Summary: need of God’s Spirit to overcome the weakness of the flesh.
Intro: the more I read the Word of God, the more I realize how totally dependent we are on the Spirit of God to help us gain victory in our lives. Nowhere is this more clearly seen as it is explained in Galatians 5:16-26. Your physical, carnal man produces things, God’s Spirit in you produces things, and this law will never change. Jesus said, call no man good but God. In our flesh dwells nothing good. No flesh will glory in His presence. By grace are ye saved through faith, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.
The fruit of the Spirit cannot grow in carnal soil. You cannot sow to your flesh and reap blessings. Whatever seeds you throw out, those will be the results you will gather.
The Spirit Controlled Life
v.16—walk in the Spirit and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh. Paul gives us great insight into victorious Christian living. If you want to overcome the flesh, be constantly walking in the Spirit of God. He is basically saying, if you fall out of the Spirit into the flesh, you will give into affections and lusts. How true it is: that when anyone let’s their guard down, no matter who they are, no matter what position they hold, their life will produce fleshly results. We have seen over the years, those who were considered Spiritual giants who fell in disgrace. All flesh is flesh, not some good and bad. If one of us can fall, all of us can fall, so we all need the Spirit of God to enable us to overcome our weakness.
v.17- your flesh is constantly battling against Spirit control. Your flesh hates the Spirit of God to be in control, because the Spirit demands surrender, sacrifice, discipline. None of us have good flesh, all our righteousness is as a filthy rag. Here is a solemn warning, whatever you have seen anyone else do, your flesh can do the same. Your flesh even tries to hinder you from doing Spiritual things. Sometimes you must admit, your Spirit is willing, your flesh is weak.
v.19-21 this is a very scary list, because Paul is writing to the church. Now if he was writing to a bunch of worldly sinners who were doing a bunch of evil things that would be one thing. But he is writing to you and me, to the church with this warning: if you give into your flesh, your flesh manifests these things.
Preacher you can produce these things. Deacon, church member, choir member, usher, Sunday school teacher, etc. you’re flesh can manifest this and a lot that weren’t even mentioned.
Occasionally we will hear of someone falling into a perverted, evil, terrible sin and can become very pious and say, I would never do that. Our response should be, but for the grace of God go I. Ill) Years ago riding on a bus in Springfield Missouri, I saw a drunk urinate on himself lying in an alley. I thought, how disgusting to be like that, and God spoke to me very clearly and said, that is your flesh without the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
v.21c—Paul now gives this warning, anyone who does these things won’t inherit the kingdom of God. If you allow your flesh to control your life, you will miss heaven.
v.22-23—the Fruit of the Spirit—when I was younger I always said the fruits of the Spirit. Until one day I saw that fruit is singular. I wondered what that meant and it was explained that the Spirit of God will produce all of these things in your life, not just a few of them. This is amazing, if I let the Spirit of God control my life, I will be full of love, joy and peace, but also I will be willing to suffer for the sake of others, be gentle, good, meek, full of faith and have self control.
· one great lesson in this is that it is what the Spirit produces not you. I can’t love fully, I can’t forgive fully, I can suffer for others, and I surely can’t be self controlled, I can’t tame my tongue, I need help in everything. Maybe you don’t, but I do. Jesus said, I am the Vine you are the branches, without me you can do nothing.
v.24—they that are Christ’s- or if you are a Christian, you have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If you live in the Spirit you will walk in the Spirit. You won’t be proud, you won’t envy others, you won’t provoke people. You might say right here, I can’t do all that, and my answer is neither can I. It is only with a daily death that we can live a victorious life.