Fruit of the Spirit sermon1 Jan 2006 am
The Fruit of the Spirit:
A certain man owned a state of the art greenhouse with equipment to create the ideal structure for plant growth. The atmosphere, lighting, and temperature were suited perfectly for flowers and fruit. At planting time the man walked into a field and began collecting seeds off of weeds. He gathered crab grass seeds, dandelion seeds, grass burr seeds, and so on. He put the seeds into a little bag and returned to the greenhouse.
A friend who was with him said, "I thought you wanted a greenhouse full of flowers and fruit."
"I do," the man replied.
“Then don’t you think you ought to plant flower seeds and fruit seeds?"
"Do you have any idea how much those seeds cost?” The man responded. “Besides, you have to drive all the way to the garden center to get them. No thanks, I’m taking the cheap and easy route.”
-Adapted from Just Like Jesus, by Max Lucado, p. 115-116
Planting the right seeds makes a difference. The Fruit of the Spirit.
Pray the Lord will plant spiritual seeds in your heart, and I hope these seeds become Fruit of the Spirit.
Cultivating this fruit is one of the most fundamental elements of spiritual maturity. Likewise, failure to grow this fruit or cultivating the wrong fruit is detrimental to spiritual maturity.
Notice that Paul has given us two lists: a list of the works of the flesh and a list of the fruit of the Spirit.
--The works of the flesh violate God’s law, but the fruit of the Spirit does not.
To help us understand this message I want to give you four Eternal Principles.
Principle #1: You Reap what you Sow.
We need to understand that we reap what we sow.
A young man came to ninety year old man and asked, "How have you lived so long and how do you stay so happy?" The old man took the youngster to an orchard and pointed to some large trees full of apples. He said, "I planted these trees when I was a boy, and now I am permitted to gather the fruit of them. We gather in old age what we plant in our youth.”
When you live your life in a sexually immoral way, you will reap the consequences.
When you sow moral impurity you will eat the fruit of moral impurity.
When you live in idolatry or hatred or strife or jealousy your life will show that fruit.
You reap what you sow!
Principle #2: Much Time May Pass between Sowing and Reaping
You may say, “Pastor, I have tried to plant good seeds, but I have not yet reaped what I have sown. Don’t worry. Your time is coming.
On the other hand, some say, “God hasn’t punished me yet. I have lived this way for years. Why should I change?” ---Some folks want to believe that God understands and even winks at sin.
Listen, God hates sin! He is not waiting to pounce on you at every mistake, but if your attitude is “it’s ok, I can get forgiveness” you need to be very careful.
Numbers 32:23 says, “But if you don’t do this, you will certainly sin against the LORD; be sure your sin will catch up with you.”
Moses warns the Israelites in that Scripture that sin will catch up with you.
And yet, some Christians don’t notice any punishment for disobedience today so they return to sin tomorrow. They live as though God isn’t watching.
“The wheels of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small”
I wonder how many in our church live like God’s wheels of justice aren’t turning.
Like a seed growing into a plant, your sin may take time to be judged.
But know this: it will be judged.
The way you live today will effect tomorrow. A simple way to put this is: What you plant in the ground today is what you eat tomorrow.
Principle #3: What You Reap and Sow Determines Your Destiny
“Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.”
- Scottish author Samuel Smiles
It all starts with nothing more than a thought.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.”
Principle #4: What You Reap is a Result of What is Inside You
This goodness comes only from the fruit of the Spirit planted in your heart!
Results of Spiritual Fruit
1. Spiritual Fruit Produces Christ-likeness (Love)
I John 4:8 says, “The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
This kind of love needs to be in our hearts so we can love God, our families, ourselves, and even our enemies.
How many people in our church hate someone?
How many in our church hate their spouse? How many hate themselves?
Without the love of God this will not change!
2. Spiritual Fruit Produces Contentment (Joy)
The book of Philippians is a book of Joy. The words joy or rejoice appear 14 times in the NIV translation.
Listen to what the apostle Paul has to say about contentment found in joy in this letter: Philippians 4:12-13 says, “I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret [of being content]—whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
When you have the spiritual fruit of joy in your life, you know that Christ is your strength.
You know that Christ is your comfort. You know that Christ is your portion and provider.
In that there is great contentment.
There was once a very old widow who lived in a dirt floor shack. She worked hard for every bite of food she ate. After one particularly long, hard day she sat down and looked at the “dinner” before her. She had a glass of water in a broken cup, a dry crust of bread, and a handful of beans. A smile broke across her haggard face as she wondered, “All this and Jesus too?”
When you know joy like that old woman, you will stop yearning for the next big thing. You can rest knowing you have “all this and Jesus too.”
