Galatians 5:16-18

Walking in the Spirit


One of my favorite stories is  a Story about a School teacher from England who had applied for a job in Switzerland - she was accepted / picked apartment

A) Then she went back home to get her things in order to move to Switzerland  .


B) It dawned on her that she didn’t remember seeing a bathroom in her apartment / In England - Bathroom  = Water Closet or WC

1)So she wrote to the head school master in England - the man who

          hired her & asked if there was a WC in or near the apartment


C) The School master wasn’t familiar w/ the term - WC - so he wasn’t sure what she meant - he asked the parish priest for advice.

1) They concluded she must be talking about a Wayside Chapel

    so he wrote her this response.


Dear Madam:


The WC is located`9 miles from the house, in the heart Of a beautiful grove of trees. It will seat 150 people at one time, and is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.


Some people bring their lunch and make a day of it. On Thursdays there is an organ accompaniment- The acoustics are very good. The slightest sound can be heard by everyone.

It may interest you to know that my daughter met her husband at the WC.


We are now in the process of taking donations to purchase plush seats. We feel that this is a long‑felt need, as the present seats have holes in them.


My wife, being rather delicate, hasn't been able to attend regularly/. It has been six months since she last went. Naturally, it pains her not to be able to go more often.


I will close now with the desire to accommodate you in every way possible, and will be happy to save you a seat either down front or near the door, as you prefer.


It is amazing how confused people can get when there is a misunderstanding

A) That is the very thing that Paul is trying to avoid here in Gal Ch. 5


B) For 51/2 Chapters Paul has been stressing the Fact that in Christ we are Free – Free from sin / guilt / PBA/

1) But as we noted in our study last time V.13-15 – But don’t use your liberty as an opportunity to indulge your flesh - But thru love serve one another


C) So last time we spent some time looking at the balance between love & Liberty

1) Christian love is to supersede or override liberty – Christian love puts the needs & Concerns of others above my rights


D) But that is a hard road to navigate – easier said than done – well what Paul says next – gives insight into how it is to be done

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.


Now this I think is one of the most important subjects in the NT & yet one of the least talked about subjects in the Church today.



B) Here is this last section of Ch. 5 Paul gives us this exhortation to walk in the …..& then proceeds to tell us what walking in the spirit looks like


C) Today – Talk about – 1st What does it mean to walk in the Spirit & to be led by the spirit   2nd Why is this so important ? 3rd Why it can be so Hard  4th How it is accomplished


D) Next week start looking at what it looks like ! / What it doesn’t look like as we Contrast the fruit of the Spirit & the Works of the flesh

1st What does it mean to walk in the Spirit ?

A) Walking speaks of action & activity – it speaks of movement – it speaks of Progression – Going forward in our walks with the Lord


B) Now that should get our attention right away – this is something that we are participants in – not spectators

1)  Sometimes the idea of walking in the Spirit or being led by the Spirit is described as LETTING GO & LETTING GOD


C) Now that is not a wrong concept if you mean that by letting go – you are putting aside your own resources / laying aside your own will

1) Surrendering your own agenda & Submitting yourself to God’s will / plan and agenda for your life – Then letting go & Letting God is purely biblical


D) What is unbiblical is the idea that I am going to just kick back & let God work in my life – do His thing – when He wants & How He wants

1) That is not Biblical – because it has always been the method of God in working in People’s life to get them involved in the process


E) God throughout history has always chosen to work in & thru willing vessels .



So walking in the Spirit speaks of a life that is surrendered to the leading of the HS & thus is willing to move go & act as the spirit leads

A) In fact in v.18 Paul uses the word Led by the Spirit .  – The verb led was used of a farmer herding cattle / or a shepherd leading sheep


B) It was also used of the wind driving a sail boat – All 3 are wonderful pictures of the Christian life –


C) The Picture of the farmer herding the cattle is a good description of how the HS – will sometimes have to prod us to move in a direction we don’t want to go – work on us to bend our will.

The Picture of the Shepherd leading the sheep is a little softer – Sheep love the Shepherd – depend on the Shepherd – trust the Shepherd

A) The Picture is a step up from the one of the cattle – There is a relationship there is a trust that is involved there .


B) The picture of the Farmer w/ the Cattle  describes the HS work in our lives prior to conversation or just after – Breaking time


C) The Picture of the Shepherd is one that we enjoy after we have come to the Lord & learned to trust Him with our lives


D) The Picture of the wind empowering the sailboat is a picture of further progression – great picture of the Baptism of the HS

1) Moving & empowering the believer – Not us getting more of Him – but Him getting more of us


So as our leader the HS takes the initiative in our lives. He asserts His desires against those of those of the flesh

A) He forms with in us holy & heavenly desires – He puts His gentle pressure upon us.


B) It is the Spirit who is doing the leading but we are the ones walking/ He is not walking for us

1) Our place is to Yield ourselves to His direction & control . When we do He supplies us with the power to accomplish His will.


C) We are not on the sidelines watching Him do everything – but actively following His leading / His direction in our lives { depending on His power


D) So that in a nut shell is what it mean to walk in the Spirit & to be led by the Spirit.


