Faithlife Sermons

Untitled Sermon (66)

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view
Notes
Transcript
THE WALK OF A CHRISTIAN Concise ■ adjective giving information clearly and in few words.
—derivatives concisely adverb conciseness noun concision noun
—origin 16th century (earlier (Middle English) as concision): from French concis or Latin concisus, past participle of concidere ‘cut up, cut down’.[1]
[1] Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (Eds.). (2004). Concise Oxford English dictionary (11th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
PART ONE—An introduction to the walk of a Christian
In speaking of the walk of a Christian, we have reference to his
BEHAVIOR***
*■ noun the way in which someone behaves.
▶ the way in which an animal or person responds to a situation or stimulus: the feeding behaviour of predators.
—origin Middle English: from behave, on the pattern of demeanour, and influenced by obsolete haviour from have.
behavioural (US behavioral) ■ adjective involving, relating to, or emphasizing behaviour.
—derivatives behaviourally adverb[1]
his CONDUCT ***
noun /ˈkɒndʌkt/ 1 the manner in which a person behaves. 2 the directing or managing of something. ■ verb /kənˈdʌkt/ 2 guide to or around a place. 3 Physics transmit by conduction. 4 direct the performance of (a piece of music or an orchestra or choir). 5 (conduct oneself) behave in a specified way. —derivatives conductible /kənˈdʌktɪb(ə)l/ adjective
—origin Middle English (as conduit): from Old French conduit (noun), conduire (verb), from Latin conduct-, conducere ‘bring together’; compare with conduit.[1]
[1] Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (Eds.). (2004). Concise Oxford English dictionary (11th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.his life, his practice..
LIFE
life
noun (plural lives)
1 the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.
▶ living things and their activity.
2 the existence of an individual human being or animal.
▶ a particular type or aspect of human existence: school life.
▶ a biography.
▶ informal a sentence of imprisonment for life.
▶ (in various games) each of a specified number of chances each player has before being put out.
3 the period during which something continues to exist, function, or be valid.
4 vitality, vigour, or energy.
5 [as modifier] (in art) based on a living rather than an imagined form: a life drawing.
—phrases
come (or bring) to life
1 regain or cause to regain consciousness.
2 become or make active, lively, or interesting.
for dear (or one’s) life as if or in order to escape death.
for the life of me informal however hard I try.
as large as (or larger than) life informal conspicuously present.
larger than life attracting attention because of unusual and flamboyant appearance or behaviour.
life-and-death deciding whether someone lives or dies; vitally important.
the life and soul of the party a vivacious and sociable person.
a matter of life and death a matter of vital importance.
not on your life informal emphatically not.
see life gain a wide experience of the world.
take one’s life in one’s hands risk being killed.
—origin Old English līf, of Germanic origin; related to live1.[1]
[1] Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (Eds.). (2004). Concise Oxford English dictionary (11th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
PRACTICE
practice
noun
1 the actual application or use of a plan or method, as opposed to the theories relating to it.
2 the customary or expected procedure or way of doing something.
3 the practising of a profession.
▶ the business or premises of a doctor or lawyer.
4 the action or process of practising.
verb US spelling of practise.
—phrases
in (or out of) practice having (or not having) practised an activity or skill on a regular basis.
—origin Middle English: from practise, on the pattern of pairs such as advise, advice.
usage
Note that practice is the correct spelling for the noun in both British and US English, and is also the spelling of the verb in US English. However, in British English the verb should be spelled practise.[1]
[1] Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (Eds.). (2004). Concise Oxford English dictionary (11th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
God desires that we as Christians believe correctly and behave (walk properly .
, “for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he,” Prov. 23:7. Since we must believe correctly before we can behave properly, the New Testament epistles first outline the doctrines that we are to believe and then they present the duties that we are to perform. A correct belief is to the Christian life what a strong backbone is to the human body.
But God is not pleased if correct belief fails to issue in proper behavior, for God seeks not only informed Christians but also holy Christians (God furnishes Christians the truth that they might live the truth).
Since God’s ultimate desire for Christians is that they walk properly,
Titus 2:12, Training us sub b-Point bPurpose in order that, c Background-Action (d) denying impiety and worldly desires,
d Continuation (b) we may live self-controlled and righteously and godly R in the present age, [1]
Romans 10:4 (KJV) 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
[1] Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible (Tt 2:12). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
He has not left us in the dark concerning the kind of walk that pleases Him.
The proper walk of a Christian is outlined in the second major portion of almost all of the New Testament epistles, especially in the epistles of Paul. In Rom. 12:1–15:13; Gal. 5:13–6:10 and Eph. 4:1–6:9, we have three of the greatest of these outlines. We will use Gal. 5:13–6:10 to develop our present thesis on “the walk of a Christian.”
PART TWO—An outline of the walk of a Christian (Gal. 5:13–6:10)
Galatians 5:13–6:10 LEB
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, live by the Spirit, and you will never carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, for these are in opposition to one another, so that whatever you want, you may not do these things. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are sexual immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, things which I am telling you in advance, just as I said before, that the ones who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh together with its feelings and its desires. If we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Brothers, even if a person is caught in some trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of humility, looking out for yourself, lest you also be tempted. Carry the burdens of one another, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something although he is nothing, he is deceiving himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have a reason for boasting in himself alone, and not in someone else. For each one will carry his own burden. Now the one who is taught the word must share in all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not to be mocked, for whatever a person sows, this he will also reap, because the one who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. And let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the household of faith.
I. THE NEGATIVE SIDE OF THE WALK OF A CHRISTIAN
A. CHRISTIANS SHOULD NOT WALK UNDER THE LAW (Gal. 5:13a)
After a four-thousand-years-long demonstration that Gentiles had no strength to keep the law of nature and so earn (merit, attain, achieve) justification and life, and after a fifteen-hundred-years-long demonstration that Jews have no strength to keep the law of Moses and so earn justification and life, God at the time of Christ’s death on the cross cancelled law-keeping as the theoretical way to justification and life and on the Day of Pentecost He opened up a practical way to justification and life, the way of faith in Jesus Christ.
Since the Day of Pentecost, the day of the birth of the church and the opening up of the New Covenant to the church, those who exercise faith in Jesus Christ are liberated from the obligation to keep law in order to be justified and receive eternal life (Gentile believers are freed from the obligation to keep the law of nature and Jewish believers are freed from the obligation to keep the Law of Moses),
Rom. 10:4.
Romans 10:4 (KJV) 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
Christians, both Jewish and Gentile, keep law, not to become saved, but because they are saved. We keep law, not as a way to life for sinners but as the way of life for saints.
Since we Christians have been called unto liberty (Gal. 5:13a), that is, since we have been liberated from the bondage of having to keep law as the theoretical way to life,
Matthew 11:28 LEB
Come to me, all of you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.
Acts 15:10 LEB
So now why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?
Galatians 5:1 LEB
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Acts 15:10, Gal. 5:1, we should rejoice in this liberty and never think of placing ourselves back under the legalism of law-keeping as the way to life,
Galatians 4:21 LEB
Tell me, you who are wanting to be under the law, do you not understand the law?
Galatians 5:1 LEB
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
B. CHRISTIANS SHOULD NOT WALK AFTER THE FLESH (Gal. 5:13b)
We Christians should be taught that our liberty (from the legalism of law-keeping) is not to be turned into license (license to sin, license to gratify the appetites of the flesh, the sin nature).
We at the time of our exercising faith in Jesus Christ were delivered from the law of nature (if we were Gentiles) or from the law of Moses (if we were Jews) as being the way to eternal life,
Romans 7:4 LEB
So then, my brothers, you also were brought to death with respect to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
Romans 10:4 LEB
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
10:4, not that we might obey the law of sin (the lusts of the flesh),
Romans 7:23 LEB
but I observe another law in my members, at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that exists in my members.
