The Spirit's Fruits - Final Conclusion - Galatians

Steve Viars May 7, 1991 Galatians 5:22-24

- tonight we're going to have our "Final Conclusion" of this
  study of the fruit of the Spirit
- I thought about calling this "I'm not making any more
  promises!"

- If you haven't been a part of this series all along, the
  reason we're kidding around about this is because we've
  been finishing this study off now for four weeks
- we had a final review, final wrap-up, final cap-off

- I felt kind of bad about that, but I've been think9ing
  about two things that put all this in perspective

    1) Peter did the same thing in I Peter - Pastor told us
       Sunday night that Peter said "Finally my brothers" in
       chapter 3 and then he wrote a couple more chapters
        - so if Peter could do it in the Bible, surely I can
          do it in a Bible study
    2) Secondly, it dawned on me that this is really not my
       fault.
         - (Now let me see if you'll buy this)
         - It's really the congregation's fault! - You've
           given a lot of tremendous input which has helped
           strengthen our discussions, and sharpen our
           applications, but its also lengthened the study!
- Seriously,
    1) there are some important issues I'd like to speak to
         you about
    2) Pastor Dutton is speaking the next two Wednesdays so
       it didn't make a lot of sense to me for me to begin a
       new series
    3) The club's workers will be joining us in a couple of
       weeks, so that seems to be the best time to begin
       something new.
- Tonight - I'd like us to address four issues:
    1) What did Paul mean in verse 26 when he said "walk in
       the Spirit?" - we use that phrase but I think it would
       be good for us to discuss specifically what it means.

    2) I'd also like to jump back up and talk about a phrase
       in the passage that we've skipped.
          - Did you notice that in verses 22-23, there was
            one phrase that we haven't addressed at all?
          - INPUT (which one?)

          - Do you know why that is?
             - a lot of the books on these verses completely
               skip that phrase. They don't even mention that
               it exists.
             - I've been wrestling with it for several weeks,
                 - I've talked to a number of folks, called a
                   number of folks, read some additional
                   books
          - I decided that if we were going to take another
            week on this study - we would work on that phrase
             - the more I study it the more I think there's a
               very important point to be made from it
             - so we're going to talk about the phrase
               "against such there is no law"
    3) Why did Paul conclude this study with verse 26? (READ)
        - at first glance, that doesn't seem to be a natural
          way to conclude.
             - In fact, some men who have written on these
               verses have actually ended the discussion at
               verse 25 and then tied verse 26 with the next
               chapter.
             - I don't think that’s correct, but we need to
               discuss why Paul ended this the way he did?

    4) Lastly (if we have time, I'd like to brainstorm the
       question, what are some practical ways to help our
       children to develop these important characteristics

- You'll notice that our outline begins with Roman II
- that’s because this is a continuation of the outline from
  last week and these first two points especially fit in with
  what we already said last week about capitalizing on
  positional truth and using it as a method of growth today

- we said last week


I. Remember who you are in Christ

   - you belong to Him
   - some very important things happened positionally when
     you were saved, including the fact that you crucified
     the flesh with its affections and lusts, that is you
     were set free and you no longer had to sin

   - remember who you are in Christ - you're not a slave to
     those sinful habits of thinking and behaving any longer

- Now Paul:

II. Commands us to live in light of our position

    - READ 5:22-26

    - 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

    A. 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

 

INPUT - let me ask you this question.  Let's say there's
        someone here who's been recently saved and would say--
          - I don't have any idea what I need to specifically
            be doing in order to walk in the Spirit.  I want
            to - but I'm just not sure how
                - and I'm afraid (and rightfully so) that I
                  won't be developing these components of the
                  Spirit's fruit at the rate God desires
                  unless I am walking in the Spirit

     - What would you tell them to do to walk in the Spirit?

        1) Faithfulness to the services (What Pastor said
            about coming to SS unless you were on your way to
            intensive care - I completely agree with - don't
            you?)

            - but not just coming - but coming with a
              prayerful attitude saying to God, please
              convict me through the power of the Holy Spirit
              as I listen to this message and help me to
              block out anything that would hinder or grieve
              the Holy Spirit's ministry in my life this
              hour.

        2) Regular time in the Word - (here's why we need to
           mention this one.  We've been emphasizing this in
           our SS class (and I'm sure others are as well),
           and here's what we're hearing
             - when we came to I Tim 4:7 and talked about
               exercising ourselves to godliness, I've had a
               lot of folks say that they really struggle
               about getting any kind of regular time in the
               Word and prayer.
             - now we're not going to become legalistic about
               that, but isn't it safe to say that if we're
               going to be "keeping in step with the Spirit",
               we ought to be getting some sort of regular
               time in His Word?

