Summary: This sermon examines the fruit of faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
THE SPIRIT-FILLED LIFE PART III
By now we know that physical and spiritual fruit is very important to our well-being. Doctors are discovering more and more that fruit should be part of our diet if the diet is to be a healthy one. The Food Guide Pyramid bears out the importance of fruit. According to this food pyramid, a daily portion of two to four servings of fruit should be in our diet. I think of going into the grocery store. One of the first aisles you go down usually has fruit and vegetables. There we can find all types of fruits.
The same should be true in the life of the believer. All the fruits of the Spirit should be seen in our life because of our relationship with God. The fruits are unlike the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts are given selectively. Not all Christians have the same gifts or use the same gift the same way. God matches the gift to our personality and to our uniqueness. He does this after giving the gift of grace which all Christians have. It is this gift of grace that enables us to use the gifts he gives. The fruits of the Spirit are not like this. All of the fruits should be evident in the Christian's life. We all have the power and ability to produce these various fruits and thereby bring honor and glory to God. By manifesting these fruits, we also give witness and testimony to what he has done and is doing in our life.
We have already looked at the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness and kindness. Today we want to finish by looking at the final three fruits of the Spirit.
I. WE MUST PRODUCE FAITHFULNESS
To be faithful is to be loyal and trustworthy. This does not refer to faith as exercised by the child of God. All Christians have already exercised this faith when they trusted Christ as their Savior. It speaks of faithfulness produced by the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian who is yielded to God. This is one of the surest tests of our character.
Jesus is our great example in faithfulness. The Bible says of him that he “emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:7) What greater example of faithfulness could we turn to? Jesus had all the glory of heaven. He was with the Father. Yet he gave this up for a time because God's desire was for him to come to earth and die to show God's love for humanity. There was a great depth in the incarnation. Paul tells us in Ephesians that before Christ could ascend after his resurrection, he had to descend, and this he did to the lower parts of the earth. He left his throne in glory to come and die for sinful mankind. He was faithful to what God the Father wanted him to do.
Jesus taught the necessity of faithfulness in his parable of the talents. He tells of a man traveling to a far country. He calls his servants and entrusts his goods to them. He gives one five talents, another two and another one. The one given the five puts them to good use and makes five more. The one given two did the same thing. But the servant who was given one dug a hold and hid the money in the ground. When the master returned, this servant drew a sharp rebuke from him because of his actions. The master in turn takes the talent and gives it to the one who has ten. Jesus said; “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.” (Matthew 25:29)
Faithfulness also involves adhering to what is right. It means recognizing there is a difference between right and wrong and sticking to the right. If we are not careful, we will find ourselves compromising. It is tempting to compromise our faith in some way if it is to our benefit. In the third epistle of John, John compliments Demetrius because of his faithfulness in word, truth, precept, and practice. Compromise is a dangerous but familiar landmine for the believer.
Faithfulness also entails being faithful to the plan of God for our life. How many times do we know what God wants us to do but do not do it for one reason or another. The full blessings of God can only fall when we are faithful to his plan for our life.