The Fruit of The Spirit Pt. 1

By Pastor J.D. Link

I encourage you to read Galatians 5:16-25.  Verses 22-23 say, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Now notice in verse 22 the word “but”; so, we see Paul is making a contrast to what was previously stated about the “works” of the flesh. The works of the flesh “are”; “but” the fruit of the Spirit is.

Galatians 5:19-21, as well as 1Corinthinas 6:9-10, list some works of the flesh.  Those that do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  It is important for us to understand the word “do” in verse 21.  Wuest explains: “The word do is from prasso which means “to do, to practice.” It is durative in action, thus speaking of the habitual practice of such things, which indicates the character of the individual. The Word of God bases its estimation of a person’s character, not upon his infrequent, out-of-the-ordinary actions, but upon his habitual ones, which latter form a true indication of character. Such people, the apostle says, shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

In the 1600’s, Poole said something similar: “that they who ordinarily do these things, and do not only live in such practices, but die without repentance for them, shall never be saved.”  Gill, in the 1700’s said: “Now they that do such works of the flesh as before enumerated; that is, that live in the commission of these things, whose whole lives are employed in such work, living and dying in such a state, without repentance towards God and faith in Christ, shall never enjoy eternal life and happiness.”

So, we see Paul is speaking of character, or that which is done on a regular basis.  Any sinner may occasionally bear some good fruit; and any saint may at times bear some bad fruit.  Character, however, does not consist of one action, but consistent action over time.  So, is our character the works of the flesh, or the fruit of the Spirit?

We must understand that fruit is something naturally born.  It is not something we work up in self-effort, but is a natural byproduct of Vine life. In John 15:1-8, we find the word “abide” seven times.  “Abide” means to stay, continue in, dwell in, endure, remain.  Those who abide in Christ bring forth fruit.  Those who merely pay Him lip service do not.  When we abide in Christ, the True Vine, His life flows into ours, and we naturally produce the fruit of the Spirit.

Jesus cleanses us by His Word, that we may bring forth more fruit (Jn 15:2-3). We are washed by the Word (Eph 5:26). His Word is to abide in us (Jn 15:7). Believers who wash often in the Word will bring forth spiritual fruit.  Those who spend little time in the Word bring forth little fruit.  Our fruit-bearing is proportional to the amount of God’s Word abiding in us. 

It is the fruit of the ‘Spirit’ – not of the flesh (or self-effort).  It is not us directly who bring forth this fruit, but God working inside of us His perfect will (Philp 2:13, Heb 13:20-21).  Our job is not to “work up” some fruit.  Our job is to yield (submit to) the Holy Spirit (Rom 6:12-13, 16-19).  You are the servant to whom you obey (vs. 16).  Are you a servant of Christ? Then you yield to Christ.  Bearing fruit is not difficult at all. It’s as natural as an apple tree bearing apples – if only we yield to the Spirit. The only thing that makes it hard, is when we spend all our time yielding to the flesh, and then expect the fruit of the Spirit.  That’s like planting corn and expecting peppers at harvest time.  Ain’t gonna happen.

Also notice, “fruit” is singular. It is not the fruits, but fruit, of the Spirit.  Like with the Great commandment, the whole is made up of the several.  When we walk in the Spirit; are led by the Spirit; are spiritually minded – then all these various aspects will make up the whole of the fruit we produce.  It’s inconsistent to have one aspect in operation, and be totally lacking in another. Sure, we may have a little more of one than the other operating, but overall they come as a whole.  For instance, it’s hard to say you have peace that passes understanding, while at the same time you have no joy or patience.  No, they are all manifestations of the same Spirit. With peace comes also joy and patience.

This is only an introduction to this subject.  We’ll begin to look at these individual manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit next week.  Selah.

The Fruit of The Spirit Pt. 2

By Pastor J.D. Link

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” While I don’t believe these manifold fruit are necessarily listed in order from greatest to least; I do believe it is no coincidence that love is first mentioned. Love is what God is. 1Jn 4:8 says that “God is love.” Since Jesus is God manifest in the flesh (Jn 1:1, 1Tim 3:16), and God is love; then Jesus is love incarnate – or love made flesh.

Love is the greatest thing in the universe (1Cor 13:13).  Love is the great commandment (Mark 12:29-31, Jn 15:17). Love is the “excellent way” (1Cor 12:31). Love is called the royal law (Jam 2:8). Why is love the “royal law”?  Because love fulfills all the law (Rom 13:8-10, Gal 5:14). Love fulfills the first four commandments towards God, and next six towards man. In a nutshell, “The” commandment is love out of a pure heart; a good conscience; and pure faith (1Tim 1:5).

