Bible Study Notes:

Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Patience

Galatians 5:19-22

 

These notes are from a transcript of the postings during Bible Study on Thursday Nights at 9 PM Eastern Time US at Bible Study Chat at churchusa.com. You are welcome to join us!

Father God, we lift up your most Holy Name and praise you for all your wondrous works! Thank you for answering prayers! Thank you for hearing us! Father, we worship you in spirit and in truth. We exalt your Word above everything and anything man says or thinks.

We pray that you will cleanse our hearts and minds tonight Lord so that we can concentrate on you and what you have for us from your Word.

Lord we thank you that you have appointed teachers in the Church to help equip us for every good work in Christ Jesus. We thank you for eager learners and listening hearts. We thank you for caring and loving ministers, men and women, who exalt your Word and have compassionate hearts.

Holy Spirit we invite you to be our teacher. Implant the Word deeply into our hearts so that it can grow and bear fruit. In Jesus Name, AMEN

satan we come against all the schemes you are devising to bring discord here and cast them down in the Name of Jesus. We rebuke you and bind you and cast you out of this holy place in Jesus Name AMEN

How pleasant when the brethren dwell together in unity! Hello everyone. Welcome. We're starting on Galatians 5:22 - the Fruit of the Spirit.

Last time we were discussing the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21

vs.19-21 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Pretty nasty stuff, huh? Well the works or acts of the flesh are something that we willfully chose to do - they come from walking after the flesh not the spirit.

Notice that they include not only stuff we know is bad - immorality and witchcraft, hatred - but also sowing discord, creating divisions, starting arguments.

Somebody asked if Christians who did these things would be lost? In the context of the passage Paul has just spoken about living by the Spirit so we WON'T fulfill the desires of the flesh - and do any of these acts. It's up to God to determine who is lost or not. I would question whether someone who continually did these things was a Christian to begin with - "by their fruits you shall know them". But what our responsibility is - to look at ourselves and make sure we don't participate in those things anymore.

As far as a Christian and the works of the flesh are concerned, if you are aware of the problem and are working on it with the Lord, you are going in the right direction. It isn't easy to unlearn a lifetime of habits! Anger is especially hard to deal with.

I haven't actually practiced witchcraft, but I have studied the occult. If you have been involved in these things, you need to (1) ask Jesus to forgive you and (2) close access to satan from those things.

Psychics are the same thing as spirit mediums and they are forbidden in the Bible. They are NOT of God. God sometimes gives his people warnings about the future through his prophets, but He does NOT, I repeat NOT, work through psychics. The Bible says consulting psychics is wrong.

This is VERY important: If you have ever participated in the occult - witchcraft, psychics, tarot cards, ouija boards, any of that, you need to ask forgiveness first and then CLOSE the channel you've opened. Otherwise satan will oppress you through it.

If you have ever been involved in the occult, say this prayer: Father God I have sinned against you by trafficking in witchcraft, consulting psychics and other things. Please forgive me in Jesus Name.

Now say this: satan I bind you and rebuke you and close any channels that my disobedience to God may have opened. I confess in the name of Jesus that the devil has nothing in me. satan, be gone in Jesus Name. AMEN!

Praise the Lord forever! There's victory here in Jesus Name! I was oppressed of satan because of occult involvement, but got the victory by praying this prayer. Also you need to DESTROY any astrology books or anything like that you might have lying around. Get satan's influences out of your heart and out of your home.

OK, let's get on to the good part! The fruit of the Spirit! BUT - when this preoposition is used, it indicates a change is coming. Paul is comparing the works of the flesh, which we should NOT do, with the fruit of the Spirit.

22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Notice that we've been studying the actS of the flesh, plural - these are things we chose to do. The FRUIT (singular) of the Spirit is work that the Spirit does THROUGH us when we yield to Him.

Let's look at each fruit for a minute and meditate on what it means in our lives.

Love is agape - God's unconditional love for us

I Corinthians 13 tells us what this kind of love is like. In English we have one all purpose word for love, that we use for everything from "I love Pizza" to "I love God". But in koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament, there are actually THREE words for love. Does anyone know what they are?

The first kind of love is called eros, from which we get our word erotic. This love is 100% selfish, only concerned with self-gratification. Sounds a lot like our society today, doesn't it?

The second is phileo, which means brotherly love, a 50/50 proposition. You know, I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine? It's not totally selfish, but you are still looking out for your interests as well.

But the highest form of love, the God-kind of love, self-giving, sacrificial, 100% concerned with the welfare of others, is agape. Now in the KJV, agape is translated charity, which at least shows it's a different kind of love, but even charity has a bad ring to it any more.

I Corinthians 13 says that "Love is patient". Wow that's tough sometimes isn't it? Patience is a virtue we need to exercise when we don't want to the most! God, am I as patient as I could be?

"Love is kind". Sometimes in our rushed lives we forget to simply be kind. To share a smile, a word of encouragement. God do I remember to be kind always?

Anything the Bible (Jesus) asks us to do, He gives us the ability through the Holy Spirit to do it.

Love is not jealous, "it does not envy". Love rejoices when someone else gets blessed. Love doesn't want what his/her neighbor has. Love does not grumble because someone else has something nicer.

Love does not brag or "does not boast". Love does not try to be better than everyone else. Love does not look down on others.

Love "is not proud". When you truly love, you can't see yourselves as better than others because of social status or education.

