Tuesday Night Bible Study
June 22, 2021
Zoom Conference Call # 1 646 558 8656,
Meeting ID: 804 615 8216, Passcode: 812594
" FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT SERIES”
Dr. James A. May, D. D., M.R.E., Th.M., – Facilitator
Lesson- 4 “The Substances of the Fruit Part 2”
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
In last week’s lesson we expounded on love, joy, and peace, three of the nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit. Love is the love which the Holy Spirit manifests in believers is called “agape.” This love is not a feeling, but a choice. It is the choice to be kind, to sacrifice, to consider another’s needs greater than one’s own (Philippians 2:3)..
Joy is the natural reaction to the work of God, whether promised or fulfilled. Joy expresses God’s kingdom—His influence on earth (Romans 14:17). It is the joy we sense from being made right with God, being in communion with him, and having the sure hope of heaven. This joy does not change with circumstance or the problems in our lives.
Possessing joy is a choice. We choose whether to value God’s presence, promises, and work in our lives. When we yield to the Spirit, He opens our eyes to God’s grace around us and fills us with joy (Romans 15:13). This type of Joy is not to be found in a fallen world; it is only fellowship with God that can make our joy complete (1 John 1:1-4).
Jesus is our peace (Ephesians 2:14-18; Isaiah 9:6). Jesus gives us His peace, a peace that the world cannot give (John 14:27), and the world cannot take away. The “Prince of Peace” came to this world not only to bring peace to a hostile world, He came to bring about a full and abiding relationship of restoration and love. The cost of this peace was His life (Isaiah 53:5).
Longsuffering, from the Greek word “makrothumia,” [makrothu-mi-a] means “long-tempered” or patient. Contrary to belief, a person who is long-suffering is not weak or meek. Instead, he/she is strong in character and bold in resisting rash reactions.
The word longsuffering throughout scripture has to do with God’s attitude toward the rebellious, wicked, unsaved people in this world. It is the willingness of the Lord to suffer long that made it possible for any of us to be saved. Longsuffering is the godly patience and mercy we need to show to others that mirrors as closely as possible the patience and mercy God shows to us. It is when we bear with others, put up with their mistakes and inconsiderate actions and truly forgive them for real or imagined offenses against us. It is enduring trials and waiting patiently and faithfully for God’s intervention.
Why does God want us to demonstrate longsuffering? As with all the other fruit of the Spirit, God wants us to be like Christ. God cares for all humanity; and He does it with tremendous compassion, mercy and longsuffering. Ephesians 4:2 NLT says “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” This verse connects longsuffering with patiently working with others even when it is not entirely pleasant for us.
Colossians 3:12-13, uses the same language, but adds another component. We’re told to put on “longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (emphasis added).
God is the source of longsuffering because it is part of His character (Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18–20; Psalm 86:15; Romans 2:4; 1 Peter 3:9; 2 Peter 3:15). He is patient with sinners. At the same time, God’s longsuffering can come to an end, as seen in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18—19).
The ultimate example of God’s longsuffering is His waiting for individuals to respond in faith to Jesus Christ. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). The love which the Holy Spirit manifests in believers is agape. This love is not a feeling, but a choice. It is the choice to be kind, to sacrifice, to consider another’s needs greater than one’s own (Philippians 2:3). Agape is used in all of the “hard” love verses in the New Testament.
Jesus Christ provided a powerful parable showing the fate of those who are not willing to be longsuffering with other human beings. It is found in Matthew 18:21-35 and is often called the parable of the unforgiving servant. After Christ told Peter that he must forgive 70 times seven, He began a story about a servant who owed an enormous debt to a great king. Christ made it clear that in order for God to show longsuffering and mercy to us, we must also be merciful and longsuffering to others. (Also see James 1:19; Proverbs 15:18; Proverbs 16:32; Titus 1:7).
