Sunday, November 15, 2020

CHRISTIAN CHARACTER IN THE AGE OF COVID-19: The Crucified Life (Galatians 5:13-26) Sermon Outline (a blog post for a video sermon for Kenwood Church in Livonia, MI, on November 15, 2020)

 CHRISTIAN CHARACTER IN THE AGE OF COVID-19: The Crucified Life - November 15, 2020


The Crucified Life

“The only life we can offer God that has any value is the crucified life.”

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. 

But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

‭‭ Galatians‬ ‭5:13-26‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Love - pleasure

Joy - happiness

Peace - satisfaction

Patience - passivity

Kindness - nice

Goodness - self-righteousness 

Faithfulness - knowledge

Gentleness - timidity

Self-control - self-control


A.  The flesh

Strong's Concordance

sarx: flesh

Original Word: σάρξ, σαρκός, 

Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine

Transliteration: sarx

Phonetic Spelling: (sarx)

Short Definition: flesh, body

Definition: flesh, body, human nature, materiality; kindred.

HELPS Word-studies

4561 sarks properly, flesh ("carnal"), merely of human origin or empowerment.

[4561 /sárks ("flesh") is not always evil in Scripture. Indeed, it is used positively in relation to sexual intercourse in marriage (Eph 5:31) – as well as for the sinless human body of Jesus (Jn 1:14; 1 Jn 4:2,3). Indeed, flesh (what is physical) is necessary for the body to live out the faith the Lord works in (Gal 2:20).]

4561 (sarks) is generally negative, referring to making decisions (actions) according to self – i.e. done apart from faith (independent from God’s inworking). Thus what is "of the flesh(carnal)" is by definition displeasing to the Lord – even things that seem "respectable!" In short, flesh generally relates to unaided human effort, i.e. decisions (actions) that originate from self or are empowered by self. This is carnal ("of the flesh") and proceeds out of the untouched (unchanged) part of us – i.e. what is not transformed by God.

B.  Its passions - passive

1.  That which befalls someone

2.  Suffering

3.  Passion

C.  Its desires - active

1.  Desire

2.  Passionate longing

3.  Lust


A.  Live by the Spirit

Cognate: 2198 záō – to live, experience God's gift of life.  See 2222 (zōē)

B.  Keep in step with the Spirit

1.  Stay in rows

2.  Walk by rule

“We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”

‭‭ 1 John‬ ‭2:3-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬


A.  Not becoming conceited - conceit

2755 kenódoksos (from 2756 /kenós, "empty" and 1391 /dóksa, "glory") – properly, empty glory, i.e. self-deluded conceit driven by personal "delusions of grandeur"; "groundless conceit" (A-S); boasting "where there is nothing to boast about; . . . empty pride or conceit, mere pretentiousness" (F. F. Bruce, Commentary on Galatians, 257). It is only used in Gal 5:26.

2755 (kenodoksos) refers to "foolish fancy" (vain, "empty opinion"). This is based on nothing, and comes to nothing.

B.  Not provoking - combat/challenge

1.  Challenging

προκαλέω, προκάλω: present middle participle προκαλούμενος; to call forth (cf.  πρό, d. α.); middle to call forth to oneself, especially to challenge to a combat or contest with one; often so from Homer down; hence, to provoke, to irritateGalatians 5:26 ((ες μότητα καί ργήν, Herodian, 7, 1, 11, 4 edition, Bekker)). 

C.  Not envying - compare

Cognate: 5354 phthonéō (from 5355 /phthónos) – to envy, becoming bitter (sour) because of another person's success.  5354 /phthonéō is used only in Gal 5:26.  See 5355 (phthonos).

Paul’s warning in Romans 12

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

‭‭ Romans‬ ‭12:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬


Spend time on your knees this week searching your heart.  If there is any part of you left “uncrucified," nail it to the cross.  There is no room for holdouts.  The victory of Jesus is either total or not at all.  Share one of your struggles with someone who will pray for you.  Live the life of the Spirit.


It is our custom to offer an "invitation" following the preaching of the Word.  You may want to follow Jesus.  You may want to proclaim your faith.  You may want to repent (stop doing ungodly things and start doing Godly things).  Perhaps you want to be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Possibly, if you have already responded to God’s call in these ways, you would like to become a member of Kenwood Church.  If you have been moved by the Holy Spirit to make a decision in your life, I would be honored to speak with you in the upper parking lot following the service about what God is doing in your life.

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