Sunday August 8, 2004 | Jim Winter
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever a]">[a] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
This week Jim led us in a communion service. The sermon focused on the tension between the Spirit and the Flesh and how Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to be united with God in spirit. In communion we participate with our whole body as we obey Christ's command to “do this in remembrance of me.” In this way, we submit our flesh to God's Spirit.
This week Pastor Jim Winter led us in a communion service. The sermon focused on the tension between the spirit and the flesh and how Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to be united with God in spirit. In communion we participate with our whole body as we obey Christ’s command to “do this in remembrance of me.” In this way, we submit our flesh to God’s Spirit. This is one reason that a communion service may be used by God to heal us in any number of ways.
Jim offered some examples of living in the flesh from his own life. He mentioned his driving habits and wrestling with addictive behavior. We all have some areas of our lives that are not fully submissive to God’s Spirit. To say otherwise is to claim perfection! (Recall the warning about this from 1 John 5-10.) Jim’s challenge to us was that we seek God’s Spirit both in communion and at other times to help us overcome the desires of the flesh. With this in mind he quoted Gal. 5:16-18:
“Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law.”
Jim pointed out that there is a very real war going on within us. The challenge in this war is that we be faithful to what God is moving us do through the Spirit. Henri Nouwen once wrote:
“The great challenge here is faithfulness, which must be lived in the choices of every moment. When your eating, drinking, working, playing, speaking, or writing is no longer for the glory of God, you should stop it immediately, because when you no longer live for the glory of God, you begin living for your own glory. Then you separate yourself from God and do yourself harm.”
Often, simply doing what we want will actually do us harm in the long run. Perhaps this is why Jesus was so radical as to actually want us to participate with our whole being – our mind, body and spirit – in the act of communing with him. Not only do we worship God during this time, we submit our minds, our hearts and even our bodies by taking in the body and blood of Christ. Our need for Christ penetrates our whole being. As Jim reminded us, in communion we are given an opportunity to express the true unity we have with Christ and with each other as the Body of Christ. In communion we remember who Christ is and what he did. We remember our reliance on Christ because our flesh is weak. It is an opportunity for congruence, agreement with God, healing and transformation!