The Fruit of the Spirit (part 1)

When we turn from sin and put our faith in Jesus, one of the great things we experience is God in us. The Holy Spirit indwells us and gives us a new heart and mind. Then, as we follow Jesus, the Spirit spends the rest of our lives reshaping and refocusing who we are and what we do.

The Spirit doesn’t bring an end to our individuality and personality, but he does empower and enable us to be the most supremely Jesus loving and deeply other loving people we can be.

In Galatians 5, Paul detailed two ways the Spirit does this–in terms of what he leads us from and what he leads us to.

If we “walk by the Spirit” then we “will certainly not carry out the desires of the flesh” (5:16). Such desires of the flesh are found in sexual immorality and misconduct, false religious ideology, bad attitudes or actions toward others, selfishness, and so forth (5:19-21). Such things as these are what the Spirit leads us from.

What the Spirit leads us to are things Paul described as fruit. These are the result of experiencing God’s grace and growing in faith. These are attitudes that produce positive actions toward others. This fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (5:22-23).

In future posts, we’ll take a brief look at each of these traits and how they are manifested in our lives. But to close this post, a few thoughts on how we grow in the fruit of the Spirit.

  1. Spend time listening to God and speaking with God. In John 15:7-8, Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: That you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.” Jesus tells us to live in his word. This is how we hear from God: Opening the pages of the Bible. Read it, think on it, and seek to live it. Then, also, spend time in prayer, talking to God. These two things help produce fruit in our lives.
  2. Spend time fellowshiping and worshiping with other followers of Jesus. This is Ephesians 5:18-21 in a nutshell, where Paul described being “filled with the Spirit” in terms of religious practices that involve others. We sing to God together, we give thanks to God together, and we serve one another together. And the Spirit grows us as we do.
  3. As mentioned in #2, serve others. Paul spent several chapters in 1 Corinthians talking about the gifts of the Spirit present in our lives. All the various gifts have one purpose–to serve others. While the gifts and the fruit are not the same things, the gifts are to be manifested in our lives with the fruit, especially the fruit of love. The Spirit uses our serving of others to grow us in his fruit.

May we have hearts set on growing in the Spirit’s fruit. And next time, we’ll take a look at the fruit of love.

All scripture references taken from the Christian Standard Bible (CSB).

close up of fruits hanging on tree
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
(https://pixabay.com/en/apple-fall-juicy-food-autumn-1122537/)

Sunday 05.13.18 (the two mountains)

This Sunday we’ll take a look at Exodus 19:9-20:26 and see how Jesus frees us from the Law and leads us from Sinai to Zion, the spiritual mountain of joy and salvation. We also want to wish all our moms a “happy Mother’s Day!” We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
**No evening activities at the church

Sermon Notes
The Two Mountains ~ Exodus 19:9-20:26

The sermon in one sentence: Israel in dread met with God at Sinai and received the Law; because of Jesus, we in joy meet with God at Zion and receive true freedom.

  • Israel’s experience with Sinai…
    • They faced repeated warnings and cautions to keep their distance and worship carefully (19:9-25, 20:22-26)
    • They faced darkness and noise that produced fear and caused them to draw back (19:16-20, 20:18-21)
    • They received the Law through ten initial commands
  • Our experience with Sinai…
    • Jesus leads us away from Sinai to Zion, a much better mountain (Hebrews 12:18-24
    • Jesus frees us from the burden of the Law (Galatians 4:21-5:1, 5:13)
    • Jesus redefines the Law positively in the terms of love (Matthew 22:36-40)
    • Jesus gives new purpose to the Law
  • Our response:
    • Realize your need for Jesus and seek the eternal joys of Zion through him
    • Having turned to Jesus, walk in the freedom to love and obey that God has given

Songs for Worship
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
Free From the Law
Take Time to Be Holy
O Church, Arise
Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

Good Reads 05.10.18 (on #marriage, #bible, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On the Bible: What the Word of God Says About the Word of God by Jared Wilson

What God says about his word is a deep, complex, and staggering thing. And each book of the written word testifies to the wonder of his revelation. I decided to take a look, book by book, selecting a representative passage from each to highlight many of the things God’s word says about God’s words.

