Date: January 29, 2023
Speaker: Trent Thompson
Scripture: Galatians 5:16-18
All right, good morning, you got a Bible, go to Galatians chapter five, continuing our study in the book of Galatians. Just kind of, slowing down here in chapter five, reflecting on and meditating on the work of the Spirit, and just hopefully finding that to be really helpful, helpful guide in the scriptures to understanding who the spirit is and what he does, how he works. So we might walk with Him, we’re going to hear today, as you’re turning there, just one bit of housekeeping, just want to just put this in front of you remind you pastorly this time of year for us to church is always a time where we see giving lag a little bit year after year. So I just want to encourage you as a believer for your own sanctification and growth in the Lord, but also for the sake of our mission as a church, would you just make sure you’re really if this is your church home, that you’re thinking about giving to the church in the season, just responding to the Spirit as He guides you in that and lead you in that so that we can continue forward in the work that God has given us to do? So I trust you’ll do that. Thanks for letting me just remind you of it. All right. So as we are studying Holy Spirit, I was thinking about this today. This is you can see the dog face that’s been drawn as my kids have been drawing on the balloons. We were debating whether the balloons should be named Belinda. Or Ariel? Oh, no, no, Phillip. Phillip seems to be winning. Alright, I think last service, it was Ariel one that won the award. So as we’re thinking about this, Billy Graham famously said, speaking about the Holy Spirit, I don’t see comparing the spiritual the wind said you don’t see the wind. But you do see the effects of the wind. Right. You may have heard that quote, if you’re old like me, you heard on old DC talk Jesus Freak album, before? Yeah, you go. Absolutely. Anyone under 35. I doesn’t know what that is. Like, it’s good music and check it out. Alright, so I was thinking well into great illustrations, we think and reflect about the work of the Spirit. It’s a great example that because this balloon makes something evident, it makes the air which is invisible, evident within it. Without this, the air is all around you, but you don’t see it. Even in a still room like this, unlike when you don’t experience it. But when you put a capsule around it now through this balloon, we can see what we can we can recognize what that there’s air inside of it, that there’s something existing. In the same way, as we reflect upon the work of the Spirit, what we’re really saying is that you and I are the vessel of the Holy Spirit. It’s through us so often that the work of the Spirit is evident. You like this balloon make the work of the Spirit evident. We want to be a people who make the work of the Spirit evident. George so wonderfully reminded us in our call to worship of that passage in I Kings, chapter eight, where the Spirit of God has come down and descended into the temple that Solomon’s built in, and he read starting, I think it was in verse 27. But earlier in that chapter, in verse 10, we’re told this cloud, the spirit of the presence of God, the presence of God, the Spirit of God descends on the temple, as the art goes into it. The cloud is so thick with the glory and presence of God, that the priests themselves who are called to the duty of sacrifice and leading the people in worship, they can enter the temple, because the presence of God is so holy and so thick in that place. But don’t you know that that text is not about an earthly temple that’s being built, as we were reminded of that that temple was a shadow of things to come. It was pointing us to Jesus, who would be the very presence of God in our midst. Then when Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, left the world, he did not leave the world and take God’s Spirit with him. He said, I will send the Spirit the helper to come and be among you, and to help you. To remind you of all the things that I’ve taught you so that when Jesus left the earth and ascended to be at the right hand of the Father, did the Spirit of God vacate the world? No. Now where does that Spirit dwell in you, and an eye not in this balloon, but in you and an eye. So as we reflect upon the work of the Spirit, and this chapter continues to be a reflection on that work, just want to set your mind upon that you are what makes the Spirit’s work visible quite often. That’s why we want to know Him. Walk with him, as you’re going here today. George, do you can I just get this over to you? So it’s not up here with me? It’s not going to make it. Thank you, sir. Yeah, you can applaud for George I mean, if not for leading us in worship for catching a balloon, I mean, well done. Alright, so what we saw at the beginning of chapter five and last week in particular, we saw that there was this transition that Paul made from talking about how the Spirit keeps us from legalism, which is this desire to to make ourselves right with God through our own efforts through our own works, and it produces this really, I mean, honestly, a miserable person, somebody you don’t want to be around somebody full of judgment, spiritual competition, someone who is moralistic, and just like baptizes all their own opinions into things that everyone must do, is that the kind of person you want to be or be around? No, not at all. Paul has spent so much of Galatians dealing with that issue, saying, Do not go backwards, do not give in, do not return under the works of the law. Then last week, what we saw as he transition, because he didn’t want the Galatians, as some might be prone to do, to make the equal and opposite error, which is to say, oh, okay, if I’m free from the law, for my righteousness, then that means I can maybe presume upon the grace of God, maybe I’ll just live however, I want maybe these desires that if I’m within myself that are ungodly, I’ll just satisfy those. As I do that, then I’ll just call upon God to give me grace. Paul’s responses say, no, no, no, no, the spirit doesn’t just keep you from legalism. The Spirit also keeps you from license keeps you from being dragged around by those desires that are ungodly, and do not honor Him so that we avoid both of those errors. So he’s transitioned now to a discussion of how the Spirit keeps us not just from legalism, but from license and so we’re just right on that same track today. Okay, we’re continuing that discussion. So last week, we saw that he highlighted two things the Spirit does to keep us from following our sinful desires. He said, he’s going to fill you with love. He’s going to fill you with love. He’s also going to lead you to serve. I hope that throughout the week, when you experienced the filling of the Spirit in love that you found that there was a new and deeper capacity that the spirit seemed to be welling up within you, as you meditated on our time together and God’s word, pray that you found a new love, maybe people that was hard that were hard to love. In the past, have you had your eyes on that also hope that you started to make a plan for how to use the gift of spirits giving you to serve, because that’s so crucial. You want to not walk in license, you want to not follow your sinful desires, make a plan to serve. I mean, get hooked up with Bethesda mission, one of our longtime partners and go serve care for those who are in need care for men and women coming off the streets, get plugged in with our children’s ministry and disciple and raise up the next generation of leaders and disciples, followers of Jesus, lead a life group get connected to I mean, we just have opportunity after opportunity after opportunity. But do you see that your sanctification, and the Spirits work in your life is going to be furthered through service? Yes. All right, cool. So that’s what we saw last week. Now this week, we’re going to continue down that track. We’re going to see three more things that the Spirit does, in order to help us not follow our sinful desire. So if you find yourself in here today, walking in, and you’re like, Man, I’m just caught in this cycle of I just keep returning to the same stuff. I just keep returning to it. So you’re in the right place, you’re in the right place is the right place to be. Because we all have that same struggle. So we want to yield to the spirit more and more. So we have increasing power and victory over it. Can I just say to you, one, you’re in the right place, but to there is progress that you can experience there is there’s victory to be one. This text is going to speak to that. It’s a beautiful text because it’s just three verses, we’re gonna look at the right side, we’re just taking a little by little, okay. Three verses we’re gonna look at that are just jam packed. What you’re going to see is that Paul is both neither naive to the reality of how strong the sinful desires are. I mean, just very realistic. Yeah, he’s a real there’s gonna be times where we, we, we make bad choices. But also he’s going to be so not overly triumphalist. In that way, but also very true to form to Paul, he’s gonna say, but there’s the spirit. You don’t understand how strong he is. As you walk with Him, it’s going to change things. So he leaves us with just a ton of hope.
So let’s look at the text together, three verses, chapter five, verse 16, 17, and 18. We’re going to learn how Spirit keeps us from license. So verse 16, says, But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires the flesh. Now that’s our that’s our big idea. That’s our thesis statement. That is the the, the proposition of the day and I’m going to repeat it for you because I need you to recognize that this is not. This is not just a nice statement. It’s a promise. Here, this is a promise. But I say, Paul says, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify, gratify means fulfill. Follow them to their completion. walk all the way down the road of the desires of the flesh, to good promise, one of the richest in all of Scripture, when When it comes to this battle against our sinful natures, number 17. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh for the for these are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now, let’s begin to unpack that a little bit, and said, I’m gonna give you three things just from these verses, the Spirit does very practically to help you walk, not in the license. Okay, so the first thing is the spirit invite you to walk with Him. The Spirit invites you to walk with Him. Now you notice that first phrase or read it twice. It’s the promise that’s there as the center of our text, right? He says, But I say to you, you walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Now that is a command. Right? Do this walk by the Spirit? Is everybody see the imperative? The command? Yes. Do you know that that imperative that command? Well, it absolutely is a command is also an invitation. Because God does not give us a command. Imagine if he said walk by the Spirit. He said, Okay, I will. Then you came to take the Spirit upon that. He said, Oh, no, I’m sorry, you’re not welcome. That wouldn’t be much of a truth then to hold on to. So I want you to recognize that this represents not just a command, but an invitation to do this. Now let’s talk a little further about what it means. Because in this verse, we had walked by the Spirit. In verse 18. We said, if you are led by the Spirit, that’s a those are parallel ideas and then not part of our text today, but jumped down to verse 25, you got your Bible with you, because it’s the end of this section. We see a very similar phrase, in verse 25. If we live by the Spirit, in other words, if the Spirit has regenerated you, you’ve been born again, if we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. So three phrases, keep in step with the Spirit, be led by the Spirit, walk by the Spirit. What do those mean? Well, what Paul is getting at is not a complicated idea. He’s saying, I want you to view all of life as a as a journey where the Holy Spirit is taking you by the hand and leading you step by step. How many of you ever been on a good long hike? I mean, and just enjoy. Now how many of you’ve done that with a really good friend? Now hikes with friends are better