Romans 7:25 LEB
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself with my mind am enslaved to the law of God, but with my flesh I am enslaved to the law of sin.
Rom. 7:23, 25, but that we might obey the law of the Spirit (the desires of the divine life of the Spirit, given to us at the time of our conversion)
Romans 8:2 LEB
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.
We were delivered from one divine law, the law of nature or the law of Moses, that we might come under a higher and a more effective divine law, the law of the Spirit. This new law gives us the power to keep the law of nature or the law of Moses (not as a way to life for sinners but as the way of life for saints) and the power to resist and control the law of sin (the sin nature).
The church has always had to fight the two errors of
legalism ■ noun
1 excessive adherence to the details of law.
2 Theology adherence to moral law rather than personal religious faith.
—DERIVATIVES legalist noun & adjective legalistic adjective legalistically adverb
Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (Eds.). (2004). Concise Oxford English dictionary (11th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
(we must keep law to be saved) and the error of
antinomianism, ■ adjective holding or relating to the view that Christians are released by grace from the obligation of observing the moral law.
■ noun a person holding antinomian views.
—DERIVATIVES antinomianism noun
—ORIGIN 17th century: from medieval Latin Antinomi, a 16th-cent. German sect, from Greek anti- ‘against’ + nomos ‘law
Soanes, C., & Stevenson, A. (Eds.). (2004). Concise Oxford English dictionary (11th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
license (we are free to do as we please once we are saved). If a Christian is not well-taught, he may fall into the ditch of legalism or else into the opposite ditch of antinomianism (license).
II. THE POSITIVE SIDE OF THE WALK OF A CHRISTIAN
A. CHRISTIANS SHOULD WALK IN LOVE
Galatians 5:13–15 LEB
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
1. The source of love (Gal. 5:22) THREE KINDS OF LOVE;Explain!!!!
Galatians 5:22 LEB
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
The love spoken of here is “agape love,” a love produced by the Holy Spirit, a love that is a “fruit of the Spirit,” Gal. 5:22.
Agape love is divine love. It is the love that God is,
1 John 4:8 LEB
The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
the love that God demands,
Galatians 5:13 LEB
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Gal. 5:13, and the love that God furnishes (to dedicated Christians), Gal. 5:22. Agape love is not present in a non-Christian, for he doesn’t possess the Spirit, and agape love is not operative in a carnal Christian, for he is not yielded to the Spirit. Spiritual Christians are yielded to the Spirit and are furnished by the Spirit with the love demanded by the Spirit. In the New Testament, God furnishes that which He commands,
Philippians 2:12–13 LEB
Therefore my dear friends, just 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. For the one at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure, is God.
Phil. 2:12, 13. “God’s commandments are His enablings.” “This do and live, the law commands, but gives me neither feet nor hands. A better thing the gospel brings, it bids me fly and then gives me wings.”
2. The value of love
a. It delivers from the power of the flesh
Galatians 5:13 LEB
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
(5:13)
Although a Christian yet possesses the flesh nature, a nature which motivates him to serve self, he possesses a stronger nature, the divine nature of love, which motivates him to serve others, even at the cost of great sacrifice to self. This stronger motivation delivers him from the power of the weaker motivation. Love furnishes a dedicated Christian with “the expulsive power of a higher affection” (his desire to serve his brother expels his desire to use his brother).
b. It delivers from the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:15)
The flesh bites and devours (tears down, consumes) our brothers. Love serves (builds up, conserves) our brothers.
If we as Christians walk in the Spirit (walk in connection with the Spirit, walk led of the Spirit), we are filled with love and this love overpowers our fleshly desire to tear down our brother and motivates us to build up our brother.
c. It produces voluntary servitude
John 6:33–36 LEB
For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” So they said to him, “Sir, always give us this bread!” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never be hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty again. But I said to you that you have seen me and do not believe.
Galatians 4:21–31 LEB
Tell me, you who are wanting to be under the law, do you not understand the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the female slave and one by the free woman. But the one by the female slave was born according to human descent, and the one by the free woman through the promise, which things are spoken allegorically, for these women are two covenants, one from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery, who is Hagar. Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is a slave with her children. But the Jerusalem above is free, which is our mother. For it is written, “Rejoice, O barren woman, who does not give birth to children; burst out and shout, you who do not have birth pains, because many are the children of the desolate woman, even more than those of the one who has a husband.” But you, brothers, are children of the promise, just as Isaac. But just as at that time the child born according to human descent persecuted the child born according to the Spirit, so also now. But what does the scripture say? “Drive out the female slave and her son, for the son of the female slave will never inherit with the son” of the free woman. Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the female slave but of the free woman.
Under the law, we were involuntary slaves (we served a God that we hated in order to earn eternal life
Romans 8:15 LEB
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
under grace, we are voluntary slaves, “doulos” bond-servants (we serve a God that we love in order to show our appreciation for the gift of eternal life
2 Corinthians 5:14 LEB
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one died for all; as a result all died.
.
We as Christians have exchanged forms of slavery. We are still slaves after we become Christians but no longer do we serve because we have to serve but because we get to serve (want to serve). “Love makes everything easy.”
d. It fulfils the law
Galatians 5:13 LEB
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
(Gal. 5:14)
The law demands that we love our neighbor but furnishes us no love to love him with. Grace demands that we love our neighbor and then furnishes us the love to love him with. When we exercise this love, we are fulfilling the law’s command.
B. CHRISTIANS SHOULD WALK IN THE SPIRIT
Galatians 5:16–26 LEB
But I say, live by the Spirit, and you will never carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, for these are in opposition to one another, so that whatever you want, you may not do these things. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are sexual immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, things which I am telling you in advance, just as I said before, that the ones who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh together with its feelings and its desires. If we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
(The Galatians were listening to the Judaizers and were beginning to look to the threats of the law and to self-strength instead of to the Spirit for power to live God’s commandments. As a consequence, their lives were beginning to be filled with sin, for it is only through the power of the Spirit that we are enabled to keep God’s commandments and to live above sin.)
1. The meaning of walking in the Spirit
To walk in the Spirit is to walk in connection with the Spirit, to live a life energized by the Spirit (to walk in the flesh is to walk in connection with the flesh, to live a life energized by the flesh).
2. The necessity of walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16, 17)
Galatians 5:16–17 LEB
But I say, live by the Spirit, and you will never carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, for these are in opposition to one another, so that whatever you want, you may not do these things.
We are not able in ourselves, and are able only in the Spirit, to control the flesh (the believer died to the flesh, the flesh nature, at the time of his conversion and is no longer joined to this nature, but this nature yet resides in his body and he can experientially come alive to this nature by yielding his members to this nature for the commission of sin) and to keep God’s commandments, and so live a life pleasing unto God. There is an almost constant warfare between the flesh and the Spirit, for they often desire opposite things. But the desires of the Spirit are stronger than the desires of the flesh, so when we are yielded to, and filled with, the Spirit, we are not doing the things that we would, that is, we are not fulfilling the desires of the flesh (“so that you cannot do the things that you would” should be translated “so that you are not doing the things that you would”).
3. The freedom of walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:18)
Galatians 3:18 LEB
For if the inheritance is from the law, it is no longer from the promise, but God graciously gave it to Abraham through the promise.
If we are led of the Spirit, we are freed from the law as our guide, for the Holy Spirit is our new guide. The Ten-Commandment law yet remains as the objective standard by which we may check our supposed promptings of the Holy Spirit to know whether they are promptings of the Spirit or promptings of the flesh or Satan. If a prompting leads us to break one of the Ten Commandments, then the prompting is not of the Holy Spirit, for the Spirit leads us, not to break, but to keep these commandments, Matt. 5:17–19; Rom. 8:4; 13:8–10.
