The Spirit's Fruits - Final CapOff - Galatians 5

Dr. 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

Dr. Steve Viars

Roles

Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation

Bio

B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

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