Walk by the Spirit - It’s been a good series. We have heard a lot about who the Spirit is and what he does. Hopefully this has deepened our understanding of God and helped us therefore to understand our place before him.
But where do we go from here? We can understand who the Spirit is, why he’s come, how he’s saved us, how he helps us grow toward God, the gifts that he gives and the guidance he provides.
But – What now?
Our goal for you as Christians here is that you would be constantly learning, growing and stretching your faith. The Holy Spirit wants that more than we do. He’s working toward that end within you. You have him with you at all times
Now walk with him.
Galatians 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Benefits of walking by the Spirit – why should I want to walk by the Spirit? That is what it means to live the Christian life.
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
We won’t gratify the flesh.
Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
You may say: but I kinda like gratifying the flesh.
Rom 6:21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
We get the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
We get to do God’s good works as his masterpiece.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
This is a good thing – we should walk by the Spirit – it is what we’re created anew to do.
I looked up the word walk in greek – it means WALK! Not a complex word
Colossians 2:6-7 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
I’ve watched both of my boys take their first steps. You push one foot out and then you put weight on it.
So what if we develop a prototype step. We break the spiritual walk – walking by the Spirit - into steps and we define the first step.
The first step of faith – the beginning of the walk by the Spirit
This includes humility – understanding how big God is and how small we are – how right he is and how wrong we are.
Psalm 11:7 For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Learning - Hearing and understanding truth – what has Christ done?
John 8:31-32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
Obeying – realizing that a reaction needs to take place - repent and believe
Acts 17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,
1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.
Proclaiming – we must open our mouth and say that Jesus is Lord – the Son of God
Romans 10:9-10 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.
1 John 4:15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
Now that we’ve accomplished the prototype step. This is the template!
Step 1 – Humbly learn, obey and proclaim.
How do we make this a walk? What is the difference between a step and a walk – absolutely nothing as long as you don’t stop! Again with my boys it takes trial and error – they fall a lot. I still fall! Especially when the footing is bad!
So, we don’t have any further instructions (this is that simple) – there are no chapters devoted to step 1, 2, 3, etc
Let’s return to our prototype. I think that we can use it – it’s not perfect but I don’t think it will steer us wrong! What we do to the gospel in the walk is we dive in deeper, we seek to be more humble, understand more, obey more and proclaim more! This gives us the platform (put us in the right place) to walk in the Spirit
Being Humble – Seeing your sufficiency in God alone
As much as it takes humility to come to Christ – to admit that you need a savior we must continue in humility. Trying to walk in the Spirit and to have the fruit of the Spirit while in pride – or trying to do it alone is simply an impossibility!!! You can’t do something alone and with someone else at the same time. Just because we can now say that we are saved in Christ doesn’t give us any reason for pride other than in him! We haven’t done anything in order to be saved – there is still no merit in us – no reason for boasting!
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.
1 Peter 5:5-7 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
How can you have the fruit (the automatic outcome) of the Spirit’s presence in your life if you’re being opposed by God? You cannot skip this step! If you skip this step you’re in danger of doing for yourself – doing out of pride. You began in humility – now do you want to finish in pride? When did you become something other than the sinner that needs the grace and mercy of God?
How do you know if you’re doing something in pride? Examine yourself. Anxiety is a form of pride – you’re trusting yourself instead of God. Considering yourself better or worse than someone else – no one wins in comparison.
What is humility? Humility is a sensitivity and a softness towards the Spirit and his gentle pressure in your life. It is acknowledging your constant sin. It is acknowledging God’s perfection and holiness. It is judging yourself against the word of God. God is in heaven and you are here on earth! It is knowing that in your place of insecurity, God has brought you security not because of anything that you’ve done – in antithesis of what you’ve done – your righteous deeds don’t count. This is love – this is grace!
If you’re properly humble you’ll be grateful for God’s mercy and grace because you know that you don’t deserve it. This gives us a desire to know what God wants of us.
Learning Truth – Taking in and understanding the word of God
Brad talked about this last week. Set our minds on the truth of the word – give the Spirit the words to use in our lives. Just as we need to know the truth of what Christ has done we need to continue to deepen our understand of God’s word. We must read, meditate, memorize and study to understand.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.
Nehemiah 8:8 They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
If you don’t read it – start! If all you do is read it and walk away – write it down – study!
ESV Study Bible
Believers Bible Commentary by William MacDonald
Concise Theology by J. I. Packer
Hopefully being humble draws us into want to know what God wants and then knowing it gives us a desire to do what we know and understand.
Obeying in Faith – Doing what you know and trusting God with the results.
When we first come to Christ the only thing that we know is that we must repent and have faith. But as we learn more about God’s word and his call upon our lives we need to do it – we need to keep obeying.
James 1:22-25 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
We must obey in order to sow to the Spirit and then we’ll reap a harvest of righteousness
Gal 6:7-9 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
We cannot let the truth sit inactive in our hearts – it does bad things! This is one of the easiest things to do on your own strength. It’s also the easiest thing to skip – you know but you don’t do it.
So, you’re humble, getting the word in and working to understand it and then do it. Unfortunately, my experience is that I can’t do it perfectly. I have far more understanding than I do action. This gives us a desire to humble ourselves again… and ask for help. But we can’t ignore that certain type of obedience that we’re called to.
Proclaiming Engaging with Others – Taking obedience to others.
Just as we proclaim that Jesus is Lord we must continue to be witness to that fact. This should be a big part of our walk by the Spirit.
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.
Matt 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Luke 6:45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Acts 4:20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.
2 Timothy 2:2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Also be aware that when we proclaim the gospel we need to be living out the love of Christ. Hypocrisy is an easy accusation! Every time we share the truth we must back up our words with actions of obedience – sometimes people won’t hear the truth from us until they see our obedience and humility.
Sometimes they can’t hear the gospel because they are too hungry.
This walk by the Spirit is a walk of love that loves others and serves them as we share.
We must take these steps in order to walk in the Spirit. These steps must continue – we can’t give up humility, learning, obedience or speaking the truth. Continually and in community!
We must do this continually – we cannot pause, stop or even take a break – pray continually – we need the Spirit to do this don’t we? It’s rather circular – as we do these things we get more of the Spirit and we’re enable to do these things more and more!
I don’t have time to unpack community for you this morning but we can’t expect to walk in the Spirit by ourselves. God is sufficient – he doesn’t need other people but he’s designed us to be in community – to be humble, learn, obey and proclaim in community.
When do these steps stop? When do we get past being humble, learning, obeying and proclaiming? This is a daily walk – this is a daily choice – this is a moment by moment walk of faith! Humbly learning, obeying and proclaiming – continually and in community!
Is this an oversimplification of the Christian life? It could be. There is so much here – we can’t squeeze it all into one message. But this is the first step – and a template – prototype of each step after. Make it your own! Do it with humility. Learn as you do it. Obey what you know. Proclaim who you know. Continually. Do it together!
This is walking by the Spirit I think that we can use it – it’s not perfect but I don’t think it will steer us wrong! There is more – this could become a series on the Spiritual disciplines. But this is a start for us and it’s enough for today.