Key Text: Galatians 5:16-26
In looking at the fruit of the disciple it is necessary for us to first understand, the characteristics of natural fruit.
Fruit is the Produce of Maturity. Only a mature tree produces fruit.
To get to maturity the tree must be well cared for, planted in good soil, with plenty of sun and water. It is a process that requires time and effort.
Fruit is the Produce of Death. Fruit is not produced until the seed falls into the ground and dies. 1 Corinthians 15:36. Speaking about the resurrection of Christ, the dead and the body Paul says: Someone will ask “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?”How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
The seed has to die in order to grow. In John 12:24 Jesus shows that His flesh must be crucified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. And likewise, so too our flesh needs to be crucified as well.
As we allow the Spirit of God to do this in our lives, He will also bring forth the fruit of the spirit.
Fruit is Produced for a Purpose. In Hebrew 6:7 it tells us that seed is planted for a purpose. It is watered for a purpose. It produces a crop/fruit for a purpose.
A farmer does not grow food only for themselves. They also grow it to satisfy the needs of their family, the needs of the community and even the needs of a nation.
We are to produce fruit to satisfy a need. The needs of people can only be met by the Lord Jesus Christ.
God supplies the needs through us. But notice that fruit is never of any use until it is shared or given away. People will come and eat the fruit of the kingdom and be satisfied.
Fruit Contains the Seed Necessary to Reproduce. An apple tree produces apples, weeds produces weeds.
A farmer doesn’t play crop lottery having to guess what they’ll get when they plant the seed. A farmer knows the kind of crop they will get because of what they sow. Likewise, the spiritual fruit in our lives, is the fruit of the gospel seed that was sown in us.
When we minister to people we bring out the fruit of the gospel of righteousness and we sow the seed of that gospel in them.
That seed has within itself the ability to produce fruit in another person. Hence fruit produce fruit and Sheep produce Sheep.
Matthew 7:17-18 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
The Fruit Prepares the Way for Success. As far as the reproductive process of a tree is concerned, the fruit is vital.
The Apple falls from the tree. The ground is hard. The apple then begins to decay. The goodness is fed into the soil. The moisture breaks up the soil. The organisms that decay the Apple also break up the soil. the fruit therefore, prepares the ground to receive the seed. It also contains the nourishment that the seed needs to germinate and take root in the soil.
We are to bear fruit for a purpose.
The Fruit of The Spirit
Love – there are several Gk words for ‘love’ but here the word ‘agape’ is used. A definition of agape could be that it is: ‘an affection of benevolence, that is rational and an act of the will. It has as its basis is the character of the person loving and the value of the person loved.’
To produce the fruit of love we must allow the spirit of God to perfect the character of Jesus in us. The more we are like Jesus, the more we show forth the fruit of the spirit.
We also have to hold in high esteem as precious, the object of our love. Paul is therefore, giving an exhortation to produce the fruit of love by loving God and our neighbour.
Joy – the Gk word for Joy signifies a calm delight
For the disciple however, it is more than a feeling. Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
The kingdom of God is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our righteousness, He is our peace and He is our joy. John 15:11 records Jesus telling His disciples ‘I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.’ We have Joy because we have Jesus. If we don’t have Jesus, we cannot know joy. This joy in turn is a source of our strength. Nehemiah 8:10
Peace – The Gk word means ‘to join.’ It speaks of ‘Peace with God’, in that we have been reconciled to God again, through the atoning sacrifice of Christ Jesus.
Jesus is our peace because He is the one who secured the peace that we have. Ephesians 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.
The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody. (Msg)
Patience – Gk word means to have a ‘long temper.’ One writer summarises it this way: to moderate our anger and desire for revenge, when many and great wrongs are done us.
We must be like Jesus, who forgives more than we can forgive. It is not our place to avenge ourselves because God is the judge. We do not know or understand all things and therefore, we should not react in case we are deceived by circumstances.
Kindness – this is a word that can be translated in a number of ways. It can be goodness, kindness or gentleness.
The word originally signified ‘usefulness’ but this was expanded to include ‘moral excellence’ – being kind to everyone. The same word is used by Paul to give insight as to what is meant by kindness. Ephesians 2:7 …in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Goodness – this is the virtue by which we do good to others. In Romans 15:14 Paul tells the Romans that they are full of goodness. Jesus lived His life communicating good to others and asks His disciples to do likewise.
Faith – We can have faith in many things but the Bible specifically speaks about faith in God. It can also mean faithfulness toward others. Here is a double exhortation to have faith in God and to be faithful in our relationships with each other.
Meekness – It is important that we have a humble and a meek heart, this is the attitude that we should display toward one another.
Romans 12:3 reminds us: For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us, not by what we are and what we do for Him.
Self -Control – the Greek interpretation of self -control means to have power over oneself. The main areas of lust that the Bible speaks of our sex, appetite and riches. We must therefore, especially control ourselves in these areas.
This includes moderation not only in the use of our resources but also in our acquisition of them. Another area of self-control specifically mentioned in the Bible is that of the tongue.
How Do We Bring Out This Fruit In Our Lives? The answer is found in John 15, where Jesus explains the principles of bearing fruit.
Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. The strength, the nourishment, the life of the branch is in the vine.
It is through a close relationship with Jesus that we are able to bring forth fruit in our lives John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
Jesus goes on to say that this relationship is the means by which we can produce much fruit I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
In the natural sense, the branch would use most of its resources to grow more wood. This means that instead of fruit, wood is produced. The new shoots are therefore cut back to allow the sap to be used for the formation of fruit.
This is the equivalent of the dealings of God in our lives, cutting away all the things that hinder our fruitfulness and bringing glory to Jesus.
What are the things that the Father prunes away? Another parable may give us a clue. Mark 4:19 …the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.
There must be within us a willingness to embrace the dealings of God in our lives in order that we might produce not just more fruit but the right fruit.