Studies in Galatians – Wayne Barber/Part 30
By: Dr. Wayne Barber
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2004|
|You can’t have religious flesh which has some type of humanistic good in it. God doesn’t recognize it, but the world seems to. But you can’t have that part of it without having the other side of it.|
The Social Deception of the Flesh – Part 2
Turn with me to Galatians 5. And we’re pushing right along here in verse 20. We actually will get one word in verse 21. Isn’t it interesting, or at least it is to me, how all of us—now there’s not a single person in here that’s a believer that’s any different—how we act and how we live when we’re not walking by the Spirit of God, when we’re not willing to be led by the Spirit and by His Word. You know, what happens is when we choose to do things our way, and it might not be a bad thing; it might be a good thing; we just bought the whole farm. You see, all of it goes together. You can’t have religious flesh which has some type of humanistic good in it. God doesn’t recognize it, but the world seems to. But you can’t have that part of it without having the other side of it.
And that’s what Paul’s contrasting here in Galatians 5:19-21. Because what he’s going to do is when he finishes this list, then he’s going to show you the other side. When you walk by the Spirit, Jesus produces His life in us; and what the difference is in the two lifestyles. All the baggage again, that goes with the flesh, we get it all when we choose to do things our way. One of the first things that happens is sexual deception. You say, “Wayne, that’ll never happen.” Well, now wait a minute. Suddenly there’s no sense of morality or decency in the way we behave with one another. All of a sudden it just goes out the window, and you wonder, “What happened? What happened here?”
But not only sexual deception, as we’ve already looked at in verse 19, superstitious deception. This is so interesting to me. What happens is we become so deceived by walking after the flesh we don’t really know what true worship is. It becomes only that which appeals to our flesh. In other words, it becomes that which makes me feel good, rather than that which pleases God.
But what hurts the most is what we’ve been looking at, and that’s social deception, the social deception. When the relationships are ruined because somebody didn’t intend to do it, but chose to do things their way and as a result the flesh now is ruining relationships around them. When the flesh is dominating our lives, hateful attitudes—now listen to what I’m saying—hateful attitudes begin to develop towards others in the body of Christ. The last time we were together we saw that Paul in verse 20, he starts with another list there and he uses the word, “enmities.” “Enmities” is the word meaning hateful, hostility towards others in the body of Christ. There’s literally a hatred and a hostility that grows between us as brothers and sisters in Christ. And, you know, to me that should be an oxymoron. The body of Christ, hatred and hostility; somehow that doesn’t seem to go together. And yet we find that in many churches because people just will not walk by the Spirit or be led by the Spirit of God.
Well, these hateful attitudes that we’ve already seen begin to manifest themselves with the word “strife.” That’s the next word in his list. We saw that the word “strife” is nothing more than verbal abuse towards somebody, verbal hatred expressed toward someone. What we say about our brother and sister in Christ, or to our brother and sister in Christ, is never meant to build them up; it’s only meant to tear them down.
And this leads us into the next word which is “jealousy.” Jealousy, we become jealous of the way God is using them and He’s not using us. Or we become jealous of the position God has put them in and hasn’t put us into, and the list goes on and on and on. Now when these hateful attitudes grow in the body of Christ, then hostile actions towards each other will manifest themselves. And it’s so wonderful that God put this in Scripture, not wonderful what we’re studying, but in the fact that we can at least understand ourselves. When things don’t go the way we think they ought to go and we react rather than respond to the grace of God, these things begin to manifest themselves. Hateful attitudes will manifest themselves in hostile actions towards one another.
Well, today we’re going to look at these hostile actions that Paul’s going to bring up in the last part of this list and in our social deception that we’ve been talking about, the hateful and hostile actions. It’s the behavior or the garment of the flesh that we saw last time out of Ephesians 4 that does the bidding of the devil. The word “devil” meaning to cast between and to separate. The devil sits back and laughs when the body of Christ does not walk by the Spirit of God. It’s as simple as I can put it. When they’re not willing to be led by the Spirit of God and by the Word of God the devil has got us. He can’t be but in one place at one time and he doesn’t need to be. We’re doing his bidding when we choose to do things our way.
