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: PEACE-FULL LOVE *
Sermon Objective: The Fruit of the Spirit are most fully realized in relationships and no relationship is more basic than the marriage relationship.
I brought a picture with me this morning from the wall in my office. What I want you to see is not the picture … it’s the frame. Have you ever noticed how a frame can change a picture? Sometimes, often times, the change is subtle; you are unaware of it but it happens none-the-less. If this picture was in a rustic frame it would set a much different mood when you see the picture than if it was in a regal, elegant frame.
Looking at the Fruit of the Spirit from a perspective of relationships “frames” the fruit. It sets them in a different environment and reveals applications that are much more varied and substantive than simply looking at how the fruit impact my own personal development. Marriage, in particular, provides a frame that shows if the fruit are growing within you – if they are real and mature or superficial and weak.
Steven Gola (from divorcehope.com) writes: “The way we respond everyday to the various encounters with people and situations determines what kind of life we will have. The same situation can have two opposite outcomes depending on how we respond.”
I think Gola’s words are insightful and point us, again, to the power of walking in the Spirit and bearing marks of the Spirit’s fruit within us. Allowing God’s Spirit to flourish within us and submitting to His authority and control definitely affects the way we interact and respond to other people.
These verses definitely frame the fruit. Just as the right frame can enhance a picture or even change the mood it sets so the verses before and after the fruit do so as well. And since we are looking at them from a very particular perspective anyhow (marriage) I think you will find the context especially helpful.
A little girl, on the way home from church, turned to her mother and said, “Mommy, the preacher’s sermon this morning confused me.” The mother said, “Oh! Why is that?” The girl replied, “Well, he said that God is bigger than we are. Is that true?” “Yes, that’s true,” the Mother replied.
“He also said that God lives in us. Is that true, too?” Again the mother replied, “Yes.”
“Well,” said the little girl. “If God is bigger than us and he lives in us, wouldn’t He show through?”
I like that little girl’s way of putting it. If God lives in us, then there’s no way of keeping him from “showing through.” That’s the power of walking in the Spirit; living in such a way that people around us will see God in our lives.
And can you think of a more noticeable virtue in our day and age than peace? I mean there seems to be a dearth of peace wherever you look. The world is just frantic these days.
A Tacoma, Washington newspaper carried the story of Tattoo the basset hound a while back. Tattoo didn’t intend to go for an evening run, but when his owner shut the dog’s leash in the car door and took off for a drive – with Tattoo still outside the vehicle, he had no choice. Motorcycle officer Terry Filbert notice a passing vehicle with something dragging behind it. He commented that the poor basset hound was, “picking them up and putting them down as fast as he could.” He chased the car to a stop, and Tattoo was rescued. But not before the dog had reached a top speed of 25 miles per hour, falling down and rolling over several times.
Too many of us are living our lives like Tattoo, picking them up and putting them down as fast as we can – rolling around & feeling dragged through life.
(SOURCE James Botts, The Crossing Community Church, in "Rest For The Stressed.")
So as we look at the power of peace this morning I want you to think particularly of how its presence can enrich a marriage. Let’s read Galatians 5:13-26. As I do so, read it through the “lens of marriage.”
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.