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Posts tagged ‘Epistle to the Galatians’

How to Bear the Fruit of the Spirit.

fruit on tree branch
(© Vaximilian | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images (

Jesus taught His disciples that fruitfulness was His purpose for them. He told them, “‘You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain'” (John 15:16, NASB). He also taught them that they could be fruitful only by learning to abide in Him.

The principle of abiding must be clearly understood so we avoid trying to bear fruit in our own strength. The Scriptures teach that these true Christian virtues are the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of human effort.

Many people today are attempting to produce the fruit of the Spirit through natural efforts and character-building. They exercise their wills to produce character through philosophy, education, ethics, anthropology, mental sciences or controlled environment. The results achieved from this human effort, though they may involve temporal good, are not the eternal fruitfulness that is produced by the work of the Holy Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit is the character of Christ produced by the Spirit of Christ in the believer’s life. The more completely one is filled with the Holy Spirit, the greater will be the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit in his life and work.

Only when a believer is full of the Holy Spirit, continually yielding to Him, can he exhibit the full fruition of Christian virtues. When Christ is formed in the believer through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, true Christlike character will be as natural a result as pears growing on a pear tree. It follows then that if one who professes to be a Christian is devoid of fruit, he obviously does not have the Spirit of Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is produced automatically when we are yielded to the Holy Spirit and are walking in obedience to Him.

When Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit in writing to the Galatians, he is restating the Sermon on the Mount. This description is the ideal Christian life presented in concentrated expression.

Paul’s love chapter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13) is the summary of his list of the fruit of the Spirit. He is teaching the very same principle of Christian life when he writes to the Philippians: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (Phil. 4:8). Any concept of Christianity that does not have as its basis the character of the fruit of the Spirit is a false teaching of Christianity.

The Scriptures clearly teach that natural man cannot hope to develop godly character without the work of the Holy Spirit in his life. Paul describes the striking contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit:

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).

Spirit-filled men and women can be distinguished by their fruit in the same way that a carnal person can be identified by fleshly works. If we are abiding in Christ, the fruit of the Spirit will be manifest in our lives; it cannot be hidden. So, also, are the works of the flesh manifest in one who is not abiding in Christ.

A carnal person is one who is not governed by the indwelling Spirit of God. This egocentric, self-centered life manifests the works of the flesh, while a Christ-centered life manifests the fruit of the Spirit.

The great struggle within each believer is the struggle between self and Christ. If self wins, it becomes the central force of life, causing a person to be completely self-centered. Every descriptive characteristic of a self-centered person starts with the word “self”: selfish, self-pitying, self-glorying, perhaps even self-hating. The list of “self” words seems unending.

If Christ wins this battle against our self-life, He becomes the center of our personalities, and we become Christ-centered. The happy consequence of a Christ-centered life is the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit.

The principle of fruit-bearing is a “life-principle.” Life develops from a life-source; it cannot be manufactured. Fruit is not made; it grows as the requirements of the life-principle are met. In contrast, the works of the flesh are described in the Scriptures as a negative result of human effort without the Holy Spirit.

The Scriptures clearly teach the life-principle involved in bearing fruit. The flesh can produce nothing but evil works, while the Holy Spirit produces Christ-life fruit. The former requires self-effort and results in death; the latter requires obedience to the Holy Spirit and produces life and peace.


Dr. Fuchsia Pickett ministered for over 50 years. She was an author, well-known Bible teacher and considered a mother in the faith in the charismatic movement. She passed away in 2004.

Liberty From Sin, Not Liberty to Sin.

Michael Brown
Michael Brown

Jesus came to set us free! This is one of the fundamental truths of the gospel, repeated over and over again in the New Testament. As expressed by Paul, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5:1, NIV). In the words of Jesus himself, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

But what kind of freedom do we have in the Lord? The New Testament speaks of different aspects to our liberty. For example,

  • We have been released from serving God through an external legal system “so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code” (Rom. 7:6).
  • We have been delivered from slavery to Satan and the fear of death (Heb. 2:15).
  • We have been set free from condemnation and guilt (Rom. 8:1-4).

In Jesus, we are no longer prisoners, and when the Lord announced His mission in what is often called His “platform speech” in Nazareth, He declared that God had sent Him “to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed (Luke 4:18).”

