The New Life Mission

Sermons

Subject 15 : The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the GALATIANS

[Chapter 5-5] (Galatians 5:16-26) Walk by the Desire Of the Spirit

(Galatians 5:16-26)
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
 
 
The Desires of the Flesh
 
In today’s Scripture passage, the Apostle Paul is explaining the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Holy Spirit by contrasting them against each other. First of all, Paul points out that the works of the flesh are evident, and he then goes on to list them as the following: “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.” Paul then explains the fruit of the Spirit, saying, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
To compare and understand these two attributes, we need to first understand what the fruit of the Spirit is. In Galatians 5:22-23, it is written, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
God said here that the first fruit of the Holy Spirit is love. This love refers to God’s love of salvation bestowed on the entire human race (1 John 4:10). Only someone who has received this love from God can practice this love. God has enabled sinners to receive the remission of their sins from Him, to enter Heaven, and to share God’s love with each other, and this is true love. The Bible calls this love “the love of the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Therefore, the highest love for mankind is to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to fellow human beings and thus enable them to receive the remission of their sins. As the righteous who have received the remission of their sins commune with one another through the love of God, they come to share joy and happiness with one another. And it is because of this love that the born-again righteous do not quarrel with one another, but tolerate each other to enjoy peace. Like this, the born-again are bound to bear the fruit of love, joy, and peace through the Holy Spirit.
What, then, does Paul say are the works of the flesh? He lists them as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, and envy. These are completely opposite to love, joy, and peace, which are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The works of the flesh of mankind are always accompanied by idolatry, sorcery, and hatred. Of these works of the flesh, the sorcery here means tricks to deceive others. It refers to tormenting others with evil wiles and injuring their hearts. Hatred, on the other hand, is to get into conflicts and quarrel with each other, and to murder one another rather than sharing joy. 
Mankind’s carnal desires turn people into God’s enemies, leading them to harbor selfish ambitions and squabble with one another, inciting them to jealousy, and making them angry to degenerate into factionalism and stand against each other. Dissension means to work separately over conflicts of different opinions. The people of the flesh who have not been born again seek a faith that’s different from the faith of believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and they want to preach such a different gospel. In other words, they try to undermine the gospel of the water and the Spirit in anyway possible. Such is mankind’s mistaken greed.
Paul also said that the desires of the flesh are heresies, envy, and drunkenness. Heretics are warped and sinning, being self-condemned (Titus 3:10-11), for they do not believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. In other words, heretics are those who follow their carnal lusts in opposition to the righteousness of God. 
The Bible tells us that Jeroboam is notorious as a person who initiated heresy openly. He was originally one of God’s people, but once he became the king of Israel by chance, he made two golden calves and let his people worship the calves to prevent them from going to Jerusalem. Because he followed the desires of his flesh, he ended up committing a great sin by corrupting God’s Truth. 
The Bible said that drunkenness and revelries are also works of the flesh. 
 
 
The Desire of the Holy Spirit
 
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Is there anything bad among these fruits of the Spirit? No, there is none. Don’t you want to bear such fruits of the Holy Spirit? We all want to bear these fruits of the Spirit abundantly. We the righteous who have been born again of water and the Spirit desire to be led by the Holy Spirit. If we really want to be led by the Holy Spirit, then we have to have faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, spread this gospel, serve the Lord who has given us this gospel, and follow Him. What kind of fruits do such followers bear? They bear the fruits of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit love the other people’s souls. And they want to share together the joy of salvation from sin, and to be at peace with one another. We don’t want enmity, but we want to be in harmony with everyone.
The Apostle Paul told us to follow the desire of the Spirit. We who have received the remission of our sins by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit have also received the gift of the Holy Spirit into our hearts, and now, the Holy Spirit indwelling in us arouses His desire in us. We the born-again are able to follow the desire of the Spirit when we continue to do what pleases God. What pleases God is for us to believe in and follow the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and to spread this gospel.
However, just because someone has received the remission of his sins, does this mean that he now has no desires of the flesh at all? No, that is not the case. As Paul said, “The works of the flesh are evident” (Galatians 5:19), even the righteous are not entirely devoid of such desires of the flesh. Nonetheless, since the righteous reject such things by placing their faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit and by following the Spirit, they live a life that’s different from that of a sinner. The righteous desire to do what pleases God, have faith in His Word, serve the Lord, and dedicate themselves to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit according to His Great Commission. That is why they fulfill love in the end. Those who have been saved by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit serve the gospel to share this joy that’s unsurpassed in the world, and they come to be in harmony, exercise self-control, endure long, bestow mercy, and indeed follow every good work. 
However, even we the born-again can fall into the evident works of the flesh unless we walk by the Holy Spirit. It’s not the case that some people refrain from the works of the flesh because they are naturally self-disciplined, while others succumb to the works of the flesh because they lack self-control. Human nature is such that everyone is 100 percent bound to follow the desires of the flesh unless he follows the desires of the Spirit. If we serve our own selves as our kings instead of the Lord, then it’s 100 percent guaranteed that we would inevitably practice the works of the flesh. If this happens, our lives will not bear any fruit of the Spirit at all. 
We are exceedingly weak in our flesh. However, we still desire to do what pleases the Lord led by the Holy Spirit. Even though we are insufficient, we offer our bodies and hearts to the Lord and follow Him by faith, and the Lord therefore testifies to the love of God through such insufficient people as us. That is how we come to carry out such precious works. In other words, we have come to share the God-given joy. Those who have received the remission of their sins not only share joy and happiness with one another, but they also bestow mercy, are at peace with others, and endure one another. 
All these fruits are borne by those who have faith in God, for these are of the Holy Spirit. If we have compassion for each and every human being and yearn to preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit to all, then the Holy Spirit lets us bear such fruits. Put differently, it is not by ourselves that such fruits are born. On our own, we can never bear these fruits. Only when we follow the Holy Spirit, follow the desires of God, and follow His will, is it possible for us to bear the fruit of the Spirit.
 