         3) Thinking of definite, specific scripture passages
            throughout the day that given the way we think
            and respond.
           - questions like -
             - What would God want me to do in this
               situation?
             - What does God's Word say about this?

             - Lord, please help me please you here?

             - Lord, please forgive me for not applying your
               truth there - help me as I go make that right.

- point is - the word walk is a challenge, and it would be
    good for us to ask ourselves if one of the reasons we
    aren't developing the fruit of the Spirit at the rate
    that God desires is because sometimes we're "sitting in
    the Spirit" instead of keeping in step with Him

 


- while that's true, I think we can also say that:

        2. the term "walk" is an encouragement

            - INPUT - why is that true?

    - a couple of weeks ago we were tying two important
      passages into this study, I Tim. 6:11 and II Tim. 2:22
    - we said that those passages are important because they
      contain similar lists of fruits like Gal. 5:22-23 but
      they talk about "pursuing after" these things

    - we even looked at an OT illustration that used the word
      pursue with a certain kind of animal in a certain kind
      of situation
    - INPUT - what animal?  (gazelle running for his life)

    - we said that night that the issue there was intensity,
      but not necessarily speed
    - God wants us to go at developing these components with
      great intensity
        - but the phrase "walk in the Spirit" balances that
          out, and in so doing gives great encouragement and
          hope

        - God doesn't expect a perfect orchard tomorrow


- that’s not the way you or I would have designed it
we would have said - if you want to go to heaven, it's
    going to take perfection
     - one unloving act - you're out
     - an episode of impatience - and you're done

     - either cultivate a perfect orchard, or no salvation
       for you

- but, shall we heave a collective sigh or relief that I'm
  not God, or that you're not
- because the same God who wants development of these fruits,
  also possesses them

- God is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,
  goodness, etc.
    - and as a result, while He's expecting us to walk in the
      Spirit (which is a challenge) – that’s all He's
      expecting (which is an encouragement)

    - the issue isn't - "perfect fruit tomorrow"
    - the issue isn't - your peach has to be as sweet as "so
           and so" who's been saved much longer
    - the issue is - are you growing - is your fruit sweeter
        than it was last year?
    - are there definite changes?

    - Are you living in light of your position by walking in
      the spirit?


- now, if we put verses 24 and 25 together, some good
    questions to ask would be:

    - when others around view me and the areas that are
      identified in verse 22-23, would they say -

     1) there's a person who belongs to Christ - that person
        must be a Christian
     2) that person has been freed - they're not bound to
         sinful habits - not talking about perfection - but
         there's clear evidence of freedom
     3) You can tell they're saved by the way they walk

(Live in light of your position - Walk (keep in step with)
the Spirit)

- I'd like to jump back and talk about that phrase "against
  such there is no law"
- INPUT - I think, if you think about it, that phrase is
          somewhat hard to understand.

        - What about that phrase is hard to understand? What
          questions do we need to ask in order to understand
          it better?  (varied answers- esp. what law would
          possible be against these things?)

- this is going to be under Roman III, but I'd like to leave
  the main point out until we work through some of these
  concepts, then we'll come back and fill it in

    A. What does Paul mean by "such?"

        - the NASB translates that word "such things"

        - INPUT - what things is he referring to?
            - things such as the fruit of the Spirit

        - we said a couple of weeks ago that this list wasn't
          comprehensive
        - there are other lists that contain other
          characteristics of Christ

        - so Paul is saying - "against such things" - the
          character qualities listed here, love, joy, peace,
          etc. and other character qualities of Christ listed
          in other places in the Bible

    B. What law?

        INPUT - what law is Paul talking about?

        - he's talking about the OT law
        - the book of Galatians was written to discuss the
          believer's relationship to the OT law
        - you remember, the false teachers wanted the
          Galatians to back to the law,
             - and be circumcised in order to be saved
             - and observe certain dietary laws

        - so the point so far is - The OT law is not against
          such things as the fruit of the Spirit, (love, joy,
          peace, longsuffering...)
    - now the natural question that would flow out of that
      would be: "Well, who would think that they were?"
    - the answer to that comes from fitting this into the
      context:

    C. Input from the context

        1. 3:23 - (READ)

            - point is - the law never saved anybody
               - the law simply was given to show men and
                 women they couldn't keep it, so that they
                 would turn to God in Faith

            - that’s why verse 24 says - the law was our what?
              (schoolmaster) - teaching us the perfect
              character of God through his moral law, and our
              complete inability to keep it apart from Him

            - the law was intended to convict men so they
              would turn to Him in faith

            - (V. 23) - "kept under the law" is prison
              terminology – that’s why the NASB translates it
              "kept in custody under the law"
            - living under the law was like being in prison

            point is - the law was always against you

- you could also factor in Romans 7:1

        2. Romans 7:1  - "...I had not known sin but by the
            law, for I had not known coveting, except the law
            said, Thou shalt not covet."