Love "is not rude". It doesn't interrupt and call attention to itself. It is polite and tries to communicate in a pleasant way.

Love "is not self-seeking", it does not seek to call attention to itself. "It is not easily angered" and "keeps no record of wrongs". I'm so glad that when God forgives us, He casts our sins in the sea of forgetfulness to be remembered against us no more. Hallelujah - they are gone!

God, do I keep a record of those who wrong me? Do I keep bringing up past offenses to others? Or do I behave as You do, forgive and forget?

"Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth". God do I ever rejoice when bad things happen to someone who's wronged me? Do I ever stretch the truth the tiniest bit for my convenience?

Love "always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres".

You know, I've noticed a real spirit of despair among God's people today. They always seem to be at the point of giving up. If we really let the Spirit produce the fruit of agape in us - the agape that always hopes and always perseveres - wouldn't that defeat this despair?

Remember the purpose of this study is not to discourage anyone or bring anyone under condemnation, but to encourage and lift you up. Remember also that the Fruit of the Spirit is something that the Holy Spirit does in us as we yield to Him, we don't have to strive for it. But I believe that we DO need to long for it and desire it to come about.

It's a matter of filling your heart with His love through reading the Word, meditating on it, letting God's love fill you to overflowing - and then this agape will be automatically poured out to others. The Bible says, "for lack of knowledge my people perish". The Word is our most important treasure, we should glory in it!

"Love never fails." God's love never fails. Although we often fail God, He never fails us. He's always there waiting for us to look up, to go back where WE left Him. Then He will patiently take us by the hand and lead us forward into His love once again.

The next fruit of the Spirit is Joy (chara) the emotional excitement, gladness, delight over blessings received or expected.

When a person is born again, what rejoicing there is! It is a joyful occasion! The Bible says that even the angels in Heaven are rejoicing! When God answers prayer, what rejoicing there is!

Of course blessings are pleasant for us in the natural, but as God answers one prayer after another, then we build joy upon joy because we realize that God is faithful to keep his promises. Then we know the joy of ANTICIPATION, of expecting God to bless us!

And that's what this study is all about - not striving to do it ourselves, but letting the Holy Spirit do it through us! You know, this may sound odd, but I believe Christians don't relax nearly enough. I think we try way too hard - when if we'd just read the Word, trust God, and let Him fight our battles, we'd be a lot less stressed out.

Which brings us to Peace (eirene) the state of quietness, rest, repose, harmony, and security in the midst of turmoil, strife and temptation.

Jesus is our peace! He is the Prince of Peace! We can be in a state of quietness and repose because He is in control, He is on the throne. We don't have to worry or fret. Harmony - how we need harmony in our relationships, in our homes, while driving down the road, even! Lord grant us ever-increasing peace through the Holy Spirit. AMEN

When I became so ill with allergic reactions that I nearly died, when my body was so stressed out that I nearly had a complete breakdown, one thing the Lord taught me was to REST in Him! Despite my illness, despite fear and doubt, despite a horrible nervousness stemming from my poor condition, I learned to REST in Jesus' sweet peace.

The next fruit is Patience (makrothumia) long-suffering, endurance, to bear long with the frailties, offenses, injuries and provocation of others, without murmuring, repining or resentment.

We've already spoken of patience, because it is a characteristic of love. Here we see it in a different light - patience is really endurance when we feel like retaliating, going slow when we want to speed up, putting others needs before our own. Patience is marvelous. We usually look at it in a negative light, but what power it gives us over circumstances!

There will always be offenses that come against us, there will be those that injure us, intentionally or not, and others who deliberately provoke us to try to make us angry.

Do you know why we become angry? We usually blame it on the other person, "You make me so mad". But whose fault is it if WE lose control?

"In patience posses ye your souls" (Luke 21:19).

Colossians 1:10-12
"And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light."

We become angry when others don't meet OUR expectations of how they should behave. They have failed to do something, or say something in the way we expect. Patience says, "Well don't jump to conclusions, give them time, let them know what's on your mind" Anger says "That does it! I'm outta here!"

I can actually FEEL patience - it is like a soothing balm that pours over my spirit, cooling my anger, slowing me down, helping me to wait...curbing my impatience. I don't know how or why, but I can feel patience, just like I can feel peace and love. I guess they are both character traits AND emotions.

Patience is NOT a knee-jerk reaction, but a waiting upon God's will. Patience is a beautiful thing.

And the last part of the definition of patience - without murmuring, repining or resentment. This is where we have a choice.

I used to work at a job where everybody I worked with got in a "tizzy" about the least little thing. It was an atmosphere of murmuring, back biting, resentment, bitterness. And there was always something being stirred up! I was very young then, and didn't know better, so I participated in that junk. And then couldn't figure out why I hated my job!

But when I refrained from complaining, and started looking for blessings, when I refused to hold grudges and be bitter, when I quit bringing junk home in my head - it was like a new job!

Christians need to walk in the Spirit daily. There's a lost world out there that needs to know this - and how can they know unless we show them?

Father God, we thank you for the Word that has gone forth tonight! May it bring the fruit of the Spirit in to the lives of everyone who heard it. Help us learn how to be doers of the Word and not hearers only so we will not be deceived. In Jesus Name AMEN and AMEN

 

Remember, whenever God gives us a revelation, the devil tries to steal it from us. Guard your hearts and meditate on what you've learned!
And put it into practice!

 

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