The Real Gospel Part 4

The Real Gospel Part 4 – Fruit of the Spirit

INTRODUCTION

FruitOfTheSpirit-1024x768.jpgText Illustration:

In a back yard there once lived an apple tree and a thorn bush. The apple tree produced nice juicy apples that everyone liked to eat. Kids would climb up the tree and pluck the apples. Worms would eat the ones that fell on the ground. Birds would peck away at the fruit from the top. The owner would also prune and spray the tree to make sure it produced lots of fruit for the neighborhood. In the corner, about 50 yards from the apple tree stood a thorn bush. Nobody messed with the thorn bush. One day old Jimmy Johnson ran his bike into it, but after he got all cut up, he never made the same mistake again. Nobody picked any fruit off of it, everyone left it alone. At first the apple tree liked all the attention. But after about ten years, it started becoming envious of the thorn bush. It said to the thorn bush, “you know, I’m sick of everyone always climbing on me and picking my fruit. The master is always trimming me, putting smelly manure around my trunk, and making a fuss over me. I wish they’d go somewhere else. Better yet, I wish I was a thorn bush, then everyone would leave me alone.” The thorn bush then looked at the apple tree and said, “don’t be a fool! Bite your bark! Look at me! I don’t do anyone a bit of good. I feed nobody. I look ugly. All I do is harm. The master didn’t plant me here, I’m just a wild weed. The only good I do is to fill up some space in the yard. I would trade all the thorns in the world to have one child limb my branches – to have the Master trim my branches – and produce some fruit.”

    As Christians, we are sometimes like the apple tree.  We always want what we don’t have. It seems like we’re taken advantage of by the world. People ask us for our fruit, and then walk away without saying thanks. People climb us, abuse us, and do all sorts of things to us, and expect us just to take it all the time. The Master even removes our thorns by saying, “the fruit of the Spirit is peace.” But that’s part of being a fruit tree. That’s what God planted us here for – to produce fruit!

     So forget about what you can understand and what you can feel, and just have the peace of knowing that God loves you and He is using Him for His purpose. That is the fruit of the Spirit – the fruit of peace – that passes all understanding.

1Galatians 5:13-26 New Living Translation (NLT)

13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

OBSERVATION

The Apostle Paul tells us that we are called to freedom.  However, that doesn’t mean we are free to satisfy our sinful nature.  But rather, we are free to serve one another in love.  The breakdown of the law is to love one’s neighbor as you love yourself.  If you can do this, you fulfill the law. But the Apostle warns that if we are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! We may destroy one another.

INTERPRETATION

So we’ve talked in the past few chapters about how the Christian life is not a performance-based life, but rather that it is a faith-based, promise-based life.  So we are free….but we are free from sin, not free TO sin.

We have to trust God with the lives of other people, just like we trust him with our own lives.  Because in our own lives, we are to use our new freedom in Christ to serve God’s people.

APPLICATION

[1] Use your new found freedom to serve God’s people in love —- We cannot say that we love God and not love or serve His people.  I feel that some people are really flippant about church sometimes.  “I will go when I want to go, I will serve when I want to serve” BUT IF WE REALLY UNDERSTOOD GOD’S LOVE FOR US, IF WE TRULY UNDERSTOOD THE DEPTHS OF HIS LOVE FOR US AND WHAT HE DID FOR US, WE ALL WOULD BE Showing UP TO CHURCH EARLY BEATING DOWN THE DOORS TO COME IN AND SERVE HIM! There is no excuse that I will accept; nor will the Lord accept any excuse on that day when we stand before him. You might say,” well there are so many hypocrites in church.” Well, there are hypocrites at Walmart, aren’t there? There are hypocrites at Chick-Fila and Olive Garden aren’t there? But why do you go to these places? You go to restaurants because you need to eat.  How concerned are you about the waitresses’ personal life? When you go to Walmart you need the groceries, the t-shirts and socks and books and Swiffer Wet Jet mop and the starch and the school supplies [MEME..church hurt]…  If the cashier is a drunk on the weekends, you don’t care because you want the product that Wal-mart provides.  Now for my HOMAC and Universe.  Sanwado  It’s the same way with this gathering of the church.

