THE LIVING WORD PROGRAM
Program Air Date - 1-6-13
LESSON TITLE: “WALKING IN THE SPIRIT.”
Today is January 6, 2013 and we welcome you to our first Living Word Program of this exciting New Year. We thank you for choosing to be with us today for this time of offering and encouragement, as we participate in the things of God.
This program has always been committed to doing what God wants, in the way He wants. We accomplish this by collectively singing songs of praise to glorify His name. We also study from His Word, to learn what He wants of us. And we further, approach His throne in prayer, so that we may talk to our creator! So, at this time, let’s humbly bow our heads before our God.
How comforting it must have been for Israel to know that God was every before them and guiding them in their journeys. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing about this glorious promise for us as well. The name of the song, “Savior Lead Me.”
(SONG # 1)
Now that the crazy holiday rush is over, I hope we have all sat down, taken a deep breath and considered some of the new goals that we want to accomplish this New Year. I think that often we plan to fail, mostly, because we fail to plan. In other words, we can’t expect something good or great to come out from nothing. Obviously, it takes a lot of planning, patience, time, effort, and commitment to accomplish anything worthwhile in this life. As we all know there isn’t anything in this life worth having that comes completely free.
So, let’s take a few moments this morning and talk about our need to be better planners! Some have often misunderstood or taken out of context different passages in the Bible which deal with planning. In fact, many like to quote the verse found in Matthew 6:34. There Jesus said, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” In this verse is Jesus saying don’t plan or set goals in this life? Certainly not. What He is trying to say is that we don’t focus and worry so much about what will happen tomorrow that we forget to do the things which we need to today.
Another verse which might help us to understand what God truly wants is found in Luke 14:28-29. Here again, we have recorded the words of Christ, as He said, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it; lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him.” This verse helps us to see that Jesus knew it was necessary to consider tomorrow and the things concerning it - if we are to be good stewards of what He has asked us to do.
Now, in the same text, go back to verse 27 with me, where Jesus said, “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” So, Jesus was trying to say that part of bearing our cross and following Him is in finding out what He wants and planning to do it. You and I both know, that if we are going to be able to accomplish anything in any part of life - again, it requires good planning and execution of what we determine to be the goal.
So, consider today whether you have made the goals and plans necessary to accomplish great things for your Jesus. If not, then why not begin today taking the time to find out what Jesus wants. Then we can obey His Will and follow His Word, by executing those plans and goals which help us to accomplish it.
Today I will be speaking on our walk with God. Our study of the morning will deal with, “Walking In The Spirit!” This is our next lesson in the series we are studying which is called “That You May Walk Worthy Of The Lord.” So, please continue with us this morning and after our next song together I will return with this study from God’s Word. The name of the next selection is, “Seeking The Lost.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Let me again say Happy New Year! It’s great to have you this morning as we continue with The Living Word in another new year, 2013. How could any of us believe that we are already here in 2013? Anyway this morning we do want to go right to God’s word and consider another lesson in our series concerning walking with God. I hope you have been able with me and as well as other speakers to see how many passages really deal with this idea of the Christian walk, and how many specifically deal with different ideas that are involved within that walk of a Christian as he does those things that are pleasing to God.