The word of God is . . . (click here to read more)

On Social Media: The Oldest, Most Ignored Social Media Command by Aaron Earls

Notice how Paul frames this rule. He didn’t say don’t discuss disputed matters. And he didn’t say don’t argue over vital matters. Specifically, the command is not to argue over doubtful issues. We are not to get emotionally wrapped up in arguments over third tier (or lower) issues. Yet, so many Christians are consumed by this very thing.

What happens when we violate this rule for life and social media? Several of the points Paul makes following this verse in Romans 14 gives us an indication of what it would be like… (click here to read more)

On Marriage: 7 Ways to Increase Intimacy in Your Marriage by Casey Lewis

While the world has distorted the purpose of sex, the Bible, and specifically the Song of Solomon teaches us that sex serves a greater purpose. Sex is a way to increase intimacy that already exists in marriage, which means that without sex a marriage will grow stagnant and cold. Sex, then, is important to the vitality of the marriage relationship.

While it’s true that sex is an important part of marriage, it’s just as important that a relationship exists before and after one has sex, which is what I want you to see from the Song of Solomon. A careful reading of the text reveals that their marriage relationship wasn’t consummated until the end of chapter 4 and the beginning of chapter 5. Everything before those chapters consist of their courtship and wedding. (click here to read more)

On Confidence: Confidence Comes from a Clearer View of God by JD Greear

Moses couldn’t see that at the time. His thoughts were dominated by the insecurities that always come when you focus on yourself. In time, he would come to see these things and appreciate God’s sovereign preparation of him for the task. When he was called, though, he only saw his lack of potential.

But what is most interesting is that God, in trying to give Moses confidence, doesn’t point to any of Moses’ potential, even though it was there. He doesn’t say, “Moses, wake up! I have been preparing you! You have what it takes!” Instead, he simply says, “Moses, I am with you. Walk forward in confidence, knowing that what I have called you to, I will supply you for.” (click here to read more)

Sunday 04.29.18 (better together)

This morning we’ll be looking at Exodus 17:8-18:21 and see how we make a greater impact for God’s Kingdom when we work together rather than when we go it alone. Then tonight, we’ll celebrate our PIE (Pray, Invite, Explain) month with a pie fellowship in the gym. We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@6pm PIE Fellowship

Sermon Notes
Better Together ~ Exodus 17:8-18:21

The Sermon in One Sentence: We make a greater impact for the Kingdom when we work in partnership with other followers of Jesus than when we try to go it alone.

  • When we partner together…
    • We hold each other up and help overcome weaknesses (17:8-13)
    • We help each other see the power of God (17:14-18:12)
    • We guard against burnout (18:13-18)
  • For good, Kingdom-focused cooperation, we must have…
    • A realization of our limitations (18:17-20, 24-27)
    • A foundation of godly character (18:21)
    • A willingness to let go and delegate (18:22-23)

Songs for Worship
Sing, Congregation, Sing
Be Strong in the Lord
Come, Ye Sinners Poor and Needy
The Servant Song
To God Be the Glory

Good Reads 04.24.18 (on family)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On family worship: A video by Don Whitney on helping with the struggles of family worship–click here

On parenting: How to Parent Fearful Kids by William Smith

First, please don’t tell them that there’s nothing to be afraid of. They know better. They know that they might fail or get hurt. Telling them there’s nothing to fear will only convince them that they understand the world better than you do. If they think you see less than they do, you’ll only convince them that you have nothing to offer.

