Sabbath School Lesson for February 11-17, 2017

Since holy living is our goal once we’ve been baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit, we now look at some of the tools the Holy Spirit uses to make us fit vessels for glorifying God.

The holy, pure qualities that will appear in our life, in varying degrees and times, are not dependent on our present personality or character, or even our life circumstances. The Holy Spirit, dwelling in the heart, patiently and miraculously grows these traits for the purpose of making us reflect the character of Christ to those around us, which ultimately draws them to God as well.

These traits, known as the fruit of the Spirit, will be based on one main ingredient: love. Love is usually the first item mentioned in the Bible lists of these traits, and understandably so, because love is the basis for the entire operation of God’s universe. Without love, any other good qualities we might identify would be dangerously artificial and possibly misleading.

Let’s look at the fruit of the Spirit, and praise God for the beautiful results it brings to our troubled, sinful planet. Without people exhibiting these lovely qualities, a chaotic mess develops. Yes, we need the fruit of the Holy Spirit to temper the sinful tendencies we are naturally attracted to without the Holy Spirit’s help.

Memory Verse: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22, 23 NASB

We notice that the fruit of the Spirit is spoken of in the singular in this verse, meaning there is only one fruit, not many. This should help us not to focus on the list of individual traits, but to see them as a whole. All of them, working together, draw others to Christ, as they reflect what He has already shown us.

What an attractive list of qualities for us to dwell on this week. It’s a tremendous blessing when we see these wonderful tendencies in our own life, and in the lives of others. But I think we’ll find the most benefit from dwelling on these qualities as they were manifested in Christ’s life.

Sunday: The Condition of Fruitfulness

The only way to grow and see blossoms of the true fruit of the Spirit is for us to include Jesus in the picture. Only by abiding in Him, dwelling on Him, focusing on Him, looking upon Him, will it happen. In other words, Jesus has to be the center of any conscious effort to bear the fruit of the Spirit. Because it is His lovely character that we are to reflect.

This is why Jesus is called the Vine, and we are the branches (John 15:1-11). Without Him, our fruitfulness will wither and die. It won’t last. Or it may not happen at all. We must keep our eyes on the One who did it all. Every one of the traits mentioned earlier was a hallmark of Jesus’ life here on earth. We can truly experience transformation, when He is our model of behavior, conduct, and attitude.

Only when we focus on our own performance, or even how others are measuring up, will we start to slip. We mustn’t let anything divert us from abiding in Christ every day, without exception. Our walk with Jesus must continue throughout our lifetime, despite all the distractions Satan throws in our path.

When this life of faith happens, the result will be a fruitful tree, adding to the beauty of a fruitful orchard (the church). Best of all, God’s name and character will be vindicated before the universe. We can be a part of the winning team in this great controversy between Christ and Satan. Our fruitfulness DOES matter.

Discussion Questions: Read John 15:1-11. Why is abiding in Jesus so important, and how do we accomplish it?

Read Matthew 7:1, 2, 15-20. What is the purpose of recognizing good and bad fruit? How do we sometimes abuse this knowledge?

Read 2 Timothy 3:1-5. We aren’t left to guess who those with a “form of godliness” are. But how would these unlovely characters appear to have any godliness at all? What other forms of godliness could possibly exist? [trying to make ourselves god, or allowing Satan to be our god]

Monday: The Fruit of Love

Making Jesus first automatically intensifies and perfects the quality of love manifested in a fruitful Christian. Indeed, Jesus (God) IS love (1 John 4:7). No wonder it features predominantly as the basis of the spiritual fruit we are to bear.

Paul identified love as the most important of the gifts the Holy Spirit has for us (1 Corinthians 13:13), gifts that elevate and grow the church. Love permeates the fruit, as it were, that leads to these gifts. It’s the glue that binds all the virtues and gifts together. It gives authenticity to our walk with Jesus. Love must be the behind-the-scenes force that motivates everything we do.

Without love, all the other fruits, such as joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and peace, are powerless to exert any real, lasting good in the world.

Discussion Questions: Read 1 John 4:7, 8 and 1 Corinthians 13. Who benefits from love, as shown in the life of a Christian? Could this be one of the reasons for its importance in bearing spiritual fruit?

Read Luke 6:27, 28, Romans 5:8, and John 13:35. How do each of these passages magnify the need for love? In what way and for whom is this love shown? Why are enemies and our closest friend and brother both included?

Read Galatians 5:22, 23 and 1 Timothy 1:9. What does it mean when it says in Galatians, “against such there is no law”? Who are laws especially made for? Who needs them more, good citizens or bad?

Tuesday: Joy, Peace, and Patience

When love is first invited into the heart, there also comes a desire for righteousness. The Holy Spirit encourages us to start living better, for the glory of God. This transformation will look different on different people, but many qualities begin to shine on those around us:

  • JOY–One of the first things many notice is a new kind of joy. This Christian-based joy is not focused on things of the world, but on God and what He has done for us.
  • PEACE–This is seen in our interaction with others. When we stop being quarrelsome or unforgiving, people are drawn to us. This peace is a lasting peace, unlike any kind the world has to offer. That’s why it’s called the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
  • PATIENCE–Like peace, our patience will be seen by the way we deal with people, but also with the way we remain faithful, despite challenging circumstances and trials.

The joy, peace, and patience we begin to see manifested in the life of a new Christian is the result of an active faith. Our faith and repentance motivates us to become the man or woman God wants us to be. At our invitation, the Holy Spirit is activated to perform miraculous things for all who truly desire and seek the Lord.

Discussion Questions: Read Philippians 1:25, Matthew 13:20, and Romans 14:17. What are the things in these verses that give us joy? And who is the One who delivers it?

