Prerequisites for Bearing Fruit - Galatians 5:16

Steve Viars December 4, 1990 Galatians 5:16

- we're talking about the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians
  five
- let's take just a minute and think about the major concepts
  we saw last week
- remember, we said Paul didn’t communicate this truth about
  the fruit of the Spirit in a vacuum
- instead, this information is part of an overall argument of
  the book that must be understood in order to properly
  understand the fruit section

- last week we said that, when Gentiles started being saved
  and brought into the church, that created a potential
  problem
      - what was it? (that the church would be become a
          libertine church - where everyone abused their new
          freedom in Christ and exercised that liberty in a
          sinful way)

      - we said that that fear was justified in a sense
        because Paul had had to write to other churches and
        rebuke them for exercising their Christian liberty in
        a way that was causing other brothers to stumble

      - we also said that we see that same problem of
        unrestrained liberty in our country where folks
        want to talk about their freedom and their rights
        without caring about how the way they exercise their
        rights affects others

      - INPUT - what is a current day example of this
          problem?

      - we also said that problem can be evidenced in a
        church

- we made that point to say that a group rose in the church
  to combat that problem called the Judaizers
    - their solution was - make these Gentiles submit to
      parts of the OT law (circumcision, Mosaic dietary laws)
         - their idea was - make them godly by imposing a set
           of standards on them that they have to obey in
           order to be saved
         - so instead of the libertine problem over here, now
           we have the legalism problem

- Paul said, forget legalism, that would make the Christ's
  death on the cross ineffective
- but we're not stuck with being libertines

- there is a third way - described in Gal. 5:13
    - use your liberty to love and serve God and love and
       serve others
    - last week we charted out a number of ways in daily
      living where that concept would apply

- now, you come away from verse 13 with this question
- what's going to control that?
- how can we be sure in the church that folks are avoiding
  the extremes of legalism or libertinism
- more importantly, how can I be sure that I am going to
  avoid those extremes?

- Paul is about to answer that question in the following
  verses

- let me just give you an idea of where we're going with this
- this study will eventually get to where we're studying one
  of the fruits each evening
- but I'm sure you recognize that there are some very
  important introductory ideas that have to be covered

- tonight, we're talking about three pre-requisites for
  bearing spiritual fruit

- first comes from verse 16 - read

I. Must Be Walking In The Spirit

    - this is one of those kinds of phrases in the Bible that
      we could spend several weeks on
    - that’s not the thrust of this series, but on the other
      hand I don't think we can just skip over it because of
      its obvious connection to the fruit of the Spirit that
      Paul is going to start discussing in 5:22

    - point is that the only way you and I are going to be
      able to do what Paul is commanding, that is use our
      Christian liberty as a means of freeing us up to love
      and serve God and love and serve others is if we're
      walking in the Spirit
    - now, an obvious question that flows out of that is:
      what does it mean to walk in the Spirit?

    A. Availability of the HS' ministry

        INPUT - who possesses the HS and how do we know that?

        1. I Cor. 12:13 - For by one spirit were we all
             baptized into one body, whether we be Jew or
             Greek, bond or free, and have all been made to
             drink into one Spirit

        2. Rom. 8:9 - "...If any man have not the Spirit of
               Christ, he is none of His."

            INPUT - what is the implication of that to a
             person who's here tonight who has just recently
             asked Christ to be his/her Savior?

    B. Nature of the Holy Spirit's ministry

        INPUT - if I asked you, what are some of the ways the
                Holy Spirit can and does provide for your
                growth
        1. provided His Word - II Peter 1:20-21

        2. enables believer to understand truth - I John 2:27

        3. energizes or empowers - Eph. 1:19

        4. blesses our efforts to please God - James 1:25

        - point is that you and I could never develop fruit
          of the Spirit unless we're walking in the Spirit
              - unless we're allowing the Spirit of God to
                take His sword and change the way we think
                about life
              - unless we're asking for His enablement