All that we do is to be done in love (1Cor 16:14), since love is the fulfilling of the law.  God Himself teaches us from within to love (1Thess 4:9). It is what the saint is to be known for according to Jesus: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35).

Now remember, love is a fruit of the Spirit. It is not something we work up in our own effort, but it is a gift from God.  It is not our own love, but it is the Love of God Himself, which He has given to us through the Holy Spirit: Romans 5:5  “… because the love of God is shed abroad (poured out abundantly) in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” When the Holy Spirit indwells a Believer, He pours out the love of God abundantly in their heart.

However, we must yield to the Holy Spirit in order for God’s love to be outwardly worked in our lives.  Though the disciple of Christ has God’s love dwelling in their spirit, it will not manifest itself unless we: 1. Learn that we do indeed possess God’s love within us, and have the potential to love as He loved. 2. Meditate on that love, draw on that love through yielding to the Spirit, and then act on that love. Love is expressed in action.  “God so loved the world, that He gave…” (Jn 3:16).  “If you love me, keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15).  So, we see that as faith without works is dead, so love without works is dead also. 

Let us clear up a few of misconceptions about love:

1. “I can’t love others as Jesus loves me.” Jesus is not unjust.  He would not command us to love others, if it was impossible for us to do. We cannot in our own strength do it, but He empowers us with His own Spirit and love to be able to love others.

2. “I only need to love those who love me.” Jesus said even IRS agents love those who love them (Mt 5:46)! If God will send rain on the unbeliever’s garden as well as ours, then we are to love them as well (Mt 5:43-45). To love the unlovable is what Jesus called us to.

3. “Love is a feeling, and I have lost that loving feeling.”  Wrong.  Love is not a feeling.  Feelings often accompany love, but they are not love itself.  Love can and should be taught (Titus 2:3-4). If we believe love is only a feeling, then when feelings change, we think we have the right to bail out.  That isn’t love. That is selfishness. True love sticks through the hard times. It is a commitment; a choice; a decision. Jesus didn’t feel warm and fuzzy emotions while on the cross, bleeding and dying for our sins. But there is no greater love than that.

So, what does love in action look like? Love is long suffering (patient over a long period of time).  Love is kind.  Love does not envy others.  Love is not boastful, self-promoting, prideful or arrogant. Love does not behave itself in an unbecoming or indecent manner. Love is not self-centered, but thinks of others. Love is not easily angered, and does not wear its emotions on its sleeve.  Love does not think on evil, but on good. Love is not happy in iniquity, sin and transgression; but rather rejoices in the truth; in righteousness; in God’s Word.  Love can bear a lot of weight. Love doesn’t crumble under hardship. Love believes the best and looks for the good. Love has a constant expectation of something good. Love endures over the long haul.  Love never fails (1Cor 13:4-7).

So again, like with all the fruit of the Spirit, love is something God does in us and through us.  We have the capacity to love, because He gave it to us. We need only to yield to the Spirit to see God’s love manifest in our lives. Selah.

The Fruit of the Spirit Part 3

By Pastor J.D. Link

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” The fruit of the Spirit is JOY.  It is God who gives it (Ecc 2:26), and in His presence is the fullness of it (Ps 16:11). Abiding joy, and the fullness of it, comes through reading and meditating on God’s Word (Jn 15:11, 17:13).  John also confirms this in 1Jn 1:4 when he says, “And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” This should be of no surprise, for our God is a joyful God (Zep 3:17).

There are times we lose our joy, and we need our joy restored (Psa 51:12).  Not that we “lose it”, in the sense that it departs from us; for it is a fruit of the Spirit, and the Spirit does not depart from us.  However, we may “lose it”, in the sense that we no longer bear the fruit of it. It is not benefiting us, and there is no manifestation of it.

Why do we lose our joy? 1. We are living in sin. 2. We are neglecting the reading of God’s Word. 3. We are thinking on wrong things. 4. We are self-focused. However, we can rest assured that when we turn from the above issues, our joy will be restored unto us (Ps 126:5, Isa 61:3). We can repent. We can daily read God’s Word. We can think on good things (Philp 4:8). We can focus on serving others (Jn 13:14-17).