Well, let’s look at the hostile actions that become the expressions of these hateful attitudes that will happen. They will happen; write it down, when we choose to go the religious route. The Galatians never intended to go this route. They only intended to do great things for God, but in doing so all of this baggage followed right along and you begin to understand why people act the way they act. First of all, let’s look at the hostile action of the outbursts of anger. That act of hostility, the first one that Paul mentions, outbursts of anger. The phrase “outbursts of anger” represents three words in the English language, but in the Greek language it only is one word. It took three of our words to express this one word. The word is thumos. Thumos is the word for violent rage that verbally, usually verbally, that it’s expressed towards somebody. I mean, it is rage. There is vengeance in this word.
Now there are two words for anger, and I’ve brought them up from time to time that we need to understand. First of all is the word orge. Orge is the word that means anger that is building, it’s building, but it hasn’t exploded quite yet. I went to the drugstore yesterday to pick up some hearing aid batteries. And these things last until a certain day. And when the batteries go out they never go out at the same time. One will go out and the whole side of your face will just go dead, and you’re thinking, now what. The brain has fallen out. So I stopped by the drugstore and I went up and I got some razor, I was going to get some razor blades. I got the batteries and I was going to get some razor blades, but for some odd reason they won’t let you buy razor blades anymore where you used to. They’re behind the counter. There’s a little thing there that says they’re behind the counter.
So I walked up and, as I said, a long line, and I waited for quite a while to get there. And when I got up there I said “I also would like to have some razor blades,” and I told her what kind and the lady said, “Oh, they’re not here, they’re behind another counter back there.” And she yells out, she says “I need somebody to help me.” Well, there’s 10 people behind me in the line. Don’t you hate that? You have waited forever to get to your spot and then somebody right in front of you doesn’t do something right and then it stops everything. And I was standing there and they couldn’t find anybody to help and I said “Well, I thought the sign said to come over to the counter.” She said “Yes, but they had them here and they moved them over there.” I couldn’t see it because I had my back turned to it.
But I heard the anger building behind me. You know what I’m talking about? You feel it. You feel it. I could just sense somebody thinking, “That sorry rascal. Why didn’t he read the sign to start with?” Now, it didn’t express itself. It was building, it was building. And the poor little lady, she was so sweet. She was trying to help me out and it took forever to get those stupid razor blades. And the line by the time I left was probably 25 people lined up behind me. And that was the only cash register they could go to. That’s the word orge. Orge is when anger is building. Now, if that anger had exploded you’d have, you would have really heard it. Somebody would have grabbed me on the shoulder and yelled in my face. That’s the word thumos. See orge is when the anger is building. Thumos is when it’s exploded in your face. And by the way, there is never any doubt when this anger explodes. There’s never any doubt. I mean it can be, it can be manifested in many ways, but you will not doubt when this word is used by somebody.
I was in a deacon’s meeting. I’d just been there for a short while. They hadn’t had a pastor in two years and many of the men there had taken on themselves great positions of authority. When you don’t have a pastor, committees become very strong, and sometimes too strong. And then the next guy comes in and it’s a huge problem when you have to overcome the attitudes and the egos that are built during that time. And one particular man got upset with me, mainly because I was there, and replaced him. And he had a responsibility with no accountability, and I was going to put him under a staff member so at least we could start having some kind of accountability there. But I’m upsetting the apple cart, you know. I don’t know why, but this follows me everywhere I go.
And so I’m sitting there, and in the midst of the meeting when he found out that he was being put up under a staff member and had to actually become accountable for the first time in his life, he got upset. And you could tell that the hateful attitude had been there for a long time, because, you see, you never have a hostile action until the hateful attitude has already been there. And if you don’t deal with the hateful attitude then you’re going to have that hostile action. And he got up in the middle of that deacon’s meeting, 15 men sitting around the room, and he walked over to me and he began to yell in my face, telling me everything that had been on his heart for a long time. I could tell what he had eaten for supper, for breakfast and for lunch for the past three days. He was right there in my face. I don’t know how many times in my life I think, “I can handle some of this stuff, Lord,” but He will not let me use an ounce of it. Little pipsqueak, he would sit there and just let me have it right in my face, boom in my face.
Now that is thumos. You see he’s already had the orge. He’d been building and building and building until finally the hateful attitude that was within him had not been dealt with under the blood of Jesus. He turned and the hostile action came forth. That’s the word we’re looking at here. Understand that it doesn’t just happen. It’s got to happen as a result of a hateful attitude. You’re not going to see hostile actions until you see hateful attitudes that aren’t being dealt under the blood of Jesus. And again, it’s so interesting to me that the two go together. The hostile action can only happen when there’s a hateful attitude.
