Galatians 5:16 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
Last time we were together, we were introduced to the next major section of Galatians. The main theme is the role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. This is Paul’s answer to how the Christian life results in holy living apart from being under the Law of the Old Testament.
I hope you heard this pastor’s heart for how central and vital the Holy Spirit is to healthy Christian living. Here in Galatians 5:16-26, we hear of “walking in the Spirit,” “bearing the fruit of the Spirit,” and “living by the Spirit.” Elsewhere in the NT, we hear the command to “be filled with the Holy Spirit,” (Eph. 5:18) and see this ministry of the Spirit illustrated throughout the book Luke and Acts (Luke 1:15, 41, 67; Acts 2:4, 4:8, 4:31, 9:17, 13:19). We’re also taught about the illuminating work of the Spirit in 1 Cor. 2. The gifts of the Spirit are another major theme (1 Cor. 12-14, Eph. 4, et. al.) As we mentioned in the last message, this work of the Holy Spirit to regenerate, gift and sanctify the believer is the long-anticipated blessing of the New Covenant.
The last century of American evangelicalism has experienced a renewed interest in the ministry of the Spirit. However, along with that has come a host of false and deceptive teachings and practices. This has led to an abundance of confusion, misinformation, poorly interpreted experience, and downright nonsense. (For example, when I was in college, there was a fellow-believer in our Christian Fellowship, who had been taught by her pastor that there was a difference between the Holy Spirit and the Holy Ghost!) In reaction to all that confusion, I’m convinced that many non-charismatic Christians have downplayed His vital role in their lives.
In light of that, we have two tasks ahead of us as a church. 1) To clarify the clear biblical teaching on the Holy Spirit’s ministry among us. 2) To grow in our application of those truths in our daily Christian living. Paul presupposes that there is an real experiential component to Christian living, by which the Holy Spirit influences and affects our desires, to bear His fruit and yield holy living. This is central to the Christian life.
I’d like to ask for your input! I’m very eager to hear your questions about, or experience with, these issues surrounding the Holy Spirit. What have you been taught? What have you not been taught? Have you heard strange doctrines about the Holy Spirit? Have you spent time in or been influence by a church that teaches otherwise? Where do you feel the need to grow in this area? Please email me any questions or thoughts you may have! I’d love to consider them as I prepare this series.
Thanks so much! See you Sunday,