"Judging Your Own Walk"
Paul outlines part of the Christian’s walk. He speaks of walking by the Spirit of God and defines what that means by how well the Spirit is at work through you. He also speaks of what it means to walk in the flesh and defines what that means.
Judging Your Own Walk
A. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all share about Jesus being baptized. Whether it is the actual account or John retelling what happened at the time, all four Gospel speak of the Holy Spirit coming upon Jesus. At the time Spirit of God came upon Jesus his ministry began in its fullness and Satan began his tempting of the Messiah.
B. In John 3, we get the story of Nicodemus talking to Jesus at night and Jesus talks about the need to be “born again.” The phrase can mean “born a second time” or “born from above.” The obvious meaning is “born from above” because Jesus immediately speaks about being born of water and Spirit and defines Spirit as the Holy Spirit. Jesus then challenges Nicodemus about his understanding of the Holy Spirit at work in believers.
C. When Peter and the Apostles stood before the crowd gathered on the Pentecost recorded in Acts 2, we hear a powerful sermon that calls people to see Jesus as the Messiah and savior of our sins. When the people ask what they should do, Peter replies, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins AND YOU WILL receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
D. When Paul writes to Christians in Rome, that the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. Then he says these words (Rom. 8:7-11).
I. Judging Your Own Walk
A. Jesus talks about “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” He tells us that we can judge the fruit of another person to see if they are a wolf. But testing them is very difficult, because many wolves do wear sheep’s clothing. There is no doubt that Paul has been making a harsh judgement call on wolves in sheep’s clothing coming into the churches throughout Galatia and teaching a false spiritual walk.
B. But in this closing section he speak directly to the Christians in those congregations and now asks them to judge their own spiritual walk. READ Gal. 5:16-18.
C. We live in country that love freedom to choose. We can choose what to do with our body, what to do with a pregnancy, who to marry, where or if to worship, and many other choices. Some choices we make consciously, like you chose to come to worship today. You chose what to wear to worship today. You chose to either bring a Bible or just listen. And let me tell you the choices you make affect you, your family, and sometimes those you know and even some people you don’t know.
D. Choice is a bigger issue than we give it credit. When you examine our theme passage we see that Paul is reminding us about a choice in how we live. We can choose to walk by the spirit or we can choose to gratify the desires of the flesh. That is a choice. So right now, God is working in you and calling you to judge your own spiritual walk.
E. There is no more qualified to judge your spiritual walk than you. You know your heart better than other human being. I can judge your talk and your actions, but I can’t judge your heart and your motives accurately.
II. The Pathway of Sin
A. Paul is going to give us two lists. I like lists. The lists are not intended to be all-encompassing. They are intended to give you the big picture of what life looks like depending on whether you walk in the flesh or walk in the Spirit. So here is list #1 (READ Gal. 5:19-21)
B. What a person looks like who lives according to fleshly desires takes up these types of actions and attitudes. I can tell you right now that there are some things in that list that you think are worse than others; the difficulty is Paul doesn’t rank them in order of sinfulness. He helps to define what a mind set upon the flesh looks like. We know we live in a sexually immoral culture and it promotes more immorality. We know that anger, quarreling, dividing instead of seeking unity happens in churches just like it does in the world.
III. The Better Life
A. But Paul gives a second list, a healthy list. He uses fruit to describe this list. I believe the reason why, is the first list is based upon things we choose, whereas this next list is things that are produced. READ Gal. 5:22-23.
B. God wants to be at work through you. Being a Christian is being a vessel for God. It is less about you doing nice things than it is being God’s handiwork. God want to paint society with you, so He produces Himself in you for others to see Him. You are His fruit and fruit serves a purpose, it brings nourishment and goodness to those who partake of it.
C. For a long time I would work on trying to put these wonderful qualities in my life. I would work harder at being more loving, more joyful or more patient. But I found myself failing and then feeling guilty for not doing the fruit. But Paul helped me to see that when I submit to God, when I walk by the Spirit, these are things God does through me. He enables me to show love, joy, peace and all the rest. They are not my works, but God working through me.
A. Choice. You and I have the ability to make choices. You can choose to live by how your flesh desires, or you can choose to walk by the Spirit of God.
B. Judge yourself. How is your walk? What is God doing through you for His glory? I look at verse 24 and it reminds me of Gal. 2:20.
C. Let’s be the spirit filled, Jesus saved believers that world sees and trembles because they see God in us. Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in you.
Because of Jesus,
Jeffrey Dillinger, minister