Life in the Spirit

Life in the Spirit

Galatians 5:13-26

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh 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.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL
VERSION ®. NIV®. COPYRIGHT © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by
Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What does it mean that we can bite, devour, and be destroyed by each other? How could that happen? What would it look like?
  • Apparently, there is an inner conflict in each of us (between the Spirit and the flesh). What happens if we give way to the flesh?
  • What are some of the relational sins that are listed here? Which of those sins feels most natural to you (which are you most likely to commit)?
  • How would you describe the fruit of the Spirit? If a person displayed that fruit, what would they be like? How would they make others feel?
  • Why is this such an important lesson for the church? What happens if we fail to pay attention to this important teaching?



Life in the Spirit

*This is a transcript is generated from the sermon audio. This document has not been edited for spelling, grammar, or exactness.

If you’re able to track down a Bible, please grab a Bible and get with me. Galatians, chapter five. Galatians, chapter five, verses 13 to 26. And in the Bibles that are here, you grab one out of the book rack in the chair in front of you. In the Bibles that we have here, Galatians, chapter five is on page 1004. 1004. I’d like to read verses 13 to 26, and then we’ll pray and we’ll get to work. Galatians five, starting in verse 13,

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh. Rather, serve one another. Humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command. Love your neighbor as yourself. If you bite and devour each other, watch out, or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious sexual, immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, bits of rage, selfish, ambition, dissensions, factions 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. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking, and envying each other.

Let’s pray. Lord, as we’ve opened Your word together, we’re praying that by Your Spirit, through Your Word, you would speak to us. We’re praying, God, that you would use this time to make us more like Your Son, to fill us with Your Spirit, to help us walk in the way of Christ. We pray that you would give us the fruit that is obvious and evident of our commitment to Him and his life in us. The Lord, we ask that you would bless our time right now, that you would speak in the name of Jesus. Amen.

We’re doing a series right now. It’s called gospel culture. We’re considering how, as a church, we don’t just want to talk about the gospel. We want it to become so real and so profound that when you walk in, it’s the vibe that you experience. It’s the environment that you walk into and you go, we’re not just talking about it. I feel it. I see it in the relationships that are here and the way that we deal with each other and the way that we interact, I’m able to observe the gospel in real time as I look at the community of gospel believers. And that’s what we’re trying to do. Not every church is good at this. We’re not great at it. We’re aspiring to it. But this is our ambition. Many churches, this is my observation many churches fall woefully short of this ideal. They can be very sound on paper, very true when it comes to the scriptures and the doctrines that they find there and the way that they articulate those things. But many churches, you walk in to a Christian environment and you go, well, this is less than ideal. And the relationships are strained – and there’s conflict – and there’s difficulty – and there’s unresolved things that are going on there. What we want to do is we want to move our church in the direction of gospel culture, where it becomes real, where it feels like Christ is here, ministering to us. Long time ago, I was doing a leadership course, and two individuals, Kenneth Gangel and Samuel Canine, they wrote this book called Communication and Conflict Management in Churches and Christian Organizations. Sounds fun, right? The mouthful just to even say the title of this thing. But they were talking about Christian organizations and churches, and this couple of pages of the book really stood out to me. They talked about the conflict that we find within churches. Now, when I sit with some of you and I get to learn your story and I get to hear about things that you’ve been through, one of the most difficult pain points that is often unearthed with mature believers is church hurt things that you guys have been through that were harmful to you. And that stuff, it wounds you at a deep, deep level, and it causes a mistrust even with Christian organizations. And that some of you are here is an incredible work of grace. But it gets me wondering, why is it that churches are often such a painful place to be? And these two individuals, they wrote about it and they said, well, there are a handful of different reasons, and they listed them out. I want to share them with you. One of the reasons why we experience so much conflict within Christian organizations and churches is number one, they say it’s unrealistic expectation. We come in and we think, this is a church. It’s full of believers. It’s full of followers of Christ. And so it’s going to be like heaven on earth. It’s going to be like a utopia. And then we come in and we find, oh, it’s very much not that it’s full of a bunch of messed up people. In fact, the authors write like this, “christians do not check their old natures at the door.” And that’s one of the reasons why we come in here and we find an environment that’s full of conflict, often unresolved and sometimes toxic. The second thing that they say is one of the reasons why there’s so much conflict within churches and Christian organizations is because of Satan’s activity. We have an enemy and he hates what we’re up to and he concentrates his efforts on organizations like ours that are seeking to teach the values of Christ and advance the kingdom of God in this world and fulfill the great commission. And so, tactically speaking, we’ve got a target on our backs because the enemy doesn’t like what we’re doing. So if he can come in here and wreak relational havoc, then he can hinder our ability to fulfill our calling as a church. Another reason they give is the ignorance of the managerial process. Meaning a church, it’s a family, but it’s also an organization. It’s a group of people that gets bigger than just a regular family. And all of a sudden it gets complicated. And if you don’t understand the difficulties of that growth and the complexity of it, then the leaders can actually do great harm. A lot of times we’re like, well, we’ll just pray about it and make decisions and everything will work. But if we’re ignorant of the managerial process, it doesn’t always work out that way. We’ll create our own problems. So I was thinking about it the way that we operated when there were 50 of us in the wedding garden at the tree farm and the decision-making process and the communication, the informal communication because a lot of the key players in that moment actually had my last name. So there’s a lot of informal communication that’s happening. But now as we’re over here and we’ve got more responsibilities and we’ve got more people and we’ve got more communication difficulties, we have to understand how do we make that adjustment so that our church family, as it grows, can remain healthy, can be healthy in these different things. They point out that the ignorance of that process often hinders Christian organizations and creates additional conflict. And then the fourth and final one, they say one of the reasons why we experience conflict within the church is because the demands are greater in two different directions. One, when you come in and you’re a Christian, you proclaim to be a Christian. We think they’re going to be lovely. Their ethics are going to be great. They’re going to be loyal, they’re going to be productive for the kingdom. And when that’s not the case, that’s frustrating. And then it goes the other way too. And you look at church leaders and you go, well, they’re Christians so they should treat me with sensitivity and just awareness of my needs and all these different things. The authors say when these things do not emerge, friction sets in and each side blames the other for not being Christian enough, right? So we come into the church, we expect it to feel like heaven on earth. And oftentimes it’s riddled with conflict. And so my question is what do we do about that? How do we actually create a church environment that is aware of these difficulties and actually moving in that direction of becoming a culture that engenders the gospel message?

