Galatians paints a picture of what a life “in step with the Spirit” looks like.
Continued from Last Sunday:
4. With Spirit-Produced Kindness (Gal. 5:22; 2 Peter 1:7)
5. With Spirit-Produced Goodness (Gal. 5:22; 2 Peter 1:5)
6. With Spirit-Produced Faithfulness (Gal. 5:22)
7. With Spirit-Produced Gentleness (Gal. 5:23)
8. With Spirit-Produced Self-Control (Gal. 5:23; 2 Peter 1:6)
The “heart” of Galatians (5:16-26) concludes by returning to the absolute importance of the Spirit-filled/controlled/empowered life.
What does Gal. 5:24-26 (and Rom. 6) tell us about “keeping in step” with the Holy Spirit?
1. The “Obvious Life” Has Been “Unplugged”. (Gal 5:24 Rom 6:3-7)
- The “obvious life” has not been eliminated completely… but it has been “unplugged”.
- “Keeping in step with the Spirit” begins with a personal acceptance of this truth.
2. The “Extraordinary Life” Is Real. (Gal. 5:25; Rom. 6:8-22)
- We are free to act upon the truth that though we had once been “dead in sin”…we are now alive in Jesus.
- We are free to offer ourselves to God.
- The Spirit-filled life flows out of the following biblical principles:
A. We need to know who we are in Jesus Christ.
B. We need to believe that this truth is true for us.
C. We need to offer “the parts of our body” to the Holy Spirit.
D. We need to ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit…this is ultimately God’s work… an act of trust in a loving God.
What does a life “in step with the Spirit” look like?
In what ways does the Spirit manifest His love in and through our lives and relationships with others?
1. With Spirit-Produced Joy. (Gal. 5:22; Phil. 4:4)
- Joy is not the absence of problems or difficulties.
- The word for “joy”- root word for “grace” in the original language.
2. With Spirit-Produced Peace. (Gal. 5:22; Col. 3:12-15)
- Peace is not the absence of conflict/war.
- Peace is the opposite of worry, it’s having confidence in a loving God and in His ability.
3. With Spirit-Produced Patience. (Gal. 5:22; Col. 3:12-13)
- A prayer God always answers immediately = “Lord, make me more patient.”
- Patience = “long suffering…tolerance”
- Love is patient.
We need to have God’s love story invade our lives…
1. Genuine Love is Divinely Produced. (1 John 4:7-8)
- “…love comes from God.” (1 John 4:7a, NIV)
- “Fruit of the Spirit” (love) is produced in lives submitted to God.
2. Genuine Love is Visible. (1 John 4:9-10)
- Jesus is the assurance to us of God’s great love…The cross is the primary source of love.
- …God’s “free, uncaused, and spontaneous” love… (Stott)
3. Genuine Love Compels Us to Love. (1 John 4:11)
- The “fruit of the Spirit” moves us to touch others.
4. Genuine Love is the “Authenticity Test.” (1 John 4:12-21)
- It’s the “fruit of the Spirit” (love) that makes our faith authentic.
- The unseen God, who was once revealed in His Son, is now revealed in His people if and when they love one another. (Stott)
- Love is as much a sign of the new birth as is righteousness. (Stott)
What does the Spirit-filled life look like?
The greatest and most compelling evidence of any person living a Spirit-filled life is the “fruit of the Spirit”.
1. What is the Fruit of the Spirit? (Gal. 5:22a)
- The “fruit of the Spirit Is love” (not “fruits are”).
2. Love is Absolutely Necessary. (1 Cor. 13:1-3)
- It’s the fruit of the Spirit that makes spiritual gifts valuable and effective.
- Ministry without love cheapens both the minister and those who are touched by it; but ministry with love enriches the whole church. (Wiersbe)
3. Love is a Verb. (1 Cor. 13:4-8a)
- Biblical love = “Choosing for the highest good of another.”
- Biblical love is a combination of attitudes and choices that produce character.
“Love is patient…” (with people more than circumstances)
“…is kind…” (actively interested in the welfare of others)
“…does not envy…” (celebrates the successes of others)
“…does not boast…” (“windbag”)
“…is not proud…” (not negatively asserting ourselves)
“…is not rude…” (not just “Men Behaving Badly”)
“…is not self-seeking…” (“selfish ambition”, Gal. 5:20)
“…is not easily angered…” (“hothead”, “fits of rage”, Gal. 5:20)
“…keeps no record of wrongs” (is not “touchy”, keeps no lists”)
- The fruit of the Spirit/Spirit-filled life creates positive people who endure…and hold on to God despite circumstances and problems.
