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July 8, 2020 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues a chapel series entitled “Walking In the Spirit.” Today’s scripture passage is Galatians 5.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927. The evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent preaching from the University Chapel platform today on The Daily Platform were continuing a study series entitled walking in the spirit which is a study of Galatians chapter 5 through the study will see how believers can have freedom in Christ as they walk with him each day.
If you would like to follow along in the study booklet you can get one on Kindle or you can order a printed copy from the website. The Daily Platform.com. Let's listen to today's message were Steve will walk us through the second message on Christian liberty from Galatians chapter 5. Let me ask you to please take your Bibles this morning a turn with me to the book of Galatians Galatians chapter 5 this morning we come to really part two of the message and that's actually found in the following statement of Galatians 5 in verse 13.
Of course my desire this morning is to really be really clear. The best that I can. I probably had more angst about this sermon than anyone that preach, then any sermon I preached so far because I want you to make sure that you don't get Christian liberty wrong that you understand it clearly is a let's notice what Paul says in verse 13, when he gives an admonition he says for brethren, you been called under liberty only use not liberty for an occasion to the flash, but by love serve one another for all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, walk in the spirit and you shall not fulfill the lost of the flesh.
Paul is giving a warning right after he states her liberty and what is that morning. He says do not use your liberty as an occasion to the flesh. Now what does this mean it means he's addressing a problem that had arisen in the churches of Galatia and actually was a conflict throughout all the churches and that was a miss understanding and a miss application of Christian liberty, and one's lifestyle and that problem wasn't just 2000 years ago, but that problem exists to the very hour that were living in.
So what is the problem. The problem is Christian liberty being miss use what is he say only use not your liberty as an occasion to the flesh.
What is the main by an occasion to the flesh with the word occasion means a starting point.
Or you could say a foothold or if you like a military term, a base of operations. Those of you that have been in the military understand this little three letter word Bob FOB.
It means forward operating base and when are when our United States Army. For example, when into Afghanistan. They set up a file they set up a base of operation, and out of that they could run tactical operations. So it's like gaining a foothold and then moving forward. And here's Paul's warning. He says don't allow your sin nature to miss use your liberty as a starting point to satisfy your own self-centered desires.
Don't let your flesh deceive you.
That's the warning and taking Christian liberty and using it as a means to satisfy your own self-centered desires. So the question then we have to ask is how do we do that, how can a believer miss use Christian liberty. That's the warning of verse 13. I want to see three ways in which we can miss use this liberty how we can use our liberty as an occasion for the flesh.
First of all, we can miss use our Christian liberty when we think of liberty in the terms of our own personal selfish desires. Notice what Paul says.
He says, but by love serve one another. That is when liberty is properly understood what is it lead us to do. It leads us not to live for ourselves, but it leads us to live for others, for the end or the purpose of Christian liberty is not selfishness but it is love living to meet the needs of others. However, if my concept of Christian liberty focus is on my right to please myself and it's clear it's not being God driven is being flesh driven, let me say this way when my first thought about my liberties are my rights then you can conclude I am wrong and what happens if a Christian in Christian liberty is being driven by his own selfish desires, my rights, the way I will live my freedoms to do what I want to do what's the end result is that the end result of that is always a loose lifestyle, or even so far as a licentious lifestyle so that I view Christian freedom from the standpoint of being a libertarian living. However, I want to live. Listen to this statement by John Calvin. He warned about the man he wanted to extend Christian liberty to include everything without any exceptions so that nothing may hinder him or prevent him from having a good time these frantic people without any distinction. Abolish all all saying that there is no longer necessary to keep the law, since we have been set free from it. Let me just put it this way. In practical terms, if you think of Christian liberty liberty and then you start asking yourself press questions like this is a Christian free to drink alcohol. If that's the first thing that comes to your mind. Then, like hello you're not thinking right because liberty is not the freedom to live for myself. Liberty is the freedom to live for others it's not about you it's about the freedom that sets us free from our own selfishness that now we are free to serve and love one on love one another. So we says don't let your your liberty to be used as an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. Then there's a second way in which we can we can abuse or misuse. Christian liberty, and secondly it is when I teach and practice that the believer has no responsibility to the law. Now that he has been freed from it is the teaching and the belief in the practice of the believer no longer has a responsibility to the law.
Notice what he says but by love serve one another for her.
