Summary: 1st in a series on the Fruits of the Spirit
1. This morning I begin a new sermon series. You would think that since on average I’ve preached 2 sermons each week, and typically taught one class each week for the last 20 years that I would have dealt with the section of scripture I am going to begin sharing with you this morning, but I haven’t and I am not sure why I haven’t. Even this sermon series is a bit of a mystery to me. I had planned to share a series of messages this year on the "gifts of the Spirit." It was meant to encourage us all to use our spiritual gifts to glorify God. When I was doing my sermon planning last November, I had the thought, that perhaps I should combine the gifts of the Spirit, with the fruits of the Spirit. The more I thought about it, the most I decided that the two would be very complimentary. Both involved the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Both have very practical implications for the Christian life.
2. It hasn’t happened the way I intended. It’s not often that I completely drop a Sunday morning series I have planned, but there were a number of things that combined which has forced me to drop the series on the Spiritual gifts for this year. I now intend to share that series of messages with you sometime during the early part of 2005.
3. I said all of that to say that I believe God led me to the series I’m beginning this morning sort of through the back door. However, as I’ve studied for this first sermon in the series, I hope you’re going to be as convinced as I am that this is a series whose time has come for our church.
4. Please open your Bibles to book of Galatians the 5th chapter this morning? Before I get into the meat of the sermon, I want to read the passage that deals with the fruits of the Spirit. However, I want to read a the larger passage in order to lay out a foundation for what we are going to find here.
5. It’s a passage that lays out the importance of living a life that is controlled by the Spirit. However, that’s only half of what the passage is about. It’s also a passage that focuses on not fulfilling the "deeds of the flesh." In other words, it’s a passage that is directed in two separate, but equally important directions. It has both a negative focus, "don’t do this," and a positive focus, "do this." When you put the entire passage together you will discover a balance that escapes us when we don’t focus a little bit both directions. Let’s read the passage together and I believe you will discover what I’m talking about.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,
21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. (NASB updated)
6. The passage contains the command that there are some things which we are not to allow into our lives: immorality, impurity, sensuality, and 12 more that He says are not to be a part of the life of the Christian. When these things are in our lives, it’s a pretty good indication that our flesh, or human side is in control, instead of the Holy Spirit who lives inside each believer.
7. I want to make an important point as we begin this morning, that I probably won’t focus on a lot during the rest of the series, but it needs to be stated right up front. The only way for us to overcome our ungodly tendencies is to rely upon the power of the God who is alive and well inside of us. Because we have God living inside of us, we are not helpless in keeping our spiritual priorities where they should be.