She understood that Jesus was her portion. She had joy planted in her heart.
----This idea was once expressed better by a man who lived in such a state of constant tranquility even though surrounded by circumstances anything but
ü His answer was as profound as it was simple: "I have
learned," he said, "to cooperate with the inevitable."...
ü ****Though we cannot control the universe, we can determine our
attitude toward it.
ü We can accept God's will wherever it is expressed and take toward it an attitude of worshipful resignation.
If my will is to do God's will, then there will be no
controversy with anything that comes in the course of my daily
walk. Inclement weather, unpleasant neighbors, physical handicaps,
adverse political conditions--all these will be accepted as God's
will for the time and surrendered to provisionally, subject to
such alterations as God may see fit to make, either by His own
sovereign providence or in answer to believing prayer.
Another Day of Preparation
Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed
what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be
like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this
hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
--1 John 3:2-3
Know that our living Lord is unspeakably pure.
He is sinless,
spotless, immaculate, stainless.
ü This fact alone
changes our entire human and moral situation and outlook.
We can always be sure of the most important of all positives:
v God is God
and God is right.
v He is in control.
v Because He is God He will never change!
I repeat: God is right-always.
*****That statement is the basis of all
we are thinking about God.
When the eternal God Himself invites us to prepare ourselves to be
with Him throughout the future ages, we can only bow in delight and
gratitude, murmuring, "Oh, Lord, may Your will be done in this
poor, unworthy life!"
I can only hope that you are wise enough, desirous enough and
spiritual enough to face up to the truth that every day is another
day of spiritual preparation, another day of testing and discipline
with our heavenly destination in mind.
3. Spiritual Fruit Produces Unity (Peace)
All of you have witnessed, participated in, or at least heard of some of the famous Baptist business meetings.
Church members act like savages because the carpet is the wrong color.
Brothers and sisters backbite and backstab because the worship style isn’t the way they like it.
Christians commit anti-Christ deeds all because they got their feelings hurt.
How does this happen? Some of these folks weren’t sowing peace.
Instead they sowed jealousy, strife, hatred, dissention, and selfishness. Let me ask you this: What is unity worth in your church?
Do you have to have it your way?
Do you fight against God’s anointed leadership of the church?
God is busy trying to save the world while some churches are so out of order because they are so out of line that God can’t do anything with them. We desperately need to sow peace in our hearts so our churches can reach out to the world.
But this goes beyond Sunday.
v We desperately need to sow peace so we will stop yelling at our kids.
v We desperately need to sow peace so we will stop being cold to our spouse.
v We desperately need to sow peace so we will stop hating our boss.
v We desperately need to sow peace so we will stop having road rage.
v We desperately need to sow peace so we will demonstrate Christ in our hearts.
We desperately need to sow peace so we can reap some peace!
4. Spiritual Fruit Produces Humility (Patience)
Say this to yourself: “I am not the center of the universe.”
When you are getting frustrated because people aren’t jumping as fast and high as you want, say it. When you don’t get your way, when you have to wait in line, when your cell hone doesn’t get good coverage, when people don’t take your advise, just remind yourself, “I am not the center of the universe.”
The bottom line of sin is self-worship.
If you plant the fruit of patience and remember that Christ comes first and last, then you will remember that your life (although extremely valuable) is nothing compared to the purposes of Christ.
I have heard of a people group who thank God when something bad happens, because the bad thing could be to keep something worse from happening.
Remember that when your next flight gets delayed or when traffic is blocked for miles. God may be using an annoyance to keep you from a real disaster.
5. Spiritual Fruit Produces Compassion (Kindness, Goodness, and Gentleness)
6. Spiritual Fruit Produces Trust and Dependence on God (Faith)
7. Spiritual Fruit Produces Repentance (Self-control)
Confession is only half the battle.
Without self-control there is no repentance, and without repentance there is danger of developing a hard heart.
Cultivating Spiritual Fruit
1. Love God’s Word
Psalm 1:3 says, “How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path of sinners, or join a group of mockers! 2 Instead, his delight is in the LORD’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
Wake up early every day to plant the seeds of God’s Word in your heart. Delight in it. Meditate on it. Do it constantly.
2. Be Teachable
II Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Allow God’s Word to change who you are.
3. Live a Repentant Lifestyle
Matthew 3:7-8 says, “When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to the place of his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance.”
Indicators of Fruit Bearing
1. A Love for God, Family, Self, and Others
- \\ 2. Joy Despite the Circumstances*
- \\ 3. At Peace with God and Man*
- \\ 4. Patience in Trials*
- \\ 5. Kindness, Goodness, and Gentleness Towards Others*
6. Genuine Faith in God
7. Self-control in Everything
8. Spiritual Maturity