Well, Galatians Five helps us out tremendously. It is very practical and it is telling us that the Spirit of God will help us in this regard. But we have to be honest about these things. We have to at least acknowledge there is conflict. And by the way, Park City, we’re not immune from this. We’ve experienced conflict. I can name a few big ones in recent weeks. But there’s always little skirmishes that are going on. And so if we’re going to be a gospel culture, we have to address this and we have to say conflict is something that we’re going to face and we are facing. And the Spirit of God is here and he is going to help us through this.

So let me show it to you here in our passage, we have a paradigm. In verses 13 to 15, we have an inner conflict. In verses 16 to 18, we have the contrast between the two different ways of life in verses 19 to 23 and finally the concluding applications in verses 24 to 26. Paradigm inner conflict, contrast and concluding applications.


Here’s the paradigm, verses 13 to 15. The paradigm is set before us and it says there are really two different ways that you can engage with the world. On the one hand, you can view the world through the paradigm, through the grid of self-interest. You can operate your life where what you’re ultimately doing is saying it’s all. For me. That’s one option. The other option is what I call a ministry mindset where you begin to look at the world through the eyes of Christ, through that paradigm of how can I bless and serve other people? Now, the difference between those two is profound and you’ll see that as we move through this. So the first one, self-indulgence, self-interest, that paradigm of saying the world is meant to march to the beat of my drum. Everybody and everything is really here to serve me. And we start to look at the world through that grid and it creates incredible problems. We start to think everybody here and maybe we wouldn’t have the courage to say it that clearly, but that’s really how we operate, where we’re looking at our relationships and we come to church and we go, these people are all here. And what I’m trying to do is get them to meet my needs. They need to do what I want them to do. They need to decide to do stuff in the way that I would want it done. They’re here to serve me. And that’s that first way of life. It is this self-indulgence. And what’s interesting is even spiritual things co-opted into this posture of self-indulgence look at verse 13. You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free, but do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh. He’s saying, you have this beautiful thing called Christian freedom because of what Christ has done for you. In fact, the book of Galatians, the whole thing is dealing with this tension of how are Christians supposed to relate to the law of Moses? And you’ve got some that are rule followers and some that are expressing their freedom. And I’ve got two kids and they perfectly fall into those camps. Reese is a rule follower. She wants to know, what do you need me to do? What specifically should I do? And I’m going to do that with all my heart. And if she breaks a rule, it breaks her heart. She’s ruined by that. So she wants to follow the rules. Harrison, on the other hand, not a rule follower at all. He loves his freedom. And in fact, if he’s getting in trouble, he’s often appealing to Ash and I on the basis of our relationship. He’s like, Are you proud of me for these things? He’s like bringing up other stuff to try to just get him off the hook. Now, in the Christian experience, often we do the same things. We’ve got some people who just want to know the rules so I can know how to relate to God, some people who enjoy that liberty and that freedom that they have in Christ. Paul is writing to a church with those two different groups in mind. And what he says in the beginning of chapter five is, because of Christ, there are some of you that have this incredible freedom. And what you’re doing, though, is you’re using your freedom inappropriately. You’re using your freedom in such a way that it’s resulting in the indulgence of the flesh. Look at verse 13. You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. You were called to this. You have this freedom in Christ. But he says, do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh. Do not take your liberty that you have in Christ because of what he’s done for you and use that as an excuse to indulge the flesh, to run the world through that grid of how can this benefit me? He’s saying, even these spiritual things can be morphed into something unhelpful. He’s saying, do not do that. So that’s one option to run through the grid of how does the world serve and benefit me? How can all these people do what I want them to do? The other option, though, is what I call a ministry mindset. A ministry mindset actually runs everything through the grid of how can I bless and serve other people? How can I minister to the needs of others? What are the things that they most need? And then, how can I adapt my life in that direction? Look at verses 13 and 14. Rather serve one another humbly in love. The entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command love your neighbor as yourself. So it’s saying this other option is to look at the world and to think, how can I give myself over in the service of other people and express this love for them by humbly serving them? How can I do that? How can I look at all my relationships and look at what’s going on within the church and run it through that grid of I want to serve them? Now, this is hard for all of us. It’s hard for me personally. I