The word thumos is used several times in Scripture to draw a picture for us as to what it is. It is used to describe the hateful and wicked actions of Pharaoh, the wicked Pharaoh who was over Egypt. So many people feared him, but not Moses, and that’s what it’s talking about in Hebrews 11:27. And Pharaoh is referred to as the king in this verse. And it says, “By faith he [Moses] left Egypt, not fearing the wrath,” and that’s the word. It’s interesting how it’s translated because now you understand it. Instead of outbursts of anger, wrath. When you think of the wrath of somebody, now you’ve got it. It’s the same word. “Not fearing the wrath of the king, for he endured as seeing Him who is unseen.” So you see the wrath built into this word.
In Revelation 12:12 it’s used to describe the violent wrath of the devil when he’s cast down literally to the earth in the mid-part of the 70th week of Daniel, and he begins to, with a violence, pursue Israel. And it says in that verse, “For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the seed because the devil has come down to you, having great,” and what does it say? “Wrath,” and he says, “knowing that he only has a short time.” That’s the word.
It’s used to describe however, even though here’s the devil, the wicked king of Pharaoh, but yet here it’s also used to describe the fleshly garment that we can put on when we choose not be led by the Spirit, not to walk by the Spirit. Ephesians 4:31, it says, “Let all bitterness and wrath.” Look at that. There’s your word, “and anger, and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” So consequently, see, flesh is flesh. It doesn’t matter if it’s the wicked king or Pharaoh of Egypt. It doesn’t matter if it’s the wicked wrath of the devil, it’s the same stuff. It’s the same garbage, and flesh doesn’t change. It’s just been unplugged when Jesus comes to live in our life, shifted into neutral. But when we choose not to be led by the Spirit we shift it back into gear. It has all of its terrible consequences.
It’s used to describe a person’s angry temper. Second Corinthians 12:20 Paul says, “For I’m afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish, and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife and jealousy,” and look what he calls it, “angry,” what? “Tempers;” that’s the same word. Isn’t it funny how it’s translated different ways, “disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances.” Notice how that word “anger” or that word “wrath” there is in the same list with the word of gossip and slander.
Now the word “anger,” thumos, is associated with abusive speech. Boy, is it ever abusive. When somebody gets to this point hateful attitudes can come out with unkind things. But this is hostility that blows up in your face. This is abusive to the nth degree. It says in Colossians 3:8, “But now you also put them all aside, anger, wrath,” and he says, “malice, slander.” Look what it’s associated with, “and abusive speech from your mouth.” It’s so tragic when a believer chooses to obey his flesh, because the way he views others, particularly in the body of Christ changes from love—now listen to me—to hate. There is no middle ground. Did you know that? “I don’t hate my brother.” “Well, do you love him?” “Well, no.” “Well, then you hate him.” Why can’t we get that straight? It’s one or the other. “Oh no, no, no, Wayne. I’m not quite that far.” Well, be real careful when you say that.
This hate will be expressed at some time in a hostile action; it’ll be expressed in a verbal abuse, an explosion of hostile action towards others. Things that were simply irritations before, minor irritations begin to change to major conflict when you walk after the flesh. And those hateful attitudes develop an enmity, strife and jealousies, but it isn’t long before the outbursts of anger comes forth.
And Paul said, that is exactly the way they act when they will not walk by the Spirit, when they will not trust God, when they will not willingly, willingly be led by the Spirit of God. That’s what going to happen. Believers who do not walk by the Spirit will have a hateful attitude towards others that will explode and they will verbally spew their venom on whoever it is that’s the object of their hate. Does that sound familiar in any of your lives? I mean in your home. It can be in your home. It can be in the church. This is written to the churches of southern Galatia, folks. These are believers he’s writing to, outbursts of anger.
Well the second thing we see here is hostile disputes. Now you see all this stuff builds together. It’s part of the package. It’s the whole farm. “Enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes.” The word “disputes” is the Greek word eritheia. It is selfish and hostile ambition in its original meaning. Selfish, now listen to me, and hostile ambition. You see, here’s the problem. In English the word means to argue, to argue persistently, to argue irritably. I mean, you want your point and you’re going to get it and you’re not going to listen to anybody. That’s English. But see, the Greek takes it a different way. This is why I’m trying to show you in the languages. It brings color to what the word really means. In the Greek it’s not so much what you say, although that’s implied, it’s the attitude with which you say it. It’s the attitude with which a person is doing what they’re doing. That’s more important to the Greek word than it is to the English word. The Greek seems to be more concerned with the attitude of self-interests that’s implied.
