Summary: To choose to not be led by the Spirit of God is to miss inheriting the Kingdom of God!
GALATIANS 5: 16-26
MAY 19, 2002
INTRODUCTION: Star Wars mania! Do you remember the story line? Do you remember “The Force?” Do you remember the struggle between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker? What was the problem and what did Darth Vader offer his son? The Dark side of the Force was the temptation that Darth Vader gave into, but his son, Luke, would not! Have you ever felt “The Force?” Have you ever felt the Dark calling you, or even the converse, the Light side calling your name? Is there a struggle going on within you?
Tim McGraw has a song called “Angry all the time,” Here we are what is left of a husband and a wife with four good kids who have a way of getting on with their lives and I’m not old but I’m getting’ a whole lot older everyday it’s too late to keep from goin’ crazy I’ve got to get away.
CHORUS: The reason that I can’t stay don’t have a thing to do with being in love and I understand that lovin’ a man shouldn’t have to be this rough and you ain’t the only one who feels like this world’s left you far behind I don’t know why you gotta be Angry all the time.
[Our boys are strong now the spittin’ image of you when you were young I hope someday they can see past what you have become and I remember every time I said I’d never leave but what I can’t live with in memories of the way you used to be
Twenty years have come and went since I walked out of your door I never quite made it back to the one I was before and God it hurts to think of you for the light in your eyes was gone and sometimes I don’t know why this old world can’t leave well enough alone
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Today our scripture lesson helps us reflect on the reality of the Holy Spirit. Today is Pentecost Sunday. It has been fifty days since Easter and this Sunday we celebrate the coming of the Promised Holy Spirit that was to be pour out on all flesh. The reality for us today is whether or not we are being led by the Spirit or if we are living as if the Spirit had not been given. I feel we have a real problem, our lives are not reflecting the leading of the Holy Spirit! Star Wars is a good analogy of what it looks like, the battle between being Spirit led or being led by our own desires. Tim McGraw’s song continues to bear out the reality of the fruit of the flesh verses the fruit of the Spirit. What I believe our text teaches is that God has a plan and His plan is not that we live by the Flesh but that we Live by the Spirit He has so generously sent to be our guide!
THESIS SENTENCE: To choose to not be led by the Spirit of God is to miss inheriting the Kingdom of God!
SO WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE TO MISS OUR INHERITANCE?
I. MISSED INHERITANCE IS MISSUNDERSTANDING THE POWER OF THE SPIRIT (VV. 16-18)
A. The Call and Promise (v. 16)
1. The key question for Pentecost Sunday is how are we to live in light of the coming of the Holy Spirit as promised of the Father and Son? This is the very question that the Apostle Paul answers for these Christians struggling with others telling them that they must live according to the Law of the Jews. Really there are two callings on these new Christians, the call of the enemy and the call of the culture! Both desire to bring these new believers out of relationship with their newfound Savior!
2. The Apostle’s reply, “Live by the Spirit,” this is your high calling in Jesus Christ! And with every High calling comes a great Promise!
3. The double negative: “No Never”, “You will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” THIS IS A PROMISE!! IT IS AN IF THEN STATEMENT!!
B. The Conflict and Promise (v. 17-18)
1. So what’s the problem? “The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want (v.17).”
2. Now, what happened to the promise? This is the real struggle of our text and even a greater theological argument.
3. At this point, I agree with Greek Scholars and Wesleyan Theology. What the Language is stating is that before one chooses there is a great battle raging. This is seen in Romans chapter 7: 7-25. The battle is between our allegiance to self and to God. Before we know God there is no real struggle. Only when we come into contact with the Holy Spirit does the conflict begin. AND only until we choose does the conflict become manageable! By manageable, I mean, the ability to see the right and do the right although you may want to do the wrong, you will know the difference and have the power, not your own, but of the Spirit, to do what is right. If you struggle at this point, refer to I Corinthians 10:13!