come in here on a Sunday morning. I care about everything. I care about every detail within the church. And oftentimes if I’m not paying attention, I make it about me. Oh, I want it done this way. I want this looking this way. All these different things. What this is calling us to do is to have the mindset that is one of ministry where we’re saying, how can I bless and serve other people? How can my life be a blessing where I humbly serve other people? By doing this, we are fulfilling the great commandment love your neighbor as yourself. In fact, Galatians Six applies this concept and is saying, somebody falls into sin, you who are spiritual, you ought to restore them. But be aware there are dangers to that. And then it says in verse two, carry each other’s burden. And in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. You will fulfill this law of Christ. So we need to have this ministry mindset that is looking for opportunities to bless and serve other people. Philippians Two another great place to look and find this concept. In Philippians, chapter two, Paul again writing to a different church. He says, in your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as that of Christ. Jesus himself has the mindset of Christ. And then it explains it. And he says, here’s Christ. And he did not consider equality with God something to be held on to. But he humbled himself and he goes through a list and he just keeps getting lower and lower and lower. He just humbled himself, serving you, serving you, doing this, doing this, doing this to the point of death on the cross. That’s the mindset of Christ. You look at people and you go, how can I sacrificially give of myself for benefit? And in so doing, we are fulfilling the law of Christ himself. But then there’s a warning and there are actually two warning labels in our passage today. You’ll see both of them in due time. But this first one comes in verse 15. And basically what is saying is there’s a mindset and you’re choosing which one, whether it’s the ministry mindset or the self-indulgent mindset. But if you choose the self-indulgent mindset, there’s a warning. We have this little container on our deck that we put our deck furniture, pillows, in, but we’re right up against a cornfield. And so the mice love to get inside of this thing. And it drives me crazy because you’ll be going to get a cushion out for a chair and you’ll open it up and there’s a mouse in there and you just have to deal with it or it’s a dead mouse and you have to deal with that and it’s never fun. I’m like, how do they even get in here? And eventually I found a hole where they had chewed through the side of the plastic container. And I went to the store and I bought some spray foam for rodents. It’s supposed to fill things like that. So I sprayed this thing and I’m like, you’re not getting in here, sucker. And I’m filling this thing up and I start to mold it because I don’t want it to look like a big foam thing sticking. So I’m molding it with my hand and then it’s springtime too, so it’s freezing cold out and I’m trying to get this all done quickly. And I go inside and I’m like, okay, I should wash my hands. And I start washing my hands and I’m like, my hands are purple and they are not coming clean. And I’m washing them and washing them and I notice I’ve got it on my winter jacket and I’m like, crud. And then I look at the can and what does it say? Warning do not get this on your skin. Warning do not get this on your clothes. Warning this stuff will not easily be removed. It will destroy. And that’s what happens here in our text. We get this warning label a couple of times here in our text where it says, pay attention. If you’re not attentive to this, you’re going to find out the hard way. You’re going to have purple hands or whatever the case might be. But here we’re told, be warned. Verse 15. If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. It’s an interesting warning, right? It’s using very provocative language as saying some of you are behaving like wild predatory beasts and you are biting and devouring other people to satisfy your own appetite. And it says, be careful if you do this. That’s one option. You can do that, but if you do it, be careful or you will be destroyed. Some of us think, oh, it’s not a big deal. It’s just my personality. I’m just a forward person. I just tell people what I think. And you just kind of bulldoze through life. And this is reminding us, be careful. If you bite and devour each other, you will be destroyed. And too often in churches we never say that out loud. But we need to hear that a lot of the conflict that we’re going through and we try to justify it and excuse it, and we see all these different sin patterns of dissension and envy and fits of rage and a party spirit and all these different things that we find in the list of the flesh. And we readily excuse them. Oh, it’s not a big deal. It is what it is. And the Bible here is saying if you do this, you will be destroyed by it. If you allow this to be the mo of your culture, this whole thing is in jeopardy. That’s the stakes that we’re dealing with here, this idea of choosing a ministry mindset over the self-indulgent mindset, the stakes are very high. If we are unwilling to follow the leadership of the Spirit here, it can result in catastrophe. So which mindset will we embrace? And you can imagine if we do this as a church and we say we’re going to have this ministry mindset around here, and when we fail to do that, we’ll call each other to account, but we’ll do it in love and graciousness. You can imagine how much more beautiful the church experience would be.


