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The Fruit of the Spirit
Much is written about the Holy Spirit in the Word of God. The Epistles of Paul are freighted with many marvelous messages relative to the Spirit of God.
1. The Four Gospels present seven things which Christ said of the Spirit: (1) The Spirit and the New Birth (John 1:12-13 ; John 3:5-7 ). (2) The Spirit as the Father's gift (Luke 11:13 ; John 14:16 ). (3) The Spirit as the Teacher (John 14:26 ). (4) The Spirit as the Reprover of the world (John 16:8-9 ). (5) The Spirit as the Comforter of saints (John 16:7 ). (6) The Spirit as the One who testifies of Christ (John 15:26-27 ). (7) The Spirit as the Giver of power (Luke 24:49 ; Acts 1:8 ).
What a wealth of riches are wrapped up in the foregoing statements. Think of it, we are born again by the Holy Spirit; we are taught of the Spirit; we are given the Spirit from the Father in order that He through us might reprove (convince or convict) the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Christ spoke of the Spirit as our Comforter, that is, as one walking at our side, to strengthen and encourage us along the way.
What could be more precious than to know that the Spirit would take of the things of Christ and show them unto us? What would be more blessed than to realize that we have an enduement from the Spirit, that He gives us power in the service of the Lord?
2. The Four Gospels present seven things concerning the Holy Spirit in the life of Christ. (1) Christ was born of the Spirit (Luke 1:35 ). (2) Christ was anointed by the Spirit (Luke 3:22 ). (3) Christ was filled with the Spirit (Luke 4:1 ). (4) Christ was led of the Spirit (Luke 4:1 ). (5) Christ ministered in the Spirit (Luke 4:18 ; Acts 10:38 ). (6) Christ was raised from the dead by the Spirit (Romans 8:11 ). (7) Christ gave His final commandment in the Spirit (Acts 1:2 ).
Once more we have a marvelous wealth of truth. If you will study the seven statements above, you will find that each one should have a counterpart in our own lives.
We, too, were born of the Spirit. We, too, have an anointing of the Spirit. We should have the Spirit's infilling. We should be led of the Spirit. We should preach and minister in the Spirit. We will be raised by the Spirit, and every direction which we give, as leaders in God's Word and work, should be by the Spirit.
3. The Book of Acts presents seven definite things about the Spirit. (1) There is the Spirit and prophecy (Acts 2:4 ). (2) There is the Spirit and prayer (Acts 6:4 ). (3) There is the Spirit and praise (Acts 2:47 ). (4) There is the Spirit and persecution (Acts 8:1 ). (5) There is the Spirit and perseverance (Acts 14:22 ). (6) There is the Spirit and pay (Acts 2:44-45 ). (7) There is the Spirit and power (Acts 1:8 ).
Taking the seven statements above as a basis for the Holy Spirit in the lives and ministry of the early Christians, you will find a marvelous revelation of truth. Each word, prophecy, prayer, praise, persecution, perseverance, presentation of gifts and power is a keyword which unlocks the secret springs of the early Church.
4. The Book of Galatians presents seven things about the Holy Spirit. (1) There is the beginning in the Spirit (Galatians 3:1-3 ). (2) There is the indwelling of the Spirit (Galatians 4:6 ). (3) There is the conflict between the flesh and the Spirit (Galatians 5:17 ). (4) There is the walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16 ). (5) There is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23 ). (6) There is the sowing of the Spirit (Galatians 6:7-8 ). (7) There is the hope in the Spirit (Galatians 5:5 ).
Each of the above is worthy of study. Each conveys a truth distinct from, and yet allied with every other truth. We trust these suggestions will aid us in the study of the Spirit-filled life which is to follow.
I. THE SPIRIT OF LOVE
The first fruit of the Spirit is love,
1. The love of God in Christ is the supreme message of the Bible. "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God." God is love, and He that walketh in love must walk in the Spirit, for it is He who sheds abroad the love of God in our heart.
The true love, which is ours in Christ Jesus through the work of the Holy Ghost, is distinct from the flesh with its affections and lusts.
2. Christ is the greatest manifestation of love the world has ever known. The fact of Christ's love is thus set forth, "To know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19 ).
We read of, "The Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20 ). We read again, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins" (Revelation 1:5 ). Yet, again, we read, "Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it." Above all, we read this wonderful statement, "God so loved the world."
