The Soldier’s Charge – Part II

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

THE SOLDIER’S ARMOR

  • When we go into the military service of our country there is a basic instruction period so that we will be able to grasp all the “do” and “do not” rules of our training.  If we are to be successful in our service to our country we must follow the rules.  So it is with serving our God.  There must be a basic understanding of the rules if we are to be successful Christians.
  • Our rule book is none other than the Word of God, the Bible.  It is our source.  It is our guide.  There are other books and helps that we may find beneficial along the way but there is only one book that will give us the direct, unbiased, distinct, truthful message that we need. 

2 Timothy 2:15 – “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

  • Some questions to be asked during your reading of your Bible are as follows.  
  • Is there an example for me to follow?
  • Is there a sin for me to avoid?
  • Is there a command for me to obey?
  • Is there a promise for me to claim?
  • What does this passage tell me about the Holy Spirit, about Jesus, about God?
  • What prayer should I pray in light of this Scripture?
  • What action do I need to take to avoid, to correct, to ensure my obedience to this Scripture?
  • Other practical commitments and spiritual disciplines must also be adhered to as we put on the armor of God.  Just reading the Bible will not change our lives.  We must study it; we must absorb it into our very being.  Then we must make some practical commitments and spiritually discipline ourselves in the way we conduct our lives.  All the armor in the world will not help us if we deliberately and carelessly walk right into the enemy’s camp.  We must be “street smart” to the tactics of our foe.  Some of the things we need to do are as follows.
  • We need to learn to depend on God. 

James 5:13-16 – “Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Matthew 6:15-15 – “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.   Amen.”

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Luke 11:5-8 – And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’?  I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.”

  • We need to learn submission. 

1 Peter 3:8-9 – “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” 

Hebrews 13:17 – “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

James 4:7-10 – “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.   Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

  • We need to confess our sins.

John 1:9-10 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.”

1 John 2:1-1 – “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

  • We need instruction.

Joshua 1:8-9 – “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” 

2 Timothy 2:23-26 – “But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.   And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

Psalm 1:1-2 –  “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.”

The Soldier’s Charge – Part I

Ephesians 6:10-20

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

“BE STRONG” IN THE LORD (IN THE POWER OF HIS MIGHT)

Ephesians 4:16 – “That He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His spirit in the inner man.” 

Isaiah 40:31 – “But those who wait for the Lord (who expect, look for, and hope in Him) shall change and renew their strength and power;    they shall lift their wings and mount up (close to God) as eagles (mount up to the sun); they shall walk and not faint or become tired.” The Amplified Version                 

Ephesians 4:20 – “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”

Colossians 1:11 – “We pray that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory (to exercise) every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy.” The Amplified Version

“PUT ON” THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD

  • Why are we, the soldiers in Christ’s army, instructed to put on the whole armor of God?  Because we are in a spiritual battle.  We are not fighting a physical battle.  We don’t need knives, guns, tanks, bombs, planes and so on to fight this battle.  We need spiritual armament. 
  • Here in this command we are to “put on the armor of God” and the very next command we are to “take up the whole armor of God.”  What is meant? Let us read this same passage from the Amplified Version

Ephesians 6: 11-13 – “Put on God’s whole armor (the armor) of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies), that you may be able successfully to stand up against (all) the strategies and the deceits of the devil. For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood (contending only with physical opponents), but against despotism, against the powers, against (the master spirits who are) the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere, therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day (of danger), and, having done all (the crisis demands), to stand, (firmly in your place).”  The Amplified Version