Matthew 5:17–19 LEB
“Do not think that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets. I have not come to destroy them but to fulfill them. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one tiny letter or one stroke of a letter will pass away from the law until all takes place. Therefore whoever abolishes one of the least of these commandments and teaches people to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever keeps them and teaches them, this person will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Romans 8:4 LEB
in order that the requirement of the law would be fulfilled in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Romans 13:8–10 LEB
Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another, for the one who loves someone else has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are summed up in this statement: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does not commit evil against a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
The law is no longer the theoretical way to life for sinners but it is the divine way of life for saints.
4. The proofs of walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:19–23)
Galatians 5:19–23 LEB
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are sexual immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, things which I am telling you in advance, just as I said before, that the ones who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Against such things there is no law.
(Now we have a partial list of the works of the flesh and of the fruits of the Spirit that we may readily know whether we are walking in the flesh or in the Spirit. If the works of the flesh are prominent in our lives, we are walking, not in the Spirit, but in the flesh. If the fruits of the Spirit are prominent in our lives, we are walking, not in the flesh, but in the Spirit)
a. The first proof of walking in the Spirit—The works of the flesh are not prominent in our lives (5:19–21)
(1) The noteworthy things concerning the works of the flesh
(a) These works are representative
The seventeen works of the flesh mentioned here represent all of the works of the flesh (many of which are not mentioned here), just as the nine fruits of the Spirit mentioned in Gal. 5:22, 23 represent all the fruits of the Spirit, and just as the nine gifts of the Spirit mentioned in 1 Cor. 12:8–10 represent all of the gifts of the Spirit.
Note that the words “and such like” are used, 5:21, which indicates that more works of the flesh could be named.
(b) These works “are manifest”
It is obvious (clearly seen, unmistakable) that the seventeen works mentioned here come from the flesh (the sin nature) and not from the Spirit, for these works are selfish and the Spirit’s works are unselfish.
(c) These works are of two kinds
The seventeen works mentioned here consist of non-expressed works (works which exists only as secret cravings) and expressed works (works which exist as outward acts). Both inward evil cravings and their outward expressions are recognized by God as evil works, Matt. 5:21, 22, 27, 28.
(d) These works are of the flesh (the sin nature)
Christians are warned against walking after the flesh (the sin nature), Rom. 8:12, 13, and are given the recipe for not walking after the flesh, Gal. 5:16. This proves that, contrary to the teachings of some Bible scholars, Christians do yet have the flesh (the sin nature) to contend with. We Christians positionally died to the flesh when we exercised faith in Christ, Gal. 5:24, and now we are to keep ourselves experientially dead to the flesh by constantly resisting its demands, Rom. 6:11, 13; Col. 3:5 (an illustration: a Russian positionally dies to Russian rulers and Russian laws and becomes alive to American rulers and American laws the moment he becomes a naturalized American. From that moment forward, this naturalized American should keep himself experientially dead to Russian rulers and Russian laws by refusing to harken to them and keep himself experientially alive to American rulers and American laws by obeying them).
(e) These works are selfish
These works are all sins and sins are the expression of selfishness, the product of choosing to obey our own will rather than the revealed will of God. Note that the fruits of the Spirit, 5:22, 23, are the expression of unselfishness, love.
Persons who habitually produce the works of the flesh are living the getting way of life, rather than the giving way of life. Those who habitually produce the fruits of the Spirit are living the giving way of life.
(f) These works are destructive
These works destroy (tear down) both ourselves and our neighbors. The fruits of the Spirit edify (build up) both ourselves and our neighbors.
(g) These works are called by four names
They are called: (1) “fruit unto death,” Rom. 7:5; (2) “the works of darkness,” Rom. 13:12; (3) “the works of the flesh,” Gal. 5:19; and (4) “the sins of the flesh,” Col. 2:11.
(h) These works are practiced only by sinners (Gal. 5:21)
Christians may produce any or all of the works of the flesh but they do not practice them, 1 Jn. 3:9. Persons who practice these sins (vices) are sinners, persons who are excluded from the Kingdom of God (unless they repent and turn from these sins), Gal. 5:21. In Gal. 5:21, the word “do” is a translation of a Greek durative tense verb which should be translated practice.
If we professing Christians are practicing the works of the flesh, we are not real Christians and we have no inheritance in the coming Kingdom of God, 1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Gal. 5:19–21; Eph. 5:5; Rev. 21:8; 22:15.
(i) These works are followed by punishment or chastening
A sinner is punished for his fleshly works (unless he repents of them). A saint is chastened for his fleshly works.
(2) The partial list of the works of the flesh (5:19–21)
Seventeen works of the flesh are named. These seventeen sins are divided into five groups.
(a) The first group—The group of sexual sins
1). “Adultery”—Adultery has reference to illicit sexual intercourse on the part of a married person.
Just as idolatry is the most serious and destructive of the sins of ungodliness, even so is adultery the most serious and destructive of the sins of unrighteousness, 1 Cor. 6:18. Idolatry is always associated with, and followed by, adultery, for God withdraws His hand of restraint from idolators and thus permits them to fall into adultery, Rom. 1:21–24.
Whenever a Christian commits adultery he sins against God, his fellowman, and himself. He destroys himself spiritually, morally, mentally, physically, and socially.
“Whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding; he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonor shall he get and his reproach shall not be wiped away,” Prov. 6:32, 33.
2). “Fornication”—Fornication has reference to sexual intercourse on the part of an unmarried person.
Almost everything, if not everything, written above concerning adultery can be said of fornication. One difference between adultery and fornication is that an adulterer destroys his prospects for a happy marriage after he enters into marriage, while a fornicator destroys his prospects for a happy marriage before he enters into marriage.
3). “Uncleanness”—Uncleanness has reference to all impure sexual acts (all sexual aberrations, including all that leads to them).
When a person rejects the revealed truths of God (when he is wrong vertically), God withdraws His hand of restraint and permits him to fall into immorality (permits him to be wrong horizontally). He at the first permits him to fall into fornication or adultery, Rom. 1:21–24. If he continues to reject the revealed truths of God, then God further withdraws His hand of restraint and permits him to fall into homosexuality and sexuality with beasts, etc., Rom. 1:25–27.
4). “Lasciviousness”—Lasciviousness has reference to a shameless lack of all sexual restraint.
When a person rejects the revealed truths of God, God turns him over to general moral impurity (adultery and fornication), Rom. 1:21–24. If he continues to reject the revealed truths of God, God turns him over to special moral impurity (homosexuality, etc.), Rom. 1:25–27. If he yet continues to reject the revealed truths of God, God finally turns him over to unrestrained moral impurity (unrestrained sexual and other sins), Rom. 1:28–32.
(b) The second group—The group of religious sins
(This group of religious sins follows the group of sexual sins because these two kinds of sin are closely related. Sexual sins follow religious sins for God punishes religious sins by turning the religious sinner over to sexual sins, moral sins).
1). “Idolatry”—Idolatry has reference to a worship of false gods or idols.
Christians seldom turn to the grosser forms of idolatry but they do often turn to more subtle forms of idolatry, a worship of wealth, fame, power, pleasure, etc. The Bible calls “covetousness” idolatry, Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5.
2). “Witchcraft”—Witchcraft has reference to all sorceries, all operations of men performed by demons.
Witchcraft and idolatry are closely associated, for evil spirits are behind all idolatry, 1 Cor. 10:20, and evil spirits operate through witchcraft, Acts 13:6, 8, 10.
It is amazing that carnal Christians sometimes turn to witchcraft, sorcery, etc. for help in solving life’s problems.
(c) The third group—The group of animosity sins
1). “Hatred”—Hatred has reference to enmity, ill will, malevolence. Carnal Christians are often guilty of this sin.