Gentleness, also translated “meekness,” does not mean weakness. Rather, it involves humility and thankfulness toward God, and polite, restrained behavior toward others. The opposites of gentleness are anger, a desire for revenge, and self-glorification. Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit, but as a trait it is produced when a softened heart abides in Jesus. However, true gentleness also demands something on our parts; “intention.” By this, I mean being intentionally kind, compassionate, and humble towards others, especially when they are facing struggle or difficulty.
It’s easy to be gentle when we are around those who were care for, and who care about us in return. But to do the same for strangers, or people who hurt us? This is where gentleness is often confused with weakness. We fear appearing weak, fragile, or uncertain to others, and in so doing forget that maintaining a gentle attitude is a sure sign of strength.
Paul told the church of Corinth in 2 Corinthians 10:1, “Now I, Paul, appeal to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ—though I realize you think I am timid in person and bold only when I write from far away.” We shall be thankful eternally that God saw fit to deal with us softly, mildly, and sweetly when we were lost and deserving of wrath, damnation, and a quick trip to hell.
The Greek word translated “goodness,” agathosune, [ag-ath-o-soo'-nay] is defined as "uprightness of heart and life." Agathosune is goodness for the benefit of others, not goodness simply for the sake of being virtuous.
Being good does not mean doing the right thing. It does not mean not sinning. God is righteous. If He were righteous but not good, we would starve. If He were righteous but not good, we would die in our sins and go to hell. God is always right. He always does what is right. But God is also good. He acts properly, but He delights to do so. To never steal from a neighbor is righteousness. To help that neighbor with his chores, and enjoy doing so, is goodness.
Goodness is virtue and holiness in action. It results in a life characterized by deeds motivated by righteousness and a desire to be a blessing. It’s a moral characteristic of a Spirit-filled person. A person with “goodness” will selflessly act on behalf of others. Confronting someone about a sin demonstrates goodness. So do giving to the poor, providing for one’s children, visiting the sick, volunteering to clean up after a storm, and praying for an enemy. Expressions of goodness are as varied as the Spirit is creative. Goodness is not a quality we can manufacture on our own. James 1:17 NLT says, “Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”
Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit; it is the result of the Spirit working in us. Faithfulness comes from a place of trust and loyalty. It is in keeping what we are entrusted with; it is the conviction that the Scriptures accurately reflect reality. In other words, it is trusting in the reliability of God’s Word. Faithfulness is believing that God is Who He says He is and continuing in that belief despite the vagaries of life. Functionally, that means we trust what God says in the Bible, and not necessarily what the world or our own eyes tell us (2 Corinthians 5:7). It describes the character of those who will die for their confession of Christ (Rev 2:10; 3:14).
Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38; Habakkuk 2:4 say, “the just shall live by faith.” When we put our faith in Jesus Christ by believing the gospel, we are justified (declare righteous by God), and God gives us everlasting life. Once we are justified, we are to live by faith. We all have faith. We all believe someone or something. Jesus simply asks that we take our faith, our ability to trust, and place that confidence in God and His Word (see Mark 11:22; Romans 1:16).
Hebrews 11:1 KJV, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The NLT says, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” Our faith is not based on blind belief, gullibility, wishful thinking, science fiction or fairy tales. It is acting in full confidence that God would do as He had promised, based on the evidence provided in scripture.
Each fruit of the spirit represents Christ living inside of you (see Galatians 2:20). We cannot live out the fruit of the spirit on our own. When we make decisions to live out our lives with the fruit of the Spirit, we are allowing Christ to shine through with our behaviors or actions.
In Galatians 5:22-23, The ultimate example of God’s longsuffering is His waiting for individuals to respond in faith to Jesus Christ. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Gentleness, also translated “meekness,” does not mean weakness. Rather, it involves humility and thankfulness toward God, and polite, restrained behavior toward others.
Goodness is virtue and holiness in action. It results in a life characterized by deeds motivated by righteousness and a desire to be a blessing. It’s a moral characteristic of a Spirit-filled person.
Our faith is not based on blind belief, gullibility, wishful thinking, science fiction or fairy tales. It is acting in full confidence that God would do as He had promised, based on the evidence provided in scripture. Amen!