on February 11, 2018

February 11: Growth Group Guide

Walking by the Spirit

BIBLE STUDY GUIDE

LEADER GUIDE

 

Sermon Text: Galatians 5:16-26

Study Texts: Romans 8:1-8

 

Sermon Recap: In this week’s sermon, Pastor Jeff highlighted the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian. As he noted, when we learn to walk by the Spirit we will not gratify the desires of our flesh. This is seen in Paul’s overall argument from all of the Galatian letter but specifically in this Sunday’s text. Paul writes, “...walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” So, in one sense, we see that by being in the Spirit, we will reject the world; we will not live according to worldly standards, and will not have our ultimate hopes and trusts in the world. In another sense, we see that the Spirit works in us in particular ways, producing certain and distinct attributes. We call these the fruits of the Spirit. As we learn to reject the world and the ways of the flesh, we actively welcome the way of Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Christians walk by the Spirit.

 

Sermon Connection: It is always best to let the Bible provide commentary on the Bible. This means that it is always best to see how any one particular portion of Scripture fits with the whole of Scripture. Romans 8:1-8 provides a fine counterpart—a fine commentary—for our Galatians text. In Romans 8, Paul is in the middle of an extended explanation of God’s primary role in the salvation of man. Specifically, Paul uses this portion to focus on the Spirit’s role in the life of the Christian while also offering reliable helps for evaluating and distinguishing between true and false faith. We see that, for those who love God and have been set free from the law of sin and death, they desire to live lives of faithfulness. On the other hand, not only do non-Christians not live holy lives, they have no desire and no ability to do so. It is only by the Holy Spirit’s work that men and women learn to walk with Jesus and live to His glory.

 

Lesson Plan

Lesson Goal: By God’s grace, Christ-followers live Spirit-filled lives that are pleasing to God.

 

Lesson Points:

Point 1 - The Foundation of Our Freedom from Sin and Death (vv. 1-4)

Point 2 - Living in the Spirit vs. Living in the Flesh (vv. 5-8)

The Context: In this section of Romans, Paul has just finished a lengthy explanation of the Christian’s freedom from the law of death because of the gospel. He reflects on how the Christian is not only freed from the effects of sin and death but also how the Christian is freed to life in the Spirit. Thus, in our passage, we see him outlining both the foundation of life in the Spirit and providing insight into the Spirit-filled life.

 

Point 1 - The Foundation of Our Freedom from Sin and Death (vv. 1-4)

  • Does verse 1 start with a pronouncement rather than an explanation? How does this help us understand the grace of salvation?
  • According to verse 2, what is the foundation of our new life in Christ?
  • How do we see the differences between “the law of sin and death” and “the law of the Spirit of life”? See also Rm. 7:5-6.
  • How is Paul helping us see the God-centeredness of salvation and new life in verses 3-4?
  • According to verse 4, what is a definite mark of a Christian? Does Galatians 5:16-26 support this?
  • How do we see both the sovereign hand of God and the active role of man in verse 4?

 

Point 2 - Living in the Spirit vs. Living in the Flesh (vv. 5-8)

  • What is a theological purpose for Paul’s distinction in verse 5?
    • What is a practical purpose for Paul’s distinction in verse 5?
  • In verse 6, Paul is pastoring/shepherding the Church. What is he saying, and how is he shepherding?
    • Consider further Paul’s wording, “The mind set on… What is Paul getting at with this idea?
    • How do you see this play out in your own life, your day-to-day?
  • How do verses 7-8 help us understand the difference between a Spirit-filled Christian and someone who is simply trying to earn salvation? Consider Galatians 5:22-26.
  • What do verses 7-8 teach us about God? What do they teach us about ourselves?

 

The Big Picture

Our goal has been to see that by God’s grace, Christ-followers live Spirit-filled lives that are pleasing to God. This week’s sermon highlighted the fact that the Holy Spirit produces a particular type of lifestyle in Christians, dependent entirely on Him. But, we also see that this does not exclude the intentional and consistent holy living of the Christian. It is only by God’s grace that we are saved and given a new heart and new desires, and it is only by His grace through the work of the Spirit that we learn to lead holy and faithful lives.

Application Questions

  • What are evidences of the Holy Spirit in your life?
  • What are evidences of the flesh in your life?
  • Knowing that you are set free from sin in Christ, in what ways are you embracing your freedom unto holiness? How are you living a faithful life?
  • In what areas do you need to repent?
  • How are you manifesting the fruit of the Spirit?
  • Seeing that our mindset has a big influence, how are you setting your mind on the Spirit? In what ways are you setting it on the flesh?
  • Are you manifesting fruit of the flesh? If so, what/how?