"LIFE IN THE SPIRIT"
I. YOU ARE EITHER LIVING IN THE FLESH OR IN THE SPIRIT.
A. One or the other sits on the throne of your life.
B. This means that your mind is dominated by the flesh or the Spirit.
1. Romans 8:5
"They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, and they that are after the things of the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. To be fleshly minded is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace. The mind of the flesh is enmity against God and is not subject to the law of God, so then they that are in the flesh cannot please God."
C. What does it mean to live in the flesh?
1. The works of the flesh are manifested in these things.
a. Adultery - Sex with someone other than the person you are married to.
b. Fornication - (Porneia) Sex outside of marriage.
c. Uncleanness - (Akatharsia) Physical or moral impurity. The word catharsis is to cleanse or wash. In Greek with the negative a in front of it, you get the word not clean.
d. Lasciviousness - Filthy, wantonness.
e. Idolatry - The worship of another god.
f. Witchcraft - (Pharmakeia) The use of drugs to induce an altered state of consciousness.
h. Variance Contentions - where our hatred breaks out into open acts of aggression.
i. Emulations - (Zeelos) Striving to excel at the expense of another. Seeking to lower others in order to elevate myself.
j. Wrath - Turbulent passions.
k. Strife - Arguing over words, stirring up anger.
l. Seditions Factious - creating division.
o. Murders - These other things all lead to murder.
q. Revellings - Wild parties, obscene songs,
r. And such like. All of the evil things that proceed from our fallen nature.
2. When Paul was writing to the Ephesians he sort of summed it up like this. "In times past, you walked according to the course of this world, which is being directed by the prince of darkness, and this is how you all lived as you were seeking only to satisfy the desires of your flesh and of your mind. You were the children of wrath even as others."
3. He declares in verse 24 that they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts.
D. In going down this list, if you have any decency at all you find it abhorrent. You certainly do not want to live like that or be controlled by those evil passions and things. Yet that is a picture of the world and of many of you.
1. The world is telling you to indulge in your fleshly appetites. Do not repress your desires.
2. It is calling you to live after your flesh.
3. The message of Jesus to deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Him is hated by the world today.
4. The lusts of the flesh are very powerful, the call of the world is very enticing, many have given in, to live after the flesh.
5. The problem is the Spirit. He is often referred to as our conscience. When we indulge in the things of the flesh, He causes us to feel guilty. These feelings of guilt can lead to all kinds of mental problems. The world hates the guilty conscience so it tries to tell you that you are not guilty, that doing the things you are doing is o.k. because so many others are doing it.
6. We see the destructive power of sin, we look at those lives that have been destroyed by giving into the flesh, yet we seem to have such little power to resist.
7. What is the answer?
E. Verse 16 "Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh."
1. What does it mean to walk in the Spirit?
a. To be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and walk in the power of the Spirit.
b. To have your heart and mind set on the things of the Spirit.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
c. To be controlled by the Holy Spirit.
d. To be led by the Holy Spirit. In verse 18 Paul says that if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
e. In his letter to the church in Rome he said, "But as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."
2. In verse 24 Paul declares that they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
II. THE THINGS THAT PAUL SAYS ABOUT OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SPIRIT IN THIS CHAPTER.
[This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
E. Walk in the Spirit, be led by the Spirit, and live in the Spirit. The result is that you will have the fruit of the Spirit.
III. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE: (NOTE THAT THIS IS SINGULAR, NOT PLURAL).
A. There is only one fruit of the Spirit, and that is (agape).
B. The other characteristics are all describing what this kind of love produces in your life.
1. It brings joy. Joy is love's consciousness. When you are in love, you are filled with joy when you are with the one you love. Peter declares that we rejoice with a joy indescribable and full of glory. We used to sing, "If you want joy, real joy, wonderful joy, let Jesus come into your heart."
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
a. It is peace with God because you are no longer at war with Him, you have surrendered.
b. It is also the peace of God that fills your heart and mind. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on the Lord."
c. Peace with God will bring you peace with your neighbor. James asked:
Where do the wars and fightings among you come from? Do they come from the lusts of your flesh that war in your body?
d. Peace with God will also allow peace with yourself. Paul spoke here of the war between your flesh and your spirit.
e. If you by the Spirit put to death the things of the flesh the war will be over.
3. Longsuffering. Paul tells us that love suffers long and is kind.
a. How patient we are with those we love.
6. Faith (fidelity) keeping one's word. Trustworthy.
7. Meekness. The opposite of anger or wrath which is a work of flesh.
8. Temperance. Moderation. Not self control but Spirit controlled.
IV. NOTE THE CONTRAST. WORKS OF THE FLESH, FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT.
A. Anytime you talk about works you are talking in the realm of the flesh. "They that are in the flesh cannot please God."
1. When you think of work, you think of a factory, human effort.
2. God isn't interested in coming to a factory to examine the production.
B. When you speak of fruit, you think of a garden. The fruit grows naturally. God is interested in coming to His garden to enjoy the fruit.