 
We Must Stay Away from the Circumcisionists
 
Here in today’s Scripture passage, the Apostle Paul is now rebuking the circumcisionists for their wrong faith, saying to them, “Throw away your fallacies by yourselves. And follow the desire of the Holy Spirit. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their passions and desires. Do not provoke and envy one another. Do not squabble with each other for vain glory. Do not seek to exalt yourself above everyone else. Just follow the Holy Spirit. Seek the will of the Holy Spirit. This is to follow the will of God. Though you are insufficient, you must live like this.” You and I must also listen to Paul’s admonishment.
Through the Book of Galatians, which points out just how wrong the faith of the circumcisionists is, we need to expose the wrong faith of today’s Christians who argue that the remission of sin is received through prayers of repentance. And taking the lessons of Galatians to our hearts, we must be very careful not to fall into such a legalistic faith. If we do not take heed of Paul’s warning, it is more than possible for us to also become like the circumcisionists. However, if only we follow the desires of the Holy Spirit, then no matter how insufficient we might be, we can still bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit thanks to His assistance. All this is possible if we follow the desire of the Spirit.
The Apostle Paul said, “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24). If we want to follow the desires of the Spirit, we must first crucify the desires and passions of our flesh. My fellow believers, weren’t the passions and desires of our flesh crucified when Jesus Christ was crucified? At that moment, we, too, died with Jesus Christ. You may deny this, but all of us in fact died at that time. Because the Lord has saved us by taking upon our sins through His baptism, dying on the Cross, and rising from the dead again, our old lives have already been crucified to death and resurrected with Him into a new life. Whether you and I believe it or not, the Lord has already killed the passions and desires of our flesh. And the Lord has brought us back to life again, but it is not our bodies that He resurrected, but it is our spirits. And He will resurrect even our bodies when He returns.
What is important now is whether or not you accept this into your heart. Just as we believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, it’s indispensable for us to also accept by faith that our old selves already died once, and that we have now been resurrected with Jesus Christ. Those who believe in this truth can really live wisely and righteously before God according to the desire of the Spirit.
Do you believe that your old self was already crucified with Christ to death, and that your spirit has now risen with Jesus Christ? That our old selves died means that the passions and desire of our flesh died with Jesus Christ. And it means that we now have new passions. These are none other than the passion for the love of God, for the truth of salvation that God has given us, and for bearing the fruit of the Spirit. The desire to serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit, so that others may also know the love of God, is the apex of the desire of the Holy Spirit. We can realize that new desires have indeed sprung up in our hearts, and these are none other than the desire of the Holy Spirit. I sincerely hope that you and I would walk by such desires. 
We who have been born again through the gospel of the water and the Spirit must live by faith. I am so rejoiced to live by my faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit. I am truly thankful to God that He has enabled you and me to live such a life. Our partners overseas, and all the servants of God and brothers and sisters in Korea as well, all share this joy and gratitude.
The circumcisionists argued that apart from believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, Christians had to be circumcised and keep the Sabbath, and because of them, the Early Church ended up disappearing completely from history. Just as those circumcisionists who threw the churches of Galatia into confusion and led them to destruction were extremely misguided, those in this age who spread the works of the flesh arguing that the remission of sin is received through prayers of repentance are also misguided. There is no assurance that we won’t become like the circumcisionists that arose in the churches of Galatia. Even if we don’t stand against the gospel of the water and the Spirit, if we follow the desires and passions of our flesh, then this is what will happen. 
As such, we must now have a new desire—that is, the desire of the Holy Spirit. The desire of the Spirit is holy desire. Whatever pleases God, therefore, we should also share in His joy, and what God has commanded us to do, to spread the gospel all over the world, we should obey and carry it out. The Lord said that He would make us His disciples and spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit to the end of the earth, and so, we will indeed spread this genuine gospel to the entire world in obedience. I believe that this is the proper life for all of us. I believe that it is only right for us to do God’s work, to serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit, and to preach this gospel throughout the whole wide world. I believe that the life that is lived for such a desire of the Spirit is a truly worthy and proper life. Do you also believe as I do?
God has given us new desires. We now have new desires. We should live in this world with such desires and such passions of love. You and I must live like this. We must live in this way to the end. Once born, everyone must die and stand before God once. When we stand before God’s throne of judgment, we want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” 
