Summary: A sermon series based on the fruits of the Spirit.
(Series) "Relaunch 2015"
pt. 1 - I Will Be Loving
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Introduction: How many of you would like to make some changes in your life in 2015? I suspect that most of us would. If I told you that it is possible for you to radically change your life and that anyone could do it would you believe me? Well you can and over the next 9 messages we hope to show you how. Most of what I'm going to say applies to those who are already Christians but anyone who has a desire to see change in their life can benefit. When Paul wrote this letter he was dealing with a theological problem that involved some who wanted to teach that in order to be saved you had to put your faith in Jesus and then be circumcised, much like those today who insist that baptism or church membership is necessary for salvation. The primary theme of Galatians is the grace of God, yet much of Galatians is dedicated to the work of the Holy Spirit. For example, Galatians encourages us to live daily by the work of the Holy Spirit, because that is the only way that the grace of God comes to bear on and in and through our lives. By the time he gets to the 5th chapter he has already refuted their arguments and turned the emphasis upon what the Holy Spirit can do in the life of all those who trust Christ and him only. Those who held the position that I spoke about were trying to live the Christian life in the flesh and let me tell you that is an impossibility. We have many today who are doing the same thing and they are displaying all kinds of negative spiritual and personality traits but there is a better way and that brings us to these two verses. Bob Hoekstra writes: "Too many Christians, after meeting God, do not grow in acquaintance with God. And for some reason modern Christianity has become too accepting of this trend, as if it were the norm. God never intended us to me him in salvation and then be strangers until we stand before him in glory." There are so many who will say that they have been Christians for 20, 30 or even 50 years but the truth is they have not grown much past that first year and are just repeating their first years' experience 20,30, or 50 times without moving forward towards Christlikeness. Make no mistake my friends; the goal of God in salvation is Christlikeness. God wants to change us into the image (icon -- exact replica) of His Son in character, conduct and personality. If you don't believe me listen to these verses:
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
The verb changed is in the perfect tense so it can be read, "...are being changed..."
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
Let me translate the first few words before we get into our lesson. "The fruit of the Spirit..." is better translated "...the fruit that the Spirit produces..." The path to Christlikeness is a work of the Holy Spirit so obviously we must have the third person of the Trinity living within us to work in us. Second, we must yield to the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit in order for Him to produce fruit in us.
I want to present three principles for your consideration this morning. First let's consider:
I. The Argument for Love
In order for us to understand what love is and to have a biblical concept maybe it would be good for us to consider what it is not! It is not sentimentality. Let me give you one example. Have you ever heard someone say that they just did not have the heart to spank little Johnny or Suzie not matter what kind of behavior they exhibited because they "just loved them too much?" Well that's not love, it just sentimentality and misguided and misinformed at that. What does the Bible say about the subject of corporal correction? Just one verse ought to settle the issue.