Course:  The Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament Church.

Course Title: The Fruit of the Spirit (10 Lessons)


Introductory Lesson One:

Lesson Title:  The Fruit in Contrast to the Works of the Flesh

Lesson Goal:  To be able to recognise the works of the flesh and avoid them.

Text:  Galatians 5:19-25


Introduction: The works of the flesh stand in contrast to the fruit of the Spirit. Precious gems are best displayed on a dark background. The contrast brings out the beauty of the gem.

This contrast is mentioned in Philippians 2:15 'That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world;'

1)     Love is contrasted by hatred (Greek echthra) Galatians 5:20.

2)     Joy is contrasted by anxiety and worry (Greek merimnao). Matthew 6:25-33 'take no thought' (worry and anxiety)

3)     Peace is contrasted by strife and hostility (Greek eris) Galatians 5:20.

4)     Longsuffering is contrasted by wrath (Greek thumos) Galatians 5:20.

5)     Gentleness is contrasted by injurious and destructive evil (Greek poneros) Matthew 15:19 (evil thoughts)

6)     Goodness is contrasted by moral or ethical evil (Greek kakos).

7)     Faithfulness is contrasted by unfaithfulness (Greek apistos)

8)     Meekness is contrasted by being puffed up with pride (Greek phusioo - to puff up) 1 Corinthians 4:6.

9)     Temperance is contrasted with unrestrained lust (Greek akrates - without self control) 2 Timothy 3:3.

Works are plural and are only united in their downward path.

The list of the works of the flesh is not exclusive ‘… and such like’ (Galatians 5:21). 

The fruit of the Spirit is singular - the variety of the fruit reflects its unity and harmony. 

There is a bonding between the fruit of the Spirit.

The works of the flesh divide into three groups: sexual, spiritual and social. For the list of the works of the flesh - click here

1)      Sexual immorality;

2)      Spiritual idolatry;

3)      Social conflict (lovers of self) and

4)      Social revelry (lovers of pleasure). 

The works of the flesh have a downward progression. Hatred can lead to divisions and even murder. Within the body of Christ a party spirit will lead to separation and to heresies. Excessively domineering leadership will lead the body of Christ into bondage and leave her unable to move in the Holy Spirit.

Point to consider: The works of the flesh are always evident in popular films; novels; and soaps.

Films - based upon the works of the flesh.

A good selling novel promotes the 'works of the flesh'. Adultery, Hatred, Murder, Witchcraft etc.

If you watch the soaps notice how the script is built upon the works of the flesh seen in Galatians 5:19-21: 'Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are…'

1)  sexual desires

2)  idolatry and witchcraft

3)  social conflicts

4)  Social revelling.

Films, novels, and TV soaps provide a means of gratifying the desire for the works of the flesh without being actively involved in them. The advantage of this is that the desire is gratified without having to suffer evil consequences or even a bad conscience.

Main Points:

1.     Immoral sexual desires:

Adultery, fornication, uncleanness and lasciviousness. The first three involve shame in immoral actions. The fourth goes beyond this into shameless conduct glorying in immorality.

Adultery, (Greek moichos). Immoral intercourse with or by the spouse of another.

Fornication, (Greek porneia). Immoral sexual intercourse (includes prostitution, harlotry).

Uncleanness, (Greek akatharsia a negative kathairo to purify (moral impurity). An immoral sexual act of uncleanness but still hiding the sin.

Lasciviousness, (Greek aselgia) Absence of restraint (without shame).

The immoral act no longer produces shame. The person does not seek to hide the sin but openly seeks to fulfil his or her lust. Shameless conduct, person so controlled by lust unashamed to act like a depraved animal.

The depravity becomes a glorying in committing immorality.

Sexual immorality was a characteristic of pagan religions and the gratification of sexual desires had a close association with idolatry.

2.     Spiritual desires.

Religion is the means to gratify the desires of the flesh through idolatry and witchcraft. Idols bring the recipient a sense of 'good luck' and drugs can provide feelings of serenity and peace. Bringing bondage - Idolatry enslaves through superstition, witchcraft enslaves through enticement.

Idolatry (Greek eidololatreia). Worship of idols. From eidolon 'idol' and latreia 'service'. Pagan sacrifices were sacrificed to demons, 1 Corinthians 10:19.

Idolatry enslaves the mind of the idolator 'they followed vanity and became vain'. (2 Kings 17:15). They became like the idols they followed. The idols were empty and worthless and they became empty and worthless. The Apostle John wrote 'keep yourselves from idols' (1 John 5:21).

