Summary: The Fruit of the Spirit is a singular word Fruit compared to the Gifts of the Spirit where there is a plural word Gifts. Therefore every committed Christian should be growing in all nine aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5: 13-26
Let us open in prayer
Father, I pray that you will anoint my words this morning that they may be words for each of us from you. I ask what I say may be relevant in our Christian lives. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
This morning I would like to look at the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5 where St Paul says
…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
At the same time I would like to look at Israel’s most evil King – King Manessah.
Legend has it that King Manessah had the prophet Isaiah executed by having Isaiah sawn in two between two pieces of wood
First I would like to start by pointing out that the word FRUIT in the FRUIT of the Spirit is a singular noun.
It is not the FRUITS of the Spirit but the FRUIT of the Spirit.
In other words, it is all aspects of the Fruit in which we have to GROW.
Jesus doesn’t expect us to say:
“Yes I can sign up for changing in the areas of love, joy, peace, faithfulness and gentleness in my life – but sorry I just can’t do anything about my awful temper – it’s in my genes – I inherited it from my father.
love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.
are aspects of the FRUIT of the HOLY SPIRIT in our lives
There are no opt out clauses!!
We can’t change ourselves – but we can allow the HOLY SPIRIT to change us. The choice is ours.
Contrast this with I Cor 12 where Pauls speaks of the GIFTS of the Spirit not the GIFT of the Spirit
Paul puts it like this:
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
6 There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
8 To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,
9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,
10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
The Gifts of the Spirit are for SERVICE but the Fruit of the Spirit is for forming CHARACTER.
If we consider God’s commandments, we can look at them in one of two ways
1. We can follow them to the letter of the law – and like any good lawyer look for the get out clauses.
2. Or we can look at the Spirit of the Law – and see what God really wants and that is the test of our character.
Having said that would like to take a look at King Manasseh from our OT lesson (2 Chr 33 1-20)this morning
As I said earlier he was the most evil King Judah or Israel ever had, UNTIL GOD got hold of him.
God got Manessah's attention by sending the King of Assyria against him and who defeated Manasseh in battle put him into chains and a hook through his nose, just as farmers do to control bulls.
However surprisingly, instead of becoming bitter Manessah repents of his evil ways.
It is a true repentance and God forgives him and restores him to his kingdom.
Josephus tells us this about Manasseh after his repentance
And indeed, when he had changed his former course, he so led his life ………..that from the time of his return to piety towards God, he was deemed a happy man, and a pattern for imitation.
Repentance changed the man
And Manesseh's repentance resulted in action.
On his release from the King of Assyria’s prison, Manasseh overturned all the evil he had done and started to walk in God's ways.
He got rid of the idols he had put up and caused his nation to worship the one true God.
He was a changed man.
If we want to share our faith with those around us the Good News of Jesus won’t be CREDIBLE if our lives don’t show a change.