Summary: Fifth in a series of messages exploring what it means to live in the power of the Holy Spirit
“Life in the Spirit” Part Five
I. Life in the Spirit
Many Christians have little knowledge or experience with the Holy Spirit. Relationship with the unseen Spirit of God sent to reside in the core of our being appears all through the New Testament. That relationship is the key to fruitful life and growth. His ministry is key to regeneration, renewing, filling, placement into the body of Christ, prayer, worship, spiritual gifting. The core of what Paul means to communicate in Galatians five is that if we live by the direction and empowerment of the Holy Spirit we WILL NOT carry out the fleshly passions imbedded in the members of our body including our brain. It is equally true that if we live by the direction and empowerment of the Holy Spirit we WILL carry out the spiritual passions newly imbedded in our inner person made alive at conversion.
A Spirit directed life produces Christ-like fruit. A flesh driven life produces fleshly deeds.
A. It is a life of true freedom in the Spirit.
B. It is a life of competing passions. Spirit vs. Flesh
C. It is a life of godly behavior.
1. Love vs. indifference
2. Joy vs. gloom, negativity
3. Peace vs. anxiety, worry, chaos
4. Long-suffering vs. short fuse
To be long tempered or to withhold angry reaction or expression for a higher purpose does not mean we never express anger. Paul told the Ephesian to “be angry yet don’t sin or let that anger fester overnight”. Even the kindness of God that leads to repentance does not ignore evil. There will be a price to pay one day. Romans 2
God is slow to anger but ultimately requires accountability. Longsuffering enables us to hear from the Holy Spirit as to how we should best respond rather than blindly react to offenses or evil. The presence or absence of these qualities graphically indicates whether we are living by the power of the flesh or the Spirit. The next two attributes fit together and are similar attributes. Both kindness and goodness are major attributes of God. We will first look at them as demonstrated by God and then follow up with the expectation that they also be recognized in the children of God. In the transition from a flesh driven being to a Spirit directed being these attributes will not always be true of our everyday interaction with people. Only through continual submission to the direction and power of the Holy Spirit will these attributes become the normal way of relating.
5. Kindness vs. apathy
6. Goodness vs. selfishness
Scripture references both kindness and goodness extensively. Each one actually deserves its own series. Both terms refer to unselfish and unconditional actions that address the needs and alleviate the misery of others. Scripture proclaims God as both GOOD and KIND.
Luke summed up the ministry of Jesus like this.
"You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38
What might we expect when God is with us?
You are good and do good; teach me Your statutes. Psalm 119:68
O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Psalm 34:8
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6
The Hebrew term translated “follow” may also be translated pursue, chase after, persecute.
God’s kindness and goodness actually pursues us all the days of our lives. God is good and does good by nature. Goodness is difficult to define. We apply the English word to a multitude of applications. Good meal, good health, good day, good game, good behavior or deeds, moral character.
I suppose the common denominator in all our uses of the term has to do with something corresponding to God’s standard of right and wrong. God differentiates between good and evil. Whatever corresponds to His standard is good. Whatever does not is evil. In the times of the judges every man did what was right and good in their own eyes but evil in the eyes of God. God is good by nature and does good on our behalf as we in turn live righteously and do good for others.
Paul recognized it in the Romans
And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, having been filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. Romans 15:14
Goodness may also include generosity. God is also kind. Sometimes the idea of love and kindness is combined referring to God’s lovingkindness. Kindness flows out of a heart of love and compassion to address needs and alleviate misery.