Summary: This fruit is the product of the Spirit’s work inside of us and not an outcome of trying, straining, groaning, or behavior modification on our part.
Dance Lessons: The Fruit of the Spirit (Part 3)
Pastor Jefferson M. Williams
Chenoa Baptist Church
In the backyard at our house in Pontiac used to be an apple tree. All the neighbors hated it. It was bad enough during the day, but at night several neighbors threatened to chop it down. Why? Because it was hard to sleep with the tree groaning and straining and huffing and puffing.
I remember laying in bed one night listening to it and for an instant I felt sorry for the poor tree. It seemed like growing apples was so difficult, that it took so much effort.
The apple tree never seemed at rest and was always panting and shaking, trying desperately to produce a few apples.
Okay, obviously that story is made up because healthy apple trees simply produce apples when they have a good root system and adequate sunlight and water. They don’t have to try to produce fruit. It’s just a natural byproduct of being a healthy tree.
[In fact, it was a healthy tree and Maxine used to make amazing baked apples from its bounty.]
This fruit is the product of the Spirit’s work inside of us and not an outcome of trying, straining, groaning, or behavior modification on our part. We don’t try to be more loving. We trust Christ to work the fruit of love in us:
“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.” (John 15:5)
2 Corinthians 5:17 says that once we are in Christ, we are “new creations.” Part of this process of being a new creation is that God grows in us new character traits that proclaim Jesus to a lost and dying world around us.
As we go through these fruit, you may discover that you don’t really exhibit any of these and your life is characterized more by the list of the deeds of the flesh.
[Slide] “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Cor 13:5)
These messages could be God’s way of showing you that you need to stop trying to be good and simply trust Christ for your salvation.
Two weeks ago, we examined love, joy and peace. Last week, we studied patience, kindness, and goodness.
In these verses we will consider today, Paul is going to teach the Galatians three more moves to help them dance to the rhythm of faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.
[Slide] Remember, those that dance are thought crazy by those who cannot hear the music.
Turn with me to Galatians 5.
Jonathan Cain, keyboardist for the rock and roll hall of fame group Journey, was sitting by himself in the auditorium watching the roadies take the stage apart. He started thinking about how much all of them were missing by being on the road. Each guy there had a story. Each one of the road crew had a family back home.
When Jonathan got back on the tour bus he found a napkin and wrote, “Highway run / until the midnight sun /wheels go round and round / You’re on my mind.”
He got back to the hotel and wrote the next lines, “Restless hearts / sleep alone tonight / sending all my love along the wire.”
He pulled out a little casio keyboard and began to play the melody. Jon, who is now a follower of Christ, said it was a Holy Spirit moment where the entire song came together in less than twenty minutes.
Many of you know the rest of the story:
[Slide] They say that the road ain't no place to start a family
Right down the line it's been you and me
And lovin' a music man ain't always what it's supposed to be
Oh, girl, you stand by me
I'm forever yours, faithfully
Paul highlights the fruit of faithfulness. This word literally means “to fasten oneself to.” It’s the idea of being “firm and able to be counted on,” and “firmness in adherence to promises or in observance of duty.”
Synonyms include dependable, reliable, trustworthy, loyal.
All throughout Scripture, God is described as faithful.
[Slide] David wrote in his journal, the Psalms:
“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.” (Psalm 145:13)
Psalm 89 declares:
I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself. (Psalm 89:1-2)
And Jeremiah, while lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem, writes these words of hope: