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Summary: In response to the grace of God in our lives, God wants us to live a life of freedom, love for others, and walking in the Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

GREAT GRACE & FREEDOM #9: THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

INTRO TO SPEAKER: Story of my fixing of the leak under the kitchen sink. Third attempt!

ILLUSTRATION: A man applied for a job as a handyman. The prospective employer asked, "Can you do carpentry?" The man said, “No.” "How about bricklaying?" Again the man answered, "No." The employer asked, "Well, what about electrical work?" The man said "No, I don't know anything about that either." Finally the employer said, "Well, tell me then what is handy about you?" The man replied, "I live just around the corner."

OPENING TEXT: “Joseph is a fruitful tree, a fruitful tree beside a fountain. His branches reach over the wall.” (Gen. 49:22, NLT). This is what God wants for our lives and our church!

THE BIG IDEA: In response to the grace of God in our lives, God wants us to live a life of freedom, love for others, and walking in the Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit.

1. LIVE A LIFE OF FREEDOM IN GRACE: (Galatians 5:1-6, NLT).

“So Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law.” (Gal. 5:1).

• It’s all about Jesus – He set us free! The closer we get to Jesus, the further away from sin.

2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ cannot help you. 3 I'll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey all of the regulations in the whole law of Moses. 4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God's grace.

• We can’t be made right with God by trying to keep the law.

• Christianity isn’t about legalistically following a bunch of rules!

5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive everything promised to us who are right with God through faith. 6 For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, it makes no difference to God whether we are circumcised or not circumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.

• God wants us to live by the Spirit and be made right with God through faith.

• How do we know if we have faith? We walk in love – loving God and loving people!

• John wrote: “If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to eternal life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another Christian is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don't have eternal life within them.” (1 John 3:14-15).

• This is true freedom – serving one another in love! Love, acceptance and forgiveness.

“7 You were getting along so well. Who has interfered with you to hold you back from following the truth? 8 It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. 9 But it takes only one wrong person among you to infect all the others – a little yeast spreads quickly through the whole batch of dough! 10 I am trusting the Lord to bring you back to believing as I do about these things. God will judge that person, whoever it is, who has been troubling and confusing you.” (Gal. 5:7-10).

• The false teachers were affecting the whole church, but Paul said God will judge them!

2. LIVE A LIFE OF LOVE FOR OTHERS: (Gal. 5:13-15, NLT).

“13 For you have been called to live in freedom -- not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 15 But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.”

• The essence of the Christian life – walking in love. Love = summary of the whole law!

• Jesus said: “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35, NKJV). And: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.” (John 15:13, NKJV).

3. LIVE A LIFE WALKING IN THE SPIRIT: (Gal. 5:16-26, NLT).

a) THE BATTLE:

16 So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. 18 But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.

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