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Studies on Fruits of the Spirit #1

That which comes with having the Spirit


                             by

         The Church of God 7th Day, Denver, CO, USA



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FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT

INTRODUCTION

Galatians 5:22,23 is the only text that lists in a group the nine
virtues comprising the fruit of the Spirit. These virtues are the
focus of this series. Every believer receives the Holy Spirit,
the provider of the fruit of the Spirit. Thus, believers must
learn how the Holy Spirit benefits them and helps them become
more Christlike through the godly characteristics He supplies.

Much of Paul's letter to the Galatians is devoted to countering
the influence of Judaizers who were convincing Christians in the
Galatian churches that they must first become Jewish proselytes
and submit to the Mosaic law before they could become Christians.
Paul sternly warned these churches, which he had raised up during
his first missionary journey, that by accepting the teaching that
justification came by observing the law, they were abandoning
Jesus Christ. He emphasized that justification by faith -
believing in Jesus' sacrifice as the redemption for our sins - is
an essential doctrine of the gospel (I have fully expounded on
this subject in my commentary on the book of Galatians on this
Website - Keith Hunt).

Paul stressed that being liberated from the curse of the law does
not give Christians license to sin. On the contrary, with the
Holy Spirit's help, Christians obey God's commandments more
effectively. Instead of being burdened by the requirements of
law, they serve God and humanity with love, joy, and peace in
their hearts, because Christ paid the penalty for their sins and
provided an indwelling Helper.

One other important matter that will be studied in these lessons
relates to the fruit of the Spirit and walking in the Spirit.
Paul taught that those who walk in the Spirit do not fulfil the
lusts of the flesh. They do not allow the sinful desires of human
nature to control their lives. Galatians 5:19-21 lists many works
of the flesh that draw people into a sinful lifestyle and
separation from God.

We pray that these lessons will encourage you in your
determination to walk in the Spirit. New Christians receive the
Holy Spirit, but they must team to submit to the Spirit's leading
and teaching to grow in their Christlike character. Becoming
mature in Christ is a lifelong process. As long as we live in our
human bodies, we will also contend with our human nature, which
makes walking in the Spirit extremely important. The Spirit helps
us gain victory over wrongful desires. However, complete victory
will not be gained until we're transformed into an incorruptible
body when Christ returns.
Order a new Bible Advocate Press booklet, A Study of the Holy
Spirit, to learn more about the Holy Spirit.

LESSON 1

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22,23).

PRESENTATION: We are given the Holy Spirit as an indescribable
bonus when we receive God's gift of salvation through believing
in Jesus Christ and accepting His sacrifice on the cross for our
sins. When Jesus left this earth to return to the Father, He
promised the disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit to take
His place in their lives: "I tell you the truth. It is to your
advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper
will not come to you; but if 1 depart, I will send Him to you"
(John 16:7).
Jesus emphasized the Spirit's life-giving power (John 7:37-39),
His indwelling presence (14:16,17), His teaching ministry 
(v.26), and His empowering for witnessing (15:26). To help us do
the Father's will, the indwelling Spirit represents the Father
and Jesus Christ.
The Holy Spirit also gives spiritual gifts to believers. These
are listed in Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11,28; and
Ephesians 4:11. Some gifts may be enjoyed privately but most are
given to minister in behalf of Jesus Christ and to equip
individuals to serve one another and build up the church body.
Spiritual gifts are essential in making a church strong so it can
serve Christ and humanity effectively.(The subject of the GIFTS
of the Spirit is given in-depth on this Website under the title
of "Gifts of the Spirit") - Keith Hunt).

But even more importantly, the fruit of the Spirit is made
available to every believer. Galatians 5:22 and 23 lists the nine
virtues included in the fruit of the Spirit, the foundational
qualities of a Christlike life. A person cannot live a Christian
life without the presence and help of the Holy Spirit. The
spiritual fruit will not be fully evident immediately after
conversion. It must be developed as a believer matures in Christ,
because a new Christian's submission to the Spirit is limited.
Growth is necessary to become more completely yielded.

Each virtue in the fruit of the Spirit is important, so in this
series a separate lesson is devoted to each. Because the virtues
are closely related, some biblical texts will appear in several
lessons. Therefore, as you study these lessons, always look for
the subject under consideration when you read the supporting
texts.

