Galatians 5:22a

Sunday Evening Bible Study

June 9, 1996


Paul is writing to a group of churches which have been infected with a doctrine of legalism.

But after having taught them why it's important not to be living under the Law, trying to please God on their own, they are now faced with another situation, the danger that happens when you take the Law away from people:

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

And so Paul has begun teaching on the issue of how to handle the the flesh, with the main key being:

Ga 5:16  [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

We've looked at the "works of the flesh", identifying when that sinful nature of ours it at work by looking at the things it produces in our lives.

Now we begin a look at the "fruit of the Spirit", the natural result that comes in our lives when we learn to "walk in the Spirit".

:22  the fruit of the Spirit is ...

1.  Works versus Fruit

works -  ergon - business, employment, that which any one is occupied; any product whatever, any thing accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind

Works are produced by effort and toil.

If you "try" to produce anything in your life, it's most likely going to be a "work" of the flesh.

If you look at this list of "fruit", and say to yourself, "Gee, I think I need to work on my patience", what's more likely to happen is one of the works of the flesh, like enmities, strife, or outbursts of anger.

The whole book of Galatians is aimed at combatting "legalism".

One of the main characteristics of legalism is coming up with lists of "things you have to do".

But if this is the way you are going to live your Christian life, by trying to accomplish a list of things to please God, instead of producing "fruit", you're going to be experiencing the "works of the flesh".

Fruit - karpos - fruit; that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result

Fruit is produced naturally, slowly, through growth.

Our grape vine in the backyard does not maintain a list of "things to do to produce fruit".

All it does is just grow.

It does not go to workshops to learn the five easy steps to producing fruit.

It just grows.


In verse 19, it was the "works of the flesh ..." (plural), but here it is the "fruit" (singular) of the Spirit.

I've heard lots of explanations of why it's not "the fruits of the Spirit", such as, "love is the fruit, and the rest are descriptions of love ..."

But to me, I see it as though these nine qualities are all descriptions of the same fruit.

The fruit is simply the product of the Spirit working in your life.


It's like the three blindfolded men that were asked to describe an elephant.

One man was brought to the front of the elephant, and described an elephant as long, tubular, about six inches in diameter, and moves like a snake.

One man described an elephant as tubular, about an inch in diameter, but with hair on one end (the tail).

The third man described the elephant from the point of the feet, and came up with something different.

Which is the elephant like?  It's like all three, and them some!

The Fruit of the Spirit is described by ALL of these nine qualities, not just one.

It's like a piece of fruit that has nine different parts to it - skin, meat, seeds, stem, etc.

When the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in your life, He will be producing ALL nine of these qualities in you.

2.  How to produce fruit.

It's not really all that complicated.

(John 15:1-8 KJV)  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. {2} Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. {3} Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

a.  Pruning

Part of the process of bearing fruit is "pruning".

Jesus is describing a vine with branches that are grafted into the main vine.

When a branch doesn't bear fruit, you cut it off

You want the branches that are bearing fruit to have as much as the vines life, or sap, as possible.

Branches that are bearing fruit are pruned back.

This isn't a pleasant process.

Note:  It's the vinedresser's job to do the pruning.

My grape vine out back does NOT prune itself.

I have to constantly prune it back so that the "suckers" don't drain off all the life of the vine.

Pruning is when God cuts away from you the unnecessary things in your life.

It's getting rid of all the things in your life that drain your strength, and keep you from walking fully in the Lord.

We are pruned by God's Word.

Jesus "cleanses" (prunes) us with His Word.

As we read, study, and meditate, God does His pruning in our life, trimming stuff off.

{4} Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. {5} I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

b.  Abiding

"Abiding" is nothing more than remaining where you are.

I used to read this and wonder what kind of mystical thing "abiding" must be.

But all it means is to just stay "connected" to Jesus.

As long as you stay connected to Jesus, you WILL bear fruit.


Fruit is the natural result of the union of two living things.

When a flower is pollenated, it produces fruit.

When a grape branch is grafted onto a healthy grape vine, it produces fruit.

If you try to "graft" two broomsticks together, you could water and fertilize as much as you want, but you'll NEVER get any fruit.

If you tried to "graft" a living grape branch onto a broomstick, the branch would die.

If you are alive, and Jesus is alive (and He really, really IS!), then as long as you stay connected to Him, you will bear fruit (love, joy, peace, etc.)

6  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

c.  The Word and Prayer

Jesus kinds of slips from "abiding" into giving us two concrete things that characterize "abiding".

Letting His Word abide in us.

Asking, or, prayer.

It's through the Word and Prayer that we maintain this living union with the Lord.

The Word is how He speaks to us.

Prayer is how we speak to Him.

It's the dynamic of a living exchange, keeping us connected with Him.


It's like the connection between the heart and the lungs.

The heart needs oxygenated blood to be able to pump.

It sends the depleated blood into the lungs, where the lungs exchange the carbon dioxide for oxygen, and send it all back to the heart.

As we read and pray, our spiritual life is kept healthy.

3.  Fruit Inspection

There are some who would like to say that the true test of spirituality is whether or not you have certain gifts in your life.

They'll take you to:

1Corinthians 12:7-11  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8  For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9  To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10  To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11  But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

Usually the gift they're looking for is tongues.

And if you do not have the gift of tongues, then you must not be spiritual, but carnal.

But the Bible NEVER indicates that gifts are any kind of test of spirituality.

Look at the Corinthian church:

1Corinthians 1:4-7  I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, 5  that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, 6  even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, 7  so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,

This church had ALL the gifts!

According to some ways of thinking, this church should be a pretty spiritual church!

Yet Paul rebukes them, because they weren't spiritual, but carnal!

1Corinthians 3:1-4  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4  For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

After having looked at the "works of the flesh" for the last few weeks, we can see evidences of their carnality - envy, strife, divisions ...

The real test of spirituality is in fruit - fruit inspection.

(Mat 7:15-20 KJV)  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. {16} Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? {17} Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. {18} A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. {19} Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. {20} Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

The test is whether or not a person is bearing GOOD fruit, as in the Fruit of the Spirit.

To understand whether or not a person has a healthy relationship with the Lord -

It's not whether they speak in tongues, or deliver those "thus sayeth the Lord" speeches during prayer time.

It's whether or not you see love, joy, peace, patience, etc. in their lives!