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Pastor's Sunday School Blog

Sunday School Lesson

“Once Works, Now Fruit”

May 6, 2018

Galatians 5:16-26

Pastor’s Notes (Some additional thoughts for your Sunday school lesson):

Just because you are a believer, doesn’t mean you don’t, at times, walk in the “flesh.” And just because you are an unbeliever, doesn’t mean you can’t emulate, to some degree, the fruits of the Spirit.

What began as a work of grace (salvation), continues as a work of grace (sanctification).

The flesh isolates you from the power of God; the Spirit conveys the power of God to the believer enabling him to do what he could not ordinarily do.

You don’t develop love, joy, peace, etc. … what you do is submit to the Holy Spirit Who will bear His fruit through your life.

Generally speaking, who you are is what you do…. What is on the inside will manifest itself outwardly. Whose you are should be evidenced by what you do.

If you are constantly, consistently living a life characterized by sin, the Scripture is clear as to your destination.

We struggle with failure when we operate in our own strength forgetting both our position in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

We walk by the Spirit, not by the flesh (Galatians 5:16-18).

We often tell people to change their actions, as if “they” can do something apart from Divine intervention; the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Behavior modification is what you do; real change is what the Holy Spirit does.

Be careful … As a child of God you have the presence of the Spirit; however, the power of the Spirit is a choice. You choose to walk in the flesh or in the Spirit. The word “walk,” means to order one’s steps or to follow someone’s lead.

Remember, you are not who you used to be, and therefore, should not live as you used to live. Prior to Christ you were in bondage to the flesh, but now you have been set free to live a life characterized by obedience to God.

IF you walk, are led, by the Spirit, He will not lead you to do those things in opposition to God. The Holy Spirit will not only direct you but He will empower you. There is no excuse for living out the works of the flesh.

Because of the constant conflict between the flesh (the old sin nature) and the Spirit (the new man) there will be times of failure; however, failure should not characterize our lives.

Verse 18 reminds the believer that are relationship with God is not by “works” but by grace.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “fall from grace?” (Galatians 5:4). Some use this passage to say that you can lose your salvation. The verse refers to those who began their journey by “grace through faith, not of works,” but after were attempting to gain God’s approval, and keep what God had given, through works/keeping the Law. For clarification see Galatians 3:3.

How to “walk in the Spirit” …

(1) Intimate and consistent fellowship with God … (2) Seek through prayer and Bible study the will of the Lord (3) Do what you know to do… obedience to the leading of the Spirit

We cast off the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).

As believers we should strive (that’s our part) to NOT yield to the desires of the flesh …

“sexual immorality” – all forms of illicit sexual relationships

“moral impurity” – moral sinfulness, sinful acts

“promiscuity” - willing sinfulness, shameless acts of sin

“idolatry” – false worship, worshipping false gods

“sorcery” – witchcraft, seeking spiritual powers through the use of drugs (the word for socery is “pharmakea” from which we derive our English word, pharmacy).

Moving from what are the “BIG SINS” Paul adds sins associated with relationships … Maybe we aren’t guilty of the “BIG SINS” but what about the relational sins of hatred, causing fights, jealousy, uncontrollable anger, selfish desires, division, clicks, and envy?

The final two sins in the list – drunkenness and habitual party lifestyle

Catch-all … and anything similar (just in case I forgot your favorite sin).

Please note … Paul is not saying a believer cannot commit any of the above, but that a believer’s life will not be characterized by any of the above. A person who practices, as a lifestyle, any of the above will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Yes, believers will, this side of heaven, struggle with sin; but someone who consistently commits such sins, absence of conviction and repentance is NOT SAVED.

We bear the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-26).

Paul moves from the “don’t” list to the “do” list.

Once again it is important to understand we are not told to do this on our own but by the power of the Holy Spirit Who indwells us.

When the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our lives He brings with Him Who He is: the fruit of the Spirit … when you get the Spirit you get all the He is.

When the Holy Spirit who lives in us, is leading in our lives, His fruit, will grow and be on display.

Our job is not to develop the fruit, but allow the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit.

When you see a person display the characteristics of Galatians 5:22-23, it is not because that individual is a super saint; no, it is because he or she is yielded to the Spirit of God.

You don’t do these things to be right with God, but because you are right with God.

The crucifixion of the flesh is a point in time commitment that is renewed daily. When I was saved, I was crucified with Christ, the power of the Old Man was put to death; however, I still struggle with the habits of sin and need daily to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in me.

I know I am being led by the Spirit when I don’t do what I should not, and do what I should.

No room for pride … I am not responsible for the good I do; it is the Holy Spirit Who gets the credit and God the glory.

Theological Theme: As believers crucify the flesh and walk in the power of the Spirit.

Christological/Christ Connection: To be crucified with Christ is to deny the fleshly desires and follow the leading of the Spirit.

Missional Application: Live in humility recognizing spiritual success as what God does for you through the Spirit, not what you do on your own.

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