I told you three weeks ago that we would be talking about the Fruit of the Spirit, and I ended up telling you all about Naaman the leper, and Jonah and the Big Fish. Well, here we are, FINALLY talking about the Fruit of the Spirit.
Our scripture is in Galatians, and just like The Armor of God, the author is Paul. Our scripture today is Galatians 5:22-23.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Now, first of all, I want to tell you what the “fruit of the Spirit” even means. What “spirit”, and why does it have fruit?
The “Spirit” is the Holy Spirit, which is one of the trinity. The Trinity is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. One and the same! We all know that God the Father sent God the Son, Jesus, to reach sinners. To die for them. God the Holy Spirit dwells, or lives, within us, when we accept Jesus as our Savior. The Holy Spirit guides us every day, comforts us, nurtures us, and helps us. The Holy Spirit will allow us to feel conviction when we have sinned.
Think about this … if someone were to point to a tree and ask you, “What kind of tree is that?” It’s likely you may not be sure … unless you took a closer look and realized the tree is full of apples! “Well, that’s an apple tree, of course!” Or, if you ever came across a tall tree with clusters of bananas hanging down, you would know right away that it’s a banana tree! See, you can know a tree, by its fruit!
There are actually nine fruits of the spirit … But let’s just focus on one today … LOVE.
Now, the language we speak is English. And in the English language, there is only one word for love: LOVE! So, you could say, “I just LOVE this kind of cereal!” You could also say, “I just LOVE my brother!” The same word is used to describe your appreciation for your favorite kind of cereal, and to describe your affection for your sibling. In Greek, which is the original language for Galatians 5, there are four different kinds of love. There’s EROS, which is romantic love, like between husband and wife. There’s STORGE (storj), which is family love, like the love of a mother for her children, or the love for a brother or sister. There’s PHILIA, which describes friendship. And then there’s AGAPE. This is the most powerful kind of love … it’s the love God has for us. It’s the love Christ-like love. It’s also a love that is something a person CHOOSES … it’s not a feeling, or emotion. It’s a kind of love that shows respect, devotion, commitment, that results in a willingness to sacrifice for someone. The ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross is a powerful example of AGAPE. Here in Galatians 5, the word LOVE used, is AGAPE. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.
1 John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” That’s an example of AGAPE.
Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is the ultimate example of AGAPE.
The last example I have for you is John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands.” See? It’s a love of CHOICE, and devotion.