2) In Christ - cf. Ro 8:12; 6:14-- In baptism we are set free from the dominion of sin; the battle may not be over, but now it can be won!
2. It continues as we are led by the Spirit
a. Without the Spirit's help, we will die spiritually - Ro 8:12-13
b. Walking in the Spirit, we will not succumb to the lust of the flesh - Ga 5:16-18
c. How does the Spirit lead us?
1) When we set our mind on the things of the Spirit - cf. Ro 8:5
2) The "things of the Spirit" include that truth He was sent to reveal - Jn 16:13-- The degree to which we set our minds on what the Spirit has revealed (i.e., the Word of God), to that degree we are led by the Spirit!
3. It continues as we are empowered by the Spirit
a. We can do whatever God wills with His help - Php 4:13; 2: 12-13
b. The Spirit is His agent by which He empowers us - cf. Ep 3: 16,21
c. How does the Spirit empower us?
1) Certainly the Word helps, as it is the sword of the Spirit - cf. Ep 6:17
2) Prayer also, as Paul prayed for the Ephesians - cf. Ep 3:16-- What is important is not how the Spirit empowers, but that He does, and that we seek His strength through the Word and prayer!
[By crucifying the flesh through our union with Christ in baptism, and then Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered, self-control will be a natural fruit born by the Christian, Ga 5:22-23). Finally, some thoughts in regards to...]
IV. THE DISPLAY OF SELF-CONTROL
A. THE PROPER EXERCISE OF SELF-CONTROL...
1. We are to bring the body under subjection - cf. 1Co 9:27
2. We are to deny ourselves ungodliness and worldly lusts - cf. Ti 2:11-12; 2Ti 2:22
3. We are not to be in bondage to anything, even that which lawful - cf. 1Co 6:12
4. We should be willing to deny self in service to others
b. Denying one's liberty to help the weak - cf. 1Co 8:9-13; Ro14:14-21-- Controlling the self means not only the body, but also the ego!
B. THE IMPROPER EXERCISE OF SELF-CONTROL.
1. Paul warned against the wrong kind of self-control - Col 2:20-23
a. Restrictions based upon human traditions
b. Limitations that neglect the body-- Such might appear wise, but really don't limit the indulgence of the flesh
2. Paul foretold that this would be a sign of a general apostasy - 1Ti 4:1-5
a. Not allowing marriage
b. Not eating certain meats -- Such might appear spiritual, but is contrary to the truth
1. Controlling the self is a natural component to growing in the knowledge of Jesus...
a. As faith without works is dead, so faith without self-control is meaningless
b. Striving for excellence (virtue) is not possible without the discipline of self-control
c. Increasing in knowledge is nothing but an academic exercise, unless we are able to apply that knowledge by exercising self-control
2. As we seek to develop self-control in our lives...
a. Remember the promise of our baptism (a new life free from sin's dominion!)
b. Walk after the Spirit (by setting your mind on the things of the Spirit)
c. Be empowered by the Spirit through the Word of God and prayer
3. Be careful to properly channel what self-control is developed...
a. Not to follow human traditions, nor to seek the praise of men
b. But to humbly pursue godliness, and serve our fellow man In this way we develop that Christ-like character, coming to truly know Him who through self-control offered Himself in service to His Father and for sinners.