God said that those who, even after being saved by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit, live according to the lust of their flesh and do not serve the gospel are more evil than those who have not received the remission of their sins. They will face even more fearful judgment (Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 12:47-48). We must keep this in our mind. 
The lust of the flesh knows no age; young or old alike, carnal lust will arise in everyone’s mind. When the lusts of the flesh stir you up, there is one thing that you must think of first, and it is the gospel of the water and the Spirit. You must admit that you are such a weak person, and that your passions and desires have already been crucified with the Lord, because He has saved you with His baptism and His death on the Cross. And you must devote yourself to the work of serving the gospel. 
Working to serve this gospel of the water and the Spirit is the most blessed way. You and I should have the desire of the Spirit and walk by Him. The Lord said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). If we seek His righteousness in our lives, the Lord will fill our every need. We believe that the Lord will provide for the needs of our flesh in His time. 
We must preach the gospel of the water and the Spirit everyday. Unless we do so, there is no way for everyone in the world to know this genuine gospel. Since most Christians do not understand what the Bible is all about even as they profess to believe in Jesus, far too many of them may go astray. Until the day we die, we have to preach this gospel far and wide.
Like you and me, those who serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit are the people who follow the desire of the Spirit. So I am grateful to God. I am so thankful to God. Although my health is very poor and my body has little strength, I will never give up His works entrusted to me. I cannot just give up these precious works, for God has entrusted them to me. I want to carry out God’s works until the moment I take in my last breath, and I want to complete every work that has been entrusted to me, for I do not want them to be hindered.
Today, we uploaded a new e-book on our website. And just today alone, we had over 5,000 net visitors to our site. The number of visitors increased like this as we uploaded another free e-book. Buyers are apt to frequent the shops that display a variety of new goods. If someone opens a big store, advertises a lot, but does not stock the store with good products, then first-time shoppers will not return again. In contrast, if the store is continuously replenished with new and diverse products, then people will continue to flock to the store from the word of mouth. We will continue to provide new spiritual bread through our website.
These people who encounter the gospel of the water and the Spirit through our website are not able to meet us personally, but they know us only through our books, and so they have no other choice but to rely on our literature ministry. That is why through our books, we need to provide concrete solutions to all the problems that they may encounter, whether spiritual or otherwise. “Before, I also used to think that the remission of sin is attained by offering prayers of repentance, but now that I have read this book, I realize that the advocates of prayers of repentance are utterly wicked. I thought that the difference between my faith and theirs was minimal, but now that I know better, I see that there is a huge difference.” If people can realize like this from this book, then we have succeeded. Only when they grasp this can they also spread the gospel of the water and the Spirit to other people. 
Wouldn’t they then also come to have the desire of the Spirit in time and follow them? It’s a wonderful thing for their hearts to espouse the desires of God. Their minds will come to desire to spread the gospel, to give their testimonies of faith, and to meet and share fellowship with their fellow righteous people. When these desires of the Holy Spirit spring forth in them, we will be able to serve the gospel of the water and the Spirit with them, and so the more I serve this gospel, the more I am filled with joy.
My fellow believers, don’t you now have the clear answer to the question of how you should live? How should we live now? We should live according to the desire of the Holy Spirit. This is the most joyful and wonderful thing.
My fellow believers, now is actually the time to wake up from sleep. It’s time for those who are asleep in this age to wake up now. So many terrifying disasters will unfold. If we were to be stricken by the unexpected disasters, we would be greatly shocked. Recently, an unexpectedly heavy snow threw our entire country into utter confusion. At the end of March this year, we had the heaviest snowfall in 100 years that devastated many places in Korea. Losing all their properties, saddened and hardened in their hearts, and helpless before the natural disaster, some people even gave up their lives. Yesterday, Chungchung Province was declared as a special disaster area. Imagine if you were traveling on the road. Then imagine getting stranded on the highway from heavy snowfall, stuck in your car for 24 hours without any food. This is what’s called a disaster. We cannot but suffer damages from natural disasters. And the problem is that they are prone to become bigger and more frequent.