“TAKE UP”  THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD

  • “Stand” with a girdle of truth.
  • “Stand” with breastplate of righteousness.
  • “Put on shoes” (your foundation) of the Gospel.
  • “Take” the shield of faith.
  • “Take” the helmet of salvation.
  • “Take” the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.
  • “Praying always” with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.
  • “Be watchful” with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
  • Many sermons have been preached from this passage and there are many different thoughts about what each of the different pieces of armament mean.  Without going into great detail I believe what the Bible is trying to tell us is that we must have the whole armor of God.  The shoes won’t help if we forgot the breastplate and that is where we receive an attack.  Likewise the helmet left off and everything else in place will not keep us from sustaining a head injury.  We must have all the armament that God demands for us to be a successful soldier.
  • Truth, righteousness (or right living before God), a basic under-standing (the foundation) of the Word of God, faith, salvation, the Word of God (the meat of the Word where it spells out in detail our privilege in Christ), all covered with prayer and supplication and watchfulness with perseverance and supplication for our brother and sister soldiers will sustain us.  

1 Peter 5:8 – “Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring (in fierce hunger), seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” 

Psalm 3:3-4 – “But you, O lord, are a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter of my head.  I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of His holy hill.” 

Romans 8:37 – “In all things we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us.” 

Isaiah 54:17 – “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me says the Lord.” 

THE COMMANDS

  • Everyone of the commands tells us something to do.  Put on, take up, stand, stand, put on, take, take, praying always, be watchful are all commands of action.  Many Christians come to know the Lord and do nothing except warm a pew and soak in the worship and message.  A sponge does the same thing.  However if the sponge soaks it all up and is not put to work, it does one of two things.  It either dries up and is not good for anything, or it becomes soured and begins to stink.  The reason for the action commands is evident.  We are in a war and you must act.  No soldier came back from the front lines of the battle without having performed some type of action. 
  • You, the Christian, must be a man or woman of action.  You must remember to get involved in the battle.  There are no desk soldiers in God’s army.  There are only soldiers of action. 
  • Notice the particular type of action in these action commands. 
  • “Take up”  the whole armor of God indicates we must not leave any of God’s armor off.  We must put it all on.  We must take all of God’s instructions.  Pick and choose and you will lose. 
  • Twice we are told to “stand.”  Why?  We must stand for the truth.  We must stand for right living before God and man.   If it is against God’s Word, then it is wrong.  I don’t care how much we try to justify what we are doing.  It doesn’t matter what everybody else is doing.  If God’s Word says do not, we better listen to what it says.  Society, or the signs of the time, should not dictate to us morality and right and wrong.  God’s Word is our only rule of law.
  • “Put on” indicates we are to clothe ourselves with something.  Since we are to “put off” the old life style, then we must “put on” the new life style. We can only do that with a basic understanding of the Word of God.
  • Three times we are told to “take” which indicates that we must reach out for, we must grasp, we must exert energy to obtain.  No soldier ever won a fight without taking charge of the situation.  That is exactly what you must do.  You must take charge of the situation and defeat the enemy through the power that God has given you.
  • There is no way we can over emphasize the power of prayer.  The passage says here that we should be “praying always” with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.  Prayer is spiritual warfare.  A soldier enters the conflict fully dressed and armed for battle.  Something else is needed, is essential.  Confidence, assurance and courage are needed in the battle and they only come by way of prayer.

Romans 13:12 – “The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light.” 

2 Corinthians 10:4 – “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.”  

1 Timothy 6:12 – “Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life, to which you were summoned and (for which) you confessed the good confession (of faith) before many witnesses.” 

2 Timothy 2:4 – “No soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of (civilian) life; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him.” 

Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” 

Colossians 4:2 – “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.” 

1 Chronicles 16:11 – “Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.” 

  • We are told after all these varying commands to “be watchful.”   All the armor in the world will not help us if we do not watch.  Further, we are to watch in “perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”  Why?  Because they are going through the same battles you are going through.
  • W – Watch your WORDS
  • A – Watch your ACTIONS
  • T – Watch your THOUGHTS
  • C – Watch your CHARACTER
  • H – Watch your HEART   

Living in the Spirit

Galatians 5:19-25

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

BIBLICAL EXAMPLES

  • Good Desires (verses 22-25)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

  • Desire the House of the Lord

Psalm 27:4 – One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek:  that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.

