The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love

Posted by on Jan 14, 2007

First Baptist Church of Ranson, WV

January 14, 2007

Sunday Morning

“The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love”

 

Scripture Text: Galatians 5:22

Introduction:

 

A.   I want to begin this morning by asking you a rather personal question, and that is, “How spiritual a person are you?”

1. In other words, if I were to ask you to rate yourself on a scale of one to ten, with ten being very spiritual and one being very unspiritual), what rating would you give yourself?

2. Would you rate yourself a ten (very spiritual)?

3. Would you rate yourself a one (very unspiritual)?

4. Or would you rate yourself somewhere in between?

5. Just how spiritual a person are you?

 

B.   But someone says, “Wait a minute, pastor. That’s a really stupid question. Everyone knows that spirituality is an inward thing and cannot be measured.”

1. Well, I will agree with you, partly.

2. Spirituality is an inward thing, however, spirituality can be measured!

3. Now this raises a question.

4. If spirituality can be measured, how do we go about it?

5. In other words, what standards do we use, or what measuring sticks do we compare ourselves to, or what rules do we apply to our lives?

 

C.   Well, let me begin by telling you what standards we do NOT use!

1. First of all, we do not measure our spirituality by how often we attend church.

2. Now please don’t misunderstand what I am about to say.

3. Church attendance is extremely important for believers.

4. This is why God’s Word admonishes us in Heb. 10:25 to not forsake the “the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:”

5. However, having said that, we do not measure a person’s spirituality by how often they attend church.

6. The truth is, some of the most unspiritual people that I have ever known have been regular church attenders.

 

D.   May I also say that we do not measure our spirituality by how much Bible knowledge we have.

1. Now, again, please don’t misunderstand what I am about to say.

2. Bible knowledge is a wonderful thing, and the Lord knows that we could all stand to add to our knowledge of God’s Word.

3. However, having said that, Bible knowledge alone is not a good indicator of a person’s spirituality.

4. (Illus.- I’m thinking now of a young man that I met many years ago. When I first met him, I was greatly impressed by his knowledge of the Scriptures. He could quote verse after verse after verse, and he could quote it correctly. However, there was something not right about this young man. A few months later it became quite evident that this young man was anything but spiritual. In fact, I’m convinced that he was not even saved.)

5. And so, Bible knowledge alone is not a good indicator of a person’s spirituality.

 

E.   May I also say that we do not measure our spirituality by what comes out of our mouths.

1. Over the years I have known people who had learned to talk in a spiritual fashion, yet their lives were anything but spiritual.

2. (Illus.- I’m thinking now of a brother who at one time was a member of this church. You would think by listening to him talk that he was a very spiritual person, because almost everything he said, at least when he was around me, was mixed with expressions like “bless God” and “praise the Lord,” and “God is good.” If you didn’t know this brother personally, you would think that he was a very spiritual person. The problem was, I knew him personally, and his actions were not all that spiritual.)

3. Have you ever heard the expression, “Talk is cheap.”?

4. That is certainly true when it comes to measuring a person’s spirituality.

 

F.    Now this brings us back to our original question, “How do we measure a person’s spirituality? If we don’t measure it by how often they attend church, or how much Bible knowledge they have, or spiritual they sound, then how do we measure it? What standard do we use?”

1. The answer is found in our text, this morning.

2. Notice again Gal. 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,…Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

3. There’s the answer to the question.

4. We measure a person’s spirituality by measuring (examining) “the fruit of the Spirit.”

 

G.   There are three questions that we want to answer this morning. First of all,…

 

I.       What Is “The Fruit Of The Spirit”?

 

A.   In order to answer this question, let’s look closely at the two primary words in that expression.

1. First of all, let’s look at the word “Spirit.”

2. You may have noticed that in the KJV, the word “Spirit” is capitalized, the reason being this is definitely a reference to the Holy Spirit of God.

 

3. Someone asks, “What does the Holy Spirit have to do with spirituality?

4. The answer is, He has everything to do with it!

5. In fact, it is the Holy Spirit of God who produces true spirituality in our lives.

6. We would have no spirituality whatsoever were it not for the work of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives!

 

B.   This is why a person must be saved before he can exhibit true spirituality in his life.

1. You see, only those who are saved have the Holy Spirit of God living within them.

2. Look again at Gal. 4:4-6, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,…To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons….And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

3. (Illus.- This is why simply “turning over a new leaf” in life does not make a person a Christian. I’ve known of a number of people who simply decided one day that they were going to start living a Christian life. They didn’t get saved. They didn’t receive the Holy Spirit into their heart. They just decided that they were going to start living a Christian life. Of course, they failed, and the reason they failed is because the Holy Spirit is the producer [source] of all true spirituality.)

