Fruits Of The Holy Spirit – Self Control

114/365 days of blogging.

This is the last of Pastor’s Fruits of the Holy Spirit study.  We had to post pone it a couple of weeks due to us being gone and a couple of other issues. You can do a search over on the right for the others if you missed them when I posted them.


Introduction: For just a moment contemplate Galatians 5:22: “But the fruit of the Spirit is … self-control.” Isn’t this a logical contradiction? The “Spirit” is the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit. If God is giving me control, how can it be called “SELF-control?” Does the Spirit give me big muscles and then send me off to control myself? Lots of questions, but not many answers to this confusing topic!

I.       Training

A.      Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-25. What is the crown “that will last forever?”

1.      Is going to Heaven really like the Boston Marathon race – you have one winner? Or, one winner in each class?

2.      If Paul’s analogy is not perfect, what is his point?

B.      Read 1 Corinthians 9:26-27. Paul gives us two more analogies: running like you are clueless about the location of the finish line; and, a boxing contest in which you don’t realize you are supposed to hit the other guy. Does strength have anything to do with either of these problems?

1.      What would be the fix for these kinds of problems? What kind of “training” is Paul suggesting?

2.      Paul talks about being “disqualified” from the prize. What is the barrier to getting the prize?

3.      What happens if we do not get our body in line?

C.      So far we have seen that Paul teaches us that we need a goal and we need to get our body in line with that goal. What is that goal?

D.     Read 1 Corinthians 10:1-4. Did these people have a goal?

1.      They were baptized, ate spiritual food and drink, and “drank” from Christ. Do these things sound like reasonable actions for self-control?

E.      Read 1 Corinthians 10:5. Paul tells to go into strict training to get our body in line with the goal, and now we see people whose bodies are “scattered over the desert” even though they did these proper things. Can you make any sense out of what Paul is saying?

F.       Let’s see if Paul will help us out. Read 1 Corinthians 10:6. What was the problem?

1.      What was the goal of the runner running aimlessly? The boxer punching in the air?

II.   Right Goals

A.      Let’s further explore the issue of our training goals. Read 1 Corinthians 10:7. How would you describe this training goal?

1.      Is this a goal on which we can engage in “strict training?”

B.      Read 1 Corinthians 10:8. How would you describe this goal?

1.      Is this a goal on which we can engage in strict training?

C.      Read 1 Corinthians 10:9. What does it mean to “test the Lord?”

1.      Read Numbers 21:4-6. This is the event to which Paul is referring. How would you describe this sin?

a.      How could this be a training goal?

2.      Is this a goal on which we can engage in “strict training?”

D.     Read 1 Corinthians 10:10. How would you describe this as a training goal?

1.      Is this a goal on which we can engage in “strict training?”

E.      Read 1 Corinthians 10:11. Can you see a pattern here in these warnings?

III.  Grace and Works

A.      If you believe in righteousness by faith, are you getting a little nervous about the idea that we can beat our brains into submission? If you are not, I am! Read Romans 5:1-5. Where, in this sequence, do we find beating our brains into submission?

B.      Read 1 Corinthians 10:13. What does this suggest about your role and God’s role when it comes to temptation and self-control in your life?

1.      What does this teach us about the nature of self-control?

C.      Read Colossians 3:1-3. What suggestion does this give us for resisting temptation? What goal are we given?

D.     Read 1 Corinthians 10:14. Remember that our first goal (1 Corinthians 10:7) was to put God first. What additional advice does Paul give for achieving that goal?

E.      Read 1 Corinthians 10:15-17. What does the “loaf” have to do with running away from idolatry? Do we need carbohydrates to run?

F.       Read 1 Corinthians 10:18-22. How are grace and works described in these verses?

G.     Paul is the strongest advocate in the Bible of salvation by faith alone, but we can see in these texts that the Christian life is a team effort in which righteous goals need to be set and maximum effort applied to meet those goals. God will not let our sin problems get out of hand, but we are called to a life of self-control. Will you commit to getting off your spiritual couch and start training for right living?




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