than hikes alone? Would you agree? One of the things that I always marvel at is how friendships are deepened by those hikes together. When you make your way up the mountain down the trail and you hike, maybe it’s for hours, maybe it’s for days, right? The same is true of road trips. One of my very dear friends in all of life texted me this morning. No idea was gonna include them in the sermon. He just texted me as I was getting ready to preach said, Hey, man, I love you. I’m thankful you’re my friend. Our friendship was deepened. When one year we were we were already friends. But what one of the things that like solidify that we are, we are going to be like sick with one another was that we met each other in Chicago, he moved back to Los Angeles, I flew out there to visit him. We did a road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway from LA to San Francisco. Anybody ever done that drive? Gorgeous. You don’t want to be the one driving because you want to be the one looking and you don’t get to look or you will kill your friend who’s in the passenger seat. Right? So we did this drive. I just remember. I mean, like, it’s ridiculous. We bought a Norah Jones CD, just two dudes driving jamming out to some Norah Jones. I’m getting the name right aren’t I, or just the piano player really like velvety voice? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, just so manly. It’s my Norah Jones, buddy. All right. We are such tight friends. That has that was furthered by this journey together, going on a road trip together. Right? By the way, if you’re single with no kids do a lot of road trips, please would you just get out there? Some of us it’s a little harder for us at this stage of life who would say Amen? My stage of life? Fantastic. Some of you retire, you got your RVs and you’re really living it? Yep, absolutely. All right. So I’m looking at someone who I know actually just got back from his RV trip. So as you’re thinking about that, here’s what the Spirit is saying when it says walk by the Spirit. It’s an invitation for the spirit to he’s saying, let the Spirit direct your path. Let him take you by the hand. He’s the first thing you have to do to begin to experience the power of the Spirit over sin in your life. One of the first things is you have to assume that you are in a personal relationship with him. He cannot be this sort of distant cousin spiritually. He cannot be the sort of well once a year I experience Something of the spirits movement, he cannot be by the way, someone you just look to for like supernatural sign gifts, if you’re bent in that direction, but he also cannot be someone that you just go well, he gave me spiritual gifts, like leadership or mercy or teaching or whatever it is, he gave me those gifts. Then he kind of backed off and took his hands off me and, and he’s just kind of he just kind of gave those and then he’s absent. After that. This is an invitation to view all of life every day as a as a hike with the Holy Spirit, just for the rest of your life. What if that was your expectation? What if tomorrow you woke up and said, I expect the spirit to take my hand and to lead me, I expect that I’m going to prayer. I’m assuming that underneath the Word of God and the authority of that word, that the Spirit is going to guide me give me direction, he’s going to encourage me, he’s going to convict me. He’s gonna redirect me. I’m just looking for it. Then when I’m looking for it, I act upon it. That just one of the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten in terms of trying to, to follow the spirits leading and walk by the Spirit, as this text commands us to do, taking up that invitation is to Trent know the Word of God well, and if you sense the Spirit leading you in some direction, and it’s not countered to the Word of God, then just say yes, and do it. Even if you were wrong, that wasn’t the spirit. It wasn’t sin. You walked forward, as best you knew how, in a way that you wanted to honor God and trusted that his spirit was going to be present in a day to day kind of fashion. I have found that to be tremendously helpful, right? tremendously helpful. Even at times where I would admit on the backside of that, yeah, I don’t know that that was the Spirit’s leading. I think I probably missed that one. I don’t regret doing it. I never walk away going, Well, that was dumb. I just go, Okay, I don’t think the spirit may have been leading me to do that. Lesson learned. But Lord, just I hope what you see in your servant is a heart that wants to do whatever you tell him to do. That’s what I hope you will find in me. So, now let me make a distinction between the idea of unique and personal, okay, when we talk about experiencing the spirit as a person, a personal being, the third person of the Trinity, a divine being, what we need to understand and remember, is that the Spirit works in very personal ways. But when you and I hear that, because we live in this individualistic mindset and culture, we over individualize that. We think the spirit is going to move in unique ways. The difference is this to say the spirit is going to move in a unique way is to say, The Spirit is going to do something in his leadership of me and in his work in my life that he’s never ever done in another believer anywhere else. That seems a little foolish. Would I imagine that the Spirit is going to be so uniquely at work in my life, that it’s going to be different than how he works in my brother over here, my sister over here, the spirits consistent underneath the Word of God and how he works. The difference is that to say the Spirit does personal work is that that work is both relational, and Invitational and knowing of me. While it may not be unique, in the sense that the spirit has never done that with somebody else, it certainly is personal. Then it’s also not. Well, here’s the list and just follow it. It’s inviting me further into interaction with and relationship with Him. Because Christ has died and risen, and then sent his spirit so that we might be reminded of all that he taught us and let us know what He said in John 15. All right, is that clear as mud?