2). “Variance”—Variance has reference to difference, dissension, disagreement, and discord.
Variance is a sure proof of carnality, 1 Cor. 3:3.
3). “Emulation”—Emulation has reference to envious rivalry, ardent ambition to exceed or excel.
Carnal Christians vie with each other for selfish reasons.
4). “Wrath (thumos)”—Wrath has reference to passionate outbursts of hot anger.
These outbursts are the product of hatred. Carnal Christians sometimes “blow their top.”
(d) The fourth group—The group of sectarian sins
1). “Strifes”—Strifes have reference to contests, struggles, wranglings, quarrels, and contentions.
We often see these things in our churches.
2). “Seditions”—Seditions have reference to splits, rendings, sunderings, and divisions.
Strifes often result in open divisions.
3). “Heresies”—Heresies have reference to private opinions, strange and unorthodox beliefs.
These heresies are the cause of the divisions (seditions) mentioned above. The teaching of heresy in a church produces divisions in a church and divisions in a church destroy a church.
4). “Envyings”—Envyings have reference to discontent in seeing others possess what we would like for ourselves.
Envies are back of strifes, seditions, and heresies.
5). “Murders”—Murders have reference to slayings with malicious aforethought.
“Murders” include spiritual murders as well as physical murders, murders committed by the tongue as well as those committed by the hand, James 4:1, 2.
(e) The fifth group—The group of social sins
1). “Drunkenness”—Drunkenness has reference to physical intoxication.
Christians sometimes drown their troubles in booze.
2). “Revellings”—Revellings have reference to all the carousings and riotous orgies associated with drunken feasts and parties at late hours.
“And such like,” 5:21, means that more “works of the flesh” could be added to the list given.
b. The second proof of walking in the Spirit—The fruits of the Spirit are prominent in our lives (Gal. 5:22, 23)
(1) The noteworthy things concerning the “fruits of the Spirit”
(a) These fruits are representative
The nine fruits of the Spirit mentioned here represent the total number of the fruits of the Spirit, just as the seventeen works of the flesh, Gal. 5:19–21, represent the total number of the works of the flesh and just as the nine gifts of the Spirit, 1 Cor. 12:8–10, represent the total number of the gifts of the Spirit.
These nine fruits of the Spirit are the ones that came to the mind of Paul as he wrote. Note that Paul in verse 23 says “against such things there is no law,” indicating that there are more fruits of the Spirit than the nine listed in verses 22 and 23.
(b) These fruits are a cluster
Note that they are called “fruit” and not fruits. When we as Christians are not yielded to the Holy Spirit, none of these fruits are being produced in our lives. When we are yielded, all of them are being produced simultaneously. When they are fully developed, they form a beautiful cluster, bouquet, or character.
Jesus had all of the fruits of the Spirit fully developed in Him and he had a beautiful character (we as Christians have fallen in love with Jesus, not because of His physical beauty, which we haven’t seen, but because of His moral beauty, which beauty we have seen, in the pages of Holy Writ). Someday, in the resurrection, Christians, also, will be morally beautiful for we will be perfectly conformed to Christ’s moral image Rom. 8:29; 1 Jn. 3:2 (as well as to His physical image, Phil. 3:21).
(c) These fruits are fruits making up Christian character
There are two kinds of Christian fruits: (1) fruits making up Christian character (Christian virtues which make up Christian character) and (2) fruits coming from Christian service (sinners converted and saints matured).
The fruits making up Christian character must be developed before we can be fully successful in producing the fruits of Christian service. God desires us to be something before we say or do something, Ezra 7:10. Preaching the gospel without practicing the gospel is usually a waste of time and effort.
(d) These fruits are fruits of the Spirit
These fruits are not fruits of a Christian but are fruits of the Spirit. Since this is true, then sinners can’t produce these fruits, for sinners don’t possess the Holy Spirit and carnal Christians can’t produce these fruits, for carnal Christians are not yielded to the Holy Spirit, John 15:4. Spiritual Christians can and do produce these fruits, for they possess the Holy Spirit and are yielded to the Holy Spirit. In them, the Holy Spirit purges the works of the flesh and produces the fruits of the Spirit.
(e) These fruits are called by three names
They are called: (1) “fruits of the Spirit”; (2) “Christian character traits”; and (3) “Christian virtues.”
(f) These fruits are durable
Natural fruits are perishable but these spiritual fruits are durable. Since they are constituent parts of Christian character, we can take them with us when we leave this world, for our characters survive death.
(g) These fruits are lawful to produce
“Against [the production of] such things there is no law,” Gal. 5:23. Both divine law and civil law do not frown upon, but rather smile upon, the production of these things.
(2) The partial list of “the fruits of the Spirit” (5:22, 23)
(a) The first fruit of the Spirit—“Love”
(The word “love” here has reference to agape love. The Greek language has three words for love, eros, phile, and agape.
Eros love is an animal love, a selfish love, a lustful love, a love never mentioned in the New Testament.
Phile love is a human love, an affectionate love, a liking love, a limited love (it loves only its own kind), and a New Testament commended and commanded love.
Agape love is a divine love and a totally unselfish love. Our next section gives a description of this love.)
1). The description of agape love
a). It is a divine love (1 Jn. 4:8)
It is the love that God is, 1 Jn. 4:8. The Bible says that God is three things: (1) “God is spirit,” Jn. 4:24; (2) “God is light,” 1 Jn. 1:5; and (3) “God is love,” 1 Jn. 4:8.
b). It is a God-given love (1 Jn. 4:7)
God is love and He kept on manifesting love to us until His love was perfected in us, 1 Jn. 4:12. His love is perfected in us (has reached its goal in us) when we lay down our oppositions to His loving gospel call and permit His love, in the person of the Holy Spirit, to dwell in us and manifest itself to those around us, especially to our spiritual brothers.
So God gives Christians the Holy Spirit, 1 Jn. 4:13, who is love, and the Holy Spirit gives us the love that we need to love our brothers and thereby love God.
Under the New Covenant, God furnishes that which He demands.
c). It is a Spirit-produced love
Love is a fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22, and not of the believer. The Spirit, possessed by all believers, Rom. 8:9, produces the virtue of love in the believer when the believer is yielded to Him.
A sinner does not possess the Holy Spirit and so does not have agape love. A carnal Christian does possess the Holy Spirit but is not yielded to Him and so does not have agape love. A spiritual Christian does possess the Holy Spirit and is yielded to Him and so does have agape love.
d). It is an intellectual love
It is a love motivated by the intellect, activated by the will, and rewarded with feeling. Motivated by our knowledge of what Christ has done for us, we for Christ’s sake purpose to treat and do treat our fellowman as Christ has commanded, whether or not we feel like doing so, and then God rewards us by giving us a feeling of affection and liking for the person treated rightly. We love persons, not because we have affection for them and like them but until we do have affection for them and like them.
e). It is a beneficent as well as a benevolent love
It not only wishes well but it also does well, 1 Jn. 3:17, 18. Love is an active thing.
f). It is the-greatest-of-the-three-permanent-virtues love
Faith, hope, and charity (agape love) are the three permanent virtues and the greatest of these is love, 1 Cor. 13:13. Why? Because faith and hope receive, while love gives.
g). It is a great love
The depth and the greatness of God’s love are revealed in God’s giving of Christ to be our substitute, Rom. 5:6–8, and in God’s adoption of us to be His sons, 1 Jn. 3:1, 2.
It manifests charity but far more than charity. The King James translation of agape as “charity,” I Corinthians, chapter 13, fails to do justice to the word agape, the word for divine love.