        - we'll talk about man's part in the process a little
          later, but at this point I believe it would be very
          appropriate for all of us to thank the Lord not
          only for providing salvation through His Son, but
          for providing a growth process where His spirit
          would take up residence inside of me and personally
          energize and motivate the change process

    - if you think about it in that sense, you see folks
      around here all the time who are walking in the spirit
    - we saw that at the stewardship banquet
        - where folks listed ways that they would be willing
          to serve and grow in the coming year
        - why would anyone do that?
            - because they're walking in the spirit
            - because they want to keep growing and using
              their liberty to serve and love God and serve
              and love others

- that’s exactly what Paul says is the result of the process:

    C. Result of the process

        INPUT - what is the result according to verse 16?
                (that we won't be fulfilling sinful desires)

        - the Bible talks a lot about what we want
        - find out what a person wants, and you've learned
           much about that person
        - often times we sin because we wanted the wrong
          thing
        - we wanted something more than wanting to please God

    - now let me just ask you to be thinking about different
      areas of your life, and whether or not that area is
      characterized by the fruit of the spirit

    - for example, if you're single, would your relationship
      with your parents and with other friends by
      characterized by the fruit of the Spirit
         - love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
           goodness, faith, meekness
         - is that what your parents or friends would say
             about you?

    - if you're married, is your relationship with your
      spouse characterized by love, joy, peace, ...

    - at your job, would those who work with you...

    INPUT - what are some other areas of life we should apply
         that test to?  (when you're with your in-laws, when
         you're going through a trial, when the other person
         doesn't see it your way)
- a related question would be, in what area of life is the
   fruit of the spirit least evident?
- in that area, which particular fruit is least evident?

- the next question then would be - is it possible that that
  is true because you have not been walking in the Spirit in
  that area of life?
   - maybe you haven't submitted to God's truth in that area
   - you haven't taken time to find God's truth for that area
   - you haven't prayed and asked God's help
   - maybe you haven't even wanted God's help in that area

- according to verse 16, we would need to say, what have you
  been wanting more than wanting to walk in the spirit in
  that area?

- let's think through a couple of those areas and think about
  what lusts of the flesh might be there:
- Pastor talked to the men in Men of Faith Saturday about
  being a joy to live with
     - of course several passages of Scripture teach that
       that’s part of the husband's role including Ecc. 9:9
     - that’s also part of the fruit of the Spirit

- let's say that a husband was here tonight and concluded, I
  don't evidence much of that fruit at all around the house
- if my family was honest, they'd say, instead of being a joy
  to live with, I'm a bear to live with

- INPUT - what are some things that man might be wanting
          instead of walking in the Spirit?
           - wife who does everything perfectly (illus - Ed
             from Kokomo - wife told him how she had praised
             him, he got mad - cause she doesn't do that
             enough)

- let's take another example - let's say that a mom is here
    tonight - and she looks at that list and says - I'm not
    very gentle
   - my children wouldn't use that word to describe me at all

- INPUT - what might that mom be wanting more than walking in
          the Spirit?

- INPUT - Another question - if a person was here and said-
            there are some areas where the fruit of the
            Spirit really is not evident, how could they
            change that?  (change their desires by walking in
            the Spirit)

- One more question and then we'll be done with this point:
    - can you think of some areas where this would apply?
    - if not, we're in trouble
    - all of us ought to be able to think of some situations,
      some circumstances, where my desires aren't right, and
      I'm not walking in the Spirit, and as a result am not
      evidencing much spiritual fruit

- one important pre-requisite for bearing spiritual fruit is
  walking in the spirit


- a second pre-requisite is this:

II. Must Have The Proper Emphasis On "Being"

    - one of the things we need to notice about the fruit of
      the spirit is that each one is a character quality
    - John Sanderson said this subject came up in a
      university classroom, and the professor asked for the
      name of a good man
    - after a pause, the class wise-acre said - Joe DiMaggio

    - when the laughter subsided, the professor pointed out
      that that very answer was typical of American value-
      standards
    - Dimaggio was great because he hit home runs, among
      other things
    - other people are considered great because they excel
      in one way or another

    - the professor pressed them to name someone who was
      good, period.  Not someone who's value was measured by
      something they had accomplished, but by the kind of
      person they were.
    - the class agreed - there weren't very many good men in
      the world

    - that professor had a point, did he not?

