Living in the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-26

If you would please, take your Bibles and turn to Galatians 5:22-26.

I’ll be very brief this morning and stay within my time…

But I want to share something that I believe is of vital importance.

I’ve asked God to do something wonderful here today and I believe he wants to.

I believe he can…and I trust he will.

>Galatians 5, beginning in verse 22.


The word "but" is a conjunction, but it is a conjunction of contrast.

What he’s about to say is being contrasted with what he’s just said.

Last Sunday we looked at what it is to live in the flesh.

It’s sinful.

And if we allow it to be in control of our lives there’s not any sin we can’t commit.

A Christian can commit any sin except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit of God.

That’s an unforgivable sin.

And if God sees a Christian approaching that sin…

God will put him to death and will not allow him to commit a sin that cannot be forgiven.

But a Christian, if he allows his flesh, his old sin nature to rule his life…

There is no limit to the sin he can commit.

And his life is a dishonor and a disgrace to God.

>In verse 19, he says that the works of the flesh are adultery, fornication, uncleanness…

Lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance…

Emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies…

Envyings, murders, drunkenness and revelings.

All of those things are works of the flesh…

And if a Christian lives in the flesh he can commit any of those sins or any one of them.

But I have good news for you today.

We don’t have to live like that.

That’s why he says, "But".

There is a conjunction of contrast.

>"But the fruit of the spirit".

Notice that in verse 19, "the works of the flesh".

The word "works" is plural.

But the word "fruit" is a singular word.

There’s no such thing as fruits of the spirit.

There is only one fruit of the spirit…

And it is manifested in these nine beautiful graces of that fruit of the spirit.

"But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering…

Gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

It’s not illegal to be like that.


It’s illegal to commit adultery…it’s illegal to be a fornicator…

It’s illegal to murder…it’s illegal to do a lot of those things.

But there’s not anything illegal about these graces in your life.

>Verse 24: and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit.

Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

>You and I as Christians have the potential to live a life that is absolutely wonderful and glorious…

And one that brings glory to Jesus Christ.

Or we have the potential to lie a life that is disgusting to ourselves…

And dishonoring to the Lord God who bought us with his own blood.

That’s a choice we have to make.

We cannot allow anyone else to make that choice for us.

Only we can make it.

If we live in the flesh, it is because we choose to live in the flesh.

It is not because of the strong alluring power of the world.

It is not because of the influence of friends.

It is not because of the poor home life that we live in.

If we live in the flesh, it is because we choose to live in the flesh.

If we sin, it’s because we choose to sin.

If we disobey God, it’s because we choose to disobey God.

If we allow that old sin nature to be in control, the master of our life…

It is because that’s the choice we make.

>Now we live in a society that tries to blame everybody else for what happens to us.

We’ll blame our parents…

We’ll blame our peers…

We’ll blame our siblings…

We’ll blame the government…

We’ll blame the schools…

But I’m telling you, if you’re a Christian today and you live in the flesh…

It’s because you choose to do it.

But we don’t have to make that choice.

Thank God for that.

>There is an alternative because just as sure and certain as we as Christians have that old nature…

That we still have to deal with, we also have a brand new nature.

It is called the new man in the Bible.

It’s what Jesus was talking about when he said to Nicodemus…

"You must be born again because that which is flesh is death, but that which is spirit is spirit."

And inside of you, before you were saved, there was not two natures.

There was one nature.


But when you became a Christian, the Holy Spirit of God came to live inside of you.

He lives inside of you, and there’s a part of you that was dead that is alive now…

Because the Holy Spirit has breathed the life of God in your life.

>What does it mean to live in the spirit?

It means to live under the influence, under the direction…

Under the guidance, under the control of the Holy Spirit of God.

And again, that’s a choice that you can make.

You can choose to live in the flesh with all of its wickedness and immorality and ungodliness and perversion.

Or you can choose to lie under the authority and the influence of the Holy Spirit of God.

I tell you, if you want to live in the spirit, you can live in the spirit.

If you want to walk in the spirit, you can walk in the spirit.

You can do it.

And you don’t have to go to every seminar and every gathering of believers.

There are three very simple little truths and that’s all you have to know and do…

To walk and live in the spirit of God.

>First of all, if you’re gong to live in the spirit, there must be a crucifixion.

Look in verse 24: and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh.

You see, friend, that old man will never be regulated by rules and laws.

That old nature will never be shamed into behaving.

That old nature can never be bred or taught how to do better.

The only thing we can do to that old nature is to kill it.

It has to be put to death.

It has to be crucified.

If we’re going to live in the spirit, there must be a crucifixion of the old man.

