Live by the Spirit – Galatians 5:16-26

The story so far. We are saved by grace through faith, not by keeping God’s law. We are saved by believing God’s promises, and when we believe God’s promises God makes us part of his forever family. We are not God’s servants but God’s beloved children, all one in Christ Jesus, sons and heirs of God’s love.

4: 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. God makes us His children by putting His Holy Spirit within us.-
6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, 6b the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; 7b and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.So How should we live ????? We should live a new life in the strength of the Holy Spirit!

16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

There is a battle going on within each of us. To do what God wants or to do what our old sinful human nature wants. The starting point for living in the strength of the Spirit is to realise that we have the choice. We are no longer slaves to sin. We have been set free!

5 : 1. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

In 6 short chapters of Gal one word comes again and again. 11 times – free / freedom! We are SONS , not slaves!

Do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Gal 5:1. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. WHAT does this mean? WHAT KIND of freedom is this Christian freedom????

George MacDonald. Christian Freedom is not licence to do whatever takes our fancy – freedom does not mean I am able to do whatever I want to do. That’s the worst kind of bondage. Freedom means I have been set free to become all that God wants me to be, to achieve all that God wants me to achieve, to enjoy all that God wants me to enjoy. `Free will is not the liberty to do whatever one likes, but the power of doing whatever one sees ought to be done, even in the very face of otherwise overwhelming impulse. There lies freedom indeed.’ G.Macdonald

A bird is free in the air. Place a bird in the water and he has lost his liberty. A fish is free in the water, but leave him on the sand and he perishes. He is out of his realm. So the Christian is free when he does the will of God and is living his life to please God. This is as natural a realm for God’s child as the water is for the fish, or the air for the bird.”

Freedom to do God’s will
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.Faith expressing itself in love for GOD. St Augustine “Love God – do what you like.”

Faith expressing itself in love says Paul, so serve one another in love.

13. You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Faith expressed in LOVE for each other Do we ever SERVE each other ?? Do we EVER “in love become servants of one another!” ??? So let us learn how to serve, and in our lives enthrone Him. Each other’s needs to prefer. For is it Christ we are serving!

14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” 15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

I once had the privilege of meeting John Stott. What impressed me most about that man was not his intellect or his wisdom but his humility – a great SERVANT of God.

Faith expressing itself in love, serving one another in love.

A French fable: One day the King’s best personal servant was walking in a dense forest near the palace. There he stumbled and fell down a hill. He awoke, looked around, and found at his feet the proverbial magic cup, which, when rubbed, released a genie.
The genie said, “Your finding this cup was no accident. You’ve worked hard all your life. So you may receive one wish. But make it carefully because you can have only one.”
The man replied, “All my life I have been in positions requiring that I serve others. In fact, I’m known as ‘The Servant of the Kingdom.’ In the future, I want people to wait on me and serve me. Yes, that’s it. I want the tables turned. I want servants to do everything for me.”
Sure enough, when the man returned to the castle, the door was opened for him. His food was cooked, his meals were served, his dishes washed, his clothes cared for by others.
He was not allowed to perform his usual work — everything was done for him.
For the first month, the newness of the experience amused him. the second month, it became irritating. During the third month, it became unbearable.
So the man returned to the forest and searched until he found the genie again. He said, “I’ve discovered that having people wait on me isn’t as pleasant as I’d thought. I’d like to return to my original station and once again be ‘The Servant of the Kingdom.'”
The genie replied, “I’m sorry, but I can’t help you. I had the power to grant only one wish.”
The man said, “But, you don’t understand. I want to serve people. I found it far more rewarding to do things for others than to have all those things done for me.”
The genie just shook his head.
The man begged, “But you must help me. I’d rather be in hell than not be able to serve others.”
The genie said sorrowfully, ” My friend, where do you think you have been for the last ninety days?”

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. We don’t have to keep on doing things which offend God any longer. We are free to let our faith express itself through love, We are free to serve one another in love! And we are free NOT to do the sinful things our human nature would lead us to do

So we should Live by the Spirit

16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
Battle inside us – will be choose to be led by Spirit? or led by our old sinful nature?