Alright, so let’s go to the second thing, then the Spirit does and I mean, we’re making great time here. All right. But we are in the road trip theme of things. All right, now Oh. And I forgot a whole illustration that I wanted to use about dancing. No, I’ll leave the dance today. I will use it because it’s, it’s the risk of missing mixing metaphors. If this doesn’t if this if the road trip thing didn’t help you maybe How many think a dancing metaphor is better for you than a road trip metaphor? Hey, wait to be brave and stick your hands up. There was like two guys that raised their hand for that. So proud of you guys. So where I grew up, most people learned to to step which is a very Texas kind of a dance. Right? You’re all going to be blank like yeah, whatever. Keep it in Texas. All right. So we learned to to step in, and I started learning because I think my sister wanted me to be able to have a girlfriend at some point in life. She’s there are so few redeeming qualities that you have. Let’s teach you to dance. Okay. So she taught me to dance. My wife and I love to dance together. So I always threaten Amanda and when I do a Holy Spirit talk I’m gonna use this dance illustration you’re gonna come up she has no I am not say fair enough. Right? But when we dancers a couple of things that always happen, right? So when you’re dancing to stepping, I’m leading, right and here’s our dance posture, right. I’ll just give two illustrations of this, there’s a way of you become so familiar with one another that you can communicate without communicating. So if my hand is on the small of her back, and it’s not pressing, that tells her we’re going this way, keep going backwards, right. But if I want to turn her, there’s pressure on her back and pull to the right or pull to the left that tells her which way we’re going to spend. She knows what we’re going to do before we ever do it, because she feels what my hand is telling her to do. Because we have a long history of moving the furniture of out of the living room and getting after it. Okay, we get we get to some dancing. All right. Now, the other thing that happens is every despite don’t feel so foolish, make an okay sign like this. Give me an okay sign. Yes, ladies, thank you, like three dudes did it to get a job. Alright. So the ladies, when you’re like, the fun part is you’re dancing, and then you do some spins and stuff, right. When you do a spin girl takes her hand, puts it on top of her head in the shape of an okay, my two fingers go right in there. She spins around that. When I want her to stop spinning, sometimes we have some fun, and we don’t let her stop spinning. Just keep going. So when it’s time to stop, my thumb goes on the back of her hand, not okay. When that thumb hits the back of her hand, she stopped spinning, and then we do something else fun from there. But just the thumb on the back of the hand is all it takes. She knows what that means. How does that happen through time and repetition. It’s not unique, because I learned that from somebody else. Other people do that. But it’s personal. Because she and I know exactly what that’s supposed to feel like and what is supposed to look like from time spent together. This is the way the Spirit leads us. He invites us into an expectation of a personal interaction with him a walking by the hand, if you will, a leading in the dance, moment by moment, day by day. Alright, thanks for giving me three extra minutes for that one. You would have gotten a different sermon than the Latin and you know, I don’t want that. Alright, so let’s talk now then about the the next thing the Spirit does. The Spirit leads us out of license, through that invitation to walk with Him, walked by him keep in step with him. He also keeps us from license by leveraging faith in the promises of God. Say it again, by leveraging faith in the promises of God. Now, this is what we mean when we use this kind of Christianese. We say we are justified by faith. What we mean by justified is we’re declared legally righteous with God by faith, which is a resting on the work of Jesus adding nothing. That’s what faith means. That’s what justifying faith is. It is a faith that says I trust in nothing but the complete finished work of Jesus, in order to make me write, make me righteous save me. But that same faith doesn’t just disappear. Once we are justified, that same faith is active to then make us more like Jesus to sanctify us. That same saving faith is sanctifying faith. So he said, Well, how are you sanctified by faith, and that’s what Paul’s gonna get at here in this text, we are sanctified, we are made righteous, we overcome license by faith. Now, let’s talk about how that happens. Okay, look again, at verse five, verse, chapter five, verse 16, he says, But I say walk by the Spirit, there’s the command, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh and already point out, that’s