Summary: A detailed series on each of the nine Fruit of the Spirit! Each characteristic listed is a sermon. However, I have combined the lesson into one packet.
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
It is imperative that we understand that the marks of true spirituality and the signs of maturity in Christian growth are found not in the gifts of the Spirit, rather they are found in producing the fruit of the Spirit. 1st Corinthians 13:1-2 – “If I speak in the tongues of men and angels (gift of the Spirit) but have not love, (fruit of the Spirit) I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, (all gifts of the Spirit) but have not love, I am nothing (fruit of the Spirit).”
The list of the Fruit of the Spirit is found in Galations 5:22-23 - “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
The bible tells us in 1st John 4:8b) – “… God is Love.” Let me challenge you with this. The fruit of the Spirit is LOVE. Out of that love will manifest the other 8 characteristics of the Spirit of God. The fruit of the Spirit is not a collection of unrelated fruits, which can either be selected or neglected according to our personal preference, our situation or circumstance, or our agenda. It comes as a whole package that can only be cultivated and matured by a pursued and maintained relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ. The Bible confirms this in John 15:5 – “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Each of the nine fruit or character traits can be seen in the life of Christ. Not only is He our pattern and example for a fruitful, fruit filled life, He is also our source for leading a fruitful, fruit filled life. This is clearly seen in John 15:4 – “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
The characteristics of God, found in the fruit of the Spirit, are not merely a suggestion for a fulfilled life. This is a command that we are to obey. Deuteronomy 6:5 – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. When having a discussion with the Saduccees and Pharisees, Jesus was asked the question, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And He (Jesus) said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, you shall love you neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40
We need to understand that what makes the fruit of the Spirit such a crucial study, is because it deals directly with our character. Character deals directly with our integrity, and our integrity speaks of who we are when no one else is looking. Our integrity shouts to the heavens as to what is really inside us.