- Sermon Notes
How to Walk the Walk
Intro: Which way?
This morning we open to Galatians chapter 5, which speaks specifically and practically to the way we live our lives, the paths we walk down that are headed the wrong way, and the way to walk that is right and leads to life.
Since the beginning of time, we have seen the Scriptures show us the importance of our walk with the Lord. Our relationship with Him, often referred to as a walk with, or in Him. We see the differences between those who walked with God and those who did not. Adam and Eve, Enoch, Noah, are all noted as walking with God in different ways and in different seasons of their lives. As the Scriptures continue on we see the Israelites, who sometimes did and other times did not, we see the great blessing when they walk with Him, in His way, and downfall when they didn’t. Further into the Scriptures, we get into the New Testament, where see Jesus come on the scene, and throughout His life on earth, He calls people to follow Him, to surrender the self-life, and take up ones cross, and walk with Him.
After Jesus death, burial and resurrection, Jesus’ followers were told to “go” they were to continue following Him, and on their journey they were to be His witness to the ends of the earth. They still needed to follow Him, but in following Him, they would walk according to His example, what He had shown them, and He told His followers that the Holy Spirit would come upon them to help and empower them to continue their walk with and for Him (Acts 1:8). Much of the New Testament then, is centered on how to and how not to walk as those who have chosen to follow Jesus Christ. The book of Galatians is no exception.
There seems to be a battle going on in the church, and great division surrounding how to walk the walk. Which way is the way? There were some who were promoting religion and rule keeping as the way; and others, who seem to be thinking that rebellion and life without constraint might be the way. Paul speaks to both, and his words are important in our day, as we endeavor to walk the walk in our lives today.
- Pursue the Path of Right Relationship
Galatians 5:13, You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh but serve one another through love.
- Paul strikes the balance in these verses by speaking first about the fact that there is freedom, we have been called to freedom, but that freedom is not to be turned into an opportunity for the flesh. Paul will write more about the flesh as the verses go on.
- The flesh is that part of a person that wants to satisfy oneself outside of God.
- As he speaks first about the flesh, it is with the recognition that as soon as we begin to speak about freedom, as soon as you tell someone as Paul proclaimed throughout this book “You’re free..” They may take that as a green light to begin living according to whatever way we feel is right, and Paul says, “don’t turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh!”
Galatians 5:14-15, For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
- When he speaks to biting and devouring, he is speaking to the people in the church were setting themselves against others…They were biting and devouring and consuming one another.
- These were the complaints in the church, it was a conflict surrounding the right way to walk…Paul points them to relationship.
Illus. Two Sons, Same Family.
Galatians 5:16-18 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, in order to keep you from doing whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
- As we walk the walk, we pursue the path of right relationship, we choose the way of the Lord, we cling to the Father, and we pursue right relationship with Him, and then we keep going not by walking my own way, but by walking in the Spirit.
- Go the Direction the Spirit Desires
- In verses 16 to 18, we are pointed to a battle, it is the flesh versus the Spirit.
- Last week, while in Ephesians 6, we studied the armor of God, and the reality of the unseen realm, which I defined as the heavenlies.
- In Ephesians 6, Paul wrote about the schemes and strategies of the enemy, we looked at the fact that satan is a real being, with real schemes.
- From Ezekiel 28, we know that he had an exalted position before being cast out of heaven, and from Isaiah 14, we know that he did not want that exalted position, he wanted to be above God, and he, along with his army that chose to rebel with him, were cast out of heaven.
- We understand that war that started that day, rages on today, and there is much in the world we see today that could cause us to think there are wars satan is winning.
- We know that he roams around the world, seeking someone to devour.
1 John 4:4, …Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
- Though true, the enemy will try to deceive, counterfeiting the things of Christ, to get us to fail and falter in this life. Those counterfeits will continue until Jesus returns and satan is fully and finally defeated and cast into hell.
- In the meantime, there are all sorts of counterfeits: for every truth, there is a lie, for every right thing, something wrong….in the last days, a counterfeit Christ, the antichrist, will rise up to deceive many.
- And as the Lord fills you with the Spirit, the enemy wants to keep you full of the flesh.
- Paul wrote that the flesh has a desire, and the desire of the flesh is against the Spirit, and the Spirit is against the flesh.
- The flesh refers to our uncleansed humanness which is awaiting the day of glorification (Romans 8:23), In the meantime, there are fleshly desires we are faced with that are contrary to God’s will and standards.
- In effect then, the desires of the flesh, lead us away from Christ. The desire of the flesh is to call up the deeds we once put to death and bring them back to life.
- The Greek word for “flesh” is translated elsewhere as “self-indulgence.”