Read John 14:27, Romans 5:1, 12:18 and Ephesians 2:13-18. Describe all the kinds of peace available to the Christian. Through what means does it come to us?

Read 2 Peter 3:9, Revelation 13:10, and 14:12. How is God patient with us and why? Why are the end-time saints noteworthy for their patience?

Wednesday: Kindness, Goodness, and Faithfulness

Although others can easily OBSERVE our joy, peace, and patience, the next three virtues are more likely to be FELT by others. They are kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.

  • KINDNESS–When this quality is missing, it’s very likely our Christianity will be viewed as a sham, a falsehood. One of the purposes of kindness is to help us deal with the faults of others. Learning to correct someone with kindness and love is one of the greatest skills we can develop.
  • GOODNESS–This is love in action. Practical works that benefit others flow out of a heart of true love. The Holy Spirit guides the implementation of these good works to where and whom it will do the most good.
  • FAITHFULNESS–Faithfulness, being reliable and trustworthy, shows to others that we keep our promises–to God, and to each other. It helps those close to us understand the faithfulness of God, and encourages them to have more faith.

The recipients of our kind, good, and faithful behavior may seem to benefit the most from these virtues. But we benefit as well, as we see the seeds of the gospel implanted in the hearts of those around us, and watch their fruitbearing begin to take root alongside ours.

Discussion Questions: Read Nehemiah 9:17, Titus 3:4-7, and 1 Corinthians 13:4. Why is kindness mentioned so often in describing how our God deals with us? Have we done anything to deserve this kindness?

Read Acts 14:17, Matthew 5:45, and Ephesians 5:9. On whom does God bestow His goodness? Why should we not tailor our good works to only the most deserving?

Read 1 Corinthians 1:9, 10:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:24, and Galatians 5:22. How has God been faithful to you?

Thursday: Gentleness and Self-Control

Two of the most necessary traits needed for our Christian witness might also be seen as the most difficult to attain. Acquiring a gentle spirit requires meekness and humility that is the gold standard for all our activities. Moses, one of the greatest leaders of all time, was also called the meekest, most humble man on earth (Numbers 12:3).

And yet, amazingly, Moses exhibited at least one absence of self-control when he threw down and broke the tablets of the law, just given to him by God. Self-control is indeed difficult, even for the humblest of souls. But thankfully, it’s a quality of our lives that is attainable with the help of the Holy Spirit.

  • GENTLENESS–A gentle person is not perceived as boisterous, quarrelsome, or aggressively striving to lift themselves up by putting others down. It requires a faith in God, which leads to a healthy confidence in one’s standing with others. We don’t have to prove ourselves, and this often elevates us to leadership positions. Jesus even said the meek shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).
  • SELF-CONTROL–Although temperance is often thought to be involved with substances we put in our body (food, drink, and drugs), it also includes the manner in which we control our actions. We must be in control by letting God have control. Having Him in charge gives us the ability to control every area of our lives, even our anger. Don’t forget to see the word “temper” in “temperance”.

Discussion Questions: Read Galatians 5:23 and Matthew 5:5. In what ways are meekness, gentleness, and humility all related?

Read Numbers 12:3. When and how long did it take for Moses to acquire enough meekness to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt? Although humility is required from the moment we accept God and begin to approach Him, why is it such a difficult trait to develop? [it’s the opposite of pride, which caused Lucifer’s downfall]

Read Proverbs 16:32 and 1 Corinthians 6:18. Why is important for us to control our spirit and our bodies in order to glorify God to the fullest? What makes it so difficult for some people, more than it is for others? What strategies does Satan use to prevent this control from happening for us, and how could this account for the differences?


The Holy Spirit’s fruit seen daily in our lives after He fills us, includes:

love–the secret ingredient that binds these qualities and unites us as Christians

joy–based on what God has done for us

peace–unlike anything the world has to offer

patience–includes being patient during our trials

kindness–especially achieved when we can correct someone with kindness

goodness–the implementation of our good deeds should be directed by the Holy Spirit

faithfulness–encourages others to have faith

gentleness–the best leaders are the most humble, gentle ones

self-control–being self-disciplined really means being disciplined by the Holy Spirit; it impacts self, but doesn’t come from self

Parting Words

Read the memory verses (Galatians 5:22, 23) in various Bible versions. Here is one in modern language (found in Friday’s lesson study) that you might appreciate:

“The Fruit of the Spirit is an affectionate, lovable disposition, a radiant spirit and a cheerful temper, a tranquil mind and a quiet manner, a forbearing patience in provoking circumstances and with trying people, a sympathetic insight and tactful helpfulness, generous judgment and a big-souled charity, loyalty and reliableness under all circumstances, humility that forgets self in the joy of others, in all things self-mastered and self-controlled, which is the final mark of perfecting. This is the kind of character that is the Fruit of the Spirit. Everything is in the word Fruit. It is not by striving, but by abiding; not by worrying, but by trusting; not of works, but of faith.” ~S. Chadwick, in Arthur Walkington Pink, The Holy Bible (Bellingham, Wash.: Logos Bible Software, n.d.), chapter 30.

Now, contemplate scenes from Jesus’ life that exemplified these qualities. For example:

  • when He withstood Satan’s temptations in the wilderness (faithfulness)
  • when He appeared at a wedding in Cana and turned water into wine (joy)
  • when He healed so many, and fed the crowds (goodness)
  • when He drove the moneychangers out of the temple (patience)
  • when He taught in parables and explained the meanings to His disciples (gentleness)
  • when He spoke to the woman at the well (kindness)
  • when He raised Lazarus from the dead (peace)

…and the list goes on. Let Jesus be your pattern and guide in bearing fruit. His Spirit will help you achieve a miraculous harvest.

Next Week: The Holy Spirit and the Fruit of the Spirit

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