4. And so, when Paul spoke about “the fruit of the Spirit,” he was referring to the Holy Spirit.

 

C.   Now what about that other word in the expression, “fruit of the Spirit,” and that is the word “fruit.”

1. What does that word mean?

2. When we think of fruit, we usually think of apples and oranges and peaches and bananas, etc.

3. Now that is certainly “fruit,” however, that’s not exactly what Paul had in mind here.

4. Paul is using the word “fruit” (karpos) is a figurative sense here, and what it means is “outward visible evidence.”

5. (Illus.- Let me illustrate. I’m not very good at identifying various kinds of trees. However, in the fall, I don’t have any trouble identifying fruit trees. Why not? Because of the fruit that is hanging from the limbs. If you see apples hanging from the limbs of a tree, you know that is an apple tree! How do you know. Because of the apples. The apples hanging from the limbs are outward visible evidence that it is an apple tree.)

6. And so, the word “fruit” here means “outward visible evidence.”

 

D.   Now let’s put these two words together.

1. “Spirit” refers to the Holy Spirit.

2. “Fruit” refers to outward visible evidence.

3. That being the case, when Paul spoke of “the fruit of the Spirit,” he was referring to “the outward visible evidence that the Holy Spirit of God is at work in a person’s life.”

4. Let me tell you something, if the Holy Spirit is truly working in our life, if we are truly walking “in the Spirit,” as Paul admonished us to do earlier, then there is going to be some outward visible evidence of that!

5. There is going to be some fruit! (Amen?)

 

E.   Now this raises another question,…

 

II.      To What Extent Will “The Fruit Of The Spirit” Be Evident In A Believer’s Life?

 

A.   That all depends.

1. It depends on to what extent a believer walks “in the Spirit.”

2. It depends on to what extent a believer yields his or her life to the Holy Spirit Who lives within them.

3. While every true believer will exhibit the “fruit of the Spirit” in his life to some degree, some believers will exhibit more fruit than others.

4. Do you know why this is true?

5. Because it is possible to “quench” the Holy Spirit.

6. Listen to what Paul wrote in 1 Thes. 5:19, “Quench not the Spirit.”

7. What does it mean to “quench…the Spirit”?

8. It simply means to…

-subdue the Spirit,

-suppress or inhibit the Spirit,

-put out or extinguish the Spirit.

9. (Illus.- I don’t know about you, but I enjoy camping. One of the things that I enjoy about camping is having a campfire. You know, cooking hot dogs and roasting marshmallow, telling stories. But while campfires are nice, we all know what “Smokey the Bear” says. He says, “Before leaving camp, be sure and ‘extinguish all fires.’ The last thing you should do before heading for home is to pour plenty of water on your fire. Why? Because water “quenches” [put’s out] the fire.)

10.  Well, that’s exactly what some believers do to the Holy Spirit, they “quench” Him.

11.   Yes, they are saved.

12.   Yes, the Holy Spirit lives within them.

13.   However, they subdue, suppress or inhibit His working in their lives.

14.   Consequently, “the fruit of the Spirit” is not as visible in their lives as it should be and could be.

 

B.   (Illus.- Let me illustrate what I am talking about. Have you ever heard a sermon that really convicted you about something that you needed to change about your life? Whether you realized it or not, it was not the preacher who convicted you, but rather the Holy Spirit Who lives within you. But have you ever felt that conviction, only to resist it until finally the conviction subsided? If so, you quenched the Spirit. Consequently, your life did not change.)

 

C.   There is one last question that I want us to answer this morning, and that is…

 

III.    What Is The Greatest Evidence Of The Working Of The Holy Spirit In A Believer’s Life.

 

A.   As we are going to see later, Paul mentions at least nine evidences of the working of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life, but which of these nine is the greatest?

1. I don’t think there is any question about it.

2. “Love” is the greatest.

3. I say that for two reasons.

4. First of all, I say that because “love” is the first evidence that Paul mentions in this passage.

5. Notice again the first part of Gal. 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love.”

6. I don’t think that it was just a coincidence that Paul mentioned “love” first.

7. I believe he mentioned “love” first because “love” is the greatest evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life.

8. A second reason is because of what Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 13:13, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

9. I am also reminded of something that Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

 

B.   Now what is “love”?

1. Most definitions that I have heard given for “love” are, in my opinion, far too shallow.

2. Here’s a definition that I think accurately defines “love,” “love is an unselfish concern that freely accepts another and diligently seeks his good.”

3. Love is definitely far more than just a feeling or an emotion.

4. True love is an action.

5. This is why the Bible admonishes us in 1 John 3:18, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

6. How do we demonstrate our love by our actions?

7. The answer is very simple, we do so by “giving.

8. By giving of…

-ourselves,

-our means,

-our time and energy.

9. The ultimate demonstration of love is the actual giving of one’s life.

10.   Jesus put it like this in John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

11.   By the way, this is exactly what Jesus did for us.

12.   He laid down His life on Calvary’s cross for our sins.

13.   What an example He is for us!

 

C.   And so, the greatest evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life is love.

Conclusion:

 

A.   This morning, we have answered three questions.

1. First, what is “the fruit of the Spirit”? (It is the outward evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life.)

2. Secondly, to what extent will the fruit of the Spirit be evident in a believer’s life? (This depends on to what extent a believer walks “in the Spirit,” or yields his life to the Holy Spirit.)

3. Finally, what is the greatest evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life? (It is love!)

 

B.   Let me ask you a personal question. To what extent is the working of the Holy Spirit evident in your life? Do you love your brother? Are you quenching the Holy Spirit???