Spiritual Warfare: The Flesh

May 1, 2022 Speaker: Jeff Bedwell Series: Why Do I . . . ?

Passage: Galatians 5–6

Why Do I…? 
The Flesh 
Galatians 5 & 6

“Why do I…?”  “Why can’t I…?”

Reality of Spiritual Warfare

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2:1–3, ESV)


Source: Comer, John Mark. Live No Lies (p. xxiii). The Crown Publishing Group.

What Is The Flesh?

“the corruption that sin has introduced into our very appetites and instincts;” Eugene Peterson

“The flesh, then, is not the body, or the soul, or any other part of our beings.  It is a principle that works in us.  It is the source and stimulus of our sin.  Though deprived of its dominion, it has not been divested of its potency, passions, or persuasive ability.  The flesh wages battle against our godly desires with the fervor of a deposed monarch seeking to regain his throne.”  John MacArthur

Though sin does not Reign in us, it nevertheless Remains in us.  It is dethroned, but not yet destroyed.

“The essence of sin is disordered love.” Augustine

What Is Freedom?

Two Different Types of Freedom:

  • Negative freedom: Freedom From
  • Positive freedom: Freedom For

The dominant view of freedom in our culture is a distortion of negative freedom.  It is understood as freedom from all external constraints – all external authority sources.  The freedom to do whatever we want to.

The scriptural understanding of freedom is both negative and positive.  Freedom from the penalty and power of sin - freedom from slavery to our flesh and freedom to live under God’s loving authority, to fulfill His wise and loving design for our lives and relationships. 

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but the ability to do what we ought.

How Do We Experience Freedom?

Just as there are physical laws or principles that God has built into His creation, there are spiritual laws that impact all of our lives. (Galatians 6:7-10)

  • We reap the Same In Kind as we sow (7-8)
  • We reap in a different Season than when we sow (9)
  • We reap More than we sow
  • We reap in Proportion as we sow

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6, ESV)

I am free to make choices, but I’m not free to choose the Consequences

“The things we do, do something to us. They shape the people we become.” John Mark Comer

How Do We Overcome Our Flesh?

  1. Crucify the flesh (Galatians 5:24)

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13, ESV)

 “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.” John Owen

  1. Keep in step with The Spirit (Galatians 5:25)

“For Paul, the way we fight the flesh and win is not through willpower but through the Spirit’s power.” John Mark Comer

Two Important Disciplines Pertaining To The Flesh:

“A (Christian) spiritual discipline is a planned, regular activity of the body and mind designed to form the spirit. Through disciplines for the spiritual life, along with God’s grace, the apprentice develops Christlikeness and an increasing participation in God’s kingdom and the divine order.” Dallas Willard

The difference between Trying and Training

  1. Fasting

“More than any other Discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us.” Richard Foster

  1. Confession

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:16, ESV)

“Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him…. Sin wants to remain unknown. It shuns the light. In the darkness of the unexpressed it poisons the whole being of a person. “ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Making It Personal

  • What has been my understanding of the flesh and spiritual warfare? What needs to be adjusted in light of what the Bible teaches?
  • What specific areas of my life is the battle with the flesh most intense right now? Where are my “loves disordered”?
  • Which of the two disciplines above do I most need to improve my ongoing practice of? How will I implement this in my life?
  • Who can I share these truths with?

Ready to take your Next Step?

  • See Pastor Jeff after the service today
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  • Go to FBCFM.COM and click “Next Steps”

More in Why Do I . . . ?

May 8, 2022

Spiritual Warfare: The World

April 24, 2022

Spiritual Warfare: The Devil