PART 3 AUDIO-VIDEO “Character Counts” The Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
Oswald Chambers said, “Spiritual maturity is not reached by the passing of the years, but by obedience to the will of God. Some people mature into an understanding of God’s will more quickly than others because they obey more readily; they more readily sacrifice the life of nature to the will of God.”
Maturity In Christ Comes When We Realize that On Our Own…We Can Not Meet Gods Demand of Holiness…Only When We Humble Ourselves and Receive by Grace, God the Holy Spirit, can We Bear “Good Fruit”!
Walking By The Spirit Empowers Us to Put Away the Habitual, Ongoing Evil Deeds of the Flesh and Instead Bear Good Fruit Produced by the Spirit.
When believers are Controlled by God the Holy Spirit, they Manifest: 3-Upward Fruit—Love, Joy and Peace (Gal. 5:22a) 3-Outward Fruit—Patience, Kindness and Goodness. (Gal.5:22b) 3-Inward Fruit—Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control (Gal. 5:23).
- God Gave Each Believer these 9 Manifestations of the Holy Spirit at Salvation and It is the Holy Spirits Goal to Transform Us into the Likeness of Jesus Christ for Mission!
- When We Put the Manifestations of the UPWARD Fruit of the Spirit Together in Our Relationship Towards God…Our First Love is For God…Our Chief Joy is Our Joy In God and… Our Deepest Peace is Our Peace With God.
When We Allow the Manifestation of the 3 OUTWARD FRUIT to Impact Our Relationship with Others…The Christian who is patient/long-suffering will Not Avenge themselves or Wish Difficulties on Those who Oppose Us. We will be Kind and Gentle, even with the Most Offensive…And will Sow Goodness where Others Sow Discord and Evil.
Our Illustration: Christian Character is Deep Inside Us. It is Often Unseen, like the soup carried in a dish high over a waiter’s head. Before it gets to the table, No One Knows What’s Inside—UNLESS THE WAITER GETS BUMPED AND TRIPS!
- Likewise, People Don’t Know what’s Inside Us Until We’ve Been Bumped. But if Christ is Living Inside, what Spills Out is the Fruit of the Spirit.
When the Believer Experiences the Manifestation of the INWARD FRUIT, their lives will be one of Integrity and Godly Character…Each of these Manifestations are a Testimony to Others Even When We are Not Speaking! And the Best Part…As We demonstrate these Manifestations of the Holy Spirit, We Will Impact Our World for Jesus Christ!
Today…In Our Final Part of this Series…I Want US to Understand that the Manifestation of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit in Our Lives is All About Character!
- Simply Character Counts! Who You are on the Inside is a Really a Big Deal.
- Your Attitudes and Your Values have Tremendous Importance to GOD!
I’m a fan of most Superhero movies…In the Original Spiderman Movie Peter Parker gets bitten by a Radioactive Spider and Starts doing All Sorts of SuperHuman stuff like Climbing Walls, Casting Webs…Special Spidey Senses, Super strength, and more. In the original movie Peter Parker – that’s Spiderman – is just starting to realize what he can do with these powers. The thing is, early on he’s not always using his powers well. He’s using his powers in ways that are selfish.
When Peter’s, Uncle Ben, sees what’s going on he Pulls Peter aside and says these words that I Have Never Forgotten, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.” Peter’s so blown away by his New Power that he wasn’t thinking about how to use it. Peter was so impressed by what he could do, that he’d taken his eyes off of who he was becoming.
Here’s My Point: Christianity is NOT Primarily about What You’re Doing for God (though that has its place); It’s ALL About Who You’re Becoming In Jesus Christ. You See…We Dare Not Get so Focused on the Things God Can Do THROUGH Us that We Ignore Who God Wants Us to Become in HIM. Developing Godly Character!
Please Do NOT Miss this Point! The Spirit Gives Every Believer in Jesus Christ Spiritual Gifts that Empower Us to Do Great Things for God and to Build His church. As we Surrender to God’s Spirit…He Works In Us to Accomplish God’s Plan for Our Lives! God Always Looks at Our Heart…And His Spirit Living Inside Us Seeks to Transform Our Character from the Inside Out.
ROMANS 12: 2-3 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
For the last two Weeks we’ve Studied the list of Ways the Holy Spirit seeks to Transform us from the inside out. In Galatians 5:22-23 we read, “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”
Paul calls these Manifestations in Us the “Fruit” of the Holy Spirit. What He’s Saying is: If You planted an Apple tree in Your back yard You Would Eventually Expect to see Apples Growing on it…Eventually that apple seed should produce something in my yard – Fruit! Apples!
