2016-11-13
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Memory verse:
Galatians 5:14 NKJV

As you walk the streets of this city, it is guaranteed that there are very few people you pass who are truly filled with joy. I’m not talking about happiness, that’s a different thing altogether. I’m talking about true joy. The kind of joy that fills your heart to overflowing. The reason, in my opinion, is that most people have allowed circumstances, situations, conflicts etc., to crowd out any room for joy. The focus is on here rather than on Him!

Our constant battle for personal preferences and desires has led us to conflict with one another, even in the church, which can do nothing but stop us in our pursuit of joy. The book of Galatians was written by Paul to encourage believers to let go of the burdens of the past and of sin and cling to the freedom that comes from Christ. As a result of living in this way, all will be able to experience the joy that Christ came to give. While Galatians is a powerful book full of theological truths, today we’re going to focus in on one specific passage that I believe is particularly relevant for this day.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:13-26 (NLT)
13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another. 16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

Let’s talk about what it takes to make room for joy. It doesn’t happen by accident, nor does it happen naturally by default, it happens through action.  How?

1. To serve in love
13b …Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

– To make room for joy, we must be willing to do for others, to recognize that true joy does not come in what you can get for yourself or through what others can do for you but rather through what you can do to serve

Q. – What can I do today for someone that will put a genuine smile on their face?

2. To speak in love
15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

– Our actions, and reactions, determine the room for joy in our life

– this verse was a direct reference to those in the church who were destroying one another through their attacks on one another

– biting, devouring, destroying (Greek references to fights of wild animals to the death)

Q. – What can I say to someone today that will encourage them, to lift their spirit?

3. To act in love
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

– Simple words. Easy to say so hard to actually do.

– How do we have this fruit in our lives?

– Always see the good in others, even when you want to see the bad

– Make efforts to stop a conflict rather than feed it

– Be a genuinely kind and good person

– When your personal desires are at war with what is right, take a breath, then do the right thing

The opposite:
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.

Q. – How can I change my actions today to show these fruits of the spirit to others?

4. To reflect Christ in love

25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

– The only way to find joy is to find Him and follow

14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

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