Hebrews 10:23-25 – Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

  • Desire to see and hear of the things of God 

Luke 10:24 – for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.

  • Desire the Word of God

Psalm 119: 11 – Your Word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.

Acts 17:11 – Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

  • Desire to work for God

1 Timothy 3:1 – This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.

Colossians 3:17 –  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

  • Sinful Desires (verses 19-21)

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

  • Tree looked good

Genesis 3:6 – So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

  • Whatever we see and want

Ecclesiastes 2:10 – Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.  I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoiced in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor.

James 1:14-15 – But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

  • Deny Christ

2 Peter 2:1 – But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

John 12:48 – He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day

  • Lust for other goods

James 4:2 – You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.

REAPING THE HARVEST OF THE SPIRIT (verses 22-23)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

CRUCIFY THE SINFUL NATURE (verse 24)

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

  • Lay it aside/turn and walk away/JUST SAY NO TO SIN AND YES TO GOD. 
  • Realize:  Eternity is too long to be wrong. 
  • Do right; live right; be right and you will turn out alright.
  • The way you purpose in your heart will determine your final destination.
  • Remember Daniel.  “He purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.”  (Daniel 1:8)

OBEY THE HOLY SPIRIT (verse 25)

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” 

  • Our efforts at goodness without relying on God, no matter how sincere or valiant our efforts may be, can only be a poor copy of the virtues produced by the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian.
  • As we yield our lives to the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit, the result of God’s power will become evident when it is manifested in our lives. 
  • To be victorious in living a Christian life, we must keep our eyes fixed on the cross and the work Christ did for us and be constantly submitted to his will, not our will.  That is dying to self.
  • Our initial decision to trust in Christ for salvation must be reaffirmed daily.
  • This requires us to make ongoing decisions by which we continually crucify the sin nature again and again and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit as he guides us day by day.

Live a Life Without Reproach

Galatians 5:25

If we live by the Spirit, let us walk by the Spirit.

  • If we are going to be Christians we must look, speak, act, and behave as a Christian.  Name someone who has caused reproach (discredit, disgrace, to cause disapproval, an expression of rebuke or disdain, scorn) on themselves and others.
  • Richard Nixon
  • Jimmy Swaggart
  • Bill Clinton
  • David (with Bathsheba)
  • Achan
  • King Saul
  • Judas
  • Samson

Galatians 5:16 – But I say; walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Romans 7:25 – 8:5 – Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” 

  • Look at an apple – describe:  shape, size, weight, texture, smell, taste, color
  • Christian – describe:  What does a Christian look like?  The Bible gives us nine characteristics in Galatians 5:22-23.
  • Love, joy, peace (inward manifestations)
  • Patience, kindness, goodness (outward – toward others – manifestations)
  • Faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (walk manifestations)
  • Only a Christian can exhibit the fruit of the Spirit constantly.
  • Only a Christian who has the indwelling supernatural power of the Holy Spirit can produce a supernatural holy life. 
  • Evidence of the Holy Spirit will consistently manifest itself by the fruit of the Spirit.

After a heavy snow fall one evening, a man made his usual way to the tavern after supper.  He was surprised a few minutes later to see his little son come in the front door.  “How did you get here through all that snow?” he asked the little boy.  “It was easy,” he said.  “I just walked in your foot steps.”

How we live our lives affects those around us.  Our emotions, our words, our expressed ideas, our dress.  What we say to our little ones and our loved ones sets the tone of their lives.

  • If we lift up others in our conversation, they will lift up others in their conversation.
  • If we ridicule, they will learn to ridicule.
  • If we boast of cheating on our taxes, exceeding the speed limit, they will learn to do the same.

How do we bring glory and honor to God when we say one thing and do another?

Admonitions Against Sin

Galatians 5:17-21

For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The number of sins listed in Galatians 5 are 18.  Obviously, there are countless more than this and we hesitate to admit we have come close to committing many of them.  As society plummets headlong and blindly into the abyss, there are more being added every day due to modern technology and the desire, sinful and lusting, to satisfy an unsatisfied craving, an itch that needs to be scratched.

