1. The command came, "On your mark, get set," and then the pistol cracked and the race was on. A fine athlete sprang to the lead, and when the race was over he had broke the state record. Only a few other runners even finished the race. Many dropped out when they saw they could not win. As the field crew was bringing out the hurdles for the next race, one of the judges yelled, "Get those hurdles out of the way. This race is not over. Look!" And around the turn came a runner, panting, & staggering. The crowd stood in silent disbelief as he made his way over the last hundred yards, and literally fell across the finish line, grinding his face into the cinder track. One of the judges ran to the boy, turned him over on his back, took his handkerchief and wiped the blood from his face. "Son, why didn’t you drop out? What are you doing in the mile race anyway?" Between gasps, the boy explained that his school had a good miler who had gotten sick just a few days before. The coach had promised to have a man in every event, and so he had asked the boy to run the mile. "Well son, why didn’t you just drop out when you saw that you had lost?" The boy answered, "Judge, they didn’t send me here to quit. They didn’t send me here to win. They sent me here to run this mile, & I ran it!" (Carter, Following Jesus, p.119-120) 10
2. Far too many people stop doing what they know God put them here to do, long before they accomplish their task. All too often what should be a natural expression of the Spirit’s work in our lives is sadly missing. Many different studies that have compared the lives of Christians and those who don’t know the Lord have shown that there is relatively little difference. I believe it was Charles Colson who said there was a time when Christians told the world to stop sinning, tragically, now sometimes it’s the world telling the church to stop sinning. How sad!
3. ** Our lives as believers should be different because we have God living in us. The Holy Spirit is working in us to produce fruit. How can our lives not be changed? That’s a valid question. The fruit of the Spirit speaks of the outworking of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian.
4. Bill Hybels has written that ** One of the most common responses to the question of, "What trait in other people do you dislike the most?" is unfaithfulness. 3 When a person is a Christian they should demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in all ten of the areas mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. In other words, if you are a believer then you have the Holy Spirit inside of you working to produce the things we read about here. Let’s read about the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (NAS 95)
I. What Does It Mean to Be Faithful?
1. In Galatians 5:22, circle the word, "faithfulness," in verse 22. It’s actually the Greek word PISTIS, which in translated in a number of different ways in the New Testament, sometimes, "faith" at other times, "faithful" & at still other times, "faithfulness." In fact, three of the ways which the word is used are represented in the book of Galatians. I want to look at all three ways. This word can mean. . .