This morning as we have already said we are going to look at the idea of walking in spirit. This concept is actually mentioned several places in the New Testament but perhaps no other passage says it better than is found there in Galatians 5. So if you have your Bibles I hope you will turn there. And as you turn I want to begin to look at the context just a little bit because here Paul as He writes to the churches of Galatia is actually dealing with some issues of relationships in other words the idea of how they were treating one another. In respect to this discussion he actually is talking about the liberty that they share in Christ, liberty there meaning freedom. The idea that there are certain freedoms that one has in Christ not necessarily to do it there own way but the fact that as Christians we now have the ability to not only do what God says but often decide how we do it and how to give more to God. Whereas under the Old Law it was very regimented and detailed as to what was required, how it would be done, when it would be done, and so on and so forth. So as we see this discussion of liberty here he goes on to actually warn them in chapter 5 of Galatians 13, not to use their liberty in some way as an opportunity of the flesh that might somehow lead them into things which are of flesh and sin because they would say we have the freedom to do it or God did not say or God did say. Well, you see the idea of trying to again push God into a corner but then you go on into the next two verses 14-15 to say you are really to love your neighbor as yourself. Then in verse 15 he says, “But If you bit and devour one another, beware lest you be consume by one another!” What was the problem? It seems like amongst the Galatians churches some congregations were having real turmoil within the church because brothers and sisters were biting and devouring one another with words and actions. They were doing things that were becoming a Christian and therefore they were using their liberties, “Well it’s my right, it’s my freedom,” even to hurt with words and to step on their brethren in actions. Certainly what this text is doing is condemning such because as we begin in verse 16 he says, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit…” You see they were not walking in tune with the Spirit, this is not the idea of just the attitude here, this idea is really what as we might say in the Greek that article that actually means the Holy Spirit. Walk with God, or Walk with or in the Spirit which obviously is the Holy Spirit for God. So therefore with that in mind and he has just warned them not to devour each other or use their liberties as opportunity to hurt one another. Then by the way down in verse 26, the last verse of the same text says, “Let us not become conceded, provoking one another…” You see there were some problems, real problems with attitudes and actions towards one another. So he says look you have got to stop living like the world and the things of the world, and therefore somehow using your liberties in Christ to again justify that which is not becoming of Christ. Rather you must walk in the Spirit. Now if we walk in something it obviously means in tune with or in accordance to and when we say walking in God, that is a powerful statement. We’ve look out in the past several weeks many individuals, one that stands out in my mind is the great example there back in the book of Genesis of Enoch who walked with God. Noah also in Genesis 6 was a man who was said to have walked with God and he was considered as perfect in his generation. Why, because he was doing what God asked and trying to show forth the characteristics of God. You see that’s what it is all about here, he is trying to warn the Galatians churches to understand that being a Christian is all about striving to have the Spirit, and the attitude, and the mind, and the actions, of what, of God. Walk in the Spirit.
Now if you walk in the Spirit what will that accomplish? He also says in verse 16 that if you walk in the Spirit, “…you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” In other words when you focus on Spiritual things and you focus on the Holy Spirit Himself, God Himself, it certainly then keeps our minds on what is right rather than what is wrong and then by keeping our minds on that which is right it keeps us from sin. Have you ever noticed that, when you are around people that are good people that do good you don’t normally do bad around those types of people. When you are an individual who is sitting down and you are reading a lot of your Bible and you are spending time praying a lot, and you are really focused on God you aren’t really busy wondering what can I do in the flesh, or how can I say something ugly to a brother or sister, or how can I do something against someone. This is because your focus is about being in God or walking in God, with God, the Spirit of God. So when we draw nearer to God, He does what, He draws nearer to us. In that fact we are able then too easily, at least more easily, overcome sin and not be maybe as easily tempted by sin because our focus is God. Isn’t that why Jesus Himself spoke about the treasures of our heart and he really said that, that treasure of the heart is what we see show forth itself in our actions and words. Good treasures show forth, what, good things and bad treasures, would obviously then do what, show forth bad things. So when we really feed ourselves in Godly things and we are walking in the Spirit then we are those who are acceptable in His sight.
