Spiritual Fruit: Part 3 | Galatians 5:22-23
Pastor Jason Huffman | September 4th, 2022
Last week, we looked at love, joy, peace, patience and talked about the necessity of abiding in the vine.
Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
Kindness is the next dynamic of the Spirit’s presence in life.
1. Kindness is being friendly, considerate, and generous.
It requires an inner confidence to be vulnerably benevolent.
Just to smile at a stranger is a bit of a risk.
To say hello, to reach out, to open up and share.
Kindness takes courage…
…because you can be rejected by that person or by someone who doesn’t like that person.
Jesus portrayed kindness in his approach to the lepers…
In his response to the parents wanting their children blessed
He was kind when he multiplied the fish and the loaves.
Though some thought they should leave and take care of themselves.
He was kind when he turned water into wine for the wedding guests of Cana while some could have thought they should have been better prepared.
Kindness is not manipulating people by doing something nice.
Being kind is a dynamic of the fruit of the Spirit.
It is not just being nice.
The difference between being kind and being nice is…
…kindness is considerate and cares for others…
…Nice is agreeable desiring to make someone temporarily happy.
The difficulty with “being nice” is that it can be unappreciated…and when I don’t get back what I wanted…
…I can get hurt or bitter or even resent being nice.
Nice is trying to please someone, but if they are not pleased, I am not rewarded and maybe dissatisfied with the decision.
“I was just being nice” usually comes out when the response to our action wasn’t what we wanted or thought.
Nice is trying to make someone happy or feel good…
…but it isn’t necessarily the right thing for them.
It is hard to know the difference …
…and honestly not worth worrying about.
But if you can go back…listen to the tune…is it me me me?
Think about holding the door for someone…
If you hold the door because it is a cute girl and you want a little attention or are trying to flirt…that isn’t kindness.
If you hold the door because they have their hands full or are distracted or you just want to bless them.. kindness.
For example, if you are at a party and hear someone make a sexist joke that is degrading to women, your “nice” response might be to not say anything to avoid making anyone uncomfortable. You may choose to sit in silence, laugh nervously, or leave the room.
…BUT The kind response may be to speak up about the joke. It may not feel “nice” to do so, but ultimately, it is far kinder — to both the joke teller and the others in the room with you — to call out this type of harmful conduct.
It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.
It is the idea that God cares for you and generously, considerately wants you to be with Him forever…
…and He will also honestly and truthfully convict you of your sin and pride which is kind but may not feel nice.
Goodness is the next attribute of the fruit of the Spirit.
2. Goodness is being upright in heart and an integrity in doing good.
I think one place we see this in Jesus is Mark 7:37
…where it says about Jesus, “He has done all things well.”
…NLT says, Everything He does is wonderful.
Jesus did good to the lepers and the leaders.
He did good to the poor and the rich.
It didn’t matter if they were a tax collector, prostitute or Pharisee…
…He was good to them all.
God is good and does good…
…and when God is in us, so do we.
The opposite of goodness would be…
…meanness, malice, or even indifference.
When people wish ill will for others, enjoy others misfortune or pain, or even have a total lack of care they lack goodness.
They don’t do good for others unless it is good for them.
…You can tell when you no longer have worth or value to them because the whole relationship changes.
The Spirit in us wants good for others and so we demonstrate and live that out with consistent goodness.
The next attribute is faithfulness
3. Faithfulness is consistent dependability.
This is someone who keeps their word, keeps their promises, they follow through on their commitments.
They also consistently speak the truth, demonstrate love, and have your back.
Jesus demonstrated faithfulness daily.
He was faithful to His Father’s will and He was faithful to people.
A faithful person is dependable above and below them.
When He said He would go to Jerusalem, He was there.
When He was asked a question, He spoke the truth.
When He promised to meet them after the cross, He did.
Faithfulness is an outflow of the Spirit.
God is faithful and as we walk in the spirit, we are faithful.
Faithful people remain faithful even when others are not.
If Jesus was faithful, an opposite would be Judas.
In our flesh, we are not faithful we are opportunists.
Is there an opportunity? Then I am with you.
If there is nothing in it for me, I fade away.
There is also a depth to faithfulness.
Difficulties can be a drain on relationships but a faithful person has the depth to withstand the dry times.
