Message Recap – 1/28/11 – Grace & Consequences: Part 3

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Just joining this series? You can catch up on Parts 1 and 2, then meet us back here!

Part 1

Part 2

Even though this series is focusing on actions, it's important to note that actions will never save us. No matter how “good” we are, we've all done bad things and we all need Jesus. We all need grace & forgiveness. We're also all children of God, set free and forgiven! Works will not save us.

Yet our actions are meaningful. Just because they don't save us doesn't mean they are inconsequential. Each action is a seed which will grow and produce a harvest. You can sow to please yourself, or sow to please the Spirit. The resulting harvests are complete opposites.

Have you ever wondered about “good” and “evil” people? There are some people who seem to be so naturally good. It doesn't seem to take any effort at all. And then there are people who never seem to be able to do anything right. They know that they need to change, they just don't seem to be capable of it.

Why is that? What makes some people “good” and some people “evil”? There's a common idea that all people are basically good. That's a nice thought, but the truth is that people are all basically evil. When Adam sinned, the seed of sin was planted in every. single. person. All people have to overcome that to be “good”. There are no genetically “good” and genetically “evil” people. We all start out on a level playing field.

Let's look again at our theme verse for this series, Galatians 6:7-9:

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

So, what is this harvest Galatians is talking about? Is it just heaven and hell it's referring to? No, because we've been saved by grace, not works. Works do not determine who goes to heaven.

What does the Bible mean when it says, “reap death and decay”? When you look around you may notice that there are many people living to please themselves and they don't seem to be aging and decaying any quicker.

And what about the harvest of blessing? Where is that, anyway? Ultimately, the truth is that much of what we reap will be in eternity, not in this life.

But check out Galatians 5:16-21 for an explanation of how we reap from our actions:

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

It's very obvious that we live in a world that is sowing to please it's own sinful nature. As you sow, the tendency is to continue in those actions, whether "good" or "bad". Our desire to do those things grows.

When someone starts smoking, they don't start with two packs a day. They start with a little, and gradually grow. Similarly, sin grows; overtakes us. “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”

When you sow to please yourself, it grows and sooner or later overwhelms you.

Let's continue in Galatians 5:22-25:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Note: We have to do the nailing, not God!

Just as when you sow to please yourself and the harvest brings an increase in those things, sowing to please the Spirit brings a harvest of an increased desire to please the Spirit! The more you sow, the more is produced, until it becomes an almost unstoppable force.

Back to the “good” and “evil” people question: They are simply people who have sown to please either the Spirit or themselves to the point where it has over taken their lives. When you sow to please yourself, your flesh takes over every part of your life.

In the same way, when you sow to please the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit produces fruit of the Spirit in your life. It's not attained through trying harder, it's attained through sowing! Your self control can not attain it, but sowing to please the Spirit will.

You have a choice. You can be overtaken by sin, or by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

The death and decay we're talking about isn't just physical. It's also spiritual, mental and emotional.

But because of God's grace, we can be saved! Not only that, but we can have the life and blessing that comes from having the fruit of the Spirit overtake us! Choose to sow to please the Spirit today!

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