Summary: In introduction to a study on the fruit of the Spirit discussing the nature, source and development of the fruit of the Spirit in the life of a believer.
Introduction to the Fruit of the Spirit
Series: Fruit of the Spirit Teaching Series
January 19, 2014
TEXT: Galatians 5:16-26 – “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
Q. = Discussion QUESTION for the class / A. = ANSWERS or things to add to the discussion if not brought out.
Illus. – In my sophomore year of high school my dad was stationed at an air base in Everett, Washington, about 30 miles north of Seattle. Not too far away were hundreds of strawberry farms, a big industry in the area. In the Spring, a bus would show up outside our base to pick us up to go out to the strawberry fields to make some money as young teenagers.
Another big industry in Washington is apple production. Though there were not apple orchards that I knew of in our vicinity, it was a huge industry in the state overall. Washington was the only place I ever went to school where the only product you could buy from the school’s vending machine was apples. Of course, you had a good variety to choose from…if you liked apples.
I’m not an expert on fruit production, but my limited experience working in the strawberry fields and a little previous experience working on a farm in Tennessee taught me a few basic concepts about fruit.
• First of all, a fruit plant or tree will only produce one kind of fruit.
When we bent over a plant to pick its fruit, we didn’t expect apples or oranges or kiwi to be attached to the plant. We knew that strawberry plants always bear strawberries.
• Second, the source of the fruit was the plant it was attached to. – Fruit doesn’t just appear out of nowhere; it’s the outgrowth of something it grows out of.
• Furthermore, we knew to pick fruit off live plants, because those not attached to the fruit are already dead, or was in the process of dying.
That backdrop gives us a little insight of the fruit of the Spirit, the subject of our study over the next few weeks.
The fruit of the Spirit is described for us in Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
We’ll examine each of these in detail over the next few weeks, but in order to understand them fully, we need to see them in their context of Galatians 5 and their relationship to the working of the Holy Spirit in the wider context of the whole New Testament. Today we’re going to look at an introduction to the fruit of the Spirit and then in the weeks to come we’ll look in detail at each grace that comprises the fruit of the Spirit.
I. LET’S FIRST CONSIDER THE NATURE OF THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
• Consider first the fact that verse 22 calls them the “fruit” (singular) of the Spirit, not the “fruits” (plural) of the Spirit.
Q. What do you think the significance of this little detail might be?
A. (See if the class expresses the thoughts below. If not, cover them.)
This indicates that these qualities constitute a unity—all of which should be found in a believer who lives under the control of the Spirit.
Unlike the GIFTS of the Spirit, the FRUIT of the Spirit is not divided or distributed among believers so that some have one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit and another has a different aspect of the fruit of the spirit.
Rather—ALL truly born-again believers who are walking in the Spirit are marked by ALL of these qualities to some degree or another (although practically speaking, no Christian ever manifests them fully or perfectly all the time).