Summary: The Holy Spirit is at work producing fruit in the life of believers.
(NOTE: This series is based on the book Living in the Spirit by Dr. George Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God).
As we get to know the person, presence and power of the Holy Spirit there will be a natural by-product: fruit. What does that mean? Simply this: as you develop your relationship with God, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, there will be a marked change in your attitude toward everything.
The Holy Spirit’s power is more than just to enable us to do the supernatural. He empowers us for the journey from doing what pleases the flesh to what pleases God. This is not an easy journey but it is also not a lonely journey. We have been given the Holy Spirit and we have been given the church to help us develop into the person God intends.
Let’s read Galatians 5:22-25 together this morning (stand and let’s read it out loud – bulletin insert)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit…
The book of Galatians is an awesomely fascinating book authored by the Apostle Paul. He had travelled through the region of Galatia (present day Turkey) on all three of his missionary journeys. On those journeys through the area a church had been established.
Many of the early converts to Christianity in Galatia were Jews. They had experienced the freedom that comes through relationship with Christ. Unfortunately, their freedom was being challenged by a group of people we call Judaizers. They were teaching that before anyone could experience the “full blessings” of God one had to become a Jew (including circumcision) first and then become a Christian. The result of this teaching was a horrible church split along Jewish and Gentile lines. The church had become “ethnocentric” (focused on race/ethnicity) and not Christocentric (centered upon Christ).
Paul writes to this divided church to remind them of freedom in relationship with Christ that comes by grace and is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Paul is “astonished” by how quick they deserted the “grace of Christ” (Galatians 1:6). In the place of Christ they had accepted a false gospel and confusion was ruling the day (cf. 1:7-8). He is so angry about what has happened he writes these words…
If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! (1:9)
All of this turmoil was bringing this church into crisis and Paul knew that the only answer was to return to the freedom of Christ’s gospel.
• Paul spends two chapters talking about how the gospel is real/authentic – it truly brings salvation/freedom from sin. And it is available to all who will call on the Name of the Lord (not just the Jew).