Profound and Practical Part 2
Sermon Summary
This message recaps part one of this three part series with some new Scripture passages on the inability of the law to save us and the apparent misuse by some of the freedom found in the grace of God. These points serve as the foundation for the remainder of the message which discuss Paul’s “Things to avoid list.” and his “Things to embrace list.” Just because we are not under the law doesn’t mean we shouldn’t avoid certain evil things and just because we are not saved by our works doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do certain good works! Paul’s words to the churches in Galatia are once again profound and practical at the same time!!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. Just for fun, see if you can remember any of the things on the “to avoid” list or any things on the “to embrace” list. These can be found in Galatians 5:19-21.

2. We are not saved by our good works, but by God’s grace to us. However, God still wants us to avoid certain things and to embrace other things. Why?
Romans 7:4 So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.
Romans 7:5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.
Romans 7:6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

3. Man has an innate desire to worship! It was put their by God when He created us with the capacity to know Him. As a result, almost every culture has some form of worship system or religion. Even cultures who have tried to erase all belief in God have failed to do so. While Christians are not superior to or better than other people, we do believe our message is the ultimate revelation of God to people. What are some of the reasons we should want to share the truth of Christianity with people of other religions? God’s words to Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus will help you with this one.
Acts 26:17  “...I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them
Acts 26:18  to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

4. Why is it so vital we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit as apposed to walking according to the flesh?
Galatians 5:16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Galatians 5:17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
Galatians 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.


Sermon Notes
Profound and Practical Part 2

This week we continue our look at the profound and practical wisdom Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia.
A quick overview would be in order.
First we looked at the definitions of Profound and Practical...

Profound: Very great or intense, showing great knowledge or insight!

Practical: of or concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas:

Paul's letter to the churches in Galatia was profound and practical at the same time! My prayer today is for us to find the practical applications for the profound truths we will discover.

Let's pray!!

 Last week we looked at two very serious issues Paul addressed with the Galatians.
The first was the temptation to return to the law as a way to establish a relationship with God. Everything in their history should have shown them that living under the weight of the law was futile. No one except Jesus had ever been able to keep the whole law.

10All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”
Galatians 3:10 (NIV)

11Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”
Galatians 3:11 (NIV)

 This is further explained a few verses down...

22But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
Galatians 3:22 (NIV)

23Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.
Galatians 3:23 (NIV)

24So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.
Galatians 3:24 (NIV)

 Prisoners, locked up! That's the condition people are in when they try to gain a relationship with God through the law or through their own righteous efforts. There are religions all over the world where people are desperately seeking to know God through their own efforts. To me it's one of the greatest tragedies of all time.

 God saw the tragedy and did the unthinkable by sending His Son to this planet to make a way for us to have a personal relationship with The Almighty!
The writer of Romans put it this way...

20Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.
Romans 3:20 (NIV)

21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
Romans 3:21 (NIV)

22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
Romans 3:22 (NIV)

23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 3:23 (NIV)

24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:24 (NIV)

 This is the message the whole world needs to hear. Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and every other religion. You don't get to God by what you do for God, you get to God by what God did for you on an old rugged Cross through Jesus Christ!!   

 Ok, I know I'm getting a little carried away with our recap of last week, but it's just so important we get this right and you will see why the principles we studied last week lay the foundation for our message today!!

 The second problem we looked at was the people who were misusing God's Grace! Basically, saying: "Since I'm not under the law, but under grace, it simply doesn't matter what I do. I can do whatever I want no matter who it hurts!
Remember, Paul spoke about this in his letter to the Galatians...

13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Galatians 5:13 (NIV)

Peter also spoke of this issue in both of his letters which he wrote to the churches of Galatia and four other provinces. Listen...

16Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God.
1 Peter 2:16 (NIV)

17Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
1 Peter 2:17 (NIV)

Peter went into even greater detail in his second letter. Evidently there were some very decisive and wicked people using the message of God's Grace for their own evil plans. Before I read this passage, let me share a sobering truth with you.

 If you come to Christ and find freedom, peace and rest from the burden of the law, but use that as an excuse to live recklessly in the ways of the world you may find yourself a slave to another task master. Sin. Yes, sin can even ensnare a believer!

