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Waging War By The Spirit ~ Galatians 5:16-25

March 6, 2016 ~ New City Church of Calgary ~ Pastor John Ferguson


Intro: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies. // I have found myself becoming a fan of post-apocalyptic dystopian stories. Its as if
we can sense the uneasiness all about us. We even use the term, Zombie Apocalypse to describe a world at the mercy
or ratherat the hunger of otherswhat we term zombies. These stories raise ethical questions of what what it means
to be human when humans find themselves in a complete breakdown of society.
In the hit TV show, The Walking Dead, the series follows a group of people who find themselves in the middle of a complete breakdown in society due to some unspecified calamity that has resulted in walkers, that is, zombiesundead who
are seeking to feast on the living.
As the show unfolds, these survivors find themselves living with the reality that they must always be killing zombies, or
the zombies will be killing them. These things will eat you alive.
What makes the situation worse is that other groups of survivors have become like zombies who simply kill other survivors to take what they have. At one point in the series, the lead charactera former police officer named Rick
reflecting on what they have had to do to survive, said, We are the walking dead. In one sense, they have inadvertently become what they earnestly sought to avoid becoming. IOW, they have become monsters.
We are in the middle of a series called, Licensed to Kill. And so far we have learned that our biggest problem is not the
monsters out there but rather the monster living in here.
As we saw last week, even the Apostle Paul looked at himself and said that there is an internal enemy described as
sin that dwells in me. He described it like a law that seeks to bend everything in its direction. Whenever Paul wanted
to do good, evil was right there.
Its like a zombie that is undead, but still walking and still wants to feednot on our brains or our flesh, but on our
souls. And so weve been licensed to kill our sinto be continually killing itor it will eat us alive.
I want to invite you to join me in listening in to strategic counsel that the Apostle Paul gave to some early followers of
Jesusadvice about (1) an internal battle that each one of them experiences, (2) the fact that they are not fighting alone,
(3) and how they should live in light of this reality.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
1. Walk is a predominant metaphor for the Christian life

Rom. 8:4, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit
Col. 1:10, walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good
work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

2. the flesh is that part of us that resist Gods ways and says I want to do what I want to do!
17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these
are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
1. NLT, These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from
this conflict.

As a Christian, you can never sin comfortably, but there will be a battle.
As a Christian, you can never follow Christ without hinderance, but there will be a battle.

2. Your life is the battle ground. There is a spiritual battle within the life of every Christian.

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P. Ryken, The Christian is practically a self-contradiction. What takes place within the heart, mind, soul,
and body of the believer is nothing less than a civil war, a violent confrontation between two opposing
forces, an irreconcilable antagonism.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
1. The Christian life is not so much about conforming to a list of rules as much as it is living out the new life of Christ
that has been planted within us by the Spirit.
Romans 6:4, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in
newness of life.
2. When you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit connects you to the resurrected life of Jesus himself, so that the
very life of Christ begins to flow through your life. This new life produces supernatural fruit.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity,
strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.
I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
1. This is rotten fruit: against the grain of the universe, and against Gods design for human flourishing.
2. Strong warning: the person whose life produces this kind of fruit will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, selfcontrol; against such things there is no law.
1. The fruit not fruits of the Spirit.
Ryken, the virtues are not nine different gems, but nine different facets of the same dazzling jewel.
2. That dazzling jewel is the life of Christ being formed in us.
24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

1. We first crucified the flesh when we came to faith in Jesus. It was there that we died to our old masterSin
and came alive to our new masterKing Jesus.
Romans 6:11, Consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
2. The problem is we keep returning to the scene of the crucifixion of our sin and seek to nurse it back to
health. We remove the nails, administer first-aid, and bring it back to full strength in our lives.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
For the Christian, this is what it means to be spiritual, to live by & to keep in step with the Spirit.
Main Idea: Keeping in step with the Spirit means waging war on our sin.
We dont keep in step with the Sin that wars against us, but in step with the Spirit who wars for us.
Application: How do we keep in step with the Spirit to wage war on our sin?
1. Arm yourselves with the Gospel.
Note vs. 24, Those who belong to Christ Jesus.
(1) B. Hedges, Christ Formed In You, Spiritual growth is not about moving on from where we beganthe gospel. Its
about growing deeper in the gospel. Or rather, getting the gospel deeper into us.
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(2) Horatius Bonar: The gospel does not command us to do anything in order to obtain life, but bids us live by that
which another has done; and the knowledge of its life-giving truth is not labour but restrest of soulrest which
is the root of all true labour; for in receiving Christ we do not work in order to rest, but we rest in order to work. In
believing, we cease to work for pardon, in order that we may work from it; and what incentive to work, as well as
joy in working, can be greater than an ascertained and realized forgiveness?
2. Intentionally side with the Spirits war.
Note the logic the desires of the Spirit are against the fleshlet us keep in step with the Spirit.
(1) You will takes a side. You will side with the flesh in its battle against the Spirit, or with the Spirit in its battle
against the flesh. Its not a question of if you will take a side, but of which side you will take.
(2) We have a part to play, we have a responsibility wage war with the Spirit.

Romans 8:13, For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds
of the body, you will live.

(3) We have a part to play. We have a responsibility to side with the Spirit to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit.
1 Timothy 6;11, Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
2 Timothy 2:22, So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those
who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Conclusion:

1. When surviving the zombie apocalypse, you must come to grip with the fact that you must always be killing
zombies or zombies will be killing you. You cant play with them. You cant befriend them. You cant offer a truce. You
are dealing with an enemy that will eat you alive.
Illus: In the Walking Dead, Rick & his group come across a group of people who have captured zombies, corralled
them, and even feed them in the hopes that a cure will be found. As it turns out, that was a fatal mistake.
And when considering the Christian life, you must come to grips with the fact that you must always be killing sin or
sin will be killing you (HT: John Owen). You cant play with it. You cant befriend it. You cant offer it a truce. You are
dealing with an enemy that will eat you alive.

2. To be Good News people in a world full of bad news means that we must get a little violent against our sin.
Thats why weve been given the Spirit of God to live the life that Jesus died to give us.
And thats why we need to keep in step with the Holy War that the Spirit is waging war against the sin that kills our
joy.

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