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Mar 18, 2018

It’s a war in there

It’s a war in there

Passage: Galatians 5:16-25

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Free, a study in the book of Galatians

Patrick Lafferty and Colin Thornley will be teaching together this week. As Colin alluded in his sermon last week, ask people what they believe it means to be free and most will respond with some general sense of being able to do as they wish--as the saying goes, to follow their heart. But no wisdom--ancient or modern, religious or irreligious--would espouse such a maxim without qualification. Other factors must come into play in letting the heart freely chart its course--like knowing what’s true, what’s real, what’s good, or what lasts. Here in the downhill slope of his letter, Paul will bring those considerations to bear on his definition of freedom as it’s understood in the gospel. We’ll let him answer what we’re freed from, what we’re freed to, and by what means we’re freed at all. True freedom is always an inner freedom--a freedom of the heart. But like most other freedoms, it’s not won without a conflict.

Order of Worship

Pre-Service Text: Galatians 5:1
Call To Worship: 1 Chronicles 16: 8-10(ESV)
Old Testament Reading: Psalm 38:1-3, 21-22 (ESV)
New Testament Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (ESV)
Sermon Title: It’s a War in There
Central Text: Galatians 5:16-25
Benediction: Romans 8:14-15 (ESV)
Post-Service Text: 2 Corinthians 3:17 (ESV)

03.18.18 Lyrics

03.18.18 Sermon Slides


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Pre-Service Text: Galatians 5:1
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Call To Worship: 1 Chronicles 16: 8-10(ESV)
LEADER: 8 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! 9 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!

ALL: 10 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!

Old Testament Reading: Psalm 38:1-3, 21-22 (ESV)
38 O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath! 2 For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin 21 Do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me! 22 Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

New Testament Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (ESV)
12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Central Text: Galatians 5:16-25
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.

Benediction: Romans 8:14-15 (ESV)
LEADER: 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry,
ALL: “Abba! Father!”

Post-Service Text: 2 Corinthians 3:17 (ESV)
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Discussion Questions & Applications:

  1. How has your definition of what it means to live free changed over time? What discoveries or experiences changed that sense of freedom?
  2. People tend to snicker or roll their eyes at biblical phrases like the “desires of the flesh,” since the assumed principle beneath the prohibition is that God wants us to have no enjoyment. But if the phrase in its most foundational sense refers to desire in excess of the true worth of its object, why might those same people find it a good thing not to be enslaved to a desire? When have you found yourself too committed to a desire, even if it was for a good thing?
  3. Why might Paul have referred to the virtues he enumerates as the collective fruit (singular) of the Spirit, rather than individual fruits (plural)?
  4. How will our belonging to Christ (v. 24) always be how the Spirit helps us to crucify our flesh and bear the Spirit’s fruit? Why does knowing we belong to Him matter?
  5. While Paul makes it clear in this passage how the Spirit is essential to (re)confirming we belong to God (cf. Romans 8:15), what means do we employ to complement the effort?


  • Make sure your passion isn't your sickness.  Raymond Reddington in The Blacklist
  • You want to be in control, but you are not. Because of this, the heart-felt experience of faith will always entail a kind of personal deconstruction, rather than some kind of building up. The more you get to know the God who loves sinners, the more you will see your own need for Him. Sometimes people ask God to build in them all the things that they think they need in order to face life successfully. He will do no such thing! Why would He turn you into a vessel that has no need for Him? Faith means trusting Him to be all the things you need Him to be, despite your own inadequacies, and, for that matter, in light of the fact that you don't actually know what you need or what success actually looks like. He won't give you strength; He will be your strength. God deconstructs. God intervenes. God prevents. - John Zahl


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