Summary: First sermon in a series looking at the "Fruit of the Spirit" from Galatians 5:22-23.
“The Fruit of the Spirit”
June 1, 2002
Show video clip of “Mr. Holland’s Opus”.
The video clip we just showed was from the movie, “Mr. Holland’s Opus”. The plot of the movie is essentially about “bearing fruit”. Mr. Holland has been teaching music for years feeling as though he was wasting his talent for writing music. His career it seemed to him had not bore much fruit. The music department gets cut at the high school he teaches at and so does his job. A huge assembly, an outpouring of love, is arranged to give Mr. Holland a farewell. His wife has secretly taken the music piece that Mr. Holland has been working on for 30 years and arranged to have his former music students from years past perform it. It is then, as he hears his music played by his students that he sees the fruits of his labor in the lives of his former students.
Don’t we often think like Mr. Holland? We toil, we struggle, we work to make something of our lives and too often we don’t see any progress, any results, any fruit. As Christians, we go to church, we tithe, we read our Bibles, we pray, we try to live the life God wants us to live and yet we don’t see any fruit. Here a little secret that I want to let you in on: Our lives will inevitably bear fruit. You may not always be able to see it right away. It may take someone pointing it out to you. The fact remains that each of us will bear fruit with our lives. Matthew 7:17, “Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.”
Tonight, we begin a series on the “good fruit”, the fruit of the Spirit out of Galatians 5. Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” Each week we will tackle a fruit of the Spirit, beginning tonight with love. The fruit of the Spirit cannot be broken down into three different groups. John Stott writes, “The Fruit of the Spirit portray a Christian’s attitude toward God, to other people, and to himself.” Love, joy and peace show our attitude toward God. Patience, kindness, and goodness show our attitude toward other people. Faithfulness, gentleness and self-control show our attitude to ourselves. I personally believe that attitude is one of the most important factors in determining the direction that our lives our going to go and the fruit that we are going to bear. I have a quote on my wall about attitude that Mike (our youth minister) gave me that Chuck Swindoll wrote. It’s a powerful quote, so powerful that I’ve given each of you a copy of it in your bulletin:
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one thing we have, and that is our attitude. I am now convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”
The fruit of the Spirit that we are going to be looking at will ultimately be manifested and shown in our attitudes.
In the Old Testament, we see that people were without an intimate, personal relationship with God. They knew God through great prophets and their rituals. In the New Testament, God reveals himself to man through His Son Jesus. He was flesh and bone, appearing in person to mankind. After his death, burial and resurrection, man was not left with the void of knowing God intimately. The New Testament tells us that as Christians, the Holy Spirit of God lives in us. God is not only with us at all times, but he actually lives with us and in us. Speaking about the Holy Spirit to his disciples the night before his death, Jesus says this in John 15:16-17, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” The Holy Spirit is a precious gift that we possess as Christians. The Holy Spirit is working in each one of us who have accepted Christ to make us like Christ. One of the natural processes of the Spirit is to produce fruit in our lives; the fruit that is listed here in Galatians 5. The only hindrance to the Holy Spirit producing this fruit is man himself and his sinful nature.