Author Topic: SDA Sab Sch Lesson 7--1st Qtr 2017--The Holy Spirit and the Fruit of the Spirit  (Read 2150 times)

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Wally

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Lesson 7 February 11-17





The Holy Spirit and the Fruit of the Spirit



So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week's Study: John 15:1-11, Gal. 5:22, 1 Corinthians 13, Rom. 14:17, Eph. 5:9, Matt. 5:5.

Memory Text: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23.

The fruit of the Spirit is the true essence of the Christian life. While the apostle Paul lists nine different aspects of this fruit, it is nevertheless one fruit and has to be seen in its entirety. The fruit of the Spirit does not tell us what a person might be able to do for God through spiritual gifts and talents. Rather, it shows how the person lives for God. It tells who the person is. All the virtues that are listed in Galatians 5:22, 23 , NKJV are present in Jesus Christ. Hence the fruit of the Spirit is the life of Jesus Christ in us, made possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.

We need to make clear that all of the fruits of the Spirit in the life are the divine nature. When you truly have one in Christ, you will have all of them. If you lack one, you will truly lack all. His character is a divine unity. When we have not His Spirit in our hearts (see Romans 8:9: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."), we need to respond to His knock and voice (Revelation 3:20: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."), His invitation to repent and abide in Christ. If we sin, we separate from Christ and the fruits of the Spirit will not be in the life without one missing. We need Jesus continually to do any good thing!

The fruit of the Spirit is not something we achieve by purely human effort. It is possible to produce and display some of the same virtues through the exercise of our willpower. But that is not the same as what the Holy Spirit does in us. What we produce ourselves is like a wax fruit compared to the real. Wax fruits are artificial. From a distance they look just as beautiful, but the taste is immeasurably inferior to the real. Real fruit is not manufactured. It grows out of a relationship. When the Holy Spirit connects us with Jesus, through His Written Word, His characteristics begin to be revealed in our own lives.

We need Jesus to have the genuine fruits of the Spirit. Like an orange with nine sections, they all come together, and you cannot have a counterfeit if you truly have Christ abiding in the soul. That is why it would be well to spend a thoughtful hour each day contemplating the life of Christ--because by beholding Him, we will be changed, and He will reveal these precious fruits in our lives in ever-increasing abundance! We will know we have passed from death to life, from an unconverted state to conversion, when all of the fruits are in the life without one missing! This is incontrovertible evidence that Jesus lives--in us!!

Study this week's lesson to prepare for Sabbath, February 18.
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Amen. All of the virtues that are listed in Galatians 5:22 and 23 are present in the repentant sinner, not one is missing. Then who can be saved? All who will come to Jesus just as they are and accept His love into their hearts.

When we are fully surrendered to Jesus, then the Spirit indwells the heart and brings with Him each of the fruits. It may appear that the unrepentant sinner has one or more of the fruits, but as the author points out, they do not. They only come when the Spirit has possession of the heart.

When the Holy Spirit connects us with Jesus, through His Written Word, His characteristics begin to be revealed in our own lives.
When we are converted, born of the Spirit, we are connected with Christ, we are reconciled with Him. The Holy Spirit is Christ's representative that abides in the heart and takes possession of the mind. And, yes the character of Christ, the wedding garment, is imparted to the fully surrendered Christian. All of the fruits of the Spirit are revealed in the life, not one is missing. As Jesus said "You will know them by their fruits."

From Matthew

 7:16   Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 
 7:17   Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 
 7:18   A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 
 7:19   Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 
 7:20   Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 






Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Sunday February 12

The Condition of Fruitfulness


Read John 15:1-11, NKJV.

15:1   I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 
 15:2   Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 
 15:3   Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 
 15:4   Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 
 15:5   I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 
 15:6   If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned. 
 15:7   If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 
 15:8   Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 
 15:9   As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 
 15:10   If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. 
 15:11   These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full. 


Why can fruit come forth only out of a living relationship with Jesus, the vine? Why is abiding in Jesus so important? How do we abide in Him?