SCRIPTURE Galatians 5:16-25

OBJECTIVES: to help students understand the benefits received
from the indwelling Holy Spirit and recognize the significant
differences between spiritual gifts and the fruit of the Spirit.

DIFFERENT WORDS, Similar Meaning

Various translations of the Bible use different words with
similar meanings for some of the virtues listed in the fruit of
the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23). In the list below, the word in
the New King James Version is shown first, then the variations in
the King James Version, the New International Version, and the 
New American Standard Bible, if they are different.

longsuffering: patience (NIV, NASB)
kindness: gentleness (KJV)
faithfulness: faith (KJV)
gentleness: meekness (KJV)
self-control: temperance (KJV)

EXPLORING:

1.  What are the spiritual gifts, and why are they given? 
1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 28; Ephesians 4:11-13.

2a. What are the elements of the fruit of the Spirit? Galatians
5:22, 23.

b.  How are the fruit and the gifts of the Spirit different?

3.  The new Corinthian Christians are examples of new believers
who received the Holy Spirit and possessed spiritual gifts, but
were not mature in their walk with Christ. What kinds of immature
behavior were they guilty of? 1 Corinthians 1:11,12; 3:1-4.

a.  Why would God allow immature Christians to possess spiritual
gifts?

b.  What are the dangers in immature Christians possessing
spiritual gifts?

4.  What benefits can a body of believers experience when the
members have the fruit of the Spirit? Compare Galatians 5:22,23
with Colossians 3:12-17.

5a. Why is a person who is guided by the Spirit not under the
law? Galatians 5:16,18,22-25.

b.  How is justification by faith confirmed by the Spirit, while
an attempt to be justified by the law is associated with the
flesh? Galatians 2:15,16; 3:2,3; 5:4-6.

RESPONDING:

1.  Match these two columns by writing the letters from the right
column in the blanks of the corresponding statements in the left
column.

A. given even to immature persons  A. fruit of the Holy Spirit

B. Against such there is no law.   B. gifts of the Holy Spirit

C. used to serve the church   C. works of the flesh

D. help the Christian in his/her Christian walk

E. found in Galatians 5:22,23 

F. found in 1 Corinthians 12 

G. found in Galatians 5:19-21

2. Have you confused the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit? What
makes you think you understand the difference now?

3. In your opinion, which is more important in your life for your
personal benefit: spiritual gifts or the fruit of the Spirit?

4. How important do you feel it is for your local church members
to understand the difference and significance of both (the gifts
and the fruit of the Spirit) so your congregation can minister
effectively within the church and in the community?

CLOSING:

Consider the tremendous benefits the Lord has bestowed on us.

When we respond to His call, He gives us salvation. This comes
through our faith in His Son, who forgives us of our sins. To
teach and guide us, Jesus then sends us the Holy Spirit in His
place. With the help of the Spirit, using His gifts, we can
demonstrate God's characteristics and serve effectively, pointing
others to Jesus. How truly awesome is our Lord!



LESSON 2

LOVE

Through lone serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in
one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as
yourself" (Galatians 5:13c,14).

PRESENTATION:

The word love in Galatians 5:22 is translated from the Greek word
'agape,' represented in the Scriptures as an attribute of God and
as a Christian virtue. Divine love is God's highest
characteristic; the Bible says "God is love" (1 John 4:8). All of
His other attributes harmonize perfectly with this attribute.
God's gracious love for humanity is strongly expressed in both
the Old and New Testaments. The dearest declaration and strongest
proof of His love is His redemption of humanity by giving His
only Son, who willingly died for our sins: "For God so loved the
world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes
in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16;
cf. Romans 5:8; 8:32-39; 1 John 4:9,10). The word so emphasizes
the intensity of God's love.

God has shown that we belong to Him by graciously implanting His
love in us: "The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by
the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Romans 5:5). Love is the
first named virtue in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,
23) because it is the preeminent virtue and because the others
closely relate to it. Love creates the strongest bond between
friends and brethren and may exert the greatest influence on
adversaries. Jesus said we should love our enemies and do good to
those who hate us (Matthew 5:43-48).

When Jesus was asked which is the great commandment in the law,
He answered, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your
heart, with all your soul; and with all your mind.' This is the
first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You
shall love your neighbor as yourself"' (Matthew 22:37-39). Our
love for God should not be based on all He has done for us and
given us, but we should love Him because we adore Him for who He
is.