14689928_10153853681175636_1281857306_o.jpgWe are here to get spiritually nourished by the Word of God, we are here to receive the healing and revelation that the Spirit of God provides.  We need to be concerned with our brothers and sisters, yes, but our main concern needs to be Jesus. Listen, I’ve been hurt by Christians, hurt by preachers, hurt by churches, I’ve seen some very hypocritical Christians and Christian leaders, BUT! Plain and simple….serving Christ through serving his Bride is the right thing to do, it’s the Christ-honoring thing to do. So we must surround each other with prayer, with support, with love, and care. You know, shame on me if I invited Dr. Dennis out all the way from Uganda by way of Dallas, but I couldn’t get along with the preacher across town at the Baptist church.   Shame on me if I don’t have any concern with my Japanese brothers and sisters a couple of hours down the street.  But by the grace of God I do care, and so should we all.

TRANSITION

So Paul encouraged the Galatians and us to live in freedom, and use our freedom for the good of each other.  Then he encourages us to live under the Holy Spirit’s influence.  And if we do this, then that’s where the purity will come in.

Living by the Spirit’s Power

Galatians 5:16-18 (NLT) 16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

OBSERVATION

We are to live lives that are guided by the Holy Spirit of God.  If we do this, we won’t get tangled up in so much sin.  When we are directed by the Spirit, we are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

INTERPRETATION

Paul is saying, hey, be people who are led by the Spirit of God.  If we will do this, then we will get the purity and holiness we seek.  The Spirit of God puts the super on our natural, enhancing our natural.  It’s like a superhero show.  Spiderman and Superman and the Flash can do stuff that regular people can’t do, because they’re superhuman, they’re beyond human. Through the Spirit, we become something other than human…we can become super human when we tap into the supernatural! The miraculous can happen to our mundane! But again it is through the influence of the Holy Spirit.  He gives us what we need to bring God glory.

APPLICATION

[2] The Spirit will give us the desires that bring God glory —- See, over and over again, the scriptures teach us that everything we get from Christ and everything we need from Christ is built based on relationship.  It is intimacy with Christ through the Spirit that will cause holiness and purity within us.  When we cry out to heaven, the Spirit pours heaven into us, we become heavenly, and the world sees heaven come to earth.  In other words, when we pray, the Spirit comes and he brings miracles, signs, wonders, gifts and fruit, and then we become like Jesus.  And then the world sees Jesus in us and they come to Jesus.

    See when Paul gives us some instructions on living a godly life in Christ, or when Christ gives us instructions on living a live devoted to Him, they both were teaching from the assumption that people would go home and pray about those words.  That’s where preachers never used to connect the dots for me. They would go home and get on their knees and say, “Holy Spirit,” have mercy on my soul.  Do a work in me that I know I cannot do in my own power or strength.”  That’s the only way we can do it.  Ezekiel 36 has something interesting to say about this.

Ezekiel 36:26-28 (NLT)

26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.

Psalm 86:11 (NLT) 11 Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you.

TRANSITION

 And that prophecy of the Lord in the book of Ezekiel was fulfilled through the Galatians and now years later through us. God promises to give us a new heart and put a new attitude in us.  He promises to take out our stony, stubborn, rebel hearts and give us tender, responsive hearts that are sensitive to the Holy Spirit, who God has put in us, so that through Him we can follow God’s decrees and promises.  Because we know that following our sinful desires, no good can come of it.

Galatians 5:19-23 (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. There is no law against these things!

OBSERVATION

Paul lists many of the fruits and desires of the sinful nature.  He says that anyone living these kinds of lifestyles will not inherit the kingdom of God.  BUT! We have the Holy Spirit and then Paul goes on to tell us the kind of fruit that the Spirit produces in our lives.

