Lesson 13 Winter Quarter
Lesson Text: Galatians 5:18-6:10
Golden Text: Galatians 5:22-23
This is our last lesson of the winter quarter! We have come a long way, haven’t we? We have come from the birth of Christ to learning about the blessings we have received because Christ gave His life. Because of Christ, we now live under grace and in His grace, we saw last week that we must continue to grow in our faith. Growing in our faith not only helps us but it helps all of those around us as well.
Bearing Good Spiritual Fruit
Our lesson essentially opens on that very note about bearing good fruit. Though, we will see Paul speaking to the Galatians about the works of the flesh first, and there is a very important reason as to why Paul is speaking about works of the flesh (vss.19-21). You see, in the opening verse of our lesson, Paul tells us that we are led by the Spirit (v.18). This is a callback to our lesson – Blessing of Liberty in Christ – where Paul encouraged the Galatians to walk in the Spirit so that they do not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Works of the flesh and fruit of the Spirit
Let us consider this: what happens to one that fulfills the lust of the flesh? Well, one that is busy fulfilling the lust of the flesh is not one that is living righteously; they are living wickedly, right? As we know, the wicked will not have a place in the heavenly kingdom of the Lord.
As I mentioned with Peter last week, Paul’s eyes were heaven focused. So, his desire was to encourage the Galatians to live in a manner that would result in one entering the heavenly kingdom.
So, one that is led by the Spirit is going to bear fruit of the Spirit. These are the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (vss.22-23). You know that you are being led by the Spirit when your actions are filled with love, joy, peace, and patience.
Something that we discussed in that lesson about the liberty we have in Christ is the difficulty that many of us face in allowing the Spirit to guide us. Why the difficulty? Because there are two contrary natures that dwell within us as believers.
We have a nature that is of the Spirit and then we have a nature that we often refer to as our old man. Our old nature is a nature of disobedience that went against the Lord. As much as we may desire to be led by the Spirit, our old man has a nasty habit of raising up and trying to take the reins again.
So, as believers, Paul tells us that we have to cut off – sacrifice – our old man so that we can bear the fruit of the Spirit. There are some believers that believe they can live by their old nature and still bear the fruit of the Spirit. Yet, Jesus said that no such thing is possible. Let us recall that Jesus said that nobody can serve two masters because they will eventually love one and hate the other (Matt. 6:24).
So, there is a choice that we have to make: do we want the Spirit to guide us or to let our flesh (lusts and temptation) have rule over us. Paul, again, encouraged the Galatians to allow the Spirit to lead them and walk in the Spirit (v.25). We should never revert to the way of our old nature.
Being humble in our faith
Adding on to that note, Paul makes one more very important statement about walking in the faith and this is one I talk to a great deal. Paul states, “let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another (v.26).”
Conceitedness and envy is something that I have taught and preached about in the past. Why? Because the actions spoken here are not actions that are of the Spirit. Yet, many believers easily fall into envying what others have. To envy what others have shows a lack of thanks for what the Lord has given to us. At the same time, envy leads to jealousy, and jealousy can lead to anger and hate.
As James said, wrath cannot produce the righteousness of the Lord. Therefore, envy cannot produce the righteousness of the Lord. So, there is a really good reason why Paul tells us not to envy one another.
Conceitedness is also something else that many believers can fall into. To be conceited means that one thinks very highly of themselves. Those that think so highly of themselves struggle with humility. With no humility, how could this person ever help those in need? You see, conceited people struggle with compassion and that should not be the case for a child of God.
So, conceitedness is something that we must fight hard against. Why? Because we have been commissioned by Christ to bear much good fruit (Matt. 28:19-20; John 15:8). So, envy and conceitedness would hinder us greatly in bearing good fruit because it would be hindering us in truly walking in the Spirit. Very important statement that Paul made here to us and the Galatian believer.
The love of helping
As we move into the next chapter of our lesson this week, we will see Paul encouraging the Galatians in doing good. Again, doing what is holy and righteous – what is good – should always be the desire of the believer.
First, Paul starts off with when we see one that is overtaken in trespasses. Paul writes that those who are spiritual should restore one in a spirit of gentleness (v.1). This, to me, reminds me of the compassion of our great high priest, Jesus Christ. As our great high priest, Jesus is sympathetic to what we go through, even when we are tempted and error. The Lord does not look down on us in our sin; He desires for us to confess our sins in order to forgive us our sins.
Remember what I just said moments ago about humility and conceitedness. When our brothers and sisters in Christ stumble, we should not take that moment to talk down to them about their fall and error. As you often hear me say, rather than tearing down, we should be edifying and uplifting others!
Paul called for the Galatians to, “bear one another’s burdens (v.2).” As I said before, it takes a humble person to help others; the conceited person could not do such a thing. In fact, take a look at what Paul said in the next couple of verses and he is speaking of those that think highly of themselves (v.3). We should certainly help bear others’ burdens and uplift them from their error but the conceited person would never give a helping hand.
Paul speaks of the great joy one would have when they choose humility and help bear other’s load rather than just bearing their own load (vss.4-5). James wrote that if we turn our brothers and sisters back from wandering from the truth, and turn a sinner from the error of their ways, we would save a soul and cover a multitude of sin (Jas. 5:19-20). Again, there is much greater joy when you help others compared to the ‘happiness’ in being selfish.
On this same note, Paul says, “let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches (v.6).” You know what this speaks to? It speaks of envy and jealousy. In the congregation, don’t ever envy or be jealous of the gifts of others; share in with their gift and rejoice.
Don’t grow weary doing good
Our lesson closes out on a note that is summed up with a familiar saying – “you reap what you sow” (vss.7-8). The desire for the believer is to be rewarded for our faith. Again, you should desire to enter into God’s heavenly kingdom where we will receive the crown of life.
The problem that many believers face today is growing weary (tired) in doing good. You see, some of us grow tired of trying to help those who wouldn’t help us, right? Some of us grow tired of feeling like we have to help those who do not like us or, for that matter, hate us. Trust me when I say that I understand this feeling.
However, our calling to love our neighbor as we love ourselves is a far higher calling than simply just being selfish. So, we should not sow to the flesh because that is what we will reap as a reward. Secondly, we should not lose heart in the holy and righteous work of doing good. Again, the work of sowing good fruit will lead to us reaping what is good.