Welcome back to our online Inductive Bible Study on the book of Galatians, “Free from Bondage God’s Way” by Kay Arthur. We just completed Week Five, “How do You Walk by the Spirit?” It’s hard to believe that we only have one more week of Bible study left, and our study of Galatians will be complete. What an amazing journey this has been!
We just celebrated Valentine’s Day. A day where men and women, young and old, give their hearts to one another by exchanging cards and gifts, flowers and candy, and candlelight dinners, etc. In other words, expressions of love. But what exactly is love?
According to blueletterbible.org, the Greek meaning of love is Agape, meaning “affection, good will, benevolence, and brotherly love.”
Paul tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22). Did you notice that “love” is the first of the fruit of the spirit? Can the remaining fruits of the Spirit exist without love? Let’s read on…
But the greatest commandment of all is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30)
“And the second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)
What greater reward is there but to love God and to live for God, which helps us to love in an incredible way. Without love, there would be no joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Love is a very strong emotion, which sets the standard for the fruit of the Spirit. I want to share a story with you that I read in a devotion series on “Love” by Robert Strand. This is a true story of love in action, which happened in the Ravensbruck concentration camp, where during World War II, Nazis put to death some 92,000 women and children:
It was a “Good Friday” and a group of women were lined up for the gas chamber. One of them became hysterical. From the crowd of other women, not chosen for death on that day, a figure emerged and approached the woman broken by fear and hysteria. She said, “It’s all right. It’s all right. I’ll take your place.”
That woman was Elizabeth Pilenko, who came from a very wealthy family in the south of Russia and eventually became a nun to work among the poor of the region. During the war, the convent in which she ministered became a safe house for many fleeing Jews. When the Gestapo came to the convent, on a tip from an informer, “Mother Maria” (as Elizabeth Pilenko was called) was arrested and sent to Ravensbruck. There she made a lasting impression on other prisoners–even the guards spoke of her as “that wonderful Russian nun.”
Isn’t it amazing how one human being can take the place of another who is condemned to death? There is no explanation but that this is an action of the fruit of the Spirit working out in human form. This story reminded me how Jesus died in our place to save us from our sins. He was God in human form, and He died in our place so we could live. Oh what amazing grace!
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).
How will you walk in love today?
Kay Arthur writes in the “Thought for the Week”…
“Don’t quench or grieve the precious Spirit of God! Let Him control your life, conquer sin, and bring forth His fruit–that of Christlikeness.”
ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK:
- Join a small group and fellowship with your fellow Bible students. https://www.facebook.com/groups/WBCInductiveStudies/
- Complete your study of Week Six, “Bearing the Cross…And His Brandmarks.”
- Pray before you begin your study. Ask your resident Teacher, the Holy Spirit, to open your heart to wisdom and understanding to learn His truths.
- Do an online word study on “Love” (Galatians 5:13-14) at www.blueletterbible.org. Record your findings on the Word Study Form located in “Files” in the Inductive Studies chat room.
- Store in your heart Galatians 5:16 (Week Five, Day Seven).
- Register for the next inductive study which starts March 14th http://www.womensbiblecafe.com/2016/02/ephesians-registration/
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR THIS WEEK (answer in small groups or post a comment here)
- What does the term “fallen from grace” mean? If you have fallen from grace, does that mean you have lost your salvation? (Galatians 5:4)
- If you are under the law, can you also be under grace? Are the two compatible?
- Does freedom from the law allow a Christian to live a life controlled by the flesh? What keeps a child of God from walking by the flesh?
- Name the major positive characteristics which show what love is and does. Why do you think that love is listed as the greatest? (Galatians 5: 13-15; Mark 12:28-34)
- How do you keep in step with the Spirit?