This is the manuscript of the sermon I preached online for West Bradenton Southside on 3/22/20.
This week we are continuing our series on the Holy Spirit. We have spent six weeks talking about the Holy Spirit and the role He plays in the transformative life of the believer and in the Church. Last week I talked about the many and varying gifts of the Holy Spirit (If you missed it you can read the manuscript online; I will put a link in the comments sections). I noted that the Bible clearly states each person has a gift(s) and they are given for the benefit and building up of the body of Christ and to the glory of God. As I concluded the message, I encouraged you take a journey of discovering your gift(s) either online or a physical copy and I would be interested to see what you found out about your gift.
Today I will be talking about what the Holy Spirit abiding in the believer (the Spirit-filled life) looks like, and we will do this by looking at the fruit of Spirit found in Galatians 5.
Read Galatians 5:16 - 17
Vs 16: The Apostle Paul writes to the Galatians, “walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desires of the flesh.” What he is saying that when you walk in the Spirit you will not give in to or walking in the desires of flesh or sin. “Walk(ing) by the Spirit” means to regulate, adjust or conduct your life to the Spirit.
It is very important to understand that The Spirit-filled life is one we cannot live in our own power and under our own control. You see by nature; we live in direct contrast to the Spirit-filled life; we are controlled or driven by the flesh. We are sinful by nature, thus we walk in contrast to the ways of God. The only way you can walk in the Spirit is when you have submitted your life in obedience to Jesus Christ and depend on the Spirit to lead and guide. You cannot live in the Spirit if you don’t allow the Spirit to live through you. When you have submitted your life to Jesus then the Spirit has control of your life and thus, we will not seek to live flesh filled lives. This is what verse 16 says… if you walk by Spirit (under the influence of) then you will not seek or desire to walk in the flesh.
Vs 17: There is a war going on in our bodies and this is a war of the flesh and the Spirit. The two (flesh and Spirit) cannot co-exist. There is no such thing as a Spirit-filled, flesh-controlled Christian. It just cannot happen. I have heard people refer to people who claim to be filled by the Spirit but live their lives contrary to God and are controlled by the flesh as carnal Christians, but I don’t see any evidence in Scripture that supports this claim. The truth is you are either Spirit-filled/driven or flesh-controlled.
Now, there are times in moments of weakness and selfishness that allow the flesh to control us (remember there is an ongoing battle in us) and as believers we must allow the Spirit to live through us. We need to pray for the Spirit to motivate us daily and guide us through life. When those moments of flesh-control come to tempt us we need to pray even more. The flesh is ever present, yet we cannot allow it to control us because the Holy Spirit dwells in us. In fact, without the Spirit we simply cannot control the flesh.
The Works of the Flesh
Vs 18: Paul begins by contrasting the Spirit-filled and flesh-controlled life. He says, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” This implies one who is attached to an attendant. Thus, if you are attached to the Spirit then you are not attached to the law. As a Christian you have been released from the oppression of the law and you are now under grace, faith and love through Jesus Christ.
Go to 2 Corinthians 3:16 – 18 (Detour)
3:16: “But whenever a person turns to the Lord (Jesus), the veil is removed.” The veil represents the separation between God and man. So, when one comes faith in Jesus Christ the veil of separation is removed. We now have access to the Father at any time.
3:17 – “The Lord is the Spirit”; Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one and the same. Where the Spirit is there is freedom – Freedom from the law, guilt, sin, death etc.
3:18 – Being free in Christ we begin and continue in a process of becoming more like Christ… we transform into his image. If we are transformed into his image, we become Spirit-filled (under the influence of the Spirit) and our desire is not for the flesh. When you are Spirit led you will become more like Christ and thus the Mosaic Law is of no benefit because Jesus fulfilled the law. If you do not have the Spirit, then you will be controlled by the flesh and it will be evident by the bad fruit you produce.
The Fruit of the Flesh (back to Galatians)
Vs 19 – 21: – The person who does not have the Holy Spirit will produce bad fruit and a person controlled by the flesh has one, most or all these characteristics.
The Fruit of the Spirit
Since there is a battle going between the flesh and Spirit it is important for us to know what the Spirit-filled believer’s life is based upon.
Vs 22-23: The Fruit of the Spirit.
Fruit = That which originates or comes from something. An effect or result. Evidence.
A person who is a believer in Jesus will have the fruit of the Spirit evident in his/her life. The Spirit-filled life is not attainable and sustainable in our own human power. In fact, the fruit of the Spirit will flow naturally from the life of a person who is truly submitted to Jesus Christ. However, this does not mean there won’t be struggles in living these out. They are the evidences or proofs of the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. The flesh and the Spirit are at war with each other and we can only live in the Spirit when we allow the Spirit to have complete control over our lives. Thus, a Fruitful (or Spirit-filled life) involves submission, obedience and transformation to Jesus Christ and His Word.
[i] Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964-c1976. Vols. 5-9 edited by Gerhard Friedrich. Vol. 10 compiled by Ronald Pitkin. (G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley & G. Friedrich, Ed.) (electronic ed.) (9:369). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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