a promise. It’s an assurance. We have to ask, well, how is it that he can promise that, but before we get into the specific content of that promise, that’s our third point, which we’re gonna get into, we need to talk about how he uses promises in general, because that’s related to how faith sanctifies us. So when we talk about a promise, let me help you understand how the spirit is going to leverage the promises of God. Then, let’s use a couple of examples so that we can kind of understand it in a very pragmatic way. So if you want a good book on this John Piper’s future grace, you know, a lot of people have read John Piper’s desiring God great book, I think future grace is even better. Okay. So John Piper’s future is all about this idea. When we talk about faith sanctifying here’s what we mean. That in Christ Jesus, God has passed down to us on numerous numerous promises. He’s made promises that are the result of our faith in Jesus, that they’re ours in Christ. Then he leverages those promises by causing us to have faith that they’re good for us that they’re true that they will come to pass, because we are in Christ. The Spirit leverages our faith in those promises, then to cause our desires for the things of the Spirit to grow, and to put to death or desires for the things of the flesh. Think of it this way. If there is a cupcake on the counter in my house and in the middle of that cupcake, which looks so delicious. Great frosting, great chocolate cupcake. But in the middle of a cyanide pill, my kids don’t know there’s a cyanide pill in it, but they want the cupcake. They’re like, I want the cupcake, give me the cupcake, I needed the cupcake. It looks delicious, I want the cupcake. But it’s gonna kill them, if they eat it, is my best approach. Just to say, don’t eat the cupcake isn’t a better approach to say, Here, I have the best chocolate cake in the world, and it’s yours. Enjoy. That’s exactly what God is doing. When he leverages when the Spirit leverages the promises of God, he says, I’ve got a better cake for you than the one that’s gonna kill you. There are these desires of the flesh, and they feel so strong. They feel so compelling. By the way, the devil uses all those desires of your flesh and my flesh to lie to us, because that’s his native tongue. He is a liar. He loves to take the desires of our flesh and lie to us and say, if you do this, it’s going to be sweet. It’s going to feel good. The results will be awesome. He is lying. It will kill us. But the Lord says, Well, let me not just tell you that that’s bad for you. Let me give you something better. Let me use the best chocolate cake in the world to give you a taste for the good stuff. Not the bad stuff, the cyanide pill will kill you. The chocolate cake will just make you fat. Alright. That’s where the that’s where the metaphor breaks down. Work in the Spirit will not make you fat. Alright, here we go. Sorry. Sometimes the stream of consciousness up here, I have notes, but you never know. Alright, so let’s do this. Let’s use a couple of examples. And hopefully, hopefully what I’m getting at there is how God uses promises how the spirit is going to lead Trump’s because this is what you need to learn to expect. You need to expect this is why you need to know God’s Word by the way, one of the reasons why. Because as you know it, you know what the promises are. And then the Spirit can take those promises. By the way, that the beauty of it, the beauty, beauty, beauty of the Spirit, and the power of God is in John 15. When Jesus is talking about I’m gonna leave and I’m going to send the Spirit and He says the Spirit. Even if I know again, look, don’t neglect God’s word, go to know the promises. I mean, how much better to be able to leverage them. But even if I don’t do that, here’s the graciousness of God, according to Jesus and John 15. He says the Spirit will remind you everything that I have taught you. So even if I’m not being diligent, but I’ve read it the spirit, at times, we’ll still just bring that to mind. Bring it forward. I mean, far better for us to be meditating on God’s word regularly and know His promises. But isn’t that the goodness of God? That even in moments where I haven’t been diligent about that, he was have you experienced that before? We’re also on God’s truth comes to mind you I mean, I haven’t. I haven’t been very faithful in this and yet it’s there. I’m so thankful for it. But don’t don’t just lean on that. Okay. So listen, let’s use some examples now. So let’s take, yeah, we probably got time for three of them. Okay. So let’s think about how the spirit would then do this work of reminding us of the promises of God. So let’s take all these are just examples of unbelief. Right? So if I am filled with the unbelief that expresses itself, let’s say, as I want to, I want to start with impatience. Start with impatience, right? Here’s what the flesh is saying. The