But the second thing we find here is an inner conflict in verses 16 to 18. What it’s saying here is a lot of times the reason why we have interpersonal conflict is because we’re failing in the interior conflict that we’re each dealing with. We have something going on inside of us, we’re not even acknowledging it. We’re losing in that front on the interior and then it’s spilling out into our relationships. Look at verse 17 for the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit, what is contrary to the flesh, they are in conflict with each other. Here’s what it’s saying. You have two things going on inside of you simultaneously. On the one hand, you have what’s called the flesh. And it’s not just your body, it’s your sin nature. It’s your old former way of life before Christ and that’s going on inside of you. And then at the same time you have a new nature. You have the spirit of Christ that is in you and they are contrary to each other. They’re different. And in fact, not only are they different, they’re in conflict. They don’t get along, they don’t play nice. You’ve got the old nature, the sin nature, you’ve got the new nature, the spirit of Christ in you. These things are in conflict and that’s going on inside of you all the time. And therefore we’re not simply to do whatever comes naturally, like whatever we want to do whatever pops into our brain and we go, well, this is what I want. Look at verse 17. You’re not to do whatever you want. The reason why is because you’ve got a sin nature in you and you might choose to gratify that you don’t just fall off and do whatever comes to your mind. You need to learn how to process everything through the mind of Christ. So don’t do whatever you want. Verse 16 says walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Inner conflict going on here’s, what you’re supposed to do. You’re always supposed to discern and choose what the Spirit wants from you. The Spirit of God in you is leading you in a direction of holiness and in relational harmony, as we’ll come to see. And you’re meant to choose that, to walk in that way. And therefore you will not be gratifying the sins of the flesh. You will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Now, the Apostle James, he applies this in a New Testament letter when he writes James, chapter four, and he asks a rhetorical question. He says, Why are you guys fighting? What’s causing it? And he knows the answer. He goes, Why are you guys fighting? And often we go, well, it’s that dummy that is doing things that I don’t like. That’s why. And James says, no, that’s not my assessment. James says, what causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires, that battle within you? The reason why you’re fighting on the outside with other people is because you’re fighting on the inside with yourself, and you’re losing. You’ve got these desires that are battling within you, and you desire certain things that you do not have. So you kill. You go. Whoa. James. Whoa, whoa, whoa. That escalated very quickly. I don’t kill anybody. And he says, yeah, you do. When somebody doesn’t do what you want, you want them gone. When somebody doesn’t meet your needs, you want them out of the way. You want something so badly, you desire something within your heart. And when other people aren’t willing to meet that, you’re done with them. You covet, but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. Why is it that we’re in fights with each other? It is because we have an inner struggle going on inside of us. We’ve got the old nature and the new nature, and they are warring against each other. They are unfriendly. And we routinely choose to gratify the flesh. We routinely choose to do what comes natural to us and what we would prefer instead of walking by the Spirit. So there’s a conflict inside of you if you don’t acknowledge that you’re not in a position to really know how to resolve conflict. If you don’t acknowledge that there’s an inner conflict first, you’re going to have a hard time resolving conflict with other people. So we have to acknowledge that. I was thinking this week, right now, a lot of Christians are recognizing that our world is changing, that there are shifts and changes in our culture. And we talk like this. We say things like, we have to fight against the powers and the principalities of the world because it looks like we are losing ground as Christians. And I agree that that is an accurate assessment. But what I want to say is, before we go out there into the world. We actually need to go to basic training because most Christians have never went through the boot camp of recognizing the battle has already started inside of us and we’re not even talking about it. And so we can go out there, but if we go out there and we say we’re fighting against the powers and the principalities of the world, while meanwhile, we’ve got this inner conflict inside of us that we’re losing, the enemy has already invaded our camp and we are already defeated. So we have to be willing to say there’s a conflict in each of us, an old nature and the Spirit of Christ, and they are in conflict with each other. My job is to give way to the Spirit of Christ. So that would require humility, that would require honesty. But if we do that, it will create an environment of beauty, because what we’ll have then is a bunch of self-aware people, a bunch of people who acknowledge that we all have problems that we bring to the table. And we all have tremendous potential in here. Whatever it is that we’re doing, if we’re willing to do this work, we come to the table and we say, I have within me the power to be an agent of the kingdom of God because of the Spirit of Christ in me. I also have the potential in me to wreak havoc because I have an old nature in me, and if I give way to gratifying its desires, I will harm a lot of people. And if we’re willing to do that, we’re self-aware, we’re honest, and we can work together and we can create a beautiful environment. But listen, when I think about this, when I ask the question, what is the most dangerous thing to Park City Church? And I look at that soberly and I go, okay, what could cause this thing to just not work anymore? The biggest threat that I can find is in here. It’s me. And I have within me an old nature that if I just keep feeding that thing and I just say, yeah, have your way, get what you want, it’s all about you. I can do a lot of harm to a lot of people. We all have to be honest enough to say that is the reality in each of us.