INTERPRETATION

Just as the deeds of the flesh were selected to address the problem in the Galatian church, the fruits of the Spirit are also samples relating to this strife. I see a relationship between the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit. The word for spiritual gifts, charismata, is derived from the word for grace, charis. Let us compare spiritual gifts to gasoline and the fruit of the Spirit to oil. Even though gasoline makes a car run, without oil to lubricate the engine it would go nowhere. In the same way, spiritual gifts are a manifestation of God’s grace in the life of a believer, but without the fruit of the Spirit such gifts accomplish nothing.

APPLICATION

 Paul reminds the Galatians that when they followed the desires of their sinful nature, the results were very clear, and clear in us today: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Now when it says sorcery and witchcraft, in the And those ancient Greeks and Romans, wow! I’m sure you all know they liked to drink but did you know they had narcotics in Jesus’ times? Yes they were poppin’ Molly’s and taking spice and weed and hallucinogens and shrooms and angel dust and opium and whatever else they had.

The ancient Greeks and Romans in Jesus’ time served Zeus and Apollo and did the same things that their false gods did.  They partied hard, they were promiscuous and had no character.  Their gods had no self-control, and neither did they. So if these gods had no self-control, what good was their power? Several hundred years before Christ was born, the famous philosopher Socrates questioned the existence of these gods…he thought if there was a god, there could be only one, and he had to be perfect and eternal.  He was sentenced to death by drinking poison hemlock. But you see, Socrate saw a lack of character in these Greek gods.  He thought there was no way he was going to pray to a god that was worse than he was.  It’s the same with us today, it’s all about character, and the love of God. What good is it if we claim to be prayer warriors, or prophets, or claim that our prayers have healed people or claim anything else, but we can’t even get along with other Christians? Really?

[3] The gifts of the Spirit are nothing without the fruit of the Spirit —- In other words, too many Christians wanna be deep but ain’t got no character.  Case in point, Dr. Dennis is a man of integrity, I know that because the Pifers are people of integrity and they love him. A true woman or man of God is going to demonstrate love, and compassion and mercy and grace and humility.  This is not perfection, they are going to be days and times where we all sin, but what do you see consistently in them? If you consistently see character, that’s a mark of maturity in the Spirit.  But what exactly are these fruits?

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. There is no law against these things! 

FruitOfTheSpirit-1024x768.jpgSo let’s look at the Greek word for fruit so you can get an understanding: It is karpos; that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result. So these fruits originate from the character, the very nature of the Spirit.  So they are an effect and result of a heart surrendered to Him.  So let’s look at that first one, love.

Love – from the Greek agape (a ga pa).  It means affection, good will and benevolence.

Joy – From the Greek chara (kha ra) meaning cheerfulness, calm delight and gladness.

Peace – From eirene, a state of tranquillity, exemption from the rage and havoc of war, peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord, security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)

Patience – from makrothymia (mä-kro-thü-mē’-ä) patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance

Kindness – chrēstotēs (khrā-sto’-tās) meaning moral goodness and integrity.

Goodness – agathōsynē (ä-gä-thō-sü’-nā) meaning uprightness of heart.

Faithfulness – pistis (pē’-stēs) meaning fidelity and conviction of the truth, the character of one who can be relied on.

Gentleness – praÿtēs (prä-ü’-tās), mildness of disposition and meekness.  See many people think meek means weak, but that’s false! Many people have tremendous strength yet are quiet and gentle.   Tony Dungy is a prime example of a person through whom the gentleness of the Holy Spirit has impacted the world.

During his remarkable seven-year run with the Colts and its star quarterback, Peyton Manning, Dungy turned the franchise into a perennial Super Bowl contender. The Vince Lombardi trophy finally came Dungy’s way on February 4, 2007, when the Colts defeated the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, 29-17, in Miami.