Interestingly, in a secular world this particular word was used for a person who only wanted a paycheck. He was only there for hire. If he goes to work at 8:30 he’s off at 4, buddy, he punches that clock at 4. If it’s not one minute till, it’s going to be at 4. “Well, there’s other things to be done.” “Hey, buddy, you pay me for 40 hours. I’m out of here. I’m only in this job for what I can get out of it.” That’s what the word was used for. That’s selfish interest.
As a matter of fact in Scripture he talks about the hireling and the shepherd. The hireling is not that same word, but it’s a good example. When you go to Israel and you see the shepherd leading a flock of sheep, and they have some paint painted on their side like a red stripe, and all the sheep have a red stripe on it, that means that whoever is leading that flock is a hireling. He’s only in it for what he can get out of it for himself and he will be gone as fast as he can find a better job. He wants a better pay, whatever it is. He doesn’t own those sheep and cares nothing about them. But if you see a flock of sheep walking with a shepherd and there’s no marks on it, they know his voice. They hear his voice. They follow him. He can say, hey, and they’ll get up and follow him. When they’re amongst other thousands of other sheep, his sheep will know him.
You see, this is the idea in the secular world that this word was used. To go along with this it was also used in the secular way of a person who was in politics. I thought this was interesting. It was used of a person who would say whatever you wanted him to say to get whatever he wanted from you. And that was the word that was used in the secular sense. The one who disputes, then, is full of selfish scheming. He’s after only one thing and that’s his own way. He is interested in only what benefits himself. In fact, it is translated selfishness in Philippians 2:3. In verse 1 of that same context it talks about how Jesus is the well of encouragement in coming along side and giving instructions, etc. And then it says in verse 3, it shows you by his command here that many people can do the right things, but they have this kind of hostile attitude behind them. It’s actually a hostile action because they really want what’s best for them rather than best for you. So he says in Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourself.” The word “selfishness” in that verse is our word.
How many believers do what they do for the ego that it brings to them? They only want what they do if the credit for themselves. They’re getting out of it what’s in it for them. That’s the word. Now here’s a person not walking by the Spirit of God, to give another illustration of it, consequently he is self-centered, hateful attitude, hateful attitude and those hostile actions may not have shown themselves yet, but he masks all of this by being heavily involved at church. This is what religion allows, folks.
Now watch out what I’m saying. How do you know that these hateful attitudes are in him? How do you know that those hostile actions are even potentially there? Well, one of the ways is he’ll argue with you till the sun comes up as long as he can get his way. If you ever differ with him he will argue with you till the sun comes up because he wants what he wants. That’s one of the ways you can tell, the argumentative spirit. But another way you can tell for whatever reason is when you take away from him or her what is feeding their ego, whatever it is, they will demonstrate with a hostility that has been there all along. You didn’t know it because it was masked by the good works that they were doing. But you take away from what they’re doing, buddy, and you’ll find out the hatefulness and the hostility that’s been there all along. And it explodes, they’ll blow up right in your face.
This sinful attitude can mask itself in preachers and teachers of the Word of God. It says in Philippians 1:17, “The former” —speaking of these people that were preaching Christ—“proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition,” that’s your word right there, “rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.” People actually preached Christ with a selfish ambition. Can you imagine saying the right thing but having the wrong motive? You see, that’s a hateful and hostile action, but it’s masked with religious good. This is what Paul’s trying to show the Galatians. This is where religion counterfeits everything that the Spirit of God can do in a person’s life. It shouldn’t surprise us.
We saw last week in James 3:16 how there was another word connected. It’s the word “jealousy.” We read this verse, and when a person is jealous, when a person is filled with hostility like this, they’re very unstable. They’re very unstable people. They don’t know who they are. They don’t know whose they are, so therefore they have to defend, they have to get what they want. James 3:16, “For where jealousy,” and here comes our word, “and selfish ambition exists, there is disorder.” And that word “disorder” means instability “in every evil thing.” You want an unstable church? Find you a religious bunch of people. Oh, they’re doing “good,” but I’ll tell you what; they’re full of hateful attitudes and it will at some point express itself in hostile actions because they’re not walking in a Spirit of God. Only God can produce the good that He requires. When an unstable believer has the hateful attitude of jealousy, it will resort somewhere in the hostile action of disputing to get their own way.
