Introduction

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INTRODUCTION:

Maisie and fruit (People like fruit because it tastes good and it has a sweetness to it)

For the next few weeks, I want us to study the Fruit of the Spirit as it is described in Galatians 5:22-23.  It is this fruit in our lives that makes us extremely attractive not only to other Christians but also to the world. There is a sweetness to the fruit that the Spirit grows in us.

This past week we celebrated Pentecost and concluded our Breathe Out series.

Today I want to introduce us to the Fruit of the Spirit and why it is important for us to look at.

Movement 1:

BELIEF and BEHAVIOR work together…

  1. Right BELIEF does not necessarily equal right BEHAVIOR (Matthew 7:20-23).

Matthew 7:20-23 (NLT)

20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

Orthodoxy, or right opinion is at best, a very slender part of religion.  Though right tempers [behaviors] cannot subsist without right opinions [beliefs], yet right opinions [beliefs] may subsist without right tempers [behaviors].  There may be a right opinion of God without either love or one right temper toward him. Satan is proof of this.
-John Wesley

As believers, our beliefs must be embodied; translate into behaviors that make us different than those who do not have the hope of Christ! What we do with our bodies, our behaviors, in turn, serve to shape what we believe.

  1. Galatians 5:19-23a is the ‘acid test’ for BEHAVIOR.

Galatians 5:19-23a (NLT)

19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division,21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.

  1. Galatians 5:23b-25 is the ‘acid test’ for BELIEF (James 2:26; Matthew 7:20).

James 2:26 (NLT)

26 Just as the body is dead without breath,[a] so also faith is dead without good works.

James says “faith without deeds is dead” and Jesus taught, “by their fruit you will recognize them.”

Galatians 5:23b-25 (NLT)

There is no law against these things!

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Belief and behavior work together.

Your believing must equal your behaving

Your behaving must equal your believing

Movement 2:

BASIC BELIEFS OF FRUITOLOGY:

  1. Think of FRUIT not FRUITS:

The nine qualities that are listed as the FRUIT of the Spirit must not be confused as being the FRUITS of the Spirit.  The picture given to us is not like the picture of going to the grocery store to the produce section and picking and choosing what fruit you want.  The elements of Fruitology works all this fruit in our lives – not just this one or that one.

Story of food waste and consumer habits:

A report in the Guardian in 2016 reported that in the US, half of all produce is thrown away. In their reporting they noted that the demand for ‘perfect’ fruit and veg means much is discarded, damaging the climate and leaving people hungry.

“Vast quantities of fresh produce grown in the US are left in the field to rot, fed to livestock or hauled directly from the field to landfill, because of unrealistic and unyielding cosmetic standards, according to official data and interviews with dozens of farmers, packers, truckers, researchers, campaigners and government officials.”

“Globally, about one-third of food is wasted: 1.6bn tonnes of produce a year, with a value of about $1tn. If this wasted food were stacked in 20-cubic metre skips, it would fill 80m of them, enough to reach all the way to the moon, and encircle it once.” 

We head to the grocery store and we are met with a vast array of choices of produce to look at and purchase. We browse through the fruit section and carefully sort through the different kinds and choose the perfect apple or banana or mango or perhaps papaya.

Now when you think of all the people in the grocery store that day picking and choosing what fruit they would take, this is not the picture that Paul had in mind.  He was not thinking of Christians coming along and looking at the list to pick one out that they liked:  “Hmmm, I think I’ll pick “joy”;  I think I’ll major on that one in my life”.  Paul doesn’t want us to pick this or that fruit.  His instruction is to have all this fruit growing in our lives.

When we concentrate on picking out one fruit of the Spirit, we abandon the rest and leave the world void of that fruit and hungering for more.

I believe we are reaping a concentration on certain fruit of the Spirit today. For many years Christians have been so focused on being good and faithful that it becomes a quest for personal piety and we forget about love, patience, and kindness to those who may look, believe, or act different than us.

Also, as we begin this study, we must remember to not confuse the fruit of the spirit with the gifts of the Spirit.  When it comes to the gifts of the Spirit — we get some of the gifts but not all of them.  In contrast, when it comes to the fruit of the Spirit – being transformed by the Spirit grows all this fruit in our lives.

  1. The connection between the FRUIT and the ROOT:

The fruit is the characteristic that grows in our lives, the root is the character of God out of which the characteristic in our lives grows.

