Preparing the Soil – To Walk in the Spirit
Introduction: On this Sunday let me introduce you to the theme for our church God has laid upon my heart for our church this year. The theme that will be kept before you every Communion Sunday will be “Experiencing the Fruit of the Spirit in our Daily lives.”
As such we will focus on the verses found in Galatians 5:16-25, where the Apostle Paul contracts the “Lust of the Flesh” with the “Fruit of the Spirit.” The question from this passage is in which, do you walk?
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (17) 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. (18) But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. (19) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, (21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (24) And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Let’s face it many people today feel empty or broken, even if they've arrived at the highest levels of success and fortune. Amid their struggles of life, it's hard to keep a sense of passion and purpose.
If life is so rich, we wonder, why are we so broken?
In an age of entitlement and empowerment, why are millennials the most unfulfilled generation in recent memory?
In Galatians 5, the apostle Paul listed SEVENTEEN works of the flesh that are devastating our society.
1. Adultery sexual sins between married people
2. Fornication sexual sins between unmarried people
3. Uncleanness impurity
4. Lasciviousness sensuality
5. idolatry worship of idols
6. Witchcraft Greek is pharmakeia, which can refer to sorcery and/or drugs
7. Hatred enmity
8. Variances referring to the god of strife
9. Emulations rivalry, jealousy
10. Wrath temper, outburst of anger
11. Strife factions, cliques)
12. Seditions divisions, dissensions
13. Heresies sects
14. Envyings coveting
15. Murders unlawful killing
16. Drunkenness rendered helpless by strong drink
17. Revelings carousing’s, orgies
Sounds exactly like our world today, doesn't it? These un-qualities are spreading weeds, invading our entertainment, government, social media, families, and technology.
But as believers in our own backyard vineyards, we must cultivate the qualities God longs to reproduce within us—the fruit of the Spirit.
In verses 22-23 Paul prescribed a nine-fold remedy from the Great Physician. These NINE aspects of this Spirit produced Fruit are the antidotes to what ails our age.
LOVE is an unconditional love that you can share with others, when you're frustrated with people causing you problems.
JOY is deep-seated contentment in the midst of life's circumstances, when you're battling discouragement or depression.
PEACE is the constant assurance that your life is in God's hands when you're in the grip of anxiety.
LONGSUFFERING is the ability to endure and stay on the wisest path when you're in a situation that never seems to improve.
GENTLENESS is a kind compassion toward others that you never felt before to cure your irritable spirit.
GOODNESS is love in action to live a righteous life pleasing to God when immoral temptation creeps into your thoughts.
FAITH is living a life of loyalty to eternal values when fatigue makes you want to quit.
MEEKNESS is learning to respond to life with humility and awareness with subdued strength to check your tongue.
TEMPERANCE is self-control of being no longer subject to the whims and impulses of life which helps remedy everything from laziness to addictions.
The FRUIT of the SPIRIT represents NINE decisions we must cultivate in the orchard of our thoughts and behavior. Each of these qualities offers a dose of hope imminently available to all who desire it.
Is this the kind of life we read about in today's daily headlines? Not usually.
Is this the kind of life we here about in today's Christine’s lives? Not usually. And why not; because far too many are living a life unbridled by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now returning to our text would you notice?
In verse 16 we read, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
In verse 22 we read, “But the fruit of the Spirit…”
In verse 25 we read, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
In this message and the next message, I want to prepare the SOIL for a study on the FRUIT of the HOLY SPIRIT. I want to introduce you to the root of fruit bearing – the person of God’s Spirit and His ministry in your life.
In theological terms the study of the Holy Spirit is called "PNEUMATOLOGY." The two Greek root words are "Pneuma" meaning "spirit and the word "Logos" meaning "Doctrine." The study of "PNEUMATOLOGY" is the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. "Look on the Holy Spirit as the Holy Guest living in us."
Throughout the Bible, we find there are three different ministries of the Holy Spirit.
First: In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit, mentioned 88 times came UPON 16 individuals. Some were priest, others were kings, some were prophets and others just ordinary men who were being used of God for His service. The Holy Spirit came UPON them as He willed and left them also as He willed. For example
You have Gideon mentioned in Judges 6:34, “But the Spirit of the LORD came UPON Gideon, and he blew a trumpet…”
You have David mentioned in I Samuel 16:13, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came UPON David from that day forward.”
Second: In the Gospels the Disciples were encouraged to pray for the Holy Spirit to be WITH them.
Just before Jesus death he prayed in John 14:16-17, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; (17) Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Did you notice the words, “abide with you,” “dwelleth with you,” and “shall be in you.”
Third: In the New Testament Epistles, the age of Grace where Jesus is calling out for himself a Body, the church the Holy Spirit is now to abide IN YOU, the moment you believed on Jesus as your Savior.
Romans 8:9, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell IN you…"
I Corinthians 6:19, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is IN you…"
The Holy Spirit in this age brings to light His power and purpose in our lives. Someone wrote:
The Holy Spirit can take a Jew—the bitterest enemy of Christianity, the fiercest persecutor of true believers, the strongest stickler for Pharisaical notions, the most prejudiced resister of Gospel doctrine—and turn that man into an earnest preacher of the very faith he once destroyed. Here we speak of the Apostle Paul.
The Holy Spirit can take an English tinker, without learning, patronage, or money—a man at one time notorious for nothing so much as blasphemy and swearing—and make that man write a religious book, which shall stand unrivalled and unequalled in its way by any since the time of the apostles. Here we speak of John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim's Progress.
The Holy Spirit can take a sailor, drenched in worldliness and sin—a captain of a slave ship—and make that man a most successful minister of the Gospel; a writer of letters which are a store-house of experimental religion; and of hymns which are known and sung wherever English is spoken. Here we speak of John Newton the author of the hymn, “Amazing Grace.”
The Almighty Spirit can change the stony heart into a heart of faith; He can break the strongest bad habits; He can make the most difficult things seem easy, and the mightiest objections melt away like snow in spring; He can fill up every valley, and make every rough place smooth. He has done it often, and He can do it again and again and again. .
Imagine that! The Spirit of God wants to indwell our hearts and transform us into being mighty Christians.
Now that we know of His power and our need for Him to bear fruit in our lives, let's focus on three aspects of the Holy Spirit's presence in our lives
First: The Gift of the Holy Spirit is received at Salvation. When you asked Jesus Christ to be your Saviour, at that moment the Holy Spirit took up residence in your life.
Here me out, you cannot receive Christ as your Saviour without receiving the Holy Spirit. It is a simultaneous action of acceptance.
In Acts 2:38; we read, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
In Romans 5:5; we read, “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.”
The fruit of the Spirit cannot be taught or manufactured; it is only produced by His presence in your life.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20; tells how personal the gift of the Holy Spirit is in the life of the believer: "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
As a Christian, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. He has indwelled your life, and He wants to empower you to produce righteous fruit as you walk with Him.
Second: The Growth in the Holy Spirit. The seed planted at salvation must continue to grow if it will ever be strong and healthy enough to bear fruit. Just like a good garden is void of weeds, so the effective Christian is void of sin.
First: Growth is vital for Avoiding Fleshly Living. Again in Galatians 5:16-17; we read,
“… Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (17) 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.
Years ago, an Indian chief would often gather his tribal warriors into a circle. He would place two fighting dogs in their midst. He would always tell the warriors which dog was going to win.
One man said, "You are so wise. How is it that you always know which dog will be the winner?"
The chief said, "It is very easy. It depends on which one I feed the most before the fight."
How can you know whether you will be a spiritual or a fleshly Christian? It depends on what you feed the most.
That is why Bible reading, prayer, and church attendance are so important. You are using your time to feed the Spirit and ignore the flesh in the process.