flesh desiring you that then the devil wants to leverage to lie to you says to you, take the shortcut. I know that it’s a little bit unethical, but you deserve the thing on the other side of that shortcut, that promotion, that extra money, whatever, let me just take the shortcut. I mean, it’s look why wait for God to do it or bring it about just go. Impatience and the desires of let’s say, just lash out at that person. Just give them what they deserve just a tongue lashing. Why be patient in your demeanor? No, no, just it’s going to feel good. It’s going to feel good if you just give, just give it to him. You’re gonna feel so satisfied. If you do that. The Spirit says something very different. What does the Spirit say? The Spirit leverages promises, like lamentation, chapter three, verse 25, the Lord is good to those who wait for him. The Lord is good for those who wait for him. Maybe one of the richest ones, James chapter five, verse seven through 11 not here this because this is phenomenal. Be patient, therefore brothers until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth being patient about it until it receives the early in the late rains. You also be patient, establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. You’re not grumble against one another brothers so that you may not be judged. Behold, the judge is standing at the door. As an example, of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed, who remained steadfast. Now he’s gonna give an example of a prophet, it’s not what you’d expect. He’s gonna point to job how many you read the book of Job before? brutal book? Yes. Just the the loss and the suffering and the difficulty. But look how God’s going to speak to this. Now look at how James addresses this. You have heard of the steadfastness of job, his patience. You’ve seen the purpose of the Lord that word purposes there were tell us it means the goal, the objective, you’ve seen the goal of the Lord, okay, well, what was the goal of the Lord and all that he did the job, how the Lord is compassionate, and merciful. I want you to wrap your mind around that for a second. That’s a promise. Here’s what he’s saying. James is writing to these believers. He’s saying, be patient, and he uses the farming metaphor. You can’t control the rain, but you wait for the early and the late rains, the Lord is coming. He says, He’s coming, be patient in your trials endure, then he points to job and he says, Don’t you know that Job’s patience, was born out of the knowledge was born, his steadfastness was born out of the purpose of the Lord the tell us the goal of the Lord being to bring compassion and mercy into Job’s life. Now when you read job, do you think compassion and mercy? Yeah, this is what the word of God tells us. Everything that God brought into Job’s life, was aimed at the end goal of bringing compassion and mercy to bear upon his life. If that’s true for Joe, and the promise of God and places like Romans 8:28, is God works all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to your purpose. Is there anything in your life that is not aimed at God’s compassion and mercy, ultimately expressing itself and showing itself to you. So you want to be patient, and fight against the fleshly desire of impatience, plant that promise in your mind, and wait for the Lord, because he will bring compassion and mercy. Remember, Lamentations 3:25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him. That’s what you can expect the spirit to do. What’s the spirit going to do is just going to take that promise. He’s going to plant it in you, and he’s going to raise up faith and what’s going to happen is that faith is going to cause your desire to be impatient to become bitter to you what what seems sweet lash out take the unethical road now seems bitter, and the promise of the Lord is sweeter. It’s the chocolate cake in place of the poison cupcake. Let’s go to the promise. Let’s go to what the let’s go to the battle with pride, the flesh as make sure others know of your accomplishments. Give them your resume, think only complimentary thoughts about yourself where you lose all your confidence, hide your flaws from everyone. Don’t be vulnerable. Don’t be authentic with people. This is the way pride speaks to us. The devil wants to leverage that to light us but what will the Spirit say? The spirit will take promises like I Peter chapter five, verse five, and six, clothed yourselves, all of you with humility toward one another. For God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Do you hear at church? It gets gonna get better and just even one second. He opposes the proud. He gives grace to the humble. So here’s what the Spirit will speak to you. The spirit will say, No, no, no, no. Don’t go down the road of pride. Because you want the grace of God to overflow in your life and pour out and if you will be patient or if you will