Jesus said it best in Matthew:

 7:16   Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 
 7:17   Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 
 7:18   A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 
 7:19   Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 
 7:20   Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 
 7:21   Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 


When we are fully surrendered to Jesus (converted), we will only bear good fruit, not one bit of bad fruit. This is a hard saying because so many have believed a lie. What is the fruit of conversion? It is what the Holy Spirit brings with Him when He takes possession of the heart. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. There is a radical transformation of nature when we abide in Jesus and He in us.

And, we do not believe in once saved always saved, or any form of it. When we allow our minds to wander away from Jesus, we end up just as did Peter when walking on water, we fall into the water. But, Jesus does not desert us. No, He will forgive our sin if we will call on Him. He stands at the door of the heart, knocking, wanting back in.


The first secret to genuine Christian fruit bearing is to abide in Christ. Apart from Christ, we cannot produce genuine spiritual fruit. The fruit of the Spirit is not imposed upon us from outside, but is the result of the life of Christ within us. In John 15:1-11, NKJV, Jesus tells us that fruit bearing is the result of the life of Christ, the vine, flowing through the branches of the believers. The growth of the fruit is God's work through Jesus Christ.

The responsibility of the believer is to abide in Christ. When Christ dwells in our thoughts, He will become visible in our actions. Jesus lives His life in us. The life Christ lived will be reproduced in us, in the sense that we will reflect His character.

The fruit of the Spirit is the character of Jesus, produced by the Holy Spirit in the followers of Christ. When Christ dwells in us, we will "walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." Gal. 5:16.

Amen!!  What a blessing to see this truth proclaimed in our lesson!!

In the words of Jesus: "Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Matt. 7:17. The good fruit is the natural product of our abiding relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. When we cooperate with the Spirit's inner promptings on our hearts, the fruit of the Spirit becomes evident in our lives. Our characters will be transformed to reflect the character of Jesus Christ in what we say and do and even think. The Holy Spirit will give us power to live victoriously and to develop the virtues that are characteristic of those who are God's children.

Amen!! This happens when we make a fully heart surrender to Jesus. The growth continues in that the fruits that are given at conversion become more abundant. That is to say, we become more patient (long-suffering). Each one of the fruits will become greater.

In 2 Timothy 3:5, the apostle Paul describes people are"having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." What is the difference between a religious life and a life that is filled with the Holy Spirit?

One professes to love God with the whole heart, the other does love God with all the heart, mind, soul, and strength. "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." Mark 12:29,30.

How can we know which kind of life we ourselves are living?

Are all of the fruits of the Spirit revealed in the life? If we kick the cat, then what does that say about the heart? If we lack one of the fruits of the Spirit, then what? What if we are walking after the flesh? Can we be walking in the flesh while we walk in the Spirit? Can we serve Satan and God at the same time? Can a fountain bring forth both fresh water and salt water at the same time?

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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I really appreciated Sunday's lesson. What a blessing to have the fruits of the Spirit dwelt upon as the revelation of Christ's character in us. All of them will be in the life of the converted Christian. My prayer is that we as a church will take this message to heart and live this out in the life by choosing to see our continual need of Jesus. And how will we have a strong connection with Him? I never tire of repeating this statement, because applying it in my life has so blessed me in beholding Jesus:

It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross.   {DA 83.4}

May you be blessed with a deeper experience with Jesus by His Spirit this week.
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Monday February 13

The Fruit of Love

Read Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith."
and 1 Corinthians 13:

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.


Why is love the first and foremost aspect of the fruit of the Spirit? How does love affect all the following aspects of this fruit?

"God is love" (1 John 4:16). If we do not have God in abiding in our hearts through His Spirit, "we are none of His" (Romans 8:9). We cannot originate this love, but if we would choose to behold God in Christ--to see His loveliness, then we will have His love abiding in us! That is why we understand: "It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross." {DA 83.4} Where can we better gain a picture of God's love than in Christ? What wondrous love is this! Sing it! Talk it! Pray it! Live it! What a privilege it is that we get to be with Jesus and realize that when we truly have His unselfish love in the heart, all of the other fruits will also be present, too! God's love is expressed in all of the fruits of the Spirit so that not one will be missing in the life that is yielded to Jesus!