In John 16:20-24, we learn that because Jesus is risen from the dead, we can have abiding joy – and no man can take it from us.  If we lose our joy, it’s on our end, not God’s. It’s no one else’s fault. We also learn, that this fullness of joy comes through the fact that we can ask God whatever we will in Jesus name, and we will receive it.

What shall we then do, to manifest the fruit of joy consistently and abundantly?

1. Don’t be self- centered. If want to finish our Christian life with joy, we can’t “count our life dear unto ourselves.”

2. Rejoice and shout for joy, because you trust in God (Ps 5:11).  Do you trust in God and love His name? Be joyful!

3. Be happy in Jesus, because he has made you righteous (Ps 32:11).

4. Be in favor of God’s righteous cause (Ps 35:27).

5. Sing/play worship songs (Ps 43:4). Let God be your exceeding joy.

6.Be a peacemaker (Philp 2:2). Peaceful people are generally joyful people.  Troublemakers generally are not.

7. Keep your eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2).   Despise (disesteem) whatever trial you may be going through; and like Jesus, keep your eyes focused on the joy set before you. 

8. Keep things in proper perspective (Jam 1:2-4).   Trials can make us bitter or better.  Choose to let them make you better, and focus on the good.

9. Be content and enjoy what you have (Ecc 9:7-10).   Be thankful for your food, your spouse, your home, your work.  Enjoy them. This brings joy.  If we always focus on what we don’t have, it robs us of our joy – and of our present.

So how often should we rejoice? Always and forever (Philp 4:4, 1Thess 5:16). This doesn’t necessarily mean laughter or mirth.  It means deep abiding joy in the truth.  There is not always cause for laughter, and sometimes it may be inappropriate.  However, we can and should always be joyful. It is a state of being, and not of circumstance.

Why rejoice? Because God will do great things (Joel 2:21)! Because our names are written in heaven (Lk 10:20)! Because we have eternal life! Because we’re forgiven; redeemed; accepted; loved; blessed; righteous; called; chosen; friends of God; heirs of God – and multiple other benefits! We have much to be joyful about as children of God! May we have the attitude of Habakkuk the prophet: “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:  Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (Hab 3:17-18). Selah.

The Fruit of the Spirit Part 4

By Pastor J.D. Link

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Last week, we discussed the fruit of joy.  Another of the manifold fruit of the Spirit is peace.  Peace means: quietness, rest, harmony, concord. This manifests in not only inner, abiding peace; but also in being peaceable, or outward peace. It is no wonder peace is a fruit of God’s Spirit within us, for our God is a God of peace (Rom 15:33, 2Cor 13:11).

God is the author peace (1Cor 14:33). Peace is what He blesses His people with (Psa 29:11). Peace are the thoughts He thinks towards His people (Jer 29:11). In Isaiah, Jesus is called the Prince of Peace: Isa 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, …and his name shall be called… The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” It is through Jesus alone that we have peace with the Father in Heaven (Isa 53:5, Lk 2:14, Jn 16:33, Rom 5:1, Eph 2:13-14).  His atoning sacrifice satisfied the demands of justice; and through faith, trust and confidence in Jesus, we enjoy perfect peace with the Father.

As Believers, Jesus has given us His peace (Jn 14:27).  Not a lesser peace, but His very own peace, is His gift to us. We have it within our spirit. The Kingdom of God is within us (Lk 17:21), and the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17).  Kingdom living is living in peace. In fact, the Gospel itself is called “The Gospel of peace” (Rom 10:15, Eph 6:15).

So, because of these facts, we are to be at peace among ourselves.  Jesus encouraged this (Mk 9:50), as well as Paul (1Thess 5:13, Eph 4:3).  We are to follow after peace (Rom 14:19, 2Tim 2:22, Heb 12:14) and pursue peace (Ps 34:14) – because God has called us to peace (1Cor 7:15). Peacemakers are called children of God (Mt 5:9), and peacemakers sow peace, and therefore reap righteousness (Jam 3:18).  When we sow envy and strife, we reap confusion and every evil work (Jam 3:16).  When we are peaceable, righteousness will be our fruit.

So, what if we are seeking to be peacemakers, and someone just refuses to be peaceable towards us? This happened to King David (Ps 120:6-7), and happens to many of us.  As much as lies in our power, we need to live peaceably (Rom 12:18).  Don’t let troublemakers cause you to give up your peace.  Don’t give them the benefit of seeing you with your feathers ruffled.  Allow God’s peace to umpire in your heart (Col 3:15).  Let it have the rule.  Yield to the Spirit and not the flesh. “Let” means you have the control. You’ll either “let” God’s peace govern your heart, or you will “let” anxiety, worry and fear take control of you.  We must choose.

Do you want to experience the peace of God? Not just in theory, but practically?  God’s Word works.  It produces (Isa 55:11) if sown in a receptive heart. We can walk in this peace every day.  Here are some keys: 1. Love His Word: Psa 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.  2. Be humble: Psa 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.  3. Trust God and keep your mind always on Him: Isa 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 4. Don’t practice wickedness: Isa 48:22, 57:21 There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.  5. Do good works: Rom 2:10 (God gives) … glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good…  6. Be spiritually minded: Rom 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7. Pray: Php 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  (7)  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

If we believe and practice these seven things, we will experience abundance of peace.  It will not only be a truth we read and believe, but something we live in.  When Jesus returns, how do you want to found?  2Pt 3:14 …be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. Selah.

The Fruit of the Spirit: Part 5

 By Pastor J.D. Link

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  The fourth fruit of the Spirit of God is longsuffering, which means: 

1) patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance

2) forbearance, slowness in avenging wrongs.  It is enduring patience over the long haul.  Longsuffering, like the rest, is a fruit of the Spirit because it is an attribute of God. The fruit of the Spirit are no more than the attributes of God being manifested in our lives as we yield to His Spirit. Our God is a God of patience (Rom 15:5).

The Greek word translated “longsuffering” was instead translated “patience” twice: Hebrews 6:12 “That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” The other Scripture is James 5:10-11, which tells us to look at the prophets and Job for an example of patience.  They maintained their integrity and confession, even through hardship. Job was also restored double for his trouble. It was translated “longsuffering” ten times.  Five of those pertained to God.  We find in Rom 2:4 that longsuffering is based on God’s goodness.  While God is often accused of being cruel or indifferent towards the suffering in this world, He is far from that.  It is His goodness and love for the elect that cause Him to endure the vessels of wrath during this time (Rom 9:22). Like in the days of Noah, He endured their rebellion (1Pt 3:20) for another hundred years while Noah built the ark and preached righteousness (2Pt 2:5), giving them ample time to repent.  They did not, and perished. We also see that God “longsuffered” Saul of Tarsus until He made him Paul the Apostle (1Tim 1:16).

We (the saints) are to count the longsuffering of God as salvation – not indifference. It is only because of His mercy that He puts up with man’s evil and rebellion during this time; but don’t take it for granted.  On the Day of Judgment, if one is not found in Christ, all accounts will come up due – and God will execute justice.

The next five uses of longsuffering pertain to man.  As stated before, we are to be longsuffering, because it is the nature of God.  As saints, we are to exercise longsuffering on a consistent basis in a variety of situations (2Cor 6:3-10). In longsuffering, we are to forebear (with a good attitude, endure or “put up with”) one another (Eph 4:1-3, Col 3:12-13).  Longsuffering should be our “manner of life” (2Tim 3:10); and Paul exhorted Timothy to what he did with “all longsuffering” (2Tim 4:2).

Patience is associated with many other Biblical principles, Such as: 

1. Bearing fruit. Luk 8:15 “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” 

2. Enduring Tribulation. Rom 5:3 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;” (See also James1:3-4).

3. Hope. Rom 8:25, “But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” 

4. Faith. 2Thess 1:4, “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure.” 

5. Running our race. Heb 12:1, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”  

6. The return of Christ. Jam_5:7, “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he recieve the early and latter rain.”

Patient endurance is an attribute Jesus recognizes and applauds in the Church: To Ephesus – Rev_2:2  “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience…”.  To Thyatira – Rev_2:19  “I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience…”.  To Philadelphia – Rev 3:10  “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

Jesus said, “In your patience possess ye your souls.” (Lk 21:19). Or, “By your endurance you will gain your lives.” (ESV). Also, “By your patient endurance you will purchase your lives.” (WNT). Steadfastness; patient endurance; perseverance; longsuffering – These are what will inherit the promises of God.  By these we “possess our souls”. Selah.

The Fruit of the Spirit Part 6 

By Pastor J.D. Link

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,  goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” This week we will examine the fruit of gentleness.  The Greek word translated “gentleness” in this passage means “kindness; goodness; moral excellence or integrity.”

