What About The Spiritual Life
Carmichael Baptist Church
Lesson Text: Galatians 5:16-17
Lesson Objective: To help you to understand the difference between relationship and fellowship with God, and how we can maintain a close walk with the Lord.
Introduction: Once an individual has been saved, it is important for them to learn that they need to begin to learn. The Christian life is one of development or decline. If we study the Bible, pray, and unite with other believers in a sound Biblical church, we have begun an important first step in developing a Christian life that should be filled with joy, peace, love, and stability. If we fail to submit ourselves to the teaching and preaching of God’s word, and if we neglect prayer and fellowship with other believers, we will have taken the first step towards weakening our ability to enjoy our justified position before God, and the spiritual life He has implanted within us. The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to Christians located in an area known as Philippi. He had been saved for nearly thirty years when he wrote this letter. He was possibly near 60 years of age. Yet, when he wrote this letter he told them he was not yet perfect and that he was pressing on „toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He recognized he still had things to learn and areas in which to grow spiritually. This will be a helpful attitude to have throughout our lifetime. Just remember we are not alone in our walk. God has given us the Holy Spirit as our guide, and he has given us other believers who walk the same paths we do.
Learning The Language
God has used terms, words, and principles within the Bible that are not difficult to understand. He has given us word pictures to help us understand spiritual truths. One such word picture is the family of God. He has used the same language we use to describe a physical human relationship to describe our spiritual relationship to Him. We were „born” into the family of God. We are „sons” or „children” of God. God is our „Father.” Once a person is born into the family of God there is a new relationship. This new spiritual relationship will never change. No one with any common sense would ever think someone could be „unborn” physically. Our only exit out of this life is through death. This same reality is true concerning our spiritual life. The only difference is that God has promised those who live and believe in Him shall never die. We will die physically, but never can a child of God die spiritually. Our position, as children of God, is said to be „kept by the power of God.” God cannot fail in His purpose or His power. His purpose is to save us and our salvation depends upon His power to keep us saved.
What does change within the human family? I have been my parent’s child since I was born. I will be their child even after they or I have died. It is not the relationship that changes, but the fellowship. While my conduct as a son or daughter of my parents cannot affect my relationship, it will affect my fellowship. What we do as Christians cannot affect our relationship. It will, however, affect our enjoyment as a Christian and our fellowship with God. When our conduct is considered to be sin, or sinful, it breaks our close walk or fellowship with the Lord. Take a look at Isaiah 59:2; „But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear”. Sin affects our prayers being heard, our enjoyment of God’s blessings, and our personal walk with the Lord and other believers.
The Means Of Restoration
We should understand by now that when we sin we create a problem in our fellowship with the Lord. When this happens, God is not an inactive God. Because God loves us He takes immediate action to bring us back into fellowship with Him. Read the passage in Hebrews 12:5-11. Notice we find three degrees of discipline mentioned. the first is rebuke; then chasten; then scourge. This is much like it is in our physical family except that God’s method and motive of discipline is superior to ours in every way. We may find a simple rebuke from a passage of scripture, a message or a lesson. If we ignore the rebuke His correction will take a stronger form called chastening, or further on to the scourging. His purpose is for our benefit and to our advantage. It is also helpful to understand that the rebuke, chastening, or scourging is not punishment. The punishment for our sins was paid for by Jesus Christ on the cross. The penalty was death. What pain we may feel as a result of the corrective discipline will never hurt as much as the consequences of sin if left uncorrected. As a father, I have had to administer correction to each of my children. They didn’t enjoy it and they had a hard time understanding this was for their benefit. If I did not discipline them, trends would develop in them that would prove to be to their detriment.
What are we to do when we find we have sinned, or that God has rebuked us? In a passage of scripture in I John chapters one and two we can learn a great deal. Notice verse nine of chapter one. Look at the word „confess.” Confession is not done to a preacher, friend, or family member. This is an act between you and God personally by the ministry of Jesus Christ. Confession is the acknowledging of our sin before God. It must come from the heart, or be sincere. This will include a forsaking of the sin as well as a sadness over committing the sin. We must be sorry for the sin, not just sorry we got caught sinning. When we do confess our sins we find the blood of Christ cleansing us. This is the manner in which God removes the guilt over our sin and allows us to enjoy His forgiveness. When we have understood God’s discipline and how we have done wrong we should confess our sin before God immediately. Be sensitive to the Lord, never wait to confess or your heart can become hardened in sin. Remember God chastens those whom He loves. Discipline is a sign that we have sinned, but also that God cares about us and wants the best for us.