When life seems all upstream and it is a fight to keep pressing on, either your flesh or Spirit will prevail. You determine the winner. Think about your daily routines. In what do you invest most of your time?
If the majority of your time is spent at work, do you purpose to make it a godly atmosphere?
If you spend most of your time at home, do you invite Christ in as well? You can only grow in the Spirit when you are not feeding the flesh.
If you are feeding your flesh by wasting time that could be spent with the Lord, then purpose to plan a daily time with Him.
Evaluate your schedule. Look for any instances in which the flesh has preeminence. Ask God to help you make a change and fill in that slot with something that will feed the Spirit.
Growth does not happen by accident. You must do whatever it takes to ignore the flesh and feed the spirit.
Second: Growth Is the Evidence of Our Salvation: In Matthew 7:15-20' we read,
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (16) Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? (17) Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. (18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. (19) Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (20) Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
Your fruit should show others that you are a Christian. The Bible says, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." The evidence of our salvation will come through the fruit we allow the Holy Spirit to produce in our lives.
Third: Growth Is Produced as we Walk in the Spirit: Again in verse 16; we read, "This I say then. Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."
To walk in the Spirit, boils down to a choice. If we choose to ignore the prodding of the Holy Spirit, we are choosing the flesh.
It doesn't matter how you look at it, every day you are making choices that will help you walk in the Spirit or fulfill the lust of the flesh.
When you sit on your couch after a long day of work, you have a choice. You could flip on the television and feed your flesh, or you could play godly music and feed your spirit. If you choose television, you are deliberately putting off a chance to walk in the Spirit.
‘The more we put off walking in the Spirit, the less we will grow as Christians.” If you downplay this choice, thinking it is not that big a deal, recognize that your decisions eventually turn into your lifestyle.
So let me say it again, “The more we put off walking in the Spirit, the less we will grow as a Christian.”
Third: The Goodness of the Holy Spirit: There is nothing good about you and me, except Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. Let me say that again, There is nothing good about you and me, except Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.
Fruit does not grow naturally; weeds grow naturally.
The fruit of the Spirit is a supernatural kind of growth, and it enables us to be a blessing, not a burden, to others.
First: His Character Is Produced in You Because of the Spirit's goodness.
Spiritual fruit is always consistent with the producer. Fruit is the outside result of what is going on inside you. If the Holy Spirit is in you and you are yielding to His strength, when you face tough times you will have peace and contentment. You will not be thinking about yourself, but of glorifying God.
In Hebrews 13:15; we read, "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name."
Speaking to a large audience, D.L. Moody held up a glass and asked, "How can I get the air out of this glass?"
One man shouted, "Suck it out with a pump!" Moody replied, "That would create a vacuum and shatter the glass."
After numerous other suggestions Moody smiled picked up a pitcher of water, and filled the glass. "There," he said, "all the air is now removed."
We must empty ourselves of sin and self-will in order for the Holy Spirit to indwell us.
The victorious Christian life is attained when the Holy Spirit has a whole pitcher in which to live and not just a part of one.
Second: Once the Holy Spirit's character is produced in you. His character will then be witnessed by those around you. In Matthew 7:16; we read, "Ye shall know them by their fruits…."
Is your life distinguishable from the unsaved world?
Do people at work know you are a Christian?
Do you grumble and complain, or do you handle employment situations differently?
Are you allowing God to make a difference in your life?
There is nothing more satisfying than a spiritual, fruit bearing Christian—someone who radiates the love and joy of Christ.
Christian, you must yield to the Holy Spirit. Allow Him to renew your root system, allow His everlasting water to flow through your life, and experience the joy of bearing spiritual fruit. Again from Galatians 5:22-23; we read,
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness,
faith, Meekness, temperance:
against such there is no law."
If God has spoken to your heart, after reading the sermon “Preparing the Soil – To Walk in the Spirit” right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, please let me know. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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