Now I want you to notice with me another concept within this passage that really is used synonymously here with the things that are being said. If you look down with me in verse 22, he talks about what is referred to here as the fruit of the Spirit. And if you will notice with me he uses the same word Spirit which is referencing the concept God or the Holy Spirit and then he talks about bearing fruit. Does that sound familiar? Did Jesus not talk about in Matthew 7 the need to bear fruit and that we really know a tree by the fruit that it bears? You see there are many things that are presented in the New Testament about the Christian needing to bear fruit. But what kind of fruit is this? Spiritual fruit and not just Spiritual fruit, Godly fruit, the very fruit of God itself. You might also notice that it is singular in nature; it doesn’t say the fruits of the Spirit as if there were things that we could pick and choose. It says the fruit of the Spirit, but then within the idea of walking in the Spirit and acknowledging the fruit of the Spirit what are those things that are involved. Look at verse 22, the fruit of the Spirit is love, the fruit of the Spirit is Joy, the fruit of the Spirit is peace, the fruit of the Spirit is longsuffering, the fruit of the Spirit is kindness, the fruit of the Spirit is goodness, the fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness, the fruit of the Spirit is gentleness, and the fruit of the Spirit is self control, “…against such there is no law.” You see why? Because these are good, righteous, wholesome, and Godly things. When I love as God loves I am showing forth, guess what, God. I am walking in the Spirit, what does that mean? It means that when people see love in me they see God in me, they see the characteristics of God not that I am God but that my actions are acceptable and according to the will of God. When others see as it says here joy in me, or peace in me, or longsuffering the Spirit of being longsuffering when they see these attributes that are Godly attributes that are righteous attributes they immediately are drawn to God and the goodness of God not me. Then they have the ability as it says here to bear fruit. So when I’m a person who loves as God commands what do I do? I bear the fruit of the Spirit. When I have joy as God commands what do I show forth? I show forth the joy of God, the characteristic of joy. When I do all these things that God has asked of me from His word I am one who begins as it says here to walk in the Spirit. In fact he even says there in verse 24 that when we have done these things we have actually crucified the things of the flesh. Isn’t that what the context was all about sin, about the things they were allowing to creep in that were dividing the brethren as they hurt one another with words and actions, then he said don’t allow the flesh to do this but crucify the flesh and rather verse 25 live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. So it is not enough just to walk in the Spirit of God but to live. It is a way of life, it is not something that we put on like a coat when we go and worship God or we put on when we want to feel good or we want to impress others. It is something that is a way of life 24/7 that we must give to God.
Now within the same context as he has also identified to us these fleshly things we certainly need to be aware of the warning that he was giving them. AS he told them to walk in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, and to live in the Holy Spirit the things of God, to be in God, and to show forth God, and therefore as Jesus said that is glorifies God when we do His will and others see us doing His will. Notice what he also warns them about there which you will refer to in verse 19 as the works of the flesh. You know the works of the flesh are clear, they are sins. And he gives a whole list here, he says they are evident, they are clear, they are seen, “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambition, dissentions, heresies, envy , murderers, drunkenness, revelries, and the like…” You see he goes through a whole list of things that are contrary to being in God or walking in the Spirit or living in the Spirit. Therefore look at the contrary; it couldn’t be more stark more different to see the contrast between the two. But there is something I believe that should be an eye opener as we think about these things. Not only the idea that he says, and the such, like sin is sin and any sin is that which is a work of the flesh and not God. But notice the outcome of those who do such, he actually mentions there in verse 21, “…that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” So on one hand we have the warning as well as the challenge to be careful because if we walk in the flesh, the works of the flesh, which are clear and evident all around us, if we do what the world does and what the flesh chooses sin these things practiced equal that we will not inherit the kingdom of God. On the other hand that would tell us how we inherit the kingdom of God, when we are those who bear the fruit of the Spirit. So what we begin to ask ourselves then at this time is are we bearing that fruit? Are we living in the Spirit?
Now that we have certainly in detail looked at those concepts I again want us to take the context because overall what do we see? We saw the problems at least amongst the Galatians church of evidently some using their liberty to create strife, and division, and to even harm and hurt others. We also saw that within the same text that he again warned there in verse 26 that they should not provoke one another or even envy one another. Then do you notice what he further goes on to say in chapter 6. Another part to me of walking in the Spirit he says brethren bear one another’s burdens. You see it’s not enough to just not have division and problems we have got to love enough as those who are in Christ to help one another. To even bear each others burdens when we see a brother stumbling verse 1 says that we are one that is going to help them with their trespasses, why? So that they might walk in the Spirit and so that we might walk in the Spirit, walking together in the Spirit, living together in the Spirit. And as we are together in the Spirit knowing that those who practice the things of the Spirit will inherit the kingdom of God.
So I ask you today, how are you living? Are you living in God? Are you walking in the Spirit of God? Are you living in the Spirit of God? If not repent but if you are know that the rewards of God are yours and you will receive heaven in the end.
(SONG # 3 - “Send The Light!”)
Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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May we all strive to walk in the Spirit of God more every day, as we truly give God our best. Are you walking in the Spirit as God commands?