As we have seen thus far, each one of these Spiritual fruits are just attributes of God’s nature manifested in and through His people. Because God is gentle, kind and morally excellent; if we walk according to the Spirit – by yielding ourselves to the Spirit and continuing steadfast in God’s Word – we will demonstrate these attributes in our lives as well. Now, let’s look at how this word was translated in other Scriptures.

It was translated “goodness” or “good” in Romans 2:4, 3:12, 11:22. A variation of this same word is also found in 1Cor 15:33. We see in Rom 3:12, that kindness comes from God Himself. “There is none that does good (kindness), no, not one.”  Fallen man is not kind by nature.  Any kindness he demonstrates is a gift of God’s common grace towards man.  It is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom 2:4). We may be brought to a worldly sorrow by fear, but genuine repentance will only come through God’s kindness (2Cor 7:9-10). We should not boast in the fact we have received this kindness (Rom 11:22), but humbly thank God we have received it, and not His severity. We should also not be deceived into thinking who we hang around will not affect our walk of goodness and kindness (1Cor15:33).

“Gentleness” in Gal 5:22 was translated “kindness” in Eph 2:7, Col 3:12 & Titus 3:4-5. A variation of this word was also translated “kind” in Lk 6:35 & Eph 4:32. An amazing truth is that God, through His love and kindness (Titus 3:4-5), saved us by His grace, so that he could show us the exceeding riches of His grace and kindness throughout eternity (Eph 2:5-7).  This is the heart and nature of God, and it is overwhelming.  Therefore, as the elect of God, we ought to put on this same kindness (Col 3:12); and be kind and forgiving to one another (Eph 4:32).  We should show this kindness even to those who do not deserve it, for God Himself is kind to the unthankful and evil (Lk 6:35).  How is this true?

The unrighteous enjoy God’s sunshine, rain and oxygen (Mt 5:45). They see and hear; eat and drink; get married and have children. They enjoy all these things as a gift of God’s grace, as do the saints. The only difference is, the saints will enjoy God’s blessings throughout eternity; while the unrighteous only in this short, earthly life – unless they acknowledge God’s goodness; repent; and believe on Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Taste and see that the Lord is gracious (kind – 1Pt 2:3, Ps 34:8).

Some other facts about God’s kindness are: 1. God’s kindness is great towards us (Ps 117:2). Through Jesus Christ, we receive not merely a drop of God’s kindness, but oceans full of it.  God is a God of abundance (Jn 10:10), and He is no less abundant in this grace than in any other. 2. God’s kindness is everlasting (Isa 54:8). As already stated in Eph 2:7, God will show His abundant kindness to His covenant children “through the ages to come.”

The desire of a man is his kindness (Prv 19:22), so when we walk in the Spirit and produce the fruit of kindness, it will make us desirable.  No one likes to be around a mean, unkind person; but on the contrary, a nice, kind person is sought out.

Though kindness is a natural byproduct (fruit) of the Spirit within, we ought to add kindness to our lives (2Pt 1:5-8).  Yes, God does the sanctifying work in us (1Thess 5:23, Heb 2:11); but we are also – in cooperation – to sanctify ourselves (1Thess 4:1-4). We do this through yielding to the Spirit, and reading God’s Word on a regular basis.  By doing so, we will be assured not to be “barren or unfruitful” in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. Selah.​  

            The Fruit of the Spirit Part 7

By Pastor J.D. Link

Gal 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” We have now come to the sixth fruit of the Spirit, which is goodness.

“Goodness” means: 1. Strong’s – virtue or beneficence (Webster’s 1828 Dictionary: beneficence is the practice of doing good or active goodness).  2. Thayer’s – uprightness of heart and life. 3. Dake – the state of being good, kind, virtuous, benevolent, generous, and God-like in life and conduct. 4. Wuest –(goodness) refers to that quality in a man who is ruled by and aims at what is good, namely, the quality of moral worth. 5. 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.” 6. Poole – “A disposition in us to hurt none, but to do all the good we can to all.” In summary, the goodness of God’s Spirit within us produces outward acts of goodness and benefit to others.

Andrew Wommack writes, “Jesus spoke of bearing fruit in John 15 and declared that “without me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). The “fruit” spoken of in these verses is not produced by the believer but by the Holy Spirit, as believers live in union with Him. Our part is to yield and trust; God’s part is to produce the fruit.  This fruit is the product of the Holy Spirit, not our efforts. However, since “he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17), then this fruit of the Spirit is also what our born-again spirits produce. Spurgeon concurs in the negative: “If we do not have them — if they are not found in us —then we have not the Spirit, for if we had the Spirit, we should boast the fruit of the Spirit.”

In Eph 2:8-10, we find that salvation is entirely a grace gift from God, and cannot be in any way earned.  We can only receive it by faith.  However, once we have received it, we are to walk in the good works we were created for in Christ. Certainly, if there be a good root (justification), then there will naturally be good fruit.  Philp 2:12-13 says the same thing in reverse.  We are to outwardly work our salvation in fear and trembling, because God works in His child both to will and to do His good pleasure. God is inwardly working, and we are to outwardly work as a result. We’ll now look at the other three Scriptures where the same Greek word for goodness in Gal 5:22 is used.

We are to practice goodness, because that is the nature of God: 2Th 1:11 says, “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power.” God wants to fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness within us, and we therefore trust and yield to His will.

Rom 15:14 says, “And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”  Paul was persuaded that the saints at Rome were “full of goodness” (again, by receiving salvation through Jesus Christ, and outwardly working that salvation through acts of goodness), and therefore able to admonish (warn, exhort, caution, put in mind) each other. Either verbally, or by example, the saints remind each other to practice goodness.

Eph 5:8-10 says, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” Again, as a believer, we in past times “were” darkness, but now we “are” light in Jesus.  We ought to therefore walk as children of light, if we are indeed light.  “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness…”. Walking in light is here said to be bearing the fruit of the Spirit, which is in all goodness.  Spiritual fruit is good, and produces acts of goodness.

Yielding, or cooperating with the Spirit of God within us, is our duty as disciples. We do not do good works to get saved, but because we are saved.  Our good works benefit us and others in this life, as well as earn us crowns in the next; but they do not merit salvation.  As children of light, may we walk in light; and be good to one another and to others. Selah.

 The Fruit of the Spirit Part 8

By Pastor J.D. Link

Gal 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness,  goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” We have now come to the seventh fruit of the Spirit, which is faith.  This word has a two-fold meaning.  It means, as generally used, belief; trust; reliance; assurance; conviction of truth.  It also means fidelity, that is, faithfulness.

The meaning of “faith” as used in this context has been interpreted various ways.  Luther believed it to mean faith in men; that is, a graciousness. Not an utter trust in men, but a faith that is “not suspicious of people but believes the best.”  Gill, and some others, believed it was speaking of faith as generally understood; that is, the gift of faith to, “believe in Christ for salvation, in embracing the doctrines of the Gospel, and making a profession of them, which is called the profession of faith; all which, when right, comes from the Spirit of God.”

However, the majority of Bible commentators that I researched believed it to mean “faithfulness”;  That which, “Renders a person trustworthy or reliable…” (BKC); “Trust in words, faithfulness in promises…” (Poole); “The Christian is faithful as a man; faithful as a neighbor, friend, father, husband, son. He is faithful to his contracts; faithful to his promises. No man can be a Christian who is not thus faithful, and all pretensions to being under the influences of the Spirit when such fidelity does not exist, are deceitful and vain.” (Barnes); “If you are a child of God, you will be faithful. If you are married, you will be faithful to your husband or wife. If you are an employee, you are going to be faithful to your job and to your boss. If you are a church member, you are going to be faithful to your church. You are going to be faithful wherever you are and in whatever you do.” (McGee).

So, though all these views are Scripturally true in general, we will stay with the consensus.  And, like the other fruit, faithfulness is an attribute of God. If God is rooted in us, then the fruit of faithfulness should be a natural byproduct. There are many verses that speak of God being faithful (Dt. 7:9, 1Cor 1:9, Lam 3:22-23, to name but a few); as well as Jesus (Rev 1:5, 19:11, Heb 2:17).

Now, it is very evident that God is faithful, but unfortunately there’s not many of us who are, even among Christians (Prv 20:6). King David lamented in his day, “Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men” (Ps 12:1).However, our faithful God is working in the hearts of His saints to make us a faithful people. God requires faithfulness (1Co 4:2). Paul said that Jesus Christ counted him faithful, and put him in the ministry (1Tim 1:12). Not talent; good-looks; wealth; popularity; etc. Faithfulness is what Jesus is after.  It’s what He notices.

Jesus told those who had been faithful with what He had given them, “…Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Mt 25:21). Who is a faithful and wise steward? That servant who is being faithful when He comes back (Lk 12:42-43).  We must be faithful in little things (in context, money), if we are to be entrusted with great things. If we are not faithful in the little we have, how can God give us greater things? (Lk 16:10-12).

