The fruit of the Spirit is your heritage.
APRIL 29, 2021
The fruit of the Spirit is your heritage. Let’s talk about it on Key Life.
That was Steve Brown. And this is Key Life. We’re dedicated to the teaching that the only people who get any better are those who know that if they don’t get any better, God will still love them, anyway. Steve is an author, seminary professor and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. Well, we’ve done a lot of talk about the Spirit and how it works and how that works in you. And now it’s time to get down. You thought I should have gone here way before now, but we’re going to take some time and we’re going to look at the fruit of the Spirit, what the Spirit does in the life of the believer. One time, I was in the airport in Detroit and there was a long line of people waiting to get their baggage inspected and to board the plane. And there was a very nice young couple just ahead of me, who had never flown before, and they were very nervous. Not only because of that fact, but because the line was so long and their flight was due to take off in just 15 minutes. Now, it was obvious as I looked at the length of that line, that they weren’t going to be able to make that flight. There was a lady standing next to them, and tried to comfort them. And she said, look, don’t worry, they know you’re here and they won’t let you miss your flight. And I listened to this and finally said, look, excuse me for butting in, but no, they don’t know you’re here and you are going to miss the flight. And so my advice to you is to run to the head of the line, waive your ticket and shout as loud as you can. Don’t let us miss this flight and they’ll get you on. And if you don’t do that, you’re going to be here for days. And they said, thank you Mr, and they ran to the front of the line. They shouted the way I said to shout, they waived their ticket. And the attendant made sure that they got on the flight. Now that’s not what Paul is saying here. Go and do all these things and you’ll get on the flight. But he does say these kinds of things are going to be a part of the heritage that you have been given. It’s not something you work at. It’s not something that you push. It’s not something that if you do the five important things, they’ll happen to you. This is not about doing, this is about being. Augustin said, in order to be great, be. And you want to say, well, complete the sentence. And Augustine or Augustin and says that is the sentence.
If you want to be great, be.
And that’s what the apostle Paul is talking about. When he’s talking about the fruit of the Spirit, be a Christian, it’s not an accident that the apostle Paul makes the fruit of the Spirit, gives a list and prefaces it with the singular, the fruit, not the fruits of the Spirit, but the fruit of this Spirit. And it’s not beyond understanding why, when he lists all the bad things, the works plural of the flesh. He’s talking about one thing, he’s talking about the Spirit, and it being the heritage of the Christian. You do not have to ask for this. This is yours. You don’t have to plead with God to make you nicer and more loving, that’s yours. You don’t have to say, God gentle me down, that’s yours. That’s what the Spirit does. And the Spirit is operative in the life of every believer, within the sound of my oral cavity. Okay? Now, first let’s look at some of them. First, if you’re free in Christ, you’re given the heritage of love, Galatians 5:22.
The fruit of the Spirit is love.
The New Testament, beginning with the teachings of Jesus, places love at the top of the list of virtues that are a part of what it means to be a Christian. Not too long ago, I was preaching in a church in another city and there had been a terrible church split. I mean, it was just awful. And, you know, if you’re not a believer, you don’t know nothing about fighting. I mean, we’re experts at fighting in the church. And, there had been this split in the church. At the beginning of the hostility, it had gotten so bad, that the denomination had been called and they formed a committee and with wisdom, the committee came in and decided to get to know the church and what was going on, and to get to know the people. So, they scheduled a number of meetings and I asked the pastor, what happened? He said, well, when they got to know each other better, they hated each other more. That happens, you know? But the truth is that love is a heritage and it happens to the believer. It’s a gift. And when the Bible uses the word love, it’s agape love. And that’s the love that means that you act in loving ways toward anybody, no matter how they act to you. Recently, I was speaking at a conference where the young man who picked me up at the airport was through no fault of his own caught in a terrible situation over which he had no control. It involved $30,000 in a man’s business credibility. My friend called this man and when he got back to the car, I asked him what the man had said. And he said, my friend replied that if he didn’t love me so much, he would have been very angry. That’s the key. It’s love that makes all of the difference in the world. And it’s your heritage. So how do you get it? It’s a gift. God gives it to you. How do you, how do you love somebody who won’t love you back? Well, that’s what happened with Jesus. I suspect, and this is anthropomorphizing it in ways that I shouldn’t, that God had a problem, when he looked at his world and he was thinking, how in the world can I love them, if they won’t love me back? How in the world can I tell them that I love them, if they won’t love me back? If they’re not loving people. And then he came and he stretched out his hands on a cross and he said, I love you that much. You can’t love until you’ve been loved. And then you can only love to the degree to which you have been loved. So what do you do? It’s your heritage. It’s the promise. It’s been given to you. It’s the fruit of the Spirit. You can’t work it up. Have you ever tried to love somebody, you just couldn’t stand? It’s horrible. You just, you just can’t do it. You just think I don’t love this man, I can’t love him, and I’ve tried and I find myself praying for his death. And then all of a sudden I realized the way I love him is to allow God to love me. You can’t love until you’ve been loved. And as you are loved by the God of the universe, you begin to acquire their heritage, that is yours, the fruit of the Spirit. Let me mention one more and we’ll talk more about it next time we studied this book. And I’m just going to have a time to bring it up and remind you about it. The second fruit of the Spirit is joy, your heritage is to laugh, Galatians 5:22.
The fruit of the Spirit is love and joy.
Now, there are people, and there’s some truth to it, and I’ve said it myself, who will say to you, there’s a difference between joy and happiness. Joy is what the Christian Fields all the time, regardless of circumstances, and happiness is dependent on the circumstances, when you get a raise or the lady you asked to marry you, says yes, or you get an ice cream cone, but there’s a difference. And I’m want to say, yeah, Okay, but there’s also a sense in which there isn’t a difference, joy and happiness and laughter and giggling are part of the same family and they go together and joy is the gift of the Spirit. You know how you can tell if Jesus is resident in a church? By their involvement in social justice? Well, sometimes, by the money they give to world missions, well sometimes, by how pretty the church building is, well maybe, but you know how to really tell if Jesus is in the building, listen for the laughter of the redeemed. It’s our heritage. It’s a part of who we are and laughter comes from joy, whether it’s a good joke or whether it’s because you’re forgiven and you’re loved. You think about that. Amen.
Thank you Steve. So great to dig into the fruit of the Spirit, as we continue our exploration of Galatians. We will resume our journey soon, but first tomorrow, it’s time again for Friday Q&A. That’s when our friend Pete Alwinson swings by the studio and together Steve and Pete answer the challenging questions you’ve sent in. Always a fun and informative time, don’t miss it. Speaking of questions, there are some questions that come from just kind of a, I don’t know, general curiosity kind of place, but other questions come from somewhere deeper, questions like does God exist? Am I really forgiven and free? If all of this is true, why don’t I feel different? Well, Steve is no stranger to doubts and questions. And he wrote about these things in a mini-book called Faith and Doubt: When Belief is Hard. In it, he explores the reasons behind our doubts and explains how we can rest in faith. May we send you this mini-book for free? Let us know at Key Life by calling 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] and ask for the mini-book. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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