Summary: The Fruit of the Spirit are most fully realized in relationships and no relationship is more basic than the marriage relationship.



Sermon Objective: The Fruit of the Spirit are most fully realized in relationships and no relationship is more basic than the marriage relationship.


13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.


Thursday, January 15, 2009, was another ordinary day in New York City. Or so it seemed. But by that evening people were talking of a miracle.

They may have been right. But the full explanation is, if anything, even more interesting and exciting. And it strikes just the note we need as we think about Christian character and “goodness” in particular.

Flight 1549, a regular US Airways trip from La Guardia Airport, took off at 15:26 local time, bound for Charleston, North Carolina. The captain, Chelsey Sullenberger III, known as “Sully” did all the usual checks. Everything was fine in the Airbus A320. Fine until, two minutes after takeoff, the aircraft ran straight into a flock of Canada Geese. One goose in a jet engine would be serious; a flock was disastrous. Almost at once both the engines were severely damaged and lost their power. The plane was at that point heading north over the Bronx, one of the most densely populated parts of the city.

Captain Sullenberger and his copilot had to make several major decisions instantly if they were going to save the lives of people not only on board but also on the ground.

• They could see one or two small local airports in the distance, but quickly realized that they couldn’t be sure of making it that far. If they attempted it, they well might crash land in a built-up area on the way.

• Likewise, the option of putting the plane down on the New Jersey Turnpike, a busy road leading in and out of the city, would present huge problems and dangers for the plane and its occupants, let alone for cars and their drivers on the road.

• That left one option: the Hudson River. It’s difficult to crash-land on water: one small mistake-catch the nose or one of the wings in the river, say-and the plane will turn over and over like a gymnast before breaking up and sinking.

In the two or three minutes they had before landing, Sullenberger and his copilot had to do the following vital things (along with plenty of other tasks that we amateurs wouldn’t understand).

• They had to shut down the engines.

• They had to set the right speed so that the plane could glide as long as possible without power. (Fortunately, Sullenberger is also a gliding instructor.)

• They had to get the nose down to maintain speed.

• They had to disconnect the autopilot and override the flight management system.

• They had to activate the “ditch” system, which seals vents and valves, to make the plane as waterproof as possible once it hit the water.

• Most important of all, they had to fly and glide the plane in a fast left-hand turn so that it could come down facing south, going with the flow of the river.

• And-having already turned off the engines-they had to do this using only the battery-operated systems and the emergency generator.

• Then they had to straighten the plane up from the tilt of the sharp-left turn so that, on landing, the plane would be exactly level from side to side.

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