be humble. The grace of God will richly flow over you. He’s offering you the better food. He’s raising up that desire and the spirits the one doing it but then look at what comes next. Humble yourselves therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time, he may what exalt you Now listen, he doesn’t have to choose to exalt you. You might think, well, it’s the opposite of humility. If I want to be exalted or humble myself now, am I somehow actually being proud because I’m just aiming at getting exalted friends. Don’t do that double talk to yourself. If the Lord makes a promise to say humble yourself, now, I will exalt you later, just trust that he knows the right way to exalt you and the right time to exalt you. Just trust that. He said it, he’s motivating you and me with that God is not an error in motivating us through that promise. He’s not saying, oops, shouldn’t have done that. That just made him more selfish. No, he’s saying, be exalted just at the right time and in the right way. It will be an exaltation that will glorify me it will point to Jesus he’ll be glorified. Trust that. So now what’s the spirit going to do? The spirit is going to enter in in that moment of temptation to be proud. He’s going to say rather than believe the lie that I need to exalt myself, he’s gonna say, humble yourself, trust that God will exalt you. Remember this promise true exaltation? True exaltation is coming for you? Do you want that? It’s the better cake. That’s what he’s offering. Let’s last one, let’s talk about lust. Talk about lust. This flash says to you, turn the computer on, go look at that thing. It’s going to be really satisfying, it’s going to feel good, there’s going to be that part of you that longs for that. And boy, let me tell you that it’s just, it’s going to hit the spot. Right? Please go do it. What is the spirit saying in that moment? What is the spirit going to do to overcome license to overcome that sinful desire, he’s going to leverage promises like Romans chapter eight, verses five and six, for those who live according to the flesh, that their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, that their minds on the things of the Spirit, for to set the mind on the flesh is death. But to set the mind on the Spirit, is life and peace. So as you sit in front of that computer screen, and you’re debating whether you’re going to turn it on or not, do you see what the Spirit will do? The spirit will go, no, no, no, no, no, don’t go there. Because I want to give you life and peace. As the Spirit speaks to you, life and peace rather than death. What happens? The flesh becomes bitter, and the Spirits work become sweet. You gain a taste for it.
But you have to look to the spirit spectrum to do it. Now listen, that’s a really rich text. I think Matthew five, eight even richer, okay, if I had to compare the two, and partly because it’s so short, and I need short weapons, okay. Matthew, five, eight, bless it are the pure in heart. Ye, for they shall see God. I mean life in peace. That’s a sweet promise. But it does not compare to the promise that if I’m pure in heart, I will see my Creator, I will see my maker, I will know what he’s like, I will gaze upon him. I want him. As he becomes sweeter, the flesh becomes more bitter. Now, friends, that’s just three examples, right? But that’s what I need you to see, in general, the Spirit takes hold of the promises that God has made to us in Christ, our faith in those promises, they’re good for us. He both infuses us with greater faith that they are true for us and good for us. Then he leverages them to give us the right tastes, to cause us to love the things of the Spirit and find bitter the things of the flesh. That is a real work of the Spirit. I can tell you’re chewing on this. Just sit with that. Okay, now, the last one. This one, that middle one was our longest one. So this one’s a short one. Let’s talk about this promise. Specifically, how is it? How is it that Paul can make this promise and he can say, Look, if you will walk by the Spirit, if you will keep in step with the Spirit, you you won’t gratify the desires of the flesh. That’s a big deal. He saying I’m promising you that won’t happen. If you’ll do this, right now, can I make sure that we recognize something here too? There’s a presumption here that it’s possibly be a Christian who doesn’t do this? Do you see that? It’s possible to be a Christian who just ignores the spring I’m not. This is not the difference between a believer and an unbeliever, one with the Spirit, one without the Spirit. This is a difference between a spirit who says I’m going to be intentionally walking by the spirit and a believer who has the spirit but gives very little attention to the Spirit. So it’s possible to live this Christian life, somewhat devoid of power, somewhat devoid of those changing desires. Because we’re not giving attention to this work.
