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Author Topic: The Fruit Of The Spirit
Carol Swenson
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Galatians 5
13For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 15But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.


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It is one thing to overcome the flesh and not do evil things, but quite something else to do good things. The legalist might be able to boast that he is not guilty of adultery or murder (but see Matt. 5:21-32), but can anyone see the beautiful graces of the Spirit in his life? Negative goodness is not enough in a life; there must be positive qualities as well.

The contrast between works and fruit is important. A machine in a factory works, and turns out a product, but it could never manufacture fruit. Fruit must grow out of life, and, in the case of the believer, it is the life of the Spirit (Gal. 5:25). When you think of "works" you think of effort, labor, strain, and toil; when you think of "fruit" you think of beauty, quietness, the unfolding of life. The flesh produces "dead works" (Heb. 9:14), but the Spirit produces living fruit. And this fruit has in it the seed for still more fruit (Gen. 1:11). Love begets more love! Joy helps to produce more joy! Jesus is concerned that we produce "fruit... more fruit... much fruit" (John 15:2, 5), because this is the way we glorify Him. The old nature cannot produce fruit; only the new nature can do that.

The New Testament speaks of several different kinds of "fruit": people won to Christ (Rom. 1:13), holy living (Rom. 6:22), gifts brought to God (Rom. 15:26-28), good works (Col. 1:10), and praise (Heb. 13:15). The "fruit of the Spirit" listed in our passage has to do with character (Gal. 5:22-23). It is important that we distinguish the gift of the Spirit, which is salvation (Acts 2:38; 11:17), and the gifts of the Spirit, which have to do with service (1 Cor. 12), from the graces of the Spirit, which relate to Christian character. It is unfortunate that an overemphasis on gifts has led some Christians to neglect the graces of the Spirit. Building Christian character must take precedence over displaying special abilities.

The characteristics that God wants in our lives are seen in the ninefold fruit of the Spirit. Paul begins with love because all of the other fruit is really an outgrowth of love. Compare these eight qualities with the characteristics of love given to the Corinthians (see 1 Cor. 13:4-8). This word for love is agape, which means divine love. (The Greek word eras, meaning "sensual love," is never used in the New Testament.) This divine love is God's gift to us (Rom. 5:5), and we must cultivate it and pray that it will increase (Phil. 1:9).

When a person lives in the sphere of love, then he experiences joy—that inward peace and sufficiency that is not affected by outward circumstances. (A case in point is Paul's experience recorded in Phil. 4:10-20.) This "holy optimism" keeps him going in spite of difficulties. Love and joy together produce peace, "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding" (Phil. 4:7). These first three qualities express the Godward aspect of the Christian life.

The next three express the manward aspect of the Christian life: long-suffering (courageous endurance without quitting), gentleness (kindness), and goodness (love in action). The Christian who is long-suffering will not avenge himself or wish difficulties on those who oppose him. He will be kind and gentle, even with the most offensive, and will sow goodness where others sow evil. Human nature can never do this on its own; only the Holy Spirit can.

The final three qualities are selfward: faith (faithfulness, dependability); meekness (the right use of power and authority, power under control); and temperance (self-control). Meekness is not weakness. Jesus said, "I am meek and lowly in heart" (Matt. 11:29), and Moses was "very meek" (Num. 12:3); yet no one could accuse either of them of being weak. The meek Christian does not throw his weight around or assert himself. Just as wisdom is the right use of knowledge, so meekness is the right use of authority and power.

It is possible for the old nature to counterfeit some of the fruit of the Spirit, but the flesh can never produce the fruit of the Spirit. One difference is this: when the Spirit produces fruit, God gets the glory and the Christian is not conscious of his spirituality; but when the flesh is at work, the person is inwardly proud of himself and is pleased when others compliment him. The work of the Spirit is to make us more like Christ for His glory, not for the praise of men.

The cultivation of the fruit is important. Paul warns that there must be a right atmosphere before the fruit will grow (Gal. 5:25-26). Just as fruit cannot grow in every climate, so the fruit of the Spirit cannot grow in every individual's life or in every church.

Fruit grows in a climate blessed with an abundance of the Spirit and the Word. "Walk in the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25) means "keep in step with the Spirit"—not to run ahead and not to lag behind. This involves the Word, prayer, worship, praise, and fellowship with God's people. It also means "pulling out the weeds" so that the seed of the Word can take root and bear fruit. The Judaizers were anxious for praise and "vainglory," and this led to competition and division. Fruit can never grow in that kind of an atmosphere.

We must remember that this fruit is produced to be eaten, not to be admired and put on display. People around us are starving for love, joy, peace, and all the other graces of the Spirit. When they find them in our lives, they know that we have something they lack. We do not bear fruit for our own consumption; we bear fruit that others might be fed and helped, and that Christ might be glorified. The flesh may manufacture "results" that bring praise to us, but the flesh cannot bear fruit that brings glory to God. It takes patience, an atmosphere of the Spirit, walking in the light, the seed of the Word of God, and a sincere desire to honor Christ.

In short, the secret is the Holy Spirit. He alone can give us that "fifth freedom"—freedom from sin and self. He enables us to fulfill the law of love, to overcome the flesh, and to bear fruit.

Will you yield to Him and let Him work?

Wiersbe
Bible Exposition Commentary - Be Free (Galatians).

Posts: 6757 | From: Colorado | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ablorba
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Hello Carol, [Smile]

Thanks for initiating this topic the furit of the Holy Spirit of truth. You know a lot and thank you for your research. Good. I wonder if the pharisees were able to block the work of the Holy Spirit? Why did Jesus oppose them so strongly? I say this because sometimes it seems the Holy Spirit actually fights some persons (Elyman, Ananias and Sapphira, Herod, maybe principalities and powers in high places.) Apostle Paul opposed James and even Apostle Peter because why? Was he concerned about behavior or the indwellin Holy Spirit? Somehow the legalists seem capable of blocking the Holy Spirit. Your thoughts?

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Carol Swenson
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Hi Ablorba,

Yes, our Lord Jesus was very angry at certain people. In Matthew 23 He curses them!

13“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.]

15“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

16“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’ 17“You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? 18“And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.’ 19“You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? 20“Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. 21“And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. 22“And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.

23“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24“You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

25“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26“You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean al

27“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28“So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

29“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31“So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32“Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33“You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

34“Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36“Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Shudder [mad2]

I would hate to be in their shoes.

As for Paul, James and Peter, this was the problem. Peter used to eat with the Gentile believers in Antioch and accept them as equal to the Jewish believers. Then men came from the church in Jerusalem, and suddenly Peter would no longer eat with the Gentiles. Other Jewish believers followed his example. This divided the church. Paul blamed James for the bias of the men from Jerusalem because James was the leader of the church there. And he blamed Peter("Cephas" is Aramaic for "Peter") for "giving in" to them and turning away from the truth of the gospel.

All these people the Lord and Paul opposed were not obeying the Holy Spirit, and because they were leaders they were turning other people away from Him. People who do that make me angry too, and sadly there are many cults and false teachers out there.

Posts: 6757 | From: Colorado | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator


 
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