And since the ultimate bondage is bondage to sin, the ultimate freedom is freedom from sin. Jesus brings us into liberty, but it is a liberty that can be misunderstood or abused.

When Paul wrote to the Galatians, he was very concerned because they had fallen into a Jewish-based legalism that taught these Gentile believers that unless they observed the Law of Moses and were circumcised, they could not be saved. Paul confronted this error head-on, emphasizing the freedom they had in Jesus.

But it was a freedom that could be abused, and Paul confronted this dangerous error as well: “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature [the flesh]; rather, serve one another in love” (Gal. 5:13; see also the warning in 5:19-5:21).

In similar fashion (but in a very different context), Peter wrote, “Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God” (1 Pet 2:16; see also the warning in 2:11).

Paul explained this in Romans 6:18-22: “You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. … But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”

All this is quite clear and, for the most part, totally obvious. Yet in recent years, a very strange message has been gaining momentum, one that virtually states that Jesus has set us free to sin rather than fromsin.

Of course, believers who embrace this concept don’t flatly say that the Lord has set them free to sin, but they say everything other than that.

For example, a friend tells you excitedly about a movie he just saw, one which is laced with profanity, nudity and sexual scenes. You say to your friend in surprise, “But I hear that’s a really filthy movie. Why in the world did you see it?” He replies, “I’m free in the Lord, man. You’re not going to put me under some old legal system. I’ve been liberated from that kind of bondage.” What a bizarre concept!

When you are liberated from prison, you don’t go back to live in your prison cell. When the shackles are taken off of your wrists, you don’t put them back on. Why would you? What kind of liberty is that? And who would ever think of saying, “Hey man, I’m free! If I want to put the shackles back on, that’s my right.”

Only a demented person says to the doctors who pumped her stomach after a massive drug overdose, sparing her life, “Thanks so much! You pumped my stomach and saved my life so I can overdose again.”

Sin is our mortal enemy, and there is nothing good in sin, only evil and death and deception and bondage. And sin is so ugly that it cost Jesus His very blood.

Why in the world would we want to indulge in the very thing from which Jesus delivered us? It not only makes no sense, it also undermines a foundational truth of the gospel, namely that Jesus sets us free from both the penalty of sin and the power of sin. We really have been liberated!

How odd it is that many believers today boast of their freedom in Jesus as if it provided a license to sin, the very thing Paul warned the Galatians about.

I would recommend that the next time someone abuses the concept of liberty in Jesus and liberty in the Spirit (see 2 Cor 3:17), throwing around the “I’m free” line, just ask them: Then why are you making yourself a slave again? If He cleansed you, why are making yourself dirty again?

Jesus died to give you a brand new nature, not a license to indulge the old nature that brings only destruction and death.

It’s really pretty simple, isn’t it?


Michael Brown is the author of The Real Kosher Jesus and the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire on the Salem Radio Network. He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or@drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

Confident Dependence.

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
John 15:5

Recommended Reading
Philippians 4:13  ( )

Part of every parent’s task is finding the balance between letting a young child struggle to accomplish a task — tying a shoe, unscrewing a jar lid, putting together a new toy — versus stepping in to do the task for the child. Children learn there are some things that simply cannot be done by themselves.

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It is God‘s design that we learn to be totally dependent on His power in us. Unlike children, who eventually grow up to accomplish life’s tasks on their own, Christians remain dependent on God for all their lives.

But wait — don’t we make our way through the day on our own? So what is it that we are so dependent on God for? Christlikeness.

There is nothing in our human ability that allows us to bear the fruit of Christlikeness. That fruit — the character of Christ outlined in part by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23 — can only be borne in us by the Holy Spirit.

The Christian life is a fine-line balance between confidence and dependence. When we realize that our confidence is in Christ alone, confidence and dependence become one and the same. Confess your confident dependence on Him today.

The Christian should resemble a fruit tree, not a Christmas tree!
John R. W. Stott

Deuteronomy 1-2

By David Jeremiah.

Ripple Effect.

For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God.
2 Corinthians 9:12

Recommended Reading
Galatians 6:7  ( )

The next time you slice a tomato for a salad or sandwich, pay particular attention to the tiny seeds. There are scores, if not hundreds, of seeds in a single tomato. And the tomato you are slicing is only one of dozens that came from a single tomato plant — which grew from a single tomato seed. It’s a perfect example of the ripple effect so prevalent in the kingdom of God.

