1. This is our third and final study on "The Fruit Of The Spirit"...
a. Fruit born by those who walk in the Spirit, who are led by the Spirit
b. As opposed to those who succumb to their carnal lusts, producing the works of the flesh
2. Our first study on the fruit of the Spirit focused on the first triad of graces...
a. Love - active good will, toward God and man, that passes knowledge
b. Joy - gladness, delight, which is inexpressible and full of glory
c. Peace - harmony, concord, that surpasses understanding
3. Our second study examined the second triad of graces...
a. Longsuffering - patience, self-restraint in the face of provocation
b. Kindness - sweetness of temper that places others at ease, born of mercy
c. Goodness - benevolence, kindness in action
[This third triad of graces include faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, KJV), and self-control]
A. THE FAITHFULNESS THE SPIRIT PRODUCES...
1. Greek, pistis - often used in the NT of a conviction or belief in respect to God and Christ
2. But it also is used to describe the quality of "fidelity, faithfulness"
a. "the character of one who can be relied on..." - Thayer
b. "faithful, to be trusted, reliable..." - Vine
c. William Barclay calls it "the virtue of reliability"
3. This virtue, unfortunately, is not too common...
a. While many may claim it, the wise man declared it hard to find - Proverbs 20:6
b. The Psalmist decried the lack of "faithfulness" in his day, describing a condition that sounds much like our situation today - Psalm 12:1-2
-- Those "led by the Spirit" will produce the fruit of FAITHFULNESS in their lives
B. FAITHFULNESS IN THE LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN...
1. Faithfulness is essential for those who would receive the crown of life - Revelation 2:10
2. Some areas in which we need faithfulness:
a. The use of our 'talents' (i.e., abilities, opportunities) - Matthew 25:21, 24-26
b. Our duties to the church (e.g., its assemblies) - Hebrews 10:24-25
-- Do we manifest that we "walk by the Spirit" in regards to FAITHFULNESS?
[Next we observe gengleness]
A. THE GENTLENESS (MEEKNESS, KJV) THE SPIRIT PRODUCES:
1. Greek, prautes - gentleness; by implication humility: - meekness - Strong
2. "the ability to bear reproaches and slights with moderation, and not to embark on revenge quickly, and not to be easily provoked to anger, but to be free from bitterness and contentiousness, having tranquility and stability in the spirit." - Aristotle, On Virtues And Vices
3. Gentleness (or meekness), then, is that virtuous quality by which "we treat all men with perfect courtesy, that we can rebuke without rancor, that we can argue without intolerance, that we can face the truth without resentment, that we can be angry and sin not, that we can be gentle and yet not weak." - Barclay
-- Those "led by the Spirit" will produce the fruit of GENTLENESS in their lives
B. GENTLENESS IN THE LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN:
-- Do we manifest that we "walk by the Spirit" in regards to GENTLENESS?
[Finally, we consider that virtue which is most needed in dealing with fleshly lusts]
A. THE SELF-CONTROL THE SPIRIT PRODUCES:
2. Thayer defines it as: "the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites"
3. MacKnight adds the thought: "Where this virtue subsists, temptation can have little influence."
-- Those "led by the Spirit" will produce the fruit of SELF-CONTROL in their lives
B. SELF-CONTROL IN THE LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN:
1. This virtue is necessary to overcoming the "works of the flesh" (such as fornication and outbursts of wrath) - cf. Galatians 5:19-20
2. The indwelling Spirit is given to the Christian to aid us in this regard - cf. Romans 8:11-14
3. The Spirit's aid comes in response to asking for it in prayer - cf. Ephesians 3:16,20
4. We must be willing to stand strong in the power of God's might - cf. Ephesians 6:12-18
-- Do we manifest that we "walk by the Spirit" in regards to SELF-CONTROL?
1. In brief, the third triad of graces produced by the Spirit in the life of the Christian are...
a. Faithfulness - the virtue of reliability, the character of one who can be depended upon
b. Gentleness - kind treatment of others, born of humility
c. Self-control - the ability to hold oneself in, mastering desires and passions
2. Previously we noted the following contrasts between the Spirit and the flesh...
a. Those who walk by the Spirit experience love, joy, and peace
b. Those who indulge lusts of the flesh experience hatred, jealousies, and outbursts of wrath
c. Those who walk by the Spirit experience longsuffering, kindness, and goodness
d. Those who indulge fleshly lusts experience contentions, envy, and selfish ambitions
3. Once more we note the contrast between the Spirit and the flesh...
a. Those who walk by the Spirit experience faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
b. Those who indulge fleshly lusts experience jealousies, contentions, and immorality
4. Previously we asked: Which would you rather have...?
a. A life infused with love, joy, and peace, by the Spirit of Almighty God?
b. A life inflicted by hatred, jealousies, and outbursts of wrath, due to fleshly lusts?
c. A life developing longsuffering, kindness, and goodness, with the help of the Holy Spirit?
d. A life devastated by contentions, envy, and selfish ambitions, due to your own fleshly lusts?
5. So again we ask: Which would you rather have...?
a. A life exuding faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, with the aid of the Spirit?
b. A life exhausted by jealousies, contentions, and immorality, due to your own fleshly lusts?
Jesus gives us a choice. Through His blood He can cleanse us of sin; through the Spirit He can empower us to live holy and righteous lives. Are we willing to accept His gracious choice? "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" - Galatians 5:16
-- Don Treadway, September 2009 --