2). The standard (or pattern) for agape love
We are to love one another as Christ loved His disciples (“as I have loved you,” Jn. 15:12):
a). Jesus loved them initiatively (Jn. 15:16)—He took the initiative in establishing the love relationship between Himself and His disciples. He loved them while they were yet “weak,” “ungodly,” “sinners,” and “enemies,” Rom. 5:6–10. We should, as Jesus did, take the initiative in loving others. We should love them until they love us in return.
b). Jesus loved them intimately (Jn. 15:15)—He called them “friends” and not “servants.” He commanded them and gave them reasons for the commands. This masters do not do to their servants. We as Christians should share the precious things of God with each other.
c). Jesus loved them sacrificially (Jn. 15:13)—Jesus sacrificed Himself for them. We should be willing to sacrifice ourselves (our time, our talents, and our resources) to edify and mature our brothers.
3). The human example of agape love
Paul gives us a great example of what it means to exercise divine love. He loved Jesus so much that he was willing to die for Him, Acts 21:13. He loved sinners so much that he was willing to give up his salvation for them, Rom. 9:3. He loved saints so much that he was willing to spend and be spent for them (even though the more he loved them, the less they loved him), 2 Cor. 12:15.
4). The value of agape love
a). It fulfils law (Rom. 13:8–10)—When we love, we fulfil the two comprehensive commandments of the law (the two comprehensive commandments of loving God and of loving our neighbor, Matt. 22:34–40). When we fulfil these two comprehensive commandments of the law, we fulfil the whole of the Ten Commandments. So love fulfils all of the law.
b). It proves Christian discipleship (Jn. 13:35)—Love for other Christians is our “badge of discipleship.”
c). It lightens Christian service—G. Campbell Morgan said: “Faith makes everything possible, hope makes everything bright, and love makes everything easy. When we love (God and) our fellowmen, we don’t have to serve them but we get to serve them.
d). It makes friends—People love us in return and remember us long after we have left this world.
e). It wins sinners to Christ—Nothing will win sinners to Christ more rapidly than their seeing the divine life of love being lived through us.
5). The proofs of agape love
The following questions, based upon the marks of agape love given to us in 1 Cor. 13:4–7, reveal the presence or the absence of agape love in our lives. If we can honestly say “yes” to these questions, we have proof that we possess and exercise agape love:
a). Do we suffer a long time at the hands of evil persons and yet remain kind?
b). Do we refuse to be envious of the possessions, the accomplishments, and the praise of others?
c). Do we refuse to boast, brag, and parade ourselves to gain the approval and applause of others
d). Do we practice humility (and show our humility by obeying superiors, admitting mistakes, taking good advice, serving inferiors, etc.)?
e). Do we practice tact and consideration in our dealings with others?
f). Do we seek the well-being of others as well as our own well-being?
g). Do we suffer on and on without becoming provoked and losing our tempers?
h). Do we refuse to keep a ledger of wrongs suffered so as to seek revenge later?
There are several other marks of love given in 1 Cor. 13:4–7, but we have cited a sufficient number.
6). The recipe for agape love
a). Become born again—Only Christians can have agape love.
b). Become a consecrated Christian—Only consecrated Christians can have agape love.
c). Desire agape love—Those who hunger and thirst after the righteousness produced by agape love will be filled, Matt.5:6.
d). Pray for agape love—“Ye have not because ye ask not,” James 4:2.
e). Trust God to supply agape love—He is faithful.
(b) The second fruit of the Spirit—“Joy”
1). The nature of joy
Joy is the deep-rooted emotion excited by the acquisition or the expectation of good.
There is a great difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is impermanent; joy is permanent. Happiness comes from the things around us; joy comes from the God above us. Happiness depends upon the favorableness of our circumstances; joy depends upon the faithfulness of our God. Happiness comes from the gratification of the appetites of our lower nature; joy comes from the gratification of the appetites of our higher nature.
2). The possessors of joy
Unsaved persons do not have joy for joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and unsaved persons do not have the Holy Spirit. Carnal Christians do not have joy for joy is a fruit of the Spirit and carnal Christians are not yielded to the Spirit. Spiritual Christians do have joy for they have the Spirit and are yielded to the Spirit. Their joy remains uninterrupted as long as their consecration remains uninterrupted.
3). The maintenance of joy
a). Our joy is maintained by abiding in the vine (Christ) (John 15:11)—If we abide in the vine (Christ) by keeping Christ’s known commandments, we bear fruit (including the fruit of joy) continually. His joy remains (abides) in us and our joy is full.
b). Our joy is maintained by praying for the supply of our needs (John 16:23, 24)—If we abide in the vine, we may ask for what we will and it shall be done unto us, John 15:7. Whatsoever we ask the Father in Jesus’ name, he will give it to us that our joy might be (kept) full, John 16:23, 24. If our spiritual needs are constantly supplied through prayer, then our souls are constantly filled with joy.
4) The permanence of joy (John 16:22)
We as Christians may temporarily lose our joy through willful disobedience to the known commands of God, but no person (or thing) can permanently take our joy from us, John 16:22. They may take happiness, but not joy, from us. If we belong to God, we know that all is going to end well in spite of what men and circumstances are doing to us.
5). The examples of joy
a). Jesus—Both in His Upper-Room Discourse, John 15:11, and in His High-priestly prayer, John 17:13, Jesus spoke of His joy, even though His crucifixion was only a few hours away.
b). Paul—In the book of Philippians, Paul, in spite of his circumstances at the time of the writing of this book, uses the words “joy” and “rejoice” 17 times. We are tempted to believe that instead of being in prison in Rome, Paul was vacationing on an island somewhere in the South Seas. “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice,” Phil. 4:4. His joy was coming not from favorable circumstances but from yieldedness to God.
6). The value of joy
a). Joy motivates Christian service
“The joy of the Lord is your strength,” Neh. 8:10. When we are discouraged, we do little or nothing in the way of Christian service but when we are filled with joy, we are motivated to work for God.
b). Joy empowers Christian testimony
Joy makes our testimony effective. When sinners see our joy in the midst of our troubles and tribulations, they are made thirsty for the God of whom we testify (gloomy Christians seldom if ever win sinners to the Lord for sinners are fearful that they too will be gloomy if they become Christians).
7). The perfection of joy
Our joy will be complete on resurrection morning. “Enter thou into the joy of the Lord,” Matt. 25:21. “When His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy,” 1 Peter 4:13. “Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,” Jude 24.
8). The recipe for joy
a). Become born again—Only Christians can have joy.
b). Be a consecrated Christian—Only consecrated (spiritual) Christians have joy.
c). Desire joy
d). Pray for joy—Pray for joy and for the things which maintain our joy, John 16:22–24.
e). Trust God to supply joy
(c) The third fruit of the Spirit—“Peace”
1). The nature of peace
The Bible speaks of two kinds of peace: (1) “peace with God,” Rom. 5:1, and “the peace of God,” Phil. 4:7. “Peace with God” has to do with positional, external, permanent peace, with the believer’s positional relationship to God, while “the peace of God” has to do with experiential, internal, fluctuating peace, with the believer’s experiential relationship to God. The one is an unfelt peace while the other is a felt peace.
The “peace” spoken of as “a fruit of the Spirit” in Gal. 5:22 is “the peace of God” (“the peace of God which passeth all understanding,” Phil 4:7; “the peace which is better felt than felt,” Guy King). Negatively, this peace has reference to the dedicated believer’s freedom from disquieting fears, agitating emotions, and distressful anxieties, and positively, it has reference to the dedicated believer’s feeling of tranquility (quietness, calmness, stillness, and composure). So this peace is positive as well as negative. It is being filled with something as well as being emptied of something. The only peace the world experiences is a negative peace, a peace consisting of an absence of hostility.
2). The definition of peace
The peace of God is tranquility of mind based upon a consciousness of being an object of the favor of God and an heir of the promises of God.