    A. We often determine greatness by what someone does

        - point is - some of us have a view of others or a
           view of ourselves that is skewed because we're
           using the wrong yardstick
         - I'm not saying this is the only yardstick, but
           surely one of the yardsticks that God uses in
           determining how well a person is doing is whether
           are not they are developing the fruit of the
           spirit
              - if their character is becoming more like
                Christ

    B. The Galatians were failing in this area

        INPUT - since they were leaning toward legalism, what
            are some of the yardsticks they would be using?

        INPUT - What impact would that have on the church
                family?
                1) spirit of competition
                2) checklist not based on the Bible
                3) criticism of others who didn't meet their
                   lists
                4) hot discussions over who was spiritual

        there was a clear progression from zeal - pride -
          frustration - rancor - bitterness

        - that’s exactly what was happening in their church -
          that’s why Paul said in verse 15 - "if ye bite and
          devour one another, take heed that ye be not
          consumed with one another"

        - another way of saying that would be - if you keep
          this nonsense up, you're going to destroy one
          another
    - you can just picture it - folks armed with their extra-
      biblical lists of do's and don'ts
          - going around biting on each other and declaring
            everyone unspiritual who didn't conform to their
            lists

    - now we're not talking about confronting someone about a
      definite, clear-cut area of sin in his or her life
    - that’s not legalistic - often that’s one of the most
      spiritual things a person can do for another brother or
      sister in Christ
    - in fact, as soon as Paul is done discussing the fruit
      of the Spirit, restoring an erring brother is the next
      item on the list

    - but that’s not what the Galatians were doing
    - they were biting and devouring each other over issues
      that could not be proven by the word of God

    - now let me just pause there and say - that kind of
      thing can be devastating to a church
    - I'm not aware of many cases like that around here, but
      I'll tell you this, if it happens once, its too much

    - there's always a danger in a church like ours that
      teaches what the Bible says about confronting and
      practices what the Bible says about confronting that
      someone might get that all out of perspective and
      manufacture their own set of extra-biblical tests that
      determine spirituality and then go around confronting
      folks about things that aren't in the Bible

    - let me give you a hypothetical example
    - let's say someone in our college or singles group gets
      it in their mind that you should only date one person
      at a time
    - I didn't say they thought that was the best way to
      handle it personally - I'm saying they have decided
      that was the only way to date and anyone who did it
      differently was sinning

    - let's say that that same person got a little uppity
      about that issue (which surely would happen), and they
      start snubbing that person, talking behind that
      person's back, confront them personally and tell them
      they are in sin

    - the Bible would call that legalism with a capital "L"
    - (I want to be clear on this) - its important for us to
       talk to each other about ways we need to change - we
       better never lose that
          - but the other side of that is, the Bible puts
            some very strong controls on how that must be
            done

- person must consider self first   
   - must go in humility
- must go in meekness        
- only if its a true breach, a true area of sinfulness

- that’s especially true if we're talking about young
  believers or folks just coming into the church
- we better be sure we're using the right yardsticks
- we better be sure we have the proper emphasis on "being"
     - on that person developing godly character qualities

- its going to be all that new convert, or that new church
  member can do to work on inner man issues, to work on
  developing character qualities, fruits of the spirit
- we need to get it in our minds that they aren't going to
  have all the right convictions about music, dress, some of
  the other outer man issues
- if someone goes to them, with some extra-biblical list, and
  blows them out of the water with, that person is in serious
  trouble biblically
     - you remember what Jesus said - He said we better not
       offend these little ones, it would be better if we
       tied a big rock to our necks, and jumped off the
       nearest bridge

- point is - in order to develop the fruit of the spirit, we
  must have the right emphasis on "being"

- now obviously, what I am and what I do are connected -
  there's no way to absolutely separate that
- also, what I do is important to God as well

- but what we're saying here is that its wrong if the only
  yardsticks a believer uses to determine how they are doing
  are behavioral ones, performance ones, ones that deal with
  the outer man

- now let me just ask you this question

    C. How are you and I doing?

        - Do you use that yardstick to the same degree that
          God does?
        - have you placed the right amount of emphasis on
          developing character qualities, fruit of the
          spirit?  Or has it all been external evaluators?

