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Summary: A sermon on marriage from the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5; Love

A FRUIT-FULL MARRIAGE: LOVE *

GALATIANS 5:13-26

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

GALATIANS 5:22-26

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.

INTRO:

When you look closely at the Fruit of the Spirit you notice they are relational in nature. In other words, the evidence of the Spirit’s presence in our lives extends to far more than my own personal relationship with Jesus … it is revealed in my relationships with other people. Sure, we need patience, joy, etc in our individual lives but the test of their mettle is how we treat one another and our enemies. It is there that we show maturity.

That makes complete sense. God is a relational God. This is revealed not only in the doctrine of the Trinity but also in his creation of humanity.

When God is present the relationships we are in are impacted. When we are not walking in the Spirit … well, they are impacted by that too.

In a recent study of 750 couples with marital difficulties, the most commonly reported problem was a partner who was in love with himself or herself. The second most common problem reported by these couples was indifference on the part of one of the partners. Both of these problems, selfishness and indifference, are opposites of that which is Fruit of the Spirit. (Paul Canner)

Nowhere is the fruit of the Spirit more necessary than in a marriage relationship.

• When the stress of bills and kids and illnesses and uncertainties begins to rob you of all your energy, you need love and joy and peace.

• When your husband is about as sharp as a bowling pin when it comes to your sensitivities, you need an extra measure of patience and kindness.

• When your wife’s mood swings have you gasping for air, you need goodness and gentleness.

• When the tiresome familiarity that comes from dealing with the same annoying quirks and character flaws over the years tempts you to seek greener grass, you need faithfulness and self-control.

Which makes marriage a kind of gymnasium for the soul. We exercise godliness in marriage because we’re forced every day to put the fruit of the Spirit into practice. If the fruit of the Spirit work in a marriage – they can work anywhere; a dormitory, a classroom, work, with parents & siblings, etc. Marriage is one of those core relationships where the partners see the best and worst of each other. You can’t hide in a marriage – the authentic you comes out. Hence – if God’s Spirit is present it becomes obvious real fast. When God’s Spirit is present virtue replaces vice; mutual respect and honor replace self-centeredness; and a healthy environment for everyone to grow and be safe is achieved.

Jesus said, "A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another" [John 13:34-35]. If that is true anywhere friends – it is true in a marriage relationship.

So what are your expectations in marriage? Are you waiting for him to get a clue or for her to see the light? Or do you see your marriage as an extraordinary opportunity to grow up in Christ Jesus?

And here’s a little secret—If your only goal is personal happiness, you won’t grow and you won’t be happy. Change your focus to personal growth and you will not only produce the fruit of the Spirit inwardly, you’ll find marriage to be an exceedingly satisfying relationship that only gets better and better!

It is also interesting to me that Paul speaks of “fruit” of the Spirit. Not “duty” or “expectation.” The word for fruit “karpos” also means “offspring” and that goes well in describing them. The objective of these fruit is not to manufacture or fabricate their existence. It is to allow God’s Spirit to nurture their presence and allow them to grow within us.

SERMON

As we think about the Fruit of the Spirit … the most basic … the driving force for all others is LOVE.

Some understand “Love” in the Fruit of the Spirit to be “THE” fruit of the Spirit. The other characteristics serve to explain, illustrate, or unpack love. I think a case can be made for this from reading Galatians 5:22-23’s “companion passage” in Colossians 3 and, of course, 1 Corinthians 13. Even if you can’t go that far with the understanding of the fruit you know instinctively that there is something significant about love being first in the list.

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