Introduction: Last week we ended our study with the thought that if
we are baptized with the Holy Spirit, our life should reflect the
fruits of the Holy Spirit. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are largely
attitudes: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Galatians 5:22-23. Living
a life led by our sinful nature, in contrast, brings evil acts.
Galatians 5:19-21. Let’s dig into our Bible and explore how our lives
can be dominated by the fruits of the Holy Spirit!

  1. Vine Connection

    1. Read John 15:1-4. Jesus says nothing about the Holy Spirit
      here. He mentions only the Father and Himself. What role
      does the Father have? (To “cut off” unproductive branches
      and “prune” fruitful branches.)

      1. Does that make you shudder? When I was a young man my
        brother and I were pruning (“caning”)raspberry
        plants. We were working on opposite sides of the
        plant. I recall shuddering(and yelling)when my
        brother put his shears around one of my fingers!

      2. What do you think it means to be “pruned?” Is it like
        what nearly happened to my finger?

    2. Look closely at John 15:3. What does it mean to be
      “clean?” (It means that you have been pruned.)

      1. How were the disciples “pruned?” (By the words that
        Jesus had spoken to them.)

      2. How does this help us understand pruning? (In this
        example it is not some terrible loss in our life.
        Rather, it is understanding and following the words
        of Jesus so that we sharpen the focus of our
        Christian life.)

    3. Read John 15:5. How do we remain in Jesus? (Jesus does not
      specifically refer to the Holy Spirit, but this has to be
      the way that we “remain” in Jesus. The Holy Spirit lives
      in us and therefore we have this connection to the

      1. Do you think it is a coincidence that Galatians 5:22
        refers to the “fruit of the Spirit” and John 15:4-5
        refers to remaining in Jesus and bearing “fruit?” (Of
        course not. That is how we know Jesus is referring to
        the Holy Spirit connection.)

    4. Read John 15:6. This sounds painful. It does not sound
      like sharpening our focus based on a better understanding
      of God’s word. If you are an expert in pruning, what kind
      of “branch” do you prune? (In my limited experience, I cut
      back things that are already dead. I’m following the
      pattern taken by the plant, by cutting off the flow of
      energy to those sections that cannot use the energy.)

      1. What is the spiritual lesson to take from this? (If
        we get “cut off” it is because we have already made
        the decision to “die.”)

      2. Notice that I’ve been referring to being “cut off,”
        which is the term Jesus uses first. How does Jesus
        change His terminology in John 15:4, 6 & 7? (Jesus
        speaks of us “remain[ing]” in Him. This shows that it
        is our choice whether we will be connected to Jesus
        or not.)

    5. Read John 15:7-8. What extraordinary promise does Jesus
      make to those who are connected to Him through the Holy
      Spirit? (That God will give you whatever you wish.)

      1. What if you wish to have a Mercedes Benz? (The entire
        conversation is about the fruit of the Spirit. I
        think Jesus is telling us that if we specifically ask
        for love, joy, peace, patience, or some other fruit,
        He will give it to us!)

    6. Read John 15:9-11. Recall last week that I said that if
      your goal is keeping the commandments you are “looking too
      low?” Does this contradict what I suggested? Specifically,
      does Jesus say that if we keep His commandments, it shows
      that we love Him? Thus, keeping the commandments is proof
      of our love of Jesus? (No. This says something much
      different. Jesus gave us the Ten Commandments (and every
      other commandment) for our benefit. They were intended to
      bless our lives. They were given because Jesus loves us.
      In John 15:9 Jesus asks us to “remain in My love.” If you
      follow His commandments, which demonstrate His love for
      us, then you “remain” in His love.)

    7. Read John 14:15. Wait a minute! Doesn’t this text
      specifically say that if you love Jesus you will obey the
      commandments? (If you read the context, John 14:15-21, you
      will see that Jesus is talking about sending the Holy
      Spirit to live in us. Thus, Jesus is not talking about the
      “commandments,” He is talking about us living a life led
      by the Holy Spirit, and not by our sinful desires. We need
      to look higher than gritting our teeth and determining to
      obey the commandments.)

  2. Walk in Love

    1. Bob Goff just attended the Regent campus. If I’ve
      remembered correctly, he said, “Live in grace, walk in
      love.” Obeying the Ten Commandments is walking in the
      protection of God’s love. What else might it mean? Let’s
      read 1 Corinthians 13:4. If you were patient, kind,
      content, free of boasting and pride, how would your life
      be different? (No doubt you would be more calm, more

      1. Would others have greater enjoyment being around you?

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. How would you characterize
      tongues, the gift of prophecy and faith? (These are fruits
      of the Holy Spirit.)

      1. What does this say about the fruit of love versus
        other fruits? (Love is essential. It is

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 13:5. Do you keep “score?” Do you keep
      a record of those who have insulted you?

      1. Do you like it when people remember your wrong
        actions against them?

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 13:6. What does it mean to rejoice
      “with the truth,” as opposed to delighting in evil? (We
      are happy when people of virtue succeed. We are happy when
      truth prevails.)

    5. Read 1 Corinthians 13:7. Consider each one of these
      actions or attitudes. Are they reflected in your life?

    6. Read Romans 14:12-16. Is this an example of living in
      love? (If you are not following Paul’s argument, read
      Romans 14:1-11. Paul writes that being correct in
      disputable matters is less important than showing love to
      fellow believers.)

    7. Read Romans 14:17-18. Why does Paul compare eating and
      drinking with “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy
      Spirit?” (We must have the correct focus in life. How many
      Christians do you know who are focused on whether others
      are eating the right thing and doing the right thing,
      rather than just loving others? Even if others are doing
      things we think inappropriate, can we look for a way to
      show love without sinning?)

    8. Read Romans 14:19. When you write on Facebook to a fellow
      Christian, do you follow this advice?

    9. Read Galatians 6:1-2. What does our discussion so far
      teach us about our attitude towards sin? What does this
      text say? (We should stand against sin. But, we are also
      commanded to restore the sinner “gently.”)

      1. What does the text mean when it says “watch
        yourself?” (We are directed to show love and
        compassion towards the sinner. We are directly to
        gently restore. We are directed to show discretion on
        disputable matters. But, we must be careful that we
        do not get confused about the sin. We should not get
        pulled into that sin.)

    10. Read Galatians 6:3-5. Why does Paul warn us about pride?

      1. Have you ever asked yourself whether your debate
        about someone else’s sin has more to do with your
        pride, than your desire to “carry the burdens” of the
        other person?

      2. Wait a minute! Paul tells us to “carry each other’s
        burdens” ( Galatians 6:2) and then he says “each one
        should carry his own load” ( Galatians 6:5). Is this a
        contradiction? (I don’t think so. The “load” of the
        one involved in obvious sin is to quit sinning. The
        load of the person who is trying to correct that sin
        is to put aside pride and show love. Each one has a

    11. At this point are you shaking your head and saying, “This
      is too hard!” If so, remember that having the right
      attitude arises from living a life led by the Holy Spirit!

    12. Friend, if you have examined your “fruit” and found it
      lacking, why not invite the Holy Spirit to guide your

  3. Next week: The Holy Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit.