The Spirit's Fruits - Final CapOff - Galatians 5

Steve Viars April 30, 1991 Galatians 5:22-24

- tonight we're going to have the final cap-off of our study
  on the Fruit of the Spirit
- if you've been with us the last few weeks, you know we've
  been kidding around with those titles because two weeks ago
  we had the final review but we didn't get it all finished
     - so last week we had a final wrap up, and we didn't get
        finished
     - so tonight we're having a final cap off

- we've been kidding about that some but the final points
  that Paul makes in these verses are very important and I
  want to be sure that we've studied them together thoroughly
  so we have the greatest potential to continue to develop
  these components of the fruit of the spirit in the future
- one other reason I was kind-of glad that we would be going
  an additional week is that, all through this series I've
  wanting to take some time and brainstorm some practical
  ways to develope these components in the lives of our
  children and grandchildren
     - time permitting, we're going to be talking about that
       tonight

- tonight, we're talking about Paul's final encouragement in
  fruit bearing, and I'd like us to concentrate on the
  meaning of Gal. 5:24-26
- we'll be looking at three truths that must be mastered if
  we're to develop an ongoing lifestyle of fruit-bearing

- read 22-26

I. Remember Who You Are In Christ

  - so much of what we've talked about in this series has
    been mental
  - that goes along with our theme
  - the Galatians were being caught up in legalism (belief
    that they can earn merit before God by conforming to an
    outward set of laws not found in the Scripture), and Paul
    has pointed out
       - look where that belief has gotten you
       - you're proud, you're self righteous
       - you're biting and devouring each other

       - instead of emphasizing all these externals not based
         on the Scripture, you need to start changing on the
         inside
       - you need to work on character changes that begin in
         the inner man

  - Paul concludes these verses arguing with their minds and
    arguing with our minds to get us into a position where we
    have the greatest potential for on-going fruit-bearing

- he says: remember:

    A. You belong to Christ

             - I like the way the King James version
              translates that - "they that are Christ's"

            - of all the words and phrases the Word of God
              uses to describe believers, surely this has to
              be one of the greatest
                  "they that are Christ's"

            - Paul is saying - as you continue working on
              developing these components - remember who you
              belong to-you belong to Christ

            - INPUT - can you think of another passage that
                teaches that same truth?

                I Cor. 6:19-20 - What? Know ye not that your
                  body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who
                  is in you, whom ye have of God, and ye are
                  not your own?  For ye are bought with a
                  price, therefore glorify God in your body
                  and your spirit, which are God's

            - INPUT - how or why should that truth impact the
                      way we view this study on the fruit of
                      the spirit?


            - INPUT - what kinds of thoughts or ideas hinder
                      us from developing the spirit's fruit
                      that this particular truth could
                      address?

                        - "I don't want to change"

                        - "My rights have been violated, I
                           don't have to be loving, etc"
                           (what rights-who did you say you
                            belonged to?)

                        - No one else is patient, meek, etc.


                - one writer commented on this verse by
                  saying, since God's owns us, and we are to
                  be bearing fruit, that makes us His orchard

            - see, point is - as we consider when we ought to
              work on developing these characteristics,
                   - how often we ought to work on them
                   - how hard we ought to work on them

            - we need to remember who we are in Christ
               - we belong to Him, He owns us

    B. Some important things happened the moment you were
       saved

        - this next section is very important, and we'll have
          to work hard at understanding exactly what Paul is
          saying in the rest of this verse


        - let me set this up by saying that a person will be
          frustrated in their growth if they don't understand
          the difference between positional truth and
          practical truth


        1. the difference between "positional truth" and
           "practical truth"

           a. positional truth - what happens to you
              immediately at salvation as a result of your
              relationship (your position in) Christ

              INPUT - examples?   - Child of God, home in
                      heaven, justified (declared righteous),
                      forgiven of your sin, the righteousness
                      of Christ imputed to your account,
                      sealed with the Holy Spirit

            b. practical truth - how you ought to live as a
               result of your position

               - much of what we talk about in church is
                 practical truth
                   - how God expects us to live as a result
                     of our position in Christ
                   - For example, on Sunday, when Pastor
                     talked about how we treat our spouses -
                     he was talking about practical truth -
                     how we ought to live (and are able to
                     live) as a result of being saved

               - now, I'd like to draw several quick
                 implications from this

               1) a believer will be frustrated if he/she
                  doesn't learn to distinguish between the
                  two

                  - i.e. - I Peter 1:16 - Be ye holy

                         - I Peter 2:5 - You are holy

                  - INPUT - which verse is speaking about
                     positional truth, and which verse is
                     speaking about practical truth?