Jesus called Antipas His faithful martyr (Rev 2:13), and encouraged the church at Smyrna to be faithful unto death, so that He may give them the crown of life (Rev 2:10).  And Rev 17:14 tells us that those with Jesus are called and chosen and faithful. Paul gives credit to several fellow Christians for being  “Faithful”, such as  Timothy, Silvanus, Onesimus, Tychicus, Epaphras.  Paul also called Abraham faithful in Galatians 3:9, as well as Moses in Heb 3:5. In the Old Testament, the prophet Daniel (Dan 6:4), Uriah and Zechariah (Isa 8:2), Hanani (Neh 7:2) and King David (1Sam 22:14) were all recognized as being faithful as well.

We  may rightly conclude from all that we have seen from God’s eternal Word, that faithfulness is an important characteristic to God. It ought to be something we’re known for. We ought to pray, “Oh Lord, work faithfulness in me. Make me faithful like Jesus.” In closing, I would like to mention three particular benefits for being faithful: 1. The Lord preserves the faithful (Ps 31:23).  2. His eyes are upon the faithful (Ps 101:6). 3. A faithful man shall abound with blessings (Prv 28:20).  Selah.

The Fruit of the Spirit Part 9

By Pastor J.D. Link

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” We now arrive at number eight of the nine fruit of the Spirit, which is meekness.  Meekness means “mildness” or “humility”.

Wuest describes meekness as, “the qualities of mildness and gentleness in dealing with others.” 

Poole calls it, “forbearance of passion, rash anger, and hastiness of spirit.”  In Weirsbe’s commentary, it is said to be, “the right use of power and authority, power under control.”

Perhaps Gill says it best: “Humility and lowliness of mind, of which Christ is an eminent example and pattern; and which the Holy Spirit from him transcribes into the heart of a regenerate person; and lies in having mean (low) thoughts of himself, in walking humbly with God, acknowledging every favor, being thankful for every blessing, and depending on his grace, and in behaving with modesty and humility among men.”

Meek does not mean weak or timid.  Both Jesus and Moses were described as meek in God’s Word; but it is obvious from Scripture that they were neither weak nor timid. Meekness is an attribute of Jesus Christ, and those with the Spirit of Christ manifest this fruit in their lives. Paul appealed to the “meekness and gentleness of Christ” in 2Cor 10:1. Jesus said of Himself in Matt. 11:29, that He was “meek and lowly” of heart.  We see in Matt. 21:5, that Jesus came the first time, “meek, and sitting upon a donkey.” Because our Lord and Savior was humble, we who possess His Spirit ought to walk as He walked.

To demonstrate meekness & humility is walking according to our calling (Eph 4:1-2). Because we were called by the meek and humble Jesus, we are to emulate Him. Because we are holy and beloved, being God’s elect; we are to “put on” humility (Col 3:12).  Peter says meekness, or humility, is a mark of a godly woman (1Pt 3:4); far surpassing, in the eyes of God, any outward beauty. A man of God is to follow after humility (1Ti 6:11)  and teach others in patience and meekness (2Tim 2:24-25) – so that the hearers will demonstrate meekness in their own lives as well (Titus 3:1-2).

What are some benefits of being meek and humble? 1. They will eat and be satisfied (Ps 22:26).  2. God will guide them in judgment, and teach them His way (Ps 25:9).  3. They will inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in abundance of peace (Ps 37:11).  4. God will save them (Ps 76:9, Job 22:29), and beautify them with salvation (Ps 149:4).  5. God lifts them up (Ps 147:6).  6. They will increase their joy in the Lord (Isa 29:19).  7. They are who the Gospel is for (Isa 61:1).  8. God hears their desire, and doesn’t forget their cry (Ps 10:17, 9:12).  9. Honor will uphold him (Prv 29:23).  10. He revives them (Isa 57:15).  11. They will be great in the kingdom of heaven (Mt 18:4).  12. God gives them grace (Mt 23:12, Jam 4:6, 1Pt 5:5).

Unlike pride, which only brings destruction (Prv 16:18) and contention (Prv 13:10); humility brings multiplied blessings into one’s life.  When we realize that without Christ be can do nothing (Jn 15:5); and that we are not righteous (Rom 3:10); and that even the good things we do outside of faith in Christ is “filthy rags” (Isa 64:6) – then we become prime candidates to be exalted by God.  If we are full of ourselves, there is no room for God; but if we empty ourselves, God can then fill us with Himself.

