11-10-2018 The fruit of the Spirit
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The first fruit of the Spirit is “love’. Why? Because the rest of the fruit are a product of love.
I have three songs for you. The first is “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers, the other two are children’s songs. They are simple but to the point and I think they get the message across. I thought you might enjoy them, too.
Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield formed the group “the Righteous Brothers” and Bobby took the lead in Unchained Melody. Father put “Unchained Melody” on my heart because it is a powerfully done song. Bobby is singing, of course, about a lost love, a girl, but if we just turn the direction of the song and focus on Jesus, how would we feel if our relationship with our Lord were severed? Just how close is our relationship with Him?
Unchained Melody, Fruit of the Spirit Worship Song, Fruit of the Spirit for Kids
What does ”Unchained Melody” have to do with the fruit? It reflects how we need to approach Father so the fruit of His Spirit may abound within us.
I’d like to present a brief overview of each of the fruit of the Spirit so we may have a general idea of what we should be seeing in operation in our lives.
So, if our relationship with Jesus were severed, what would we be missing? The fruit would diminish and disappear until that relationship is repaired.
When we talk about love, we have to mention at least four things or areas o of our expression of love.
Love God the Father above all else: 1& 4) We love God above everything else and our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:26-28); 2) Men, we love our wives as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25); and 3) Raise our children by nourishing them and admonishing them in the Lord (Eph. 5:4). In these, we cover God, family and those around us. Express Christ’s love in us towards all.
My wife and I went to something called “Marriage Encounter”, the Episcopal (the denomination) version – twice (I was a little dense). Here, husbands and wives were supposed to learn how to love, respect and communicate with each other. What Father showed me that behind God, my wife was the most important thing in my life. I was to treat her as the most precious thing in my life, in this world. We did exercises on how to be honest with our feelings by writing them down then discussing them with our spouse. We (OK, I) discovered how to listen to each other without getting hurt or angry so we could effectively work towards resolution of problem areas. It took me a little longer, but we eventually got there.
We should seek the Father as the woman who stopped everything to find her lost coin (Luke 15:8-9). Then we become like the four beasts and the twenty-four elders (Rev. 4:6-11) giving God thanksgiving and praise for all that He has done.
How do we love our wives? Read Song of Solomon. Why? Read Proverbs chapter thirty-one.
When we raise our children in the Lord they won’t depart (Prov. 22:6) or, at least, they will come back.
We should treat our neighbor as we would like to be treated (Luke 6:27-31).
Read 1 Corinthians chapter thirteen. Love is the foundation of everything. When we express true love from our heart, the rest of the fruit will follow suit. People will see it.
The book of the Acts of the Apostles gives us a pretty good idea that we can receive joy with our salvation experience (2:25-28, 8:5-8, 13:48-52, 15:3, 20:22-24). Now, other things can bring us joy (you can do the study), but true joy, as with love, starts with God. We can’t have true joy unless we love.
So what is joy? Checking out Strong’s Concordance (2167 and 5479) joy is cheerfulness, a calm delight, gladness or a fullness. Webster’s, in part, adds possessing one’s desires, happiness, delight and we could probably include contentment. All products of love.
As we are in Christ Jesus, we know that God gives us a peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7), but what does that mean to us?
The Greek word used in Phil. 4:7 (1515) means peace, quietness, prosperity, rest and set a one again. It comes from a root word meaning to join. Webster’s adds the state of tranquility.
We may conclude that we find peace when we rest in the Lord, that is cast all our cares upon the Lord. Jesus says “Take my yoke, it is easy.” (Matt. 11:28-30)
Again, peace is a result of love operating in our lives.
What is longsuffering? Putting up with people and being a good martyr because we’re Christian? How many of us have heard of being assertive? Jesus was/is the epitome of assertiveness. Being assertive is being confident in what you are doing or saying. Assertive is standing your ground knowing that we are correct. Assertive is being firm. It is all this but lacking one thing – being aggressive. Though Jesus blasted the scribes and Pharisees for not being whom they should he didn’t jump up and down or becoming intimidating to get His point across. Yes He got angry with the money changers in the temple but that wasn’t just sticking it to them. By their actions, they were desecrating the house of God.
I speak for myself. Though I have done a lot of stupid things over the years, even after salvation, Jesus never gave up on me. He waited me out until I was ready to go where He was leading me. When I was wrong, He let me know. When it didn’t matter, He let me go. some things just didn’t impact my relationship with Him.
Longsuffering is being patient with someone or something until the point is reached where they can deal with the issue, but being there all along to help. Look at how patient Jesus was with sinners, for while we were yet sinners, He died for us (Rom. 5:8) leading those of His time on earth and biding with us until we can see the light. With some, He is so longsuffering, He is still drawing them in at natural death. Consider how patient He was with the disciples as they learned His ways (read Matt., Mark, Luke & John).
Longsuffering is not yielding our principles as we wait for others to get where they need to be. We don’t get angry (now matter how dense they are), frustrated or give up, but our love enables us to be longsuffering with them.