 I've spent a lot of time down the years counseling believers who have accepted Jesus as their Savior, but who at some point decided not to walk in the ways of the Spirit and were pulled back into the enticements and entanglements of sin!

 Jesus didn't just die to set you free from the penalty of sin, He died to set you free from the power of sin!
Peter stated this in his second letter...

19...for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.
2 Peter 2:19b (NIV)

Do you have a sin in your life that now controls you?  Some people think their free, but they're really a puppet in the hands of their vices. Not a good place to be! Let me put it this way...

Even though we're not under the law, and have freedom, there are still things we should avoid!

There's only one way to avoid things we need to avoid and that is by walking by The Spirit! The Spirit offers us God's power and wisdom to help us know how to reign in the flesh!
Paul put it this way...

16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Galatians 5:16 (NIV)

17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
Galatians 5:17 (NIV)

18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
Galatians 5:18 (NIV)

John William MacGorman put it this way in the Broadman Commentary...

"Here is a thoroughly evangelical ethic. It is dynamic, spontaneous, and creative. It is not a new legalism, higher than the old. It is living grace expressed in a daily walk!"

Wow! In the next three verses Paul gives a list of...

 Things The Holy Spirit will lead you to avoid!

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
Galatians 5:19 (NIV)

 Debauchery is depravity, indecency and perversion.

20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
Galatians 5:20 (NIV)

21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:21 (NIV)

 Remember The Kingdom of God is where God rules. If you are involved in these kinds of things, it is obvious God has not been crowned the ruler of your life.
If we are allowing The Spirit of God to lead our lives, He will lead us to avoid these things because they only harm us and God wants to protect us!!

Some people have the erroneous idea God wants us to be miserable so He puts all these rules on us so we can't have fun! Let me just tell you this, this list of things to avoid are fraught with much tragedy and pain.  

Oh, to be sure, sin may seem delightful for a moment, but these kinds of things will never bring lasting pleasure, but they will sure leave a lasting scar!

In these verses, Paul covers vices in three areas: Sexual, Spiritual and Social.

Paul starts out mentioning sexual vices.
Let me remind you, the sexual drive placed within each of us was put there by God. It is not inherently evil, but can quickly become a tool of evil when it is under the control of the flesh rather than The Spirit!

 When under the control of the Spirit, it will cause a man and his wife to be united for a lifetime in a deeply committed relationship and it leads to the birth of children who are an amazing gift from God!!

Why does the Paul mention sexual vice so often in his writings? Because the Graeco-Roman world was a place of extreme deviance in this aspect of life and it was wreaking havoc on the society by destroying the family structure.

 Paul, along with other early Christian leaders, sought to introduce a Godly morality. It was not an easy sell, and was met with fierce opposition. However, Paul and others knew what was at stake so they fought long and hard to convince people that the most satisfying sexual experiences could only be found in the context of the marriage commitment between a woman and a man!

Paul puts it this way in Romans 6:12-14

12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
Romans 6:12 (NIV)

13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.
Romans 6:13 (NIV)

14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
Romans 6:14 (NIV)

Paul then mentions in verse 20, the spiritual aspect of our lives and two things we must avoid!
Starting with the beginning of the sentence in verse 19 we read...


19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious...
Galatians 5:19 (NIV)

20idolatry and witchcraft …
Galatians 5:20 (NIV)

Again, I want to quote Dr. MacGorman...

"Nothing distinguishes man more than his capacity for worship.

As there is a yearning on God's part to reveal Himself to man, so there is a deeply implanted need in him to know and worship God.

Under the Spirit's sway this leads to deliverance from the present evil age through faith in Jesus Christ with all of the meaning and solace of true religion.

But what happens when this basic hunger comes under the dominion of the flesh?

It leads to idolatry, the tragic spectacle in which men worship the gods of their own creation, whether fashioned with their hands or minds.

It leads also to sorcery, the practice of magical arts in connection with idolatrous worship."

I believe God set humanity apart from the rest of creation and put the desire to worship in every heart way back in the Genesis story. Listen…

7the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Genesis 2:7 (NIV)

Paul then turns to the social aspect of human relationships in his list of things to avoid.