The Difficult Reality
In our lesson text we find the words „walk in the Spirit.” This term is used to signify the maintenance of our fellowship with God as we have been explaining. But it is more than just confessing and forsaking sin. It includes our following of the Lord’s leadership through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. When we believed, we were sealed with the Spirit by God. This is as if God placed a seal of ownership in us. We were given the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is considered to be a down payment of our eternal inheritance. This makes certain that in due time the full inheritance will be given to us. Our lesson text speaks of the reality of either walking in the Spirit, or in the flesh. It is our choice as to which we will follow. Since God has given us the Holy Spirit, we are to follow His leadership in our daily lives. The problem is the old nature, or the flesh, has not been eradicated, or removed. Remember in our first lesson we learned about being a new creation, or creature? We were given a new nature. These two, the old nature and the new nature, are opposed to one another. They follow two different directions. The flesh seeks to satisfy itself. The new nature seeks to satisfy and follow the Lord Jesus Christ. The predicament is they are not just opposites that live far apart. They live face to face in us with a constant clash of interests. The only way to block the cravings of the flesh, or what „we” may want to do, is by walking in the spirit. When we do not listen, or follow, the leadership of the Spirit, we sin. When we sin we grieve the Holy Spirit. We grieve God. This requires confession and restoration of our fellowship with God. This is a reality every Christian must live with. Praise God He has made it possible for us to conquer the flesh, or if we fail, to find forgiveness and cleansing from our sins through Jesus Christ our Advocate.
Who Runs The Show?
Throughout this lesson we have often referred to Jesus Christ as Lord. The word Lord means master. In the days in which it was used more commonly it was used to describe one in authority. Jesus Christ is our master, our owner, our commander in chief, our God. In Acts Chapter two and verse thirty-six we are told „Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” It is not a question as to whether we make Jesus Lord, God has already made Him Lord. We are to know He is Lord. What does all of this have to do with relationship, fellowship, or walking in the spirit? To maintain a sweet fellowship, and to walk in the spirit, it is imperative that we submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We must recognize Him as our master through out our daily walk. We are not supposed to recognize His authority in our lives only on special days or Sundays, but all through the week. This requires surrender, dedication, and trust. We must surrender our will for His. We must dedicate ourselves to His directives, which we find within the Bible. And, we must trust His wisdom and His love. God knows more than we do even about ourselves.
Can you imagine a child of five or six telling his parents that they are going to ignore the parents direction and chose their own way? Can you imagine this same child deciding they knew better and would no longer be eating the food they set in front of him or go to bed when they said, or to school any longer? This child may sincerely believe it understands and has figured it all out. That would not change the fact that this child would be starting on a quick path to destruction. This child would soon learn the meaning of trouble and disappointment. No parent with any understanding would allow a child to make these determinations for themselves. They would not do so because they wanted to control that child or to make it’s life miserable. they would correct the child, and direct the child because of their love for that child. God doesn’t want to deprive us of enjoyment. God wants to give us the very best. Understand that God’s love for us is unconditional and seeks our best and betterment. Since this is so, what better way for us to live than by acknowledging His Lordship, resting on His promises, and following His lead. Remember; „God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.”
1. How soon will it be before you never need to learn anymore about the Bible or about living the Christian life?
2. What was Paul still trying to do even at the age of sixty?
3. What is the difference between relationship and fellowship in reference to our spiritual lives?
4. What can affect my spiritual relationship with God?
5. What can affect my spiritual fellowship with God?
6. Give a reference to a verse of scripture that would show how you arrived at your answer to question number five.
7. What are three terms God uses to help us understand His way of discipline:
8. What do you think is the difference between correction and punishment?
9. Why do you think God disciplines us when we sin?
10. What would you think if God did not discipline some one who sinned?
11. What should be our first response when we become aware of sin in our lives?
12. What scripture would you use to tell another Christian about how to enjoy the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ if they have fallen into sin?
13. When we believed we were sealed with the
14. This seal is a sign of ownership and a promise of what?
15. What two things were said to be opposed to one another?
16. How has God made it possible for us to conquer the wrong desires of the flesh?
17. Who is said to be on our side if we do sin?
18. Who made Jesus both Lord and Christ?
19. What does it mean to say we recognize Christ as the Lord of our life?
20. In your own words tell what you think the benefits are of walking in the Spirit.
Lesson Two What About The Spiritual Life Bill Brown Carmichael Baptist Church Carmichael, California Lesson Text: Galatians 5:16-17