            - key phrase is - the law was always against you
                - it was given to show us
                     1) the perfect character of God
                     2) the sinful character of man
                     3) our complete inability to keep it
                     4) our desperate need of a Savior

        3. (the rich young ruler) - Luke 18

- that’s why Jesus said to the rich young ruler who asked,
  what must I do to inherit eternal life
      - Jesus said this:
          - "You know the commandments, Do not commit
             adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear
             false witness, Honor thy Father and mother."

- that’s kind of a strange answer
- the man asks how to be saved - and Jesus repeats the law to
  him
- INPUT - do you remember what the man said? (All these have
      I kept from my youth)

- INPUT - do you remember what Jesus said back to that?
    (go sell all you have - in other words, if you really
     think you've kept all the commandments - let's give you
      a test
         - Let's see if you don't have any other gods before
           me
         - let's see if you don't covet

- INPUT - do you remember what the man did? (He went away
          sorrowful, because he was very rich)

- see, why did Jesus give the law to a person wanting to know
    how to be saved?
- answer is - because he wasn't ready to hear anything else
      - he needed the law so he could understand:
            1) the perfect character of God
            2) the sinful character of man
            3) his complete inability to keep the law
            4) his desperate need for a savior

- see, the law was always against you
- it was like being in prison

- Hebrews 10 helps us understand that as well

        4. Hebrews 10:1-4

- do you see the problem with the law that's brought out with
  those verses?
- the sacrifices under the OT legal system could only address
  sins in the past
- you were always behind

- as soon as you left the sacrifice, you sinned, and the law
  condemned you, and you were behind
- and those sacrifices had to be offered over and over and
  over again

- Paul's point is - living under the law was like being in
  prison
     - its was always against you
     - it was always condemning you
     - you were always behind

- but that changed in the New Testament

- remember what Jesus said at the Lord's table?
- "This cup is the what?" (the new covenant)

- Jer. 31:33 tells us about one of the primary provisions of
     the New Covenant

        5. Jer. 31:33

           "But this shall be the covenant that I will make
            with the house of Israel: After those days, saith
            the Lord, I will put my law in their inward
            parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be
            their God, and they shall be my people."

- the point is - the law used to always be against you
    - it condemned you of sin
    - you were always behind
    - it was like living in prison

- but then Jesus died on the cross, and paid the debt of sin
  (past, present, and future) once and for all

- when you trusted Christ as savior, He made you a new person
  with a new heart,
- now you could begin developing the fruit of the Spirit from
  the inside

- Paul sums the idea up exactly in II Cor. 3:3

        6. II Cor. 3:3

          "Forasmuch as you are manifestly declared to be
           the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written
           not with ink but with the Spirit of the living
           God, not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables
           of the heart"

    - point is - isn't it great to live under the New
       Testament (new covenant)
         - where you can seek to please God
         - where you can seek to grow
         - where you can seek to develop the components of
           the Spirit's fruit

    - without the condemnation, without the guilt, without
      constantly being behind

    - the great thing about the fruit of the Spirit is -
      there's no law against it!

        7. Gal. 5:18 - "But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye
              are not under the law"

    - one last passage sums it up as well

        8. Rom. 8:1-4

          "There is now, therefore, no condemnation to them
           who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit
           of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the
           law of sin and death.  For what the law could not
           do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God
           sending his own Son, in the likeness of sinful
           flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh,
           that the righteousness of the law might be
           fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but
           after the Spirit.

- you might say, PV, what should that mean to me?
- we ought to be so thankful for:
     1) the information God has given us on these components
     2) the ability He's given us to develop them

- why? because we all know what its like to be on the other
  side of the fence
- we know what's it like to be condemned (guilty,
    remorseful)

- as you develop the Spirit's fruit
    - there's no law against it
    - there's no condemnation
    - guilt free living

- "Against such things there is no law"

- 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.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video