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                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS"

                  The Works Of The Flesh - I (5:19-21)


1. Of grave danger to the Christian are the works of the flesh...
   a. They can destroy the liberty we enjoy in Christ - Ga 5:13-15
   b. They prevent us from following the Spirit and doing the things we
      wish - Ga 5:16-17
   c. They keep us from inheriting the kingdom of God - Ga 5:21

2. It is imperative that we know what are the works of the flesh...
   a. Those things that are contrary to the Spirit - Ga 5:17
   b. Those sins which wage war against the soul - cf. 1Pe 2:11

[To aid us in this battle, Paul provides a list of sins that are quite
evident (Ga 5:19-21).  At the top of the list are...]


   A. FORNICATION (Grk., porneia)...
      1. Note:  Some translations begin with 'adultery' which is not
         found in some of the oldest manuscripts; it is certainly
         covered by 'fornication'
      2. Porneia - illicit sexual intercourse - Vine
      3. As used in the New Testament, we find it having at least four
         different applications...
         a. A reference to premarital sex - 1Co 7:1-2
         b. A synonym for adultery - Mt 19:9
         c. A generic term referring to all forms of unchastity - 1Co 
         d. A specific sense referring to harlotry and prostitution - Re
      4. It therefore includes any sort of sexual intercourse between
         partners who are not married; e.g., premarital sex, adultery,
         homosexuality, prostitution, incest
      5. God's disdain for such immorality is seen in the fact...
         a. There are seven lists of evil in the writings of Paul
         b. Fornication is listed in five of them, and is the first in
            each of them

   B. UNCLEANNESS (Grk., akatharsia)...
      1. Akatharsia - in a moral sense: the impurity of lustful,
         luxurious, profligate living - Thayer
         a. It originally had reference to dirt or dirtiness in a
            physical sense
         b. In the Greek OT, it is used to denote ritual and ceremonial
            impurity which made it impossible for the worshipper to
            approach God - cf. Lev 22:3-9
         c. It then came to be used in a moral sense, of that moral
            depravity which disgusts the person who sees it
      2. Three ideas are therefore inherent in the word
         a. The quality of that which is soiled and dirty; some minds
            are like that
         b. An impurity where there is a repulsive quality that awakens
            disgust in decent persons
         c. That which separates man from God; in contrast, compare Mt
            5:8; Re 3:4

   C. LEWDNESS (Grk., aselgia)...
      1. Aselgia - also translated as lasciviousness, licentiousness,
      2. The basic meaning of the word
         a. In the NT it seems to be linked with sexual excess in a
            public way
         b. Barclay distinguishes three characteristics of this sin:
            1) It is wanton and undisciplined action
            2) It has no respect for the persons or rights of anyone
            3) It is completely indifferent to public opinion and to
               public decency
      3. The general idea is one of shameless behavior
         a. Thayer defines this word by giving these examples:
            1) "filthy words"
            2) "indecent bodily movements"
            3) "unchaste handling of males and females"
         b. This word is one that best describes...
            1) What is often seen in much of modern dance, music,
            2) What goes on at many concerts, and on many talk shows
         c. The context in which it is often found in the Scriptures
            helps to understand this word - cf. Ro 13:11-14; Ep 4:17-19;
            1Pe 4:1-4

[With these three words (porneia, akatharsia, aselgia), we learn that
"the works of the flesh" involve sins of moral impurity.  As we continue
with Paul's list, we note that they also involve...]


   A. IDOLATRY (Grk., eidololatreia)...
      1. Eidololatreia - image worship - Strong
      2. Concerning idolatry as commonly considered...
         a. In the beginning stages of idolatry, no one worships the
            idol or image itself
            1) The idol simply served two purposes:
               a) To localize the god it represents
               b) To visualize the god it represents
            2) It is simply designed to make it easier to worship the
               god represented by the idol
         b. Inevitably, however, people will wind up worshipping the
            idol or image itself
            1) We see this in various forms of Catholicism
            2) Where the leaders say the image is not an idol, only an
            3) But who can deny that the average worshipper begins to
               view the image itself as something holy and to be
            4) Thus that which is 'created' begins receiving adoration
               rightfully due the 'Creator'
         c. According to Ro 1:18-23, the basic error of idol worship is
            the worship of the 'created thing' rather than the 'Creator
            of all things'!
      3. Concerning idolatry as that which displaces God...
         a. Idolatry is not just the adoration or worship of images
         b. Paul defines 'covetousness' as idolatry - Ep 5:5; Col 3:5
            1) Any strong desire for material things that replaces our
               desire for God is a form of idolatry!
               a) Our hearts are such that they are drawn to whatever is
                  our treasure - Mt 6:21
               b) If our treasure is earthly things, our heart
                  (devotion) is drawn away from God
            2) We cannot serve material things and God at the same time!
               - Mt 6:24
         c. Thus we can be idolaters when we make things other than God
            Himself our priority in life, such as:  our job, house,
            hobby, family

   B. SORCERY (Grk., pharmakeia)...
      1. Pharmakeia is found to be used in three ways
         a. Medically, to the use of drugs with no bad meaning at all
         b. The misuse of drugs so as to poison, not cure
         c. The practice of sorcery and witchcraft, which often used
            drugs to cast spells and alter the behavior of others
      2. The practice of witchcraft and sorcery is strongly condemned
         - Exo 22:18; Re 21:8
      3. Examples of this sin today...
         a. There is an increasing number of religions based upon the
            occult, and that make use of drugs in their religion
         b. The "recreational" use of drugs also falls into this
            1) Remember that altering the behavior of others through
               such drugs was a basic function of sorcery and witchcraft
            2) What is the difference between using drugs to alter
               others' behavior and your own?
            3) This is not to discount the proper medicinal use of drugs
            4) But just as the Bible condemns drunkenness, which is an
               altered state brought on by alcohol (a drug), so it would
               seem to condemn similar use of other drugs


1. In this study we have seen that the works of the flesh include...
   a. Sins of moral impurity (fornication, uncleanness, lewdness)
   b. The sins of idolatry and sorcery
   -- Our next study will survey sins violating the law of love

2. William Barclay observed that each of these sins is a perversion of
   something good...
   a. Fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness - perversions of the
      sexual instinct which in itself can be a beautiful thing as part
      of true love between a man and a woman
   b. Idolatry - a perversion of worship
   c. Sorcery - a perversion of the proper use of drugs
   -- He also noted:  "The awfulness of the power of sin lies precisely
      in its ability to take the raw material of potential goodness and
      turn it into the material of evil."

3. Because of the power of sin to corrupt, we need divine help to break
   free from its bondage...
   a. Jesus promises freedom from the bondage of sin - Jn 8:31-36
   b. He sent the Holy Spirit to deliver on that promise - Ro 8:12-13;
      Ga 5:16

Have you responded in obedience to the gospel that you might enjoy true
freedom from the corrupting power of sin...? - cf. Ac 2:38-39
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