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Living life in the Spirit: Introduction

Living Life in the Spirit  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introductory message to series.

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Living life in the Spirit: Introduction
Text:
1 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you.
INTRODUCTION:
3 I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. 4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.
5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us.
6 For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.
7 You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?
8 It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom.
9 This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough!
10 I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you.
11 Dear brothers and sisters,* if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. 12 I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.*
13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”*
15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
INTRODUCTION:
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, the word of God commands us to “walk in the spirit.” To walk in the spirit is to live under the full control of the Holy Spirit. This type of life is the key to living the victorious Christian life, for Paul states “Walk in the spirit and you will in no wise fulfill the lust of the flesh.” ().
Galatians 5:16 NLT
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.
When you and I live under the full sway of the Holy Spirit, certain traits will be evidenced in our lives. Just as the works of the flesh is the outward manifestation of inward rebellion the fruit of the spirit is the outward manifestation of the inward obedience and surrender to the Holy Spirit of God.
For the next several weeks, we will look at the the scriptural teaching about living life in the Spirit.

1- The Principle of Living Life in the Spirit ().

A- Living life in the spirit means that Christ has set us free from bondage to the law ().

Galatians 5:1 NLT
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
1- The Galatian believers had accepted Paul’s message of freedom in Christ.
2- A group of false teachers called the Judaizers had infiltrated the Galatian church after Paul’s departure and taught the Galatians that they had to be circumcised and obey the Jewish law before Christ’s work could be effective for them.
3- Paul was urging the Galatians to reject the legalism preached by the Judaizers and choose to follow Christ.
() .
Romans 8:3–4 NLT
The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

B- Living in the spirit means following Christ and trusting him to fulfill his promise ().

Galatians 5:6 NLT
For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.
1- Paul states that living by the spirit means eagerly awaiting Christ’s promise as we live out his teachings.
2- Paul points out to the Galatians that once a person has trusted Christ, circumcision becomes worthless.
3- Paul points out to the Galatians that the important thing is allowing their faith to express itself through love for Christ.

C- Living life in the spirit means rejecting the idea that human effort produces spirituality ().

Galatians 5:2–4 NLT
2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. 4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.
1- Paul points out to the Galatians that accepting outward circumcision also commits them to a slavish obedience to the law.
2- Paul points out that choosing slavish obedience to the law is the same as rejecting Christ and his freedom.
It means that one has “cast off grace” “τῆς χάριτος ἐξεπέσατε)
, τῆς χάριτος ἐξεπέσατε.
Illustration of casting aside something precious to take hold of something useless.

II- The Problem With Living Life In The Spirit ().

A- It is easy to begin well, and then get caught on a side street. ().

Galatians 5:7 NLT
7 You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?
1- The Galatians had started the Christian life “so well,” but were now walking a different path.
()
Romans 8:1–2 NLT
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.
Paul expressed his surprise at how quickly the Galatians had adopted error ().
Galatians 1:6–7 NLT
6 I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News 7 but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.
Who did hinder you? (τις ὑμας ἐνεκοψεν; [tis humas enekopsen?]). First aorist active indicative of ἐνκοπτω [enkoptō], to cut in on one, for all the world like our use of one cutting in on us at the telephone. For this late verb see on ; . Note the singular τις [tis]. There was some ringleader in the business. Some one “cut in” on the Galatians as they were running the Christian race and tried to trip them or to turn them.
2- There is no lack of false teachers to mislead those who want to follow Christ.
2- There is no lack of false teachers to mislead those who want to follow Christ.
3-
3- We need to be careful that we do not veer from the path of the gospel.

B- It is important to listen carefully and identify false doctrine for what it is ().

Galatians 5:8–9 NLT
8 It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. 9 This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough!
1- Paul makes clear that the person who is preaching the message that led them into bondage was not from God.
().
Galatians 1:7–9 NLT
7 but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. 8 Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. 9 I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.
2- The great danger of false teaching is that it may begin small but has the potential to permeate the entire fellowship.
C- It is important to look to God to keep us from succumbing to false teachers. ().
()
1 Corinthians 5:6 NLT
6 Your boasting about this is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough?
()
Matthew 13:33 NLT
33 Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”

C- It is important to look to God to keep us from succumbing to false teachers. ().

Galatians 5:10 NLT
10 I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you.
1- Paul tells the Galatians that he is trusting God to preserve them from false teaching and to judge the false teacher.

III- The Prognosis of Following the Flesh ().

A- Following the flesh may please the world, but it is an offense to Christ ().

Galatians 5:11–12 NLT
11 Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. 12 I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.
1- The apostle Paul makes it clear to the Galatian believers that he is not chosen to follow the flesh by compromising his message.
The message he proclaims Is directly from God.
().
Galatians 1:11–12 NLT
11 Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. 12 I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.
2- He points out the severity of the offense for those who would lead them back into bondage of the law. He makes an imprecatory statement designed to help the Galatians understand the seriousness of their error.
3- It is a severe mistake for a child of God to choose legalism over the power of the gospel.

B- The believers freedom is not to be used to satisfy the fleshly nature ().

Galatians 5:13–14 NLT
13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
1- Paul clarifies the fact that freedom in Christ does not make one free to give into the sinful nature. Instead, it frees us to serve God and one another in love.
2- Living in the spirit frees us to love others as God intends.
()

C- Following the flesh is destructive to the body of Christ ().

Galatians 5:15 NLT
15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
1- Following the flesh instead of living in the spirit opens the door for destructive behavior toward other believers.
2- The believer can only truly love others as he is enabled by the Holy Spirit.
()
Romans 5:5 NLT
5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
CONCLUSION:
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