The victory made Dungy the first African American to coach a Super Bowl–winning club. It also made him just the third person in NFL history to win a title as a player and as a head coach.

Following the 2008 season, and after 31 seasons patrolling an NFL sideline, Dungy retired from coaching.

Personal Life

Dungy and his longtime wife, Lauren, are the parents of seven children. In December 2005, tragedy struck the Dungy family when one of their oldest sons, James, was found dead at his Tampa area apartment. The death was later ruled a suicide.

Since stepping down as head coach of the Colts, Dungy has worked as an analyst for NBC’s “Football Night in America.” In addition, Dungy, a committed Christian, has remained active in a number of charitable causes, including Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the Prison Crusade Ministry.

His book Quiet Strength has become a national best-seller.

“You can’t always control circumstances. However, you can always control your attitude, approach, and response. Your options are to complain or to look ahead and figure out how to make the situation better.”Tony Dungy, Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices & Priorities of a Winning Life

Self-control – self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, esp. his sensual appetites)

Another example for me is IP Man.  Many people will not know who he is, Yip Man, or Ip Man, is a martial arts master best known for teaching the Wing Chun form. Kung Fu master and icon Bruce Lee was one of his students.

Yip Man, also known as Ip Man, was born on October 1, 1893, in Foshan, China. He studied Wing Chun and went on the become one of the most respected martial arts masters of his time. Among his most notable students was Bruce Lee. Yip Man died on December 2, 1972, in Hong Kong. In 2013, two films about his life were released, The Grandmaster and Ip Man: The Final Fight.  

Now I’ve seen all three of his movies and they are awesome.  IP Man was one of the greatest fighters to ever live, and was soooo humble.  Now if this IP Man who wasn’t a Christian could demonstrate so much self-control, so much humility and meekness, could impact the world so greatly, surely, we who have the Holy Spirit can do even greater things.  In fact I love Jesus words in the Gospel where he said his followers would do even greater things than he did.  Why? Jesus and his small group of 12 people did mighty things through the Holy Spirit, but today there are over two billion people who have God’s Holy Spirit inside them.  If every single Christian yielded to the Spirit, and his gifts and his fruits manifested, what would happen? God only knows.  But the point in bringing up the fruits are that they are the litmus test for how you know what you see in a church is truly from the Holy Spirit.  First and foremost people will be getting saved, and then the leaders of the movement must demonstrate the character of the Holy Spirit as well as the power of the Holy Spirit.  Why? Because there are other forces out there that have power, power by itself is not enough. Signs and wonders by themselves are not enough.

2 Corinthians 11:13-14New Living Translation (NLT)

13 These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Mark 13:21-23New Living Translation (NLT)

21 “Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. 22 For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. 23 Watch out! I have warned you about this ahead of time!

Matthew 7:20 (NLT) 

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

See without the character of the Spirit, how do we know that certain gifts are from the Holy Spirit? They might think they’re prophesying, but they’re propha lying! Parking lot preachers!

You’ll know by what their consistent lifestyle is. If they are consistently inconsistent in their behavior, something is wrong.

 See as Christians we have to have character. The outside world beyond the church in both our time and in Ancient times is utterly lost, utterly damaged, broken, and living in a cesspool of sin.  The world needs a miracle.  But we are the people of the Spirit who can give the world those miracles that they desperately need.

QUOTE: “Fruit is always the miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always a growth. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only He can produce it. They who bear it know as little about it as the tree knows of its fruit. They know only the power of Him on whom their life depends”Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

See so many people want to prophesy and be deep and speak in tongues and lay hands on somebody and see them healed, but you can demonstrate patience? Can you demonstrate joy? And what about self-control? Are we so deep that we cant pay off our debts? The fruit of the Spirit means that the character of Christ governs every aspect of our lives.  Let us pray that God would continue to influence us to influence others.  Amen!

THE END

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