Love appropriately leads and crowns the various characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit and permeates the whole fruit. In a sense all other qualities listed can be seen as aspects of love. Because God is love (1 John 4:8 ), the greatest Christian virtue is love (1 Cor. 13:13). God's love is the foundation and source of every other goodness. God's love is poured out to us within our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5). Love is the evidence that we are God's children.

Amen! But the heart must be fully surrendered for that love to take possession of our hearts. We are in continual need of Jesus to be able to reveal His love, and He will help the weakest of the weak to be made strong in His strength--to reveal His loveliness of character.

This love is far more than mere human affection. It cannot be produced by human effort. It comes as a result of abiding in Christ. Such love is generous and unmerited. It alone has the power to transform. In its tender yet strong nature, divine love leads the sinner to repentance and awakens the desire for something better. Love has the power to unite-even those who formerly were enemies (Luke 6:27, 28; Rom. 5:8 ). Thus, by our love for one another the world will know that Christians are indeed followers of Jesus Christ (John 13:35). This fruit of love will also lead Christians to manifest understanding and sensitivity toward others.

It is interesting that the master description of love in 1 Corinthians 13 comes right between chapters 12 and 14. Those two chapters deal with the gifts of the Spirit. Chapter 13, however, deals with love: the fruit of the Spirit. Even the superior gifts are nothing without love. The gifts of the Spirit without the fruit of the Spirit are powerless and do not produce the blessing that God intends. Love, however, is the glue that binds all other virtues of the fruit of the Spirit into a united whole and gives authenticity to everything we do.

Where does your life lack the quality of love? Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with love toward those people with whom you are dealing on a daily basis. Remember that God also loves us through other people. How can you show others love? How does love affect those other virtues mentioned in the fruit of the Spirit?

The lesson asks, "Where does your life lack the quality of love?" This is indeed a significant question--but one that in many ways reveals what many have been taught to believe--that it is possible to be a converted Christian and yet manifest a "lack." What did Jesus say to the rich young ruler?

"Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me." (Mark 10:21). This young man thought that he loved God and loved his neighbor--but there was an idol keeping him from that experience--his love of riches. This young man was in a Laodicean condition (feeling saved while being actually lost). He thought he was fine, but he was really lost. If we have a "lack" of love, this is really revealing that we lack Jesus' presence having complete control of the heart by the Spirit. He will not accept a divided service. We are either His fully, or not at all. If we have made a compromise so that we do not love God with the whole heart and our neighbor as ourselves, Jesus does not leave us to perish, but He knocks earnestly to come into the heart:

Revelation 3
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.


Only when Christ has our hearts completely will we be able to truly love. All we can do apart from Him will be tainted with selfishness and sin (an unconverted experience). Let us respond to Jesus continually!

The lesson invites us to ask the Holy Spirit to do something for us in regard to loving people--but if we would spend time with Jesus daily, and meditate upon Him, the Holy Spirit (who exalts Jesus) will fill us with that love for others! We can only show others love as we behold and imitate Jesus, who went about doing good, healing more than teaching, and continually pointing sin-sick souls to the grace that transforms sinners into saints!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Tuesday February 14

Joy, Peace, and Patience


Romans 14:17 reads: "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." That is, joy is love's reaction to the blessings of God and His great mercy and forgiveness.

Joy is an exhibition of God's Spirit, and cannot be separated from God's love. Like an orange with nine sections, all of the fruits come together. If we truly have one, we will have all of the fruits together!

Now, human joy often is focused upon earthly things and is affected by the conditions that surround us. The joy that is rooted in the fruit of the Spirit, however, focuses on God and what He has done for us. It is not motivated by surrounding conditions. As God's people, we are to be joyful. This does not mean that we have to smile all the time, even though a friendly smile expresses much. But our trust in God will give us abundant reasons to rejoice with unspeakable joy over what He has done for us and in us. Spiritual joy is the result of active faith.

Read John 14:27 along with Romans 14:17.

