Today I want to share with you on the Fruit of the Spirit from some lessons I have been taught.
The life of a Christian is located in 4 areas:
- The body of Christ
- The gifts of the Holy Spirit
- The beatitudes and
- The Fruit of the Spirit
What is the most influential aspect of a Christians life and witness? It is Character! Your character defines who you are. A Christ-like character is your most important spiritual possession. Your calling, gifts and compassion are intermittent, whereas your character is a twenty-four hour a day experience of Christ.
What is the fruit of the Spirit?
The fruit of the spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Long-suffering (patience), Kindness, Goodness, faithfulness, Meekness (gentleness) and Self Control.
Note how the word Fruit is singular and not plural. Its one fruit with 9 aspects.
The heart of the Fruit of the Spirit is love. " The love of God abundantly poured into our hearts by the holy spirit. " Romans 5:5, John 7:37 - 39.
The fruit of the Spirit is about God's life of love being creatively formed and revealed in our lives. It is the highest form of Christian living but it is not a "cheap"product". It is revealed and given to those who earnestly long and seek to be Christ-like. It is open to all men and women and all men and women are called to it.
When love is genuinely central in our expression of Christian life, then all the other ingredients are being exercised and revealed. Love is made up of joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness and self-control.
Love is the outworking of Gods love in 4 directions:
1. Love for God: The bible tells us " You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your soul and with all your strength.
2. Love for our neighbours: The bible tells us " You shall love your neighbour as you love yourself." Our neighbour is any person whom you are able to help.
3. Love your enemies: The word tells us " Love your enemies and pray for those who despitefully use you"
4. Love between Christians: " A new commandment I give to you that you love one another as I have loved you. By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Divine joy is a new testament experience. The birth of Jesus was heralded by words of joy. " I bring you good tidings of great joy". The death of Jesus was sealed by joy. " These things have I spoken to you that my joy might remain in you and that your joy may be full."The cross is the central factor of our joy because it unites us to our loving and eternal Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The new testament has 70 references to joy. Christian joy is not the same as human happiness, which is dependent upon our situation in life. Christian joy is centred upon:
1. The joy of sins forgiven
2. The joy of Christs presence with us
3. The joy of eternal life with Christ
4. The joy of the Holy Spirit
If you place your ear close to the heart of humanity there is one constant desire - Peace. This is not merely the absence of conflict but the presence of the Lord.
" Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled and neither let it be afraid." " I have said this to you that in Me you might have peace. In the world you will have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." We have Peace WITH GOD, peace WITH MAN, and we have the PEACE OF GOD.
People are impatient by nature. It spoils so many good things. The word "patience" in this ingredient of the Fruit has three meanings.
1. Patience: The ability to wait for Gods time.
2. Long-suffering: The ability to continue to work for something despite even the malice or hate of others to whom you want to do good. Roman 12:20.
3. Endurance: The ability to press on until the job is done. Matthew 24:12-13
"Well done good and faithful servant", God has an abundant supply of starters but he desires finishers. Stayers power is the Fruit of Spirit
Kindness is often misunderstood in the Church and in the world. Kindness is not a simple factor. it is a deeply needful factor of life which so few people really have.
1. True kindness is borne out of a real and passionate love.
2. It is strong, sustained, warm and tender disposition to always seek the good of others.
3. It is unselfish and not self centred.
In short kindness is the Fruit of the Holy Spirit flowing from our innermost being to people in need.
Jesus said: " Why do you call me good? Only God is good". Goodness is the character of God. Human beings are bad, sinful and evil by nature. They are sinners who need to be transformed by God's goodness into His likeness. Our good deeds ethical standards and legalistic religion do not make us good. Goodness is God's character of benevolence in us. Goodness and God-likeness are synonymous. god has a cure: for badness, sinfulness and evil in us.
1. The blood of Jesus cleanses any evil in us.
2. Obedience destroys sinfulness
3. The fullness of the Holy Spirit changes the evil to goodness.
There are people who believe that faith is a natural faculty of mankind. For the Christian faith/faithfulness are the fruit of the spirit.
1. Faithfulness means you can be trusted. " If any man will come after me, let him take up his cross and follow me."
2. Faithfulness means you are reliable 3John 5." You do a faithful work"
3. Faithfulness means to go on until the job is done
Meekness is not weakness. Moses was a meek man. The word has 6 ingredients. Humility, Gentleness, Teach-ability, Control-ability, Self-sacrifice, Strength.
1. Humility in place of arrogance.
2. Control in place of Lawlessness
3. Self-sacrifice in place of indifference and cruelty.
4. Strength in place of insecurity
The "self" is a very strange person. It is the spoiler of so much. it is easily noticed by the following descriptions: Self love, self reliance, self confidence, self made, self indulgent.
The "self" is our greatest cause of pain because it is the most uncontrollable aspect of our personality. "Everywhere I go, I go too, and I spoil everything". There are those who believe you must a) know yourself, b) accept yourself, c) express yourself. Jesus gives the opposite advice." If anyone will come after Me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me." The fruit of the Spirit is self-control. It has nothing to do with what we can do but what God can do in and through us if we allow him space to do so. How does the self come under the control of God?
1. The Lordship of Christ
2. The power and indwelling of the Holy Spirit
3. The fellowship in the Body of Christ.
How to grow in the Fruit of the Spirit
How can we receive the Holy Spirits power in order that we might express the fruit of the Spirit?
1. Listen to the Lord Jesus Christ on the day of his Ascension Luke 24:49
2. Listen to his promise of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8
3. Observe the historical reality. Acts 2:4
4. Drink at the fountain of life. John 7:37-39; John 4:7-13
The deeper you live in Christ the more the flow of the spirit wells up within you. The more of the Lord Jesus Christ you reveal.