Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series





We have been studying the Fruits of the Spirit. We have discovered that the nine fruit Paul listed in Galatians 5 can be divided into three clusters of three fruit each.

The first category (cluster) deals primarily with the inward aspects of a life lived in the Spirit.

These fruit of Love, Joy and Peace deal with our relationship with God.

The second cluster: Patience, Kindness, and Goodness have to do with our relationship with those around us; with others.

Today we come to the last cluster: FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS AND SELF CONTROL. These fruit have to do with our intimate relationships and our own attitudes.

Before we move into an actual discussion of these three fruit, notice the priority system that Paul has established for the Christian. Our first priority in life is God. As Jesus expressed it, "We are to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness." Our second priority is to be others. Then and only then comes self.

If we allow these priorities to get out of sink, we will have problems. If we do not have God first in our life, we have no hope of seeing the fruit of the Spirit coming to bear in the way we live. If our job comes first, we are out of God’s will. If our parents, or our spouse or our children come before God, then we are not enjoying the Christian life to its’ fullest.

Be honest! When do things seem to be the worst in your life? I’ll tell you when it is for me. It is when I get my priorities out of order and I depend on self instead of God. When do Gretchen and I have the most trouble? It’s when I get my priorities out of order and I depend on Steve instead of Jehovah God. We tend to forget that it is God who brings order to life not we ourselves.

Notice also, that we are to put others ahead of ourselves on our priority list. This is probably the hardest thing of all. We are taught to watch out for good ole number one. We place a higher premium on receiving our rights instead of living up to our responsibilities. It is only when we put God first, serving others second and self third that we experience contentment in life.

In Christian Reader Digest, Ken Walker writes about Clay Shiver. In the 1995 college football season 6-foot-2-inch, 280-pound Clay Shiver, played center for the Florida State Seminoles. He was regarded as one of the best in the nation. In fact, one magazine wanted to name him to their preseason All-American football team. But that was a problem, because the magazine was Playboy, and Clay Shiver is a dedicated Christian.”

“Shiver and the team chaplain suspected that Playboy would select him, and so he had time to prepare his response. Shiver knew well what a boon this could be for his career. Being chosen for this All-American team meant that sportswriters regarded him as the best in the nation at his position. Such publicity never hurts athletes who aspire to the pros and to multimillion dollar contracts.”

“But Shiver had higher values and priorities. When informed that Playboy had made their selection, Clay Shiver simply said, ‘No thanks.’ That’s right, he flatly turned down the honor. ‘Clay didn’t want to embarrass his mother and grandmother by appearing in the magazine or giving old high school friends an excuse to buy that issue,’ writes Walker. Shiver further explained by quoting Luke 12:48: ‘To whom much is given, of him much is required.’”

Shiver who went on to play in the NFL for the Cowboys, Broncos, and Panthers said, “I don’t want to let anyone down,” said Shiver, “and number one on that list is God” (Larson, p. 53).

The first fruit that Paul lists in this final cluster is FAITHFULNESS. What faithfulness really means here is TRUSTWORTHINESS -- LOYALTY --STEADFASTNESS. It is interesting to note that the Greek word used in this text is PISTIS which is the same word translated as FIDELITY. More exactly, fidelity in marriage.

Hopefully we have an idea of what it means to have fidelity in marriage. A person commits him or herself to a reliable relationship. A faithful husband or wife can be counted on to live up to their part of the marriage covenant. We know that person is there for us. When the day is over, we do not doubt they will be coming back to us.

A person who is filled with the Spirit can be counted on to do what is right. What we say we believe is witnessed to by what we do. If we give our word; if we say we are going to do something we are trustworthy. Our word is our bond. Our "yes" means "yes" and our "no" means "no".

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