We need not marvel that Paul prayed that we might know what is the height and the breadth, and the depth, and the length of the love of Christ. Such a love transcends every human conception, and encompasses every human need.
3. The fruit of the Spirit is the shedding abroad of the love of God in our heart. We are to love even as He loved. If He loved the Church, we should love the Church. If He loved the world, we should love the world, in the same sense that He loved it. If we attempt to accomplish either of these in our own strength, we will fail. We can love as He loved, only when the Holy Spirit fills us with His love.
There is a verse which reads, "That ye, being rooted and grounded in love" (Ephesians 3:17 ). There is another verse which says, "Keep yourselves in the love of God" (Judges 1:21 ). There is yet another Scripture "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:16 ).
II. THE SPIRIT OF JOY
The second fruit of the Spirit is joy. How many times does God set the life of joy before the saint!
1. The life of Paul as a manifestation of joy. It was in the Philippian jail that Paul suffered with his feet in the stocks. It was to the Philippian saints that Paul spoke of his joy.
2. The life of Christ as our supreme example of joy. In John 15:11 there stands a verse, sublime in its beauty, and unfathomable in its fullness. It reads, "That My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."
Think of the occasion of these words. Christ was in the upper room with the sorrows of men lying heavy upon His heart. He had just broken the bread and poured forth the cup. He was about to enter Gethsemane's shades, and the bitterness of Golgotha's crest. With His Cross before Him, He spoke of His joy.
Christ desired that His joy might be implanted in us, and remain in us. No matter what may be our afflictions, or our necessities, or distresses, we should be always rejoicing. If Christ sang in the upper room where He was sorrowful, we need to sing in our imprisonments, in our tumults, in our labors, in our watchings, and in our fastings. Our Lord wanted our joy to be full. He wanted us to have exuberant joy, satisfying joy, overflowing joy, abiding joy.
III. THE SPIRIT OF PEACE
"The fruit of the Spirit is peace." This is the statement of our verse. Let us look into the peace which the Spirit gives.
1. We need to recognize God as the God of peace. Here are a few Scriptures which will set forth our thought. "The God of peace * * make you perfect" (Hebrews 13:20-21 ). "The God of peace sanctify you wholly" (1 Thessalonians 5:23 ). "The God of peace shall bruise Satan" (Romans 16:20 ). Here are a few Scriptures, which speak of the peace of God: "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding" (Philippians 4:7 ). "Let the peace of God rule in your hearts" (Colossians 3:15 ).
2. We need to consider Christ as the perfection of peace. In 2 Thessalonians 3:16 , Christ is called, "The Lord of Peace." In Ephesians 2:14-15 , we read, "He is our peace." In Isaiah 9:6 is found, "The Prince of Peace."
What does this Christ of peace do for us? He says, "My peace I give unto you." He tells us to follow peace with all men. He says, "Blessed are the peacemakers."
3. We need to consider the basis of peace. When Jesus Christ came to the disciples on the first day of the week after His resurrection, He stood in their midst, and said, "Peace be unto you." What a gracious greeting! What did He mean?
(1) He meant that He was our Peace upon the basis of the shed Blood. "Ye who sometimes were afar off are made nigh by the Blood of Christ. For He is our peace."
It was upon the basis of Calvary that Christ came and preached peace to those that were afar off and to those that were nigh.
(2) He meant that we should have His peace. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." However, to those who are justified, He says, "Let us have peace."
Two soldiers were discovered in the North Carolina mountains two years after peace was made at Appomatox. They were hiding from their government because they were deserters. When they were discovered they asked about the progress of the war. Their discoverers told them the war was over. Peace had long since been declared, why then should they not have had peace?
IV. THE SPIRIT OF LONG-SUFFERING
Our text says "The fruit of the Spirit is * * long-suffering." The more familiar term is "patience."
Our God is a God of long-suffering. He is not willing that any should perish. It is His long-suffering and forbearance that leads men to repentance. If our God is a God of patience, His children should be children of patience.
1. We need to serve with long-suffering and patience. God has said, "Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
We must not serve the Lord with spurts and spasms. We must serve with all perseverance and patience. Gideon, as he passed over, came to the Jordan. He and his three hundred men were, "Faint, yet pursuing."
Peter with the disciples had toiled all night, at their fishing, and had taken nothing. Nevertheless at the Lord's word they let down their net for a draught. If we would catch men, we must not become discouraged and give up.
