From Mark Copeland... "THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT" Infractions Of The Law Of Love - I

                       "THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT"

                   Infractions Of The Law Of Love - I


1. Our study of the "works of the flesh" as found in Ga 5:19-21 now
   focuses on a rather large group of sins that can be categorized
   together as "Infractions Of The Law Of Love"
   a. There are eight such sins listed
   b. They are "hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath,
      selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy" (NKJV)

2. Many people find it hard to conceive that these eight sins are
   really all that terrible...
   a. Notice this news clipping that made the front page of the Orlando
      Sentinel (1/7/81) under the heading, "Pope Widens Sin

         "Pope John Paul II said today that sins of the flesh are not
      limited to fornication, orgies and drunkenness, but include
      idolatry, jealousy, envy and unfriendliness.
         "The pope made the remarks to his weekly general audience at
      the Vatican, his forum for the past 14 months on the subject of
      sex and sin.
         "In his latest discussion of the subject, the pope cited St.
      Paul, the first-century apostle, as giving Christianity a very
      wide definition of sins of the flesh.
         "'It is significant that when Paul speaks about the works of
      the flesh, he mentions not only fornication, impurity,
      libertinage, drunkenness and orgies which are the sins of sensual
      pleasure,' the pope said, 'but also speaks of other sins to which
      we are not accustomed to attribute a carnal and sensual
      character:  idolatry, witchcraft, unfriendliness, discord,
      jealousy, dissent, divisions, factionalism, and envy.'"

   b. The paper makes it sound like the pope is declaring something
      new, but as the pope himself stated, this is what Paul taught in
      the very passage we are studying
   c. Indeed, what is said of immorality and drunkenness is also said
      of these eight sins:

      "...those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom
      of God"

3. Therefore there is a great need...
   a. To be informed as to what these sins entail
   b. To make a concentrated effort to put them out of our lives

[In this lesson, we shall look at the first two sins, which are closely
related to one another.  Starting with...]

I. ECHTHRA (enmities, hatred)

      1. Closely related to the word "echthros" which is the Greek word
         for ENEMY
      2. "echthra" means ENMITY, HOSTILITY
      3. Notice how it is used in...
         a. Lk 23:12 - "they had been at enmity with each other"
         b. Ro 8:7 - "the carnal mind is at enmity against God"
         c. Jm 4:4 - "friendship with the world is enmity with God"
      4. It was used to describe the enmity or hostility between...
         a. Social classes - the "haves" and the "have nots"
         b. Races - as existed between Greeks and Barbarians, Jews and
         c. Man and man - as often exists where there is hostility for
            one reason or another
      5. Thus it describes a state and attitude of mind toward other
         people which involves barriers between them and you

      1. Because Jesus died to remove the barriers that separate men
         from one another - Ep 2:13-16
         a. It is true that He died to reconcile us back to God
         b. But it is just as true that He died to reconcile man back
            to man!
         c. As we grow in Christ, we are to be so renewed in Him that
            distinctions lose their meaning - Col 3:9-11
         -- When we are at enmity with one another, we undo the work of
            Christ on the cross and in our lives!
      2. Enmity is the direct opposite of love (agape); consider the
         a. "agape" - an attitude of mind which will never allow itself
            to be bitter to any man; always seeking the highest good of
         b. "echthra" - the attitude which puts up barriers and draws
            the sword of division
         -- When we allow the work of the flesh to rule (e.g., echthra)
            we cannot allow the Spirit to produce the proper fruit in
            our lives (e.g., love)

[The sin of "enmity" involves any sort of hostility or prejudice
towards others; as such it has no place in the life of the Christian.
This is also true of...]

II. ERIS (contentions, strife, variance)

      1. "eris" is the expression of enmity or hatred; it is the
         outcome in actual life of that state of mind
      2. Other versions translate the word "eris" as "wrangling",
         "quarreling", "fighting", "discord"
      3. Paul uses this word to describe one of the evils that was
         characteristic of the pagan world - Ro 1:28-29
      4. Sadly, it can also describe the condition that may exist in a
         church - cf. 1Co 1:11; 3:3

      1. This particular sin invades churches more often, perhaps, than
         many others
         a. Because of our tendency to categorize sins, we may allow
            this one to linger and fester more than such sins as
            fornication, adultery
         b. Yet this sin is most destructive of Christian fellowship;
            it will just as easily destroy (maybe even more so) a local
            congregation as will sins of moral impurity
      2. Overcoming "contentions"...
         a. Begins with realizing that it is often the expression of
            "hatred" or "enmity", which has no place in the heart of 
            the Christian
         b. As illustrated in the case of Corinth, it often arises when
            members place too high a value on personalities, and not on
            Jesus Christ - cf. 1Co 1:12
         c. The key, then, is to exalt Jesus Christ as Lord, and let
            His attitude and example govern our dealings with one
            another - cf. 1Co 2:2; 2Co 4:5; Php 2:3-5


1. Notice again these brief definitions...
   a. "echthra" - enmity or hostility that one may harbor in one's
      heart toward another
   b. "eris" - strife or quarreling that results from such hostility

2. That such sins can keep us out of the kingdom of heaven just as
   easily as fornication, idolatry and sorcery, ought to cause us to
   seriously reflect about our spiritual growth and development as

3. Perhaps more than ever since we started this study, we see the
   challenge we face as we live the Christian life
   a. It is not a matter of simply abstaining from what some people
      might call the "big" sins
   b. It is a matter of undergoing a complete transformation of
      character, made possible only as we submit to the working of the
      Spirit in our lives!
   c. As Paul wrote to the brethren in Rome:

   "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you
   present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God,
   which is your reasonable service."

   "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the
   renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and
   acceptable and perfect will of God."
                                               -- Ro 12:1-2

Are you seeking to be so transformed by the renewing of your mind?  It
begins with a "washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy
Spirit"... - cf. Tit 3:5; Jn 3:5; Mk 16:16

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011