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Living by the Spirit's POWER
In this message, I want to look at the idea of Living by the Spirit’s POWER. In it I want to remind that it is vitally important for us to live by the power of the Holy Spirit and allowing the Spirit to fill our lives. Today I want to look at a passage from Galatians 5 that contrasts living by the flesh and living by the Spirit. Then I want to use the letters of Spirit Filled to share some ideas to help us live by the power of the Spirit each and every day.
Bible Reading – Galatians 5:16–25
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
1. Two ways to live
From this passage, we can see there really are two ways to live – by the flesh or by the Spirit. The key verses that show this are verses 19-24. They bring into sharp focus the difference of living by the flesh or being self-centred and living by the Spirit or being Spirit-controlled.
a. Living by the flesh
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
b. Living by the Holy Spirit
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there.
On the next slide, you can see these two ways to live side by side. Our goal as Christians is to live our lives like the people of the second column.
2. The difference between self-centered and spirit controlled people
3. Living a S.P.I.R.I.T. F.I.L.L.E.D. life
Living a Spirit filled life is key if we are going to be all we can be for Christ. Before salvation the Holy Spirit draws us to Jesus and He convicts us of our sin. At the point of salvation, He washes us clean and regenerates us, He then comes to live inside us, seals us as God’s own, makes us more Christ-like, gives us gifts to serve, and brings fruit in our lives. So, living Spirit Filled is vital.
In his book “Know what you believe” Paul Little put it this way…
“The fullness of the Spirit is not a matter of our receiving more of Him. Rather, it is a matter of relationship. To be filled with the Spirit means we allow Him to occupy, guide, and control every area of our lives. His power can then work through us, making us effectively fruitful for God and flooding our hearts with His joy. This filling applies not only to our outward acts but to our inner thoughts and motives. When we are filled with the Spirit, all we are and have is subject to His control” (p77-78).
Now I want to use the letters of Spirit filled to give us some pointers to putting it all into practice.
S—Submit to the authority of Jesus Christ.
Recognize God’s claim on your life. Realize that God’s plan is to conform you to the image of Christ. Relinquish your right to be in control of your life. These are keys to being Spirit Filled.
“Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” (Matthew 16:24)
P—Pray for conviction of sin.
Acknowledge your natural inclination to sin. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of your specific sins. Agree with God about your need to change.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me.” (Psalm 139:23–24)
I—Identify with Christ’s death on the cross.
See yourself as dead to the ruling power of sin. See yourself as alive to God because of the resurrection life of Christ within you. See the Holy Spirit as your power to overcome sin.
“Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11)
R—Recognize the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit to teach you and to guide you.
Listen with your heart to the One sent by the Father. Listen to the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit. Listen to His reminders of the truth as spoken by Jesus.
“The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26)
I—Initiate immediate obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Choose to acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit. Choose to submit your will to His will. (Don’t mentally argue.) Choose to act on His promptings.
“Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Galatians 5:16)
T—Trust in the Holy Spirit to be your supernatural power for living a holy life.
You have been called to be holy. You cannot be holy by your own efforts. You must rely on the Holy Spirit, who enables us to live a holy life.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3)
F—Fellowship on a regular basis with other believers.
Belong to a Bible-based church. Become involved in your church. Be supportive of others.
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.” (Hebrews 10:25)
I—Implant God’s Word in your heart.
Line up your thinking with God’s thinking. Read one chapter a day from the Book of Proverbs and allow it to transform your mind. Listen to teaching tapes on God’s Word.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11)
L—Learn to have a thankful heart.
Thank God for His unconditional love. Thank God for His faithfulness to orchestrate events in your life. Thank God in all circumstances, both good and bad.
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
L—Live with an attitude of prayer.
Keep your mind focused on Christ. Keep your heart alert to the Holy Spirit. Keep praying through all circumstances.
“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:18)
Know that your strength is in Christ. Know that your own efforts will fail. Know that victory is the Lord’s.
“‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6)
D—Depend on the Holy Spirit to develop the character of Christ in your life.
To reflect the character of Christ is the Christian’s highest purpose. To the extent that you submit to the Holy Spirit, you will grow in Christ. To reflect Christ accurately will draw others to Him.
“We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Today we saw the contrast of living by the flesh and living by the Spirit. We saw it is vital to live by the Spirit if we are going to be all we can be for Christ and live according to His Kingdom. We also used the letters of Spirit Filled to give us some clues. Here they are again.
By Dave Quinn
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