Summary: Message 14 in our Galatians Series dealing with the signs of a fleshly life.
Chico Alliance Church
The year is well underway! What does this year hold? Growth, grief, glee, gloom, gratitude, grumbling?
Christ promised to give us abundant life in Him.
The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he looked up to heaven and said, "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone in all the earth. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. John 17:1-3
As we face another year of life on this earth we also face the sometimes difficult questions unearthed by life in a fallen world. Where have I been? Where am I going? Is this all there is? Is there more? Have I done all I could? What could be better? Am I living life as God intended?
God communicated through Paul the blessing of new life in Christ. Through the work of Christ we have been lifted to a new sphere of life. No longer under the law of sin and death, we are free to enjoy all of the marvels of life in the spirit the law of the spirit of life in Christ.
It is not enough to attend church and hear words spoken through a man. The Word of God was recorded for a purpose – effective kingdom living. “every man might be complete, equipped for every good work. Doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteous living.
Any time we hear the word or teach the word it we must ask how does what we hear and teach apply to becoming a more effective servant of God.
After renewing the Galatian believer’s thinking, Paul applies the truth of freedom in Christ on the basis of the promise not performance. He paints contrasting portraits all through his letter.
One, a life lived on the level of the flesh driven by ritual and law.
Two a life lived on the level of the spirit driven by relationship and love.
The truth presented here is foundational for every Christian. Until you understand the principles here you will not experience the abundant life in the spirit as promised and produced by Jesus. How do we know whether our walk is on the flesh level of the spirit level? Paul touches on four basic areas where life in the Spirit clearly opposes life in the flesh. These are like warning lights on the dash board indicating a problem.
If the alternator light come on, it tells you that you are now running off of battery power. We all know what happens if we continue to try to run the car on battery power. We may still run but there are definite limitation. Limited use of accessories. Limited time before a recharge of the battery is necessary. The engine was not designed to run off the batter.
A. Life in the spirit serves not swallows one another
One who operates by the direction and energy of the spirit commits himself as a servant, a slave on behalf of God and the body of Christ. A slave exists for the purpose of serving the master. Through love, we are to enslave ourselves to one another. Paul warns about selfishly biting and devouring one another. Like wild animals who bite and devour for self preservation and selfish ambition, those who listen to the direction of the flesh pursue self-promotion and promote self-protection as a way of life. Jesus said those who desire to save their life must give it away.
Jim Elliot, so familiar with what it means to give his life for the service of others said this:
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Paul goes on to teach about life in the spirit.
B. Life in the spirit lives by the spirit not the flesh
Paul concisely exposes all of the elements of the Christ walk. As through the rest of the letter, Paul pits life in the spirit against life in the flesh. What is this battle that rages in the soul. As we tried to make clear, the key to life in the spirit and life in the flesh rests on belief. The Holy Spirit is a person to be believed and trusted and obeyed not a force or feeling to be attained. Enablement to walk the walk comes through a relationship of humble reliance on the Holy Spirit who resided within every believer. He works in our life as we surrender to His agenda, His plan, His will, His way. The moment we insist on our agenda, our plan, our will, our way we face the battle in our own strength. As we hear and believe the lies fostered by Satan through demonic teaching and the false teaching of this world system, the flesh is energized resulting in corresponding behavior. If we choose to ignore, grieve by sin or quench by rebellion, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, He allows us to fall into bondage to the flesh and possibly evil spirits until we are sick of our state and cry out to God for deliverance on his terms. The fleshly desires will be energized and sensitized to the things of this world while our spirit becomes desensitized to the eternal things of God. The truth is that we are body soul and spirit.