- The fruit of the Spirit (love) is not an emotion…but attitudes and choices that develop our character and is seen most importantly and significantly in our relationships with others.
- The Spirit-filled life is seen primarily in our relationships.
Being “out of step” in our spiritual lives is a serious matter.
1. The Obvious Acts of the Sinful Nature. Gal. 5:19a)
The deeper…extraordinary…Spirit-filled life isn’t natural.
It’s radically different!
Being out of step will be seen in 3 categories:
2. Physical Realm. (Gal. 5:19b)
The perversion of God’s good gift of sex has been one of humanity’s greatest problems since Genesis 3.
3. Spiritual Realm. (Gal. 5:20a)
“We are to worship God, love people, and use things, but too often we use people, love self, and worship things, leaving God out of the picture completely.” (Wiersbe)
The more significant realm of the “acts of the sinful nature” is:
4. Social Realm. (Gal. 5:20b-21a)
Paul uses 8 words that describe how the deeds of the sinful nature destroy relationships.
The acts of the sinful nature stand in sharp contrast to the fruit of the Spirit.
The emphasis is to warn believers not to live as unbelievers.
What does Gal. 5:16-18 tell us about the source of genuine spirituality?
1. Genuine Spirituality is Not Self-Produced. (Gal. 5:16)
- Dominant theme in N.T. = “live…walk…keep in step with…be controlled…be filled with the Spirit”.
- To “live” or “walk” by the Spirit is to live under the guidance and influence of the Spirit.
- “Live by…” = “go on living” (lifestyle; “habitual conduct”)
- “Living by the promptings and power of the Spirit is the key to conquering sinful desires.” (Mounce)
- To “walk” is basic to living physically and spiritually.
- Only the Holy Spirit living, controlling, and working in us and through us can produce genuine spiritual life.
2. Genuine Spirituality Operates in an Atmosphere of Conflict. (Gal. 5:17-18)
- The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
- Genuine spirituality is something we become conscious of due to the inner conflicts we experience.
- The Spirit controlled/empowered life is the only way to experience genuine spirituality.
Paul begins to describe what freedom in Christ leads to and results in:
1. Freedom in Christ Leads to the Pursuit of Holiness. (Gal. 5:13)
- Christian freedom is not the licence to practice evil.
- Important spiritual truth: All people are servants to something.
- Freedom is living as God created us to live.
- The “true grace of God” (1 Peter 5:12)…but there’s also a false grace of God (note Jude 4).
- Freedom in Christ isn’t a licence to sin but an opportunity to serve.
- Freedom in Christ leads us in pursuit of holiness (not spiritual and moral chaos), and that holiness is demonstrated in relationships with people.
2. Freedom in Christ Results in Harmony. (Gal. 5:14-15)
- Was “faith expressing itself through love” “fighting tooth and nail…cat fight”?
- Where legalism dominates, factions and cliques form and poor relationships become the norm.
- Real freedom in Jesus Christ results in harmony, unity, and people consumed with wanting to serve others.
- Does our life show that we’re letting “freedom rise” (pursuing holiness, moral transformation, serving others in love, seeking to know God more)?
- Or does our life demonstrate we’re pursuing a “false grace” (excuse for sinful behaviours and attitudes), or any form of legalism is expressing itself in poor relationships, a critical spirit, etc.)?
Gal. 4:21-31 most puzzling for modern Christians because it’s an allegory.
Paul teaches to be “free at last”, we need to have two birth certificates.
1. The Historical Facts. (Gal. 4:21-23)
2. The Spiritual Truths. (Gal. 4:24-27)
3. The Practical Responses. (Gal. 4:28-31)
Gal 5:1-12 Does God’s grace lead to license?
Paul describes what’s a stake in the conflict between legalism and grace:
1. Genuine Freedom is at Stake. (Gal. 5:1)
The whole purpose of Jesus Christ is to free us.
It was always God’s purpose to set His people free.
2. Genuine Spirituality is at Stake. (Gal. 5:2-6)
Paul makes four profound statements to describe how high the stakes
are in the conflict between legalism and grace (Gal. 5:2-4).
“It is bad enough that legalism robs the believer of his liberty, but it
also robs him of his spiritual wealth in Christ. The believer living
under the Law becomes a bankrupt slave.” (Wiersbe)
We cannot mix legalism and grace.