Likewise, when the Holy Spirit is in Your life, Something Should Happen! Your Character – Who You Are on the Inside – Should become More Like Christ! Over the course of time and in increasing ways, the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives should Produce this Fruit in Us – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
And as I said two weeks ago…If A Person who is NOT Developing this Fruit Over a Period of Time (Becoming More Like Christ) Must Be UNREGENERATE!
- Matt 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
- Today it is Popular to Speak About Christ without Living a Life Focused on Holiness!
- The Attitude of the Pharisees…An Outward Showing without Spirit-Led Living!
What this Means is Really Important. This list of the “Fruit of the Spirit” is Not some Random Collection of Nice things to Consider if You’ve Got the Time and are Interested.
- This is a clear list of the things that God’s Spirit Wants to Do in You.
- This is a list of the difference the Holy Spirit should be Making Inside All of Us.
- With this in mind, I want to spend our time together Considering: How can the Fruit of the Spirit Grow in My Life?
There are 3 things that Followers of Jesus Need to Keep in Mind…The First is…Who You Are On the Inside is of Most Important to God. You can be Serving in lots of ways and Doing lots of things for God, But if that’s Not Matched by the Fruit of the Spirit in You (these character qualities we’ve seen in Gal 5), You are in Dangerous Territory.
Consider the Pharisees – They were doing lots of the right things. But They were Focused Only on the Externals and Neglected their Inner State, their Character. And the Sad thing, they Didn’t even Know They Were in a Dangerous Spot. (Check it out in Matthew 23:25-26.)
- KEY: Just because you’re doing lots of good things Externally Doesn’t Mean You Can Neglect Your Internal Character…Who You Are On the Inside.
The fruit of the Spirit that we saw in Galatians 5 drives this home. All these things the Spirit produces in us – love, joy, peace, patience…the whole list – these are All Attitudes. Not One of These is an Action. They Lead to Action…But Start On the Inside. YOUR ATTITUDE DETERMINES YOUR ACTION!
- Because the Spirit Works from the Inside Out, We Can Say With Anticipation, “Because of the Spirit’s work inside of me, I Can Be loving, and joyful, and peaceful, and patient, and kind, and good, and faithful, and gentle, and full of self-control.”
Here’s the Second thing we need to keep in mind when asking “How can the fruit of the Spirit Grow in My Life?”: Don’t just “Pick Your Favorites.”
Let Me Explain it This Way: If You had a bag of jelly beans in Your “Candy Stash” at home. And One night after supper they’re being Passed Around and Everyone was taking some when someone noticed that All the Orange Jelly Beans Were Gone! Someone had gotten to the bag first and had selectively picked All the orange jelly beans out and eaten them!
I Think We Can Do the Same Thing with the Fruit of the Spirit Sometimes?
- There are some things on this list that you probably personally gravitate toward.
- If you’re an athlete or really involved in some activity, you may like self-control, because you know how much discipline is involved with the things you do.
- If you’re someone who gets along with pretty much everyone and doesn’t like conflict, you probably naturally like “Peace” and “Kindness.”
- If You’re Always Happy and can see the Bright Side to Everything. You’ve Underlined “Joy” in this passage from Galatians 5.
What We Need to See…Is that this List of the Fruit of the Spirit Is Not some Buffet Line where You just Pick the Things You like the Most. The Spirit wants to Produce ALL of these things in Us. ONE Fruit Yielding 9 Outcomes!
As the Spirit Works in Us, there is to Be Growth in ALL 9 areas. Love AND Joy AND Peace AND Patience AND Kindness AND Goodness AND Faithfulness AND Gentleness AND Self-Control.
Apply this Point: Choose One Quality from this List that Normally would seem Really Difficult for You – One that Doesn’t Come Naturally…MINE IS PATIENCE! Maybe You have the Same Difficult with Patience…Maybe You’ve Always been Intimidated by Self-Control, or You Know you Need to Work on Kindness or Love. In the Coming Weeks…Spend time Every Day Praying that the Spirit would Grow this Specific Trait in Your Heart.
Remember that Growth Takes Time and Effort. As a Kid, I Grew up on a Farm In spring we would till the land and then when completed plant seeds of various kinds. Then we had to wait to see those little green things sprout up through the sod. The thing is, While We Were Doing All of This, We Can’t Actually Point to Anything Visible that’s Happening as a Result of Our Work. After We Planted the Seeds…For a While they are Just a Patch of Dirt! But Then the Day Comes when You See Something Growing!” Plants Start to Pop Out of the Ground All Over the Place. Even though Nothing Visible was Happening, Beneath the Surface of the Ground the Seed is Germinating.
