Summary: Contrasting the fruits of the flesh with the fruits of the Spirit
Pataskala Church of the Nazarene
August 23, 2009
First Sermon in Series: Character Makeover
By Their Fruit You Shall Know Them
Have you ever wished that there was such a thing as a life makeover?
I remember when I was in junior high school we had a girl whose name was JoAnn Buzzard.
Our family at that time was poor, but her family was really poor.
When she came to school, she came wearing dresses that showed how poor her family was.
Her mother really didn’t even teach her how to comb her hair. I don’t know if you can get the picture in your mind, but … well you know.
It came time for the Junior – Senior Prom and some of the girls in our class decided to take JoAnn on as make over project. If you will allow me to say it that way.
They bought her a new dress, new shoes, new purse.
They arranged for JoAnn to get her hair done.
They even helped her with her hygiene and make-up.
I’ll be honest with you – when she came to the prom I didn’t know her.
She had had a tremendous appearance change.
Have you ever thought if you had some of your life to live over, what you would do differently?
I’m sure the greatest majority of us here this morning has watched Extreme Home Makeover.
What a great thing they do when they help families.
The only problem I see is who pays the utilities later!
Well, in the next several weeks I want to preach a series of sermons entitled: Character Makeover.
I want to talk to you about the key to longevity in our Christian living.
These sermons will mostly deal with the Fruits of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians chapter 5.
I want to take you on a journey that will cover such subjects as:
Having a right relationship with God, myself,
Others, things, and a right relationship regarding my future.
Let me get started in this mornings sermon.
In the Melanesian islands of the South Pacific during WWII, the native Melanesians watched closely as the American and British engineers came in and built airstrips.
The islanders were amazed to see that when the airstrips were completed, planes began to arrive filled with cargo: food, building materials, machinery, even vehicles.
So they decided, this was something they wanted in on.
The Melanesians deduced, that if they built airstrips, then planes would come to them, too, likewise bringing cargo, food, etc.
They accordingly hacked a makeshift runway out of the jungle and built mocked-up control towers out of grass and mud.
They put fires along the sides of the runways, and put a man in the grass-hut control tower, with two coconut halves on his head for headphones--he’s the controller--they rigged antennas out of bamboo and then they waited for the airplanes to land.
As far as they could see they were doing everything right.
The form was perfect.
It looked exactly the way it was supposed to.
But it didn’t work.
You and I both know no airplanes ever came.
In the world that you and I live in today let me say it like this, the cargo cults of a similar type are just about everywhere you look.
What these cargo people are looking for is not food, they are not looking for machinery
All these people are looking for love, joy, peace, patience and all the other things that our text this morning describes as the "fruit of the spirit."
So instead of going to the Author and the Creator who could give them what they so desperately are looking for – they go seeking in all the wrong places.
What they are missing, like the Melanesian islanders, is the fact that cargo comes not because of runways and control towers but because of a relationship with the One who sends the cargo.
They are ignorant of this truth. They don’t know that special relationship with the Sender/the Creator of this Universe.
What is the key to longevity in Christian living and effective ministry?
In one word – it embraces one of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, it’s listed as the last one and that is Self-control.
You see – now understand with me – Self-control is the result of the workings of the rest of the fruit in a person’s life.
The Apostle Paul recognized self-control as one of the highly important spiritual qualities of any believer.
Paul closes the fruits with Self-control.
Paul preached and wrote to the Church of Corinth about spiritual self-control, which the church struggled with.
Here was a church of great giftedness, power, privilege, and promise, and yet they were in danger of throwing it all away because they couldn’t control their physical, spiritual, and moral appetites.