The Fruit Of The Spirit
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT#1- THE NATURAL AND THE SUPERNATURAL
READING: Galatians 5:13-15
Church people are often prone to extremes. One good saint interprets liberty as license thinking he can do what ever he wants. Another Christian sees the error and goes to the opposite extreme, lives by law and binds everybody else . Galatians is a letter to Christians who are in danger of falling off the freedom train. In this letter we also find out that God's Holy Spirit is associated with our freedom in Christ. So, Paul addresses:
· OUR CALLING. "You, my brother, were called to be free." This all started with the Founder and Foundation. Jesus promised, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free." and "If the Son sets you free you will be free indeed."-John 8:32,36
- This is freedom from the guilt of sin. You have experienced God's forgiveness.
- This is also freedom form the penalty of sin because Jesus died for you.
- He is free from the practice of sin and from the power of sin due to the transforming influence of the Holy Spirit within. - II Cor. 4:17,18
- Free from the law as a way of living because of Jesus made it possible-John 1:17
- "Law" is another way to say "legal system"
- "Christianity can be a frustrating walk on a dead-end street. For the person who is trying to live a new life by old rules(which say success is finding a five - or ten- step ladder to glory, and climbing it rung by rung in your own strength, self determination, and discipline)."
- "Love," "grace" and the Holy Spirit make success possible if when we miss a rung.
- Christ and Christians are so tightly knit together that we are often urged, "live a life worthy of the calling you have received,"-Eph. 4:1 and "live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way."-Col. 1:10. It reflects on the emancipator if we live as if in bondage.
- But sometimes we have trouble making the change: ILLUSTRATION: A SPIRITUAL WALL REMAINS The Letter was Dated: December 1989 (not long after the tearing down of the Berlin wall): "I am learning so much from this in the spiritual realm too. As I said earlier, I watched from the Freedom Bridge as some East Germans came over to West Berlin to have a look around. But I also saw some who did not come over. They stood there and looked over, but they did not come. Their faces had the same dull, hopeless expression as I have mentioned earlier. They decided to forfeit their opportunity for freedom, maybe because they were secure or comfortable over there. Not joyful or hopeful, but comfortable, stable, secure. I think that is what all of us experience as we make the choice of whether or not to follow Christ. We may be comfortable and secure. We hear that Christ promises abundant life now, and eternal life after death. But some choose not to walk across that bridge and risk a little security and comfort. And in so doing, they sacrifice freedom, joy, hope, the abundant life, and eternal life. John 8:31‑32 and 36 says: "Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, `If you abide in My word then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free... Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin... If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed." By Tracie Line, Young Life missionary in Germany.
- Jesus expects us to practice the freedom He purchased.
· A CAUTION. "But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature." To those used to being governed by law with regard to right and wrong, Christian liberty might sound like a license to commit unrestrained self desires.
- This is dealt with in Rom. 6:1,15
- For a child of God in whom the Holy Spirit lives, to purposely sin, is absurd, illogical, costly and immature.
- Paul shows in Romans 6 that the child of God has been given a whole new life and outlook. He has been changed inwardly in order to work on the outward.
- The born-again person has traded the Policeman without for the Paraclete within.
- We have not simply joined something new; haven't just started a new and better habit; but are indwelt with the Holy Spirit who exercises a stricter control than did the Policeman.
- No preacher ever enabled a person to live a better Christian life by putting him under the 10 commandments and letting him smell the brimstone of the lake of fire. (he might me obedient in the same way as one who grabs for the seat-belt in sight of a policeman)
- To acquaint the saint with the ministry of the Holy Spirit is far more productive than the imposition of law.
- Some of the "acts" of the sinful nature are listed- 5:19
- Things like "sexual immorality" and "impurity" are identifiable by us and sometimes cause us great grief. We know they are to be left behind with the old life.
- "Idolatry" and "witchcraft" are less a problem to us today.
- But do we know what is included in the condemnation contained here??? cf. 21
- In the immediate context it seems to be a group dynamics problem: "If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other."
- ILLUSTRATION: Two snakes met on the road and neither would yield to the other so they began "biting and devouring" one another. A witness said the last thing he saw were two tails then nothing.
- It is of the flesh to practice partiality or prejudice(color, race, education, birthplace), jealously, envy, selfish ambition, etc.
- The following things seem most likely to effect congregational harmony:
- Hatred- the precise opposite of agape=love. If not checked, it can lead to-
- Discord- natural result of hatred. "No sin more commonly invades the church. None is more destructive of Christian fellowship. It cannot gain entry into the church if Christ is supreme there."
- Jealously- the sinful and self-centered type.
- Fits of rage- the result of ungodly jealously. Temper flare up.
- Selfish ambition- attitude of desiring to get ahead at other's expense. Opposite of Christlikeness.
- Dissensions- "A state when people are divided." May be individuals, races, political, religious. One translation uses "party spirit," referring to denominational parties.
- Factions- Result of quarreling over issues, personalities, causing division.
- Envy- "Evil feelings, wrong desire responsible for breakdown of interpersonal relationships in home, church and society."
· A COMMANDMENT "serve one another in love." A tall order. "Quit fighting and start serving!"
- We have all experienced "church problems." Does this seem like something we can do?
- No, it is not even intended to happen that way.
- Will power and self discipline cannot conquer one's sinful nature.
- ILLUSTRATION: Tar Baby- the harder you fight the more you are trapped. Give up!
- Enter the Holy Spirit! Unless the Holy Spirit of God is permitted to fill hearts with His love, selfishness and competition will reign. This is human nature,the flesh!"
- The Christians of Galatia had not understood this. Note: "I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?"- Gal. 3:2,3
- Paul picks up the theme again in chapter 5- "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." v.1
- Then the Apostle enters a section where the supernatural help of the Holy Spirit is front and centre. 5 times in Galatians 5 we read of the Holy Spirit and another descriptive word or phrase: “Walk by the Spirit,” “Be led by the Spirit,” “Bear the fruit of the Spirit,” “Live by the Spirit,” and “Keep in step with the Spirit”
- If we tried to sum up the task of the H.S in our lifes today, it would be to point out that His task is Character Formation. He helps become more and more like Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, do you believe firmly that when you surrendered your life to Christ the Holy Spirit became your constant companion?
Do you believe with all that is in you that one of the Holy Spirit's task are to free you from bondage and allow you to live above the old nature?
Are you making an effort or willing to begin to "walk by the Spirit?" "Be led by the Spirit?" "Bear the fruit of the Spirit?" "Live by the Spirit?" and "Keep in step with the Spirit of God?"
We go to a medical doctor for our health, to a lawyer for legal help, to the auto mechanic when our car needs repairs, to the lawn expert when our grass needs attention. To whom shall we go to lift us out of the rut of our old way of life? You don't have to invent a story of wild living or ungodly behavior in order to have a testimony. With Jesus everyone is in the same situation. Without the Holy Spirit we cannot be infused with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.