Let us not stay our hands until we have completed our task and secured certain victory.
2. We need to suffer with long-suffering and patience. Christians are too often like the seed which was sown, and springing up, soon withered away under the scorching sun. There are many who for a while endure, but when tribulation and affliction come, they fall away.
We should learn to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. We should run with patience the race that is set before us.
We need to be filled with the Spirit in order that we may bear the fruit of long-suffering.
V. THE SPIRIT OF MEEKNESS
"The fruit of the Spirit is * * meekness." As patience is akin to long-suffering, so humility is akin to meekness.
1. The Lord Jesus Christ was perfect in meekness. What a contrast between the Lord, the Creator, and man, the creature! The flesh does not care to humble itself, and yet Jesus Christ, who was very God of very God, humbled Himself and was found in fashion as a man.
The Lord Jesus was the Possessor of all things, and yet He was willing to abide with no place to lay His head. The Lord Jesus was without sin, and yet He was willing to be numbered with the malefactors, and to suffer for sinners. The Lord Jesus had been ever worshiped, as the seraphims cried, "Holy, holy, holy"; and yet He was willing to accept shame and spitting from the rudest of men.
2. The believer should follow in the footsteps of his Lord. We read, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." What was the mind of Christ? It was the Spirit of meekness. He was "meek and lowly in heart." Should we not also be meek and lowly? Should we not willingly bend our head under His yoke? Should we not be willing to suffer as He suffered, and to bear shame as He bore it?
Moses is known as the meek man. Are we also meek? Are we willing to be reviled, and revile not again? Are we willing to turn the other cheek?
May God grant that each one of us may live in all humility of Spirit and in all meekness of heart.
VI. THE SPIRIT OF GENTLENESS
So many of us make our boast toward God. We center our self-praise in our great fetes of service, or perhaps in our fidelity to the faith. Are we able with equal assurance to assert the fact of our gentleness, and of our goodness?
The fruit of the Spirit is faith; it is also love, and joy, and peace. The fruit of the Spirit, however, is more than all of this. It is gentleness.
The life that shines most brilliantly for the Lord Jesus, is the life that is lighted with love and joy, and tempered with gentleness. The life that counts most for God is a life that contends for the faith without being contentious; that goes forth to war, without bitterness.
Predominant in the Divine nature, as revealed in Christ, was the Spirit of gentleness and of goodness, of which we are now speaking. The Lord knew how to go about doing good. He knew how to pronounce anathemas, while, at the same time He was saying, "How oft would I have gathered thy children together!"
The Lord Jesus was gentle without being effeminate. He was kind without yielding the truth. He delighted in gathering the little children into His arms. He rejoiced in comforting the broken heart, giving the oil of joy for sadness, and speaking peace to the troubled heart.
The Lord Jesus on the Cross, in the most trying hour of all, dealt with gentleness toward the enemy. The populace were surging His Cross, wagging their heads against Him. They encompassed Him with the Spirit of ravening wolves. They poured out upon Him the indignation and wrath of their Satan-driven hearts. What then did Jesus? He prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
If we knew more of the fruit of the Spirit, we would know more of gentleness.
NEW LEAVES PUSHING OFF THE OLD
"Old leaves, if they remain upon the trees through the autumn and winter, fall off in the spring." We have seen a hedge all thick with dry leaves throughout the winter, and neither frost nor wind has removed the withered foliage, but the spring has soon made a clearance. The new life dislodges the old, pushing it away as unsuitable to it. So our old corruptions are best removed by the growth of new graces. "Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." It is as the new life buds and opens that old worn-out things of our former state are compelled to quit their hold of us. Our wisdom lies in living near to God, that by the power of His Holy Spirit all our graces may be vigorous, and may exercise a sin-expelling power over our lives: the new leaves of grace pushing off our old sere affections and habits of sin.
With converts from the world it is often better not to lay down stringent rules as to worldly amusements, but leave the new life and its holier joys to push off the old pleasures. Thus it will be done more naturally and more effectively.
Lord, let Thy life in me push off the relics of my former death, that I may put on the new man, and manifest the energy of Thy grace. C. H. Spurgeon.
The Graces of the Spirit's Indwelling
1. The works of the flesh are manifest. It is not necessary for anyone to draw upon his imagination to describe the works of the flesh. The everyday contact of us all is with these very works. They are clearly seen and readily acknowledged.
