“Walk by the Spirit, Part 2” (Galatians 5:16

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I. Introduction. A. Orientation. This morning, We saw that we have Two sets of desires in our hearts – One towards sin/world, And one towards God – Towards sin because of Adam’s sin And towards God Because of what Jesus has done through His Spirit.

Because we have two desires We also struggle – We want to do what’s good, But we also want what’s bad.

The result is, We can’t do what we want – Not that we can’t do it at all, We just can’t as we would like, As Jesus did. B. Preview.

2 The question we want to ask this evening is Is this just the way it is? Is there nothing we can do? Has the Lord left us To dream of the good, But powerless to do it?

No: Paul writes, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). There is a way to become stronger, To gain more power from the Holy Spirit, To weaken the flesh And to become more like Jesus: We need to walk by the Spirit. Let’s look at two things: 1. What it means to walk by the Spirit. 2. And how practically to do this. II. Sermon. A. First, what does it mean? 1. It means first of all To be filled with the Spirit, As we saw last week: You need to use the means of grace, To gain more of the Spirit’s influence, And then you need to be careful

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Not to lose it By sinning/compromising.

2. But there’s another part to this, Something we already know Something we often overlook, But something we need Constantly to remind ourselves of:

When you use the means of grace And are filled with the Spirit, It increases the push you have Toward the things of God, And at the same time Weakens the push from the flesh.

But that doesn’t mean You’ll necessarily choose What the Spirit desires Over what the flesh wants.

You must commit yourself To do two more things: To yield to the Spirit, And at the same time

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To resist the flesh.

Haven’t you often found yourself Faced with a clear choice – You know what God wants you to do, You even want to do it – But there’s still that part of you That doesn’t – That wants to do What you know is wrong – And you end up choosing it instead.

Maybe the Lord has given you the opportunity To witness to a family member, Or a neighbor, Or someone you work with. You want to share the Gospel with them Because you know It’s the only way they’ll be saved. It’s what you’ve been praying And hoping for. Now you have that opportunity, But suddenly your flesh begins To fight against you –

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You don’t want to open yourself to ridicule Or risk your friendship – You begin to argue with yourself – They won’t believe you, Maybe they’ve already heard the Gospel, Maybe they’re already a believer And you don’t know it; Or maybe they aren’t in danger at all, Maybe the Bible isn’t true – And so you choose to remain quiet Even though this is a clear answer to prayer And something the Lord Commands you to do. Does this at all sound familiar?

Or maybe the alternate choice – The one your flesh prefers – Isn’t necessarily wrong, But you choose it over What would otherwise Be spiritually profitable.

You want to pray and read your Bible Because you know

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It’s going to help you grow spiritually; But there’s a program on TV You really wanted to see, A video game you really wanted to play with a friend, Maybe a friend calls or texts you, Maybe they want to get together, Or you remember something You forgot to do. And so you leave what’s more important aside To do something That has much less value, That’s far less important.

The Spirit is leading you to do one thing, But the flesh is drawing you To do something else.

These are the two desires That are fighting each other. And you have to make a choice: Either to yield to the Spirit Or to the flesh.

The Lord knows

7 What’s going on in your heart, Which is why He commands you Through the apostle Paul: To walk by the Spirit.

He means to be filled with the Spirit, As we saw last week – To walk by His power – But he also means To yield to the Spirit As He leads you In God’s Word – To walk as He teaches you – And not to yield to your flesh.

This means your work isn’t done Once you’ve used the means of grace – It’s just begun.

Sanctification – The work the Spirit does in your heart, Once you have trusted Jesus Christ And been saved by His grace – Is a cooperative work: The Spirit does His part,

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But you need to do yours. You need to obey Him.

B. How can you do it? 1. First, you must want to do it. When the Spirit takes up residence in your soul He gives you that desire. But as you already know That desire can be weak or strong.

If you are to walk by the Spirit You must have a strong desire: It doesn’t matter Whether you know What you need to do, If you don’t want to do it, You won’t. That’s just the way it is. We always do What we want to do, No more or no less.

You need to strengthen that desire By using the means of grace –

9 Especially prayer – You need to seek the Lord for His Spirit To give you this strength of heart.

Remember the Lord loves you And wants you to succeed. He won’t withhold His Spirit If you really want His help.

2. Second, you need to train your mind Clearly to recognize the difference Between the things of the flesh And the things of the Spirit – To recognize them As soon as you’re confronted with them.

The only way you can do this Is by reading God’s Word, By understanding it, By agreeing that what it says is best So that when you’re presented With a choice You’ll immediately know Which way to go.

10 3. And then third, when you are presented With such a choice, You must be willing to do what God says: To yield to the Spirit’s leading, And to resist The impulses of your flesh. You must be willing to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Rom. 13:14). You must be willing, “In reference to your former manner of life, [to] lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and [to] be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Eph. 4:22-24).

You need to see yourself As having died with Christ on the cross, As having been buried with Him, And having been raised again To live a new kind of life, As Paul writes, “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Rom. 6:11-13). When you took up His cross, This is what you bound yourself to do: “So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh – for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:12-13).

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Remember, When you yield to the flesh You offend God Because you’re doing something He hates.

When you yield to the flesh You strengthen its influence And weaken the Spirit’s.

When you yield to the flesh You commit another sin That nailed Jesus to the cross.

When you yield to the flesh You allow it to rob you Of your blessings here And your reward in heaven. It’s a thief That wants to take from you Everything God has for you.

But when you yield to the Spirit God is pleased, The Spirit’s influence is strengthened,

12 You store up more treasure in heaven.

You life is a series of choices, Where from moment to moment You have to choose between What the Spirit is moving you to do, And what the flesh tempts you to do.

Every moment You’re making choices That either strengthen you spiritually Or weaken you. When you add them all up They have a profound impact on your life.

And so what should you do? Make sure you are willing To do what He wants you to do. Make sure you’re trusting Jesus And are filled with His Spirit.

Make sure you know the difference Between what the Spirit wants And what the flesh will tempt you to do By reading and studying God’s Word.

13 Participating in the RBT program Will help you a lot here.

And then each time You’re faced with a choice, Yield immediately to the Spirit And resist the flesh.

If you do, You will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

If you do, You will have much more of the power Your Lord lived and died to give you.

If you do, You will stand out As God looks for someone Whose heart is completely His, Because your heart will be His. Amen.

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