Summary: The Fruit of the Spirit is God’s love and work in us, the love of Christ flowing in through His Holy Spirit in and out of us! All because we have a personal relationship with Christ, we have God’s living presence in us, living in us. The result is we have
Opening illustration: The teacher in our adult-education creative-writing class told us to write "I love you" in 25 words or less, without using the words "I love you." She gave us 15 minutes. A woman in the class spent about ten minutes looking at the ceiling and wriggling in her seat. The last five minutes she wrote frantically and later read us the results:
"Why, I’ve seen lots worse hairdos than that honey."
"These cookies are hardly burned at all."
"Cuddle up-I’ll get your feet warm."
Let us look into God’s Word and see what it tells us about Love. Whether we should just be saying ‘I love you’ casually and making it a part of our daily talk OR should we be showing it more in action than in words.
Introduction: As we get into the second part of the Fruit of the Spirit series, we will look into the passage found in Galatians 5: 22 & 23 which will draw our attention to the Fruit we essentially need to bear through the Holy Spirit given to every believer through God Himself.
Why the word ‘Fruit’ is in singular while what follows apparently is in plural?
Is it “Fruit” of the Spirit or is it “Fruits” of the Spirit? There are nine or more fruits, so it must be a plural? Yes and no; in the Greek language, it is referred to as “singular,” meaning one Fruit. In classic Reformed and Evangelical theology, it is listed as both (Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church the definitive work and many other references too), but the singular is the more correct way to refer to it. Then there is the number; is it nine, twelve, or more? Catholics add modesty, continence, and chastity, which they get from the Latin Vulgate translation. Then 2 Peter 1 gives a slightly different listing. Basically, most biblical theologians look to the Galatians nine and the others, more than seventy total, are referred to as virtues or “characters.” Let us first take a quick look at the main nine Fruit(s) of the Spirit that flow from God’s work and love working in us. These all flow from love and cooperate as one in one another (Galatians 5:22-23).
[Fruit (Greek ~ karpos) = singular fruit]
The Fruit of the Spirit is described as a fruit because it is made up of more than one substance. Just like any fruit from a tree, such as an apple or an orange, it has juice, pulp, peel, core, segments, and seeds, all held together by a skin or rind, and attached to the tree by a stem where its nutrients flow in. So it is with our relationship in Christ. If you just eat of the pulp or juice and throw out the rest, how can you grow more without the seeds? If you take the fruit off the vine and do not use it, no nutrients will flow in and thus it will wither and rot. If the vine is not cared for, the tree will die. So it is with the Fruit of the Spirit, and so it is with our relationship with Christ as well as our relationships with others for the faith. God makes it and it requires the efforts of our fostering this spiritual development from our growth of faith that necessitates our tending. It is more than just one substance; all of its substances combined are greater than the sum of its parts creating “synergy” of faith. Thus, the Fruit of the Spirit is the physical, empowering essence from our healthy, growing relationship with the Holy Spirit that gives us the active application of a transformed life that showcases who Christ is as well as inspires and affects others. In order to become more mature believers and build healthier churches, we must learn and understand these essential attributes (Hab. 2:4; John 15; Rom. 12; Phil. 2:13).
Spirit (the Spirit) = Holy Spirit
Background: The Fruit of the Spirit is God’s love and work in us, the love of Christ flowing in through His Holy Spirit in and out of us! All because we have a personal relationship with Christ, we have God’s living presence in us, living in us. The result is we have the ability to reflect His Fruit and character. In addition, this is a moral obligation on our part to live out our New Life in Christ effectively. This then becomes our visible evidence of our relationship and growth in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior that is contagious and affects others. We display Christ by our manner, demeanor, and temperament. Thus, the Fruit we make becomes the influence and the display case of His transforming power. We do not do this alone; He gives us the Holy Spirit, God’s active love and work within and through us so we bear and convey His attributes of Fruit and character. This means we “cultivate,” add to as in supplement His Fruit, God’s empowering love for us, which we are given and then we are to continue to build up by our faith development so we are able to pass this on to others (Isa. 27:6; Hos. 10:1; 14:8; Matt. 3:8; Rom. 6:22; Eph. 5:9; Phil. 1:11).