The Fruit of the Spirit
Today, we are continuing our message series “Living in the Spirit.” A Spirit-filled life is impacted by the Holy Spirit in every aspect. If you haven’t heard all the messages in this series, I’d encourage you to watch them online on our website or YouTube. We’ve been talking about the importance of obeying Jesus command to be Spirit baptized. If you have not yet been Spirit baptized, you should be earnestly seeking to be, just as the believers in the book of Acts did. You need the power released in Spirit baptism to live the full Spirit-filled life.
Today, our message topic is “The Fruit of the Spirit.” We’re going to start today with the teaching of Jesus on fruit bearing. Then we will talk about how you can develop the Spirit’s fruit in each of nine areas of life.
John 15:5 (NIV) “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
Jesus gives us a picture of what the believer’s life is like. Each believer is like a branch joined to the vine of a grape plant, which is Jesus. The believer/branch that remains in the vine will bear a lot of fruit. A branch that is not attached to the vine cannot bear any fruit.
John 15:6 (NIV) If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
What happens if a branch, a believer, chooses to not stay attached to the vine? The branch would naturally be of no good use. Not only would it bear no fruit, it would wither and ultimately be burned in the fire. In the same way, a believer who stops believing, will spiritually die and ultimately be cast in hell fire. So, bottom line is, every true believer will bear much fruit, as they remain attached to Jesus, the vine.
John 15:7 (NIV) If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
Now Jesus begins to explain how we can bear fruit. Not only must we remain attached to Jesus through faith, the Word of God, Jesus’ words, must be embedded into our lives. When those two conditions are met, we can pray and ask for anything and God will answer that pray. How can Jesus make such a blanket promise? Because when those two conditions are met, every prayer you pray will be in God’s will.
John 15:10 (NIV) If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
This verse gives us the key to remaining in Jesus. We must believe and keep His commands. Disobedience separates us from remaining in Jesus. So, what is the fruit that we are to bear as believers? First of all, it is the attitudes and character of Jesus that will be formed in us by the Holy Spirit. These attitudes will then lead to obedience to God’s Word and godly behavior in our lives. Obedience and godly behavior will lead to every believer being a witness for Jesus Being a witness for Jesus will lead to new believers. And that’s the ultimate goal of bearing fruit, reproduction of the spiritual life, the eternal life that God has placed within you.
So, today, we’re going to talk about the fruit of the Spirit, the attitudes and character of Jesus that the Spirit grows within every believer.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
If we look at the life of Jesus, we see Him exhibiting perfectly all these fruit of the Spirit. We are to follow Jesus’ example and become more like Him. Set let’s see how we can …
Bear the Spirit’s fruit towards God
I’ve chosen to divide these nine fruits into three groups of three, in order to highlight the different aspects of our character and attitudes that they apply to. I could easily teach on each fruit for an entire sermon or two, but today, we are going to look briefly at all nine fruit. So buckle up your seat belts.
In this first set of three fruit, I would like to show how these fruit have to do with our relationship with God. They also relate to our relationship with one another, but we often miss out on how the fruit of the Spirit help us to relate to God. The first fruit is …
Love is loving God with all that you have
Mark 12:30 (NIV) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
I want to begin here and note that every verse we are going to be looking at this morning with regard to the fruit of the Spirit is a command, as is this one. Jesus commands every believer to love God with everything they have. Love is not primarily an emotion as is commonly thought. Jesus taught in John 14:15 that if you love Him, you will keep His commands. So, love is demonstrated through obedience. As we allow the Spirit of God to have complete control of our lives, we will grow in our love for and obedience to God. The next fruit is …
Joy is receiving answers to your prayers
John 16:24 (NIV) Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Joy does not come from your circumstances, nor ultimately from your human relationships. Joy comes from your relationship with God. Here, Jesus gives us the secret to having a life full of joy. He commands us to pray and ask in His name. He promises that we will receive what we asked for and that will result in complete joy in our lives.
For many people, prayer is a frustrating experience, rather than a joyful one. Why? The primary reason is that you’re not asking in Jesus’ name. Most people pray and ask, not in Jesus’ name, but in their name. Self-centered prayers like those will not be answered, will leave you frustrated and certainly not full of joy. To ask in Jesus’ name is basically to ask for the things that Jesus wants, the things that are in God’s will for your life. When you ask in Jesus’ name, God’s answers will fill you with joy.
Peace is the absence of fear
John 14:27 (NIV) Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Jesus wants to give you peace, peace in your hearts. What do you have to do? The command in this verse is to not let your hearts be troubled and don’t be afraid. Interestingly, Jesus is telling us that if you have a troubled heart or you are afraid, it’s your choice. You have chosen to be troubled or fearful. When you make that choice, you can’t receive Jesus’ peace. Rather, you must choose, with God’s help, to reject worry, stress and fear. And accept Jesus’ gift of peace for your heart and your mind.
God wants you to be growing in the fruit of love toward God, joy in answered prayer and peace in the midst of a troubled world. To grow in these fruit of the Spirit, you must follow the commands given in these verses with God’s help. I’ve heard a lot of teaching about the fruit of the Spirit which basically said that you don’t have to do anything to bear the fruit, it just happens if you’re a believer. Not true at all. Fruit grows as you remain in Jesus by keeping His commands. Keeping Jesus’ commands requires diligence and perseverance and reliance on the help of the Spirit of God. The next set of fruit is related to …
Bear the Spirit’s fruit towards others
We need to have the attitudes of Jesus, not only toward God, but towards others in our lives. In many ways, this is more difficult, because people are not perfect, as God is. Other people sin, do wrong and hurt us from time to time. Yet, we must learn to treat them the way that Jesus would.
