THE FRUIT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (Part 1) Galatians 5:22-23 HOL-29
1. The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit is a critically important teaching of which every believer should have a solid working knowledge.
2. To be factual and appreciative of these nine blessed truths, they should be presented in concert with what comes before in the Scriptures; Galatians chapter 5.
3. Let us direct our attention, first, to some bad news Paul here presents to us as a backdrop to the wonderful news of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.
I. THE WORKS OF THE FLESH
1. No less than fifteen terrible “works of the flesh” are presented by the Apostle Paul in verses 19-21. All of these are the antithesis, the very opposite of Holy Spirit fruit.
They are the makings of the world’s problems as I speak.
2. But, more than that, the fifteen “works of the flesh” tell the story as to whether or not one is a believer, or someone still in the lost condition.
3.. Listen carefully as I relate this “litany of the lost” from the New American Standard Translation, the most literal of all the modern translations:
Galatians 5:19-21, NASB
19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities [hatreds], strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions [unbridled quarrels], factions [being a party in a group working against what is right],21 envying, drunkenness, carousing [drinking alcohol deeply or freely], and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
4. On the authority of God’s Word, if there is anyone here for whom one or more of the above-mentioned “works of the flesh,” are common practice over which you are not troubled, you have the answer as to whether you are a Christian.
5. Hear again the word of God from the pen of the Apostle Paul: “those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
6. Listen to Ephesians chapter two where Paul begins this way:
Ephesians 2:1-3, NASB:
2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
7. So, I draw a very simple but terribly appropriate conclusion: if the description of the “works of the flesh,” as God’s Word has just described them, fits you, the rest of the message does not apply to you because it is for believers and you are still in the lost condition.
II. CHARTING THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
1. You have below, a simple chart of the Fruit of the Spirit as the Scriptures give them. A glance at it will help you identify clearly each from both the 400- hundred-year-old King James Bible and the agreement of the best of the modern language English versions. To the left I have begun with the Greek words transliterated into English, then the King James Version (KJV), finally the combined New American Standard Bible (NASB), the New International Version (NIV) and the English Standard Version (ESV).
Greek word KJV NASB / NIV/ ESV (All the same)*
1) agapa love love
2) chara joy joy
3) eirene peace peace
4) makrothymia longsuffering patience
5) chrestotes gentleness kindness
6) agathosune goodness goodness
7) pistis faith faithfulness
8) prautes meekness gentleness
9) egkrateia temperance self-control
*New King James translation-identical to all these except it refers to “patience” as “longsuffering”
III. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IN LIFE
A. Love – “agapa”
1. There are three Greek words for love: “eros.” This is erotic love. The word that stands singularly for sexual desire. One of the he Greek idolatrous gods was given the name Eros. It is never used in the Word of God.
The Bible is clear that romantic love in the proper setting of the married state is a beautiful thing. But, it is always a part of holiness and respectful conduct.
2. The word “philos”, is the love of friendship, used 29 times as such in the New Testament. Often referred to as “brotherly love.”
The Lord Jesus referred to Himself in Mt. 11:19 as thought of as a “friend to tax-collectors and sinners.” “Friend” translates from “philos” here.
3. The all-important Greek word the New Testament has for love is “agapa.
It is translated over 115 times in the KJV Bible as “love,” but 29 times as “charity.”
It is the primary word for love, in its highest form, “divine love,” if you will. It includes the love between married people in its purest form.
4. When the Holy Spirit is present in a man, woman or child, He will produce a likeness to God in that person as the Christian yields to God and learns and obeys His Word. This we call the “fruit of the Spirit.”
5. “Enmities,” as we learned earlier or “hatreds” are works of the old nature, the spirit of the lost man. Love, divine love, is the opposite.
6. If every Christian were to memorize the 13th chapter of I Corinthians it would revolutionize our thinking as we put it into practice. The force of the passage is lost to some degree in the KJV because it uses “charity” instead of love. Charity, in our culture, takes us away from the gut-level love of God we all need and need to put into practice. I recommend it be memorized from the NIV. Beautiful!
7. Example: The greatest example of God’s form of love, that I am aware of in the world today, as a fruit of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the lives of Christians, is the field hospital in Iraq that believers are operating just a few miles from the awful fighting going on in the city of Mosul.
Mosul was under control of ISIS, the radical Moslem slayers of Christians and everyone else not dedicated to taking over the world by force. They held it and enslaved the population for over two years.
As western fighters, led by American special forces, take back Mosul, many become casualties in the fighting. Hundreds of lives have been saved by the medical personnel manning the tent-hospital.
The medical staff lives under harsh conditions. Even worse, they are in grave danger. To the south are ISIS fighters performing terrorist attacks in Baghdad every day that slaughter many people. To the north, just a few miles, pitched battles take place to regain Mosul.
If military positions are overrun, as they were a few years ago, ISIS terrorists will overwhelm these precious believers and their tent hospital. Yet they minister in Jesus’ name and with great bravery.