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
"For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Romans 14:17).


How is peace related to the work of the Holy Spirit?

Peace is another of the genuine fruits of the Spirit--and true peace only comes to the soul that is fully surrendered to God. It is sin that spoils our peace, and sin would separate us from God and from all of the fruits of the Spirit that He will fill us with at conversion.

Peace is more lasting than joy. Peace comes as a result of being justified by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1). When we are at peace with God, the Holy Spirit will lead us to be peaceful and patient toward others. Because the God of peace will be with us (Phil. 4:9) through the Holy Spirit, we will not be quarrelsome and vengeful toward others. Instead we will seek to live as peaceably as possible with everyone (Rom. 12:18).

Amen! Peace not only affects our lives, but transforms how we relate to others. With Jesus in heart, we will manifest His character to others. What a blessing He gives us through His Spirit!!

Read 2 Peter 3:9.
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."


How does patience reflect the character of God?

Patience is really "long-suffering"--and in the sense that God suffers long with our sin-sick world and gives us space to repent, His patience is everything to us in giving us the opportunity to experience salvation! "And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you" (2 Peter 3:15). We are in deep need of His abiding presence to reveal this to others. What a long-suffering God we serve!

Patience is not a prevalent characteristic of human beings. It means putting up with others or with circumstances, even when things do not run smoothly. Yet even in trials, we are not alone. God sustains us through His Holy Spirit and builds patience, which is a characteristic mark of the believers in the end time (Rev. 14:12). Only those who aim at a worthy goal can be patient.

Patience, or long-suffering, as a fruit of the Spirit, has been manifested in every truly converted Christian who abides in Jesus, as well as those in the end time. It is in trial that this characteristic allows God to be glorified in us in how we respond as would Christ:
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Romans 5
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost
which is given unto us.

Patience is not a part of unregenerate human nature--it is a manifestation of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). Each of us needs a living connection with Christ, else we will not reveal the graces that are the fruits of the Spirit.


Joy, peace, and patience. How much of this fruit do you experience in your life? In which of these areas do you need more work done in you?

All of these fruits will be in us if we are beholding the loveliness of Jesus and are truly converted by making a full-heart surrender to Him. But these fruits, all present with the other six fruits at conversion (love, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance) will continue to be more abundant. If we have the patience that can bear a small trail today by abiding in Christ, Jesus will allow us to experience greater trials so that we will be able to reveal His patience more abundantly (being able to endure a more intense trial). We will only manifest impatience, or a lack of any of these fruits, if we fail to trust and appropriate God's promise to us in our temptations: 1 Corinthians 10:13: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
Let us praise God He is developing in us richer clusters of these precious fruits if we will continue to abide in and behold Jesus!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

colporteur

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Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week's Study: John 15:1-11, Gal. 5:22, 1 Corinthians 13, Rom. 14:17, Eph. 5:9, Matt. 5:5.

Memory Text: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23.

In the quarterly the word phrase " self-control" in the NASB is alternated for "temperance." I don't know if in the Greek "self-control" is one of the definitions but the question in my mind arises... do they mean the same? We must have self-control to practice temperance but can one not have self-control and still be intemperate ? A person may have self-control when he says " I will drink 6 beers and two shots of vodka and stop there". If he does this he may have self- control since this what he planned to do but is that temperance ?  One can decide to drink no alcohol but to drink 6 highly caffeinated and sugared cans of Mellow Yellow a day or 10 cups of coffee. Self-control but is that temperance ?  While "temperance" may not mean health or diet exclusively ( could involve spending money) however it has a heavy connotation that direction. While "self- control" lends itself more to simply being able to follow what we mentally choose to do. I do not see the two as meaning the same thing.
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.

Richard Myers

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This is an interesting thought, cp, and an important one.

The fruits of the Spirit come when the Spirit indwells the heart. When this happens, one is said to be "born of the Spirit". See John chapter three. This is conversion. All of the fruits are in the life when one is fully surrendered to Jesus. Let's look at the importance of this as compared to keeping the commandments of God.

