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Cornerstone Community Church

Walking by the Spirit Part 2

Intro:  Planting trees- what they need to grow.  Walking by the Spirit is about our growth.

Big Idea:  Jesus forms His character in us thru the work of the Spirit in us.

Recap: Paul has moved from justification & adoption to the reality of sanctification.  Those who have been justified & adopted have both indwelling sin & the indwelling Spirit which are in conflict with each other.  The Spirit works to help us resist the desires of the flesh lest we act on them.  Let’s move to the positive side of sanctification: vivification.

I. Jesus leads us by the indwelling Spirit.

-         The Spirit gives us spiritual life, & sustains our life-giving union with Jesus.  Ill. babies

-         We are also “led by the Spirit.”  He guides and directs us (Exodus 13).  Not mysticism!

-         Leads us to seek Christ in Scripture- meet the living Word in the written Word of God.

-         Leads us to seek Christ in prayer.  We express & submit our longings to Him in prayer.

-         Leads us to seek Christ in worship.  We express love & gratitude & seek grace from Him.

-         The Spirit moves us toward maturity in Christ thru the means of grace.  The flesh resists.

-         No Scripture, no prayer, no worship => no Christ => no authentic Christian growth!

-         Leads us to trust Christ & all God’s promises.  He leads us into trials (Deut. 8 & Mt. 4). 

-         In difficult times we internalize truth (sound doctrine), become humble & trust (Rom. 8).

-         Leads us into obedience born of love. Relationship => obedience; life => growth (Jn. 14)

-         The Spirit leads you to obey God’s moral law, NOT to disregard it or break it.

21 By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Exodus 13 (NIV)

2 Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.  3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.  4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.  5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.  Deuteronomy 8 (NIV)

26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.  Ezekiel 36 (NIV)

23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. John 14 (NIV)

“Law keeping out of love is the true path of holiness.”  J.I. Packer

 

 

 

Transition:  Jesus leads us toward maturity thru the indwelling Spirit.  But it isn’t automatic.

II. We are responsible to follow as the Spirit leads.

-         We are not passive “let go & let God.”  We are responsible before God (Phil. 2).

-         Our responsibility comes in the context of great privilege AND abundant resources.

-         We are commanded to “walk in the Spirit” so we don’t gratify the desires of the flesh.

-         We are also to “walk, or keep in step,” with the Spirit (vs.25)”.  Ill. March/rescue

-         Indwelling sin hinders us- we complain, we resist, we rebel.  Ill. Wilderness generation

-         The gospel should humble & empower us to follow the lead of Him who loved us…

…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.  Philippians 2 (NIV)

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4 (NIV)

“Indwelling sin, which by nature is an instinctive reluctance to do the will of God, makes us apathetic and slothful and lazy with regard to ‘good works’ and leads us to play games with God to justify our slackness in that for which he saved us.”  J.I. Packer

“He obeys God not as a sinner trying to win salvation, but as a son of God rejoicing in the gift of salvation that is already his.”  J.I. Packer

 

 

 

Transition:  We are dependent on the Spirit, but responsible to follow Him that He might work.

III. The Spirit bears fruit which honors Messiah & helps community.

-         Paul contrasts the works of the flesh w/ the fruit of the Spirit.

-         Works of the flesh dishonor Jesus- faith-produced obedience (fruit) brings Him honor.

-         Works: actions produced quickly.  Fruit: character developed slowly.  Ill. Weeds vs. grass

-         The works destroy community; the fruit give life to community.  Ill. Weeds kill grass

-         The fruit are God’s character & God exists in community (Trinity): Christ formed in us.

-         Love can be described by all these holy habits of action (1 Cor. 13).  Ill. Packer’s list

-         Fruit grows as we say ‘no’ to anger & ‘yes’ to peace, joy, kindness & goodness (Titus 2).

-         “No to pride & selfish ambition, and ‘yes” to humility & patience.

-         “No” to sexual immorality & drunkeness, and ‘yes’ to self-control & faithfulness.

-         The Spirit is at work in the ordinary & extraordinary events of life to form Christ in us.

-         As we become more like Christ, we are better spouses, children, parents, business people.

“… vivification, the inculcating and strengthening in us of all Christ-like habits, in particular the ninefold pattern of habitual reaction to life’s pressures that Paul … calls the ‘fruit’ of the Spirit.”  J.I. Packer

Conclusion: Growth in Christ is not automatic- it happens in the midst of that conflict between the flesh and the Spirit.  With our great privileges comes the great responsibility to keep in step with the Spirit: only then will we bear the fruit of the Spirit- Christ formed in us that He might receive much praise, and we might experience the blessings of godly community.

 

 

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