Spiritual Fruit: Teaching Notes

This morning we are going to talk about fruit.

This fruit is circular, soft, yellowish-orange, 3 or 4 inches wide and fuzzy.

This fruit is big, oblong, red inside, green outside, and very hard.

This fruit is long, yellow, squishy, and white inside.

5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [g]gentleness, self-control.

Life comes from life.

Non-life can’t and won’t produce life.

Just as regular fruit is the result of plant life and reveals the kind of plant life it is …

  1. The Spirit’s fruit comes from the Spirit’s life.

The true evidence of God’s life in us His fruit.

It is not acts of service or spiritual words.

Spiritual fruit is the result of God’s life and reveals His Spirit in us.

It may be a flower or growing bud or a big, red, apple…

…but in a healthy Christian life…there will be fruit.

The last couple of weeks we have discussed the things people do that they think will bring life to their life…(works of the flesh)

…but life comes from God and without the life of God…

…these works don’t bring life.

The works of the flesh are damaging and burdensome.

The works of the flesh are produced by our labor not God’s Spirit.

The works of the flesh are damaging and eventually deadly.

God’s life brings life.

And God’s life in us produces His fruit.

And the fruit that God’s Spirit produces is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 [g]gentleness, self-control.

2. The Spirit’s fruit grows all at once.

It is not just individual attributes, but all in one fruit.

I will be growing in all of these attributes- not just one at a time.

Fruit grows in shape and color and size all at the same time.

3. The Spirit’s fruit has potential for more fruit.

…Fake fruit ends with itself.

Our bearing fruit is key to the advancement of the church and mission of God.

The Spirit’s fruit is what spreads His life to others.

…They will know that you are Christians by your love.

…It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.

…It is the peace that passes understanding people desire.

The fruit of the Spirit in us is the way many people come to Christ.

Bearing fruit is an important aspect.

4. The Spirit’s fruit is not for the fruit.

Fruit is meant to be eaten not just sit there and be admired.

Remember: motive matters!

The fruit of the Spirit is for the glory of God…

…and the benefit of others .

The works of the flesh are for me, my benefit, and my glory.

So it could look like this…

  • I am loving so I can be loved.
  • I am joyful so I can feel positive and happy.
  • I practice peace so I can relax and lower my blood pressure.
  • I have patience or long suffering so I can get what I want.
  • I am kind so people will listen to me.
  • I am good because it makes me feel good about myself.
  • I am faithful so people will trust me with more.
  • I am gentle because people will listen to me.
  • I am self controlled so I can be respected.

See the problem with all of these motives is me!

Who enjoys your fruit? Who would enjoy your fruit being fresher?

5. The Spirit’s fruit is supernatural.

This is where I think we often get things wrong.

We equate personal attributes or character qualities with spiritual fruit.

We might say…

I am a very patient person, but I need to work on love.

I am a very joyful person, but I need to work on self control.

I am a very gentle person, but I need to work on longsuffering.

I am a very peaceful person but I need to work on goodness.

Just because your mom taught you to be patient

Or your grandpa taught you to be joyful

Or your significant other taught you to be gentle

Or you are just a mellow peaceful person by temperament…

Doesn’t mean that those things are the fruit of the Spirit.

They are just our natural temperament or personal habits.

Training doesn’t produce the fruit of the Spirit only God’s Spirit does.

…But training can produce good character.

The Spirit of God will produce fruit and that fruit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self control.

We cannot just work on being more patient or work on being more gentle when we are talking about the Spirit of God.

As God’s Spirit works, we change, we become like Him…

…and He is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.patient, we become gentle.

When I am just trying to work on these areas individually…

…I find myself frustrated and failing…

…and it even can become a work of the flesh!

Remember the Spirit wants to glorify God and love others, but the flesh wants to glorify itself and loves itself.

If the result of my love, patience or peace leads me to pride…

…it is not a fruit of the Spirit.

But when it is God who is working…

…I am often surprised at my patience or shocked at my joy.

I haven’t “worked on it”, but God has worked in me…

…And He has produced fruit…and all of a sudden there it is!

——-NOW…

…Some of you may be thinking what about God’s commands?

As we go through this list, many of these attributes of the fruit of the Spirit you may notice are also commands.

  • Love your neighbor
  • Count it all joy
  • Be patient
  • Be kind to one another

How do we reconcile bearing fruit and obeying His commands?

…Is this my responsibility? Or my opportunity?

Just like many things in Scripture, we reconcile two seeming opposite things by bringing them together not apart.

…They work interdependently not independently.

Two sides of the same coin.Two songs from the same album.

This idea is a tension to manage not a problem to solve…

…a dichotomy to hold, not a decision to make.

Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

…God is working in me and in my will.