All right, the contrast then the third thing that we find here in verse 19 and following, we get these two different lists, and they were meant to compare them to each other. Now, we’ve done an online series before. It’d be worth revisiting to go through the fruit of the spirit and look at each fruit and say, okay, are we doing this? What does that look like? What does that mean? That would be super valuable today. We’re just looking at it through that wide-angle lens and we’re going, okay, we’re going to get both of these. Lists in front of us and think about the difference between the two. But the difference we’re told, is obvious. The acts of the flesh are obvious. Sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, bits of rage, selfish-ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like. Now you can look at that list and there are different ways to kind of divide it up into different categories and headings and whatnot. But what I want you to notice is there are an awful lot that have to do with relationships. An awful lot of the acts of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit are actually things that show up in interpersonal relationships. So the spirit’s work is to help us become an environment with beautiful relationships and the work of the flesh actually creates harm in relationships. Now, here’s another thing to note. When you look at this list, there are some that jump out to you as very obvious. I mean, obviously the text says the acts of the flesh are obvious and some of you go, yeah, that’s right, those are obvious. You look at kind of the ends and you go, yeah, idolatry and witchcraft, we shouldn’t allow that. Drunkenness and debauchery, that’s awful sexual immorality. And we list off these different things. The thing that I’m concerned about with most of us is we fall in the middle and we’re okay with it. And we look at the fits of rage and the anger and the malice and the jealousy and the envy and all these different things and we think it’s not a big deal. It is what it is. This is just where I live. This is just stuff that I deal with. But obviously they’re not as bad as sexual immorality or debauchery or drunkenness or any of idolatry or witchcraft. The problem is they’re all on the same list. Some of the sins that we are absolutely way too comfortable with are in league with some of the ones that we easily identify as that would not be okay for a Christian to do that. And we get this other warning statement here in verse 21. I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. It’s weird, but I think a lot of times we don’t take this seriously enough that the interpersonal conflicts that we go through and the sin that we bring to them in the eyes of God are so contrary to the Holy Spirit of God. They are a work of the flesh. And if we continue in this way, we will not inherit the kingdom. We need to get bold enough to say that. We need to be willing to say there are some things that we do quite easily and all too often that are out of step with the spirit of God. Now, it made me think this week of that group in Matthew chapter seven, that on the Day of Judgment, they knock on the door and the Lord says to them, who’s there? It’s us. He goes, I don’t know who you are. There’s a group in Matthew, chapter seven. It’s a very troubling passage, but you can read it for yourself. It’s your homework this week. You read it and you go, okay, who are these people? And they knock on the door and he says, I don’t know who you are. And they go, Are you kidding me? We’ve done all this different stuff in your name. We’ve done all these incredible Christian activities in your name. And he says, Away from me. I don’t know you. There are a lot of Christians who are living in this Acts of the flesh list right here, and assuming that some of the things that they’re doing, that’s just good enough. And the fact is, there are some of us that Christ would be able to say, I don’t really know you. You don’t possess my spirit within you because you are in league with the acts of the flesh. I’m saying that and I know that it’s such an unpopular thing to say, but all of us just have to grapple with that. How would you land on that list and be surprised on the Day of Judgment that you are not, in fact, in a relationship with Christ? And one of the things that I would say is observe the fruit of your life. And if you find in you all these Acts of the Flesh and they are resident and they are prominent, that’s a problem. But for such a reason, Christ came and died and lives forevermore so we could be forgiven of that thing. Look at verses 22 and 23. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Again, the lion’s share of these items on the list have a relational dynamic to them. Even if we’re talking about a relationship with God, there are still applications of how we deal with other people. So if we’re going to be a Spirit-filled people, it’s going to show up in the way that we relate to one another and it’s going to start to look beautiful. If we’re actually following the way of the Holy Spirit, it’s going to show up in the vibe that we have and the relationships that we have and the way that we deal with one another and the disposition that we possess as we do that. And that’s our goal is that we would become a place full of gospel culture.