Okay. Two things is two reasons that Paul can make this promise and it’s this this one what we final verse 17, because the spirit is always opposing the flesh. Number two, because the spirit is stronger than the flesh. Follow me on this, look at verse 17. Again, says this For the desires of the flesh are against the spirit. That’s kind of how most of us think most of the time we think, yeah, the flesh is always at war with sort of my good self, you know, with my with the spirit in me, but praise God for the next phrase, and sometimes we forget the opposite. So Paul’s not again, he’s not this overly like pie in the sky guy. He’s acknowledging, yeah, the flesh is at war on the spirit. It’s why he says at the end of verse 17, sometimes the flesh keeps you from doing the things you really want to do. I mean, sometimes the flesh wins. Sometimes there’s days where we we given I’m actually really thankful for that. Because if it was all triumphalist stick, and every time I should never fail, and never fall, when that just be crushing. These are saying here, yeah, sometimes the flesh wins, right? But praise God for this, for the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh. For these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. When you hear that don’t just think, okay, the spirit and the flesh just want opposite things. They are opposed to one another. In other words, the spirit that is in you is opposing every day, every moment of every day, working in opposition against the flesh, in that good to know. He’s at work right now in you to put to death, things that do not honor God. If he’s in you, that’s what he’s doing. He’s not sitting idle, he’s not sitting on his hands. He’s not just kind of going out on good luck. I mean, he’s worked really hard, maybe you’ll get there. He is at work right now to put to death, the things that don’t honor God, he’s opposing them. He hates them, and he wants to kill them. He’s always going after him. Thank God. There has never been any believer throughout the history of Christendom, who’s ever overcome any desire of the flesh in any way other than the work of the Spirit? Never, no believer has ever overcome some sinful temptation, some sinful desire, through their discipline, their intellect, their will any other thing other than the work of the Spirit. Then joining him in at working out salvation with fear and trembling, joining him in that work yielding to him following him, always the Spirits work. So we know he opposes he’s there doing it, praise God for that. He is stronger than the flesh. So we might think, Oh, well, maybe they’re just equal opposites. But that’s not true. Look where we find that in this text. So the first place is when he says, this, the flesh is active, opposing the spirit to keep you from doing the things you want to do already said, that’s a very realistic view of life. Yes, sometimes the flesh will keep me from doing the things I want to do. Do you see what else is inherent in that statement? You might just it’s implicit, and you might just read past it. What is he assuming is your truest desire, the things of the Spirit, not the things of the flesh. Sometimes we get that reverse. Sometimes we think it’s the it’s the flesh desire, this the real true me in Christ. That’s not true. This is the thing you truly want to do, is the work of the Spirit. That’s, that’s the deepest version of you. That’s the truest version of you. That’s the version of you that Colossians talks about being hidden with Christ in God who will appear when Christ appears. That’s who you really are. Why can he say that? Because the spirit is stronger than the flesh. The last place we see that is verse 18. Because there’s this phrase, you wouldn’t expect to find there. Because in verse 18, he basically repeats verse 16, when he says this, The find my spot, sorry, alright, there it is. He says, but if you are led by the Spirit, so same thing is walked by the spirit in verse 16. If you are led by the Spirit, you are not and you would think he would say you won’t gratify the desires of the flesh, you won’t follow the flesh. But what does he say? You are not under the law. Now there’s one of two things going on there. I can’t say for certainty which one it is. It’s possible that he because he’s so adamant against legalism that he’s jumping back to that again, right, that he, he stopped talking about it in verse 12. He’s just kind of given one more jab at it. Because under the law means you don’t earn your righteousness. Right. So he might just go, and also you’re not under the law. But in this context, so that’s possible. In this context, I think he’s doing something a little different. You have to really wrestle with and sit with these. Why would he return to this phrase under the law, when he’s talking about license and not legalism in this section of the book? I think the answer I think the better answer is that what he’s doing is he’s reminding the Galatians of their situation before that. I knew Christ when they were under the law, what didn’t they have the spirit. Because they didn’t have the Spirit, they had no weapon to fight with. But now they do have the spirit. So the presumption is because the spirit is there, he will be victorious, he will work, right. That’s why he can make the promise, walk by the Spirit, be led by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires, the flesh, be led, if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. In other words, if you are led by the Spirit, then you are not a person without the Spirit present in you. You are a person with the Spirit. Therefore you have the tool that you need to walk in victory, to put to death to things. So we continue to journey down this road. We learning about the work of the Spirit together? I pray we are, I pray we are so again, we’re seeing these last two weeks, how did you put license to death? Now listen, next week, we’re just going to go through the list that he’s gonna give us of the works of the flesh, it’s not going to be pretty. This is what the work of the flesh looks like. Then, because I just want a whole week for nothing but this, we’re going to talk about the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control, and how the Spirit brings those to bear. So it just made me a promise. Don’t skip next week. Just because you don’t want to you don’t you want to skip that and get straight to the fruit of the Spirit. Okay, everybody promised me. All right, cool. Awesome. Some of you’re like I’m out of town next week. Leave me alone. All right. All right. So anyway, that’s our journey forward.
Let’s pray together. Then let’s respond with worship to the Lord and song. Lord, we love you. We praise you, we thank you for the work of the Spirit and how sweet it is. I just love studying Your Word with your people. They are so you just Yeah, Lord, I love seeing on their faces a desire to know you. I’m very aware that no human preaching can bring that about. Your spirit must do it. So take your word now in my life, and there’s planted in us, take it and use it to just put the death, ungodly desires and raise up in us every desire that is from you, everyone, so be full of life and peace as we heard. We know your goodness as we wait for you. Help us and now when you receive our praises, that’s our desire to just respond to you and and say you are good. So see the praises of your people King Jesus. In your name we pray, Amen.