Welcome to June and welcome to our new series ‘Living in the Spirit” There are three books of the Bible I recommend for you to read this month: Acts, Romans and Galatians.
Last Sunday, churches around the world commemorated Pentecost Sunday. This marks 50 days after Easter Sunday. In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit descended and filled the disciples with Power as Jesus promised to fulfil their mission and empower them to live in the Spirit. But what does this mean for us who believe in Jesus in this modern times? This whole series will attempt to answer these questions:
What does it mean to LIVE in the SPIRIT?
Why is it vital for Christians to understand spiritual living?
How are we going to live in the Spirit?
To frame this month's series, let's read through Romans 8:1-16
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life[d] because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
For Part I, let's explore three truths to lead us into a richer and deeper Life in the Spirit:
1. To live in the Spirit, you must first be Born in the Spirit
1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
- John 3:1-8
Q: What's the difference between Christian life and merely having a religion?
Q: What does being Born again or born in the Spirit mean?
Q: Discuss the illustration drawn last Sunday.
2. To live in the Spirit, you must "know" the Holy Spirit
1 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when[a] you believed?”
They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3 So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”
“John’s baptism,” they replied.
4 Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues[b] and prophesied. 7 There were about twelve men in all.
- Acts 19:1-7
There are many who claim to be Christians today but do not have knowledge of the Holy Spirit. When it comes to the Holy Spirit, most evangelicals fall into one of two extremes. Some seem obsessed, relating to him in weirdly strange, mystical ways. Their experiences with the Spirit always seem to coincide with a highly emotional ecstatic moment created by the swell of music in a worship service or a weird confluence of events. Yet altogether remaining ignorant of the Bible and being. immature in Christian character.
On the other hand, other Christians neglect his ministry altogether. They believe in the Holy Spirit, but they relate to him the same way one relates to any internal organ: I’m really grateful it’s in there; I know it’s essential for something; I would never want to lose it . . . but I don’t really interact with it. For these Christians, the Holy Spirit is not a moving, dynamic person. He’s more of a theory.
Yet Jesus made his disciples the most astounding promise about the Holy Spirit, one so astounding I think many of us do not really take it seriously: it was to their advantage, he said, that he return to heaven if it meant they receive the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-18; 16:7).
15 “If you love me, keep my commands.16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.
Q: Share among the group what "knowing" the Holy Spirit means. Q: What are some of the things you now understand and know about the Holy Spirit?
Q: What are the other names or descriptions the Bible ascribes the Holy Spirit to be for us?
3. To live in the Spirit, you must walk by the Spirit
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Q: What does walking by the Spirit mean?
Q: Share some of your real-life struggles you experience with the conflict of the spirit versus the flesh?
Q: How do we overcome the weaknesses of the flesh? Memory Verse:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
In Part 2, we will discuss more about the keys to living Life in the Spirit.