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David Harrell Bio July, 25 Each transcript is a rough approximation of the message preached and may occasionally misstate certain portions of the sermon and even misspell certain words. It should in no way be considered an edited document ready for print.
Moreover, as in any transcription of the spoken word, the full intention and passion of the speaker cannot be fully captured and will in no way reflect the same style of a written document. I am honored to be able to minister the Word of God to you again this morning. Will you me by taking your Bibles and turning, first of all, to Galatians chapter five. We are going to use a text or two in Galatians five as a launching point for the study that we will have later on in 1 Corinthians But we want to start in Galatians chapter five.
We are continuing our series on the heart of love. But we are also to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. How can we possibly do that? The Lord even commands us in Matthew that we are to love our enemies and we are to bless those who curse us. We are to do good to those that hate us and pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us. How can you do that? I could never possibly love like that. And starting today I am going to start loving like Christ.
And in a very short amount of time you are frustrated, you are discouraged and you return to being the same old selfish, irritable, angry, manipulative, controlling gossip that you were.
And the cycle kind of goes over and over. So the question is: How do we possibly become more like Christ especially with respect to this issue of love? Well, the answer is very simple. We have got to learn to walk by the Spirit. And that is what we see here in Galatians five. Notice verse They are evident, he says. But the commands of the law are powerless to us. We do them automatically. A man apart from Christ cannot stop himself from these kinds of sins.
It is his very nature. We see the battle even with the believer in verse So you may please with all your heart, you may desire to love like Christ, but you find yourself failing. So what do you do? This is a work of the Spirit.
So we must walk by the Spirit. Now what does that mean? Well, it simply means to be totally surrendered to the control of the indwelling Spirit of God who will then direct our lives and cause us to bear fruit. It is to have your mind so saturated by the Word of God, written by the Spirit of God, that he literally dominates your life, dominates your thinking, dominates your motivation, dominates your will.
It is not a fruit of your own making. And he makes it abundantly clear that a man cannot be saved by keeping the law, nor can a man live the Christian life by keeping the law, any kind of law, even the laws that we end up making for ourselves. You see, that was never the purpose of the law.
The purpose of the law was to help us to see that we needed something other than ourselves and drive us, therefore, to the Savior. Then at salvation the Holy Spirit indwells us and he becomes the power source causing us to bear fruit which ultimately would be to obey the law.
Even as Jesus is the primary person in our justification, so, too, you must understand the Holy Spirit is the primary person that energizes our sanctification. Now this does not mean that we just kind of passively set by and let the Holy Spirit do it all—this mistaken notion of let go and let God—but rather we see here in verse 16 that we are to walk. Now the grammar here in the original language tells us that this is a command.
It is not a suggestion. It is not an option that you may want to consider. It is a command. We are to walk. And it is in the present tense which indicates that this is continuous regular action. This must be an exercise of our will, of our volition to do these things. We must choose to surrender to the Holy Spirit of God on a moment by moment basis. But ultimately what is fascinating is that it is the Spirit of God that empowers us to do that very thing. We are to habitually live out the truths of Scripture. Is the Word of God at home in you?
Is it welcomed there? Is it what your life orbits around? But this obviously requires our dedicated commitment. We must choose to read the Word, to heed the Word, to allow it to permeate our heart and our mind. Romans We are to be transformed by what? By the renewing of our mind.
And the idea there is that that transformation will happen to us without us necessarily even knowing it through the power of the Word of God. It is to continuously live under the influence of the Holy Spirit by letting the Word of God control us. And ultimately all he is doing is living by the flesh, not by the Spirit. And he will be forever frustrated. Some people mistakenly think that if they force themselves to live by certain rules and regulations they have created that they will be able to conquer the flesh and become more like Christ.
But just the opposite will happen. I have seen it many times. Gradually a person begins to take what are really nothing more than their own personal preferences, they begin to elevate them to the status of the Mosaic code and the more they dutifully obey their noble rules and regulations, the more they end up quenching the Spirit of God in their life and the more they despair in their Christian walk, because they are walking in the flesh.
They are not walking by the Spirit. I have Christian brothers I love dearly who are utterly obsessed by rules and regulations that they have concocted. You just pick a subject and they have got a rule for it.
They have got some standard that is nowhere found in Scripture. And it is interesting that these rules are always pertaining to externals, not to issues of the heart.
And, sadly, they are always frustrated. I ask you. Have you ever met a Legalist that finally has a completed list, where finally there needs no more revision? They have got it all figured out. Here are the things that if I do this, then my flesh has been conquered and I can be like Christ. It never happens.
And, sadly, many times they are not loving which would be a violation of the most important rule we should have. The reason I say that is many times they are spending their life demanding that others conform to their rules. And that can be very frustrating to be around. But the list is never complete. It always needs more revision. Because the Legalist will continue to inwardly struggle with his flesh because he is trying to live the Christian life on his own power. His conscience is weak. He cannot grasp his liberty in Christ. I can speak with authority on this subject because I have been there many times myself.
The apostle Paul had to deal with this, for example, in Romans 14 and You will recall there the Jews and the Gentiles were butting he in the Church. They were fighting over dietary restrictions. They were fighting over the sabbath, which days to consider religious and so on and so forth, these non essential types of things.
Therefore, their conscience holds them to non essentials and causes them to be prone to unfairly judging others. And that is why in the middle of all of that the apostle Paul tells us that we are to pursue the things that make for peace in the building up of one another. So I would appeal to each of you, especially as we examine this issue of love, to grasp the full measure of the grace of God, to rejoice in the liberty that we have in Christ, a liberty that is found when we obey what Scripture would have us to obey and live within those glorious parameters that allow so much freedom rather than making up our own rules that many times far exceed any divine standard.
And then we have got to learn to walk by the Spirit, not by the flesh which will result in bearing the fruit of the Spirit, the first of which is love. Now with this as an introduction, I would ask you to turn back to 1 Corinthians chapter 13 because this is where we want to focus our attention for the next several weeks.
Now, before we look at the text closely, more often than not this passage is read and applied completely out of context.
While its principles are applicable to many situations—to all situations, I should say—they really cannot be properly understood unless you understand the original context. So let me spend a few moments here and explain this to you. Calvary Bible Church in Corinth was in chaos. You will recall that Corinth was a very wicked city, exceedingly immoral.
And the people of Corinth that came to Christ brought into the Church all of their worldliness. And you find that much of the letter here is corrective more than doctrinal, even though there is doctrine in it. The apostle Paul is trying to correct all of this chaos. Now, typical of immature, carnal believers, they were exceptionally factious, all kinds of little cliques going on in the church.
One very gifted teacher had ministered the Word of God to them by the name of Apollos and some people were in his corner. Other people, well, they liked Apollos, but they were admirers more of Paul and so they were loyal to him, and another group preferred Cephas and yet another preferred Christ alone. And so you have each of these people feeling superior to the others and they began to isolate themselves in their little cliques.
So the apostle Paul carefully addresses a host of problems like this in the first 11 chapters. And then he comes to chapter Now, may I remind you that according to chapter one verse seven, they were not lacking in any gift? The believers in the church were fully equipped by the Spirit of God in all of the gifts that were necessary for them to function within the church, to edify the church.
So the problem was not a lack of gifts, but that they were misusing the gifts that they had. Those with a less public gift that they would therefore perceive to be less impressive sought a more flamboyant gift in their mind like the gift of tongues, the gift of languages, rather than humbly serving with the gift that God had given them. And then those with the more public gifts, the ones that some would consider to be more flashy were becoming showoffs.
So there was a mess.Who wants love is the greatest gift of all 3
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The Greatest Gift