Faithlife Sermons

The Fruit of the Kingdom

The Gospel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 3 views
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Introduction

Love is both a noun and a verb. It’s entirely reasonable for us to say on one hand, “He is filled with love for her,” and at the same time, almost expectantly, to say, “He loves her like crazy!” That is, he can ‘have’ love for her, having love for her, causes him to love her with his actions and speech and priorities. It’s something that you have and something that you do. And, what we realize is that if you have love, you will express love. Once you have love for someone or something, every, single one of us would say that at that point you will be compelled to live it out in a way that is clear and apparent. As a matter of fact, if someone tells us that they have love for us but they don’t love us through the things that they do, we distrust the love they have as being counterfeit.
This is how we should understand the Gospel. The Gospel is something that you have, but then, once you have it, it’s something that you do. The first work of the Gospel is to transform you inwardly. It is to transform your rock hard heart into soft, fertile ground. It is to change your destiny and desires by God’s initiative and God’s intervention. So, it begins inwardly by the transformation of your very essence. But then, once your desires have been changed, your life and your works will be changed too. When a young man falls in love, when his heart changes toward a woman, his priorities and his works are soon to change too. All of a sudden he’s wearing a collared shirt and cologne and writing poetry instead of playing Modern Warfare with his boys. It starts inwardly, but it doesn’t stay there. So, it is with the gospel. The verification and assurance that you can have as to whether or not you are now a part of the Kingdom of God is whether or not you begin to bring your life more and more into submission to the King. So, last week, we saw how it is that sinful man can be reconciled with a holy and righteous God by being made alive by the Gospel, and today, we’re going to see how it is that this new life looks in every day living.

God’s Word

Read

Walk by the Spirit, not the Desires of the Flesh

“for the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit” There is a civil war that is taking place in the life of every believer. It’s a war in which your own faculties, appetites, and instincts stand in opposition to what is best for you, to what God has designed for you to be. You like fried chicken, but God made you so that you are healthiest with lean meat and vegetables. You want to keep eating, but God made so that it is best for you to have smaller portions. You want sexual promiscuity or sexual deviance, but God has made you for a monogamous sexual relationship with one spouse. God has made it so that you are healthiest and happiest with self-control and temperance, but you want to vent your anger and indulge on every entitlement that you believe you’re owed. This is what it means to live according to the ‘desires of the flesh.’ It means that you want to assert self-control and authority over your life by rejecting God’s way and God’s design for your own self-gratifying desires. To live according to the flesh is to do what you think is best, even when it is different than what God has said is best.
“walk by the Spirit” And, the civil war comes in the life of the believer in that, when Christ made you alive, you repented of your self-rule and self-promotion and submitted your life to Christ. And, the Spirit who convicted you of your sins initially and gave you a brand new heart that wants to please Christ, took residence in your life so that your appetites and desires and instincts would begin to change. But, remember what we said last week: Your salvation is already assured, but it is not yet complete. And so, there is a battle between the old desires of who you used to be and the new desires of who Christ is making you to be. So, Paul is calling them to walk in the Spirit, even though they still have desires of the flesh. He’s saying, “Submit to the Spirit, even though you find yourself susceptible to the flesh. Even though you are intrigued and hungry for the stuff on your television, reject them by faith because you trust what the Spirit shows you in God’s word more than what you feel.” You see, this civil war, this spiritual battle is between what is right and what feels right and seems right. It’s a battle between who you have been and who you are being made to be. And so, what we see is that the Gospel is not simply about a one time, momentary repentance. It’s about a life-long journey in repentance in which you are ever more putting to death the old self and walking by the power of the Spirit in the new life that you have found in Christ. The Gospel isn’t a one-time transaction; the gospel is about bringing yourself more and more into submission to Christ’s Kingdom rule by the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Playing Both Sides Will Kill You

“for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” Paul points out the the path of the Spirit moves against the path of the flesh. That means that you cannot pursue the life of the Kingdom and the life of your neighbors at the same time. You're living for two different places and two different times for two different reasons. You cannot walk the narrow path of holiness and the broad path of comfort at the same time. One is headed south and the other north. They oppose one another. You see, the only reason that you would ever want to play both sides is because you are living according to the flesh. It's the flesh that convinces you to pick and choose the parts of following Christ that are agreeable to you and the parts that aren't. It's the flesh that convinces you that you can have both the rewards of heaven and the best of earth. It's the flesh that convinces you that you can have Christ's inheritance without submitting to Christ's Father. So, if you find yourself wanting to play both sides and have the best of both worlds, you must put that desire to death before it kills you. Trying to live in the Kingdom while you enjoy the world shows where your true allegiance lies.