2nd thing consider - Now why is this so important? Turn Jn 14



The SCENE: Upper room on the night before the Crucifixion /

A)He has just washed their feet- taking the role of the servant / exhorted them to treat each other the same /


B) Given them a New Commandment – Love each other as He has loved them ( He shares w/ them that they are all going to forsake him that night)

1)   Peter is going to deny Him – ( Troubling stuff)


C)But then He says in ch.14:1 Don’t be  troubled He tells them that He is going  away to His fathers house to prepare a place for them

1)   But He is going to come again to receive them to Himself


D) By this time their heads must be spinning – but notice what Jesus says next v.16-20 ( pay attention to the language)


Jesus says I am not going to leave you as orphans – but I am going to send the Helper – the spirit of truth

A)The World doesn’t Know him but you do – because He is w/ you –

   Why did they know Him ? How was He w/ them


B) The HS was Christ – and He was in Christ – since Christ was w/ them, The Spirit was w/ them

1) With us prior to conversion – Convicting of Sin


C) But then Jesus said v.17 He shall be IN YOU – this is that Indwelling work of the HS that happens at conversion – Christ in our HEARTS 

1)   God bringing our spirits to life & then placing his spirit to live in us /


D) So in this moment when their hearts would be troubled Jesus says I am sending the Helper or the Comforter


E) The Greek word Helper  is parakletos which literally means: called to one’s side or called to one’s aid.

1)In Grk writings we also find this word used in a court of justice to denote a counsel for the defense/ An who pleaded another’s cause.

F) So that is the role the HS was going to play in their lives – Defender / friend guide / teacher & helper


Now it is important to note that in this discussion Jesus was revealing that their relationship with Him was going to change

A) For 31/2 yrs they lived together walked / talked / ate / they were friends and comrades


B) That  is something that we sometimes fail to realize about Jesus & His Disciples

1)   We can have this sort of Austere Perception of Jesus & His Disciples

      ( Monks ) Especially if you grew up in Church /


C) We fail to realize that for 3 ½ yrs they hung out together ( Gospel RD)


We don’t picture them like that – but they probably brushed bees out of Jesus’ hair – Long hair bees – watch out Jesus

A)They probably took splinters out of each others fingers & feet / I bet they BURPED ( We don’t think about stuff like that )


B) They spilled things – did Jesus ever knock over a cup? Did Peter ever spill something on Jesus – razed for the rest of the day by the others


C) Did they ever have to tell Jesus he had a piece of Spinach stuck in his teeth ( Lord that was a good teaching but …….. in your teeth )

1)    Imagine all the meals they spent together / all the conversations / the Joking


D) Imagine the hard time they gave James & John after Jesus called them the  SONS OF THUNDER – And now here they come ………..Thunder !!!!!

1)   They laughed together / they cried together they were comrades


They had come to depend upon HIS personal presence W/ THEM

A)Their inner action w/ Him centered around their Physical senses –

John put it this way 1JN 1:1

1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life ( Touch / saw / Heard )


B) But Now He was going to inner act w/ them in a different capacity they would develop a different censor organ

1)   His Spirit w/ in them / Last thing that Jesus tells them{ Importance

Plus Acts 2 essential for their Ministry.


C) Even though they lived w/ and were personally taught by Jesus for 3 yrs – there was still something missing before started ministry

1) They needed Power – Come from the HS – Not just with them / and in them – but UPON THEM – empower them


D) Power to serve / power to be witnesses for Him

1) HS would become the wind in their sails { What Jesus meant in Jn 15 when He said – W/out me you can do nothing { Huge need


E) It is the very thing that the Father promised in the NC { Ezk 36

26I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.   Internal thing

 27I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.


So we see the importance of what Paul is talking about here because it was emphasized both by Jesus & His Father

A)But if that is the case - Why is this subject so neglected in Christian literature & teaching today ?


B) Many reasons – not time to go into all of them – but I want to mention a few




C) First is the fact that as human beings we have grown to be dependent on our sensory organs

1) Prior to coming to Christ we spent yrs learning to make decisions based upon how things looked / what we were told / how we felt


D) And quite frankly a lot of what is taught in the Church today – still caters to those physical senses

1) It is hard to learn to adjust & tune in our spiritual antennas – to the voice of the HS – we are so used to responding to feelings etc


Another reason is we have the tendency to separate our lives into the spiritual & the non spiritual

A) Having devotions w/ the kids is a spiritual activity – Doing laundry isn’t

     Leading a Ministry is a spiritual activity/ leading my company is not  


B) Now when we separate our activities in that way is here what happens

1) In these areas – Church/ devotions/ witnessing – the “Spiritual things” Lord I need your help, guidance, empowering, Pray – dependence


C) But in the areas of Business / home duties / friendships / I don’t

1) I am used to functioning in those arenas – I have been for a long time


D) What that mentality fails to understand – is that you might be a great worker – great executive – But the Lord can make you better

1) The Lord wants to sure up the areas where you are lacking – Improve areas where you are strong – Make you a wonderful representative of Him


E) You might be a natural at the home stuff ladies – but the Lord wants to give you a new perspective about laundry – that is going to impact your kids


F) See it doesn’t matter what we are doing  - the Lord wants us to reflect Jesus in it !!! – The HS wants to lead us & empower us to that end.

1) Make an impact not just in areas of “ ministry” but family life / friendships / Business world / Occupations


Another reason that this is often neglected is that we have something that the Early Church lacked – that is a completed Bible

A)Sometimes we can think – I don’t need to pray I just need to read I just need to study.


B) That is fine about the many things the Bible addresses w/ point blank precision –

1) but that isn’t going to help you in trying to decide – should we buy this house / should I fire this employee or give him another chance.


C) Your not going to open up the Bible and find – Yes you should buy the house w/ the Blue trim

1) No you shouldn’t give that guy another Chance –


D) But the Bible does say : James 1:5 NLT 5If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.


E)How does God give us wisdom – Thru the Spirit speaking to our hearts

1) What the Spirit tells us will never contradict scripture – but will always follow scripture { Rob that Bank -


So those are some reason why this teaching is sometimes neglected or isn’t emphasized as much as it should be


3rd thing we want to note today- Why can walking in the Spirit be so hard ?

A)Answer is because of the conflict inside of us !!!! Paul puts it this way

17 For the flesh lusts{WARS}against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.


B) There is a battle going on inside every believer – Two natures that are at war – Flesh & the Spirit

1) Flesh is our old nature – it is the sinful desires of our fallen nature


C) Sinners – natural tendencies is to please self !!! Live to elevate numero uno

1) Natural Fleshly tendencies & responses – Wronged – naturally want revenge – hurt me – I will hurt you more /


D) Break my arm – I will break both your arms and Your nose too!

1) That is the natural tendency of the flesh –


Our Flesh is also prone to temptation: Satan tempts the Flesh / he is constantly appealing to the flesh

A) Satan is constantly trying to get us to live w/in that mentality of Looking out for ourselves –


B) But when we came to Christ – we were given a new nature / God’s spirit inside of us

1) New Mentality – Not living primarily to please self – but to please God


C) Man’s highest achievement is in discovering God’s plan & purpose for my his life.

1) First on that list is to Know Him { Jn 17:3


D) New responses: God working in our hearts – teaching us to forgive

1) Teaching us to make choices that are concerned not only about temporary fulfillment – but eternal SATISFACTION


E) Flesh says live for the moment / Live for Now / The Spirit says – Live w/ Eternity in view


So these two natures are at conflict with each other – Battle

A) Romans 7 Paul illustrates how hard the struggle can be at times -  the things I want to do I don’t do / things I don’t want to do …… doing


B) Jesus said to Peter – after falling asleep not once / not twice but 3 times -  the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak


Well that leads us to talk about our 4th & final point – How do we accomplish this { 2 things

A) THE MAN W/ THE TWO DOGS { The one I feed the most


B) The more that I starve the flesh & feed the Spirit – the easier it gets

1) Feeding the Spirit – thru Bible study – Stronger


C) 2nd thing is Choice – Paul said Walk in the Spirit - That is a daily choice

1) Begins each morning – when we get up to confess our need of the HS guidance / Help & direction in our lives


D) Confess the areas in particular where we know we are going to need His help – Certain situation / area of weakness / Person in our lives

1) Matt 5:3 – Poor in Spirit – the kingdom


Close with this analogy


In the Story of Ulysses / there was a certain Island called Cyrene / Beautiful women sang wonderful melodies  songs of enchantment

A)Ships that were passing by the Island would here the music and they would be so entranced that they would turn in – toward Island / Rocks


B) No ships were able to make it past the Island


C) Now Ulysses was determined to make it past the Island but he also wanted to hear the music / tied to the Mast / Men wax in their ears

1)   Past by – Ulysses was able to hear the music / screamed at his men to turn in / but they could hear him


D) He tried to break free of the ropes but it was to no avail

1)   Once the ship was safely past the Island – His men untied him / they as a crew were able to survive



Now there was also another man who survived sailing by the Island but he did it in a different way that Illustrates what it means to walk in the ..

A)His names was Orpheus & he was a great musician & when he & his men were sailing by the Island / they heard the music / they were drawn /

                  They began to turn in


B) At that moment – Orpheus broke out his flute & began to play a song that was far superior to the song coming from the Island

1)   His men were able to sail safely past


C) Those stories are a good picture of the difference between how religion and true Christianity deal w/ the Battle of the flesh


The Religious are those who like Ulysses  hear the music of the world and are drawn to it – their flesh is fascinated by it

A) They are bound to a law a code of ethics to resist that temptation


B) It is not exactly what you would call victory They are held against their will and there is no peace


C) But Christians are like the men of Orpheus they too hear the music of the world but they also hear the sweeter song

1) the more melodic tune of the love of God speaking to their hearts –


D) Believing in the plan of God for their lives – That tune drowns out the tune of the world .

1)    But it is that the Music of Jesus in our hearts is so much better that there isn’t a desire for the those other things / He is working in Me


E) They are free – what about You?