- It is defined as “human nature,” our fleshly, or “sinful nature.”
- Paul contrasts the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit. And noted that these two are incongruent.
- The key difference has to do with desire…The flesh desires to please self independently of God, and the Spirit is there to tell us the truth and help us live the life God desires us to live.
John 14:16-17, I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever; the Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you.
- From John 14, we know that the Holy Spirit is with the believer and in the believer.
- In Acts 1:8, we read that we receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us.
- The word “Helper” written in the Greek, parakletos (par- ahh- klay – toss), which means one who is called alongside to help, to come to one’s aid. The word is translated helper, comforter, counselor, advocate.
- All of those translations come from that single Greek word, paracletas, one who comes alongside to help.
John 16:13, When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth…
- When Paul gives the way to not carry out the desires of the flesh, he offers one fix for the fight, walk by the Spirit.
- Paul says that the flesh has desires, they are against the Spirit of God in our lives, but the only way, to not carry out those desires in our lives is to walk by the Spirit of God in our lives.
Galatians 5:24, Now those who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and desires
- When a believer accepts Christ, the power of the flesh and sin nature is cut off, however, it is still persistent and insistent on us choosing the flesh over the Spirit.
Illus. Cut the power off.
- So we have to deal with the desires of the flesh, but Paul is pointing us toward what to do about those desires.
- He points to the war within a believer, the flesh, and the Spirit. As the desires of the flesh will attempt to bring up the deeds we once put to death, the Spirt desires to bring down the things of God.
- Each desire comes from a different source, and the question as we walk out this life is, which desires have we given an open invitation to?
Matthew 6:10, Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
- What Paul is showing us is that in addition to desire, and prayer, there are deeds that align with God’s kingdom coming in a person’s life, and those that align with the other side.
- Both God’s kingdom, and the kingdom of darkness, have a culture, which culture will be engage in? Which direction will we choose?
Illus. Vending Machine.
- He speaks to the desires and deeds of the flesh which represent the deeds of darkness: immorality, hostility, strife, anger, lying, cheating and things that are against God.
- Then the desires and fruit of the Spirit in ones life: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
- There are deeds that call up what we once crucified, and there are deeds that call down heaven through the Spirit of God in our lives.
Galatians 5:16, Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
- In Romans chapter 7, Paul speaks about the battle between the flesh and the Spirit in his own life. He confesses that he speaks about desires he cant control, that he does the very things he hates. In verse 18, there is nothing good in his flesh, there is a war going on inside him, and then the statement in verse 24, “wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
- In Romans 8, Paul wrote that those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the flesh, those who those who live in accordance with the Spirit, have their mind set on what the Spirit desires…That is the direction of their walk.
- The word “set” there is “phroneo” fron – ay – oh. It carries the definition of one’s interests, opinions, or to have agreement with.
- When you set your mind toward something, your mind is directed toward that something, Paul says, set your mind on what that Spirit desires, because those who live in accordance with the Spirit set their mind there.
2 Corinthians 5:17, If anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
Romans 8:9, You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
Romans 8:13-14, if you are living in accord with the flesh, you are going to die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons and daughters of God.
III. Follow the Lord Forward
Galatians 5:25, If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit as well.
- I want to end by pointing you to the fruit of following the Spirit, but in verses 19 to 21, Paul points out the deeds of the flesh.
- He wrote that the deeds of the flesh are evident, other translations read they are “obvious,” it is a word that means “known.”
Galatians 5:19-21, Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, 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.
- The deeds listed here are broken down into three categories: sexual sins, spiritual sins, and social sins.
- At the end of the list, he speaks about those who practice such things. The word practice pictures someone who has busied their life with such things, they perform and perpetuate them. It is where their mind is set and what they find themselves agreeing with in their lives.
- This is key to our understanding because many Christians have or are struggling with sin. We fall into it, but the question we must ask is, does it represent the way we desire to walk?
- Sin clings to Christians, we understand the reality of the flesh, but Christians are not to cling to sin.
Psalm 51:1-2, Be gracious to me, God, according to Your faithfulness; according to the greatness of Your compassion, wipe out my wrongdoings. Wash me thoroughly from my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.
- Perhaps this morning you have started down the wrong path, you have set your compass in the wrong direction. Despite your past, despite what has been, you can have a relationship with the Lord and make the choice to follow Him forward.
Matthew 16:24, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what good will it do a person if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul? Or what will a person give in exchange for his soul?
- Paul wrote, walk by the Spirit, and that word “walk” means to be regulated, or occupied by.
- When you walk that walk, Holy Spirit will bring fruit into your life.
Galatians 5:22-23, The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:24-25, Now those who belong to Christ Jesus crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit as well.