First, when one is converted, he may break the fourth commandment. Is this true?
 
But, not one of the fruits of the Spirit are missing. Is this true?

Before we can really understand the issue cp has put forth, we must agree to the above two statements and reason why there is a difference between keeping the commandments of God and revealing the fruits of the Spirit.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Wednesday February 15

Kindness, Goodness, and Faithfulness


Read 1 Corinthians 13:4 "Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up."

Why does genuine kindness have such positive appeal to other people? Where do you see God's kindness in His dealings with humanity?

We see God's kindness in sending Jesus to save us. Think of how it is described in Titus 3:4-7:
4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

God's kindness reveals His grace to us while we were yet sinners. When we have His kindness in us by the Spirit along with all of the other fruits of the Spirit, we will truly reveal His grace to those around us!


"Kindness" is the word frequently used in describing God's dealings with His people. Kindness also describes our dealings with others in their failures. God could be quite harsh in dealing with our faults. Yet, He treats us as a loving father would treat a learning child (Hos. 11:1-4). Perhaps nothing discredits our Christian testimony and ministry more frequently than unkindness. It does not cost money to be kind, but it can open the door to the heart of a person. No matter how firm we must be in reproof, we need not become unkind in our dealings with others, whatever their faults and issues. To reprove in kindness is perhaps the greatest sign of nobility of character.

Read Ephesians 5:9. "For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth." What accompanies goodness in this passage?

Goodness is accompanied by righteousness and truth. When God's goodness is in the life by the Holy Spirit (along with all of the fruits of the Spirit, for they are indivisible, a divine unity--if we truly have one, we have all; if we are missing one, we are missing the genuine, selfless manifestation of them all), we will also live a life in harmony with righteousness and truth, for righteousness is right doing, and the Holy Spirit is also called "the Spirit of truth" (John 16:13). Let us remember that God's goodness leads us to repentance, and He seeks to use us as His messengers to help others come to repentance!

Goodness is love in action. The goodness that grows as the fruit of the Spirit also includes works and acts of goodness. It is goodness shown to others in practical works of love. When the Holy Spirit lives in us, there will be a positive outflow of goodness to the people with whom we come in contact.

Read Galatians 5:22: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith." Why is it important to be trustworthy and faithful in our Christian walk with God?

If we are unfaithful, or we reveal a lack of faith, we sin against God. Sin separates us from God. "But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear." (Isaiah 59:2). We need to realize that "whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:23). How do we have faith? "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17). If we want to know what it means to have faith, we need to have a full-heart surrender to the word of God that comes by hearing. That is why we are changed by beholding, and that if we would but choose to spend that "thoughtful hour" with Jesus each day, our faith which works by love will be quickened, and we will have a deep infilling of His Spirit!

What is in view here is the faithfulness of character and conduct brought forth through the Holy Spirit. Faithfulness means trustworthiness or being reliable. Those who are faithful do what they promise to do. Faithfulness is also a characteristic of Jesus Christ, who is called "the faithful witness" (Rev. 1:5), and of God the Father, who keeps His promises and is faithful in what He does (1 Cor. 1:9, 10:13, 1 Thess. 5:24, 2 Thess. 3:3). In our faithfulness, we reflect the image of God in our lives. "It is not the great results we attain, but the motives from which we act, that weigh with God. He prizes goodness and faithfulness more than the greatness of the work accomplished." - Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 510, 511.

This Spirit of Prophecy statement is significant because it deals with motives. When we are fully surrendered to God, when we live by faith upon Jesus, He not only purifies the heart and mind by faith and makes us partakers of His divine nature, but that means that our motives are pure and holy as long as we are remaining connected to Christ in an abiding relationship with Him. While we will retain fallen flesh, this is to be continually kept under by the divine nature, even as Paul experienced true faith: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)! Let us realize our continual need of Jesus by the Holy Spirit! Only when we have Him in the life will all of the fruits of His Spirit be seen in the life without one missing! Let us behold all these fruits in the life of Jesus daily, and come to be more and more like Him, from "glory to glory" (2 Corinthians 3:18).
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Thursday February 16

Gentleness and Self-control


Read Galatians 5:23 and Matthew 5:5.