Paul says to the religious crowd in Romans how that this hateful and hostile way of living was going to bring a payback that they didn’t expect. Now, he speaks to these people that were religious but lost; understand that. I can understand that. But remember this, there’s flesh on both sides, and flesh never changes. There’s consequences to sin which is eternal judgment if you’re not a believer. But there’s also consequences of sin if we are believers and we’re not going to put it under the blood. It has to do with the testing of our works, whether they be of wood, hay and stubble or precious stones.
And Paul says to these religious people in Romans 2:4, “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you’re storing up wrath.” Look at this, “Storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life.” That’s what He’s going to give them, is eternal life. “But to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness then they’re only going to get wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek; for there is no partiality with God.”
And the word we’re looking at was back in verse 8, “selfishly ambitious.” So he puts it in a list and he warns these religious lost people. He says there’s a judgment coming, friend. Whatever you call good down here, buddy, doesn’t match to what’s required up here and one day there’ll be judgment. But now flip it over to the other side. If we’re believers we’ve already been judged at the cross, but our works are going to be judged and are being judged and there are consequences of it even right now. And so there’s no way to get around it. You’re either doing it in the Spirit or we’re working after the flesh. So God says there’s going to be consequences to this.
Amazing how many believers can do this stuff and be hateful and hostile and walk away as if it’s never, it’s never going to be dealt with. Oh, friend, God says you better make sure you understand there are consequences to when a person walks after the flesh.
So the hostile action of outbursts of anger and disputing to get one’s way. Well thirdly, is the hostility of dissensions. That’s a hostile word. “Enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions.” This is interesting. The word “dissensions” is the word dichostasia. It’s the word that means to stand apart from somebody, to refuse to fellowship with them. Refusing to fellowship with another in the body of Christ is an act of hatred and hostility towards that individual. Now, we’ve never looked at it that way, have we? But, see, Paul has to do this to show the Galatians what they’ve bought into and they have to see it as sin. They have to see it for what it is. It’s the word that’s only used here and in Romans 16:17.
Now in Romans 16:17 it’s used in a very interesting way. It is connected with those who teach false doctrine and those who buy into that false doctrine who now, because of the false doctrine, set themselves apart from everybody else and won’t have anything to do with them. You ever had somebody walk up to you and say, “Brother, have you had the second blessing?” And you say to them, “I’ve got the Blessor. What do I need the blessing for? Because in Him are all the spiritual blessings given already to me in Christ.” And what do they do? They stand back and they won’t fellowship with you because you haven’t had what they say they have. They’ve bought a false doctrine and because of that false doctrine will refuse to fellowship with you.
It is so funny to me that people that buy into something that exchanges the truth of God’s life in you would, in whom are all the spiritual blessings, they exchange it for the lie that makes their flesh feel better, and then when you don’t have their experience they will back away from you because that’s what this word “dissensions” is all about. In fact, Romans 16:17 says, “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you have learned.” And if you’ve ever studied Romans it’s all about grace. As a matter of fact, that is huge about grace. Galatians is Paul writing Romans mad. He says, “contrary to the teaching which you have learned and turn away from them,” because they are going to definitely cause a dissension in the body of Christ.
This passage from Romans associates the word “dissensions” with the word “hindrance.” You know what hindrance is? Hindrance is the word skandalon. Skandalon is not a trap. It’s translated trap, but it’s not. There’s another word for trap. This is the word that talks about that little trigger to the trap. And by the way, if you put cheese on a trap, throw that away. That’s not going to work. Those things figured it out a long time ago. Peanut butter works good, by the way. But if you’re a mouse and you’re fooling around with a bait that’s on that trap and you get near that little thing that you pull back and it holds the trigger, if you suddenly are eating the peanut butter and it dawns on you that there’s a trigger to that trap you’re dead. You have no more time. I mean, it’s a hair trigger on that thing. He’s got it! It’s got you!
Now, that’s what he says. The hindrance is the actual trigger of the trap and he says these people that have fallen into this trap of false doctrine become those who are dissenters in the body of Christ and dissension becomes a reality. That’s what’s happened in the Galatian church. They bought into false doctrine of these false teachers and those others who didn’t, now they refuse to associate with them. The Galatians had fallen, and dissension was everywhere. When you see those in the body of Christ who’ll not associate with others because of an opinion that they have somehow bought into, that’s exchanging the truth of living grace for the lie of what the flesh can do for God, just back off and pray for them because now you understand. That’s what flesh does. That’s a hostile action that’s built from a hateful attitude. They’ve exchanged the truth of God’s living grace for the lie of human works; now they’re hostile.
