Body: Read Galatians 5:22-26 I. Traveling with the Spirit. Paul talks about believers having the fruit of the Spirit in this section of the Sunday School material. Believers have crucified their sinful natures. Keeping in step with the Spirit, instead of sin, is urged.
Applications – - Fruit of the Spirit. Notice in vss. 22-23 of the Sunday School material the fruit of the Spirit. The commentator for the Standard Lesson Commentary does a great job of discussing the nine things believers should be known for.
He even talks about the nine items being divided into three categories. Love, joy, and peace are said to be concerned with the inner attitudes. Patience, kindness, and goodness describe how we should relate to others.
And faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control relate to how we should demonstrate our trust in God. Instead of arguing about there being one fruit with nine dimensions, instead of there being nine different fruits, our energy is better spent on making sure that we are not Christians in name only.
There should be some positive outgrowth of our being Christians. None of us are perfect in all areas, but there should be some positive growth in all of our lives. Let’s work on letting God produce the fruit of the Spirit in and through our lives.
- Walking in the Spirit, instead of sin. Notice in vss. 24-26 that keeping in step with the Spirit is urged over and beyond sinful attitudes.
On one hand, even those who are genuinely saved can be guilty of sinful attitudes. Pretending that we are more than we are, instigating conflict, and wanting what others have are all sinful possibilities that we should strive to avoid.
On the other hand, if we work at it, we can keep in step with the Spirit. Prayerful Bible study and obedience with the support of other believers will help us walk in the Spirit. Let’s work on walking in the Spirit, instead of waddling in sinful attitudes.
Read Galatians 6:1-5 II. Restoring in the Spirit. In this section of the Sunday School material Paul urges the strong to help restore those who are weak and fallen in sin. He challenges his readers to stay away from thinking they are something, when they are nothing. The carrying of one’s own load is encouraged.
Applications – - Dealing with the fallen. Notice in vss. 1-2 of the Sunday School material that those who are strong are to give effort to restoring those who have fallen into sin.
First, saved people can fall into sin. In other words, all who have fallen into sin are not unsaved. Second, those who are strong in the Lord are to help restore the saved people who have fallen into sin.
There are too many who condemn and talk about those who have fallen, instead of helping to get the fallen person back to walking in the Spirit.
Third, notice that the strong must minister to the weak with the right spirit or attitude – gentleness or meekness (i.e., a part of the fruit of the Spirit). There are too many who mean well and are even saying the right things, but the spirit or attitude is not right.
Let’s work on dealing with sin with the right attitude. Church should be a hospital, where weak and sinful people get restored. It should not be a place where the weak are slaughtered without any hope of restoration.
- Focusing on God’s will, instead of pride. Notice in vss. 3-5 the idea of avoiding pride that is based on doing better than others. Instead, believers are urged to bear their own burden of living up to God’s expectations.
The repeated mention of pride, thinking of one’s self as being something, and being conceited should sound an alarm. As was the case in the Galatian church, we are subject to get the “big head,” especially when we compare ourselves to weak sinful believers.
Instead of being prideful because of our doing better than our peers, we should spend our energy focused on carrying our burden and living up to God’s will for our lives.
At the core of God’s will is for us to obediently love Him and others, as we love ourselves. Let’s work on living up to God’s will, instead of being proud of doing better than our peers.
Read Galatians 6:6-10 III. Harvesting from the Spirit. In this section of the Sunday School material Paul talks about being a blessing to those who are teaching you. One should expect to reap what one has sown. The readers are urged to be good to people, starting with their church family.
Applications – - Blessing our teachers. Notice in vs. 6 of the Sunday School material the idea of blessing those who help you understand and live by God’s word.
Obviously, if your Pastor is laboring in the ministries of teaching, preaching, and training, you ought to support him or her. Generous compensation, anniversaries, and gifts for special days should not be strange.
However, this is a good idea to keep in mind for the lay teachers in the church as well. If your Sunday School or Bible Study teacher is doing a good job then you ought to bless them as well (e.g., birthday and Christmas gifts, notes of appreciation, etc.). Let’s bless those who bless us.
- Sowing good works. Notice in vss. 7-10 the idea of being good to people, especially those in our church family. I often say that “membership has its privileges.” It would be great if we could help everybody.
However, before we run out of energy and resources (i.e., compassion fatigue), we should strive to meet the needs of the active members of our church.
A great motivation for faithfully striving to meet the needs of others is that God will see to it that we reap what we have sown. Let’s work on sowing seeds of faithful service in our church family and beyond.
Conclusion: Let’s work on living according to God’s will with a high emphasis on blessing others. God has much for those who obey His will.
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