Patience forgives those who hurt you
Colossians 3:13 (NIV) Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
To bear with each other is to have patience with others who have hurt you. When someone hurts you or does wrong to you, you have a choice, it’s a simple choice. You can get angry with them and attempt to retaliate in some way. Or you can patiently forgive them. We must forgive as the Lord forgave us.
How did Jesus forgive us? Did He die on the cross when we were His friends or enemies? Jesus died on the cross when we were His enemies. When we had sinned against and hurt Him. Yet He choose to forgive, when there wasn’t any good or righteousness in us. We must do the same for others who do wrong against us. Patiently forgive. Kindness goes a step further than patience and forgiveness.
Kindness does right in response to wrong
1 Thessalonians 5:15 (NIV) Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
Human sinful nature is to pay back wrong for someone who wrongs you, to take revenge. The fruit of the spirit of kindness, does not only forgive the other person, but treats them kindly. Kindness is treating another person warmly, like a member of your own family. Kindness is doing what is right for the other person, what God would have you do.
Goodness works for the good of others
Romans 8:28 (NIV) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
The Bible tells us that God is good and our good God works for the good of those who love Him. That means that God is working for you to have the best possible life and eternity you could possibly have, the life and eternity He created for you. As we develop the fruit of goodness in our lives, we will work for the good of others. What is the good of others? It is the same as for us. To have the best possible life and eternity they could possibly have. To have the life and eternity God created for them.
So, not only does the fruit of the Spirit help in our relationship with God, it also helps in our relationships with other people. Both those who are believers and those who are not. Does patience, forgiveness, kindness and goodness come easily? No, not in and of ourselves. Remember, we bear the fruit of the Spirit by abiding in Jesus and letting His Word remain in us. The more that you read God’s Word, the more that you pray, both in the Spirit and with your mind, the more you will obey and bear these fruit of the Spirit.
Sometimes, I hear someone say to me, I could never forgive that person for what they did to me. I always wince and do my best to tell the person that if they don’t forgive that person, then God will not forgive them and they will spend eternity in hell. Believers must forgive in order to be forgiven. It is God’s command and He never commands us to do anything that we can’t do with His help. Our final group of fruit is related to …
Bear the Spirit’s fruit in the battle
You see, in life, we have interactions with basically three types of persons. We interact with God and His angels, we interact with people and we interact with Satan and His demons. We’ve talked about how the fruit of the Spirit apply in our relationships with God and other people. In this last section, we will talk about how the last three fruit of the Spirit relate to our ongoing battle with Satan and His forces.
Faithfulness stewards all of God’s gifts
1 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV) Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
As a believer, God has entrusted precious gifts to you. He has given you the gift of Jesus, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the gift of eternal life, the gifts of the Spirit, the gift of life itself, the gift of resources and this list could go on and on. The gifts that God has given us have not simply been given to do with as we wish. The gifts that God has given us have been given for us to steward. To steward means that we are to use the gifts that God has given us, for our own benefit, but for His benefit.
The gifts that God has given us are a trust. He has entrusted them to us and we must prove faithful in stewarding all the gifts God has given us. The battle comes in with the enemy tempting us to prove unfaithful with the gifts God has given us. To use our lives to fulfill our own desires, not God’s will. To use the finances God has entrusted to us, to take care of our own needs first and give God the left overs, if there is anything left over. If we prove unfaithful with God’s gifts, then we have no confidence in our eternal destiny. We must prove faithful.
Gentleness is reflected in a humble witness
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
This verse relates to how we are to be witnesses for Christ our Lord. The command in this verse is to prepare ourselves to answers the questions that people have about our faith. But not only must we prepare to have answers to the questions, we must answer with an attitude of gentleness and respect. The opposite would be to answer truthfully, but with harshness and disrespect. When you talk to others, when you read the news on the internet, aren’t we all tempted to give someone else a piece of our mind? That generally can’t be done with gentleness and respect. To be a humble witness, that witnesses with gentleness, is have the greatest opportunity to win another person for Jesus, which is our ultimate goal. Finally …
Self-control resists Satan’s temptations
1 Peter 5:8-9a (NIV) Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith …
This is the last fruit and some say the most difficult one to grow, the fruit of self-control. Self-control is the ability to withstand Satan’s temptations with God’s help. God’s Word in 1 Peter commands us to be self-controlled and alert. The reason is that our enemy the devil is seeking to devour and destroy you. His prime weapons are temptations. When you give in to temptation, when you don’t have self-control, you sin and give him power to devour and destroy your life. However, with self-control, you can resist the devil and his temptations and continue to stand firm in your faith.
Each of us is in a battle with our enemy, Satan, who is out to destroy you and your witness for Jesus. Determine to be faithful with the gifts that God has entrusted to you. Be a powerful, yet gentle witness for Jesus each and every day. Grow in self-control, so that you can resist the enemy’s daily temptations. As you do, you will become more and more like Jesus and more effective for God.
Today, we’ve looked briefly at all nine fruit of the Spirit. We have organized them into fruit dealing with our relationship with God, with others and with our spiritual warfare. Let’s recall the teaching of Jesus that we began today’s message with from John 15. How do we as believers bear much fruit? We bear much fruit by remaining attached to Jesus and obeying His commands. As we remain in Jesus and His Word remains in us, our prayers are powerful and will be answered.
Ultimately, not only will we become more like Jesus in character, we will become more like Jesus in behavior and results. Ultimately, bearing fruit involves reproducing ourselves, as our fruit results in unbelievers being saved and added to the family of God. May God help each of us and our church bear much fruit for Jesus.