                  - point is - we're going to have to
                     determine if what Paul is saying in Gal.
                     5:24 is positional and practical

       - for this second implication, let me open it up by
         asking a question
       INPUT - At the moment of salvation, did more things
               change positionally in your life, or
               practically?  (positionally)
               - the Bible talks about literally hundreds of
                 things that happen to a person the moment
                 he/she trusts Christ as Savior

 

               - now there are some things that happen
                 practically as well
                 - guilt feelings are removed or lessened
                 - may change some habits immediately because
                   they are so offensive to God (doesn't
                   always work this way)

               - point is:

               2) at the moment of salvation, more things
                  change positionally in the believer's life
                  than they do practically

                  - INPUT - why can that be so frustrating to
                        recognize?  (because you can't see
                        those kind of changes)

                  - that’s why some folks wrestle with doubts
                    after trusting Christ as Savior - because
                    there's no bolt of lighting, no zap, etc.
                       - still have bills to pay
                       - dirty laundry is still dirty
                       - wake up the next morning, still have
                         to brush your teeth

                       - tempted to say - nothing is
                         different

                  - but the fact is - all kinds of things
                    have happened positionally
                       - angels have been rejoicing in heaven
                       - you have a new eternal home
                       - God the Father views you as wearing
                         the righteous robes of Christ

               - in addition to:
                   - recognizing the difference between
                     positional and practical truth
                   - realizing that more happens positionally
                     than happens practically at the moment
                     of salvation, in order to grow,

               3)  A believer must learn how to use
                   positional truth as a motivation to
                   practical change and growth

    - point #3 is more than just another point in a message.
      We'll see tonight, and you've probably noticed before,
      that in some of the clearest passages on how a believer
      grows, one of the bottom lines is having a better
      understanding of what took place positionally at
      salvation

    - in fact, we'll compare several passages in just a
      second, but what we'll see is Paul and other Bible
      writers saying:
        - because this happened positionally, it ought to
          motivate you to grow today
        - the more you understand and appreciate what
          happened to you positionally at the time of
          salvation, the better prepared you'll be to grow
          and change today
        2. you crucified the flesh with its affections and
                 lusts

           - now Paul is talking about what happened
             positionally to every believer at the point of
             salvation

           - Romans 6:6 is very similar - "Knowing this, that
              our old man is crucified with him, that the
              body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth
              we should no longer serve sin"

           - point is - when we were saved, we were set free
              from the bondage of sin - we no longer had to
              sin
           - the words "free", "freedom", "Christian liberty"
             are very critical to our understanding here

               - and Paul's been emphasizing that point all
                 through the book of Galatians - 2:4, 4:21-
                 31, and 5:1
               - Read 5:1

               - that’s the same argument he's calling up
                 again at the end of this study
               - sure, its hard to develop these
                 characteristics, but you belong to Christ
                   - and you have crucified the flesh--you no
                     longer have to sin - you're free

              - one of the reasons I'm making such an issue
                out of this point tonight is because what
                we're talking about right now really
                dovetails with several studies we've done
                recently

            a. connection to this study?

              - if you remember, we began this series by
                studying Gal. 5:13 and talking about
                "restrained liberty"

              - we said that the false teachers who had been
                impacting the Galatians feared this teaching
                about Christian liberty, because they were
                afraid that would turn into a "libertine
                mentality" - where folks use their liberty as
                an occasion to sin

              - that was a legitimate fear
                 - we tried to illustrate that with current
                   societal problems here in America
                 - where liberty is unrestrained, and has
                   brought us to some serious social problems
                   because folks don't seem to care how the
                   way they exercise their freedom affects
                   someone else
                 - that can affect churches and Christian
                   groups as well

                 - but the solution the false teachers
                   presented didn't work as well
                 - they proposed - take away the freedom -
                   go back to a standard of legalism

                 - Paul's arguing - saying - "that’s not the
                   answer"
                 - instead, let love govern the use of
                   freedom to now serve and love God and
                   serve and love others in new and unique
                   and creative ways because you're free -
                   you've been freed from sin

   - point is this - here's two occasions where Paul is
     emphasizing our positional freedom in Christ
       - the fact that we've crucified the flesh with its
         affections and lusts
       - the fact that we're free

    (PUT ON WHITE BOARD)

    - now, let's broaden that out

            c. connection to message on Peter Sunday night
               before last?