The More You Have, the More You Want

APPLICATION: Walking in the flesh will quench the Spirit, and walking in the Spirit will starve out the flesh. That is, if you live as a dead man, it will have a deadening effect on your heart so that you the voice of the Spirit becomes and fainter and fainter in your life. If you live according to your natural desires, if you do what feels right even when God says it’s wrong, then you will stunt the Spirit’s transforming work in your life and rob yourself of God’s kindnesses and fullness of joy that is offered to you. Have you ever noticed how a little of the world, a little sin, a little indulgence won't do? If you feed the flesh, you won't get full. You will only increase your insatiable appetite for the things of the world. But, the same is true of the Spirit! If you will reject your lying mind and your lying emotions and instead obey the Spirit, you will find an exhilaration and joy that can only come by the apparent presence of God in your life. You will find that as you experience the power of God in your life that you will want more and more of it! Oh, the greatest evidence of fleshy Christians in the church today is how little of God’s power we’re okay with! Walk in the Spirit, walk in new life, walk in the Gospel so that you can know God’s power more personally and more fully! Walk in the Spirit so that you might live out the freedom that you now have from sin’s bondage! This is the end to which the gospel is pointing you. The Gospel came to you, not just so that you might escape Hell, but so that you might walk and live in God’s power and God’s presence with greater and greater freedom!
You see, the only reason that you would ever want to play both sides is because you are living according to the flesh. It's the flesh that convinces you to pick and choose the parts of following Christ that are agreeable to you and the parts that aren't. It's the flesh that convinces you that you can have both the rewards of heaven and the best of earth. It's the flesh that convinces you that you can have Christ's inheritance without submitting to Christ's Father. So, if you find yourself wanting to play both sides and have the best of both worlds, you must put that desire to death before it kills you. Trying to live in the Kingdom while you enjoy the world shows where your true allegiance lies.
You're living for two different places and two different times for two different reasons. You cannot walk the narrow path of holiness and the broad path of comfort at the same time. One is headed south and the other north. They oppose one another.

The Evidence of the Flesh

“Now the works of the flesh are...” After describing the civil war that Christians experience, Paul get more specific. He gives us two lists, one is a list of vices, and the other is a list of virtues. Neither of these lists are intended to be exhaustive, and you could add, “And other things like these” at the end of both lists. So, the goal of these lists is not so that you can begin robotically applying them to your life and then calling yourself ‘saved’ if you do. In fact, the list of virtues is written specifically so that it is incredibly difficult to fake for this very reason.
The first list that he gives is of the works of the flesh. Now, I think it’s important that we take note that one way or the other, we will produce works. We will either produce the works of godliness or the works of the flesh. And so, that is why we should see that Paul points out that these are evidence. ‘That the works of the flesh are evident.’ The way that you can evaluate whether you are walking in the flesh or in the Spirit is by the works that are in your life. We can divide the ‘works of the flesh’ into four categories. We can divide them into sexual immorality, a wrong relationship with God, unhealthy relationships with others, and, finally, licentiousness or lack of control. Now, remember what we said about the flesh. To live according to the flesh is to live a self-gratified life that asserts your rule over you. Notice how each of these works of the flesh relate to self-gratification and self-rule. Why do we give ourselves to sexual immorality? Because sex promises acceptance and exhilaration. It promises that there is someone out there that wants you and that desires to satisfy you. And so, you indulge so that you feel loved, valued, and excited, no matter how short-lived. Why do we corrupt the worship of God? We want God to work for us and serve our purposes and give us our entitlements. Israel worshipped Baal because Baal promised prosperity. And, if you think of all of the perversions and idolatries that are in our lives, they all boil down to the same reason. We want God to work for us. Why do we struggle with rivalry and envy and jealousy? Because we find people that we believe to be more gratified than we are are and more in control than us, and we believe that they are enjoying our entitlements. Why do we live as though we won’t have to answer for our lives? Because we believe ourselves to be free to rule our own lives by our own gratification.

The Flesh Isn’t Freedom

APPLICATION: We are deceived into believing that the Spirit is oppressive and the flesh is freedom.
“those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” You see, following the flesh leads you away from God and away from is good and away from what is best for you. Following the flesh is the way of death. And so, Paul points out that those who practice these things. That is, those who find in their lives a pattern of living out the flesh will be excluded from the Kingdom of God, and they will be excluded from the Kingdom of God because they have tried to find what only the Kingdom can offer outside of the Kingdom. They’ve sought to be their own king and have rebelled against the true King. Look at the next list to understand what I’m talking about.
We are deceived into believing that the Spirit is oppressive and the flesh is freedom. When I was a teenager, there were times that I regretted that I had to follow Jesus' commands to abstain from sex, partying, and other things that I thought would give me a more enjoyable life. As an adult, it hasn't changed. I still find myself at times resentful that I am called to give so much of money and my things away, while others are able to take full advantage of theirs. It's a feeling of oppression. It's a desire for freedom. It's desiring, like Adam and Eve, to be free from God's boundaries and standards. But, God's standards only appear oppressive to us because we don't see the full picture.

The Fruit of the Spirit

“the fruit of the Spirit is” In the second list, Paul gives us a list of virtues that give evidence to the presence of the Spirit in a person’s life. And, here we see three divisions. The first three shows a right relationship with God. The next three show a right relationship with others. And, the final three show a right relationship with yourself. That is, the presence of the Spirit will impact and affect every aspect of your life from your relationship with God all the way down to your views toward food. It will be evident by the peace you have in whatever circumstances you find. It will be evident by how patient you are with your wife and your kids and your boss. It will be evident by whether or not you are able to harness the force of your personality for the glory of God and the good of others.
The great irony: The only reason that we walk in the flesh is that we want what the Spirit offers. The fruit of the Spirit delivers the very things that the desires of the flesh promise. We are deceived into believing that the Spirit is oppressive and the flesh is freedom. When I was a teenager, there were times that I regretted that I had to follow Jesus' commands to abstain from sex, partying, and other things that I thought would give me a more enjoyable life. As an adult, it hasn't changed. I still find myself at times resentful that I am called to give so much of money and my things away, while others are able to take full advantage of theirs. It's a feeling of oppression. It's a desire for freedom. It's desiring, like Adam and Eve, to be free from God's boundaries and standards. But, God's standards only appear oppressive to us because we don't see the full picture.
Every time you act upon the desires of the flesh you believe a lie. When you act upon the flesh rather than the Spirit, you believe that God is withholding from you something good or calling you toward something bad. You believe that you have to go beyond God to find the very things that only God can provide.
Every time you act upon the desires of the flesh you believe a lie. When you act upon the flesh rather than the Spirit, you believe that God is withholding from you something good or calling you toward something bad. You believe that you have to go beyond God to find the very things that only God can provide. This is the lie that Adam and Eve bought in the garden, and it's the same lie that we buy today. Rambo would always do everything that he could do to get out of his fence, and then when he was out, he would cry and cry to get back in. Life always appears better on the other side of the fence until you get there. There is far more freedom found within the boundaries of God's Kingdom than there is on the other side of the fence.
Rambo would always do everything that he could do to get out of his fence, and then when he was out, he would cry and cry to get back in. Life always appears better on the other side of the fence until you get there. There is far more freedom found within the boundaries of God's Kingdom than there is on the other side of the fence.
Why do we engage is sexual immorality? We want love and joy. Why do we find ourselves idolizing our money, families, careers, and hobbies? We want peace and contentment. Why do we find ourselves filled with contention and jealousy toward others? We want to have the chance at happiness and goodness that we believe they have. Why are we angry and divisive? We believe ourselves to be too disadvantaged in comparison to others to be patient and kind.

Kingdom Works

“If we live in the Spirit, keep in step with the Spirit” The Spirit made us, who were dead in our trespasses, alive. And, if the Spirit transformed us from death to life, then certainly He will continue to transform the lives He indwells. The Gospel isn't finished at salvation. The Gospel's transformative power is continually applied to your life through the Holy Spirit beginning at salvation. This is why what you do matters in the scope of the Gospel. This is why James says that he will show his faith by his works. Jesus didn't just come so that you would avoid hell. Jesus came so that you might take part in the coming of his Kingdom to earth. The gospel is about bringing everything into submission to Christ's rule so that everyone and everything can finally function as God intended and bring glory to God as it was designed to do. The Gospel doesn't end with salvation; it leads to glorification! The Gospel brings you to salvation, then into sanctification so that you might one day know glorification.
“Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” And, this is why Paul lands on these two ‘one another(s)’. Where should be the clearest evidence of the Kingdom? The Church. Where is the world to go to find a living and visible picture of the gospel? The Church! What will the world look like when it's completely under the rule of Christ? How will the world operate once Satan is vanquished? How will the world be once the Kingdom has fully come? You should be able to look at the church and know. For in the church and through the church, the Kingdom comes. This is the good work that the Gospel is bringing to bear through you and I. This is the glory of the fruit of the Spirit. This is the miraculous power of the Gospel.
Related Media
Related Sermons