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A Little Yeast

Galatians 5:9-12

Yeast is known world-wide. It is used in brewing, to convert sugars into alcohol; and in baking, to produce carbon dioxide which lightens or ‘leavens’ the texture of bread. Yeast cells grow at an amazing rate, budding off ‘daughter cells’ which also grow and bud. It only requires a little yeast in the right growing conditions to eventually produce millions of yeast cells which have a powerfully increased effect. Paul used yeast as an illustration to show how easily false teaching can spread through a church and change it.

Free To Serve

Galatians 5:13

What do we mean by freedom? It depends on the context. The man who has been released from prison is free of being controlled, but has a new responsibility to control himself. A child who runs away from home is free of the constraints of the family, but is very vulnerable and at risk of being caught up in things that would enslave him or her. Paul said that the freedom we have in Christ is not freedom to do what we like but freedom to serve the Lord and others.

The Law Of Love

Galatians 5:14-15

Paul was writing to believers who were arguing with each other. The issue was whether or not you could be a true Christian if you did not also fulfil all the Jewish laws. The legalists were so insistent that they were right that they behaved like wild animals, biting and tearing at each other with sharp claws. Paul then drew them back to the law they were supposedly defending.

The War Of Love

Galatians 5:16-18

Not all conflict comes outside of us. The most important conflicts go on inside our hearts. The Spirit of God comes into people who believe in Jesus, giving them the desire and the power to resist the passions of the flesh. But our sinful natures are set to ignore the Spirit of God and neutralise His instructions. So there is a contest between God’s will and our sinful passions: between His Spirit and our flesh. They are totally opposite to each other. Without God’s power we will fall, but if we let His Spirit operate in us, He will help us to overcome those wrong impulses.

The War Of Flesh

Galatians 5:19-21

In these verses, our ‘flesh’ is not the skin and muscle of our bodies, but the inner desire to please ourselves. That self-pleasure does not accept the authority of God over us or consider any responsibility to other people. So when we allow our ‘flesh’ to take control of our minds and body, our actions will display no regard for anybody else. Indeed, we will show that we are at war with God and other people.

The Fruit Of The Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23

When the Holy Spirit is allowed to operate in a believer’s heart, He produces deep changes. In contrast to the ‘acts of the flesh’ (Galatians 5:19-21) - which are all offensive to God, His law and to other people - the Spirit’s activity is fully in tune with God’s heart. There is no Divine penalty for anything produced as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work. Instead, God is glorified, people are blessed and the believer is satisfied.

Dead Passions

Galatians 5:24 

Passions are powerful. They are the deep desires which stir our imagination, motivate us to action and seem to want to control our thinking. But we are not animals, unable to understand our impulses or unable to control them. We are made in the image of God, and He is the Master at choosing how and when to express His deep desires – His desires are always right and He always makes right choices.

Marching In Step

Galatians 5:25

When we first trusted in Jesus, by repentance and faith, the Holy Spirit was given to us. He caused us to be born again into God’s family (John 3:3-8), and sealed us with God’s promise of eternal life (Ephesians 1:13). It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the inner assurance that we belong to God (Romans 8:15-17).

Keep Humble

Galatians 5:26

Pride is a many-headed monster. It shows itself in all sorts of guises including conceit, which starts from false ideas about ourselves - believing that we are cleverer, more attractive, wiser, more knowledgeable and generally morally better than we really are. Conceit lifts us up and pushes others down; it gives us a desire to taunt others about their inferiority, at the same time as we secretly envy what they do and who they are.

The Traps of Sin

Galatians 6:1

Sin is described as a trap which ensnares people. It stops them moving forward with God and anchors them in a painful and frightening place. Paul recognises that believers do get trapped in some way and yet God has provided brothers and sisters who are living by the Spirit, and are free to see the people who are trapped and help them.