The Young’s Translation, which I love to refer to because it’s literal to the Textus Receptus, which is the text the King James came out of, and I love that text, adds this word, particular word we’re looking at, “dissensions,” and he translates it divisions in 1 Corinthians 3:3. He says, “For yet ye are fleshly for where there is among you envying and strife,” and then he puts this word “and divisions. Are you not fleshly and in the manner of men do walk?” And he speaks to believers there. So he makes sure you know that this is very possible. He describes immature believers that won’t come out of the nursery in the Corinthian church. When one’s lifestyle is fleshly, then there is hatred for those who trust God. This results in hostility of dissensions and this results in a split church.
I want to tell you, folks, when you buy into the flesh, help yourself. Everybody’s got their own choice, but you’re going to end up with hateful attitudes, enmity, jealousy, strife, but you’re also going to end up with hostile actions. You’ll blow up in somebody’s face in a second. Why? Because you’re so deceived you don’t even understand what you’ve bought into. That’s the way the flesh operates.
Fourthly, the hostility of factions. Enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions. Now this word “factions” builds out of the word “dissensions,” factions. The word “factions” is the word hairesis. It means, it comes from the word haireo, which means to choose. It’s a form of religious worship, or of religious ritual—now listen to me—or religious opinion that somehow divides the body of Christ. People that buy into this or that or this and they divide the body of Christ. This takes dissensions to a further degree. We get the word “heresy” from it. It’s translated “sect,”, and it’s used to describe the sect of the Sadducees in the New Testament. They were called a sect because they had bought into the fact that there is no bodily resurrection, even though Jesus taught differently. They had bought into the fact that there are no such things as angels. They denied the existence of angels and because of that nothing is ever said that is good about Sadducees in Scripture and they’re called a sect, a heresy. They have set themselves apart. They think they know more than everybody else. They’re called a sect. Acts 5:17, “But the high priest rose up along with all of his associates, that is the sect of the Sadducees and they were filled with jealously.” It’s interesting, that when there’s factions in the church it just goes to show who the real believers are. Do you realize?
Now I want to show you something here. Maybe you’ve never seen it. Painful as it is, it is absolutely necessary that these things happen within the church because you’re never going to have a perfect church until Jesus comes back. And these factions, dissensions, etc., are necessary. You say, “Wayne, come on, you’ve been telling that they come as a result of the flesh.” I know, but in 1 Corinthians 11:19 look what Paul says. “For there must also be,” and the word there is dei. It means it is absolutely necessary. Watch, “for there must also be factions among you”—oh, no! And then he says why—“so that those,” now listen, “who are approved may become evident to you.” Now you see what he’s saying here. Do you see how religion can sometimes so mask itself you think somebody is spiritual and God has to Himself create a division within the church. Why? So that the real believers will come to the surface and you’ll see who really walks by faith and who really is led by the Spirit of God. I personally don’t exactly like that verse, because it shows me that that’s going to have to happen so that you can know who the true remnant of the church really is.
Well, the believer who walks by faith walks by the Spirit, willingly led by the Spirit will be seen. He’ll surface in the midst of dissensions and factions. He won’t be a part of that. He’ll come forth and he’ll be one who say, “Let’s trust God, let’s trust God.” These factions are the result of man’s hateful attitude which has caused a hostile opinion and that opinion now has caused a faction within the church. Not only will they not, they refuse to associate with you, they’ll blow up in your face if you cross them. The Galatians never realized what they bought into, did they? Now they’re hateful and hostile. Peter says it so well, 2 Peter 2:1, “But false prophets also arose among the people just as there will also be false teachers among you who will secretly introduce destructive heresies,” that’s the word, “even denying the Master who brought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.”
Outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions and finally, envying. Now that’s interesting, isn’t it? “Why would you put that in that list? You’ve already talked about jealousy and my translation sometimes takes that same word and puts it as jealousy.” I know, but you’ve got a bad translation. The word “envying” and the word “jealousy” are two distinctly different words in the Greek text. Make sure you know the difference. Jealousy is a hateful attitude. Envying is a hostile action. The word for “envying” is phthonos. Now listen, it’s the pain that is felt and the consequent anger that is conceived in the presence, listen, of excellence or happiness in someone else.