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious...
Galatians 5:19 (NIV)

20 hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
Galatians 5:20 (NIV)

21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like...Galatians 5:21 (NIV)

Does this list seem like the categories for the evening news?

20 hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
Galatians 5:20 (NIV)

21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like...Galatians 5:21 (NIV)

What is tragic is this…Sometimes this list describes the goings on in the Body of Christ! This should never, ever, be the case, but it is what happens, even in the church, when we walk by our flesh rather than by His Spirit!

When under control of the flesh, our relationships become all about me, myself and I. There's that unholy trinity again.
When our flesh is allowed to rule, it affects every single relationship we have. Marital, parental, sibling, social, church family, etc.

How should it be in the family of God?
Paul puts it beautifully in his letter to the Colossians...

11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Colossians 3:11 (NIV)

12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3:14 (NIV)

15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
Colossians 3:15 (NIV)

 I like that last part, "and, oh yeah, be thankful!!!"
This leads us to the things to embrace list!

Let me first make this statement...

Even though we are not under the law, and our salvation does not depend on our  good works, there are still things we should embrace!

Things The Holy Spirit will lead you to embrace!

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Galatians 5:22 (NIV)

23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:23 (NIV)

24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
Galatians 5:24 (NIV)

25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Galatians 5:25 (NIV)

 What a beautiful list of things to do.
In fact, let me just put it this way...

 "If we would get busy doing the dos, we wouldn't have time to do the don'ts!!!"

 And remember, this list of do's and don'ts we're talking about today are not a set of legal laws we must follow in order to be saved, they are in fact a list of things to be avoided and embraced because it's just infinitely better for us when we live by these standards.  

 Sure we're going to make mistakes, and sure we're not always going to bear the fruit of The Spirit, but we should desire and seek to be more like Jesus every day we live. Not because we have to, but because we want to!!

 It's all about motivation. The old motivation to avoid sin and to be righteous was based on the need to keep the law or else be separated from God! However, now we've been reconciled to God through Christ and we seek to live for Him out of gratitude.

 What's the difference? Everything. Under the law, you're not ever sure you've done enough. You live in constant fear!
However, under the Spirit, we know our sins are forgiven and our place in heaven is secure! Therefore, we seek to avoid certain things and embrace certain things out of gratitude for all that God has done on our behalf!! Listen to the way Paul put in Romans 7:4-6...

4So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.
Romans 7:4 (NIV)

5For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.
Romans 7:5 (NIV)

6But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
Romans 7:6 (NIV)

 What is the new way of the Spirit?

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
Galatians 5:22 (NIV)

23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:23 (NIV)

Do you want to know what the evidence of the Holy Spirit is in someones life? It's not a particular gift of the Spirit, it is the fruit of the Spirit.  

Jesus loved using practical illustrations. Listen...

16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
Matthew 7:16 (NIV)

17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
Matthew 7:17 (NIV)

Let's examine the fruit...

Love

34“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:34 (NIV)

35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:35 (NIV)

Joy

8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
John 15:8 (NIV)

9“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
John 15:9 (NIV)

10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
John 15:10 (NIV)

11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
John 15:11 (NIV)

 Reminds me of an old song I used to sing when I was a children's minister.


 I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart,


 Where? Down in my heart! Where? Down in my heart.


 I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart,
Down in my heart to stay!

 And if the Devil doesn't like it he can sit on a tac, sit on a tac, sit on a tac,

 And if the Devil doesn't like it he can sit on a tac, sit on a tac and stay!!!

 Peace

27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27 (NIV)

 Patience

9For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Colossians 1:9 (NIV)

10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
Colossians 1:10 (NIV)

11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully
Colossians 1:11 (NIV)

12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
Colossians 1:12 (NIV)

 And for the last five fruits of the Holy Spirit we will turn to good old St. Peter...

 Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control.

3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)

4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
2 Peter 1:4 (NIV)

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
2 Peter 1:5 (NIV)

6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
2 Peter 1:6 (NIV)

7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
2 Peter 1:7 (NIV)

8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:8 (NIV)

 Let's Pray!!!