 5:23   Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 
 5:5   Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 

Why is meekness or gentleness so important for Christlike leadership?

Pride is the natural condition of the heart that has not been fully surrendered to Jesus. Meekness is the opposite of pride. It comes when one is converted because he has seen Jesus and has a proper standard to measure his own life by. This brings one to their knees. We have nothing to boast about. We are worms even when converted.

If we do not understand we are evil by nature, then we think we are just fine, when we are not. When we get an accurate view of self apart from Christ, then we cannot be proud. Then we are humbled in the dust.


Gentleness or meekness does not mean weakness. It is not cowardice or lack of leadership. On the contrary, Moses was called the meekest man on earth (Num. 12:3); yet, he was a powerful leader of God's people. Meek people are not boisterous, quarrelsome, or selfishly aggressive. Instead they serve in a gentle spirit. Meekness can be the outward expression of an inward faith and confidence, not in oneself of course but in the power of God, which works within us. Oftentimes, those who are loud, boisterous, and assertive are covering up insecurities and fears.

It is because they know not Jesus. The fruits of the Spirit are the character manifested by Christ. How could that be called weakness? It is the holding back of power that we see in the life of Christ. Mercy gives the sinner time to learn of God and to come to repentance. Christ never brings unnecessary pain to those who are trying to change.

The character of God has been maligned. It is our privilege to be His witnesses, to testify by our character that He is a God of unfathomable love and of great power.

Read Galatians 5:23 and Proverbs 16:32.

5:23   Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 
16:32   He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. 


What misery comes when we do not exercise self-control?

We misrepresent our Lord. We deny Him His reward for all He has suffered. And, we suffer great guilt because we have hurt others also. How many excuse a bad temper? How can they not know that they have brought reproach upon Christ and His Word when they call themselves Christian?


What blessings do we gain if we are self-controlled and temperate in our lives?

We cease hurting Christ, others, and self. When we are transformed into His image, then the world will know there is a God. "Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not [this] for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I [am] the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes." Ezekiel 36:22,23.


The last aspect of the fruit of the Spirit is temperance or self-control. Here is where we all need to be careful, for who doesn't struggle, in one area or another, with self-mastery? Before one can rule a city, a community, or a church, one has to be able to control his or her own spirit. True temperance is control not only over food and drink, but over every phase of life.

Amen. One cannot have temperance unless converted. One may drink alcohol when he does not know the truth, but he cannot be a drunk and be a Christian at heart.


All the above-mentioned aspects are part of the one fruit of the Spirit. When the Bible describes God's work in our lives, the ethical aspects of holiness have priority over the charismatic gifts. Christlikeness in all its facets is what really matters in the life of the believer. Because the fruit of the Spirit is the common distinguishing mark of all believers everywhere, it produces a visible unity in His church.

Amen! When one of the fruits is missing, then Christ is not in the heart. Thus, all of the fruits are not in the life. We cannot serve two masters. The fruits come with the Spirit when He takes possession of the heart.


Think about areas of your life in which you should be more self-controlled. Perhaps you are in one area but not so much in another? Why is it important to have, through the power of God, control over all areas? Bring your answer to class on Sabbath.

Because unless we have all the fruits, we are not converted. If we are missing one, the the others are not real.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Thursday February 16

Gentleness and Self-control



Christ never brings unnecessary pain to those who are trying to change.



This thought really spoke to me today. There are souls we may be working with that are struggling with temperance, and in mercy we deal patiently with them. We help them to see their continual need of Jesus, that they may have a thorough conversion. There are those who really want to change, but need to know the love of Christ so deeply that their experience testifies to the truth that they are coming to know as real. I am so thankful for the character of our God, and for how the fruits of the Spirit are are a revelation of His character.
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Friday February 17