By the way, the word “excellence” in Scripture is that which draws attention to God. People that walk by the Spirit draw attention to God. This is going to cause not only jealousy, this is going to cause the hostile action of envying. It’s the very thing that caused the crowd to turn Jesus over to the crowd. I mean, they wanted Jesus to be crucified and they wanted Barabbas to be set free. Matthew 27:16, “At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner called Barabbas, so when the people gathered together Pilate said to them, ‘Whom do you want me to release for you, Barabbas or Jesus, who is called Christ?’” Look what it says. “For he knew that because of,” what? “envy they had handed Him over.” Oh, man, they couldn’t stand the excellence that was in Christ. They couldn’t stand the fact that everywhere He went He drew attention to God. And by drawing attention to God He immediately drew attention to their own sin and they couldn’t stand it. They could not stand it. And so the hostile action of envy came, “Kill Him! Kill Him! Get rid of Him!”
And that’s exactly what happens to you and I when we let Jesus be Jesus in us. God’s going to turn the light on inside of our lives and we’re going to threaten and intimidate everybody we’re around who does not want to walk by the Spirit. However, it’ll also do the other thing, which Jesus did. It’ll attract people to a lifestyle that they know is possible in their own life. See, this is what Paul’s trying to say. He said, this envy that you have, in fact, they even looked at Paul as their enemy and Paul had to say, “Am I your enemy for telling you the truth?” You see, then they couldn’t stand when Paul would come around. His very presence convicted and intimidated them and exposed them just by Christ living in his life. So people will say, hey, get rid of Him quickly.
Titus 3:3 shows that this is the way we used to all live, “For we were also once foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and,” here’s our word, “envying, hateful and hating one another.” And I want to make sure you know the difference.
I worked with a pastor years ago, good friend, but he had a chip on his shoulder, a little bit arrogant—not a little bit, a whole lot arrogant. He thought he was God’s gift to the ministry and everything else and he was five years younger than me. I played ball with him in college and he got all the technical fouls. I didn’t, he did because he was always trying to tell the referee what he should have called. You know anybody like that? And God’s done such a work in his life since that time, but they used to give him a car every year, a car. Can you imagine? And paid his gasoline. He made $50,000 more than I did and I called him the dump truck. He dumped everything on me. The biggest decision he had was which pair of golf shoes to wear when he went to play golf. And every year he’d drive that car up in my driveway and I would say, “Oh, I’m so happy for you.” Lie like a dog, man. I had such a hateful attitude of jealously, you couldn’t describe it. I wanted to go over and spit on his car.
Now I’m going to show you the difference between jealousy and envy. I never did anything to try to take away that joy that he had. I was just jealous of it. Envy is hostile action; it’ll do something to get rid of him. It’ll try to tear him down. It’ll do anything you can do to get him out of there. I didn’t do that. Mrs. Bertha Smith came and had revival in our church and I saw that as sin and confessed it and God cleansed me of that. That’s the difference in jealousy and envy. Jealousy is a hateful attitude that you may never express, but you feel it. But envy is the hostile action you take to try to rid yourself of that which intimidates you and that which you want for yourself. That’s the difference.
O foolish Galatians! Man, they didn’t realize what a farm they bought did they? “Well all we did was exchange the truth of living grace for doing things for God.” I know, but you bought the whole package, you see. That’s what Paul tells them in Galatians.
I wonder what kind of church we are? I don’t know. I need to have a time with the visitors and just ask them. When they walk in here do they feel coldness? Do they feel people that are only interested in themselves? Do you walk right by somebody and never even reach out a hand because the Spirit of God has been quenched in your life because the flesh is ruling? But do you go right to a class and teach it? Or you go right to a religious activity, but there’s just no life, there’s no warmth? You see, that’s what happens. On the flip side, boy you let Jesus get a hold. I can’t wait till we get to verse 22. Oh, it’s going to so change this. I don’t like this stuff. I didn’t write it. I’m just having to get through it. But the other side is much better.
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Dr. Wayne Barber
Wayne has taught the message of “Living Grace” around the world. He is president, founder, and principal speaker of Living Grace Ministries and Senior Pastor of Woodland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He learned to exegete Scripture by studying for 10 years with Spiros Zodhiates, one of the leading Greek scholars.