A renewing of the mind is what is needed in our world today.  The cravings that were in existence a generation ago are magnified beyond belief.

Romans 12:1-2 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

1 Corinthians 6:4-10 – If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!  Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

Self-control and personal accountability are needed in our lives.

Colossians 3:5-9 – Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.  But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,

Forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness is what is needed.  But we have rights, we shout.  And we do.  But our rights are not available to us except through the scriptures that shout to us, “love one another.”

1 John 4:7-8 – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Colossians 3:12-13 – Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

Oh our big mouth!  What damage it does.  If only our spiritual IQ was as big as our mouth.  We would have converted the whole world by now.  And caustic!  Oh, how much damage we do with our tongues, probably equal to all the rest of the things we are guilty of.  God help us!

James 3:6-8 – And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.

Walking in the Spirit

Galatians 5:16-26

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

SPIRIT VS. FLESH

  • The Flesh fights to gain control over the Spirit.

Romans 8:7 – Because the carnal (fleshly) mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject (“to stand under” – submission, obedience) to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

  • The Flesh lusts against the Spirit.  The word “lusts” means to set one’s heart upon, eagerly long for, greatly desire.  The word emphasizes the intensity of the desire rather than the object desired.  The Flesh sets its heart upon things contrary to what the Spirit sets its heart upon.

Romans 7:28 – But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

  • The Flesh hinders us from doing what we want to do. 

Romans 7:19-20 – For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.  Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

THE WORKS OF THE FLESH

  • Adultery – sexual unfaithfulness to husband or wife. 

Exodus 20:14 – You shall not commit adultery.

Matthew 5:28 – But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

  • Fornication – includes all forms of immoral and sexual acts, pre-marital, extra-marital sex, and abnormal sex. 

1 Corinthians 6:18 – Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

Ephesians 5:3 – But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;

  • Uncleanness – moral impurity. 
  • Lasciviousness (lewdness) – indecency, shamelessness, and/or unrestrained evil thoughts and acts.  A person who has given in to wrong desires to the point that he knows no restraint.  Does not care what others think about his sinful deeds.
  • Idolatry – giving something or someone the love, time, money and energy that should be given to God.
  • Witchcraft (sorcery) – use of drugs or spells to gain control over one’s life.  In today’s society it would include palm reading, séances, astrology, channeling, games that are based on evil ideas.
  • Hatred – a deep and lasting hostility toward others.
  • Variance (contentions) – quarreling, fighting, causing discord.

Matthew 5:44 – But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.

  • Emulations (jealousies) – intense desire to have what someone else has.

From the Ten Commandments we have the commandment  “Do not covet.”

  • Wrath (outbursts of wrath) – a violent, explosive temper, bursts of anger.  Different from hatred  in that it is not anger that lasts but rather, it is the quick outburst of anger.
  • Strife (selfish ambitions) – concerned only with one’s own welfare, self-willed, a spirit of partisanship or belonging to cliques.
  • Seditions (dissensions) – division, rebellion, standing against others.
  • Heresies – rejecting the fundamental beliefs of God and the Scriptures and accepting a false teaching.
  • Envying (envy) – goes beyond jealously – not only wants what someone else has, but begrudges the fact that the other person has it.
  • Murders – to take the life of another person, to destroy another’s reputation by slander or gossip, to lie about someone’s character.
  • Drunkenness – taking drinks or drugs to become intoxicated, seeking to loose restraint for bodily pleasure.
  • Reveling (revelries) – uncontrolled indulgence, wild parties or drinking parties, orgies

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

  • Love – (agape) – Selfless love, love like the love of God demonstrated by Christ on the cross.
  • Joy – inner gladness, assurance and confidence in God that brings a cheerful heart.
  • Peace – absence of strife, state of rest and quietness.
  • Long-suffering (patience) – “long-temper”, patient endurance, forbearance, a person who has the power to exercise revenge but instead exercises restraint. 
  • Gentleness (kindness) – goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others, a person who has the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing their patience.
  • Goodness – full of virtue, helpful, considerate.
  • Faith (faithfulness) – trustworthy, dependable, constant in allegiance.
  • Meekness (gentleness) – gentle, tender, considerate. 
  • Temperance (self-control) – to have control of one’s desires, appetites and passions, to not allow any habit or desire to gain control of one’s life. 