We cannot be justified with God in two ways at once.
3. Genuine Guidance is at Stake. (Gal. 5:7-12)
Judaizers had “hindered…cut in on…obstructed” them and sent them on a “wild goose chase” and a “spiritual detour”.
The stakes in the conflict between grace and legalism are very high.
Paul wants them to know that:
1. Wrong Theology Leads to Slavery. (Gal. 4:8-11)
They were reverting to “elemental things” that are “weak and bankrupt”.
They were giving up the power of the Gospel for the weakness of Law, and the wealth of the Gospel for the poverty of Law. (Wiersbe)
Paul’s heart heavy as he saw faulty beliefs propel the Galatians from freedom to bondage, from power to weakness, and from God’s riches to spiritual poverty.
2. Wrong Theology Ruins Personal Relationships. (Gal. 4:12-18)
Thorn in the flesh = stake thrust into my body.
What has happened to all your joy?
Judaizers wanted “to lock-out” Paul and Paul’s liberty from the Galatians.
3. Wrong Theology Produces Painful Confusion. (Gal. 4:19-20)
Can we see the cry of a pastor’s heart?
Paul’s heavy burden: was to see signs of growth in Christlikeness in them.
He wants believers to become mature, responsible, to become free, and focused upon Christ.
Belonging to the “right family” can make a huge difference in life.
Belonging to God’s family makes the greatest possible difference because it means:
1. We Have a New Status. (Gal. 4:1-5)
2. We Have a New Life Source. (Gal. 4:6)
- In Christ we have the complete working of the Triune God in our lives to assure and confirm to us we are members of God’s family.
- “Abba” = informal term of affection, warmth, closeness, intimacy.
3. We Have an Amazing Future. (Gal. 4:7)
- We are heirs…
- God has made available to us as His heirs the:
Riches of his grace. (Eph. 2:6-7)
Riches of His glory. (Phil. 4:19)
Riches of His kindness, tolerance, and patience. (Rom. 2:4)
Riches of His wisdom and knowledge. (Rom. 11:33)
If we are fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ we belong to Gods family.
Be comforted and encouraged by the amazing future promised by Jesus, and that the best is yet to come!
What’s the difference between God’s grace and God’s Law?
1. The Law Cannot Replace the Promise. (Gal. 3:15-18)
It’s impossible to add to God’s grace or subtract from God’s promises.
2. The Promise is Superior to the Law. (Gal. 3:19-20)
No mediator was needed with God’s promise, for it was all up to God.
3. Law and the Promise Have a Working Relationship. (Gal. 3:21-26)
While Law and grace seem to be contrary to one another, if you go deep enough, you will discover that they actually complement one another. (Wiersbe)
Through the work of Jesus at the cross and from the tomb, the Law was done away with, and it’s righteous demands are now fulfilled in us by the Holy Spirit.
What can we learn from Abraham that will set us free?
1. God Has Always Dealt with People in the Same Way. (Gal. 3:6-9)
Faith has always been the vehicle for people to know God personally.
God does not change the rules in mid-stream.
Faith puts us in the blessed “footprints” of Abraham.
2. Trying to Earn God’s Favour is a Spiritual Dead-End. (Gal. 3:10-12)
What does the Law bring? (Note Gal. 3:10, “curse”)
The 10 Commandments are not the 10 Suggestions.
The Law says, “Do”, but grace says, “Done”.
No one is justified before God by the law, "The righteous will live by faith."
3. Jesus Paid the Price. (Gal. 3:13-14)
“Redeemed” = “to recover from captivity by a ransom”.
When Jesus redeemed us at the cross, what did it accomplish?
A. He broke the curse of the Law – He “purchased us from slavery in order to set us free.”
B. He made it possible for us to receive God’s promises.
Let’s celebrate the freedom of the faith-generated life (“Done”; “Believe and live!”)
How could people ever be convinced that legalism is a better choice than grace?
What makes legalism so appealing? What is the spell that legalism casts?
1. Legalism Appeals to Our Human Nature. (Gal. 3:1-3)
We are attracted to “religion” = “the human search for God”.
Genuine Christianity = “God’s search for people”.
2. Legalism Encourages False Comparisons. (Gal. 3:3-5)
The person who depends on religion can measure himself and compare himself with others. (Wiersbe)
If we are comparing ourselves with others, then we are spellbound by legalism and driving down a spiritual “dead-end”.