It won’t be long before we go and stand before God, and I hope and pray that we the last runners of the gospel will run just a little bit more and reach the finish line in glory. The finish line is not too far away. If you causally think that the Lord will not come so early, and so you try to have some fun on your way and commit sin in your life by gambling away, getting drunk, or seeking hedonistic pleasures in this world, then on the Lord’s Day when plagues descend upon the world, your flesh will surely die along with your spirit. Therefore, we should all prepare our faith to face the last day, and rather than falling into the world, we should live for the righteousness of God and then stand before His presence. If we get captivated by the fragrance of the world in our lives, we ourselves will abandon the Lord even if He does not forsake us. So let us not be stained with sin, but live with spotless and pure faith according to the desires of the Spirit, so that our hearts would not be corrupted to end up forsaking the Lord on our own. 
There are many people who left God’s Church and are now unable to return. They can’t return because they love the world more than the Lord. As their hearts are stained with too much filth, they can’t come into the pure Church. You must keep this in your mind. The Bible admonishes us, “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32). In fact, it’s not just Lot’s wife, but Lot himself who was destroyed in both body and spirit for loving the world and following the desires of the flesh. Even if you haven’t experienced this kind of tragedy, you must know the end of such a life by trusting in the Word of God. We should draw an important lesson from seeing how many righteous people before us perished like this from following the desires of the flesh. 
Therefore, we should not envy one another, nor be conceited. Why are people conceited? Because they are unable to throw away the passions and desire of their flesh, and they do not want to live according to the desires of the Spirit. God has told us everything. He has told us to believe in the Word we have heard, obey it with our faith, and practice it with our acts in our lives.
Now we cannot say in God’s Church, “I couldn’t follow the will of the Lord because I didn’t know it.” Spiritually speaking, God’s Church that we belong to already has 2,000 years of history, having begun from the Early Church. The sermons that were steadily preached in the Church have been published into books, and now, apart from the books that build the foundation of the gospel, we are publishing books for the spiritual growth of the souls that have already been born again. As all these books are translated and published in dozens of languages all over the world, the total number of our titles now exceeds 200.
We have to keep listening to the Word that we already heard, and we must ruminate and take the teachings of the Church by faith. And we must act according to this faith, obey with our acts, and follow the Lord united with the servants of God and our predecessors of faith. That’s all that we have to do. Then we will not quarrel with one another and not be conceited. 
What is to become conceited, provoking one another and envying one another? It is trying to exalt oneself. Why did the circumcisionists advocate circumcision in the churches of Galatia? “You and I have equally been saved by believing in the same gospel of the water and the Spirit, but there is one way for me to be higher than you. Upon closer look, I see that you don’t know circumcision very well. You don’t realize the Old Testament’s requirement that one must be physically circumcised to become Abraham’s descendant and join God’s people.” Thinking like this, the circumcisionists showed off their physical circumcision, and tried to suppress those who received the remission of sin prior to them, saying, “Have you been circumcised? I see that you haven’t. Receive circumcision. If you are now circumcised, you are my junior. You are below me.” They resorted to this because they couldn’t throw away the lusts of their flesh and tried to exalt themselves.
What good is it to be exalted, when casting aside the desires of our flesh is what we should actually be doing? If one is exalted high, it means that he has to serve even more. Isn’t this the case? That’s why some people say, “I like to remain a layman.” Why do they say so? It is because they don’t want to serve. When they look closely, they see that laymen in the Church are not rebuked too harshly even when they don’t serve the gospel that much.
God’s servants don’t rebuke laymen harshly either. However, they rebuke the workers harshly. That’s why some people say that they want to continue to be laymen. But this is a mistaken notion. Everyone who is born again by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit must serve God and this genuine gospel. Laymen or ministers alike, everyone must serve as a worker. It’s a big mistake to think that it’s okay for laymen to lead their lives of faith in whatever way they see fit and therefore not to serve the Lord. Every born-again person is inevitably destined to serve the Lord from his due position.
In some aspects, it can be even more difficult to lead a life of faith as laymen. That’s because they don’t live entirely for the Lord, but at the same time, they don’t live entirely fallen into the world either. So wouldn’t they then have to succeed in both the Church and the world as well? This may be harder for them. Someone who is entirely faithful to just one master can earn his mark, be commended and blessed if he is faithful to just this one master, and so it may actually be easier. 
Anyway, everyone must be a servant of God at least in his heart. Although we are God’s children, we must also become His servants. We have been born again of water and the Spirit, and as such, we should live by faith with the heart of God’s workers. No matter how low anyone might evaluate us, let us never be shaken but live by the desire of the Spirit. For us to live like this is the most blessed way and to have the purest faith.