Witchcraft  (Greek pharmakeia (the ministering of drugs). Idolatry enslaves, witchcraft entices. In pagan religions drugs were used to dull the senses so that the mysteries could be revealed without fear of them being ridiculed by reason. Pharmakeia was associated with the use of medicine, drugs, and forms of poisoning; but it was also associated with spells, and sorcery.

Consider the great interest in witchcraft in the present day.  The success of Harry Potter can be attributed to the desire for the works of the flesh and the enticement of witchcraft.

3.     Social conflicts. Rooted in being 'lovers of self'

The enthronement of self brings conflict. The works of the flesh find fulfilment in hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, and murders.

Initial conflict

Hatred (Greek echthrai) means personal animosities. This stands in contrast to love 'agape'. It means enmity from echthros enemy.

Variance (Greek eris) means rivalry, discord. Strife is the expression of enmity. Strife, contentions.

Emulations  (Greek zeloi>) means jealousies - zealously desiring what another has got. Jealousy seeks to have what another possesses, It was jealousy that caused the brothers of Joseph to sell him into slavery (Acts 7:9). Envy (phthonos) wants to take away from someone what he or she possesses.

Wrath (Greek thumoi) means stirring emotions followed by explosions; hot anger, passion; an agitated condition of the feelings; an outburst of wrath from inward indignation.This stands in contrast to longsuffering 'makrothumia'.

Followers and Divisions

Strife (Greek eritheiai) means party spirit; faction; rivalry. It is the fruit of jealousy. Derived from erithos 'a hireling'. It is not strife through direct confrontation, it seeks to gain support and win followers.

Seditions  (Greek dichostasiai) means standing apart - dicha 'asunder' and stasis 'a standing' - di indicates division. Cf. Romans 16:17 'mark those who cause divisions and turn away'.

Heresies (Greek aireseis) means choosing opinions.  A choosing - A self willed opinion, which is substituted for submission to the power of truth, and leads to division and the formation of sects. A division and the formation of a party or sect in contrast to the uniting power of 'the truth'.

Violent conflict

Envyings  (Greek phthonoi) The desire of ill-will towards another; it is the feeling of displeasure produced by witnessing or hearing of the advantage or prosperity of others. Envy seeks to take it from them. It was envy that caused the chief priests to crucify Jesus (Mark 15:10).

Murders (Greek phonoi) The act of murder. It can result from feelings of bitterness; hatred; jealousy; envy etc.. It is a consequence of malice (Greek kakia) Ephesians 4:31.

4.     Social revelry. Rooted in being 'lovers of pleasure'.

Drunkenness  (Greek methai) means drunken excesses.  It is the habitual intoxication of the drunkard. Associated with the mystery religions.  Intoxicated by abominations, 1 Thessalonians 5:7b; metaphorically of the effect upon men of partaking of the abominations of the Babylonish system. Intoxicated on blood, Rev.17:2, 6.

Revellings (Greek komoi) means drinking parties associated with drunkenness.

Komos originally referred to a group of friends who sang praises as they accompanied a person who had triumphed at the games to his home. The word later came to be associated only with the drunken revelling that took place.

5.     The fruit of the Spirit in contrast to the works of the flesh.

The fruit of the Spirit is the life of Christ in the life of the believer, 'Christ who is our life' Colossians 3:1-4.

2 Corinthians 5:17 'if any man be in Christ he is a new creation'.

New life - the life of Christ in the life of the believer.

We are crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20)

Buried with Christ (Romans 6:4)

Risen with Christ (Colossians 3:1)

Seated in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 2:6).

This new life is seen in the fruit of the Spirit.



The carnal man is at enmity with God. If we do not walk in the Spirit then we will gravitate down to the works of the flesh. The works of the flesh will seek

1) Sexual fulfilment through the gratification of immoral sexual desires.

2) Spiritual fulfilment through idolatry and witchcraft.

3) Being 'lovers of self' leads to Social conflicts.

4) Being 'lovers of pleasure' leads to social revelry - fulfilled in drunkenness and revelling.

5) The fruit of the Spirit stands in complete contrast to the works of the flesh; it is the life of Christ in the life of the believer.

What should we do?

1)     Avoid sexual immorality – run from it.

2)     Avoid the lure and enticement of idolatry and witchcraft.

3)     Avoid social conflicts and revelling. 

4)     Let our lives bring honour to the Lord.



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