Well, in conclusion, look at verses 24 and following. It applies these concepts then, and it says, those who belong to Christ Jesus, if you really belong to Him, here’s the work that you are doing. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passion and its desire. Our job, if we’re following Christ, is to identify the sin nature in us and to put it to death. That’s what Romans 813 says. Also. It says you have an obligation not to live according to the flesh, but to put it to death. So we look at these things that we go this is out of step with God. This is out of step with the Spirit. And we take those things and we say, this cannot live in my life. This thing needs to be taken to calvary and crucified. There we have a job to crucify the flesh with its passions and its desires. Verse 25 since we live by the Spirit, let us keep and step with the Spirit. What does that look like? It means we’re going to live every moment of every day looking at our lives, going, okay, am I walking in the way of the Spirit? Am I moving toward the things that are pleasing to God? Am I identifying the things that are contrary to that so I could put those to death? And then am I actually choosing to live in step with the Spirit of God? Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other again. It’s reminding us this stuff shows up in our relationship and in the way that we deal with other people who differ from us. And we need to be willing to say we want to be a church, a community full of individuals who are saying we’re going to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. And let me close by just underlining this idea here. This, I think is close to the very heart of the Spirit’s ministry. When we think about all the work that the Holy Spirit is able to do, I think that this is near and dear to his heart, that he wants a people who are being transformed in ever increasing degrees of his holiness. He is the Holy Spirit and he is making a holy people. And this is an incredible work that we need to embrace because this is his desire for us to become a community that is full of beautiful people who are living in step with Him. May we become that community by his power and for his great name’s sake.

Let’s pray. Lord, we ask right now that you by Your Spirit would change us from the inside out. I pray that you would allow us to be honest about the different things that we’re doing that are gratifying our sin nature. And would you help us to put those things to death, those desires? Help us to put those things to death so that we might walk by the Spirit. Lord, we pray that you would create an environment in our church family that is relationally beautiful. We acknowledge that we bring to the table inner conflict that we need to be aware of every step of the way. But would you make us a beautiful people for Your glory? Amen. Amen.