Topic: The Fruit Of The Spirit (STS 16 May 2021)
MEMORY VERSE: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22,23).
TEXT: Galatians 5:22,23; John 15:1-8 (KJV)
Galatians 5:22, 23:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
In Christendom, character is emphasized. The Bible gives this Christ-like pattern of character a pungent expression in Peter’s second epistle: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).
Question 1: What is meant by the expression, “fruit of the Spirit”?
These true Christian virtues are collectively called the “fruit of the Spirit” because they are interrelated (Galatians 5:22,23). They represent the character of Christ reproduced in the Christian by the Holy Spirit. These are not fruits of human efforts with which people endeavour to show good culture, courtesy, calmness (outward), kindness, endurance, etc. to the commendation of fellow human beings. The fruit of the Spirit is God’s character reproduced in the believer’s life by grace. God is the true Source of this fruit.
1.THE NATURE OF THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Galatians 5:22, 23; Ephesians 5:9
Paul the apostle, by inspiration, states the nine fruits produced by the Holy Spirit in the believer. They are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Galatians 5:22,23). The believer who claims to have the Spirit of God must bear His fruits. Let’s examine the fruits in detail.
First, love (1 Cor. 13; Rom. 13:10; John 13:34; 1 John 4:7-12). Love expresses itself in all the nine fruits. A Christian writer wrote how the eight other fruits of the spirit are anchored in love. He said: “Joy is love exulting; peace is love reposing; longsuffering is love enduring; gentleness is love refined; meekness is love with a bowed head; gentleness is love in action; temperance is true self-love; and faith is love confiding; so that the whole sum of Christian living is just loving.”
Question 2: How does love embrace all other fruits of the spirit?
Second, joy (Isaiah 61:10; Jer. 15:16; John 16:22; Act 8:8; 1 Peter 1:8). The initial experience of joy comes from the Lord when the sinner is saved through repentance and practical confession of faith in Christ. Money, mansions, might or material wealth never gives this joy. Being filled with joy in the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:6) is an experience meant for Kingdom citizens: “… The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Roman 14:17). This joy transcends troubles, challenges, tough circumstances, pains, and even death. It is unspeakable! Third, peace (Phil. 4:7; Rom. 5:1; Ps. 119:165; Isaiah 26:3). It is a gracious attribute of not being easily provoked. Jesus Christ, the Prince of peace, is the One who imparts the quiet, potent, gracious attitude of serenity that meets the bitterness of others with good cheer and repose. It is calm in crisis, untroubled in trial, and determined in disaster. Fourth, longsuffering (1 Cor. 13:4; Col. 1:11; 3:12; 2 Pet. 3:9; Exo. 34:6). Commonly called endurance or patience, longsuffering is the capacity of selfless love to bear all things and continue in adverse situations; a generous willingness to try to understand awkward people, disturbing events and unwelcome situations that God allows to come your way. As our Example, Christ “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame…” (Heb. 12:2). Longsuffering possesses the benefits of discipline, development and direction.
Fifth, gentleness (1 Thes. 2:7- 11; 2 Tim. 2:24; Psalm 18:25; James 3:17). It is God’s enduring quality in His dealing with man. Gentleness, the fruit of the Spirit, is different from natural gentleness which is exclusively enjoyed by loved ones. Gentleness which grows out of the Spirit is enjoyed by all – our friends as well as our persecutors, revilers, scorners, scoffers and all who speak evil against us. Gentleness is loving, appreciating, caring, tending, accommodating and correcting a friend, child or partner in a firm manner. Sixth, goodness (Gen. 45:5-8,15; 1 Sam. 24:17; Acts 7:60; 1 Thes. 5:15). God puts a great emphasis on good works by those who profess to have received His grace. Christ, our Example practically “went about doing good”. The Christian whose life reflects goodness is one with a noble purpose, strong character, reliable conduct and trustworthy lifestyle. He is good, gracious, generous, gentle, peaceful and joyful, and delights in making others happy. Goodness takes away any sense of pride or patronage. Seventh, faith (1 Sam. 17:34; Psalm 37:3, 5; Isaiah 26:3, 4; Psalm 125:1). Faith is the divinely implanted attribute of inward and wholehearted confidence, trust in and reliance on God and all that He says. The basis of believer’s faith is love. The Christian, who is full of faith, loves to the point of trusting and yielding himself faithfully to service of the church and fellow men. Faith is active. It puts the best construction on every situation. It pushes on, perseveres and remains loyal even when there are reverses and disappointments. Eight, meekness (Luke 6:29; 1 Pet. 3:4; Gal. 6:1; Num. 12:3). Meekness, the nature and character of Christ, is the quality of being gentle, pliant, flexible but firm and frank. It is the attribute of being strong, courageous and mild. The meek uses his strength and courage to defend God’s glory and helps other brethren to live a happy life. He is submissive, quiet, kind, soft and patient especially with the weak. Ninth, temperance (Titus 2:2; Prov. 16:32; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; Jam. 3:2). Temperance, also called self-control, moderation or self–restraint, is the outward sign of a disciplined life. It is bringing the believer’s total personality – body, mind, emotion, will, appetites, drives, desires, instincts and spirit into subjection to Christ.
Question 3: Explain the nature and manifestation of three fruit of the Spirit in the text.
2.THE CONDITIONS OF FRUIT-BEARING
John 15:1-8; Psalm 1:1-3; John 12:24; Romans 7:4
Many think it is impossible to bear the fruit of the Spirit without being baptized in the Holy Spirit. They err because the list of virtues in Galatians 5:22,23 are not called the fruit of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of Christ that comes into the believer at salvation that bears the fruits in and through him. So, salvation experience – not membership of a church, tithing or being involved in church activities – is the basic condition for fruit-bearing.
Question 4: Mention some of the conditions for fruit-bearing.
Second, there is the necessity of abiding in Christ to continue to bear fruit. “He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:4, 5). Third, we must partake of God’s divine nature. Fourth, we must hold fast or cleave to Christ to avoid being plucked off by violent storms. Fifth, believers who wish to bring forth fruits unto righteousness must be consistent in feeding on the word of life (Job 20:17; Isaiah 33:21). Sixth, death of the old man will give way to a fruitful life (John 12:24; Colossians 3:5). Seventh, much as fruitfulness in marriage is possible through intimacy of the couple, believers must maintain regular fellowship and communion with Christ to be able to bear fruit (Romans 7:4).
3.THE BENEFITS OF THE FRUIT-BEARING LIFE
John 15:7, 8; Psalm 92:13, 14; Ezekiel 47:12