There’s a Lot of Overlap Here with How the Fruit of the Spirit Grows in Us. Growing in the Fruit of the Spirit Takes Time and Effort. You May Not Always “FEEL” it Happening While it’s Happening.
- But as You Focus on These Character Qualities and Develop Habits that Cultivate these Qualities, Over the Course of Time You’ll See Growth!
- And then you KEEP Growing in Them Over the Course of Your Lifetime!
Two Applications Flow Out from this Point: First…Stick with it. If growing in the fruit of the Spirit takes time and effort, that means there might be times you wonder if you’re growing at all.
It’s like you’re looking at the garden beds and wondering if anything is really growing there! Don’t Give Up…Don’t Get Discouraged When this Happens. Keep Practicing Habits that Cultivate the Fruit of the Spirit – Reading your Bible, Prayer, and Good Christian Friendships. Just Stick With It!
- Then over the Course of time You’ll start to see this Fruit Popping up in Your Life.
Secondly…Encourage each other. Often We are Growing in Ways We Don’t Always See. Maybe You’re More Prone to See the things You Need to Work On in your life, Than the Ways the Holy Spirit is Producing this Fruit in Your Life.
- Here We Benefit from and Need the Encouragement of Others, Because Someone Else may See Growth in Our Life that We Didn’t. So if you see a brother or sister show patience or self-control, Give them an Attaboy or Attagirl. When You Notice…You’ll Will Encourage Them!
This is Part of Discipling…Keeping your Eyes Open for how Others are Showing this Fruit of the Spirit, and make sure You Encourage them in it. The Manifestation of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit should actually make a difference in the way we live our lives. And the Way the Holy Spirit Makes a Difference is by Transforming Us from the Inside Out.
- The Holy Spirit wants to Transform Our Character so we show the Fruit of the Spirit – Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.
- For this to Happen We Must Cooperate with the Holy Spirit: In our Study We’ve seen the Believer’s Relationship to the Holy Spirit Expressed in Several Analogies:
- 5:16 Walking. “ So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will Not gratify the desires of the flesh.
- 5:18 Being Led. “If you are led by the Spirit, you are Not under law.”
- 5:25 Conforming. “Since we live by the Spirit, let us Keep in Step with the Spirit.”
Here’s What These Analogies have in Common? They All Require the Believer to be Active Rather Than Passive. You are to Actively Seek the Companionship of the Spirit. You Walk at His Pace.
- You allow yourself to be Led, rather than trying to go your own way, and You Conform Yourself to the Spirit’s Will. Paul isn’t Accusing the Galatians of Not having the Holy Spirit. Instead…He’s Acknowledged that They Have Received the Spirit (3:2-5).
- Therefore, he’s telling them to Actively Embrace the Spirit They’ve Been Given.
Let the Power of God’s Spirit…That was Deposited In You at Salvation…Do Its Work to Transform Your Life…Not Fleshly Conformity…But Living each day in Holy Spirit Power.
Finally, Galatians 5 Compared the Acts of the Flesh and the Fruit of the Spirit. But in Verse 24 it says that Those who belong to Christ Jesus have “Crucified the Flesh with its Passions and Desires.
The “Flesh” that must be Crucified is the SIN that Exists in our Fallen human Nature.
Our bodies, though Not Sinful in Themselves, Naturally Crave Comfort and Pleasure, and All too Often they Succumb to Temptation, Producing the Works of the Flesh. These Sinful Passions and the Deeds of the flesh are what Christians Must Crucify. BUT HOW DO WE DO THAT????
To Crucify the Flesh is Simply to Starve it Out. If You Starve the Fleshly Desires while Feeding the Spirit, the Spirit will Begin to Overpower the Flesh…YOU SEE>>> You Can Not Fight the Flesh with Flesh…Rather You Must Strengthen Your Spirit, Feeding it on the Word of God, Worship, Prayer and Fellowship!
- The More of God You Consume the More His Spirit in You will Grow and Strengthen. Then the Fruit of the Spirit of God Will Rule in Your Heart and Life.
- The Outcome? With The Fruit of the Spirit Manifested In and Through Every Part of Your life…You Will Have Great Power to Bear Much Fruit and Draw People to Jesus Christ.
POINT: “With God’s Great Power Comes Great Responsibility.”