Instead, acknowledge that they’re scared and either ask or guess what frightens them. Then, to the extent that you can, tell them that you get it. Let them know you understand why that’s scary for them. At the same time, though, remind them they’re not alone. Tell them you’re there with them and they don’t have to fight their fear all by themselves. (click here to read more)

On siblings: How to End Sibling Rivalry Like a Christian by Jen Wilkin

Why do we discount the vision of our kids as each others’ dearest friends? Why do we settle for rivalry? Frankly, as a parent, it’s easier to be a referee than a reconciler. It’s easier to separate than to shepherd—at least in the short-term.

But as I witness the deep friendship that has grown between my kids, I affirm that the long-term benefit was worth the effort. A friend who sticks closer than a brother is a rare gem. A sibling who is a best friend is a treasure for a lifetime. And a Christian family filled with siblings who are friends bears compelling testimony to the gospel of peace. (click here to read more)

On the struggles of aging: Navigating Through Difficult Seasons of Life by Darrell Deer

Maybe you, too, are in a season of struggle. Perhaps your season, like mine, involves helping the people you love navigate the difficulties of aging. Or, maybe your struggles fall into a completely different category. Whatever the context of your life right now, I imagine the lessons above still have relevance for you. Learn to focus on the step in front of you. Be encouraged by the people around you. Dive deep into the pool of prayer and trust confidently in a sovereign God. May He help each of us manage the difficult seasons of our lives. (click here to read more)

Sunday 04.22.18 (gratitude and provision)

This morning, we’ll continue our journey through Exodus and look at 15:22-17:7, and see three accounts of God’s gracious provision for his people; and how we, unlike Israel, should show gratitude for God for all he has done. We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
**No Evening Bible Study
@630pm Cody M ordination at The Church at Pleasant Ridge

Sermon Notes
Gratitude and Provision ~ Exodus 15:22-17:7

The sermon in one sentence: Be people of gratitude who trust in the daily provisions of God.

  • Israel’s Pattern: They felt a need; They complained; Still, God graciously provided; Repeat
    • We should not be like Israel (1 Corinthians 10:6, 11)
    • We should not take for granted God’s gracious provision
  • Complaining and Grumbling…
    • Fails to trust God to provide (15:22-24, 16:8, 17:1-7)
    • Longs for “good ol’ days” of the past that weren’t really that good (16:1-3, 17:3)
    • Leads to further disobedience (16:20, 27-30)
  • God’s Provision…
    • Brings healing and nourishment (15:26)
    • Supplies for our daily needs (16:4-5, 17-21)
    • Gives rest (16:22-26)
    • Fuels future faithfulness (16:31-36)
    • Offers grace despite our sin
  • Our Response…
    • Be people of gratitude, not of complaint or grumbling
    • Trust God for physical provision
    • Trust God for his greatest provision, Jesus

Songs for Worship
I Will Not Be Afraid
Worship the King
Wonderful Grace of Jesus
Give Thanks to God
10,000 Reasons

Sunday 04.08.18 (the passover)

Tomorrow, we get back into our Exodus series as we think about the Passover as God led his people out of Egypt (Exodus 11:1-13:16). After morning worship, we’ll have a fellowship meal followed by business meeting. Then in the evening we’ll continue our video series through Philippians. We hope to see you there!

Schedule
@945 Small Groups / Sunday School for all ages
@1045 Worship Gathering
@Noon Fellowship Lunch and Business Meeting
@6pm Philippians Study in youth room

Sermon Notes
The Passover ~ Exodus 11:1-13:16

  • We fear death because it is the ultimate judgment (11:1-10, 12:29-30)
  • We embrace death because it is the means to salvation (12:1-42)
  • We remember our salvation through the death of the Lamb by celebrating with a meal (12:7-27, 12:43-13:16)

Songs for Worship
We Will Worship the Lamb
Power in the Blood
My Worth Is Not in What I Own
Nothing but the Blood
The Wonderful Cross

Exodus

Image used and modified with permission from pixabay.com