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Summary: This is the initial, introductory sermon in the series on "The Fruit of the Spirit."

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THE SECRET OF THE FRUIT—GALATIANS 5:13-26

“MY DESIRE, TO BE LIKE JESUS;

MY DESIRE, TO BE LIKE HIM.

HIS SPIRIT FILL ME,

HIS LOVE O’ERWHELM ME,

IN DEED AND WORD,

TO BE LIKE HIM.”

--Lillian Plankenhorn, 1946

Is that your heart’s prayer? How can one ever be like Jesus? The secret to being Christlike is found in the Fruit of the Spirit as shared by Paul in Galatians Chapter Five.

The Holy Spirit grant both Spiritual Gifts and the Fruit of the Spirit to every disciple of Jesus Christ, and both the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit are vital in the life of every Christian. Spiritual Gifts are given by the Holy Spirit to each Christian not because a believer prays, asks, for begs Him for a particular gift but according to the Spirit’s Divine purpose and plan. Each Christian is given one or more gifts by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of ministry and building up of the Church of Jesus Christ as Paul clearly teaches in Ephesians 4:11-13, “The gifts He gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.”

The Fruit of the Spirit are the qualities and characteristics the Spirit cultivates in us to make us like Jesus. While the Spirit never gives anyone all of His Gifts, it is His will to develop all of the Fruit of the Spirit in each of our lives. It is the Fruit of the Spirit that empowers each of us to be like Jesus in deed and in word.

If there is one sign, evidence, or proof of the Spirit filled life, it is the Fruit of the Spirit and never one particular Spiritual Gift some Christians may have while others lack. The Bible never says: "By this gift you will know them," but Jesus says on two different occasions, "by their fruits you will know them" and "By this shall all know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another."

Over these next ten weeks we are going to look closely at each Fruit of the Spirit, but today we want to discover “The Secret of the Fruit,” to learn just how as His Disciples we can each become like our Master. Jesus Himself tells us in Matthew 10:24-5, “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master.” As servants of Jesus, we can become like our Master.

But again, how is that possible? The Secret of the Fruit begins to be revealed as we look at verse sixteen. Here we have a commandment to obey and a promise to claim: “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” The fruit of the Spirit matures and grows in us as we live under the Spirit’s control. Throughout this fifth chapter of Galatians Paul contrasts our sinful nature and the spiritual nature as directed by the Holy Spirit. The two are opponents in battle for control of your life and mine. This first becomes evident in verse seventeen: “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”

If we obey the commandment, we receive the promise. When we “Walk by the Spirit,” we will never fulfill the desires of the flesh. Flesh in this context is not human skin; it is our sinful nature. To be like Jesus I must walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. The original Text makes it clear that Paul is speaking here about a life style that we are to live under the guidance, direction, and power of the Holy Spirit. Walking in the Spirit describes a continuous movement that begins in a present moment and continues into the future.

To be like Jesus, I must always continue to walk, not in my own strength and power, not by my own desire, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, under His control, surrendered to His will each and every day, each and every hour, each and every minute, each and every second for my entire life. If I am going to be victorious over the desires of the flesh, the Holy Spirit must always have absolute, total control of all my life. Walking in the Spirit means He controls and directs all my attitudes, personal decisions, actions, thoughts, plans, the words I speak. He controls everything I am and do.

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