         - INPUT - can you connect that to one of the points
             Pastor made Sunday night?  (Peter was a
             listener, loyal, liberated)


            d. connection to message on authority Sunday
                morning before last?

         - INPUT - what verse from chap. 2 fits in with the
                   freedom theme?  (16)

         - INPUT - can you think of a verse we studied
                   earlier in I Peter that fits in with the
                   ownership theme?


            e. connection to Romans 6?

        - INPUT - let me ask you to turn over to Romans 6 and
             read it over silently and pick out any truth
             from that chapter that fits into these two
             categories.

- point is - this is a major Bible theme.

- INPUT - (very important question) - What are some things we
          think, or tell ourselves when we're considering
          change (in areas like the fruit of the Spirit) that
          contradicts the truth that we're free in Christ,
          we've been freed from the power of sin
          - "I can't change"
          - "I've always been this way"
          - "My whole family is like this"
          - "You'll just have to accept me the way I am"
- Paul is saying in this passage - and other Bible writers
  have said it in other passages - if you want to grow and
  change, you must get in the habits of telling yourself
     - I can change
     - I am free in Christ
     - I no longer have to sin
     - Jesus has set me free and by His power I can and I
       must change and develop the fruit of the Spirit

- INPUT - How is this different than a sanctified "the
              little engine that could" or simply positive
              thinking?

            - the little engine had no guarantee he'd make
              it.
            - we're not talking about positive thinking--
              we're talking about true thinking.

    - God very clearly emphasizes in His word that
      remembering that we've been freed from sin is an
      important part of the growth process
         - and I think its safe to say that since its come up
           in several major studies recently, that God wants
           us to make this important truth a part of our
           being

II. Commands us to live in light of our position

        - verse 25

    - INPUT - let me ask you tonight - do you consider the
        phrase "walk in the Spirit" as an encouraging verse
        or a challenging verse?  (Why?)

        - there's a couple different ways we can look at that

        1. the term "walk" is a challenge

            - the reason I say that’s a challenge is because
              Paul says - walk in the Spirit (not sit in the
              Spirit)

            - illus - elderly couple - in 70's - married over
                 50 years

                  - bickering, fighting, lying, cutting each
                    other up
                  - yet said they had been believers for
                     decades

                  - How could that happen? - hadn't been
                    walking in the Spirit - hadn't taken the
                    Spirit's sword and applied it to areas
                    that verses 22-23 identify

        2. the term "walk" is an encouragement

            - INPUT - why is that true?


- point is - remember who you are in Christ, and be busy
    walking in a way that's consistent with that position
- see, a good question to ask tonight would be - when others
  around view me and the areas that are identified in verse
  22-23, would they say -

     - there's a person who belongs to Christ - that person
        must be a Christian
     - that person has been freed - they're not bound to
         sinful habits - not talking about perfection - but
         there's clear evidence of freedom

- now you might say - well, what if that's not true?
- based on the argument of this book - one of two things is
  true

  1) either you've never trusted Christ as personal Savior.
     You've not been regenerated - therefore, you haven't
     been freed positionally, or

  2) You need to get busy walking

     - maybe you've been sitting in the spirit, instead of,
       as the NIV says, "getting in step with the spirit"

 

- Paul concludes with an unusual statement - read 26

        - I think we need to ask, how does that fit into the
          overall argument?

- point is:

III. Don't Let Pride Hinder The Process

        - I think we need to say it this way - there were at
          least 3 potential kinds of people who would hear
          read this letter, and all three needed to hear
          verse 26

        1. the legalists - they needed to hear it because
            their pride had thrust them into legalism in the
            first place

        2. the self-righteous - I'm thinking here of
            individuals who heard these words but thought - I
            don't really need to change

        3. those who would take steps to grow in these areas

            - NASB - let us not become boastful

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.

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