February 28, 2004 – March 5, 2004
“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Galatians 5:24.
Suggested Reading: Christ’s Object Lessons, 67–69; Steps to Christ, 57–65.
“When one is fully emptied of self, when every false god is cast out of the soul, the vacuum is filled by the inflowing of the Spirit of Christ. Such a one has the faith that purifies the soul from defilement. He is conformed to the Spirit, and he minds the things of the Spirit. He has no confidence in self. Christ is all and in all. He receives with meekness the truth that is constantly being unfolded, and gives the Lord all the glory, saying, ‘God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit.’ ‘Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.’ [1 Corinthians 2:10, 12.]
“The Spirit that reveals, also works in him the fruits of righteousness. Christ is in him, ‘a well of water springing up into everlasting life.’ [John 4:14.] He is a branch of the True Vine, and bears rich clusters of fruit to the glory of God. What is the character of the fruit borne?—The fruit of the Spirit is ‘love,’ not hatred; ‘joy,’ not discontent and mourning; ‘peace,’ not irritation, anxiety, and manufactured trials.” Gospel Workers, 287.
1 What is the fruit of the Spirit? Galatians 5:22, 23.
note: “ ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new’ (11 Corinthians 5:17). Nothing but divine power can regenerate the human heart and imbue souls with the love of Christ, which will ever manifest itself with love for those for whom He died. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. When a man is converted to God, a new moral taste is supplied, a new motive power is given, and he loves the things that God loves; for his life is bound up by the golden chain of the immutable promises to the life of Jesus. Love, joy, peace, and inexpressible gratitude will pervade the soul, and the language of him who is blessed will be, ‘Thy gentleness hath made me great’ (Psalm 18:35).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 336.
2 What spiritual experience constitutes the kingdom of God within the heart? Romans 14:17.
note: “Who are the subjects of the kingdom of God?—all those who do His will. They have righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. The members of Christ’s kingdom are the sons of God, partners in His great firm. The elect of God are a chosen generation, a peculiar people, a holy nation, to show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. They are the salt of the earth, the light of the world. They are living stones, a royal priesthood. They are in copartnership with Jesus Christ. These are they that follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. . . .” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 422.
3 In contrast to the fruit of the Spirit, what are mentioned as works of the flesh? Galatians 5:19–21.
note: “Paul charged his brethren to beware lest in trying to correct the faults of others they should commit sins equally great themselves. He warns them that hatred, emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, and envyings are as truly the works of the flesh as are lasciviousness, adultery, drunkenness, and murder, and will as surely close the gate of heaven against the guilty.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 244.
4 What change is wrought in the life of every true Christian? Galatians 5:24; 6:14.
note: “The lower passions have their seat in the body and work through it. The words ‘flesh’ or ‘fleshly’ or ‘carnal lusts’ embrace the lower, corrupt nature; the flesh of itself cannot act contrary to the will of God. We are commanded to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. How shall we do it? Shall we inflict pain on the body? No; but put to death the temptation to sin. The corrupt thought is to be expelled. Every thought is to be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul. The love of God must reign supreme; Christ must occupy an undivided throne. Our bodies are to be regarded as His purchased possession.” The Adventist Home, 127, 128.
5 How is the daily experience of such set forth? Galatians 2:20.
note: “When the apostle Paul, through the revelation of Christ, was converted from a persecutor to a Christian, he declared that he was as one born out of due time. Henceforward Christ was all and in all to him. ‘For me, to live is Christ,’ he declared. [Philippians 1:21.] This is the most perfect interpretation in a few words, in all the Scriptures, of what it means to be a Christian. This is the whole truth of the gospel. Paul understood what many seem unable to comprehend. How intensely in earnest he was! His words show that his mind was centered in Christ, that his whole life was bound up with his Lord. Christ was the author, the support, and the source of his life.” Review and Herald, October 19, 1897.
6 How does the change in the life of a Christian occur? Romans 8:11–13; John 3:3–8.
note: “The same divine mind that is working upon the things of nature is speaking to the hearts of men and creating an inexpressible craving for something they have not. The things of the world cannot satisfy their longing. The Spirit of God is pleading with them to seek for those things that alone can give peace and rest—the grace of Christ, the joy of holiness. Through influences seen and unseen, our Saviour is constantly at work to attract the minds of men from the unsatisfying pleasures of sin to the infinite blessings that may be theirs in Him. To all these souls, who are vainly seeking to drink from the broken cisterns of this world, the divine message is addressed, ‘Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.’ Revelation 22:17.” Steps to Christ, 28.
7 How is man’s wretched state by nature described? Romans 7:14, 23.
note: “Wrongs cannot be righted, nor can reformations in conduct be made by a few feeble, intermittent efforts. Character building is the work, not of a day, nor of a year, but of a lifetime. The struggle for conquest over self, for holiness and heaven, is a lifelong struggle. Without continual effort and constant activity, there can be no advancement in the divine life, no attainment of the victor’s crown.” The Ministry of Healing, 452.
8 How is the sinner delivered? Romans 8:1, 2.
note: “With what care should Christians regulate their habits, that they may preserve the full vigor of every faculty to give to the service of Christ. If we would be sanctified in soul, body, and spirit, we must live in conformity to the divine law. The heart cannot preserve consecration to God while the appetites and passions are indulged at the expense of health and life. . . .
“Paul’s inspired warnings against self-indulgence are sounding along the line down to our time. . . . He presents for our encouragement the freedom enjoyed by the truly sanctified. [Romans 8:1 quoted.] He charges the Galatians to ‘walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.’ Galatians 5:16, 17.” Counsels on Health, 69.
9 By what is a tree known? Matthew 7:17–20. What application is made of this principle to our Christian experience? Luke 6:43–45. Compare James 3:10–12.
note: “A good tree will not produce corrupt fruit. Good conversation will accompany a good conscience, as surely as good fruit will be produced by a good tree. If a man is unkind and churlish in his family and to others connected with him, no one need to inquire how he will manage in the church. He will exhibit the same petulant, overbearing disposition which he shows at home. No man can have the spirit and the mind of Christ without being rendered better by it in all the relations and duties of life. Murmuring, complaining, and fretful passion are not the fruit of good principles. You will need to be instant in prayer, because you have not strengthened the high, noble, moral traits of character. This is to be done now by you. The work will be difficult, but it is positively essential.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 347.
10 What disposition is finally made of trees that do not yield good fruit? Matthew 3:10; 7:19; Luke 13:7, 9. Compare John 15:6.
note: “Not by its name, but by its fruit, is the value of a tree determined. If the fruit is worthless, the name cannot save the tree from destruction. John declared to the Jews that their standing before God was to be decided by their character and life. Profession was worthless. If their life and character were not in harmony with God’s law, they were not His people.” The Desire of Ages, 107.
“We must present the principles of truth, and let them work upon the hearts of the people. We may pick the leaves from a tree as often as we please, but this will not cause the tree to die; the next season the leaves will come out again as thick as before. But strike the ax at the root of the tree, and not only will the leaves fall off of themselves, but the tree will die. Those who accept the truth, in the love of it, will die to the world, and will become meek and lowly in heart like their divine Lord. Just as soon as the heart is right, the dress, the conversation, the life, will be in harmony with the Word of God. We all need to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. May He help us to plant our feet firmly upon the platform of eternal truth.” My Life Today, 265.
11 How only can we bear good fruit? John 15:4, 5.
note: “O that all might realize that without Christ they can do nothing! Those who do not gather with Him scatter abroad. Their thoughts and actions will not bear the right character, and their influence will be destructive of good. Our actions have a twofold influence; for they affect others as well as ourselves. This influence will either be a blessing or a curse to those with whom we associate. How little we appreciate this fact. Actions make habits, and habits, character, and if we do not guard our habits, we shall not be qualified to unite with heavenly agencies in the work of salvation, nor be prepared to enter the heavenly mansions that Jesus has gone to prepare; for no one will be there except those who have surrendered their will and way to God’s will and way. He whose character is proved, who has stood the test of trial, who is a partaker of the divine nature, will be among those whom Christ pronounces blessed.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 194.
12 What is the blessed result of truly abiding in Christ? John 15:7, 8.
note: “The Lord Jesus is dishonored by low ideas or designs on our part. He who does not feel the binding claims of God’s law, and neglects to keep every requirement, violates the whole law. He who is content to partially meet the standard of righteousness, and who does not triumph over every spiritual foe, will not meet the designs of Christ. He cheapens the whole plan of his religious life, and weakens his religious character, and under the force of temptation his defects of character gain the supremacy, and evil triumphs. We need to be persevering and determined, to meet the highest standard possible. Pre-established habits and ideas must be overcome in many cases, before we can make advancement in religious life. The faithful Christian will bear much fruit; he is a worker; he will not lazily drift, but will put on the whole armor to fight the battles of the Lord. The essential work is to conform the tastes, the appetite, the passions, the motives, the desires, to the great moral standard of righteousness. The work must begin at the heart. That must be pure, wholly conformed to Christ’s will, else some master passion, or some habit or defect, will become a power to destroy. God will accept of nothing short of the whole heart.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 118, 119.