Prophecy – Part 95 – Galatians 5:19-21

In our last study we were involved in studying Satan’s attacks on the Christian in the Age of Grace, but also those that will live in the Tribulation Age.  Today we continue with the following:

FLESH:  As we saw in our last study, the works or acts of the flesh show just how strong the flesh truly is. It is important for us to recognize that the flesh in and of itself is not sinful.

POINT:  This is simple to understand if we remember that when a person is saved, his body becomes a temple for God to dwell in through the Holy Spirit.   Also, the Christian is not told to cleanse himself from the flesh but from:

  1. the LUST of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
  2. the filthiness of the flesh (2 Corinthians 7:1).
  3. the evil works of the flesh (Romans 13:12; Galatians 5:19.

Before us we have some very important information pertaining to the flesh and sin.  In Galatians 5:16-21 we have the walk of the believer in combating the Great Enemy in life: Lusts of the Flesh.  Notices three principles:

  1. the answer to conquering the lusts of the flesh is the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16-18). Walk in the Spirit…
  2. the Work or acts of the flesh (5:19-21).
  3. the Judgment of those who live by the flesh (5:21).

(Galatians 5:16-18) Holy Spirit — Flesh: The answer to conquering the lusts of the flesh is the Holy Spirit of God. The believer is to walk in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.  This is the ONLY conceivable way he can keep from fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.

 FACT:  No person has the power to control the lusts of his flesh — not within himself.  The Bible gives us four reasons why this is true.

  1. The flesh fights for dominance. It lusts against the Holy  Spirit, struggles and fights to control the man.

The word “lusts” (epithumei kata) means a yearning passion FOR.  And every person has experienced the flesh…

                  *yearning                  *craving          *grasping

                  *pulling                     *hungering         *grabbing

                  *desiring                   *thirsting          *taking

                  *wanting                   *longing          

Every person knows what it is to have his flesh lusting after something, to have it yearning, and yearning to lay hold of something.  The flesh is very strong and difficult to control.  This is the first reason why a believer’s only hope to control the flesh is the Spirit of God (Roman 7:23; Romans 8:7; James 4:1-2).

  1. The flesh is contrary to the Spirit. The flesh has within itself base and unregulated urges and passions.   A man senses the desire to do what he likes, to lift the restraints and follow his own inclinations, desires, passions, and emotions.   This is what the Bible means when it speaks of the “lust of the flesh.”

However, a true believer has another force within his life — the force of the Holy Spirit.  When the believer feels the constraint and pressure between the flesh and the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is giving the power to overcome the flesh.  The constraint is the power.

The believer who listens to the constraint and walks away from the object of the pressure, and calls upon God for the courage and strength to stay away that, is the believer who walks in the SPIRIT.  Remember the believer is to know no such thing as a peaceful coexistence between the flesh and the Spirit (Romans 7:14-15; 8:18; 8:28-29).

  1. Note four things: (1) the flesh keeps a person from doing what he would do, (2) every person has experienced the power of the flesh, (3) everyone has caved in to the flesh and done something that he did not want to do and, (4) he fought against doing it — knew it was harmful or hurtful — yet he did not resist the flesh.  He gave in to the power of the flesh and did it.  He…

*overate                    *did evil things         *acted selfishly

*became angry        *lusted                       *committed immorality

*got drunk                *cursed                      *cheated, lied, or stole

Note another fact as well.  All of us have been tempted and we have known how to combat and overcome the temptation.  However, the flesh was so strong that it often keeps us from doing what we would.  It is:

*controlling              *sacrificing                *showing kindness

*reaching out           *giving in                   *giving

*loving                       *being patient          *helping

The point is this:  the ONLY hope anyone has for controlling the flesh is TO WALK IN THE SPIRIT of God – in His presence and power  (Romans 7:15-20; 2 Corinthians 10:4; Galatians 5:16-17).

  1. The flesh fails to keep the law (God’s commandments). No person keeps the law all of the time;  the flesh causes us to fail, and no matter how much we try, we cannot do everything the law says—not all the time.

What then is the answer?  It is essential to know the answer, for every time we fail to keep the law, the law is broken and we stand condemned.  We cannot satisfy the demands of the law, not perfectly.  Therefore, we are guilty and must pay the penalty.

Note another fact:  our conscience condemns us.  It bothers and bugs us if we are trying to live for Christ and yet continue failing time after time.  Again, what is the answer?

SOLUTION:  The answer of God is:   being led by the Holy Spirit will free us from the flesh and from the condemnation of the law.

What does that mean?  It means that the Holy Spirit frees us to live as Christ lived, to actually live out the life Christ lived.

The active energy of life, the dynamic force and being of life, all that is in Christ Jesus—is given to the believer.  The believer actually lives in Christ Jesus.  And the Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus frees the believer from the law of sin and death.   This simply means that the believer lives in a consciousness of being free.

As the Holy Spirit leads, the believer breathes and senses the depth of life—a richness, a fullness of life that is indescribable.  He lives in power, power over the pressure, strain, impediments and bondages of life, even the bondages of sin and death.  He lives now and shall live forever.  He senses and knows this.   Life to him is a spirit, a breath, a consciousness of being set free through Christ.

