Summary: The Fruit of the Spirit are most fully realized in relationships and no relationship is more basic than the marriage relationship.
A FRUIT-FULL MARRIAGE: LOVING-KINDNESS
Sermon Objective: The Fruit of the Spirit are most fully realized in relationships and no relationship is more basic than the marriage relationship.
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.
Despite his busy schedule during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln often visited the hospitals to cheer the wounded. On one occasion he saw a young fellow who was near death. “Is there anything I can do for you?” asked the compassionate President. “Please write a letter to my mother,” came the reply. Unrecognized by the soldier, the Chief Executive sat down and wrote as the youth told him what to say.
The letter read, “My Dearest Mother, I was badly hurt while doing my duty, and I won’t recover. Don’t sorrow too much for me. May God bless you and Father. Kiss Mary and John for me.” The young man was too weak to go on, so Lincoln signed the letter for him and then added this postscript: “Written for your son by Abraham Lincoln.”
Asking to see the note, the soldier was astonished to discover who had shown him such kindness. “Are you really our President?” he asked. “Yes,” was the quiet answer. “Now, is there anything else I can do?” The lad feebly replied, “Will you please hold my hand? I think it would help to see me through to the end.” The tall, gaunt man granted his request, offering warm words of encouragement until death stole in with the dawn. (Source Unknown)
We are looking at the Fruit of the Spirit this summer and discovering their evidence and depth as it is revealed in relationships; particularly (but not exclusively) the marriage relationship. A few general discoveries we have made so far are:
1.) The Fruit of the Spirit are best understood in relationships.
That is where we show how authentic the growth and change are and no relationship shows this more clearly than the marriage relationship.
As I’ve said the last few weeks, Proverbs is a great marriage manual. Listen to a few verses that speak to kindness and how it affects your relationships.
× Proverbs 11:6-7 -- A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth. A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.
× Proverbs 12:25 -- An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
× Proverbs 14:31 -- He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
2.) Marriage is more about being the right mate than it is finding the right mate. The Fruit of the Spirit make you the right mate!
3.) We know the Fruit of the Spirit cannot be selective and exclusive. They go together … when God’s love is present and growing all the fruit will be present and growing.
1 Peter 4:5-8 says, For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
4.) The presence of the fruit (s) is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s deep, work of spiritual transformation within you. They are more than simply evidence that I am becoming a better person – they reveal I am becoming a different person (like Jesus Christ). My relational habits are transformed from “works of the flesh” and “sinful nature” (Galatians 5:16-21) into works of the Spirit as Christ is formed in me (Galatians 4:19).
I have a good friend who is a medical doctor in Miami, Oklahoma. We were discussing a particular person with whom we both had a relationship who was aged, living in an assisted-care facility, and as mean a person as you’d ever want to meet.
Dr. “x” made the comment that he desired to have such a deep transformation within his heart that, once dementia set in and behavior was out of his control, he would have a kind and generous disposition none-the-less.
That requires a healing – a miracle within the depths of the human soul; and only the Holy Spirit can bring about that kind of change.