TEXT: Galatians 5:22-25
READING: Philippians 4:1-23
SUBJ: The Christian character defined as the work of the Spirit in us and as the practical manifestation of the very nature of Christ in us.
AIM: That we should cultivate these things in our hearts and lives and as such to appear before the Lord in all things.
INTR: We are reminded that these nine things in verses 22 and 23 reflect things seen first in Christ and produced in us in regeneration and conversion. Consider: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:4. They produce that which we experience in the first group of three. In the second group we find the expression of the possessor of this fruit toward each other. In the last group we see that which is directed toward God.
1. Having declared the works of the flesh in verses 19-21 Paul changes the figure so that he might show that those things God requires in us are produced from a Spiritual source.
2. We are very familiar with that which is referenced here as we witness the development of fruit on a tree and as we realize that the fruit came from the tree and not the reverse. The array of fruit appearing on this tree of life is a thing of beauty indeed in the eyes of God and the Spiritual observer. See Song of Solomon 4:12-16.
3. In the expression of these things we have a comprehensive picture of the born again believer.
THESIS: These precious evidences of grace appear to us, to others around us, and to God Himself as seeing the result of the work of Christ in us.
I. The fruit of the Spirit is Love, it is Joy, it is Peace (v. 22)
1. Love is referred to in many ways such as: Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:10 AND And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. Colossians 3:14.
2. This is the highest form of love as it is that used of the love of Christ for us. – It is not self-generated, and it should be cultivated.
3. It is the essential evidence of eternal life. (We love the brethren).
4. Joy is the experience of cheerfulness and calm delight –chara
1) It is that which reflects an awareness of and a confidence in God and all He does
2) It is before God first of all and is based on spiritual things (justification, pardon, eternal glory) and is reflected in one’s countenance. Gale Blake observing the old lady.
3) And it further extends to the ability to experience happiness in the good experienced by others – the heart is rejoiced in seeing God glorified!
5. Peace is that which we have with God in the conscience.
1) It is grounded in the faith that the blood of Christ has prevailed and therefore,
2) There may be tranquility, calmness of soul, and such quietness as God gives.
II. The fruit of the Spirit is Longsuffering (patience), it is gentleness (kindness), it is goodness.
1. Longsuffering is attributed to God: Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? Romans 2:4 and to Christ: Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. 1 Timothy 1:16.
2. It is not so much the “patient waiting for Christ,” so much as it describes the nature of our endurance of the hardships of this world in not giving way to hostility and the like.
1) It includes the ability to endure affronts from others and especially the saved.
2) There is refusal to give way to angry outbursts, but rather to respond in kindness and a readiness to forgive.
3. Gentleness or Kindness is dealing with such compassion as we have received at the hands of the Lord.
1) It manifests itself in mildness. “Wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
2) Caring, interested, and non-threatening in every way. It is with the “Gentleness of Christ.”
4. Goodness is defined by a couple of respected theologians:
1) Hendriksen: “Goodness is Spirit-created moral and spiritual excellence of every description.”
2) John Gill: “…what else can come from the good Spirit of God, the author of the good work of grace upon the soul? and which disposes it to acts of goodness unto men, in a natural, civil, moral, spiritual, and evangelic way, for the benefit both of soul and body…”
3) Even the world is constrained to acknowledge the goodness that the Spirit produces in His people.
III. The fruit of the Spirit is Faith (faithfulness), it is Meekness (gentleness), it is Temperance
1. The necessity of faith in the issues of salvation is well-known to us. Faithfulness to God is implied in the meaning of the Word. Trustfulness is incorporated in the definition, and it is expressed toward God and toward men.
1) To God we endeavor to be faithful in believing, trusting and obeying as a manifestation of Grace in our hearts.
2) Before men we show faithfulness toward them in our word and testimony.
2. Meekness is often misunderstood and confused with weakness – it rather implies approachability from all. It is the ability to manifest humility before God that is visible to men.
1) It is that which comes as we are reminded of “whose we are and whom we serve.”
2) Our greatest example is Christ and His own self-abnegation.
3) It continues in acknowledgement of sovereignty and just how far we have been raised up.
3. It is a precious work of the Spirit indeed that enables control over fleshly tendencies. This is not something we can do ourselves: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9.
1) It is in word and deed –
2) it is supplied rather than enforced!
4. Against such there is no law – And continue to verse 25