The Works of the Flesh
A. Text: Galatians 5:19-21
I. Works of the Flesh Listed
in Galatians 5:19
1. Paul said the works of the flesh
are “manifest” which means “apparent, evident, or known” (v. 19).
B. Identifying the terms:
2. He then concludes teaching that these
known works will keep anyone partaking in them out of the kingdom of Heaven
3. Thus, we can see the importance of studying
these things because they will keep us from eternal life.
1. Works: [ergon Strong’s # 2041]:
“an act, deed, or thing done” –Thayer.
a. The works we are to do are the
ones that glorify God (Matthew 5:16).
2. Flesh: [sarx Strong’s # 4561]: “the flesh,
denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine
influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God” – Thayer.
b. The works we are not to be involved in
are the acts of the world (John 7:7).
a. Paul in his letter to the church
at Ephesus defines this term well (Ephesians 2:2-3).
3. An area of scripture that is in many ways
parallel to the works of the flesh (I Corinthians 6:9-11).
b. Christians are to put away the old man
that represents the fleshly mindset at conversion (Romans 6:6 cf.
A. Adultery [moicheia Strong’s #
3430 / see also 3429]: “to have unlawful intercourse with another’s
wife, to commit adultery with a spouse of another…” – Thayer / W.E.
II. Works of the Flesh Listed
In Galatians 5:20
1. God ruled on adultery both in
the Old and New Testaments:
B. Fornication [porneia Strong’s # 4202]: “illicit
sexual intercourse” – Thayer. Notice that fornication is a broader
term than adultery. Both sins are physical, whereas we will see the
mental sin of lasciviousness later in this lesson.
a. Exodus 20:14
2. God had a plan for man to have his own wife
and to fulfill her physical desires (I Corinthians 7:2-3).
b. Romans 13:9
3. The punishment of the Old Law was severe
for adulterers (Leviticus 20:10).
1. Paul makes a clear point on fornication
(I Corinthians 6:18).
C. Uncleanness [akatharsia Strong’s # 167 from
# 169]: “in a moral sense: the impurity of lustful, luxurious, profligate
living, of impure motives” – Thayer.
2. Fornication is the only exception to
the one man / one woman for life rule on marriage (Matthew 19:9).
3. Fornication would include sins such as:
homosexuality, bestiality, harlotry, adultery, or any other type of unlawful
1. The opposite of unclean would
be pure. It is the things which are pure that we should focus on
in our Christian lives (Philippians 4:8).
D. Lasciviousness [aselgeia Strong’s # 766]:
lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness,
shamelessness, insolence” – Thayer.
2. What type of heart [mindset] should we
have: Matthew 5:8
1. Many of the things we have discussed
are sins that begin in our hearts & defile us, and lasciviousness is
no different (Mark 7:20-23).
2. Jesus spoke very clearly about lust in
the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5:27-30).
A. Idolatry [eidololatreia Strong’s
# 1495]: “the worship of false gods, idolatry” – Thayer.
III. Works of the Flesh Listed
in Galatians 5:21
1. The Law of Moses showed God’s
disgusts for the practice of idolatry:
B. Witchcraft [pharmakeia Strong’s # 5331]:
“sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and
fostered by it” – Thayer.
a. Exodus 20:2-6 and Deuteronomy
2. Paul used the word “flee” in describing what
action Christians should take towards idolatry (I Corinthians 10:14).
b. Deuteronomy 7:23-26
c. II Kings 21:11-15
1. Notice what Isaiah said: Isaiah
C. Hatred [echthra Strong’s # 2189]: “enmity
[hostility]” – Thayer.
2. Paul called a “sorcerer” a child of the
devil and showed the power of God over the power of “black magic” (Acts
1. Being a hateful kind of person
needs to be a thing of the past, not present or future for Christians (Titus
D. Variance [eris Strong’s # 2054]: “contention,
strife, wrangling” - Thayer
2. Notice what the Lord said about one who
hates his brother: I John 3:15.
1. The church at Corinth was told
that they were still of the flesh in part because there was strife among
them (I Corinthians 3:3).
E. Emulations [zelos Strong’s # 2205]: “an
envious and contentious rivalry, jealousy” – Thayer.
2. We are told to avoid contention (Titus
3. The Bible tells us to contend [fight]
for the faith (Jude 3), but being a contentious person is surely what is
1. Where the attitude and action
of envy and strife exists there is evil (James 3:16).
F. Wrath [thumos Strong’s # 2372]: “passion,
angry, heat, anger forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again” –
2. We told not to walk in jealousy (Romans
1. Wrath needs to be removed from
G. Strife [eritheia Strong’s # 2052]: “apparently,
in the NT a courting distinction, a desire to put one’s self forward, a
partisan and fractious spirit which does not disdain low arts” – Thayer.
a. Ephesians 4:31-32
b. Colossians 3:8
1. Notice Philippians 2:3.
H. Seditions [dichostasia Strong’s # 1370] “dissension,
division” – Thayer.
2. Reference the similarities in point “II”
1. Those who would cause division
in this manner are to be marked and avoided as they serve not our Lord,
but themselves (Romans 16:17-18).
I. Heresies [hairesis Strong’s # 139] “dissensions
arising from diversity of opinions and aims” – Thayer.
2. Division is sinful in the body of Christ
(I Corinthians 1:10).
1. It is false teachers who bare
this trait (II Peter 2:1-3).
2. God is clear that unity cannot exist
among diverse beliefs (Amos 3:3, Philippians 3:16, II Thessalonians 2:15,
and II John 9-11).
A. Envyings [phthonos Strong’s #
5355]: “envy, for envy, i.e. prompted by envy” – Thayer.
1. It is sad that some would fault
to the same sin that Pilate realized Jesus was set to be killed for (Matthew
27:13-18 and Mark 15:10).
B. Murders [phonos Strong’s # 5408]: “to
murder, slaughter” – Thayer.
2. We should lay aside, among other things,
envy and simply learn the word of God (I Peter 2:1-2).
1. Any murderer can know that Heaven
would not be their home (Revelation 21:8).
C. Drunkenness [methe Strong’s # 3178]: “intoxication,
drunkenness” – Thayer.
a. Might we think about those who
take the lives of infants and partake in the act of Abortions.
2. As we have realized with these other sins,
it is from the heart that this sin is born (Matthew 15:19).
b. God recognizes when life begins (Job
3:3, Jeremiah 1:5, and Luke 1:40-41 [babe not fetus]).
1. Being a drunk is not wise (Proverbs
D. Revellings [komos Strong’s # 2970] “a
revel, carousal, a nocturnal and riotous procession of half drunken and
frolicsome fellows who after supper parade through the streets with torches
and music in honour of Bacchus or some other deity, and sing and play before
houses of male and female friends; hence used generally of feasts and drinking
parties that are protracted till late at night and indulge in revelry”
2. Being a drunk means you will not be in
the company of brethren (I Corinthians 5:9-11).
1. There are two other times this
Greek word appears in the Bible:
E. "…And Such Like"
a. Romans 13:13 in the KJV as “rioting”.
2. One context of this word summarizes the same
thing our context of Galatians 5:21 does in respect to revellings and other
works of the flesh (I Peter 4:2).
b. I Peter 4:3 in the KJV as “revellings”.
1. Here a summary – do not do things
even like those things mentioned above. If Paul missed something
he caught up with it here!
2. I Thessalonians 5:22
3. We cannot expect to be the friends of
God and friends with the world (James 4:4).
A. “…as I have also told you
in time past…”
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1. This message has been delivered
and is important.
B. “…that they which do such things shall
not inherit the kingdom of God.”
2. The importance is because of what will
happen to those who do such things.
1. Is Heaven important to you?
2. Will you cease doing those things that
will keep you from Heaven?
3. Respond to the Gospel call of Christ!
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