Kindness can also be considered gentleness which is akin to longsuffering. Kindness is doing something good for another. Kindness is treating another with respect and gentleness. It is being pleasant towards another. In other words, when we encounter someone, we don’t yell and scream at them or try to bully or intimidate them. We do treat them as equals, not being a respecter of persons. God doesn’t consider a person because of his station in life, He treats all alike (Acts 10:34). Should we do any less? God’s love operating in us helps us to be so.
Strong’s defines goodness as benefit, or virtue. In short, we do things because it is the right thing to do and it’s for another’s benefit. What does Paul tell us? All things are done for the edification of the body (Eph. 4:11-13 & 1 Corinth. 14:26). When we don’t have love in our hearts, we become self-centered, egotistical SOBs thinking only of ourselves.
The three Greek words used to define faith or faithful carry the connotation of trusting, believing, having fidelity (allegiance) towards.
When we are married, we are faithful to our spouse. That is that person has now become our one and only. We don’t date or pursue other people, especially for romantic interludes. Spouses who practice ‘open marriages’ are not faithful people for they are seeking that romantic interlude with another person. The same would be true if we confess Jesus Christ as Lord then we go to a church which does not serves the God the Father, Creator of the heavens and the earth. No matter what religion or even denomination (all that claims to be Christian isn’t necessarily).
Faithfulness means our allegiance is towards only one, the God of the bible, Jehova, the Great I AM. When we are faithful, God can trust us. God is always faithful (2 Tim.2:11-13) so we can always trust Him. God searches the earth to show His strength to those who have given their hearts to Him (faithful) (2 Chron. 16:9). Whether in the natural or in the spiritual, love is expressed through faithfulness.
You’ve heard the expression “gentle as a lamb”? When someone is as gentle as a lamb they are pleasant, caring calm, gentle, kind and non-aggressive (peaceful). The word used in Galatians for gentleness means good or kind but its root word carries the connotation of ‘useful’ meaning were are usually pretty easy to work with or perhaps ‘ready’ to work with. As we exercise that last fruit (temperance) we find that gentleness is an automatic by-product. Paul tells the Thessalonians that he could have been really rough in handling them but instead he was gentle, like a nurse handling children (1 Thess. 2:7). Consider how Jesus dealt with the adulterous woman who was about to be stoned. He reminded her accuser that if they had no sin in their lives, go ahead and stone her. After a few minutes (or so), Jesus asked the woman where were those who condemned her and she said ‘gone’. Then he told he that he wouldn’t condemn her either but she should go her way and quit sinning (John 8:1-11). Gentleness is also compassionate recognizing who may be truly against you and those who just may not know any better. When we truly love, gentleness should be ‘second nature’.
Temperance, or self-control is probably one of the hardest things for people to master. The word used in King James version of Galatians uses the word temperance which means temperance. But root word indicates a hindering, or to impede. We limit whatever it is that we’re dealing with. WE take charge and don’t let ‘it’ get the best of us (blow our stack or loose control). If we have an anger problem, we put great effort into not getting angry. If we eat too much, we learn to cut back on the amount of food we take in. Temperance helps us to bring anything we do into moderation, or perhaps even elimination. In the scriptures, we only see Jesus popping His cork only once and that was when he overturned tables and threw the money exchangers out of the temple. If you remember, they had made the house of God a den of thieves. They were desecrating the temple of Jahweh (Matt. 20:12-13). Jesus did not sin in His anger rather He was correcting the situation (Eph. 4:26).
Self-control is remaining even tempered and not letting your emotions run amok. That is bringing our body under control of our spirit (1Corinth. 9:24-27) because I yield myself to God (Rom. 6:13). As I live in His love, then I’m have self-control.
As I live in God’s love, as I yield to His will, He make it so much easier to deal with whatever situation I face. His love prevails and I discover that I have joy, peace and good-will. I see that I have become gentle and longsuffering I find my faith increasing making it easier to be meek (humble) and my self control makes it possible for all the fruit to manifest in my life.
Thank God we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. Should we stray, all we have to do is repent our thoughts or actions, truly repent, and We are forgiven through the blood Jesus shed for us on Calvary. As I say “truly repent” I mean to have a heartfelt sorrow for what we have done to the degree we make a decision not to do it again – and mean it. with that decision, we determine to stick to abide therein. God tells us when we truly confess and repent our sin, He puts that sin behind His back – not to look at it or consider it ever again (Isa. 38:17, Isa. 43:25). Should we do any less? Father, through Jesus, through the Holy Ghost, will help us get back up on our feet giving us the strength and confidence to once again press forward in life’s race (Pslam 145:14, 2 Corinth. 4:7-15).
So we are able to run this race because as He has forgiven us our sins, we are able to run this race effectively. As we run, we endeavor to grow in the fruit He has given us through His Spirit. We grow by yielding ourselves to Father through Jesus and as the fruit expands and matures in our lives we find that it spills over (outward) into the lives of those around us. Those around us can then witness the love of God in full operation and hopefully will choose to serve the one, true, living God as well.