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Sabbath School Lessons on Fruit of the Spirit
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 8: The Fruit of the Spirit is Faithfulness *
Introduction: Imagine parents whose children repeatedly rejected
them. The children even went so far as to claim their parents had
died (when they had not) and then asserted that they were children
of another couple! One day the real parents lost their lives
rescuing their ungrateful children from a fire. That is a picture
of faithfulness. That is the picture of what our God has done for
humans. As followers of God, what does He expect of us when it comes
to being faithful? Are we called to be firefighters? How do we get
to the point where God calls us ( Matthew 25:21) a "good and faithful
servant?" Let's jump into our study of the Bible and find out!
- Wedding Faithfulness
- Read Matthew 25:1. We have television shows where twenty
women will compete to marry one guy, or twenty men will
compete to marry one woman. Do we have ten potential
brides? Or, is this a polygamous marriage and we have ten
brides? (The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary
suggests that these are the bride's attendants. The groom
would go to the bride's home to take her back to his home
for the marriage. Thus, these attendants are waiting with
the bride for the groom to come.)
- Read Matthew 25:2-4. How important was it for these
attendants to be ready at whatever time the bride came?
(Very! They were not just some of the friends, they were
a part of the wedding.)
- Read Matthew 25:5-9. Let's talk about the "wise"
attendants for a while. How can they be wise and fall
- Who was it who woke them up? Someone more faithful
than they were?
- Did the wise love the foolish "as themselves"
( Matthew 22:39) when they refused to split their
extra oil with them?
- Read Matthew 25:10-12. The wise and selfish attendants
go in, and the foolish are shut out because they were
working hard to buy more oil. Does this seem fair to you?
- Read Matthew 25:13. Jesus suggests the problem is that
the foolish did not "keep watch." What would you say if
you were a foolish (but smart) attendant? (I would point
to the fact ( Matthew 25:5) that all of the attendants
fell asleep. No one was properly keeping watch!)
- Something else troubles me. Why would the groom say
that he never knew them? They were just late!
- When Jesus says "Keep watch, you don't know the day
or hour," is He talking about weddings? (No. Matthew
25:1 says this is about "the kingdom of heaven."
Christians understand Jesus to be telling a parable
about His Second Coming - the time when Jesus takes
us home to heaven.)
- Let's examine this story more deeply to understand what
Jesus is trying to teach us. What were the most
important factors for a favorable outcome? (Having an
extra oil supply and being ready at the right time.)
- What factors have no impact on the outcome of the
story? (Having some oil, having a lamp, falling
asleep, having to be alerted by someone else to the
coming of the groom.)
- Our lesson is about being faithful. In light of Jesus'
parable, what do you think it means to be faithful?
- What is the oil and where do we get an extra supply?
- The traditional answer is that the oil is the
Holy Spirit (see Zechariah 4), but how does
that fit with the idea of an "extra supply?"
- Read John 16:7-15, but specifically focus on John
16:13-15. Based on this, what do you think it means
to have an extra supply of the Holy Spirit?
(Understanding God more fully. The deeper our
understanding of the Bible, the more "oil" we have.)
- What does this say about whether the wise
attendants were selfish? (You cannot instantly
sell or share a deep understanding of God. Each
person must, through the power of the Holy
Spirit, study to know God.)
- Why was being asleep not important to the outcome? (This
shows that we can be mistaken, we can be asleep, we can
fail to understand things correctly, but if we have this
deep understanding of God, if we have a desire to know
Him, then He will waken us to truth at the right time.)
- Why was being chosen as an attendant, being part of the
bridal party, having oil and a lamp irrelevant to the
outcome? (Being a Christian, being a church member, having
some degree of the Holy Spirit in your life, and even
being a "light" do not guarantee the outcome. God is
looking for those who take their Christianity seriously.
Those who have an intense desire to know and do God's
will. Those are the faithful. Those are the ones who God
knows ( Matthew 25:12).)
- Servant Faithfulness
- Read Matthew 25:14-15. On what basis did the master
decide to distribute his property? (By the relative
talents of the servants.)
- I have this idea that God can work wonders through
anyone. The disciples seemed to be ordinary people.
On the other hand, Moses and Paul, seem
extraordinary. What does that teach us about
faithfulness? (If you were born with natural
talents, God expects more of you. What you can do
with God's blessings is extraordinary.)
- What if you are like me, and you see people
around you who are more talented? (God has
important work for us. We should not be envious
of those with more natural talents.)
- Read Matthew 25:16-23. Notice the final score - ten
talents for the one guy and only four for the other. One
fellow has 100% and one fellow has 40%. Forty percent is
a very failing score in my class. Why are they both
- How does this fit into the "extra supply" lesson
that we just learned from the story of the wedding
attendants? (The smarter you are, the more natural
ability you have to understand God's word. (But see,
1 Corinthians 1:20-21.) Natural talent may mean you
are given more opportunities, but it plays no role
in the final verdict: "Well done, good and faithful
servant! ... Come share your master's happiness!")
- Read Matthew 25:24-27. If the fellow had put the talent
in the bank and collected interest, would he have been
- Did this fellow get a break from the master because
he only started out with one talent? (No - at least
not from the obligation to do something to advance
the master's interests.)
- What must we do to avoid the fate of this one talent
- Read Matthew 25:28-29. Why give the one talent to the ten
talent guy as opposed to the faithful four talent guy?
- What does this teach us about the nature of our
natural talents? (They are not static! I started
out talking about natural abilities, those we had a
birth. But, this reveals an important Bible secret -
that the same God who endowed us with natural
talents at birth can expand and improve those
talents during our life if we put them to work for
- As you consider these two stories, what picture do you
now have about the meaning of faithfulness? (First, it
means that through the power of the Holy Spirit we study
to better understand the will of God. Second, it means
that we take that understanding, combine it with our
natural abilities, and we go to work to advance the
interests of our Master. We advance the Kingdom of God.
We are not troubled by people with more natural talent
who seem to be able to do more, but we know that if we
are diligent, God will bless us with more "natural"
- Friend, this is a challenge. Will you decide, right now,
to partner with the Holy Spirit to seek to more
completely understand God's will? As your understanding
of God's will improves, will you use your natural talents
to advance God's will? If so, look forward to these
words: "Well done, good and faithful servant! ... Come
share your master's happiness!"
- Next week: The Fruit of the Spirit is Meekness.
* 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.