The Holy Spirit’s Fruit
26 March 2017 AM – Galatians 5:22-23 –HS17 – Scott Childs
Introduction: When I was a boy, we had many wild apple trees on our farm. Yearly we would get fruit from them, but the amount and quality of fruit varied from year to year. A late frost sometimes killed some buds. Lack of bees to pollinate the flowers sometimes hindered germination. Shortage of water or nutrients decreased the yields. Worms in the apples corrupted some fruit. Thankfully, most years we had lots of good apples to eat.
Transition: The fruit of the Spirit also depends on many factors. Today, I want us to look at the “fruit of the Spirit” from two perspectives.
1. It is the Fruit of the SPIRIT
a. Only the Holy Spirit can produce his fruit.
1) You cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit in your life. Only the Holy Spirit can produce it.
2) Christians have two natures within; the old nature known as the flesh and the new nature governed by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
a) These natures pull us in opposite directions. The flesh pulls us into sin. The Spirit pulls us to righteousness.
b) If we follow the Spirit’s leading, we will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. He will keep us from sin. Read (Galatians 5:16-17)
3) The fruit of the Spirit is the opposite of the works of the flesh (v.19-20). [lasciviousness = lustfulness, variance = contentions, emulations = jealousies, seditions = divisions, revellings = wild parties] I like what Warren Wiersbe said, “The contrast between works and fruit is important. A machine in a factory works and turns out a product, but it could never manufacture fruit. Fruit must grow out of life, and, in the case of the believer, it is the life of the Spirit (Ga 5:25).” (The Bible Exposition Commentary, 1:719)
b. We must let the Spirit lead, to produce fruit.
1) This will mean saying “no” to the flesh and “yes” to the Spirit. It is a matter of walking in obedience to him. (Galatians 5:16) “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
2) On the farm we had an electric fence to keep the cattle in. Daily we checked to make sure it was hot. If it was not, we had to search carefully to find the problem. If a branch got on the fence, it would short it out and stop its power. Sometimes the short was only a tiny piece of wire touching the fence. To walk in the Spirit, we must daily prove all things and do only what God says is right. We must search our hearts for every sin, then confess and forsake every one. Like the branch on the electric fence, it only takes one sin or sinful attitude to short out the Holy Spirit’s power in our lives. If His power is shorted out, He cannot produce His fruit.
c. The Spirit’s fruit is an evidence of true salvation.
1) Jesus said that fruit identifies plants and people. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20)
2) The Bible clearly states, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) When the Holy Spirit regenerates a person, he makes definite changes in his life. He also begins producing His fruit. Lack of the fruit of the Spirit may indicate lack of true salvation.
3) Again Warren Wiersbe points out, “It is possible for the old nature to counterfeit some of the fruit of the Spirit, but the flesh can never produce the fruit of the Spirit.” (Ibid. 1:720) When the Holy Spirit produces the fruit, He gets all the glory.
2. It is the FRUIT of the Spirit
In our text, the fruit that Holy Spirit produces in a Christian’s life has nine parts. These are not called “fruits” but “fruit,” perhaps because they grow together as a cluster of grapes. They are all of equal importance. If one is missing, the fruit is incomplete. The fruit appears to be listed in three categories.
a. The first three are habits of the mind
1) Love (agape)
a) This love is a sacrificial choice to meet the needs of another expecting nothing in return. It is motivated by the Holy Spirit, not by feeling or emotion.
b) Christians are commanded to love (agape), but they cannot do it without the help of the Holy Spirit.
a) Constable calls this “deep seated gladness regardless of circumstances.”
b) It is a deep and abiding inner rejoicing. This joy is impossible apart from the Holy Spirit’s aid.
a) Peace is an inner rest or quietness even in the face of bad circumstances.
b) This quality is a fruit of the Spirit and cannot be understood by unbelievers. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Php 4:7)
b. The next three are attitudes toward others
a) Longsuffering is patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, slowness in avenging wrongs. God champions this quality (Ps 86:15).
b) Kenneth Wuest describes it as, “Patient endurance of wrong under ill-treatment, without anger or thought of revenge.” (Word Studies, Galatians, p. 160)
a) In the KJV this word is translated, goodness 4, kindness 4, good 1, gentleness 1.
b) It portrays the idea of moral goodness, integrity, or kindness. Albert Barnes defines it as “gentleness of manner, of temper, and of spirit.” Maintaining a gentle manner of kindness when aggravated requires the Holy Spirit’s enabling.
a) This quality describes active goodness or virtue.
b) It is the quality of a person who is ruled by and aims at what is good (Wuest). Goodness is the fruit of the Spirit during temptation to be bad or when reaching out to others that not deserve it.
c. The last three are graces that guide conduct
a) Most commentators identify this fruit as fidelity or faithfulness rather than an act of faith. Truly, we need the Holy Spirit’s aid to be faithful in our stand for Christ and in our character.
b) It may simply mean confidence in God and in all his promises even when circumstances turn against us.
2) Meekness (controlled power)
a) Eadie states, “The meek man bears himself mildly – submissively – in all things, ‘like a weaned child’; neither arraigns God, nor avenges himself on man.”
b) Meekness is submissiveness to God and tenderness toward others under your authority.
3) Temperance (controlled passions)
a) This word speaks of self-control. It is the holding in of one’s passions and appetites. (Eadie)
b) We cannot master our fleshly desires without the aid of the Holy Spirit.
Conclusion: Go through the list of the Spirit’s fruit again and honestly ask yourself which ones are often present. (Read list). If any are missing, we must yield more to the Spirit.
We would all agree that we need every part of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. The fact that fruit is often lacking, is because we are not cooperating with the Holy Spirit as we should. Only He can produce this fruit, but we must walk in the Spirit by proving or testing all that we do and saying no to all that fails the test. Every waking moment, we must be submitted to his leading.
If you have not been consciously submitting every thought, activity, word, and attitude to the Holy Spirit’s evaluation, you need to seek his forgiveness and begin tonight.
Song: Is Your All on the Altar? 381 (Edited from 11 July 2010)