Summary: What you put on affects how you live. Put on Christ and take off the old man!
a. Over the past 3 weeks we have looked at the battle between the flesh and the spirit, between our old ways and our new ones, between our old man and the new creation we are in Christ.
b. We learned that because Paul wrote to 5 different NT churches and addressed this struggle, that it is a very important issue that all of us struggle with.
c. There have been several key principles that we have learned.
i. The flesh cannot be fixed. It must be put away, it cannot be cleaned up, dressed up, or made up. You cannot make a corpse look good. It is still a corpse.
1. That is our situation before we met and received Christ.
2. We were lost in our sins and under the power of the flesh (or self). We could not change ourselves. Anything we did was merely cosmetic.
3. Our lives will always produce fruit in accordance with its nature. If we are “in” the flesh, we will produce the fruits of the flesh, which are listed in each of the letters that Paul wrote dealing with this problem.
4. Ultimately, in order to produce good fruit, we need to be made “new creations” in Christ.
ii. To overcome the flesh we must walk in the Spirit.
1. We learned that the bible promises that “if you walk by the spirit you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
2. So if the “walking by the Spirit” is the solution to our problem, why aren’t more of us overcoming the self-rule in our lives?
a. The problem for most of us, is that we have never been TAUGHT how to walk by the Spirit.
b. We learned that we must be “led by the Spirit” – which I compared the difference between a pace car and a locomotive. Both lead, but only one provides power to those who are following. The locomotive leading is the best example of what it means to be led by the Spirit. We don’t follow in our own power and strength but depend upon the strength of the Spirit of God.
c. We must submit and stay connected relationally to God in order to walk by the Spirit.
iii. Another thing we learned two weeks ago, was that we will follow that which our minds are set upon.
1. If we set our minds upon the desires of the flesh, our actions will follow, if we set our minds upon what the spirit desires, our actions will follow.
2. We learned that self-consciousness is to walk in the flesh.
a. How much does self-consciousness affect us?
b. It causes us to do lots of things…
i. Like try to please people so they will like us
ii. Like try to act differently to be accepted
iii. Like try to do things for selfish reasons
3. We also learned that our walk in the Spirit is not supposed to be a “gas station experience” where we “fill her up” each week. It is supposed to be a “flow through” “immersed” experience not unlike a cup without a bottom that is lying in a river allowing the water to pass through it.
4. We operate in the Christian life not in the “storage” principle but in the “contact” principle (like a subway train that operates because it is CONNECTED to the power rail.
a. Victory is not you overcoming sin, Victory is Jesus overcoming you
b. We don’t watch our sin, we look at Jesus. We look away from ourselves to Him. This is the answer to laying aside the old self.
iv. Last week we learned that walking in the Spirit (as opposed to the flesh) involves where our minds, hearts and affections are fixed.
1. Calling it getting our heads in the clouds, we learned that we must stop being consumed by earthly concerns and thoughts.
a. We learned that we must make hard decisions about what fills our minds.
b. We learned that where our treasures are our hearts would follow.
2. ›We learned that the closer we draw to God the more and more our fleshly ways would die, not unlike a rodent in a plane.
2. Colossians 3:5-17- 5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self (stripped off one’s garments) with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self (like clothes) who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him-- 11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. 12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.