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Summary: What is "physical fruit"? "An outward evidence of the inward nature of the tree." (We know an apple tree is an apple tree because is produces apples). Likewise, if we are walking in the Spirit, we will evidence His inward presence.

THE APPLE OF LOVE

In John 15:8, Jesus declared, "In this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, so shall you be My disciples."

We glorify the Father and prove that we are followers of Jesus, when we produce the Fruit of the Spirit. The Fruit of the Spirit is much different than the Gifts of the Spirit, which we’ve been studying. The gifts of the Spirit are "supernatural enablings for spiritual service." The fruit of the Spirit is "Christ-like character produced by abiding in Christ."

What is "physical fruit"? "An outward evidence of the inward nature of the tree." (We know an apple tree is an apple tree because is produces apples).

Likewise, if we are walking in the Spirit, the evidence of His presence in our lives will be "spiritual fruit."

How many Fruit of the Spirit are there? Nine or One? Nine characteristics are mentioned, but the word, "fruit" is in the singular.

Why?

1. The works of the flesh are many, but the Fruit of the Spirit is produced with a singular purpose: to glorify God.

2. The gifts of the Spirit are many and given to each believer individually, but the Fruit of the Spirit is to be produced in every believer’s life.

3. Spiritual maturity is not a matter of living a life of love one day, joy the next day and peace on the third. But growing in all these virtues simultaneously.

4. Spiritual Fruit is a multiple fruit (like a bunch of grapes). It comes from a single source - the Spirit. But is "many-faceted." Notice also that the nine characteristics are required in three groups of three:

INWARD QUALITIES:

Love, Joy, Peace

OUTWARD QUALITIES:

Patience, Kindness, Goodness

UPWARD QUALITIES

Faithfulness, Meekness, Self-control

If we are believers, the Spirit is producing His Fruit in us! But how can we grow better Fruit? How can we increase the harvest?

I believe fruit-bearing involves a unique blend of obedience and dependence. Obedience because we are commanded to bear fruit, therefore we must seek in practical ways to put these attributes into actin on a daily basis. And Dependence, because we understand that the Spirit alone can make us like Christ; it is our continual yielding to His control which supplies the energy necessary to obey.

During our study in the weeks ahead, read and meditate on John 14, 15 & 16 and Galatians 5. There we will learn how to "abide in Christ" an how to "walk in the Spirit," which are the key to "bearing much fruit," which will glorify God, the Heavenly Gardener! Let’s get started now.

Let’s look at the "APPLE OF LOVE" - first and foremost of the spiritual qualities. I chose an apple because it is the "primary fruit." You can eat it in all seasons, it is used in many recipes - it’s an "all-around fruit." Likewise, "Love" is basic to all of the spiritual fruit. In Col. 3:14, Paul calls love, "the bond of perfection" - the one character trait that encompasses and completes all others.

I. WHAT IS LOVE?

The Hebrew word for love is "aheb," which means "affection or compassion." The Greek word for Christ-like love is "agape," which means

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