I John 5:1-5

1Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christa has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

Because I believe that Jesus is the Savior, the Son of God…

…I have His love and His commands are not a burden.

…I also have his victory by my faith in Him.

So then…

How come my fruit is not always love, peace, patience etc?

If God is working, why are we not producing a boundless harvest?

Two analogies:

The First one is about your heart…

BIG IDEA:

It is the condition of your heart not the power of your will that produces fruit.

The Spirit is like the wind. You and I are like sailboats.

…When I am walking in the Spirit I am powered by the wind.

The wind is always blowing…

The question is, what are you doing with the wind?

Are you pointed in the right direction?

Are you seeking the Lord, are you looking to Jesus, going His way?

Is your sail raised?

Are you open to God’s work? You can quench the Spirit.

Is your sail wide open?

Is your heart and life wide open to receive whatever God has?

Is your sail adjusted to catch the wind?

Is your attitude adjusted to spiritual life or fleshly works?

If yes, then just stay in that place and wait on the Lord, He is working.

When you find yourself off in one of these areas, readjust.

It is not about producing more wind, it is about harnessing the wind that is already there.

ALSO…Some of us harness what is available better than others because of experience, desire, or attention.

The second analogy is about your actions

How can I actually produce more fruit?

The same way a plant can produce more fruit.

BIG IDEA: Health not hard work produces more fruit.

It is not about harder work but a healthier life.

…But sometimes, being healthy is hard work.

BUT… our focus is not on the fruit, but the health.

I don’t focus on being more loving, more patient, more kind…

I focus on Christ and being healthy as a Christian.

So what do healthy Christian actions look like that will produce more of the fruit of the Spirit?

  • We need lots of light.
    • Plants actually grow towards the light. Jesus is the light of the world. We need Jesus. Seek Him, talk to Him, trust Him, cling to Him.
  • We need lots of water.
    • Jesus said If anyone thirsts, let him come to Him and drink. Being that Jesus is also the Word of God, we need to drink deeply of His word, and let it wash over us with truth and nourishment. We don’t just read to learn, but to be set apart and renewed.
  • We need lots of good soil.
    • Where are you planted? What sort of surroundings have you placed yourself? Toxic or life giving relationships? Unhealthy places or Unspiritual influences? Or solid people and good places? Compromising situations? Jesus taught an important parable on this idea.
  • We need lots of pruning.
    • Are you yielded to the Gardener’s clippers? He cuts away branches and vines and even fruit. We have seasons of pruning that are hard and painful. Do you run away or embrace it by faith? Trust and allow God’s pruning to do its work.
  • We need lots of time
    • Realize that it takes time. The plant has to grow to a point where it can bear the weight of the fruit. Too much too soon is damaging. Don’t rush the process, just stay humble and let it happen. Go with dwarfs?…nope, it takes time to go big.
  • We need lots of strong roots
    • Roots are where we get our nutrients and stability. What are the ways you are being nourished? Reading the Bible, listening to messages, engaging in worship, studying the Scriptures. These help us get nutrients but also grow deeper and stay strong in the face of storms and temptations.
  • We need protection.
    • If you put your plant out in the blazing heat all the time, it will not produce much fruit. If you put your plant in the walkway where it gets trampled, it will not produce much fruit. Be mindful of protecting your spiritual life with healthy boundaries. Taking care of yourself is not selfish.
  • We need to pull the weeds and kill the vermin.
    • The world, the flesh, and the devil will keep us from being spiritually healthy if we are not careful. Pull the weeds of the world’s ways and your own sinful flesh out of your life. As soon as you see them, yank them out of there. And put to death those sinful members, slam the door on those fleshly thoughts, nail the coffin on that old nature. Don’t give place for the Devil. Don’t leave him any room to stick around. He is a liar and a menace. He doesn’t fight fair and he doesn’t show any mercy.
  • We need purposeful priorities
    • Root suckers grow up next to the plant and suck nutrients away. Little shoots grow up and block the light. Understand your priorities and don’t let other things suck your life away. Jesus didn’t heal every person in Israel. Know what you are called to. Whether it was Martha serving when she should have been sitting or Peter sleeping when he should have been praying, don’t get distracted by good things or bad things and miss the needed thing.
  • We need to give it all away
    • A plant with fruit left on the branch won’t produce as much fruit the next year. So give it all away. Pour yourself out. Go all in living for Christ. You may think you need to save your life to find it, but actually you will find it as you give yourself away.

Yes, we are bearing fruit supernaturally…

…and yes, we are directed to obey.

…It is a matter of our hearts and our actions.

We have God’s life and we can and want to bear fruit.

…But because I still have my old nature…

…I don’t always do it.

And that is why we can be thankful God is…

  …a gracious gardener.

He is working in the garden, and his work is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

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