Walk In The Spirit

Posted by on Dec 10, 2006

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

December 10, 2006

Sunday Morning

“Walk In The Spirit”

Scripture Text: Galatians 5:16-18

Introduction:

 

A.   (Illus.- Every now and then, someone will come to me, usually a new believer in Christ, and will ask me the following question, “Pastor, why is it so difficult for me to do the things that I know in my heart God wants me to do? Why is it so difficult for me to pray? Why is it so difficult for me to read my Bible? Why is it so difficult for me to get out of bed on Sunday morning and come to church? Why is it so difficult for me to share my faith when God gives me the opportunity? Why is it such a struggle for me to do the things that I know in my heart God wants me to do now that I am one of His children?”)

1. Let me begin by saying that living the Christian life IS a struggle for every believer.

2. Consider the apostle Paul, for just a moment.

3. Do you remember how Paul described his own personal experience in Rom. 7:15? Listen to what he said, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”

4. Sounds to me like living the Christian life was a struggle, even for Paul! (Amen?)

5. And so, living the Christian life is a struggle for every believer.

6. But why is this true?

 

B.   The answer is found in our text, this morning.

1. But before we look at that answer, I want us to notice…

 

I.       The Challenge.

 

A.   The challenge is found in the first part of Vrs. 16 of our text, it says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit.”

 

B.   Now what does it mean to “walk in the Spirit”?

1. Before we can understand what it means to “walk in the Spirit,” there is something else that we must understand first.

2. We must understand that when God saved us, He sent His Holy Spirit to live within us.

3. Look back at Gal. 4:6 for just a moment, Paul said, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

4. Paul put it like this in Rom. 5:5, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

 

C.   Now this raises a question, “Why did God send His Holy Spirit to live within us?”

1. One of the reasons was to provide us with a spiritual compass (guide).

2. Listen to what Jesus said in John 16:13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth::

3. But someone says, “I thought the Bible was our guide.”

4. The Bible is our guide, however the Bible is more like our map, while the Holy Spirit is like our compass.

5. The Bible tells us where we need to go, and the Holy Spirit points us in that direction.

6. By the way, there is never any contradiction in what the Bible tells us and where the Holy Spirit points us.

7. They are always in perfect harmony!

 

D.   Now with that in mind, let’s go back to our original question.

1. What does it mean to “walk in the Spirit”?

2. It simply means to…

-follow His guidance,

-submit our lives to His leading,

-allow ourselves to be under His influence and control.

3. Walking in the Spirit means the same thing as being “filled with the Holy Spirit.”

4. The Bible says in Eph. 5:18, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”

5. Why does God’s Word contrast being “filled with the Spirit” to being “drunk with wine”?

6. Because a person who is drunk with wine is under the influence and the control of wine.

7. (Illus.- This is why we sometimes refer to a person who is drunk as being “under the influence.” He is under the influence and the control of the alcohol.)

8. That being true, being “filled with the Spirit” means being under the influence and under the control of the Holy Spirit.

 

E.   The opposite of walking “in the Spirit” is quenching the Holy Spirit.

1. In fact, the Bible admonishes us in 1 Thes. 5:19 to “Quench not the Spirit.”

2. The Holy Spirit is like a fire that burns within us.

3. Do you remember how God led the children of Israel in the wilderness?

4. We are told that He led with “a cloud” by day and “a pillar of fire” by night. (Exo. 13:21-22)

5. When we ignore the leading of the Holy Spirit, it’s like we are quenching (putting out) the fire that put within us to guide us through this world of darkness.

 

F.    And so, that’s the challenge, to “walk in the Spirit,” to follow His guidance, to submit to His leading, to be under His influence and His control. Now I want us to notice…

 

II.      The Difficulty Of The Challenge.

 

A.   We are now going to answer the question, “Why is living the Christian life such a struggle?”

1. The challenge is to “walk in the Spirit.”

2. The challenge is to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

3. The challenge is to submit to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

4. The challenge is to be under the Holy Spirit’s influence and control.

5. This is not only a challenge, but it is an extremely difficult challenge. But why?

 

B.   The answer is found in Vrs. 17 of our text, it says, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

1. Why is living the Christian life such a struggle?

2. Why is walking “in the Spirit” a difficult challenge?

3. It is a difficult challenge because when God saved us and gave us His Holy Spirit, He didn’t take away our old nature.

4. That nature that…

-we were born with,

-we received from our great grandfather, Adam,

-is sinful and vile and depraved in the worst sort of way,

that nature still abides within us!

5. And so, the reason that living the Christian life is such a struggle is because of two very “contrary” natures that dwell within us.

6. Of course, we have a new nature that was created by the Holy Spirit when He entered our hearts, and that is inclined toward righteousness.

7. But we also still have our old nature that we were born with, and that is inclined toward sin.

8. Paul tells us that these two natures, because they “are contrary the one to the other,” are constantly doing battle.

C.   Paul also described this conflict in Rom. 7:14-25 (turn there with me), “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin….For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I….If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good….Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me….For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not….For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do….Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me….I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me….For I delight in the law of God after 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 shall deliver me from the body of this death?…I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

1. Without going into a lot of detail, it is plain to see from Paul’s words here that living the Christian life was a struggle even for him.

2. Many of the good things that he wanted to do, he found himself not doing, and many of the sinful things that he did not want to do, he found himself doing.

3. How do you explain that?

4. There’s only one explanation, just like us, Paul had two very contrary natures dwelling within him, two natures that were constantly engaged in conflict.

 

D.   Now all of this raises a very important question, “How do we make sure that our new (spiritual) nature comes out on top in this conflict, at least most of the time?”

1. The key is to make sure that our new (spiritual) nature gets the most attention and nurturing.

 

2. (Illus.- A little boy was describing to his Sunday school teacher his own conflict between good and evil. He said, “Teacher, I have these two dogs inside of me. One dog is a black dog and he is always trying to get me to do bad things. The other dog is a white dog and he tries to get me to do good things. And these dogs are always fighting with each other.” The teacher asked him, “Which dog usually wins the fight?” The boy’s answer was, “The one I feed the most.”)

3. We smile, but there is much truth in those little boys words.

4. When it comes to the spiritual struggle that we experience between our two natures, the nature that wins is usually the nature that we feed the most.

5. Listen to what Paul wrote in Rom. 13:14, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

6. In other words, Paul said, “Don’t feed your sinful nature, because if you do, you are going to find yourself fulfilling it’s sinful desires.”

7. How do we feed our flesh?

8. We feed our flesh by….

-listening to the wrong kind of music,

-reading the wrong kind of literature,

-watching the wrong kind of TV programs,

-viewing the wrong kind of Internet web sites.

8. The more we feed our flesh, the stronger it becomes and the more control it will have over the way that we live our lives.

9. This is why we should concentrate on feeding our new (spiritual) nature.

10.   How do we feed our new nature?

11.   We feed our new nature by…

-listening to the right kind of music,

-reading the right kind of literature,

-watching the right kind of TV programs,

-viewing the right kind of Internet web sites.

 

12.   We are absolutely insane if we think that we can constantly feed our flesh while totally neglecting our spiritual nature, and still live a godly Christian life. (It’s just not going to happen.)

13.   While walking in the Spirit is a difficult challenge, it is most certainly not an impossible challenge.

14.   As I said a moment ago, the key is making sure that our new (spiritual) nature gets the most attention and the most nurturing.

 

E.   Now, finally, I want us to notice the…

 

III.    Importance Of The Challenge.

 

A.   Why is it so important that we “walk in the Spirit”?

1. Of course, the most obvious reason is that walking in the Spirit assures us of success, as far as living the Christian life is concerned.

2. It doesn’t mean that we will be perfect, but it does mean that, for the most part, we will please God with our lives.

3. And so, that’s the most obvious reason it is important that we “walk in the Spirit.”

 

B.   However, there is another reason it is important.

1. And that is, it is important because “walking in the Spirit” assures us that we are, in fact, born again.

2. Notice again Vrs. 18 of our text, “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law (you are not under the curse of the law, but rather have been saved by the grace of God).”

3. Think about it for a moment.

4. If we “walk in the Spirit,” then that means that the Holy Spirit lives within us. (One can’t walk in the Spirit if the Spirit does not live within him.)

5. And if the Holy Spirit does live within us, then that means that we are, in fact, born again.

 

6. Turn with me to Rom. 8:14-16, Paul wrote, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God (as many as are walking in the Spirit), they are the sons of God….For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father….The Spirit (Holy Spirit) itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”

 

C.   There are other ways that we can know that we are saved.

1. For example, we can know that we are saved if we keep God’s commandments.

2. The Bible says in 1 John 2:3, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.”

3. We can also know that we are saved if we love the brethren.

4. The Bible says in 1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.”

5. And so, there are other ways that we can know that we are saved.

6. However, having said that, one of the surest evidences that a person is truly born again is that he is walking “in the Spirit.”

7. The apostle John put it like this in 1 John 4:13, “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”

Conclusion:

 

A.   We’ve noticed three things this morning from our text.

1. First of all, we noticed the challenge. (The challenge is to “walk in the Spirit,” to follow His guidance, to submit our lives to His leading,, to allow ourselves to be under His influence and control.)

2. Secondly, we noticed the difficulty of the challenge. (Walking “in the Spirit” is a difficult challenge because we still possess our old nature.)

 

3. Finally, we noticed the importance of the challenge. (By walking “in the Spirit,” we assure ourselves that we are, in fact, born again.)

 

B.   May I ask you a couple of questions?

1. Are you, in fact, born again?

2. If so, are you walking “in the Spirit”?

3. Are you finding it difficult to “walk in the Spirit” because you are giving your fleshly nature far more attention and nurturing than your spiritual nature.

4. Do you understand the importance of walking “in the Spirit”?

5. Perhaps you need to respond to the invitation this morning, get on your knees before God, and ask Him to help you “walk in the Spirit.”