>Now you say, "Well Bro. Joe, verse 24 sounds like that’s something that has already happened."

That’s absolutely right.

It’s already happened.

"Well when did it happen?"

It happened when you got saved.

Look back to Romans chapter 6 and see a wonderful truth.

Romans 6:3: Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

>Now does that talk about what happened back there when you got into the baptistry?


I want to tell you, when I’m up there on Sunday nights baptizing folks…

I’m not baptizing them into Jesus Christ…

I’m baptizing them in water into the fellowship of the church.

You see this is talking about a baptism that takes place on the inside before that baptism takes place on the outside.

It’s talking about being saved.

The Bible says, "Do you not know that when you were baptized into Jesus Christ that you were baptized into his death?

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the father…

Even so we also should walk in the newness of life."

We were buried with him, but thank God, we were raised with him.

We have a new nature living in us.

>Verse 5: For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him.

That’s past tense.

That’s already happened.


Positionally my old nature, my old flesh, my old man positionally it’s already dead.

Well if it’s dead, why do I have so much trouble with it?

I can go over to a funeral home and there’s not a dead person over there that will do anything to me.

Because you see, in spiritual realities positional truths must be practically applied.

Positionally I’m dead in Christ Jesus.

That old man.

But practically I have to appropriate that.

>Look down in verse 11: Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin.

That word "reckon" what does that mean?

It means believe it.

But it means more than believe it.

It means act upon it.

You see, positionally my old man is dead.

That old wicked, sinful, fleshly nature is dead.

That’s truth.

That’s positional truth.

As I am in Jesus Christ, that old man is dead.

But practically it has to be appropriated every day in my life.

>Have you ever passed by a bakery when they were cooking whatever it is they were cooking?

And man you could smell that stuff…great God almighty!

I’m telling you…your mouth begins to water, and for the next hour…

All you can think about is what you’ve been smelling.

Now the smelling of that is appropriate.

The smelling of that is positional truth.

But when you finally turn your car around and go back to that bakery…

And go inside and buy whatever it is they’re cooking and you begin to eat it…

That’s appropriation.

That’s practical application.

There is positional truth and there is practical application.

I’m already dead positionally in Christ Jesus.

I will never have to worry about going to hell because…

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus."

Because that old nature is dead.

But until I get to heaven I have to take that positional truth and apply it practically…

And how often do I have to do that?

Well Paul said, "I die daily."

Now if Paul had to do it every day…

I have to do it probably at least five times a day because I’m not what he was.

>Now let me tell you this.

This is not something we can do by ourselves.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus was crucified instead of being put to death in some other way?

Because crucifixion is something you cannot do by yourself.

You can electrocute yourself by yourself.

You can poison yourself by yourself.

But I tell you, you cannot crucify yourself by yourself.

Let’s try.

I cross my feet and I drive the nail.

That’s a pretty good start.

I nail that hand…

My feet are nailed.

My hand is nailed.

What are you going to do with that hand?

Well you need to do it the other way.

All right…I cross my feet this way.

My feet are nailed.

My hand is nailed.

What are you going to do with that hand?

You see, you cannot crucify yourself.

You can hang yourself, shoot yourself, poison yourself…

Electrocute yourself, drown yourself…

But you cannot crucify yourself.

Somebody else has to do that for you.

Positionally Jesus did it for you.

Practically the Holy Spirit does it for you every day of your life…

If you will give him the opportunity.

>Look over in Romans 8:13: For if you live after the flesh, you shall die; but if you live through the spirit do mortify (or put to death) the deeds of the body, you shall live.

It’s not something you do on your own.

You don’t just say, "Well bless God, today I’m just going to die to myself.

I’m going to do it come what may, and I’m going to do it or die trying.

And if I can’t do it, I’ll just cuss myself out."

It’s something the HS of God does.

"Lord, today I want to die to myself.

I don’t want that old ugly, filthy sin nature to have any part of my life…

Not at home, not at school, not at work, not at church because Lord, I know that old man.

I know the wickedness that he feeds upon.

I know the lies and the cheating and the deceitfulness and the immorality and the ungodliness of him.

Lord, I don’t want that to be operating in my life today.

Lord, I want it dead and it is dead positionally, but Lord, I cannot put it to death practically.

Holy Spirit of God, will you put to death my flesh today?"

There must be a crucifixion.

>#2 – There must be a surrendering of self.

Back in Galatians 5:26: Let us not be desirous of vain glory.

You know what vain glory is?

Empty praises.

Oh, I love for people to brag on me.

That old man loves it.

"Preacher, oh, that was the most wonderful message I’ve ever heard…"

And that old man says, "You sure are right."

Because that old man loves that.

That old man loves to be praised.

