Galatians 5 – The Fruit of the Spirit – Part 3

We’ve been studying the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). We can plant and water, but God brings the increase. The fruit of the Spirit is of the Spirit. If you focus on the outward without the development of the inward, you will fail. We must walk in the Spirit and allow Him to produce His fruit in us. How the church began is how the church will continue. God poured out His Spirit and they continued steadfastly.

 

Faithfulness

God is trustworthy. He is faithful in His dealings with us. Just like the sunrise happens faithfully every morning, Lamentations 3:23 says His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness! 1 Corinthians 1:9 and 10:13 both say, “God is faithful.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14 says, “Faithful is He who calls you….” Not only is God faithful, but He rewards faithfulness. Matthew 25:23 says, “His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant….’” We should always give 100% effort. We are to love God with all our heart. We are to be faithful in our wealth and faithful in our worship. Be faithful to keep your word. Get rid of a get-by attitude. Don’t halfway do anything. God does not require that you BE the best but that you DO your best. You are not worth much if you are not faithful. “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint” (Prov. 25:19).

 

Our culture says unfaithfulness is normal. Faithful Christians shine as lights in the darkness. Be faithful in singleness, in friendships, in marriage – for better or worse. Remember, in marriage you signed up for worse! Culture says to look on the internet and find someone else. Christ says work it out. Be faithful. Parents, be faithful to your kids. Children be faithful to your parents. Be faithful to your employees and employers. Let the word “faithful” describe you in your relationships and workplace.

 

Where would we be today without the faithfulness of God? Hebrews 11:11 says, “And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.” Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). We can have faith – belief in His Word, confidence in who He says He is, assurance that He’ll do what He says He’ll do – and we can be faithful to others, because He is faithful! “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True…” (Rev. 19:11).

 

Gentleness

Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek.” Meekness is not weakness. It is power under control. Meek is another word for gentle. Numbers 12 says that Moses was a meek man, yet he said to Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” Jesus Himself said, “I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matt. 11:29). Over and over again in Scripture we are told to be gentle. “Let your gentleness be evident to all…” (Phil. 4:5). Do you have a teachable spirit? Are you repentant? It is daily? Are you gentle and sensitive or demanding and harsh?

 

Self-Control  

Self-control only happens when you are surrendered to the Spirit’s control. Otherwise, you are consumed with self-centeredness, self-importance and self-pity. The need for self-control is obvious. We live in a world that is out of control. Eating, drinking, spending, you name it. The answer is to deny ourselves. Galatians 5:24 says, “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” People say, “I couldn’t help myself, I am just weak in the flesh.”  The fact is they are strong in the flesh and weak in the Spirit.  Say “no” to your flesh.  The only way to crucify our fleshly, carnal desires is to stop feeding them. Die to selfish ambitions, desires, and opinions. People do what they want to do. What did Paul tell Timothy and Titus? Older men are to be sober minded and self-controlled and to teach younger men to be that. Older women are to teach the younger women to be self-controlled. This is not a talk for teenagers. There is never an age where we do not need self-control.

 

When you think faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, think Jesus. If you are exhausted trying to live the Christian life on your own, the answer is to walk in the Spirit and allow Him to produce His fruit in you!

 

 

 

 

 

Galatians 5 – The Fruit of the Spirit – Part 2

Last week, we contrasted the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is the opposite of the works of the flesh. The Lord produces the fruit in us – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Jesus says in John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” The key word is abide. Branches on a vine don’t strain and try harder to produce fruit. The vine provides the life-giving sap and nutrients needed. The branch just has to stay connected to the vine. It’s the same with us! When we stay connected to Him, He will produce organic, genuine spiritual fruit in us.

 

Patience

Who among us does not need more patience? We want everything now. We want fast food, the fast lane, the fast pass, etc. In James 1, we are told to count it all joy when we go through trials because the testing of our faith produces patience and ultimately works in us to make us “perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (v. 2-4). Storms will come. They will either make you bitter or better. What makes the difference? The Spirit. In James 5 patience is likened to a farmer waiting for a harvest (v. 7-8). Farmers have to be patient from one season to the next. They till, plant, weed, water, watch and wait. God works in seasons! Some of you can’t wait for the season you are in to be over. Don’t just endure the present season of life, but enjoy it! In due season you shall reap if you faint not. You can’t control what happens, but you can control your response! In Matthew 18:23-35, we read a parable in which a man receives patience, compassion, and forgiveness from his master, but then turns around and does not offer it to his servant. The master was of course angry! Verse 35 tells us that God also does not like when we don’t offer others patience, because He has been so patient with us. Human nature is “I’m not going to be kind to those who are unkind to me,” but God is patient and kind even when we don’t deserve it.

 

Kindness

“Love is patient, love is kind” (1 Cor. 13:4). We live in an age of rage. Just listen to the news or look at social media and public discourse. Christians are to be different! God produces His fruit in us, which is grounded in His character. Titus 3:4-5 says, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy….” Psalm 145, Hebrews 11:4, Luke 6:35-36, Romans 2:4, and Ephesians 2:7 also speak of God’s kindness. We are commanded to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave [us]” (Eph. 4:32). It’s an amazing thing that God would love and seek those who were against Him. We don’t forgive people because they deserve it, but because God forgave us when we did not deserve it. Apart from the grace of God, we get preoccupied with our problem, our plans, and our pleasure. Everyone’s favorite subject is self. Look for opportunities to show simple expressions of kindness. Mark Twain said, “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can read.”