Further Thought: "In modern language the passage in Galatians 5:22, 23 could read something like this: 'The Fruit of the Spirit is an affectionate, lovable disposition, a radiant spirit and a cheerful temper, a tranquil mind and a quiet manner, a forbearing patience in provoking circumstances and with trying people, a sympathetic insight and tactful helpfulness, generous judgment and a big-souled charity, loyalty and reliableness under all circumstances, humility that forgets self in the joy of others, in all things self-mastered and self-controlled, which is the final mark of perfecting. This is the kind of character that is the Fruit of the Spirit. Everything is in the word Fruit. It is not by striving, but by abiding; not by worrying, but by trusting; not of works, but of faith.' "-S. Chadwick, in Arthur Walkington Pink, The Holy Spirit (Bellingham, Wash.: Logos Bible Software, n.d.), chapter 30.

Yes, but as the author has pointed out previously, it is faith that works a transformation in character. Character is revealed in good works. The good works we are to look for are not the day that one keeps, nor the food he eats, but the fruits of the Spirit in the life. If one is fully surrendered, he is abiding in Christ and Christ through the Spirit in him. If the Spirit is abiding in him, then the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in the life, not one will be missing. These are the good works Jesus tells us by which we may judge ourselves and others.

"Matthew

 7:15   Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 
 7:16   Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 
 7:17   Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 
 7:18   A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 
 7:19   Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 
 7:20   Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 
 7:21   Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 


The faith that saves is a faith that trusts in God fully. And perfect love removes all fear. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." 1 John 4:18. 
There is a radical change when one is fully surrendered to Jesus.


"If the love of the truth is in your heart, you will talk of the truth. You will talk of the blessed hope that you have in Jesus. If you have love in your heart, you will seek to establish and build up your brother in the most holy faith. If a word is dropped that is detrimental to the character of your friend or brother, do not encourage this evil-speaking. It is the work of the enemy. Kindly remind the speaker that the Word of God forbids that kind of conversation." - Ellen G. White, Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 76.

Discussion Questions:

    In class, talk about the final question at the end of Thursday's study regarding the need for self-control. Why, if we are saved by grace, is victory over sin so important? After all, isn't the gospel about forgiveness of sin? At the same time, think of the character of Judas and what the sin of covetousness did to him. What can we learn from his example about the answer to the question about the need for victory? Also, how does what Ellen G. White says here help shed light on the question of the need for victory? "One wrong trait of character, one sinful desire cherished, will eventually neutralize all the power of the gospel." - Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 53.

    Why is the fruit of the Spirit more important than any gifts of the Spirit?

The fruit of the Spirit is the fruit of the Spirit abiding in the heart of the repentant sinner. One cannot enter heaven until his character is changed. We must have cleansed hearts in order to kind and loving. Otherwise what would heaven be like if I were there in my natural heart? God has promised there will be no more sin. Is this what we want? If not, then we have not yet been converted.


    Read aloud 1 Corinthians 13 in class and talk about what it means. Why does Paul put such a big emphasis on the need for love? How can we learn to love the way that Paul talks about showing love here? Why is death to self and abiding in Christ so crucial, especially in loving those whom we truly dislike?

How do we learn to love? We do not. It is the result of knowing the character of our God. "   We love him, because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19. We must be reconciled with Jesus before we can love God or others. We are evil by nature and must be born again of the Spirit. We must be transformed in character in order to love others with unselfish love.

Why is death to self so crucial? Because we are evil and are at enmity with God until self dies. We must have Jesus in order to do any good thing. "He that hath the Son hath life." If we do not have Jesus in the heart, then we are not converted and do not have eternal life, salvation.

The everlasting covenant reveals our need and the promise that God will give us a hatred for sin. We are not at enmity (variance, hatred) with sin and Satan. God's promise to give us this enmity is a conditional promise. What conditions must be met before we have this "enmity" towards sin and Satan?


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

colporteur

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Friday February 17

    Why is the fruit of the Spirit more important than any gifts of the Spirit?



Because the gift of the Spirit can be counterfeited. The fruit cannot be. At least it is more difficult to fake.
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Friday February 17


The everlasting covenant reveals our need and the promise that God will give us a hatred for sin. We are not at enmity (variance, hatred) with sin and Satan. God's promise to give us this enmity is a conditional promise. What conditions must be met before we have this "enmity" towards sin and Satan?