The old man loves to be pampered.

The old man loves to think he’s got more than anybody and everybody.

He doesn’t want anybody to have something he doesn’t have.

That’s why he provokes other people.

That’s why he envies other people because that’s what the old self does.

But if I am going to walk in the spirit of God, I must allow the Holy Spirit to put my old flesh to death.

I must be willing to surrender every rein of my heart to him.

>But not only must there be a crucifixion and an emptying of self…

Thirdly there must be a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit of God.

Ephesians 5:28 says this.

Just trust me…this is what it says:

And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess.

The word "excess" is the Greek word "asotia".

It means unsavingness or uselessness or worthlessness.

Do not be drunk with wine because there is no saving value in that.

There’s no worth to that.

There’s nothing about it that’s useful.

Do not be drunk with wine.

"But" he says, "be filled with the Holy Spirit of God."

That Greek word "be filled" is the word "pleroo".

It’s in the imperative mood.

That means it’s a command.

God doesn’t request that we be filled with the Holy Spirit.

He doesn’t say we might consider the possibility of it.

God says, "I command you to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God."

>But not only is that word in the imperative mood, it’s in the present tense.

That means it is continuous action.

He says not only does he command me to be filled with the Holy Spirit…

He commands me to be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit, not only on Sunday…

But on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday and even Saturday.

I’m to be filled continuously with the Holy Spirit of God.

That’s not a request…

That’s not a possibility…

That’s not an option.

That’s a command of God.

>But not only is that word in the imperative mood and the present tense…

It is also in the plural number.

That means it’s not just preachers that are supposed to be full of the Holy Spirit.

It’s not just staff members, not just deacons, not just SS teachers…

But every born again child of God.

You dear man, you dear lady, all of you young people…

God says, "I command you to be continuously filled with the HS of God."

>Hey, let me tell you something else again.

This verb is not only in the indicative mood, and the plural number and the present tense…

It’s in the passive voice.

What does that mean?

That means again, it’s not something I do.

It is something that’s done for me.

A verb that’s in the passive voice means that the subject of the verb is not the actor.

He’s the one that is acted on.

I cannot fill myself with the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit of God must fill me with his control.

>Now what does that mean?

Does that mean that I get a little bit of the HS at one point and then a little bit more at another point…

And a little bit more and a little bit more…?

No sir.

The HS is a person.

He is not a commodity.

The HS is a person.

He’s not some kind of a liquid that you pour in and pour out.

The HS of God is a person, and when you gave your life to Jesus…

All of the HS came to live in you.

But I’ve got news for you.

All of the HS lives inside of me too.

And all of the HS lives inside you.

You don’t have part of him and you’ve got part of him and you’ve got part of him, and I’ve got part of him.

Bless God, every one of us has got all of him.

Well how can that be?

I haven’t the faintest idea.

But bless God, I’ve gotten in on it.

That’s what he’s saying.

If I am willing to empty myself of all the ambitions and dreams and goals…

And aspirations that I might have, and I would say, "Oh Holy Spirit of God, come and fill my life today…

Control my life today, then coming forth out of my life…

Not adultery, not fornication, not all of those works of the flesh…

But this blessed fruit of the spirit of God.

Love, joy, peace, gentleness…

Faith, goodness, meekness, temperance and all the rest.

I don’t even have time to describe them.

But you know what they are.

>You know what those nine things are?

They’re Jesus.

You want to know what Jesus looks like?

Don’t go look at some painting in a SS class.

That’s not what he looks like,

You want to know what Jesus looks like?

You look right there in verse 22 and 23.

That’s what Jesus looks like.

Love, joy, peace, longsuffering…

Gentleness, faith, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.

That’s exactly what Jesus looks like.

You want to know what you look like?

Go back up there to verse 19:

Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness…

Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance.

That’s what I look like and that’s what you look like.

>I want to ask you.

When people look at you, what do you want them to see?

Do you want them to see you?

God help you.

I’m telling you, you’re ugly.

And I’m ugly because that’s what we look like.

But I tell you, when that old man is dead and we’re surrendered to the Lord…

And the HS of God fills our life…

I’m telling you, we look just like Jesus.

"Bro. Joe, how tall was Jesus?"

He was six four.

"Bro. Joe, how much did Jesus weigh?"

He weighed 330 pounds.

"How do you know?"

Because that’s what I am and I look like him.


Oh, that’s the wonder and the glory of the Christian life.

>Now folks, I want to say to you again, you have a choice to make.

You can choose to live in that old flesh, wicked and sinful flesh…

Or you can choose to live in the power of the HS of God and Jesus Christ be manifested in your life.

What do you want?

What do you want?

Let’s pray.