There is a special unit in their hospital that tends the wounds of captured ISIS fighters. They are closely guarded. One of them was overheard to remark to another, “Why are we fighting these people? They are very kind.”
Satan’s lies and devices are the stock in trade of the ISIS. Holy Spirit love is the portion of the Samaritan’s Purse Christian doctors and nurses and technicians.
Is Holy Spirit love at work in your life? That unselfishness that drives you to show care and concern and sacrifice and respect for everyone around you, is it yours?
B. Joy- “chara,” – “delight”
1. From another message I developed years ago, I quote regarding “joy.”
“We may be mistakenly led to believe joy and happiness are synonyms- not so.
There is a Greek word for happiness: makairos, used about 50 times meaning happy or ‘blessed.’ But the biblical word is not what we in our western culture usually term happiness. Western ‘happiness’ is more akin to ‘the American dream,’ which means, I think, settling down, owning a home, raising your children, getting them orthodontic fixtures and a ticket to college so they can do the same for their children. To me this is a selfish view.”
2. There was a beautiful seventeen-year-old young woman who, in the prime of her life years ago, was on a family outing. The young people were swimming. Nearby was a high bluff overlooking a large body of water that seemed it awaited a party of excited young people.
The young woman stepped to the edge of the bluff. She set herself and made a clean and straight dive into the blue water. Her family and friends looked on in approval.
In a few moments she would come up and swim in triumph to the bank, ready to follow others in who were waiting her return. Problem was, she did not surface. Seconds ticked away, and anxious eyes plied to water to watch her break the surface. She did not.
Swimmers quickly ran down the bank and swam to the point of her entry into the water. There at the bottom lay her prostrate body. Strong arms pulled her to the surface and then to the shore.
You see, she had no way of knowing the shallowness of the water at the point of her dive. This precious young girl was a healthy teen, in the midst of others, also in the prime of life, when she made her dive. No one knew at that moment that she would never walk or flail her arms again.
Joni Erickson was now a seventeen-year-old, helpless, quadriplegic.
Two days ago I heard her on Christian radio. Her heart and life are full of joy. That truth cannot be bought with money. It cannot be trained into a sick or even a well person. Only God’s Holy Spirit has given her victory in the face of a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. Her heartbreaking loss, God has turned in her life to a ministry to many, many thousands. Her accident was many years ago. Today she is a much-listened to and powerful witness for Christ.
3. When money and health and friends and property and comfort go, and happiness even, there can still be joy.
Two men languished in a filthy, stinking jail cell. They had been badly mistreated by their captors. Their hands and feet were immobilized in heavy wooden stocks. Curious insects traversed their lacerated backs. The two men looked at each other and began singing! Did you say “cursing?” No, that is what the world does. That is all the old nature is capable of. They sang and prayed to their God.
That singing and praying these two believers did won a whole family to Christ that very night. All because two men named Paul and Silas prayed and sang in the face of dreary confinement in Philippi, the first European city in the history of the world to receive a Christian witness.
4. Make no mistake about it, dear ones, we can be joyful in Christ when the circumstances point to even terrible uncertainty as they did that night. As we walk with the Lord every day, there will be many occasions when joy in our hearts will come to the surface. Many of them will be as a direct answer to prayer. Thank you, mighty Lord Jesus Christ.
C. Peace – “eirana”
1. Eirana is translated 82 times as “peace” in our English Bibles.
2. The Lord Jesus said: John 14:27, KJV
27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.”
3. That isn’t the way the world is. Take a look at any matter from politics to health to medicine to law and all the rest. Someone is sure to be in the streets in protest.
Somewhere in America a fight is breaking out. A person is shot. An innocent person is set upon by a mob of unruly malcontents. Murder is an every day occurrence in our major cities- many murders!
Law firms promise major dollars to anyone with the possibility of succeeding in a law suit. “We will fight for you! Everyone is afraid of us! You deserve to win!”
4. The Bible describes this melting pot of the disturbed, the angry and the revenge-laden.
Isaiah 57:20-21: But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest , whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 “There is no peace,” saith my God, “to the wicked.”
5. A man, well into years, sat one afternoon in the doorway of his hog barn. He had bought the 110 acre farm as a man in his fifties. He worked in a factory as a machinist. The farm work was hard. He loved it but he had a major problem.
Something was wrong with the hogs. In case after case, they caught some disease and died. The farmer tried and tried, treated them and still they died. He was discouraged. He was a Christian and was pastor of a country church. He carried quite a load. “What is wrong, Lord? Why all these problems?”
As he sat in the doorway of the old hog barn, his feet rested near the soft soil just outside. He wondered what to do.
Suddenly, he heard a hard “thump” from the side of his old wooden barn. Curious, he got up, slipping down to the earth and turned to his right, walking in the direction of the unusual noise.
After a few steps he looked down at the ground under the closed window in the middle of the barn, that matched one just like it on the other side. There, one wing still extended, was the body of a small English sparrow. The little bird had mistaken the transparency the matching windows provided, for a clear flying space.
