The Path I Choose
Text: Galatians 5:19-23
I. In the book of Galatians, Paul has severely chastised the brethren for attempting to bind the Old Law on Christians
A. It was a different gospel, not what they were taught - Galatians 1:6-9
B. Paul has stood opposed to such trends - Galatians 2:11-14
C. To live under the law was to be under a curse - Galatians 3:10
D. The law was temporary - Galatians 3:24-25
E. To live under the law is to separated yourself from Christ - Galatians 5:1-4
F. As Paul wraps up his arguments, Paul points out that those who desired to bind the Old Law are worldly minded
1. He hints at this from the beginning - Galatians 1:10
2. It did not come from God - Galatians 5:7
3. It was causing arguments among the brethren - Galatians 5:15
G. Paul points out that the way a person thinks about God directs his behavior and spiritual growth - Galatians 5:16-17
1. A spiritually minded person will battle against the desires of the flesh.
2. A worldly minded person will resist the desires of God
3. You cannot be spiritually minded and participate in the works of the world
II. The deeds of the flesh - Galatians 5:19-21
A. The deeds of the flesh are those actions which come from the physical world.
1. When the physical world is a person’s focus, it shows in that person’s behavior – it becomes evident.
2. Paul then gives a sample list of deeds that demonstrate worldly-mindedness
1. Immorality - porneia
a. Some translations use the word “fornication,” which is more specific.
b. It refers to having sex outside the bonds of marriage - Hebrews 13:4
c. Some Greek texts have both the words for adultery and fornication in this passage, others omit the word adultery.
(1) It doesn’t matter since adultery is a subclass of fornication
2. Impurity - akatharsia
a. Also translated as “uncleanness.”
b. Refers to a general moral impurity in a person
(1) When people left God, they followed their impure thoughts - Romans 1:24
(2) It is a state of mind that is the opposite of holiness - Romans 6:19; I Thessalonians 4:7
c. Sometimes we refer to someone having a “dirty mind.” While it is often connected to sexual thoughts, it is not limited to that.
(1) These are the people how tell and laugh at dirty jokes - Ephesians 5:3-5
(2) These are the people who talk dirty to their boyfriend or girlfriend. Who text things they wouldn’t say in public, or send images they wouldn’t want others to see.
3. Sensuality - aselgeia
a. Also translated as “lewdness”
b. This is a person who shamelessly pursues sensual pleasures. What other people may think of his behavior doesn’t bother him.
(1) It is usually connected with sexual things – this is the person involved in fondling and kissing to arouse passion. However, it is not limited to sex.
(2) Often this person gets so wrapped up in the moment that events go further than he intended.
c. It is a characteristic of people with no moral restraint - I Peter 4:3
4. Idolatry - eidololatreia
a. Literally means “image worship”
b. People want something to be in control, but when they make up a god, it mimics what is known - Romans 1:22-23
c. With an imagined god, people remove the restraints on behavior, and the first thing to go is typically sexual restraint - Romans 1:24-25
(1) This is why many ancient idols were fertility gods, worshiped through sex
5. Sorcery - pharmakeia
a. Literally this word refers to someone who is abusing drugs or is mixing potions. Drug usage has been tightly coupled with witchcraft and sorcery. People who are high on a drug will believe just about anything and do almost anything for a high.
b. Drugs lower a person’s inhibitions against doing wrong - Habakkuk 2:15
1. Enmities - echthrai
a. Also translated as hatred
b. These are people who seemingly live for hate. Hate groups and people with a nearly irrational hatred of certain classes of people.
(1) Such as the hatred between Jews and Gentiles - Ephesians 2:15-16
2. Strife - ereis
a. Also translated as contentions or discord. It is the same name as the Greek goddess of war
b. These are people who argue constantly. They quarrel. They are never happy with things as they are - Titus 3:9
c. A problem seen in the Corinthian church - I Corinthians 3:3-4
3. Jealousy - zeloi
a. We get our word “zealot” from this Greek word. It literally means to boil or seethe with emotion.
b. This is the fanatic. The person so zealous for a cause that they cannot consider another position. They cling to an ideal and jealously guard it from all detractors.
c. James 3:14-16
4. Outbursts of anger - thumoi
a. Also translated as “fits of rage”
b. This is a person lacking control over his temper, often because of his passion for a cause or belief - Acts 19:28
5. Disputes - eritheiai
a. Also translated as “selfish ambitions”
b. This is a person who does not outwardly show his hatred, but involves himself in games of intrigue. He acts only for his own interests and backstabs his opponents.
(1) It was originally used of politicians who sought to promote themselves by unfair means of attacking their opponents.
(2) They find fault with the purpose of promoting themselves or their cause.
c. Philippians 2:3
6. Dissensions - dischostasiai
a. It literally means a person who stands apart
b. A person who causes divisions between people - Romans 16:17-18
7. Factions - haireseis
a. We get the word “heresy” from it. It literally means to choose.
b. It is a person who chooses sides. For example, the Sadducees and Pharisees were religious factions of the Old Law.
c. I Corinthians 1:10-13 - dividing over imagined differences
d. II Peter 2:1 - promoting man-made doctrines that divide
8. Envying - phthonoi
a. Refers to the desire to harm someone, to ruin them or destroy them
b. Why the Jews delivered up Jesus - Matthew 27:18
1. Drunkenness - methai
a. A person under the influence of alcohol
2. Carousing - komoi
a. Also translated and revelries or orgies
b. This is a riotous party, like the ones often associated with fraternity parites.
E. “And things like these”
1. Paul did not intend for this to be a complete list, but one that gives a general idea of what being worldly minded is like
2. No one can claim not to know that these things are wrong. Warnings have been given and continue to be given.
3. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking you can reach heaven through such behavior or mind-set.
III. The fruit of the Spirit - Galatians 5:22-25
A. The teachings of the Spirit produces a different result in people
B. Love - agape
1. A devoted love. A love that gives even when it is not returned.
2. Defined in I Corinthians 13:1-8
C. Joy - chara
1. Happiness or a calm delight
D. Peace - eirene
1. A quietness that comes from harmony with God and man.
2. It is the opposite of war.
E. Patience - makrothumia
1. Also translated as longsuffering.
2. The willingness to endure.
3. It is shown by God toward us in giving us many opportunities to turn from sin - II Peter 3:9
4. It is needed by us to deal with the shortcomings of our fellow men.
F. Kindness - chrestotes
1. A gentle person who is kind, good, and honest
G. Goodness - agathosune
1. A person with a zeal to be good. It is the opposite of evil.
2. Romans 15:14
H. Faithfulness - pistis
1. A person of conviction who has his faith, trust, and confidence in God.
2. It also refers to a person who is reliable and trustworthy.
I. Gentleness - praotes
1. Also translated as meekness
2. A gentle, humble person. He is the opposite of a hot-tempered man.
3. This is a person who is more concerned about other people and doesn’t think about himself - Ephesians 4:2; Titus 3:2
J. Self-control - enkrateia
1. Also translated as temperance
2. A person able to control his desires
K. “Against such things there is no law”
1. Again, this is not a complete list but enough to give an idea of what happens to a Christian as he follows the teachings of the Spirit.
2. The character produced by the Spirit never goes out of fashion, even among worldly people.
IV. Which path? - Galatians 5:24-25
A. You can’t walk both ways.