past two weeks.
Galatians is a letter written by Paul through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to the people of Galatia.
He wrote to encourage them to cling to the true Gospel amid an effort by some to distort it.
He rebuked those who advocated a salvation by law-keeping.
Keeping a set of rules may have the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of NO VALUE against fleshly indulgence. Col 2:18-23
The only source of victory over the selfish passions imbedded in our members is continually reliance on the direction and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
The fifth chapter details what a life directed and empowered by the Holy Spirit looks like.
I. Life in the Spirit
A. It is a life of true freedom.
B. It is a life of competing passions. Spirit vs. Flesh
We have covered this battle extensively.
Although it bears further discussion, our goal today is to explore the significant signs of a life lived by the Spirit.
Paul affirmed that if we live by the power of the Spirit we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh embedded in our members.
It doesn’t say we won’t FEEL them anymore, just not FULFILL them.
Not only will we not fulfill the desires of the flesh but we will fulfill the desires of the Spirit.
C. It is a life of godly behavior.
Just as we are able to discern when the flesh is in control by our behavior and attitudes, we can discern when we are living by the direction and enabling of the Spirit by our behavior.
SENSUAL CLUES TO A FLESHLY FOCUS
“Immorality” (pornea), “Impurity” , “Sensuality”, “drunkenness & carousing”
DEVOTIONAL CLUES TO A FLESHLY WALK
This focuses on our tendency to seek life through people and things rather than God.
The whole struggle with codependency in our culture is idolatry.
The whole struggle with possession and things is a struggle with greed which amounts to idolatry.
Thus says the LORD, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD. For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit. Jeremiah 17:5-9
Attempt to control our environment or people for selfish reasons through ritual or curse or incantation or action of some kind.
RELATIONAL CLUES TO A FLESHLY WALK
When life is sought on the level of the senses or through people or things, it destroys rather than develops relationships.
“enmities”, “strife”, “jealousy”, “outburst of anger” , “selfish ambition”, “divisions”
Paul referred to those exhibiting such behavior as fleshly – babies.
Relational issues were because of people succumbing to the selfish desires of the flesh.
Paul advocated for Spirit led attitudes and behavior.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Paul uses a singular not plural noun.
Paul did not identify these characteristics as the fruits of the Spirit.
When we live by the direction and empowering of the Holy Spirit, all of these characteristics are in play.
They are all basically attributes of the Holy Spirit and so it is logical that they would be present whenever He is in charge.
These qualities are not really all that complicated.
They include attitudes, actions and emotions.
If all these things were operating in our life, we would be living a well-balanced life that would certainly catch the attention of those around us.
These characteristics flow out of the regenerated core of our being.
They should be evident even to those closest to us.
It is often harder to live godly around family.
Some divide these characteristics into three categories.
Base core characteristics – love, joy, peace
Relational characteristics – Longsuffering, kindness, goodness
Stress of life characteristics – Faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
Let’s spend some time refreshing our memory of these things.
Of course the Bible clearly indicates that the whole of God’s instructions for living can be summed up in just one of these – LOVE.
Love people made by God.