        - let's think about some different life situations
          and how this material might apply
        1) the person who's yardsticks all have to do with
           whether or not he's succeeding on the job
             - when might that especially show up?
                 a) by what he's willing to do to achieve
                    that success (get involved in unethical
                    practices)
                 b) by how he treats those who appear to be
                    in his way
                 c) especially...when he loses that job

- the person who loses his job but has been placing the right
  amount of emphasis on inner man issues will make it -
  because he can still work on developing those character
  qualities, job or not
     - but the person who hasn't very well could be
       devastated if the job is lost


- we could look at that other ways:

    2) wife whose yardsticks have to do with how successful
       her husband is, or how nice their house is
         - when might that show up? (at a time of divorce)
         - I'm surely not saying that’s an easy time, but one
           of the things that will make that bearable is
           using the same yardsticks God uses
              - if not, that wife will do about anything to
                get that husband back
              - she'll chase him all over the countryside
              - let him manipulate her and use her to finance
                his sin
              - may very well turn her back on God and the
                church
              - we tell folks this all the time - you need to
                get to the place where you tell your spouse
                  - honey, I'd love to put the marriage back
                    together, I'm willing to make any
                    biblical changes to see that happen
                  - but what's most important for me is
                    developing my relationship with God and
                    raising our children for the Lord, and
                    I'd like to do that with you, but the
                    bottom line is-with God's help I plan to
                    do that whether you come or not
- point is - the wife who has the right emphasis on "being"
     can handle a situation even as difficult as a divorce

- INPUT - What other life situations can you think of where
     this principle would apply?

       (discuss - wife who stops work to stay home with kids)
       (could also discuss this from the perspective of how we
        view unsaved folks who are very successful)

- one of the questions we need to answer tonight is - have
  you had the right amount of emphasis on "being" - on
  developing character qualities like the fruit of the
  Spirit?
- some of us might have to say:  you know, a lot of the folks
  around me wouldn't think of me when they thought of the
  fruit of the spirit....
     - love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness
     - I wouldn't come to their mind if they were thinking
       about those concepts
     - is it possible that that’s true because we, like the
       Galatians, haven't put the right amount of emphasis on
       this important area?

- I just want to mention this third one tonight and we'll
  weave it into some of the future messages on this subject

III. Must Recognize Your Part of the Process

    - some folks haven't made the right amount of progress in
      this area because they've view the phrase "fruit of the
      Spirit" in a very passive way
    - it would go something like this - well, its the fruit
      of the Spirit, therefore, I can't have anything to do
      with producing it

    - I've got to let go and let God
    - "all of him and none of me"
    - there's something strange, though, I've been trying
      that for years but the Spirit has produced much

    - we're saying that this third pre-requisite is that we
      must recognize our part in the process

    - now you might ask - how can you prove that man would
      have any part in this process?
    - the answer is that parallel passages (and Gal. 5 is not
      the only passage on the spirit's fruit) tell us we must
      pursue the fruit of the spirit

      I Tim. 6:11 - But thou, O man of God, flee these
          things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith,
          love, endurance, meekness

      II Tim. 2:22 - Flee also youthful lusts, but follow
          righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that
          call on the Lord with a pure heart

    - point is - we're not going to be able to develop the
        fruit of the spirit without recognizing our part in
        the process

    - now we're not going to rename it - we're not going to
       start calling it Andy's fruit
    - its still the fruit of the Spirit and can only
       genuinely be produced in co-operation with the Spirit
       of God
    - but like so many other areas of the Christian life, I
      must be doing my part

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video