True humility is making much of Jesus, and nothing of ourselves.  As John said, “He must increase, and I must decrease” (Jn 3:30). So, what is the conclusion of the matter?  As James said, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (Jam4:10).  Peter, likewise, says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1Pt 5:6-7).  Selah.

The Fruit of the Spirit Part 10

By Pastor J.D. Link

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  We finish out this series on the fruit of the Spirit with the subject of temperance.  However, before we look at temperance, let us look at the final statement concerning all the fruit of the Spirit: “against such there is no law”.  There is no law; no regulation; no condemnation.  Be as humble as you will. Walk in as much patience as you want. Be as joyful and peaceful as you desire. Be as gentle, loving, faithful and kind as you can be.  There is no rule against these fruits. God would have all His children produce all these abundantly every day.

According to Strong’s Conc., temperance means “self-control (especially continence).” Thayer’s says, “self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites).” Wuest says, “possessing power, strong, having mastery or possession of, continent, self-controlled. …The word thus refers to the mastery of one’s own desires and impulses. The word does not in itself refer to the control of any particular or specific desire or impulse…”. Poole wrote, “a sober use of meats, drinks, apparel, or anything wherein our senses are delighted.” Clarke – “Continence, self-government, or moderation, principally with regard to sensual or animal appetites. Moderation in eating, drinking, sleeping, etc.” Luther says, “Christians are to lead sober and chaste lives. They should not be adulterers, fornicators, or sensualists. They should not be quarrelers or drunkards…”.

C.S. Lewis, writes in “Mere Christianity”, “Temperance is, unfortunately, one of those words that has changed its meaning. It now usually means teetotalism. But in the days when the second Cardinal virtue was christened “Temperance,” it meant nothing of the sort. Temperance referred not specially to drink, but to all pleasures; and it meant not abstaining, but going the right length and no further… An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons… but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning.”

Calvin writes in his “Institutes”, “Have done, then, with that inhuman philosophy which, in allowing no use of the creatures but for necessity, not only maliciously deprives us of the lawful fruit of the divine beneficence, but cannot be realized without depriving man of all his senses, and reducing him to a block. But, on the other hand, let us with no less care guard against the lusts of the flesh, which, if not kept in order, break through all bounds, and are, as I have said, advocated by those who, under pretense of liberty, allow themselves every sort of license.” In other words, temperance speaks of moderation; not avoiding all things that are remotely pleasing, but also not over-indulging in any one of them.

Of course, this must be limited to things God has not expressly condemned or forbidden.  In such cases, there is to be total abstinence.  In other words, we don’t commit “a little” sexual immorality; nor steal, cheat and lie “moderately”.  These, and others, are to be abstained from altogether.

The Christian is to be temperate in all things, like an Olympian who is aspiring to the gold medal (1Co 9:24-27). However, unlike an Olympian, the crown we seek to attain is heavenly and everlasting. We must always keep our eyes on the eternal prize. When Paul spoke to the pagan governor Felix, he reasoned with him of righteousness, temperance and the judgment to come (Act 24:24-25) – which caused Felix to “tremble”.  The unbeliever must be advised their lack of temperance will be condemned on judgment day, in hopes they will repent and trust in Jesus for the saving of their soul.

Temperance is an attribute that should be added to our faith (2Pt 1:5-10), that we be not unfruitful in our Christian walk, and thereby we make our calling and election sure. While all Christians are to be temperate, a Pastor is certainly to be temperate (Titus 1:7-9),as well as the older men and women (Titus 2:1-3).

Finally, temperance is associated with brotherly love and mutual edification. While all things are lawful (that are not forbidden), not all things are profitable – and we are not to be brought under the power of anything. Though we have liberty in the things our conscience allows; we may at certain times, (or in some cases, all the time), forego certain things for our brother’s sake.  We do not want to offend the weaker brother, so we ought to refrain from, for love’s sake, the thing we know will offend (Rom 14:21, 1Cor 10:23-33). For instance, if we know our brother is a vegetarian, we ought not to invite him over and serve him steak; nor try to convince him to eat it.  On the same token, that brother is not to make himself a charity case, nor walk around with his emotions on his sleeve (Rom 14:3). 

The summation is thus: Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God (1Cor 10:31). If we cannot do something with a clear conscience and glorify God in it, we are not to do it (Rom 14:22-23). In essentials – unity; in non-essentials – liberty; in all things – charity. Selah.