Let’s reject any fascination we may have with legalism.
Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to break any spell of legalism in our lives by making us “Christ-focused”.
What produces real life? What is the source of and power for real living?
People who are “born free” in Jesus experience “real living” because of:
1. The Truth of Justification. (Gal. 2:15-18)
· Justification is the act of God whereby He declares the believing sinner righteous in Jesus Christ.” (Wiersbe)
· Justification is not simply forgiveness…it is not a pardon.
· It establishes the future.
2. The Superiority of Faith.(Gal. 2:19-21)
· I no longer live, but Christ lives in me…
· Faith is the key…faith in a Person (not laws, rules, or rituals).
· We can be completely dependent on Jesus, who “loves us and gave Himself for us” (Gal. 2:20).
3. The Power of God’s Grace.(Gal. 2:21)
- The Law shouts to us, “Do”, while grace reassures us, “Done”.
- Grace provides us with genuine freedom (to do and be, and “to not do”…to no longer be in bondage to legalism and sin).
What does it mean to be “born free” in Christ?
1. We are “Born Free” from the Bondage and Pain of Our Past.
Specifically we saw how through Jesus we are “born free” from:
A. The Pain of a Misdirected Life, and from:
B. The Bondage of Self-Sufficiency.
What else does it mean to be “born free” in Jesus Christ?
2. We are “Born Free” to Serve. (Gal. 1:15-24)
God set Paul “apart” … so that I might preach…”
When we serve the Lord, there are wonderful results:
A. The Kingdom of God expands.
B. The Body of Christ is encouraged.
C. God is glorified.
3. We are “Born Free” Into God’s Family. (Gal. 2:1-10)
What was Paul’s status before being a member of God’s family?
Paul’s place in God’s family affirmed.
Because of the “grace given us”, we are part of God’s family despite our family, social status, and misdirected past.
4. We are “Born Free” to “Speak the Truth in Love”. (Gal. 2:11-14)
Genuine freedom can only exist and thrive in an environment
where truth is loved and defended.
God does not judge by external appearance.
Paul had been “born free” to “speak the truth in love”.
What does it mean to be “born free” in Christ?
1. We are “Born Free” from the Bondage and Pain of Our Past. (Galatians 1:13-15)
- Paul doesn’t write much about his past.
- He does so in Gal. 1 and 2 to accomplish 2 primary goals :
Paul first describes how in Jesus Christ we are “born free” from:
A. The Pain of a Misdirected Life. (Gal. 1:13)
· How could Paul ever be a leader in the Christian Church?
How could he live with himself?
· The power of God’s grace set Paul free.
· His grace can free us!
B. The Bondage of Self-Sufficiency. (Gal. 1:14)
· This is a terrible reality of the human condition spiritually (another word = “pride”).
· “His personal religious life, his scholarship, and his zeal in opposing alien religious faiths, all combined to make him the most respected young rabbi of his day.”
· The whole idea of being self-sufficient is an illusion at best.
· In Christ, this bondage is broken, and the cycle is ended!
Counterfeit Christianity is not a recent phenomena of our day.
Paul was “astonished, amazed, flabbergasted” by the Galatians.
Why is false teaching such a serious matter?
1. Because of What False Teaching Does (Gal. 1:6-7)
Paul refers to 3 specific effects of false teaching:
A. False Teaching Encourages Desertion.
B. False Teaching Demands Perversion.
C. False Teaching Produces Confusion.
2. Because of the Judgement False Teachers Face. (Gal. 1:8-9)
External appearance of any teacher is not important.
Note Acts 15:24 (special connections also don’t matter)
“…the outward person of the messenger does not validate his message; rather, the nature of the message validates the messenger.”
The most serious pronouncement in all of Paul’s writings.
An introduction and overview of the entire letter:
1. Who, What, and Why? (Gal 1:1-2)
- One of Paul’s earliest letters, and was a circular letter.
- Concerned because these churches were being led astray.
- Paul needed to re-establish his spiritual credentials and authority.
What was Paul’s answer to the false teaching of legalism?
2. Christ Alone, Faith Alone, Grace Alone. (Gal. 1:3-4)
· “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
What’s the purpose of right doctrine?
3. Real Power for Living. (Gal 5:1)
- Beginning in Gal. 3:2, Paul talks about the Holy Spirit 16 times!
“…live by the Spirit…led by the Spirit…the fruit of the Spirit…keep in step with the Spirit…sowing to please the Spirit…”