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It can be discouraging when we compare our individual abilities to the needs in the world. Yet the same multiplier effect that causes one tomato seed to produce thousands more is at work in our individual lives.

Only heaven will reveal the impact of your gifts and good works.

Paul told the Corinthians that their gifts to the suffering Jerusalem church would not only meet those Christians‘ needs, but would “[abound] through many thanksgivings to God.”

That is, a single gift will bring praise to God in multiple ways we can never anticipate.

As you invest your time, talent, and treasure for the glory of God, do so with anticipation. One day you will learn how God used you as a blessing to others — a ripple effect throughout eternity.

Sow holiness and reap happiness.
George Swinnock

Leviticus 26-27

By David Jeremiah.

Lessons of the 13s for 2013: Demonstrate Love in 2013 (1 Corinthians 13).

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Recommended Reading
Galatians 5:6 ( )

Do you have ministry plans for 2013? Perhaps you have an assignment to teach a Sunday school class, lead a Bible study, or head up a committee in your church. Or perhaps you sing in the choir or participate in a worship team. Or maybe your ministry is one of hospitality to those in your neighborhood, or caring for the less fortunate or homeless in an inner city or urban setting.

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The apostle Paul described three kinds of ministries in 1 Corinthians 13 before issuing a qualifier for each.

He wrote of using the gift of tongues, of speaking forth with the gift of prophecy, and caring for the poor through a ministry of benevolence (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

In each case, he said, those ministries count for nothing unless they are enveloped by the love of Christ.

Ministries of service and leadership and caring benefit neither the giver nor the receiver if they are not carried out with  agape,  the God-kind of love — sacrificial, uncaused, and unconditional.

Ask God to fill you with His kind of love every day in 2013 — the kind of love that will ensure people know your service is from Christ Himself.

It is possible to be so active in the service of Christ as to forget to love Him.
P. T. Forsyth

Exodus 35-40.

By David Jeremiah.

Covenant Blood.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. Galatians 2:20

Both parties of the covenant cut their right hands and mingled their blood, symbolizing they were now one person with a new nature.

Jesus Christ is at God‘s right hand (Ephesians 1:20), and His precious blood is the only blood shed for this new covenant. His pure blood replaced our polluted stream. God’s own arm brought salvation (Isaiah 63:5).

To be crucified with Christ is to die to the old self. The old life is drained from me, and His pure blood fills me with new life. “And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross—not by water only, but by water and blood (1 John 5:6 nlt).

When we enter God’s covenant, we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We receive His laws written on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10). We die to all self-centeredness and self-seeking. Everything we do—our attitudes, our motives, our every action—we surrender to the God of the covenant.

Declare with confidence today, “Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20). Receive a new heart from the Lord (Ezekiel 36:26).

Lord God, change my heart of stone into a new
|heart of flesh. Replace my hardness with a
tenderness toward You. Fill my heart with
Your living waters so that life
flows through me. Amen.


Lessons of the 13s for 2013: Be a Servant in 2013 (John 13).

If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
John 13:14

Recommended Reading
Galatians 5:13 ( )

Historically, the Protestant Christian Church has embraced two “sacraments” or observances — Communion (the Lord’s Table) and baptism. A small number of Protestant Christians embrace a third — foot washing. Their basis for doing so is found in John 13:14 — Jesus’ admonition to His disciples to wash one another’s feet after He had washed theirs.

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Whether Jesus’ words are to be taken literally or figuratively (foot washing being an example of the kinds of service and humility that should characterize Jesus’ followers), what Jesus did demonstrated the purpose for His coming into the world: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” (Mark 10:45).

Jesus demonstrated His service to mankind not only by washing His disciples’ feet and healing the diseases of the lowliest members of society but by dying on a cross for the sins of the world. Except for dying for the world’s sins, we have been called to serve others just as Jesus did, demonstrating God’s love.

Consider 2013 a year of service in which you become the hands and heart of Jesus by meeting needs He would meet.

The highest honor in the church is not government but service.
John Calvin

Exodus 11-16

By David Jeremiah.

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