foundation truth

lesson 18 - fruit of the Spirit

With the great emphasis today on the Gifts of the Spirit, there is a danger of neglecting the growth of the Graces of the Spirit. Ezekiel 47:4-7 illustrates this truth.

WHAT IS THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT?

There are nine different fruit listed in Galatians 5:22, 23. These can be divided into three groups. The first three relate primarily to God. The second group of three relates primarily to others, and the last three relate primarily to us.

First Group

Love. This is divine unconditional love. A strong, ardent, tender, compassionate devotion to the well-being of someone.

Joy. This is the emotional excitement, gladness, delight over blessings received or expected for yourself or others.

Peace. This is the state of quietness, rest, repose, harmony, order, and security in the midst of turmoil, strife, and temptations.

Second Group

Long-suffering. Bearing long with the frailty, offenses, injuries, and provocations of others without murmuring or resentment.

Kindness. This is a disposition to be gentle, soft-spoken, kind, even-tempered, cultured, and refined in character and conduct.

Goodness. This is the state of being good, kind, virtuous, benevolent, generous, and God-like in life and conduct.

Third Group

Faithfulness. This is the living, divinely implanted, acquired, and created the principle of inward and wholehearted confidence, assurance, trust, and reliance in God and all that He says.

Gentleness. This is the disposition to be gentle, kind, indulgent, even balanced in temper and passions, and patient in suffering injuries without feeling a spirit of revenge by being in submission to God.

Self-control. This is self-resistant; moderation in the indulgence of the appetites and passions.

HOW IS THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT PRODUCED IN OUR LIVES?

  • The fruit of the Spirit begins when we believe the Gospel. Colossians 1:5-6
  • There is a process of producing fruit. Mark 4:28
  • Not everyone has the same degree of fruitfulness. Matthew 13:23
  • Fruitfulness should continue throughout our lives. Psalm 92:14

One of the characteristics of an old healthy palm tree is that it produces the sweetest fruit.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS TOWARD MORE FRUITFULNESS?

  • Jesus is the vine (the taproot and the main trunk). John 15:1-8
  • The believer is the branch. Verses 5-6
  • The Father is the vinedresser. Verse 1
  • God’s will for our lives is to produce fruit, more fruit, and much fruit. Verses 2, 5
  • The process of fruitfulness is abiding and pruning. Verses, 2, 4; Hebrews 12:11
  • Those who reject fruitfulness are themselves cut off. Verses 2, 6; Luke 13:6-9; Jude 12

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE FRUIT THAT IS PRODUCED IN OUR LIVES?

The fruit is grown to be shared and eaten. II Peter 1:5-8 illustrates this truth.

  • Faith – an active trust from the heart.
  • Virtue – purity of character, moral excellence.
  • Knowledge – an intelligent understanding of divine truth.
  • Self-Control – bringing fleshly appetites under spiritual control.
  • Perseverance – God’s peace while under life’s pressures.
  • Godliness – “to worship well,” Godlikeness.
  • Brotherly Kindness – love for people.
  • Love – God’s divine selfless love.

Spiritual truth develops through this process in our lives. When the fruit of the Spirit is ripe, God sends some hungry people to taste and eat of the fruit. Usually, this brings us back to the process of developing self-control if we are not aware of this process.

HOW DOES THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT REPRODUCE ITSELF?

  • The seed of reproduction is in the fruit. Genesis 1:11-12
  • We actually are sowing fruit into others’ lives. James 3:18 Proverbs 11:18

The fruit of the Spirit is a balance for the gifts of the Spirit. We need both within our lives. The gifts of the Spirit are like gifts under a Christmas tree and are very exciting. The fruit of the Spirit is like apples on an apple tree and is the evidence of a healthy spiritual life. Ezekiel 47:1-12

Note: It is the fruit (singular) of the Spirit versus the works (plural) of the flesh.

  • The fruit is always evidence of inner life. Matthew 7:17-20
  • The fruit of the Spirit is in goodness, righteousness, and truth. Ephesians 5:9
  • Fruitfulness is an eternal principle Revelation 22:2

There is a strong comparison between The fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23 The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-11 The attributes of divine love, I Corinthians 13:4-8, and The characteristics of divine wisdom. James 3:13, 17

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About the Author: Dr. Dale Yerton

Dr. Yerton serves as an overseer of a network of churches across the world. What began as a network of six church groups representing 500 churches in Mexico has grown into an international ministry. 

He and Evelyn, his wife over fifty years, live in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. They have two daughters: Lora–married to the Rev. Vince Farrell, pastors of Journey Church in Hopkinsville, Kentucky–and Kari—also of Hopkinsville–and are the proud grandparents of Emma and Bennett Farrell.

Dale Yerton