The farmer thoughtfully stroked his chin for a few moments. Then, he looked up to heaven and softly muttered a few words, “Thank you, Lord.” He turned and made his way up the lane to the house. He would tell his wife what happened. She would remember Matthew 10:29, and the sparrows, the same as he had. Things would be all right, he thought. And they were.
God has the same peace for you in your time of trial if you watch Him provide it. He did that for my dad. He’ll do it for you too! He might not knock down a sparrow to remind you, but He is with you just the same. Peace is alive in the hearts of the righteous.
6. Song writer, Shirley Caesar’s testimony of Holy Spirit peace is so appropriate:
“There is peace in the midst of my storm-tossed life. I’ve an anchor, I’ve a rock to cast my faith upon. Jesus Christ is my vessel, so I’ll fear not alarm. He gives me peace in the midst of my storm.” Is that true of you my friend. Do you have Holy Spirit -authored peace in your life?
Note: Before we leave Ms. Caesar’s work, listen again to a tiny but significant phrase she wrote: “…Jesus Christ is my vessel…” You see, that is good theology for to be filled with and used by God’s Spirit we must be “in Christ,” saved by Him and living in firm identity with Him.
If the name of Christ, in public, is embarrassing to you, one thing sure, you are in no position to see the fruit of peace growing in your life!
D. Patience – “makrothymia”
1. “Makrothymia is translated all 14 times it appears in the New Testament as “patience.” The King James Bible has “long-suffering.” The New King James also uses “longsuffering.”
2. But, patience is a virtue hard to come by. Romans 5:3 says, “…tribulation works patience.” Usually something unexpected and unwelcome comes to tutor the recipient in the gift of patience! Ugh!
3. A young seminary student, in his first year (referred to as “Juniors” in graduate school language), was enrolled in a Greek grammar course. One day, he raised his hand and boldly spoke up concerning a procedure the teacher was using to teach. It called into question the professor’s method of instruction.
At this outburst, what could have been the professor’s options? Well, he could have given a sarcastic belittling remark in response. He could have, as we say, “put him in his place.” He could have held the student over for a tongue-lashing after class. He could have reported the incident to the Dean of the Seminary. Any of these were deserved. So, what happened?
The professor was an elderly man with a doctorate, much respected for his wisdom and godly life. At the rebuke he looked up and smiled slightly and then returned to his lecture. Looking back on the incident there were at least three important points the student had overlooked.
First and foremost, the student had broken the Scriptures which clearly forbid “rebuking an elder.” (I Timothy 5:1 Rebuke not an elder but treat him as a father…”).
Second, the professor was a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, where the famed Kenneth Wuest had taught. Dr. Quincer, the professor had probably studied under him.
Third, the seminary boy was not an “A” student by any means and certainly had nothing by which to teach the professor.
So, where does patience come into play in this illustration? Just this. Four years passed and this seminary student was now a graduate up for ordination at his home church in Grand Rapids. Dr. Quincer, the Greek professor, was one who came to the ordination service the night of August 12, 1964 and laid hands, along with others, on the upstart student who had embarrassed him in front of his class four years before.
I can still make out Dr. Sheldon Quincer’s signature of approval and encouragement on my Ordination Certificate. Truly patience is a great virtue, a fruit of God’s Holy Spirit in a believer who is walking with the Lord.
1. Thus far we have worked our way through four of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit. The remaining five await attention another day.
2. Suffice it to say this: Holy Spirit fruit is produced not by working hard or paying money or being religious or showing piety or impressing people or joining a group or improving one’s skills, or taking a class, or even joining a church. It does not come automatically with salvation or baptism or deep study.
3. There is one way and one way only for any and every Christian to realize the fruit of the Spirit in your life. It must grow there. It is an outcome. It is a result. It is a gift from God. It is a product of God. It is to be a major part of the testimony of every believer who wants God’s best.
4. It is safe to say that anyone “claiming” the fruit of the Spirit, any of the nine here in Galatians 5:22-23 (and there are more just as the verse itself admits : “…against such things, there is no law.” ) yes, anyone claiming to possess them probably does not have them in his and her life. But, clearly these nine fruits are recognizable and ought to be cultivated in every believer’s life. There must be many more for the blessed Holy Spirit is God. And God is infinite.
5. These fruits must appear in my life and yours if we are to be what God wants us to be as individuals and in our church collectively. They are a major part of the filling of the Spirit. And we are commanded to be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). They are part and parcel of our testimony. They are the real thing of the Christian life!
Prayer: You can pray this prayer: Oh, Holy Spirit make me a clean vessel to receive your Holy Spirit’s gifts, His life, His power and His blessing. I surrender to You today, blessed Holy Spirit of God. Cleanse me and use me!
If I harbor any sin in my life, sweet Spirit I know You will not fill me with Yourself. I turn away, I confess every wrong thing, every sin. I turn to You for blessing and power. Amen.
Pastor K. F. Pierpont (firstname.lastname@example.org)