It is the works of the flesh – something we must do, must make an effort at.  It is the fruit of the Spirit – something we cannot do on our own.  The Holy Spirit produces it in our lives beyond our own efforts. 

It is the works (plural) of the flesh but the fruit (singular) of the Spirit.  The Fruit of the Spirit is one and indivisible.  We cannot pick and choose which quality of the Spirit we will allow to be produced in our life.  It is all or none.  When we allow the Holy Spirit to control our life, He will produce all of the graces of God. 

WALKING IN THE SPIRIT

  • Must crucify the flesh

 Romans 6:6 – Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with (rendered inoperative) that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

  • Walk in the Spirit – “Walk” used here literally means “to walk in line with.”  It is not the same “walk” in verse 16 which simply means physical walking.  To walk in the Spirit is to walk along the path that God lays down. 
  • Be free from pride of one’s own spirituality or envy of another’s spirituality.

The Struggle Within

Galatians 5:16-18

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Romans 7:14-24 – For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.  For what I am doing, I do not understand.  For what I will do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.  If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.  But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.  I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

While that verse seems to imply that we are not able to win the struggle within, Paul continues.

Romans 7:25 – I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

As we continually seek to surrender our self to Jesus Christ through prayer, study of His Word and fellowship with other believers, we find the strength needed to overcome the carnal/fleshly man. 

Ways that will help us win this struggle.

Psalms 27:4 – One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord.  

Psalms 51:10-12 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.

Acts 17:11 – These were more fair-minded that those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Philippians 3:13-14 – Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prized of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  

Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 

Things to avoid to help win this struggle.

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11 – Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.  I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart rejoice in all my labor; and this was my reward from all my labor.  Then I looked on all the works and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun. 

Genesis 3:6 – So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.  She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.    

James 4:1-4 – Where do wars and fights come from among you?  Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?  You lust and do not have.  You murder and covet and cannot obtain.  You fight and war.  Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.  Adulterers and adulteresses!  Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?  Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

A man once had two dogs that he trained for fighting.  Just before a scheduled fight a friend of his asked him which dog he thought would win the fight, which one should he place his bets on.  As the man quickly pointed out which dog would win, his friend asked him “How do you know that one will win?”  The man replied “Because that is the one I will feed.”

Which one are you feeding – the flesh or the spirit?

Walk in the Spirit

Galatians 5:16

I say then:  Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

WALK IN THE SPIRIT

  • Spirit vs. Flesh
  • Godly vs. Ungodly
  • Holy vs. Unholy
  • Uplifting vs. Detrimental

Ephesians 4:1-3 – I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

WALK IN UNITY

  • Lowliness (humility) vs. Pride
  • Gentleness vs. Arrogance
  • Longsuffering (patience) vs. Impatience
  • Unity vs. Partisanship

Ephesians 5:1-2 –   Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for a sweet-smelling aroma.

WALK IN LOVE

  • Christ like
  • Servant hood
  • Sacrificially
  • Glorifying God

Ephesians 5:8 – For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out is acceptable to the Lord.

WALK IN LIGHT

  • By example of Christ
  • By example of the Word
  • By the leading of the Spirit

Ephesians 5:15-16 – See then that you walk circumspectly (carefully), not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

WALK IN WISDOM

  • Understand God’s will
  • Fulfill God’s will
  • Submit to God’s will

Colossians 1:10 – that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.

WALK WORTHY

  • Be fruitful in all things that are good
  • Increase your knowledge of God
  • Be strengthened with His might and power
  • Maintain patience and longsufferign with joy
  • Give thanks always