Please be aware that sermon notes are meant to act as a guide and may not be exactly what was preached.
Last week we talked about the Freedom we have as the Church in Christ. But, with freedom, there is responsibility. In order for our freedom to work we must follow the Great commandment to love…
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” It is in and through the love of God that we are to serve one another.
As we know, there was trouble amongst the churches in Galatia, in fighting over whether or not to adhere to the practices of the Law over, or with, the Gospel of the Kingdom. This unholy, uncivil, war on one another brought about by false teachers is what Paul is writing to them about. He warned them to quit or they would be consumed by one another if they did not get back to what they were supposed to be as the Church of God in Galatia.
That warning is ours as well.
We, as the church, should be following what we know as the “Golden Rule.” Jesus said, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:12-14).
We are to put into action the Golden Rule because if we are Christians then God’s Spirit resides with in us and the fruit of the Spirit, what we produce as God’s children, is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If we live by the Spirit, then we should keep in step with the spirit. If you are Spirit led, you have to take your next step in obedience to the Spirit inspired Word!
The Golden Rule is the guiding principle of all morality. It shows the world the love we have for each other and the responsibility we take for one another as we walk in the freedom Christ has provided.
The Golden Rule is the sum total of the law and the prophets with regard to our interactions with one another as well as with those outside the Church. It instructs us to put ourselves in our neighbor’s place, and guide our behavior accordingly. That is what love of neighbor, at the very least does, isn’t it? We must cease the works of the flesh and put them behind us as we take our next step forward following and in Christ.
We must crucify the flesh, we must put to death our earthy desires, the way we used to live and walk in this world. Today is a new day, you have been given a new life, and are called to live by the Spirit as you follow Christ Jesus as Lord.
Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh!!! Our flesh is what is usually behind what we do, it controls our words and actions, it is that instinctive drive for self-preservation and self-promotion. The world feeds our flesh, our ego, and our own self-will.
But in the Kingdom, within God’s Church, amongst Christians, we are called to set our emotions and our will – what we want, our ego, aside for the common good. We are to be like minded, in one accord, intent on one purpose. But for that to happen we truly have to deny self, crucify the flesh (our ego) and be God’s Church!
Have you crucified the flesh? Can you say what Paul said, “I (ego) have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, emphasis added). This is the crucified Life! I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me (Galatians 5:6). The emphasis that Paul places on God’s Love is vital in our understanding of the Crucified Life.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 2:1-5
This is how we are to be the living sacrifices of Romans 12, working out our own salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that God the Spirit is working in you to will and work for His good pleasure. And what is that good pleasure? That we would be conformed into the image of His Son-made Christ-like – as we are enabled and empowered to die to self, crucify our egos and live for Him as His Church as we live by the Spirit.
It is only in love (God’s love for us and our comprehension of it) that we can be, “built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22). We, the Church, have received the Holy Spirti, the Helper, the Spirit of Truth, so that we can reach into our communities, build relationships, and be God’s Church to those same communities. But we must live the crucified life, being led by the Spirit. We are enabled, empowered, indwelled, and motivated in, and with, the Spirit!
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26).
Are you living the crucified life, a living sacrifice, a Servant of God? or the life of Self?
- Are we God’s Church?
- Have you, as part of God’s Church, put to death/crucified the flesh/ego?
- Are you living the crucified life/walking by the Spirit?
- General: Acts 2:37-47, Romans 5:1-5, Romans 13:8-10, 1 John 4:7-12, Ephesians 2:19-22, Ephesians 4:1-16, James 2:8, 1 Peter 3:9
- Living the crucified life: Romans 12, Colossians 3:1-17, 23-34, Philippians 2:1-18
- One Mind: Romans 12:16, Romans 15:5-6, 2 Corinthians 13:11, Philippians 1:27, 1 Peter 3:8