3). The author of peace
In Rom. 15:33; 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:11; Phil. 4:9; 1 Thes. 5:23; Heb. 13:20, God is called “the God [the author] of peace.” All peace, including experiential peace, “the peace of God,” comes from God, just as good of all kinds comes from God, James 1:17. “The peace of God” comes from God through the Holy Spirit into the heart of a dedicated believer.
4). The possessors of peace
“The peace of God” is “a fruit of the Spirit.” Unbelievers don’t possess this peace for they do not have the Holy Spirit. Carnal Christians don’t possess this peace for they have the Holy Spirit but are not yielded to the Holy Spirit. Spiritual Christians have the Holy Spirit and are yielded to the Holy Spirit and so possess “the peace of God.”
5). The maintenance of peace
This peace, “the peace of God,” is maintained through prayer. When we are burdened with the problems of this life, we are tempted to be careful (worry) and so lose our peace, but instead of worrying and losing our peace, we can pray and keep our peace. When we pray in the midst of our problems, the peace of God rises up in our hearts and guards our hearts and minds against fear and worry, Phil. 4:6, 7.
We can cast all of our cares upon Him, God, knowing that He cares for us, and so maintain our peace, 1 Peter 5:7.
6). The examples of peace
a). Jesus—He, in His life of humiliation here on the earth, ever experienced the peace of God in His heart. He, in John 14:27, spoke of His peace and promised to leave this peace (His peace) with His disciples as a gift and a legacy. He did leave us this gift and we should appropriate it.
b). Paul—He, in all thirteen of his epistles, wished “peace” for his readers, peace which he himself possessed in abundance, as is witnessed by his calmness in his many troubles, 2 Cor. 4:8, and his contentment in his various states, Phil. 4:11.
7). The value of peace
Peace guards us from worry (Phil 4:7). We pray in times of trouble and the peace of God rises in our hearts and drives out fear and worry.
8). The companion of peace
Peace and joy are two fruits of the Spirit that are often found together, Rom. 14:17; 15:13; Gal. 5:22. When we as Christians are yielded to God and believe that God is the author (directly or indirectly) of our troubles, that He is with us in our troubles, that He will make our troubles work for our good and His glory, and that He will eventually deliver us from our troubles, we have both peace and joy in our hearts.
9). The great picture of peace
Luke 8:22–25—When Jesus was awakened and placed in command of the boat, a great calm came. Even so, when we awaken Jesus and place Him in command of our boat (our body), a great calm comes.
10). The recipe for peace
a). Become born again.
b). Become a dedicated Christian.
c). Study the Scriptures-Become acquainted with the promises of God and the faithfulness of God.
d). Pray for peace.
e). Trust God for peace.
(d) The fourth fruit of the Spirit—“Longsuffering”
1). The definition of longsuffering
There are two Greek words that are close in their meanings but are to be distinguished:
a). Hupomona—This Greek word is usually translated “patience” or “endurance.” “Hupomona” is the ability to remain under pressure from evil things without murmuring, fainting, running, etc. This word is never used in reference to God for He is (directly or indirectly) the author of evil (physically evil) things.
b). “Makrothumia”—This Greek word is usually translated “longsuffering,” or “perseverance.” “Makrothumia” is the ability to continue on without retaliation when opposed by evil persons. This word is often used in reference to God, for God does show longsuffering toward evil persons.
2). The possessors of longsuffering
Neither sinners nor carnal Christians possess the virtue of longsuffering for longsuffering is a fruit of the Spirit and sinners do not possess the Spirit and carnal Christians are not yielded to the Spirit. Spiritual Christians do possess the Spirit and are yielded to the Spirit, so the Spirit does produce in them the character trait of longsuffering.
3). The need for longsuffering
We need this character trait in order to receive the truly valuable things of life. We do not need perseverance to receive the cheap things of life, “wine, sex, and song,” for they may be had now with no waiting, and paid for later. But the genuinely-valuable thing of life, a good character, a good reputation, Christlikeness, a heavenly reward, etc., are attained only through perseverance.
4). The examples of longsuffering
a). Joseph—Genesis, chapters 37–56
b). David—I Samuel, II Samuel, I Chronicles
c). Nehemiah—The Book of Nehemiah
d). Paul—The Book of Acts and the Epistles of Paul
5). The supreme examples of longsuffering
a). God the Father—He for many, many years has shown longsuffering toward the world, Israel, sinners, and carnal Christians.
b). Jesus—He manifested longsuffering toward his enemies while He was here on the earth and he is presently showing longsuffering toward all sinners, 2 Peter 3:9.
6). The value of longsuffering
a). It is an ingredient of Christian character.
b). It wins sinners to Christ.
c). It glorifies God.
d). It works toward a full reward in heaven.
7). The personal questions concerning longsuffering
How do you respond to opposition from evil persons and from evil things? Do you murmur, faint, run, or do you thank God for your troubles, draw near to God because of your troubles, ask God for wisdom to properly respond to your troubles, and become more yielded to God because of your troubles?
All oppositions tend to leave us either bitter or better. Do your oppositions leave you bitter or better? Hurt or helped?
The actions of life (the things that come against us) are not really important (for they will someday be forgotten, Isa. 65:17) but our reactions are important (for they either retard or accelerate the development of Christian character, Christlikeness).
8). The recipe for longsuffering
a). Become a Christian.
b). Be a dedicated Christian.
c). Desire longsuffering.
d). Pray for longsuffering.
e). Trust God to provide longsuffering.
(e). The fifth fruit of the Spirit—“Gentleness”
1). The definition of gentleness
Gentleness is the quality of being quiet, tame, docile, pliable, mild, kind, and tender. It is a mark of being wellborn and of possessing refinement.
2). The possessors of gentleness
Neither unsaved persons nor carnal Christians possess the virtue of gentleness for it is a fruit of the Spirit, which Spirit is not possessed by unsaved persons and is not in control of carnal Christians. Dedicated Christians possess the Holy Spirit and are yielded to the Holy Spirit, so the fruits of the Spirit, including gentleness, are produced in them.
3). The importance of gentleness
a). Christian teachers must possess the quality of gentleness (2 Tim. 2:24)—They must be gentle, patient, and meek. Teaching with gentleness is a proof of possessing divine wisdom, James 3:13–18.
b). Christians in general are exhorted to exercise the quality of gentleness (Titus 3:2)—Christians are to speak evil of no man and are not to be brawlers but are to be gentle and meek.
4). The examples of gentleness
a). Jesus—He, during His life of humiliation here on the earth, constantly manifested gentleness, especially during His trial and crucifixion, Isa. 53:7; Matt. 26:63; 27:12, 14.
b). Paul—He ever manifested the quality of gentleness, 2 Cor. 10:1; 1 Thes. 2:7.
5). The value of gentleness
a). It keeps us from squabbles and fights.
b). It glorifies God.
c). It makes sinners thirsty for Christ.
d). It works toward a greater reward in heaven.
6). The recipe for gentleness
a). Get saved.
b). Become a dedicated Christian.
c). Desire gentleness.
d). Pray for gentleness.
e). Trust God to produce gentleness.
(f) The sixth fruit of the Spirit—“Goodness”
1). The meaning of goodness
Goodness is the quality, not only of wishing others good, but also of doing others good. It is the virtue of bestowing upon others that which builds them up and not tears them down. It is the opposite of doing harm, or evil, to others.
2). The author of goodness
Goodness is an attribute of God, Exo. 34:6, a divine quality which God imparts to men who meet His conditions. If men have goodness, it was received as a gift from God, James 1:17.
3). The possessors of goodness
Only dedicated Christians possess this virtue, this fruit of the Spirit. Sinners don’t possess the Spirit and carnal Christians are not yielded to the Spirit, so they are void of the fruits of the Spirit. Sinners do good deeds but these good deeds are motivated by selfishness and do not come from a good heart.