 

Goodness

The “fruit” of goodness is not feeling good, looking good, being good, or doing good. Romans 3:12 says, “There is none good, no not one.” In ourselves we have no good thing, but the Lord is good! James 1:17 says every good and perfect gift is from Him. Romans 12:2 says His will is good and Micah 6:8 says He has shown us what is good. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8)! Jesus went about doing good and that is what we are called to do. We are the hands and feet of Jesus. We are the body of Christ. John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can.” People remember kindness. You remember teachers, employers, and employees who showed you kindness, right? Patience, kindness, and goodness should start at home, with the people you are around most. Stay connected to the Vine and let God produce His fruit in you.

Galatians 5b – The Fruit of the Spirit

We are in a series studying the book of Galatians. Today, we are going to begin looking at the fruit of the Spirit. In chapter 5, Paul contrasts for us the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. He says, “these are opposed to each other…” (v. 17). The key for us as believers is found in verses 16 and 25 when he says, “walk by the Spirit” and “live by the Spirit.”“The works of the flesh are obvious” (v. 19).These are the types of things that mark the lifestyleof non-believers.We as Christians still have the propensity to lapse into those things in our unredeemed flesh. Our flesh will not be redeemed until we receive our heavenly home and a glorified body. The question is, are we regularly practicing these things or is the fruit of the Spirit growing in us?

 

Life under the law, under legalism, produces these vices: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar (v. 19-21). Life under the Spirit produces these virtues:love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, and such things (v. 22-23).The “deeds” of the flesh are plural. A person does not commit all these sins at the same time. The fruitof the Spirit is singular. It comes as a total package. Not every believer has every gift of the Spirit, but every believer has all the fruit the Spirit.

 

Fruit is an image seen throughout Scripture. In John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the vine, you arethe branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” The key is abide. The branches are not straining harder. Some of you are trying to live the Christian life in your own strength. The key is to abide in the life, the source of the vine. The fruit is not produced byus but inus.

 

Let’s look at the first three virtues Paul lists. The first is love. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself.  The greatest evidence that the Spirit lives in you is not performing signs and wonders, or speaking in tongues. The greatest evidence is love. Man’s love is based on attraction or earning it. But Deuteronomy 7:7-8 makes it clear that the love of God has nothing to do with our merit.God’s love takes the initiative. It does not ignore the needs of a brother. It forgives with or without apology. It is more than an emotion or feeling. It is a decision that we make and an action that we take.This love is the permanent priority of the Christian life.

 

Love and joyare linked.“This is my commandment that you love one another that your joy may be full.” Joy is not happiness. Joy does not depend on circumstances. The joy of the Christian is unique because it is based on salvation. David prayed, “restore unto me the joy of thy salvation” (Ps. 51:12). 1 Peter 1:8-9 says, “Though you have not seen him, you lovehim; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvationof your souls.” Joy to the world the Lord has come! The gospel is good news. Real joy is based on salvation. Man’s guilt plus God’s grace leads to eternal gratitude.

 

Joy and peaceare also connected. Numbers 6:26 says the Lord will give you peace. Isaiah 26:3 says, “God will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him.” Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always” and verse 7 says, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” As Christians we can have peace with God and peace with others. Peace is found in God. Man’s problem is we are alienated from God. There is no peace apart from God. Jesus said in John 16:33,“I have told you these things, so that in meyou may have peace.”He is the Prince of Peace.

How do we know if we are walking in the Spirit or in the flesh?It is not mystical. It is obvious. Paul gives two lists for us to use to examine our lives. When you look into the mirror of God’s word, do you see more of yourself in the vices or the virtues? Is Jesus producing His fruit in you or are you trying to live the Christian life on your own?If you are looking for love, joy, and peace, it is found in Jesus.

 

 

 

Life ‘18

On September 15, from 9:00 a.m. – noon, we’ve planned a day you do not want to miss! It’s called Life ‘18 and this week on the blog I want to personally invite you to join us. Tammy and I will be sharing twice, the worship teams from all our campuses will be leading us in worship, and you’ll have the opportunity to attend a breakout session on a topic that interests you. Breakout topics include:

  • Marriage
  • Family Scheduling
  • Telling Others About Jesus
  • Your Role in Reaching the Nations
  • Maximizing Your Morning Routine
  • Racial Reconciliation
  • How to Read Your Bible
  • Prayer and Fasting
  • Dealing with Grief

Georgia doesn’t play football until Saturday evening, so you’ll have plenty of time to get home, grab your chips and dip, and watch the game.  We really believe this will be an uplifting and encouraging day for all who attend!

If you have not registered, click here to sign up now.

This Sunday, I’m excited to be back with you and to continue our study through the book of Galatians. A new schoolyear has started, and there’s no better time to make Sunday mornings a priority in your weekly routine. Make plans now to be in church Sunday. I look forward to seeing you then!