Divine love is such an important topic, and the Scriptures teach
so much about it, that several lessons could be devoted to the
subject. However, in this series the discussion of love is
limited to this lesson.

WHAT KIND OF LOVE IS THIS?

"Love" is a very confusing concept these days. People use the
word "love" describe very different relationships: people "love"
their dog ... a certain type of car. .. a brand of pizza ... a
sexually intimate partner ... another person for whom they have
deep feelings. What can "love" possibly mean if it applies
equally well to dogs, machines, food, sex, or close companions?
The Bible is not confused or vague about the powerful concept it
calls love. Greek, the international language of Jesus' day and
the language in which the New Testament was written, had four
distinct words for love, each with its own shade of meaning:
(1) 'Eros' denoted the relationship between male and female,
including physical desire, craving, and longing. That word for
love is not used in the New Testament.
(2) 'Stergos' described affection and was applied especially to
the mutual love between family members. It is not used in the New
Testament either.
(3) 'Philos' reflected the care and concern that friends have for
each other, what we would call brotherly love. Peter spoke of
this kind of love when he and Jesus discussed his future task of
serving others (John 21:15-17).
(4) 'Agape' described a unique type of supreme love involving a
conscious and deliberate choice to do good for another, a
commitment based on the willful choice of the lover, not the
qualities of the person receiving love. Agape love is perhaps
best seen in God's love for the world (John 3:16) and in the love
that God calls believers to display (1 Cor.13:1-13).

When Jesus recalled the greatest of the commandments, both of
which had to do with love (Matt.22:34-40), He was calling for
Agape love, a sustained and conscious choice to graciously serve
God, neighbor, and self, expecting nothing in return. Followers
of Christ learn this kind of love as God loves them first. He
then commands us to live in the same way toward others (1 John
3:11-24). God's love empowers us to love by choice rather than
just emotion or senses, and to sustain our love even in the face
of hostility or rejection.
God wants to deliver a new kind of love - agape love -to
families, workplaces, and communities through His people. Who
around you needs that kind of intentional touch of compassion and
grace?
-From "The Word In Life" Study Bible, copyright 1993, 1996 by
Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

EXPLORING:

1. What does the Bible say about Who is the source of divine love
for Christians? 1 John 4:7,8,16.

2. What does the Bible say about the heavenly Father's love for
His Son, Jesus Christ? Matthew 3:17; 12:18; 17:5; John 5:20;
10:17,18.

3. How has God shown His love for sinful humanity? John 3:16;
Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9,10. How did Jesus show His love for
humanity? John 15:13; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:2.

4. What does the Bible say about the Father's and Christ's love
for us now as members of God's family? Ephesians 1:3,4; 5:25;
6:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:13,16,17; Titus 3:4-6; James 1:12; 1 John
2:5; 3:1; 4:12.

5. With the ultimate example of love set by the heavenly Father
and Jesus Christ, and having received the Holy Spirit and God's
divine love - the foremost virtue - we must consider how love
should motivate us.

a. How should we respond to God? Psalm 18:1-3a; 31:23a; 116:1,2;
Matthew 22:37-40.

b. How should we show our love for Jesus Christ? John 14:15,21,
23; 1 Peter 1:8; 1 John 5:1-3.

c. Discuss commands by Jesus and God to love our fellow
believers. See John 13:34,35; 15:12,17; 1 John 3:11,23; 4:21; 2
John 5,6.
NOTE: 
Many more such commands are delivered by Paul, Peter, and other
New Testament writers.

d. In what ways are we told to love one another? Matthew 25:34-
40; Romans 12:9,10; 14:1,13-17; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7,13;
Philippians 2:2-4.

RESPONDING:

1. Jesus said the two greatest commandments are to love God and
love our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39). Is it possible to do one
without the other?

2. Talk about the different words for love in the Greek language,
described in above. Wouldn't it be great to have similar
distinctions for love in the English language?

CLOSING:

Love begins with God and comes from Him because He is the essence
of love. God loved sinful humanity so much that He sent His only
Son, whom He loved deeply, to pay the penalty for our sins with
His own life. Jesus demonstrated love beyond our comprehension by
willingly taking our place on the cross. With such demonstrations
to back up Their teaching to love one another - even providing
the Holy Spirit to be our helper - how can we fail to do Their
will?

                            ..................

TO BE CONTINUED

Entered on this Website June 2004


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