The Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament Church

Course: The Fruit of the Spirit

Lesson 10


Lesson Title:  Self-control


Lesson Goal:  that the student will understand that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit and cultivat it in his or her daily life.


Text:  Galatians 5:22-23  'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.'


Theme:  Self-control is the power of the Holy Spirit restraining us so that we are in control of our desires and passions.


Introduction:  Self-control is the Greek word 'Enkrateia' - literally meaning 'in strength'. 

It means having the strength to

·        control the desires

·        overcome evil passions  

·        have self restraint at all times and in all things


Self-control is the fruit of the Holy Spirit and has nothing to do with will power. 

·        It is the indwelling Spirit of God enabling us to control desires (good or evil) and to overcome 'the works of the flesh'.

·        It is the life of Christ in the believer.

Self-control stands in contrast to the works of the flesh that mark a person who is controlled by the carnal nature. 


·        This word is used in three places in the New Testament,

It is the last mentioned fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:25 

It is added to knowledge and must produce patience in 2 Peter 1:6 .

It stands between righteousness and judgement in Paul's message to Felix, Acts 24:25.    


Introductory Story:  Paul and Felix. (Acts 24:25).

‘And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for you.’


Details concerning Antonius Felix and Drusilla 

·        Felix was the Roman Procurator of  Judaea;

·        His wife Drusilla was a Jewess.

·        Drusilla was youngest daughter of Herod Agrippa 1 (who killed James in Acts 12).

·        About 19 years old at time of Acts 24 (AD 57).

·        She had been married to the King of Emesa, a small state in Syria.

·        Felix lured her away from her husband with the help of a magician and she became Felix's third wife.

·        Felix held power given by Rome, but he was a man controlled by his passions.


Paul before Felix

·        When Paul spoke to him he did not talk about his own situation but he spoke to Felix about 'righteousness, self-control and judgement to come'. 

·        Paul had a power Felix did not have the power over the dominion of sin in his life.

·        Paul the prisoner was free because he was the righteousness of Christ, he was empowered in daily life by the Holy Spirit with the fruit of self-control, and free from the judgement to come through the Lord Jesus Christ.

·        It was Felix the Roman governor who trembled before Paul the prisoner.



1. The fruit of self-control is the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit.

·        It is not will power; it is the Holy Spirit in control of the will.  The fruit of self-control is seen in Gethsemane when Jesus said to the Father 'Not my will, but Your will be done', Luke 22:42.


·        We can only present our bodies as a living sacrifice with self-control, Romans 12:1-2.


·        Self-control must guard the thought life, 2 Corinthians 10:5.   It is being transformed in the inner man so that every thought and desire is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.  Paul said he brought every thought into captivity (2 Corinthians 10:5).  The Holy Spirit was in control so that no uncontrolled thought was allowed to have access into Paul's mind.  The importance of our thoughts is known when we realise that our minds are the dwelling place of God; the place of communion with God.


2.  Self-control is the fruit of the Spirit that overcomes evil desires.  Self-control must stand as a sentry (guard) on the heart.  Lust cannot find a dwelling place when self-control guards the heart.

·        Young people must cultivate this fruit.  The sins of the youth bear painful memories throughout life.  'Remember not the sins of my youth', Psalm 25:7.

·        Self-control must always be on guard. Not just in youth - David needed to exercise self-control when he saw Bethsheba bathing, 2 Samuel 11:1-5. 

·        Personal Testimony:  Philippines - naval servicemen coming to Subic Bay had 'no self-control'.   They were an easy prey for evil (Proverbs 7).


3.      Self-control is the fruit of the Spirit that enables the believer to live a disciplined life.    

·        It is not works of self denial but it is a life under the control of the Holy Spirit. 

·        Self-control not only keeps us from evil but it will also empower us so that we will not be a stumbling block to another person, Romans 15:1-6.  The Lord gives liberty to the believer in many areas but a disciplined life is necessary in order not to offend another believer (1 Corinthians 8:9).  Liberty must be used with love.All things are lawful but not all things are expedient. (1 Corinthians 6:12; 10:23)


Conclusion:  The fruit of the Spirit, self-control is 

1)     …not will power but the Holy Spirit in control of the will.

2)     …the guard that keeps us from evil desires.

3)     …the power that keeps us from offending a believer in Christ through insistence upon our freedom in Christ.




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