Fruit of the Spirit // Part 1 of 2
Sunday, we celebrated Pentecost: the day of the coming of the Holy Spirit. Celebrating the work of the Holy Spirit requires a two-fold focus. One focus is upon the gifts of the Spirit or the work of Spirit. The work or gifts of the Spirit reflect the power of Jesus. Tonight, we are going to focus on another part of the Holy Spirit: the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit reflects the character and heart of Jesus. Gifts of the Spirit operating without the fruit of the Spirit produces an atmosphere like that recorded in the book of 1 Corinthians. The apostle Paul likened the atmosphere to abuse because without the fruit of the Spirit, the operation of the gifts is motivated by the flesh. That is why Jesus tells us in Matthew 7, verse 20, “by their fruit you will recognize them.”
Gifts of the Spirit without fruit of the Spirit is still a counterfeit of the ministry of Jesus!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. /// Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
Let’s start this journey by taking a look at the use of the word “fruit” in relation to the motivations of the Spirit. To begin, we must go back to Jesus’ teaching in John 15. Some important points here:
1. The Word is vital in fruit bearing.
Cleansing and pruning comes through the Word. Without the Word, the process stops.
2. A vital connection to Christ produces fruit.
A casual connection to Christ is not enough to bear fruit. This isn’t speaking of living a “good” life. This is speaking of living a supernatural life. It cannot be produced through legalistic living nor can it be condemned by legalism. The word “vital” is the root of “vitality” which is synonymous of “life” and “health”.
3. The combination of the presence of the Word and a vital connection to Christ produces a supernatural life.
If you live in Me and My words remain in you ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. /// John 15:7
The bearing of Holy Spirit fruit is a result of two life streams converging: the Lord’s life and our life. It is the submission of our life to the flow of the Holy Spirit and will not work unless both are working together rhythmically. The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus Who glorifies the Father. One of the unmistakable signs that the Spirit is operating is the evidence of who is begin glorified. Spiritual schizophrenia results when the glorification cycle is broken. The Bible speaks of this malady as “double-mindedness”. It is a disease that is catching. In other words, it will not only affect those who possess it but those who associated with it.
Remember the words of Jesus: By their fruits you will recognize them. He didn’t say, “By their gifts you will recognize them.” The gifts are a reflection of power. Remember the famous saying, “Power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Who is more powerful than God? The greatest testament to God’s glory is that He maintains the power He has and yet it does not corrupt Him in the slightest. We should be people who crave the Holy Spirit. But, we must always remember that there are two components to the Spirit: the gifts and the fruit. You can seek the hand of God or you can seek His heart. If you seek His heart, you will find His hand.
Seeking His hand or only what God can do doesn’t mean we will ever truly know God. Take the children of Israel as an example. They saw God’s miracles and never changed in their heart. The former sorcerer, Simon in Acts 8 is another example. If your heart is right, you can be trusted with God’s power. Lately, we have been studying about freedom in Christ. Sunday, we spoke of the role of the baptism in the Holy Spirit in our freedom. Next Wednesday, we will look at each fruit of the Spirit and see its connection to our freedom.
- Matthew 7:20
- Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
- John 15:1-8 (AMP)
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