For this reason, all the law is fulfilled in one word, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Now some believers take the statement that we are no longer under the law to mean that the law is no longer a part of the believers life but that is not what Paul is saying what he is actually saying is Christian liberty fulfills the wall through love. What's the greatest commandment love God and love others and when we have liberty right then we don't rebel against the law. We happily live under the law to fulfill the ultimate law which is the law of love now to do something right here if you don't mind, I'm sure you don't mind because you have a choice but you don't mind limit. Let me let me connect if I could. This morning I think it will help you. The relationship of the Holy Spirit to the law and when we talk about law were not talking about primarily the Mosaic law are the laws that God gave the Jewish people on Mount Sinai where they had to live under a sacrificial system and priesthoods and eating certain foods in certain religious days were talking about the moral law of God that reflects the moral moral law of God or the moral character of God is all want to connect the Holy Spirit to the law so you have a right understanding. Let me first of all say this, that the spirit of God creates within the heart of it of the believer, a desire to keep the law and when is he do that the moment you say when you read to you. Ezekiel 36 verses 26 and 27 it says a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.
What is he talking about. He's talking about the new birth. He's talking about the new covenant.
Our salvation through faith in Christ.
Verse 27 he says I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them. God changes your heart so that your heart is no longer rebellious against the wall. Do you know human nature actually hates the law, you realize that, for example when somebody says to you, you can't. Something inside of me says can to maybe you don't remember this but when you are a little two-year-old crawling across the floor and you are headed to the electrical socket so you can stick your finger in it become a lightbulb and your mother looked at you and said no no no and you looked at her with your little two-year-old wicked mind and you thought yes yes he is.
When you see a Sino door says warning do not enter what he wanted. You want to enter what is that tell me it tells me that your heart is just wicked your stubborn you're selfish it's all about you but when you get say what is a duty changes your heart heart and he puts within you. His spirit and what is the spirit do it works inside of you to where you want to obey the law of God, then let me say secondly, Paul states in the book of Galatians 3 times that God is put his spirit within us at salvation look at Galatians 3 in verse two he says this only would I learn of you, received you the Spirit by the works of the law by the hearing of faith did you get the Holy Spirit in your life because you obey the law because you believe in Christ. Obviously, the answer is by faith in Christ. Look at Galatians 314 that the blessing of Abraham. That's the Abraham covenant might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ. What is the blessing of Abraham a covenant is the coming of Jesus Christ and salvation through him.
Now notice what Paul says that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. That is when you believe in Jesus Christ you also receive the Holy Spirit. The new birth a new life in the exact same time. Look at Galatians 4 verse six and because your sons God. It sent forth the Spirit of his son into your hearts, crying, Abba father. What is it me if it means that the moment that your say the Holy Spirit comes with inside of you and actually makes real your relationship to God, so that now you have a love for God and a heart for God because he is change your heart from the inside out. So what is the spirit doing inside of you. Obviously, his goal is to make you like Jesus Christ but a part of that is actually changing you where you desire to conform your life to the standard of God's laws. Romans eight versus three and four for what the law could not do and that was weak through the flash God sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. Now watch this that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit was he saying when a man is walking after the Spirit. He is desiring to walk in obedience to God's laws so there is no conflict. Folks with the Holy Spirit and the law of God and what is the ultimate and highest law that we would love one another so Christian liberty fulfills the law. All through love. However, it happens it happens with many of you that we can be easily deceived by our flash to think incorrectly about the law. How should we think about the law the law. First of all, reflects what God is like. If you want to know what God is like, look at the law God is a moral being below reflects what Christ is like the Bible says that Jesus Christ was made of made of a woman, made under the law, that is, he was a Jew living under the loan he obeyed and kept the laws perfectly, so there's no conflict with the law and God. No conflict with the law in Christ. The law also reveals what we are like the Bible says by the laws. The knowledge of sin. The laws like a mirror.
You look into the mirror and you see what you look like that's what the law does, we study the 10 Commandments, the 10 Commandments never makes me feel good. It makes me feel bad. Why because it reveals the sinfulness of my own heart, so is there a problem with the law yes or no answers, no. The law is actually good. What's bad.
I am whose carnal, not the law, all the law all is spiritual. I am the one who was sold under sin. Now when you get say the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you by your sinful nature. Your flash is not removed. Therefore, there is going to come a mental and really spiritual, emotional conflict in your heart between the flash and the law and I hope I abuse my Christian liberty when it becomes a means of release from the moral restraints of the law. My flash is so twisted that it develops a bad attitude about the law but to be honest, I have heard some terrible sermons recently about the law. All in the relationship to the Christian so they take the law and throw it under the bus, leaving us without any restraints. Do you know what that's been called historically is been called Anton know me and is him literally anti-against no monster law. It is been a curse on the church where Christian people throw away the law flaunt their own liberties. They say the law is no longer a voice of God to speak to us.
It no longer is a basis for moral training is no longer God's standards for human living is no, it no longer has relevance to us. Now that we are in Christ. The law has no reference to us and I think what Paul is saying here is this that we are abusing Christian liberty when our freedom from the wall means that the Lord no longer has any restraints over our life and were living in that day today and you need to be wise about this.
You need to understand this. That leads me to my third point and that is this where is the law when his Christian liberty abusing or misusing the law and the third way we know this is found in what Paul says in verse 15. Notice what he says. By if you bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. The third way we know that the law is being misused is when there is strife among believers over our Christian liberties. I miss you?
Do you think we have a problem with that today, but if you bite and devour one is eat what is Paul concerned about.
He's concerned about the inevitable destruction of the churches through Christian cannibalism through Christians devour wing one another. Think about it, here's the churches of Galatia. They are filled with legalists and libertarians in the same church element your question. Do you think they might have conflict. Do you think they may be arguing with each other. Do you think they may be turning own one another. Number of years ago I was preaching in Kenya Africa took a couple days off to go out to one of the game preserves, called the Masai Mara dutiful place and we were riding around in a land rover and we came up own a pack of wild lions, a pride of lions 21 female lions who had just killed and were in the process of devouring an Impala. That's not a car. By the way, when we came up on that Impala you couldn't find it leg over here head over here body parts over here. I mean it was ripped to shreds and here was Paul's concern that the church would be torn apart because a miss use of Christian liberty where the wars and fighting scum from among us, do they not come from the loss that war, in our own members and when there is fighting and argumentation, and conflict and devouring over our own personal rights, and we know something's not right. So Paul is desperately concerned that when the doctrine of justification by faith is called and we are freed from the law as a means of salvation that the doctrine of sanctification by faith is also clearly understood that we are not free from the moral restraints of the law but in reality the Holy Spirit works those desires to keep the law within our own heart, so that leaves me this morning to this question then what is the proper use of Christian liberty that really brings us to verse 16 and notice what Paul says this I say then, or here's my point. Here's my advice. Here's how it all works walk in the spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flash. What is he saying walking in the spirit is the only way for Christian liberty to work becoming a responsible Christian who is walking insensitive obedience to the sanctifying work of the Spirit is the only way for Christian liberty to work because it's the only way to deal with your flash's amazing statement when he says walk in the spirit he says you're not going to bring to fulfillment those lustful, wrong desires of your flesh and the way Paul wrote it was amazing. He uses adults a double negative walk in the spirit in you shall know not, you shall know know fulfill the lust of the flesh is dogmatic, it is emphatic.
It's amazing statement that if you are being controlled by the Holy Spirit. You are not being controlled by the flesh.
Why, because the two natures are mutual opposites. If you turn to the laugh, you cannot turn to the right. If you turn to the right. You cannot turn to the left.
What should be the focal point of the Christian is a passionate obedience to all in the spirit Christian lemmings, like driving down the highway in Louisiana ever been through Louisiana. You don't want to get off the highway now here in Iowa.
It doesn't matter because if you get off the highway. You cannot end up in a Cornfield Flat Just Ct., Louisiana different. Why because it's Walt's on the ride as a ditch on the left is a digit you don't stay on the road. You can end up in the swamp you going to bog down and that's the way Christian liberty works if you go to one extreme or the other. Libertarianism, legalism, by the way, both of them are self-centered is still about you, still about what you do and you can end up in a ditch, but the Christian highway of Christian liberty is a life that is being controlled by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives inside of you.
The spirit of God is working in you enabling you changing and what Paul is saying is walking in the spirit is the only way to live the Christian life and nothing else is going to work.
Do you get that this morning.
Do you realize this. If you do not seek to obey Paul's command to walk in the spirit. Nothing else in your life is going to work.
It's all going to end up own self effort, and you're going to go to one extreme or the other so as we conclude this morning. What then is Christian liberty is not only freedom from the law as a means of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. But it Christian liberty is freedom from the loss of your own flesh your own sin nature through the spirit of God. The ministry of the indwelling spirit that lives inside of you.
I'm so glad. As a young Christian that I was tall, the ministry of the Holy Spirit that he lives inside of me. He is given to me his word and my passion and my desire is to seek to wall in obedience to the promptings and the working of the Spirit of God in my life. The spirit of God will never lead you to violate God's laws. It will never leave you will never lead you to live a self-centered life he will never lead you to ask the perpetual questions of everything that I can do for myself. He will lead you to live for and serve and love other people may God help us this year to experience that freedom that comes to the spirit of God, enabling us to overcome our flesh father, thank you for your word.
We love and and we praise you for in Jesus name amen goblet I'm Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. During these challenging times. I'd like to invite you to take a virtual visit to BJ you tailored to your individual interests through live video your tour campus with a student ambassador chat with a faculty member in the field you're interested in and get your questions answered from an admission counselor.
For more information email welcome email@example.com or call 864-241-1624 you've been listening to a sermon from the study series in Galatians chapter 5 by Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University. For more information on Dr. Pettit series, visit our website The Daily Platform.com where you can get a copy of Steve's study booklet entitled walking in the spirit. The Kindle version is also available.
Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform