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Lesson 1: By Their Fruit *

Introduction: Would you love it if you could call Jesus on the phone and discuss with Him whatever is on your mind? Uncertain about how to handle a situation? Just speed dial His number! Christians sometimes lose sight of the fact that Jesus sent His Spirit to be with us after Jesus returned to heaven. We cannot live a proper Christian life without the power of the Holy Spirit. This series of lessons is about the result of having the Spirit in our life. Let's dive right into our study of the work of the Holy Spirit!

  1. The Promise


    1. Read John 16:7. If you knew nothing about Jesus and "the Counselor," which would you think was the most valuable? (Jesus says a reason for Him to leave is that the Holy Spirit will come. That is an astonishing statement!)


      1. Is Jesus just being humble?


      2. Or, is it true that we are better off with the Holy Spirit than with Jesus? (The practical advantage is that the Holy Spirit can be everywhere at once, but Jesus could not be several places at the same time.)


    2. Our studies are about the fruit of the Spirit. If you knew nothing about the Holy Spirit, but knew that He was a replacement for Jesus, what would you logically expect from the Spirit? (That the Spirit would continue the work of Jesus in some improved way.)


    3. Read John 16:8. What does this text say that the Holy Spirit will produce?


      1. Does any of this seem like fruit to you? ("Fruit" is the end product of the plant. This sounds like the end product of what Jesus was doing.)


    4. Let's read on a bit further. Read John 16:9-11 for a greater description of the work of the Holy Spirit.


      1. When the Bible says that the Spirit will "convict the world of guilt" in regard to sin, does that mean that guilt is a good thing?


        1. What does this have to do with people not believing in Jesus? (We can have three reactions to sin. We can embrace it. We can try to ignore it or we can fight against it.)


          1. What happens if we try to fight against it? (It seems hopeless. That is where we realize a need for a Savior. One who has won the victory on our behalf. That is how I think sin and belief in Jesus are linked.)


      1. When the Bible says that the Spirit will "convict the world of ... righteousness" because Jesus is going to the Father, how are those two connected? (Jesus is our righteousness!)


        1. Wait a minute! Why is this something about which we need to be convicted? (Apparently, some people need to be convinced that they cannot do it themselves. The fact that Jesus is not around to remind us is another reason why the Holy Spirit takes on this important work.)


          1. If you think that you can handle sin on your own, is that an indication that the Holy Spirit is not bearing fruit in your life?


      2. When the Bible says that the Spirit will "convict the world of ... judgment" because the "prince of the world now stands condemned," how are those two concepts related? I thought that Satan (Revelation 12:10-12) was our accuser. Is Jesus now accusing us because He defeated Satan? (When Jesus won the victory, He won back the right to claim the justice of His kingdom. God's kingdom not only gives us a way out of sin, but it promises to destroy sin and sinners in a final judgment.)


      3. As you consider this fruit of the Spirit, does it carry on the results of Jesus' work? (You could sum this up by saying that the Holy Spirit is combating the sin problem.)


  1. Our Connection


    1. We have learned that the Holy Spirit carries on the work of Jesus. Is it possible to just believe in Jesus and not the Holy Spirit? Do you know Christians who seem to ignore the Holy Spirit?


      1. Is it possible to have too great a focus on the Holy Spirit?


    2. Read John 3:5-6 and 2 Timothy 3:1-5. How do these texts answer our questions about the relative importance of the Holy Spirit? (The power of the Holy Spirit is essential to the Christian life.)


    3. Read Acts 1:4-5. How important was Holy Spirit to the work of the disciples? (They were not to start working without it!)


    4. Read Acts 2:1-4. How was the power of the Holy Spirit manifest to the disciples? (Sound, fire and speaking in tongues.)


      1. We just learned that the Holy Spirit is essential to a Christian's life. I've never had sound, fire and tongues appear anywhere that I have worshiped. Although I am not charismatic, I regularly worship with charismatic Christians. Does that mean we are all in trouble? Non-charismatic Christians are afraid of these things, and charismatic Christians are still hoping for them!


      2. Let's look at this from another angle. What was the point of the sound, fire and tongues at Pentecost (Acts 2)? (If you read Acts 2 you see that the sound attracted the crowd, and the gift of tongues allowed the gospel to be effectively preached.)


        1. Does that fit what we first learned about the work of the Holy Spirit? (The goal is preaching conviction of sin, righteousness through Christ and a coming judgment. The sound and fire were like Jesus' miracles in that they got the attention of the people who then were able to hear His message.)


        2. What would be the equivalent of this today? (Sound and fire would get the same results today - but the underlying goal is to use a method to get the attention of unbelievers so they can hear the gospel.)


  2. Our Fruit


    1. Read Luke 6:43-45. What does Jesus teach about the Christian and fruit? (That the product of our life (the fruit) reflects the thoughts of our mind.)


    2. Read Luke 6:46-48. Does Jesus expect us to have good fruit? (It is essential to withstanding the storms of life.)


    3. Context is extremely important. What was Jesus talking about in Luke 6 just before His started talking about fruit, minds and storms? (If you scan Luke 6:17-38 you will find Luke's version of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.)


      1. What does the Sermon on the Mount have to do with fruit? (Jesus explains the extraordinary life He is looking for in His followers, and then essentially says,"If your mind is right your actions will be right.")


    4. Read John 15:1-4. What is the source of our "fruit?" (Remaining in Jesus.)


      1. What does this mean following Jesus' return to heaven? (Keeping a connection with the Holy Spirit.)


    5. Let's circle around and make the logical link. Can you see any connection between the sound, fire and tongues of Acts 2 and the fruit of the life connected to the Holy Spirit today? (Recall that the whole purpose of the sound, fire and tongues was to get the attention of the people and then share with them the gospel. A life lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount will get you noticed! I believe that in many ways it is the equivalent of the fury and glory of Pentecost. I'm still looking for sound, fire and tongues, but what seems to be available to us is a Spirit-filled mind that reflects a life lived in accord with the Sermon on the Mount.)


    6. Some argue that our actions make no difference. The law is abolished and we need not be concerned about how we live because we are saved by grace. Does this seem right in light of what we have just studied? (Our actions reflect our thoughts. They show whether we are connected to the Holy Spirit.)


    1. Friend, is the Holy Spirit present in your life? If you don't see sound, fire and tongues, do you see a life lived in accord with the Sermon on the Mount? If you do not see either, why not, right now, ask the Holy Spirit to come into your mind with power?


  1. Next Week: The Fruit of the Spirit is Love.
* Copr. 2010, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2017 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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