Self-Control is Supernatural
20 October 2019 PM – Galatians 5:22-23 – Temperance – Scott Childs
Introduction: Last week, we began this brief series on self-control. We identified the fact that we all struggle with self-control in one area or another. Paul wrote, (1 Corinthians 9:25-27) “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
We may lack self-control in spending, eating, choice of foods, words, thoughts, lusts, desires, getting to bed on time, getting up on time, overcoming bad habits or cravings, time use, and tech use. If our spirit is uncontrolled, we may be harsh, bitter, cruel, angry, hateful, revengeful, rebellious, unkind, unforgiving, greedy, rash, impatient, fearful, or anxious.
Self-control is a difficult and never-ending task. We noted that we all have obstacles or weaknesses. Only self-control can overcome those obstacles. Excuses all lead to failure. We may begin to think that God’s standard is too high; however, that is what brings us to our message this evening – Self-Control is Supernatural. Temperance or self-control is one of the fruits that the Holy Spirit desires to produce in the life of every Christian.
Transition: When we feel overwhelmed by our struggle with self-control, we must remember that God has given the Holy Spirit’s help. This evening I want to show you three actions of the Holy Spirit to which you must respond to receive His self-control.
The 1st action of the Holy Spirit to which you must respond is …
1. The Holy Spirit WANTS to give you self-control.
a. He is God’s gift to every Christian
1) Every Christian received the Holy Spirit the moment he trusted Christ for salvation (Rom 8:9)
2) He indwells us continually (Jn 14:17)
3) He comforts Christians as Christ did (Jn 14:16-18)
4) He desires to guide us into all truth (Jn 16:13)
5) He empowers us to share the Gospel (Act 1:8)
6) He helps us pray (Rom 8:26)
7) He is able to give us victory over the flesh (Ga 5:16)
8) He is able to bear fruit in our lives (Ga 5:22-23)
b. Self-control is the fruit of the Spirit not our fruit.
1) Read Galatians 5:22-23
2) You may have these good attitudes when all is well. You can have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (self-control) on stress-free days, but not when the pressure is on. When work is stressful, the kids are rebellious, you step in the dog poo, your spouse is unreasonable, someone mistreats you, payments are overdue, the neighbour is complaining, your brother is mean to you, or you are feeling sick, it is beyond your power to produce these fruits. These are supernatural fruits of the Holy Spirit.
3) Complete and continuous self-control is only possible through the aid of the Holy Spirit. He knows your weaknesses and He wants to give you self-control.
O God wants you to know this and believe it to be true!
The 2nd action of the Holy Spirit to which you must respond is …
2. The Holy Spirit WAITS to give you self-control.
a. The Holy Spirit does not automatically do this.
1) Note the context of our text.
a) In v.16 and v.25, we are admonished to walk in the Spirit.
b) In v.18, we must be led of the Spirit.
2) The context also identifies a contrast.
a) In v.19-21, God lists the works of the flesh. These sins are not automatic. They occur when a person yields to the flesh.
b) In v.22-23, the fruits of the Spirit are not automatic either. He will not produce these fruits in you without your cooperation. They occur when a Christian yields to the Spirit.
b. The Holy Spirit is waiting for our dependence.
1) The Spirit’s fruit is conditional. We must cooperate. It is God’s fruit; however, we cannot be passive.
2) He longs to fill us, which is prerequisite to bearing fruit in our lives. Turn to Ephesians 5:18.
a) The verb here is a passive imperative. God is commanding us to allow the Holy Spirit to fill us.
b) The Holy Spirit longs to fill every Christian. The reason many Christians are not filled by the Spirit and do not bear His fruit when the pressure is on is because they do not allow Him to fill them.
3) How can we allow Him to fill us?
a) We must walk in the Light and immediately confess all sin (1Jn 1:5-9) (Ephesians 5:8-10) “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.”
b) We must yield to Him in every area (Rom 6:13). That means obey every Bible command that you know. Ask the Holy Spirit to take control of your life. Selfishness and stubbornness will prevent His filling. (See Eph 4:22-24)
c) No Christian will ever get more of the Holy Spirit than he presently has, but the more he yields to the Spirit, the more He can fill him.
4) “The Holy Spirit does not work instead of us, or in spite of us, but in us and through us.” — Wiersbe
5) My spirit will be a right spirit when I truly yield to God’s Spirit. This is the key to self-control!
O The Holy Spirit wants to give you self-control, but you must enable Him to do so.
The 3rd action of the Holy Spirit to which you must respond is …
3. The Holy Spirit WORKS to give you self-control.
a. He takes control of our reactions
1) (Galatians 5:16-17) “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
2) When we lack self-control, we are fulfilling the lust of the flesh. This is contrary to the desire of the Holy Spirit.
3) When we walk in the Spirit (in harmony with Him, clean from sin, obedient to the Bible, yielded to His direction), we will not (no not) fulfil the lust of the flesh.
4) It is utterly impossible to be walking in the Spirit and fulfilling the lust of the flesh at the same time. It is impossible to be filled with the Spirit and have an uncontrolled spirit at the same time.
5) We must strive to walk in the Spirit at all times. This is what God desires to be the norm in every Christian’s life.
b. God produces the fruit of self-control
1) True self-control is the Spirit’s fruit. It is not your resolution to respond correctly.
2) Rather than asking God to ZAP you with self-control, focus your attention on walking in God’s light, keeping a clean heart, obeying the Bible, fleeing temptation, and yielding fully to the Holy Spirit. Depend on Him. Rest in Him. Commune with Him. Run to Him. Look to Him for self-control. At the critical moment, cry out to Him for help.
3) We need this in reality, not just in theory.
Conclusion: God’s Holy Spirit WANTS to give you self-control. That is His character. He WAITS to give you self-control. It is not automatic. He is waiting for your yieldedness. He WORKS to give you self-control. When you let Him take control, He will give you self-control.
God’s standard is high. Completely and continually controlling ourselves by our own effort is impossible. Yet, as we yield to the Holy Spirit and obey Him (as we will see next week), we can live self-controlled lives.
Song: Nothing Between – 321