John Lloyd - Spiritual Discernment

Life by the Spirit: Study of Galatians

Spiritual Discernment: Living by the Spirit

 Galatians 5:16-21

January 27, 2019


Followers of Jesus endeavor to live a life pleasing to God but sometimes are challenged with how.  The Galatians were told they needed to double down on their religious rituals to please God.  The apostle Paul teaches them another way which goes way beyond their own efforts.  The Holy Spirit is sufficient to fulfill laws and commandments as well as deal with our fallen nature and impulses. Living in step with the Spirit will produce lasting fruit.  Praying for 2019 to be a great year of living by the Holy Spirit!


Galatians 5:16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 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. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 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.  (New Living)


Big Idea:  The Holy Spirit is sufficient to discern, direct and empower Christian living.  (Galatians 5:16)


Walk is common in the NT (30 times in Paul) depicting a way of life as a particular way or road to be followed.  Douglas Moo


I.               The Holy Spirit gives ________________ as to the roads to avoid. 

Galatians 5:17 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. Romans 8:5-6


Living the way of the Spirit is what we most deeply ‘want’, yet the sinful nature continues to generate alternative and competing desires which we experience and can give in to, but which now contradict our most abiding love and goals. Timothy Keller


The conflict is between God’s Spirit and the impulse to sin, an impulse that no longer rules in the believer but still exerts influence that must be resisted.  Paul brings this to our attention with the utmost seriousness. Moo


Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.  (Galatians 5:13)


5:19 Are evident- phanera- obvious, well known.  (Not an exhaustive list)

Three sins of sensuality- sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality

Two associated with pagan religions- idolatry and sorcery

Eight having to do with relationships- enmity through envy

Two with dissipated living- drunkenness, orgies.  (Lightfoot)


Gratifying  the flesh destroys relationships. It is building on sand. 

Sexual immorality- porneia- which is sexual intercourse between unmarried people.   Impurity-akatharsia- unnatural sexual practices and relationships

Sensuality/debauchery- aselgia-uncontrolled sexuality

Idolatry and sorcery- very specific occult practices.  Providing an inadequate substitute for God, and the second faking the work of the HS. 

Ambition/enmity- namely competiveness, a self-seeking motive

Envy- desiring what others have.

Jealousy- the zeal and energy that comes from a hungry ego

Hatred- a hostility , an adversarial attitude

Discord eris- being argumentive or seeking to pick fights

Fits of rage-thumoi- outbursts of anger; dissensions

Dissensions- divisions between people (which is what rage leads to)

Divisions- permanent warring parties and warring groups.

Drunkenness and orgies- One of the works of the flesh is addiction to pleasure creating substances and behavior.


Galatians 5:21 I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

“Those whose mark is the practice of such things.” Lenski.


“Paul is referring to habitual practice, rather than infrequent, and repented-of, lapses.  For someone continually to indulge the sinful nature without battling against it is to show that the Son has not redeemed them, and the Spirit has not renewed them.  Paul is not looking to undermine Christian assurance here; but he is aiming to banish complacency.”  Keller


Confession:  This is not the real me nor what I really want.  Redirect my desires towards you Jesus and your will for me. 


II.             Choose living in step with the Spirit for _______ and __________.

Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.


“Sin is not a pet to tame but a beast to slay. You cannot slay it on your own. This is why God sent Jesus.  And why Jesus sent The Paraclete/Holy Spirit to those who believe and place their trust in Him.”  Bubot Parago


Romans 8:3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  2 Corinthians 10:4-5, Philippians 4:8-9


Flee- 2 Timothy 2:22 NIV - "Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord                                                                                                                                                                    


Find- I Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape,                                                                                                                                  


Follow- Matthew 16:24- "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."                                                                                                                            


Fill- Ephesians 5:18b “Be filled with the Spirit.”  Philippians 1:9-11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ…   


I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.                                        To walk by the Spirit each day we must Flee-Find-Follow-Fill

Spiritual Growth Group Questions for January 27, 2019


Icebreaker:  Describe a time when you got lost?  How did you find your way?


1.   Read Galatians 5:16-26Describe in your own words what is happening here.  Why do you think Paul gives both lists 19-21 and 22-23?   How can this be helpful for a follower of Christ?

2.   Read Galatians 5:19-21, Ephesians 5:3-5.  Why does Paul give these warnings?  Is it loving for Paul to warn? What stands out to you as you read these passages? 

3.   What are the over-desires that cause you to think or behave in these ways?  How does living by the flesh destroy relationships? 

4.   Tim Keller states: “We have to ask ourselves not just what we do wrong, but why we do it wrong.”  Try and answer this question from what you know of Scripture and also what you feel battling inside of yourself.  How can battling the motives be more helpful than battling the behaviors?

5.   Read & Reflect on Galatians 5:24- “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” “Lord, my heart thinks that I must have this thing, otherwise I have no value. It is a pseudo-savior. But to think and feel and live like this is to forget what I mean to you, how you see me in Christ. By your Spirit, I will reflect on your love for me in Him until this thing loses its attractive power over my soul.” Practice this with one over-desire you battle and share your results with a friend or group member.

6.   Read the quoted verses: Living by the Holy Spirit means to Flee-         2 Tim.2:22. Find-I Cor.10:13. Follow-Matthew 16:24 and Fill- Eph.5:18b, Phil.1:9-11.  Pray over these thoughts.  Ask God to give you one way to implement each one. Share with a friend or group member to pray for you.

Memory Verse:Galatians 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.