Live by the Spirit – Things not to do = Do not gratify the desires of the sinful nature

Gal 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; – sexual sins:

idolatry and witchcraft; – worshipping false gods
a quarter of a million registered witches in USA – approx 10 MILLION witches in the world today
– few years ago debate about whether witches and spiritual healers should have same rights of access to patients in hospitals as chaplains and ministers

hatred, Love blinds us to faults, but hatred blinds us to virtues. Anger is a weed; hate is the tree. (Augustine)
A famous criminal lawyer, once said, “Everyone is a potential murderer. I have not killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction out of obituary notices.”

discord, jealousy, fits of rage, – division between individuals

ANGER – Satan’s most successful maneuver in churches and Christian organizations is to get people angry at one another; to attack and insult our brothers and sisters, thus splitting the body of Christ. (James Dobson)
The man who loses his temper quickest is the one who finds it quickest. The man you need to beware of is not the man who flares up, but the man who smoulders, who is vindictive and harbors vengeance. O Chambers

selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; – division between groups
– wars around the world – wars in church as well – often due to selfish amibition:-
– Chinese proverb: “He who sacrifices his conscience to ambition, burns a picture to obtain the ashes.”
– Personal ambition and empire building are hindering the spread of the gospel. John R. W. Stott (1921– )
-Richard Foster: The fruit of the Spirit is not push, drive, climb, grasp, and trample. Don’t let the rat-racing world keep you on its treadmill. There is a legitimate place for blood, sweat, and tears; but it should have its roots in the call of God, not in the desire to get ahead. Life is more than a climb to the top of the heap.

drunkenness, orgies, – damaging patterns of behaviour

So many different kinds of sins.
21. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

If we are living by the Spirit we will NOT do all these things which belong to our sinful human nature any longer!

A scorpion, being a very poor swimmer, asked a turtle to carry him on its back across the river. “Are you mad?” exclaimed the turtle. “You’ll sting me while I’m swimming and I’ll drown.” “My dear turtle,” laughed the scorpion, “If I were to sting you, you would drown and I’d go down with you. Now where is the logic in that?” “You’re right,” cried the turtle. “Hop on.” The scorpion climbed aboard and halfway across the river gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle, resigned, said, “Do you mind if I ask you something? You said there is no logic in your stinging me. Why did you do it?” “It has nothing to do with logic,” the drowning scorpion replied. “It’s just my nature.”

We are saved by faith, we are sons of God, we have the Spirit in us, we have been set free from slavery. Challenge – to live according to the Spirit, led by the Holy Spirit, not controlled by our old sinful nature. Here are the things we do NOT do – Paul goes on the point us to the things we should do!

Keep in step with the Spirit

Gal 5:25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit

5: 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.If we are keeping in step with the Spirit we will become more and more like Christ, and our lives will be full of GOOD FRUIT!

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
The fruit of the Spirit are the qualities of Jesus Christ Himself! He is our example. But it is not just up to us to work hard to imitate Christ in our own strength. Because Paul says these are the qualities of character which the Holy Spirit Himself works to produce in our lives. They are the fruit of the Spirit not of our hard work. ONLY the Holy Spirit can make us like Jesus. And they are the fruit, not the fruits – all or nothing. Here is a valuable checklist which we can apply to the lives of anybody – to see how closely they are in step with the Spirit.

love, – Serving each other in love

joy, – the second mark of the Christian
8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 1 Peter 1:8
peace, – God calming us even when He doesn’t calm the storms around us.

patience, – NEEDED!!!!!!

kindness, – 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity Col 3:12-14

goodness, HOLINESS – purity , not just a negative quality (absence of sin) but POSITIVE, overflowing!

faithfulness, Keeping promises, reliability, – Let your yes be yes, your no be no – TRUTH-TELLING –

gentleness, `muscular Christianity’ not always right. We follow Jesus Christ who is gentle and humble of heart. God came to Elijah not in earthquake nor in fire, but in gentle whisper, still small voice of calm!

self-control. – saying no to sin and yes to God!

These are the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit . Not the `fruits’ (plural) but the fruit (singular). Its all or nothing! We cant be satisfied with six out of nine or eight out of nine. ALL these qualities are part of a mature Christian character – part of the fruit the Holy Spirit produces, part of what a person will be like if they are in step with the Spirit.

We are God’s children. We have His Holy Spirit inside us. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. So we should serve one another in love, turn our backs on the acts of the sinful nature, and pray for God to fill us to overflowing with the fruit of His Holy Spirit.

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