Summary: Illustrates how we can--and do--frustrate the gracious work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

"Walk In the Spirit"

Author: Dr. Neal Gray

Passage: Galatians 5:16-25, KJV

Purpose: This sermon message illustrates how we can--and do--frustrate the gracious work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Also, we find out the motivation for walking by the Spirit.



Can you imagine the confusion that entered into the minds and hearts of the eleven disciples (Judas Iscariot had already left the supper room to betray the Lord) when Jesus proclaimed,

"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you," (John 16:7)?

"But wait, Rabbi! Stay with us, Messiah!" That’s what I would have said.

What did the disciples say? "What is this thing He is telling us? We do not know what He is talking about," (see John 16:17b, 18b).


How great an advantage we--even we--have over those eleven men! All the illumination of God working through history is ours, particularly our understanding of how the Holy Spirit, the "Helper," the "Comforter," plays such a large part in our lives.


While this is mostly a topical message about "walking in the Spirit," we will look at two other Scriptures. But let’s start at Galatians 5:16-25.



"Walk in the Spirit; live in the Spirit." Those are very clear instructions for the Christian.

Not Paying Attention

By unfortunately, so many Christians simply don’t "pay attention" to what God is saying to them. A story comes to my mind in this regard; although fictional, I think you’ll see what I mean.

In Herman Melville’s novel White Jacket one of the sailors takes sick with severe stomach pains. Dr. Cuticle, the ship’s surgeon, is delighted to have a patient with something more challenging to his art than blisters. He diagnoses appendicitis. Several shipmates are pressed into nursing service. The deck-hand is laid out on the operating table and prepared for surgery. Dr. Cuticle goes at his work with verve and skill. He makes his cuts with precision, and, on the way to excising the diseased organ, points out interesting anatomical details to the attendants around the table, who had never before seen the interior of an abdomen. He is absorbed in his work, and obviously good at it. All in all it is an impressive performance, but the sailor attendants are, to a man, not impressed but appalled. The poor patient, by the time he has been sewn up, has been a long time dead on the table.

==> Dr. Cuticle, enthusiastic in his surgery, hadn’t noticed. The sailors, shy in their subservience, didn’t tell him! WHEN DOING SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT, PAY ATTENTION! And...your life in God is supremely important. It deserves your full attention!

Don’t Quench the Spirit

Living your life in Christ means you find out the will of God--and then do it! Do it fully, to the best of your ability; not just "go through the motions."

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! When you know what the will of God is for you, and you don’t follow, then the Bible says you are "quenching the Holy Spirit. We find this in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, namely:

"Quench not the Spirit."

When we "quench the Spirit," the Scripture means that you decide to simply not hear what the Spirit has to say to you--you decide to ignore Him.

Whether you do this consciously or even out of ignorance, the result is the same; namely, you put yourself in a position where you can no longer take advantage of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life!

Scary, huh? We simply cannot be "too busy" with "doing our own thing," to pay attention to the Life-Giver.

What Was the Apostle Teaching?

The Apostle Paul spoke these words, "Quench not the Spirit," to the Thessalonian First Church of the Nazarene. The Thessalonian church was one that was very dear to Paul. He had started it during his second missionary journey, and stayed with them for a considerable amount of time.

In his letter, he exhorts them to LIVE IN THE WILL OF THE LORD. They should live their lives in holiness, always looking for the return of the Savior; and, while waiting, they should live together in love.

Good teachings, huh?

==> Take note carefully. [With emphasis] You cannot live in holiness and love without the Holy Spirit in your life.

Don’t "tune Him out;" DO NOT QUENCH THE SPIRIT! Keep tuned in to His good leading in your life.



Look at another passage with me, please. This command is another "do not" type instruction. It is found in Ephesians 4:30, namely:

"Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God."

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