Referred to as meekness in Old King James
4. Gentleness is the tender care of others
Gentleness is actually how we are to deal with correction.
We are told to instruct gently, to restore gently, and that Jesus is gentle and humble in heart.
This is the supernatural understanding that people are fragile.
Lives are influenced by our words, our actions, and our choices.
If we run into someone’s life and start pointing out what is wrong and push them the way they should go…
…they may not receive it or respect it but gentleness…
… takes the time to understand and moves carefully
Jesus actually said about himself he was gentle.
He told people to come to Him if they were weary and tired.
Mtthew 11:28-29 “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. He said,Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul
In His gentleness, He care for others…
He considers their weakness, weariness, burdens and needs.
This is what is produced in my life when the Spirit is active.
I don’t just work on being more gentle, I spend time with Jesus because He is gentle.
This same word is used 9 different times in the NT.
Three of those times Paul is talking to church leaders.
Gentleness is a key dynamic of Biblical Spirit filled leadership.
As any leader, walking in the Spirit…
I watch and know who can go harder or who needs to sit down…
I handle each according to their needs and situation.
Gentleness or meekness is not weakness.
I have the power, I have the strength, I have the authority…
…But I don’t exert it for myself or need to flex to get the glory.
I restrain my power for others, and I want God to get the glory.
I don’t want to leave…
… my marks, my fingerprints, my influence…
I want it to be the marks of Christ…
… the fingerprints of God, and the influence of the Spirit.
People in the flesh do not take tender care of others…
…they care for themselves.
Without gentleness or meekness…
When frustrated they lash out and treat people roughly.
If others are weak or fearful, they get run over like a doormat.
Spurgeon said leading was like driving a carriage…
…you have to mind the weak horses…
… if one goes down it effects them all.
We all have weaknesses at different times in different ways.
Some of us our emotionally sensitive.
Some of us have been bruised by life.
Some of us have places that need to heal.
Gentleness understands and cares for the needs of others and treats them accordingly.
The last attribute of the Spirit’s fruit is self control.
Other versions may say “temperance”
5. Self control is control over self.
This is the last one that Paul lists here.
It forms the bookends as love is first and self control is last.
How appropriate for the fruit of the Spirit!
The whole idea of walking in the Spirit is that God would have control of our “self” and our “selfishness”!!!
The fruit of the Spirit can be healthy…
…because the Spirit has control over my desires.
If the result of the Spirit is fruit…
…then maybe the works of the flesh are weeds.
The fleshly works spring up in my heart but…
…instead of taking root, instead of bearing fruit…
…self control pulls em out.
As we see the life of Christ, His entire life was under self control.
By the Father’s authority.
Jesus said, John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
John 4:34 Jesus explained, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His work.
John 8:29 I always do those things that please Him.(the Father)
That is what self control really is…
…doing the will of God not my own.
There is a character aspect of self control that I can develop.
The fruit of the spirit is not about self discipline or will power.
The Christian life is not about my will power…
… it is about being empowered by His Spirit.
The fruit is not developed by my will power it is developed by the Spirit’s power in me.
Why? Because my will power gives me glory.
…Remember in all of these attributes…
…God gets the glory because the fruit comes from Him.
I yield to Christ, I seek the Lord, I trust the Father, I abide in the vine, and all I want is to do His will.
I feel the urge to blow up in anger.
I sense that lust is at the door.
I realize jealousy is creeping in.
…The Spirit nudges me & I walk the other way with Him.
Paul finishes this list and the chapter telling us…
Against such there is no law. v 23 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
We can see two aspects to this idea…
First these fruits are never against the law. They are good.
Second, they cannot be legislated.
You can’t get this fruit by keeping rules or laws.
There are too many complexities, too many situations…
…there are not enough laws to cover all of life.
And then He says …
…those that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh.
As believers, we are united with Jesus in life and death.
My old life, my old man was crucified with Jesus…
…those passions and desires are dead to me.
I put my old desires to death by resisting them…
…they are slowly choked out…
…and then I walk in the new ones.
Paul said, The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,
And he closes with…
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
And as we live, let’s walk…
…as we yield, lets abide…
…we will bear fruit!
Leave this verse for next week…
26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.