The Fruit of the Spirit The Character of God

Love                             …God is love. (1 John 4.8)

Joy                        He will rejoice over you… (Zephaniah 3.17)

Peace                            …the God of peace… (Hebrews 13.20)

Patience                 He is patient with you… (2 Peter 3.9)

Kindness               …his kindness to us… (Ephesians 2.7)

Goodness               I will see the goodness of the Lord… (Psalms 27.13)

Faithfulness                  …great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3.23)

Gentleness                    …I am gentle and humble… (Matthew 11.29)

Self-control                   …God, slow to anger… (Exodus 34.6)

  1. The Fruit is to be our CHARACTERISTICS:

Now as you look at this list, you might be saying:  “yes, but that is what God is like, how can I hope to be like that?”

Paul is not holding out a standard that is impossible that we should just do the best we can with.  How do I know that? There is a command in the Scripture to possess each of the fruit of the Spirit.

The Fruit of the Spirit        The Command in the Scripture

Love                            …love your ENEMIES (Matthew 5.44)

Joy                               Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS. (Philippians 4.4)

Peace                                    …live at peace with EVERYONE. (Romans 12:18)

Patience                       …be patient with EVERYONE(1 Thessalonians 5.14)

Kindness                     CLOTHE yourself with… kindness… (Colossians 3.12)

Goodness                    …let us do good to ALL people… (Galatians 6.10)

Faithfulness                          Be faithful, even to the point of DEATH. (Rev. 2.10)

Gentleness                   …show true humility toward ALL men. (Titus 3.2)

Self-control                           BE self-controlled and alert. (1 Peter 5.8)

The fruit of the spirit is to be a life quality that is not turned on or off.  Every one of us show each of the nine fruit of the Spirit at times.  It is not the issue of whether or not . . . am I patient at times?  or am I good at times? or am I loving at times? or do I have joy at times?  Those are not the questions to ask . . . we can all say yes to that.  We must understand that this is a standard for how we live our life.

How is all this possible?

APPLICATION:

A Spirit-filled life is a result of two things:

 

  1. God’s RESOLVE.

The Spirit’s resolve for our lives is that the passions and desires of the human nature be replaced with the fruit of the Spirit.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

-Galatians 5:24

Passions and desires refer to the acts of the sinful nature that are noted in verse 19.  These are the natural result of human nature trying to live by its own power under the law (v.18).

Romans 6:6 refers to our sinful nature and helps us understand that on our own power – even if we fight and struggle to live according to the law… we remain…

…slaves to SIN

-Romans 6:6

Romans 6:18 provides the contrast of the Spirit’s resolve for our lives…

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to RIGHTEOUSNESS.

-Romans 6:18

How is this possible?  The Scripture tells us how it’s possible in 2 Corinthians 5:17,18a:

Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone,

[Refers to acts of sinful nature in Galatians 5:19-21]

the new has come!

[Refers to fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23]

All this is from God.

-2 Corinthians 5:17,18a

  1. Our RESPONSE.

A slogan on a teenager’s T-shirt:

Your team can make you hustle . . .

Your coach can put you on the team . . .

A scout can give you a scholarship . . .

But only you can make you a player!

We not only need to have God’s Holy Spirit at work in us, but we must obediently respond to the prompting of the Spirit in our lives.  As the Scripture that we read indicates:  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (v.25)

 

How do we keep in step with the Spirit?

  1. ASK. It is the desire of our heart

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

-Psalm 139.23-24

  • OBEY. When we call, then we listen and say yes to what God is asking us to do.

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.

-Hebrews 4.7

 

  1. BELIEVE.

 

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

-2 Corinthians 12.9

 

  • Live. Romans 12. Fruit of the Spirit.

 

Response:

Where are you in keeping in step with the Spirit? In the Church of the Nazarene we talk about entire sanctification. This simply means that there is a moment in your life where we surrender to God everything and become fully devoted to Him and where our desires are made pure.

If we can ever be able to bear the fruit that Christ desires for us to bear to our world, we must ask, obey, believe, and live. We must be entirely sold out to Christ and allowing his transformational work in our lives.

Today is Trinity Sunday on the Christian calendar. This is significant because it is a reminder to us that as we are going, we are to be and make Christ-like disciples here and around the world, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

This becoming happens through the power of the Holy Spirit, through Christ the Son, in the name of the Father.

So where are you today? Are you keeping in step with the Spirit?

Fruitology: Elements of a Transformed Life
Fruitology: Elements of a Transformed Life
Fruitology: Elements of a Transformed Life

Goodness