The conditions to be met before we can have this enmity towards sin and Satan are found clearly taught in the word of God. "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15). There are two conditions to this promise, one of which has been already fulfilled. The promise "it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" was fulfilled when Christ died upon the cross of Calvary. His self-sacrificing love revealed the evil character of Satan, ensuring his ultimate destruction (the bruising of the head), even though it was an excruciating experience for Jesus to endure, described as the bruising of the heel.

Yet there remains another part of this promise that you and I have a moment-by-moment need of having fulfilled in our lives: it is only by beholding that we become changed. We must continually look to Christ, the one who died for us, and in seeing His infinite love, His loveliness, be drawn to Him to renounce our sin. Only when we behold the loveliness of Jesus in all His glory AND SURRENDER OUR HEART FULLY can we truly come to hate sin and love righteousness, and then we will experience the part of the promise which says, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman" as we become part of the true Church, the woman whom Christ has called His bride, who accepts Jesus as her Head, and will turn from sin and love righteousness. I love Genesis 3:15! This promise is so rich, so full, and so gospel-centered.

Some may want to teach that by nature we have a hatred for sin and Satan somewhere lurking in our hearts before conversion...but that is error. What says the Scriptures? "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." (Romans 8:9). We have no hatred for sin by nature. The Holy Spirit knocks upon the heart until conversion. "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20). Then, when the soul fully surrenders to God, the repentant child of God becomes a new creature, and comes to hate sin because the heart and mind (made new by divine grace through the effectual working of the divine nature, as promised in 2 Peter 1:4) has Christ within by the Holy Spirit. All of the fruits will be in the life without one missing in this experience. The gospel is simple. We need Jesus. We can do no good thing apart from Him. Let us look and live!!!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Glen

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The good works we are to look for are not the day that one keeps, nor the food he eats, but the fruits of the Spirit in the life. If one is fully surrendered, he is abiding in Christ and Christ through the Spirit in him. If the Spirit is abiding in him, then the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in the life, not one will be missing. These are the dood works Jesus tells us by which we may judge ourselves and others.

Brother Richard, do you have a quote where Jesus tells us that it's only the fruits of the Spirit by which the people of God "may judge ourselves and others"?
...Jesus...will live through (YOU), giving (YOU) the inspiration of His sanctifying Spirit, imparting to (YOUR) soul a vital transfusion of Himself. Sabbath-School Worker 02-01-96.03  ...as the blood is in the body, and circulate there as a vitalizing power... 7T 189.02

Richard Myers

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Glen, I did not mean to say there is no other way to know our experience, but that we cannot judge one by the day he keeps. Most are ignorant of which day, and many of those who know which day, are deficient in how to keep the Sabbath Day. We cannot judge the heart, the motives, so it is not a good test of one's heart. But, the fruits of the Spirit are since they all come when one is converted, not one is missing.

Hope this sheds like on what I meant.  Thanks for asking, Glen.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Glen

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we cannot judge one by the day he keeps

I do understand that we cannot judge the motives of the heart. When the rich young ruler came to Jesus asking how to have eternal life, Christ referred him to the Ten Commandments. If a professed Believer in one of the fallen churches that still keeps Sunday, we may well judge that the Believer does not know God as it is his/her privilege to know Him. This "judgment" is not to condemn, but used a clue that the Believer may yet be led to understand the Lord's way more perfectly.
...Jesus...will live through (YOU), giving (YOU) the inspiration of His sanctifying Spirit, imparting to (YOUR) soul a vital transfusion of Himself. Sabbath-School Worker 02-01-96.03  ...as the blood is in the body, and circulate there as a vitalizing power... 7T 189.02

Richard Myers

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Amen, Glen. It is interesting to note that Jesus in pointing the rich young ruler to the commandments, did not leave him thinking he had kept them. He thought he was keeping them until Jesus gave him another command. "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me."  He did not love his neighbor as himself. His selfish love of riches was a defect, which, if not remedied, would debar him from heaven.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.