The war in the inner man, even when he sins and guilt sets in, is a tug for power.  The Holy Spirit is drawing him back to God. He asks forgiveness (casts all his cares on God for He cares for you. I Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:19; God supplies all your need) and removal of the guilt (I John 1:9), and immediately upon asking, the Holy Spirit instills and instantaneously gives an assurance of cleansing.

The consciousness of living powerfully is restored.  Once again he is in a right relationship with God and he feels full of life in all its liberating power and freedom.  He bubbles over with all the depth of the richness and fullness of life itself.  He is full of the Spirit of life.  Life itself becomes once again a spirit, a consciousness of living, He lives now and forever (Romans 8:2-4; 8:14; John 16:13).

Let’s consider the fact that the works of the flesh are the fruit of indwelling sin and sin originates in the heart, not in the flesh.  The sins of the flesh listed in Galatians 5:19-21 are clearly seen throughout our world and tragically they are seen every day through radio or TV broadcasts.  Further, every day the sins of the flesh are seen not only in the daily newscasts of every city but within every community, home and life on planet earth.  The very presence of such fleshly sins shows just how strong the flesh is and how helpless man is to control his flesh.

Let’s examine the sins of the flesh in order to help us understand the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit as we struggle to live holy lives (I Peter 1:15-16).  The very presence of such fleshly sins shows just how strong the flesh is and how helpless man is to control his flesh. 

THE WORKS OR ACTS OF THE FLESH SHOW HOW STRONG THE FLESH IS.  THERE ARE SEVENTEEN FACTS TO EXAMINE and today we will look at part of them.  Let’s begin with:

1. ADULTERY (moicheia) – sexual unfaithfulness to husband or wife. It is also looking on a woman or man to lust after her or him. Looking at and lusting after the opposite sex [or same sex] whether in person, magazines, books, on beaches or anywhere else is adultery.  Imagining and lusting within the heart is the very same as committing the act (Matthew 5:28; Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 20:10; Job 24:15-19).                     

2. FORNICATION (porneia) – a broad word including all forms of immoral and sexual acts. It is premarital sex and adultery. It is abnormal sex, all kinds of sexual vice (I Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; I Thessalonians 4:3).

3. UNCLEANNESS (akatharsia) moral impurity; doing things that dirty, pollute, and soil life (Matthew 5:28; Romans 1:24; Romans 6:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5).

4. LASCIVIOUSNESS (aselgeia) – filthiness, indecency, shamelessness. A chief characteristic of the behavior is open and shameless indecency.  It means unstrained evil thoughts and behavior.  It is giving in to brutish and lustful desires, a readiness for any pleasure.  It is a man or woman who knows no restraint, a person who has sinned so much he no longer cares what people say or think.

It is something far more distasteful than just doing wrong.  The person who misbehaves usually tries to hide what they are doing wrong, but a lascivious person does not care who knows about his exploits or shame.

What he wants, therefore, he seeks to take and gratify.  Decency and opinions do not matter.  Initially when he began to sin he did as all men do, he misbehaved in secret.  But eventually the sin got the best of him—to the point that he no longer cared who saw or knew.  He became the subject of a master—the master of habit, of the thing itself.  Men become slaves of such things as unbridled lust, wantonness, licentiousness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence (Mark 7:22), wanton manners, filthy words, indecent body movements, immoral handling of males and females (Romans 13:13), public display of affection, carnality, gluttony and sexual immorality (Romans 1:27; Ephesians 4:19; Jude 4, 7; I Peter 4:3). 

  1. IDOLATRY (eldoloatreia)The worship of idols, whether mental or made by man’s hands; the worship of some idea of what God is like, of an image of God within a person’s mind; the giving of one’s primary devotion (time and energy) to something other than God (I Corinthians 10:14; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5-6; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15).

FACT: Behind every idol is a demon (Psalm 106:36-38).

6. WITCHCRAFT (pharmekeia) – sorcery; the use of drugs or of evil spirits to gain control over the lives of others or over one’s own life. In the present context it would include all forms of seeking the control of one’s fate including astrology, palm reading, seances, fortune telling, crystals and other forms of witchcraft (I Chronicles 10:13; Isaiah 8:19-20; Micah 5:12; Galatians 5:20-21). 

  1. HATRED (ereis) – enmity, hostility, animosity. It is the hatred that lingers and is held for a long, long time a hatred that is deep within.

He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now” (I John 2:9; I John 3:15; I John 4:20; Leviticus 19:17; Proverbs 10:12).

APPLICATION:

We will be examining further words dealing with the flesh but for now we are out of time.  Next time, we will pick up with number 8, VARIANCE (ereis).” 

As we close, I would like to challenge you to think about salvation if you have not accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

Good QuestionWhy not??????? Why would you reject the glories of heaven?  Think about the following:

“For God so loved the world (you), that he GAVE (for you) his only begotten Son, that whosoever [anyone who wants to go to heaven] believeth in him [Jesus] should not perish [not have God’s free gift of heaven], but have everlasting life”(John 3:16, emphasis added).

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus (in prayer), and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved [gained the right to go to heaven).  For with the heart man believeth [truly believe] unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession [truly accept Christ as Savior] is made unto salvation.  For the Scripture [God cannot lie] saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek [anyone can be saved]: for the same Lord [Jesus] over all is rich unto all that CALL upon him.  For whosoever shall CALL [ask for salvation] upon the name of the Lord SHALL BE SAVED” (Romans 10:9-13).

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