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  • Ethos Church

March 30, 2023


So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Thought:

We are always going to struggle with our sinful nature, but the way of Jesus offers the path to freedom. In the last section of Galatians 5, Paul explains how the Holy Spirit enables the believer to enjoy freedom in Christ.

  1. The Spirit enables us to overcome the flesh (Galatians 5:16-21, 24)

  2. The Spirit enables us to produce fruit (Galatians 5:22-23, 25-26)

We’ll look at the first - Overcoming the Flesh. Paul describes two conflicting forces within us - the Spirit and the flesh. The Spirit and the flesh have different appetites, and this is what creates the conflict. Paul is not saying that the forces are equal; the Holy Spirit is infinitely stronger. However, we cannot simply will to overcome the flesh. We cannot solve this conflict in our own strength and by our own will. The solution is not to put our will up against the flesh, but to surrender our will to the Holy Spirit.


Living by the flesh has obvious results. Paul lists some of the ugly “works of the flesh.” We all have sinful desires and can find ourselves in this list. So how can we walk in freedom from this list? That freedom comes only from submitting ourselves to the rule of Christ and yielding to the Holy Spirit. In doing so, we can deal with sinful desires decisively (crucify them - Galatians 5:24).


Application:

1. What does it look like to surrender your will to the Holy Spirit? Give an example from your life.


2. How do you need to walk in freedom from the lusts and desires of the flesh? Pray about it.

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  • Ethos Church

March 29, 2023


For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

Thought:

We have established that we no longer have to strive to get God’s attention or earn His approval. Therefore, we are suddenly free to turn our focus and attention to the needs of others! Christ does not give us freedom so we can live selfishly – bound to the slavery of our desires – but He allows us to live the way of heaven: love. This is a simple yet profound concept. Our freedom allows us to exchange being enslaved to our selfish desires for being enslaved to one another in love. And when our faith works itself out through love, we will have done everything the law requires. Romans 13:8 (NIV) says it this way: Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.


Application:

1. How is the Holy Spirit prompting you to love others today?


2. Our mission at Ethos Church is “To love all people in Jesus’ name.” When we participate in that together, we will fulfill the law and glorify God. Proof is all over the New Testament. Take a look at these affirming verses: Matthew 22:37-40, John 13:34-35, James 2:8, Galatians 6:2, Romans 8:4, Matthew 5:17, 1 Peter 4:8

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  • Ethos Church

March 28, 2023


You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you. Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.

Thought:

There are two easy-to-understand illustrations in this passage: a race and yeast. Let’s look at both:


Race

Running a race is a good metaphor to symbolize Christian living. Paul often used athletic illustrations in his letters. His readers were familiar with the Olympic Games as well as other Greek athletic contents. It’s important to note, however, that Paul never uses the image of the race to tell people how to be saved. He is always talking to Christ-followers about how to live the Christian life. We do not run to be saved; we run because we are already saved and want to fulfill God’s will in our lives. It is necessary to pursue our goal with an athlete’s discipline and focus - to run faithfully in the lane marked “Grace.”


Yeast

Yeast is a good illustration of sin. It is small, but if left alone, it grows and spreads. False doctrine is the same. A (slight) wrong view of God and His ways eventually grows and causes big problems. We often think a little law is good for us - that we shouldn’t go too big on grace. But the addition of law doesn’t add flavor to the Christian life. It changes the entire form of the Christian life. It looks different, tastes different, is different.


Application:

1. God has called us to run the race faithfully in the lane marked “Grace.” What cuts in and gets you off course?


2. What sin or false doctrine is acting as yeast in your life? Pray and repent.

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