4). The examples of goodness
a). God the Father—See Exo. 34:6; Psa. 33:5, James 1:17.
b). Jesus—See Acts 10:38.
c). Paul—See 1 Cor. 9:19–23; Col. 1:28.
5). The beneficence of goodness
The virtue of goodness, like the virtues of faith and love, is an active thing. It cannot remain quiescent, but is always seeking a way to express itself in acts of goodness. It is beneficent as well as benevolent, that is, it not only wishes well but it also does well.
6). The companion of goodness
Goodness and gentleness are twins. One writer calls them “synonyms.” If we are gentle (mild, kind, tender, and refined) in our attitudes and actions toward others, we will not harm them but will do them good.
7). The value of goodness
a). It reaps good in return—Those to whom we show goodness often repay us with goodness.
b). It maintains a good conscience—If we refrain from harming others and constantly strive to do them good, we fulfil the law, Rom. 13:9, 10, and so maintain a good conscience, Acts 23:1; 24:16.
c). It glorifies God—Whenever the divine life with its divine attributes is manifested through us, God is glorified, Matt. 5:16.
d). It makes sinners hungry—It makes them hungry for the divine life being manifested through us.
8). The important question concerning goodness
Do we practice goodness? Do we go about tearing people down or building them up? Are we wreckers or builders? Do we go about harming people or helping people? Do we obey Rom. 12:9?
9). The recipe for goodness
a). Become saved.
b). Be a consecrated Christian.
c). Desire the quality of goodness.
d). Pray for goodness.
e). Trust God to provide goodness.
(g) The seventh fruit of the Spirit—“Faith”
1). The meaning of faith (faithfulness)
The Greek word “pistis” may be translated faith or faithfulness. Here in Gal. 5:22, it should be translated “faithfulness” (fidelity, trustworthiness, steadfastness). Faithfulness is the quality of being faithful to God (in believing His truths and in keeping His commandments) and of being faithful to men (in fulfilling our duties toward them and in keeping our promises to them).
2). The possessors of faithfulness
Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit produced by the Spirit in the lives of dedicated Christians. Sinners do not possess the virtue of faithfulness for they do not possess the Spirit. Carnal Christians do not possess faithfulness for they possess the Spirit but are not yielded to the Spirit.
3). The examples of faithfulness
a). God the Father—See Deut. 7:9; Psa. 119:90; Rom. 3:4; 1 Cor. 10:13. His name “Jehovah” means “the self existent God who ever lives to faithfully keep His covenant promises.”
b). Jesus—See 2 Thes. 3:3; 2 Tim. 2:13.
c). Moses—See Heb. 3:5.
d). Paul—See 1 Tim. 1:12.
e). Tychicus—See Eph. 6:21.
f). Silas—See 1 Peter 5:12.
4). The value of faithfulness
a). It makes most oaths unnecessary.
b). It gives us a good conscience.
c). It makes sinners hungry for this divine quality.
d). It secures a full reward, Matt. 24:45–47; 25:21; Lu. 19:17.
5). The importance of faithfulness
We Christians are stewards, 1 Peter 4:10, and the one requirement of stewards is not success but faithfulness, 1 Cor. 4:2. So there is nothing more important to a Christian than faithfulness.
6). The personal questions concerning faithfulness
a). Are we faithful in church attendance?—This is a most important area of faithfulness for at church, we are challenged and are empowered to be faithful in other areas.
b). Are we faithful in doctrine—(in holding to, and contending for, the faith which was once delivered to the saints, Jude 3)?
c). Are we faithful in morals (in living a moral life at all times)?
d). Are we faithful in finances (in being good stewards of “the mammon of unrighteousness,” Lu. 16:9–12)?
e). Are we faithful in Christian service (in witnessing to the unsaved, in visiting the sick, in supporting the weak, etc.)?
7). The recipe for faithfulness
a). Became a saved person.
b). Be a spiritual Christian.
c). Desire faithfulness.
d). Pray for faithfulness.
e). Trust God to supply faithfulness.
(h). The eighth fruit of the Spirit—“Meekness”
1). The definition of meekness
Meekness is the quality of accepting our place in life with no complaint, of receiving discipline with no resentment, of accepting injustice without retaliation, of being willing to yield in non-essential things to prevent strife and division, and of being willing to give up our Christian liberties to win sinners and edify saints.
2). The possessors of meekness
Since meekness is a fruit of the Spirit, only spiritual Christians possess meekness. Sinners and carnal Christians do not possess meekness for sinners do not have the Holy Spirit and carnal Christians are not yielded to the Holy Spirit.
3). The difference between weakness and meekness
Many persons with little or no understanding of spiritual things associate meekness with weakness, but these traits are not to be confused, for the one is a praiseworthy virtue while the other is a blameworthy vice.
Meekness is a willingness not to contend for amoral things but to contend for moral things; weakness is an unwillingness to contend for either. Meekness is a willingness not to fight for our own rights but to fight for the rights of others; weakness is an unwillingness to fight for either. Meekness is a willingness not to defend our own opinions but to defend the revealed truths of God; weakness is an unwillingness to defend either.
In summary, meekness will fight when it should, but weakness refuses to fight when it should.
4). The examples of meekness
a). Jesus—See Matt. 11:29; 21:5; 2 Cor. 10:1.
b). Moses—See Num. 12:3.
c). Paul—See 1 Cor. 4:21; 2 Cor. 10:1.
5). The value of meekness
a). Meekness proves the possession of heavenly wisdom—A religious teacher who possesses heavenly wisdom teaches and lives meekly, while a religious teacher who possesses earthly wisdom teaches and lives with envy and strife, James 3:13–18.
b). Meekness wins the Lord’s support—“The Lord lifteth up the meek,” Psa. 147:6.
c). Meekness adorns its possessor—A Christian woman should not try to win her husband to Christ through outward adornment but through inward adornment, the adornment of a meek and a quiet spirit (a costly ornament in God’s sight), 1 Peter 3:1–6.
d). Meekness preserves peace and unity—We are to walk worthy of our calling “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” Eph. 4:2, 3. So, meekness is one of the things which preserve peace and peace preserves unity.
e). Meekness will be rewarded—“He [the Lord] will beautify the meek with salvation,” Psa. 149:4. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” Matt. 5:5.
6). The personal questions concerning meekness
a). Do you accept your place in life with no complaint?
b). Do you receive reproofs and rebukes with no resentment?
c). Do you accept injustice without retaliation?
d). Are you willing to yield in non-essential things rather than to cause trouble and division?
e). Are you willing to give up your rights in order to see sinners saved and saints edified?
f). Are you meek like the lowly Christ?
7). The recipe for meekness
a). Become born again.
b). Be a dedicated Christian.
c). Desire meekness.
d). Pray for meekness.
e). Trust God for meekness.
(i) The ninth fruit of the Spirit—“Temperance”
1). The meaning of temperance
The Greek word “egkrateia,” translated “temperance,” has a far wider meaning than abstinence from the use of intoxicants. It means self-control, having mastery over the desires (appetites, passions) of the mind and the body.
2). The possessors of temperance
Since temperance is a fruit of the Spirit, only those persons who possess the Spirit (Christians) and are yielded to the Spirit (spiritual Christians) possess the virtue of temperance.
3). The need for temperance
a). Temperance is necessary to avoid destruction
Just as fire is destructive when it is uncontrolled, and as water is destructive when it is uncontrolled, even so the carnal desires (the desires for wealth, fame, power, sleep, food, drink, sex, etc.) are destructive when they are uncontrolled.
b). Temperance is necessary to achieve success
No person ever achieved great success apart from exercising temperance.