2. The works of the flesh are descriptive of the life of the flesh. The heart of man is sinful above all things and desperately wicked. It is out of this deceitful, wicked heart that all fleshly works proceed. Like the tree, so is the fruit; like the fountain, so is the outflow. How vile is the inner self that emits such uncleanness.
3. The works of the flesh include such as these : Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, etc. Surely the human heart is a cage of unclean birds. How great a folly it is to seek to force such an heart to bring forth spiritual fruitage. The natural man cannot fulfill the righteous demands of the Law of God. The flesh cannot walk in the ways of the Spirit. This leads to our text:
4. The flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. The two are contrary the one to the other. There is no place for fellowship between the flesh and the Spirit. The two cannot walk together.
Paul, in the Spirit, graphically describes the conflict between the flesh and the. Spirit. He discovered within himself two opposite natures.
Here is his record, "I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I." In answer to this, the Apostle wrote: "Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."
The Apostle readily granted that his flesh was corrupt. He said: "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh.) dwelleth no good thing." It was for this cause that the cry was made: "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
5. The only place of victory over the flesh. Our Galatians 5:16 in Galatians 5:1-26 , says: "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." As long as we walk after the flesh, we will bite and devour one another, and be consumed one of another. If we walk after the Spirit, we will reckon ourselves dead to the flesh; we will refuse to hear its voice, and to follow its promptings.
Thus by the Spirit the righteousness of the Law will be fulfilled in us. God grant that we may catch this, the only possible way by which we may mortify the deeds of the body.
I. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE (Galatians 5:22 )
Love is the outstanding characteristic in the Lord Jesus Christ. Here are a few facts relative to His love.
It is a love which passeth knowledge.
It is a love which washed us from our sins.
It is a love which caused Him to give Himself for the Church.
It is a love which encircles the whole world.
It is a love which led Him to lay down His life for us.
It is a love which endures unto the end.
It is a love from which nothing can separate us.
It is a love which chastens and scourges sons.
Love is the fruit of the Spirit. This fruit of the Spirit is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. The love which the Spirit sheds abroad in us is the love of Christ. It is not a human love, but a Divine love. Therefore, everything that we have suggested above of the love which is in Him, will be the same love which is in us.
How great was His love. Who can know its height or depth or breadth or length. And yet that same unfathomable love, in quality, will be ours.
Let us give you a few of the expressions of that love:
1. It is a love in deed and in truth. In 1 John 3:18 we read: "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."
Love is not a theory but a fact. If we love because He loved us, we will soon love as He loved. If God loved and gave, we will love and give. If Christ loved and died, we will love and be ready to die. Our love will not be found in platitudes, and in high sounding phraseologies. It will be found in action, in service.
If He loved a lost world, we will love a lost world. If He loved and gave Himself for us, we will be ready to give ourselves for our brethren. If He had compassion when He saw the multitudes, and He said, "Give ye them to eat," we will have compassion on those around us, and give them to eat (1 John 3:17 ).
2. It is a love that loves Christ supremely. To Peter the Lord said: "Lovest thou Me more than these?" The "these" of whom Christ spoke were not the fishes of which they were eating at the time. The "these" were John and Andrew and Bartholomew and the other disciples. Christ was asking Peter if he loved Him more than the others loved Him. We would like to put it this way: Did Peter love Christ more than he loved all other things, more than father, more than brother, more than sister? In other words, was his love to Christ preeminent? Surely, such a love is the fruit of the Spirit.
3. It is a love that is ready to serve Christ. When we think of His service for us we think of it as an expression of His love. There is a verse in Exodus which reads: "I love my master, * * I will not go out free."
True love will say to Christ: "Mine ears hast Thou bored," and, "I delight to do Thy will, O God."
II. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS JOY (Galatians 5:22 )
Before Jesus went away He said: "That My joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full." Jesus Christ the Man of Sorrows was also a Man of joy. The sorrows He bore were our sorrows. The joy He possessed was that eternal joy which He had with the Father.
The Lord wanted His joy to remain in us; that is, to abide in us. Perhaps there was no man who had more trying experiences than the Apostle Paul. Let us quote you a verse: "In all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings."
In spite of all of these experiences the Apostle Paul was always filled with the joy. of the Spirit. Even in one of his darkest hours in the Philippian jail Paul and Silas sang praises unto God.
