Let Us Walk In The Spirit

Posted by on Apr 22, 2007

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

April 22, 2007

Sunday Morning

“Let Us Walk In The Spirit”

Scripture Reading: Galatians 5:22-26

Scripture Text: Galatians 5:24-26

Introduction:

 

A.   About a month ago I began a new Sunday night teaching series entitled, “Rightly Dividing The Word.”

1. During the course of this study, we are going to look at a number of very important principles (laws) of Biblical interpretation.

2. One of the laws that we will look at is what I call the “law of repetition.”

3. What is the “law of repetition”?

4. It is the law that states whenever God repeats Himself in His Word, He is emphasizing the importance of some spiritual truth, and we should pay special attention.

5. There are a lot of examples of this in God’s Word.

6. For example, in John 3:3-5, Jesus told Nichodemus, not once, but twice, that he needed to be born again.

7. In Vrs. 3, Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

8. And then again in Vrs. 5, He said, “ Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

9. Why did Jesus repeat Himself?

10.   He did so because of the importance of what He was saying. (He was saying that there is absolutely no way for a person to go to heaven without being born again!)

11.   And so, the law of repetition states that whenever God repeats Himself in His Word, He is emphasizing the importance of some spiritual truth or principle, and we should pay special attention.

B.   Another example of the law of repetition is found right here in the latter part of Gal. 5.

1. Notice that we are admonished, not once, but twice, to walk “in the Spirit.”

2. In Vrs. 16, Paul said, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

3. And then again in Vrs. 25, He said, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

4. Why did Paul repeat himself here?

5. He did so because of the importance of what he was saying. (He was saying that every believer should “walk in the Spirit.”)

 

C.   Now during the past few weeks we have talked a lot about walking “in the Spirit,” but we really haven’t answered the question, “How do we do that? How do we walk in the Spirit?”

1. That’s what I want us to do this morning.

2. As we answer this question, there are five words that I want to share with you, this morning.

3. The first word is the word…

 

I.       Acknowledge.

 

A.   If we are going to “walk in the Spirit,” we must first of all acknowledge the fact that we can’t do it on our own.

1. In other words, we do not possess the ability, in and of ourselves, to walk in the Spirit.

2. Turn to John 15 for just a moment.

3. In this chapter, Jesus taught us the importance of bearing fruit for Him.

4. For example, in Vrs. 2, He said, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”

5. He also said in Vrs. 8, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit;”

6. And so, Jesus taught us the importance of bearing fruit.

7. But not only did He teach us the importance of bearing fruit here, He also taught us the secret to doing so.

8. Look at what He said in Vrs. 4, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”

9. Did you notice the words “the branch cannot bear fruit of itself”?

10.   In other words, if you cut a branch off of an apple tree and set it apart completely on it’s own, it cannot bear fruit, it cannot produce any apples.

11.   Jesus used even plainer words in the latter part of the very next verse, Vrs. 5, notice what He said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

12.   Notice that He did not say, “…without me ye can do little,” but rather, “…without me ye can do nothing.”

13.   And so, if we are going to “walk in the Spirit,” we must begin by acknowledging the fact that we can’t do it on our own, that we do not possess the ability, in and of ourselves.

 

B.   Paul said it like this in Rom. 7:18, “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.” In other words, Paul said, “I have the desire to do good, but apart from God, I lack the ability.”

 

C.   This is why it is impossible for someone who is not saved to live a Christian life.

1. (Illus.- Every now and then, I will come across someone who will say something similar to this, “I tried living the Christian life, but it just didn’t work out for me.” Most people to tell that have never been saved. In other words, they skipped being saved and went directly to trying to live a Christian life. That doesn’t work!)

2. And so, if we are going to “walk in the Spirit,” we must begin by acknowledging the fact that we can’t do it on our own.

 

D.   The second word that I want to share with you this morning is the word…

 

II.      Appeal.

 

A.   If we are going to “walk in the Spirit,” not only must we acknowledge the fact that we can’t do it on our own, we must also appeal to God for His strength.

 

B    I quoted to you a moment ago Rom. 7:18, where Paul said, “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.”

1. However, there is another side to this coin.

2. Listen to what Paul wrote in Phil. 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

3. The key words here are the words “…through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

4. While Paul readily acknowledged his inability to do anything good on his own, he also realized that by appealing to God for His strength, he could do all things. (In other words, he could do anything that God wanted Him to do.)

 

C.   One of the keys to successfully living the Christian life and walking “in the Spirit” is realizing that the power to do so comes from God, and not from ourselves.

1. Turn with me to Phil. 2:12-13, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling….For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

2. This is why Paul admonished us in Eph. 6:10 to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”

3. This is why Paul reminds us in Col. 1:10-11 that if we are going to “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,” we are going to have to be “strengthened with all might, according to his (God’s) glorious power.”

4. And so, if we are going to “walk in the Spirit,” we are going to have to appeal to God for His strength.

 

D.   The third word that I want to share with you this morning is the word…

 

III.    Abstain.

 

A.   If we are going to “walk in the Spirit,” not only must we acknowledge the fact that we can’t do it on our own, not only must we appeal to God for His strength, but we must also abstain from feeding our flesh.

 

B.   Turn with me to Rom. 13:14, Paul wrote, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

1. Notice the words “make not provision for the flesh.”

2. What does that mean?

3. It simply means, “Do not feed your fleshly nature.”

4. You know, as well as I do, that in our society today we are surrounded by stuff that does nothing but feed our sinful flesh.

5. Most of what airs on television falls into this category.

6. Much of what you can view on the Internet falls into this category.

7. Most of the music that is popular today falls into this category.

8. Most of the magazines on a typical magazine rack fall into this category.

 

9. Everywhere we turn, we are confronted with stuff that does nothing but feed our sinful flesh.

10.   However, if we are going to “walk in the Spirit,” we must avoid, as much as is humanly possible, this kind of stuff.

 

C.   One of the keys to living a successful Christian life and walking “in the Spirit” is realizing that the more we feed our flesh, the stronger it becomes, and the more difficult it is to “walk in the Spirit.”

1. (Illus.- It is said that an old Indian Chief once described the struggle between his flesh and his Spirit like this: He said that he had two dogs living within him. One dog was an obedient dog, the other was disobedient. He went on to say that these dogs were constantly fighting with one another. Someone asked him, “Chief, which dog usually wins the fight?” to which he replied, “The one that I feed the most.”)

2. We chuckle when we hear this story, but the fact is, the chief was correct.

3. When it comes to the struggle between our fleshly nature and our spiritual nature, the one who usually wins is the one we feed the most.

 

D.   If you look again at Vrs. 24 of our text (Gal. 5), you will notice that Paul said, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

1. While this is speaking of something that has already taken place positionally, there is a practical sense in which we should “crucify our flesh” on a daily basis.

2. How do we crucify (kill) the flesh, along with the affections and desires of the flesh?

3. There is only one way that I know, and that is by starving it to death.

4. Of course, the flesh will never completely die, not as long as we are in this body, however, with God’s help, we can keep our flesh subdued to the extent that it no longer dominates our lives.

5. And so, if we are going to “walk in the Spirit,” we are going to have to abstain from feeding our flesh.

 

E.   The fourth word that I want to share with you this morning is the word…

 

IV.    Absorb.

 

A.   If we are going to “walk in the Spirit,” not only must we acknowledge the fact that we can’t do it on our own, not only must we appeal to God for His strength, not only must we abstain from feeding our flesh, but we must also absorb as much of the Word of God as we can.

 

B.   What we must realize is that walking “in the Spirit” not only requires that we starve the flesh (our fleshly nature), but is also requires that we feed or spiritual nature.

1. How do we do that?

2. We do that by feeding upon the Word of God.

3. Jesus said in Mat. 4:4, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

4. The Bible also says in 1 Pet. 2:2, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”

 

C.   Now there is a reason that I chose the word “absorb.”

1. Someone says, “Because it begins with the letter A.”

2. That’s true, but that’s only part of the reason.

3. I chose the word “absorb” because when you “absorb” something, it becomes a part of you.

4. Turn with me to Jam. 1:21, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness (in other words, starve the flesh), and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”

5. Notice the word “engrafted” here.

 

6. It is translated from a Greek word that literally means “implanted.”

7. There are at least two ways of reading the Bible.

8. One way is to read it, then totally forget about what you have read.

9. (Illus.- Have you ever heard the expression, “In one ear and then out the other”?)

10.   This is how many believers read the Bible.

11.   They read it, but not seriously.

12.   They read it, but then forget what they’ve read.

13.   They read it, but it goes in one ear and out the other.

14.   The other way of reading the Bible is to read it in such a way that we absorb what we have read, that the truths of God’s Word become implanted within our minds and hearts.

15.   If we are going to walk in the Spirit, this is how we must read the Bible.

16.   And so, if we are going to “walk in the Spirit,” we must absorb as much of the Word of God as we can.

 

D.   The final word that I want to share with you this morning is the word…

 

V.      Apply.

 

A.   If we are going to “walk in the Spirit,” not only must we acknowledge the fact that we can’t do it on our own, not only must we appeal to God for His strength, not only must we abstain from feeding our flesh, not only must we absorb as much of the Word of God as we can, but we must also apply the principles of God’s Word in our daily walk.

 

B.   Look with me, if you will, at Jam. 1:22 (we just looked at Jam. 1:21, so you should still be there), the Bible says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

 

C.   Now let me point out something here that is very important.

1. You can do all of the other things that we have talked about this morning, you can…

-acknowledge the fact that you can’t do it on your own,

-appeal to God for His strength,

-abstain from feeding your flesh,

-absorb as much of the Word of God as you can,

you can do all of these things, however, until you actually begin to apply the principles of God’s Word in your daily walk, until you actually begin to be a “doers of the word,” then you are not walking “in the Spirit.”

2. This is the final step, when it comes to walking “in the Spirit.”

 

D.   Jesus put it like this in Luke 11:28, “…blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.”

Conclusion:

 

A.   How can a believer “walk in the Spirit”?

1. It’s really a five step process.

2. First of all, we must acknowledge the fact that we can’t do it on our own.

3. Secondly, we must appeal to God for His strength.

4. Thirdly, we must abstain from feeding our flesh.

5. Fourthly, we must absorb as much of the Word of God as we can.

6. Finally, we must begin to apply the principles of God’s Word in or daily walk.

 

B.   Perhaps I’m speaking to someone this morning who is frustrated from years of trying to “walk in the Spirit,” yet not being able to do so. (I can understand your frustration!)

1. One of two things is true.

2. Either you are not saved, or you have not yet followed this five step process.

3. Which is it???