4). The examples of temperance
a). The non-examples
[1] Solomon—He violated all three of the commandments given to Israel’s kings, Deut. 17:14–17.
[2] Samson—He violated all three of the commandments given to Nazarites, Numbers 6:1–8. Also, he had little or no control over his sex appetite, which led to his destruction.
b). The examples
[1] Jesus—He is the perfect example. What mastery He manifested by living above sin, Heb. 4:15, and by remaining on the cross when He was tempted to come down, Matt. 27:42! What temperance He manifested during the whole time of His trials and His crucifixion!
[2] Paul—Paul, like an athlete (a runner), kept his body under subjection, that he might win an incorruptible crown (eternal life with fullness of rewards). He didn’t permit his body to tell him what to do but he told his body what to do. He didn’t want to be a reject from the race but a winner of the race, 1 Cor. 9:24–27.
5). The value of temperance
a). Temperance attracts sinners—It makes them hungry for divine things.
b). Temperance glorifies God—When the divine life is manifested through us, God is glorified.
c). Temperance keeps us from many of the sorrows of this life—It keeps us from many hurtful and destructive things.
d). Temperance qualifies us for a full reward in the age to come—To the degree that a Christian conquers his body and its appetites (his Canaan land with its Canaanites), to the same degree he will be rewarded in the world to come.
6). The personal questions concerning temperance
Do you exercise control over your thoughts, your temper, your tongue, your sleeping, your eating, your drinking, your sex life, etc.?
7). The recipe for temperance
a). Become saved.
b). Be a dedicated Christian.
c). Desire temperance.
d). Pray for temperance.
e). Trust God for temperance.
5. The consistency of walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:24, 25)
Since at the time of our conversion, we once-for-all crucified (put to death, put off, cast away, died to, Rom. 6:2) the flesh (the sin nature) and its appetites (lusts) by resolving to obey this nature and its appetites no more and were then made to be in union with the Spirit, we should be consistent and walk no longer in rank and file after the flesh and its desires but walk in rank and file after the Spirit and its (His) desires.
When a woman divorces (crucifies, puts to death, puts off, casts away, dies to) her old husband and marries a new husband, to be consistent, she should no longer walk in rank and file after her old husband and his desires but walk in rank and file after her new husband and his desires.
When a Russian puts off Russia and becomes a naturalized American, to be consistent, he should no longer obey Russia and her laws but obey America and her laws.
6. The results of not walking in the Spirit (Gal. 5:26)
When we walk not after the Spirit but after the flesh, we are desirous of vain glory (we seek glory from men, glory that we don’t deserve, glory that doesn’t satisfy, and glory that is only temporary). In seeking this honor, we are envious of our brother’s honor and we challenge (“provoke”) him for the possession of his honor. We are glad when he falls, for perhaps we may then replace him and have his former honor directed to us.
When we are walking after the Spirit, we rejoice to see our brother honored, Rom. 12:15.
C. CHRISTIANS SHOULD WALK IN WELL-DOING (Gal. 6:1–10)
1. The meaning of walking in well-doing
A walk in well-doing, 6:9, is a walk of restoring a fallen brother, 6:1–5,a walk of supporting religious teachers, 6:6–9,and a walk of doing good to all men, 6:10.
2. The duties associated with walking in well-doing
a. We should spiritually restore a brother when he is overtaken in a fault (6:1–5)
(1) What we are to do (6:1)—We who are spiritual ought to restore a brother who, trusting in his own strength and not in the strength of the Holy Spirit, falls into sin when undergoing temptation (his sin is not a deliberate and willful one, for he is surprised that he fell). We should skillfully and patiently deal with him, helping him to see his sin, confess his sin, and repent of his sin and so be restored to spiritual health and to renewed fellowship with the Lord. Also, we should encourage him to never again trust in his own strength but in the strength of the Holy Spirit to overcome temptation. Thus we restore him not only to fellowship but also to a way of life that will insure his continuance in fellowship.
(2) Why we are to do it (6:2)—Restoring a fallen brother is a work of burden-bearing (of bearing our brother’s burdens of ignorance, weakness, temptation, discouragement, failure, etc.) and burden-bearing fulfills the law (the commandment) of Christ, the commandment to love one another, Jn. 13:34.
(3) How we are to do it (6:1)—We are to restore him in a spirit of meekness and not in a spirit of pride and haughtiness. Why? Because we ourselves have weaknesses and so may be tempted and fall and have need that our brothers restore us and we would want them to restore us, not in a spirit of haughtiness, but in a spirit of meekness. A consideration of these things should cause us to approach our fallen brother in a spirit of meekness.
(4) What we should avoid (6:3–5)—We should avoid deceiving ourselves and think that we are something when in reality we are nothing.
There is a danger that we will compare ourselves with our fallen brother, feel that we are better than him and will never fall as he did, and so see no need for approaching him in a spirit of meekness.
We can avoid this danger if we compare ourselves, not with our fallen brother, but with the person we should be, for then we will see that we are far from the goal and are liable to fall, as our brother did.
If we measure ourselves by the true standard (what God expects us to be, and what we should be) and pass the test, measure up, then we can rejoice in our own faithfulness and not in our supposed superiority over our fallen brother.
Every Christian has a burden of moral responsibility laid upon him by God which no other person can bear for him. Other Christians may pray for him, warn him, and encourage him but he must bear the burden of fulfilling the will of God for his life.
b. We should financially support religious teachers when they are in need (6:6–9)
(1) The exhortation (6:6)
It is the duty and the privilege of all Christians to financially support their religious teachers who give themselves wholly to the ministry of the word, 1 Cor. 9:14. The Galatian Christians had been listening to the Judaizers and apparently some of them had been giving financial support to the Judaizers instead of giving financial support to the true religious teachers. Paul in Galatians urges the Galatians to turn again to the true teachers in their midst and to resume their financial support of these leaders.
(2) The two reapings (6:7–9)
(Using our money aright, 6:6, is the occasion for the teaching given in 6:7–10)
(a) We will reap what we sow (6:7, 8)
1). If we sow with a view to the flesh, we shall of the flesh reap eternal death—If we, as a trend in life, use our time, our talents, and our resources to fulfil the desires of the flesh, the sin nature, we will reap eternal death (with fullness of punishment).
2). If we sow with a view to the Spirit, we shall of the Spirit reap eternal life—If we, as a trend in life, use our time, our talents, and our resources to fulfil the desires of the Spirit, we will reap eternal life (with fullness of reward).
Our destiny is determined by faith or lack of faith and not by our trend of life but our trend of life reveals our faith or lack of faith. See Rom. 8:13 for the same teaching as that of Gal. 6:8.
(b) We will certainly reap what we sow (6:7)
We can’t outwit God, change His immutable spiritual laws regarding reaping and sowing, and reap a harvest different from the seed sown. We can’t spend our lives sowing with a view to the flesh and reap the crop of everlasting life (with fullness of reward).
(c) We will eventually reap what we sow (6:9)
The reapings which come from sowing with a view to the flesh and sowing with a view to the Spirit are sure but both crops are fully reaped, not in this life, but in the life to come, so if the crop of sowing with a view to the Spirit, the crop of eternal life with fullness of reward, is to be reaped, we must exercise patience and not become weary in well-doing, “for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
c. We should do good to all men when we have the opportunity (6:10)
Since there is an eventual reaping for sowing with a view to the Spirit (an eventual reaping for doing good), we should, when we have opportunity do good to all men, especially to those who are of the household of faith (those who are members of the God family).
Roy Gingrich, Pastor
Faith Bible Church
Memphis, Tennessee[1]
[1] Gingrich, R. E. (2004). The Walk of a Christian (pp. 3–24). Memphis, TN: Riverside Printing.
Related Media
Related Sermons