Faithlife Sermons

ESGAL07 Fruit of the Spirit Part 1

Fruit of the Spirit  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  23:52
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Galatians 5:16–26 NKJV
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Part 1 16-19
Today we are going to continue in Galatians not going back over old ground but in particular looking at the fruit of the Spirit. This is an introduction to the subject that will take us up to Christmas, I expect. The reason for it is that it is jam-packed but the end result, if we put it into practice, is a godly life filled with the Spirit.
Paul has written a lot about the freedom that we have in Christ in Galatians and the fact that we are no longer under law. The upshot is that we have been set free from hell, freed from the power of sin and the devil has no rights on us. As this is the case we are therefore free to do whatever we please, aren’t we?! Well, this passage says that is not the case. This freedom that we have does, however, present us with choices. We are a slave to our choices.
I think today’s world has gone mad about choices. It is as if the world has worked out that there is freedom in choices, as if! Go to Starbucks and you are faced with tens of choices about how to have your coffee and you can spend just 20 minutes deciding what you are going to have. Or go to Tesco and you have 10s of choices about what milk to buy or what TV to buy or, in particular if you are woman what clothes to wear or, perhaps it’s true, you have nothing to wear! It is information overload. Choices have not really brought about the freedom we thought it should.
Today we have already made hundreds of choices: when to get up, what to eat for breakfast or not, whether to go to Church, whether to leave the toilet seat up or down. Then some of us drove or were driven here rather than walked. Some of us even drove under the speed limit. Then when we came in here we had a choice of so many seats to sit on which is why most of us sit in the same place every week. Most of these decisions are minor and done without thinking.
God has also given us choices. God gave humans freewill right from the Garden of Eden. And Adam, when presented with the choice of eating or not eating from the tree that He was told not to, did not choose wisely. He was even told that before that if he did dying he would die.
As human beings we are made up of three parts: Body, soul and spirit. The body is the flesh. The soul is where the emotions and freewill reside. The spirit died when Adam sinned. The spirit died first, the body later; this is what is meant by dying he would die. In doing so Adam passed down his genes to us and included in that was the fact our spirit is dead and the corruption of our nature which became inherently evil. This means that we are not born good but are born in sin with a sinful nature.
When we became Christians the spirit revived and came alive and we were given a new nature and became new creations. This account is given by a this man’s friend:
Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations 5415 Tolstoy’s Changed Desire

In my conversation, Count Leo Tolstoy, the eminent Russian writer, tells how he turned from evil to good: “Five years ago faith came to me: I believed in the doctrine of Jesus, and all my life was suddenly changed. I cease to desire that which previously I had desired, and on the other hand, I took to desiring what I had never desired before. That which formerly used to appear good in my eyes appeared evil, and that which used to appear evil appeared good.”

This is true of every one who comes to faith but this is not the full story for since then the flesh and soul wants to go one way and the spirit wants to go another. It is obvious to all of us. As I have said before Galatians is the prelude to the letter to the Romans where we find the themes of Galatians expanded upon. Therefore we should find something about this in Romans and so we do in:
Romans 7:14–25 NKJV
14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
Surely we can all agree with Paul that we do not do the things that we wish.
There have been many arguments about whether Paul was talking about before he was a Christian or his walk as a Christian. But surely everyone here knows that this battle is plainly at work in us and if it is not then please see me afterwards and tell me the secret. There are Christians who think that we do not sin after we become Christians but this is disingenuous but just in case there may be someone who thinks otherwise we can read in:
1 John 1:7–9 NKJV
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Whilst we have choices it seems we will choose the things of the flesh more readily than the things of the Spirit.
But there is a secret for overcoming and that is what Paul says is walking according to the Spirit rather than the flesh. The spirit cannot cope with the tastes of the flesh and the flesh cannot cope with the tastes of the spirit. As we come accustomed to living according to the Spirit the things of the flesh become even more distasteful.
Being led by the Spirit sounds like a very passive thing to do; A kind of ‘let Him pull us along’. In verse 16 it says: Walk in the Spirit which is an active thing to do. But verse 18 is actually a more passive-active thing. Actively obeying the prior leading of the Spirit willingly:
Philippians 2:12–13 NKJV
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
The Holy Spirit is not a machine which operates automatically in the life of the believer but a Person whose working the Christian can respond to, depend on, and cooperate with or refuse. Therefore, the Christian faces the choice and decision whether to follow the Spirit in this way or to give in to the flesh.
Notice in verse 18 Paul says the opposite of the Spirit is the law. This is quite surprising as we do not expect it. We expect Paul to say that the opposite of the law is the flesh as he did in verse 16. Why is this? It is the law that provokes and increases sin. It is because the flesh cannot and will not submit to God’s law. Again we find Romans expands our understanding of this:
Romans 8:2–9 NKJV
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Contrary to how we think the more we try to keep God’s law by our own efforts the more we find ourselves in the grip of sin. So we see that the law and the flesh lead to the same result.
Knowing who we are is liberating. We are already those who are led by the Spirit simply as a consequence of becoming a Christian. It is when we replace what we are with thinking that we can make it on our own with our own efforts, that we are soon trapped.
The law of the Spirit, however, leads us to freedom…not freedom to sin but freedom to refuse it.
2 Corinthians 3:17 NKJV
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
Notice how much of it is where we set our minds: upon the flesh or upon the things of the Spirit. Every day it is waking up and submitting to God by a deliberate choice:
Romans 6:11 NKJV
11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Everyday we are to consider ourselves dead to sin. If we live by the Spirit according to Romans 8:13, which as Christians we do, then we put to death the deeds of the body.
Where we set the mind makes the difference.
Colossians 3:1–4 NKJV
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Notice that by fixing our gaze upon Jesus we are taking our gaze off the things of this world; by fixing our gaze upon heavenly things then our gaze is taken off sin; by fixing our gaze upon Christ we will continually be reminded of the sacrifice of love that he made and be continually grateful; by fixing our gaze upon the one who is to come the world becomes dim and as a result we put verse 5 into practice. If we do not then we are more than likely to entertain the things of this world and sin as a result.
Hebrews 12:1–2 NKJV
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Having our eyes and minds fixed upon Jesus, Who He is and what He has done it challenges and changes our behaviour.
When we were born again our new nature helps us to live for God as He wants. But since we are still contained in this life, in our earthly bodies, there is a battle to be waged between the flesh and the Spirit. We are to walk in the Spirit and disavow the flesh. The Spirit is stronger than the flesh for we no longer need to obey it. The good news is that it will not be this way forever for one day, when we have put off this body we will be given a new one where our hearts will be pure and we will serve God with no thought at all for sin, a time better than the one in the Garden of Eden where there was perfection but still the opportunity to choose unwisely. In the new heavens and earth all this will be behind us where we will serve God and enjoy Him forever after being presented to Him as says
Jude 24 NKJV
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,


Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
Tan, P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times. Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
Exported from Logos Bible Software, 13:10 14 September 2017.
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