Writing to the Philippians he said again, and again, "Rejoice," and "joy." Our Lord wanted us to have a joy that was full.
1. The Christian's joy is not dependent upon circumstances. It was Habakkuk who said: "Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat." A darker picture the Prophet could hardly have given, so far as temporal things are concerned. Yet he said: "I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."
Whoever heard of anything more beautiful, a man walking upon the high places, with his feet like hind's feet, rejoicing and praising God, while lying below him were famine-swept, devastated fields; barren orchards, and flock-less lands?
Did not the Lord say, "Rejoice in tribulation"?
2. The Christian's joy is centered in Christ. It is a joy which is a result and not an effort. It is the fruit of the Spirit. When you think of the early Church eating their meat with gladness and with singleness of heart as they praised God, you think of a church filled with joy. They rejoiced to suffer shame for Christ. As Stephen died his face was as the face of an angel. The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost.
God grant that we may all finish our course with joy.
III. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS PEACE (Galatians 5:22 )
Once again we would press home the fact that this Divine grace is a peace not merely from God but it is the peace of God.
1. Let us consider God as the God of peace. In Hebrews 13:20-21 we read: "The God of peace, * * make you perfect."
In 1 Thessalonians 5:23 we read: "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly."
In Romans 16:20 we read: "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."
Thus God Himself is a God of peace.
2. Let us consider the peace of God as a gift of the God of peace. It is the peace of God which passeth all understanding, which is to garrison our thoughts and minds. We are told to "let the peace of God rule in your hearts."
In Isaiah, Christ is called "The Prince of Peace." Ephesians then tells us that "He is our peace." Did He not say unto us, "My peace I give unto you"? Did He not appear in the upper room and say, "Peace be unto you"?
3. The results of God's peace. When we have the sense of our sins forgiven, we have peace. The wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked."
When we are saved, however, God says: "Let us have peace." No matter what goes on around us we may both lay ourselves down in peace and sleep.
The Gospel which we heard was the Gospel of peace. The Gospel which we preach is the Gospel of peace.
4. The realms in which peace operates. First, peace rules in our hearts. There is not a shade of worry or of trouble that can enter the breast of him who has the peace of God.
In Psalms 119:1-176 we read: "Great peace have they which love Thy Law." In John 14:1-31 we read: "Peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you."
In Isaiah 26:1-21 is the expression: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee."
In Romans 8:6 is the statement: "To be spiritually minded is life and peace."
There is another realm where peace will work, when the Prince of Peace comes to earth. In that day we read: "The government shall be upon His shoulder." Then it is said: "Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end." Now we have individual heart peace; then we will have universal world peace.
IV. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LONG-SUFFERING (Galatians 5:22 )
We have read of the long-suffering of God, and of how He waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing. We have read also that the long-suffering of God leadeth men to repentance. Have we ever experienced in our own heart this long-suffering? It is declared to be the fruit of the Spirit.
The word that is more commonly used by us is the word patience. The same God who is a God of long-suffering is a God of patience.
1. Let us consider long-suffering in the sense of patient waiting. The long-suffering of God waited; that is, God was patient, not impatient.
This is what we need. We need to know how to tarry, to wait until God undertakes in our behalf. It is natural to the flesh to want to get its desires immediately. We want our blessings now. Did not Job prove himself to be patient, because he waited until God brought deliverance. In James we read: "Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy."
In this hour the wicked prevail and the saints suffer. We, too, should "be patient* *, brethren, unto the Coming of the Lord." Does not the husbandman wait for the precious fruit of the earth and have long patience for it? Let us also be patient, and gladly suffer long.
Has not God said unto us that if we are not weary in our well doing we shall reap in due season? Let us, therefore, having loved the Lord, patiently wait for His reward.
2. Let us consider long-suffering in the sense of faithfully enduring. Gideon came to the Jordan and passed over with his three hundred men. The Bible says: They were "faint, yet pursuing." Shall we give up our service, and lay down our arms? or, shall we press on, enduring unto the end?
We remember how the Apostle Peter said: "Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing." Certainly, that was discouraging enough. However, Peter quickly added, "Nevertheless at Thy Word I will let down the net." Let us have this same sense of enduring, and long-suffering.
Against the Apostle Paul the multitude arose, and the magistrates commanded that he should be beaten. Certainly Paul underwent untold suffering, but did he give up? Not he. He said: "Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day."
V. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS MEEKNESS (Galatians 5:23 )
Moses was recognized as a meek man; that did not by any means suggest that he was a weak man. Jesus Christ was meek and He taught, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
1. A meek man is an humble man. He is not self-assertive. He does not live for honor, and human glory. He bends his back to spitting and shame.
Jesus Christ being found in fashion as a man humbled Himself. As a youth He gladly took the place of subjection to His parents. As a Man, though possessor of all things, He willingly accepted the place of poverty, having no place to lay his head. As a sin-bearer, He was numbered with the malefactors, was rebuffed, spit upon, and yet He never said a word.
This humility of Christ is foreign to the natural man. However, it is the gift of the Spirit to the spiritual man.
2. A meek man is a good man. One of the fruits of the Spirit is goodness. We bring it in here. A meek man does not seek His own. We add, he seeks another's good, another's welfare. He lives for others. He spends himself for others. Therefore, he is good. Goodness carries with it the thought of kindness, considerateness.
The meek man will be good even to his enemies. Instead of resisting he will rather suffer, that others may live. Jesus went about doing good , because He was inherently good. His very nature was the extended hand, the compassionate heart, the forgiving spirit.
3. The meek man is gentle. This is another fruit of the Spirit. To us it is wonderful how all of these fruits of the Spirit, are linked together. A man who is meek is not offensive. He is not saying the things that hurt. He is not flying off in a passion. He moves tenderly, softly, quietly, modestly, among men. He is not an imbecile, but he is gentle.
He may reprove, he may rebuke, but he does it with all long-suffering and doctrine. He does not lift up his voice and cry in the streets. If he pronounces a curse in his righteousness against sin, he weeps as he does it. If he says, "Your house is left unto you desolate"; He also says; "How often would I have gathered thy children together."
God give us more of the spirit of meekness and of gentleness.
VI. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS FAITH (Galatians 5:22 )
Faith is a living, vitalizing, aggressive, active, working grace.
1. Let us consider faith in the sense of trust. The Old Testament word we know is "Trust in the Lord." It carries with it the thought of confidence, of assurance. It walks in the realms of certainty, not in the realms of doubt. This faith is the gift of the Spirit. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin. He that doubteth is condemned.
Faith is not only the acknowledgment of every claim of Christ, but it is the affiance of the heart to that claim. Faith says: "I believe; and, believing, I confide," for "with the heart man believeth."
This faith is the fruit of the Spirit because it is the gift of God. Peter speaks of having obtained a like precious faith. Faith, therefore, is not natural to the flesh. It is one of the graces, Divinely given.
2. Let us consider faith in the sense of conquest. When we read of the Old Testament worthies, we read of what they did by faith. "By faith Abel, by faith Enoch, by faith Noah, by faith Abraham, etc." Here is faith in action. We have just considered faith as reclining its head in living confidence and trust upon the bosom of the Lord. We now consider faith as meeting every issue of a Christian's life and service and conflict.
It is faith which gives us victory over the world. It is faith that makes us an overcomer. It is the shield of faith that overcomes every fiery dart of the wicked one.
3. Let us consider the faith, that keeps the faith. There are many ways in which we might speak of faith, but this, perhaps, is one of the greatest. If I have faith in God, I will keep the faith of God.
Paul said, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." The faith which he had kept was his "creedo." He never was ashamed to make his confession of faith. He was ready to say "Believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets." A man without a faith, is a man without convictions. He is a man without the expression of his convictions, A creed-less man, is a man without a message.
In the days of the martyrs there were men who had faith to sustain even unto the death the faith which was more precious to them than life. They contended for the faith once delivered. This faith that contends, that stands unshaken is the fruit of the Spirit.
Near Deland, Fla., lived a Christian Chinese named Lue Gym Gong, a quiet, modest, yellow man, who has passed to his reward. His spirit of benevolence was known to many. Had he the opportunities be might have been another Burbank. As it was, he perfected an orange, by crossing with the Valentia, producing an improvement of great worth, and named by others for this modest man. He sold his right and discovery, but at first received no money on the contract. Others, knowing the value of the new orange, urged that he sell to them at an advance, since the first agreement was not secured by a deposit, and might not be carried out. His answer was: "Chinaman a Clistian. His word stand, even if white man He." Presbyterian.
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Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Galatians 5". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany