Fruit of the Spirit (Part 2)
We continue our study about the “Fruit of the Spirit”. The “Fruit of the Spirit” is an evidence that one is really a born-again Christian. Appearance and profession are good but the vital evidence is the fruit to identify whether somebody is a true believer or just a hypocrite or a make believer. There are nine of them so I would rather discuss them 3 at a time so that I can explain it more to you.
Illustration 1: Ugly Man
Somerset Maughan’s mother was an extraordinarily beautiful woman married to an extraordinarily ugly man. When a family friend once asked how such a beautiful woman could have married such an ugly man, she replied, “He has never once hurt my feelings.”
A. Longsuffering is defined as patience; to bear with; forebearance; long-tempered (1 Cor. 13:4; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 4:1-2). “Longsuffering is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish; it is the opposite of anger, and is associated with mercy, and is used of God (Rom. 2:4; 1 Pet. 3:20). (Vine).
B. A person with “longsuffering” has a sense of forbearance, patience, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance and endurance. This person is slow to avenge wrongs done to him. Longsuffering carries the idea of patience toward people under provocation. It will not retaliate when treated unjustly.
C. There is another Greek word that means maintaining patience under heavy circumstances. There are then two terms for “longsuffering” or “patience.” One has to do with longsuffering with circumstances and the other has to do with longsuffering with people. Our term is longsuffering with people.
D. A longsuffering person is a person who is slow to anger and is anxious to forgive injuries. He has more capacity to put up with personal insults. People cannot easily offend a longsuffering person.
E. God Himself carries the characteristic of longsuffering in His soul (Rom. 2:4; 9:22; 1 Pet. 3:20). Jesus as well is patient (1 Tim. 1:16; 2 Pet. 3:15).
Illustration 1: Illustration: Abraham
According to a traditional Hebrew story, Abraham was sitting outside his tent one evening when he saw an old man, weary from age and journey, coming toward him. Abraham rushed out, greeted him, and then invited him into his tent. There he washed the old man’s feet and gave him food and drink.
The old man immediately began eating without saying any prayer or blessing. So, Abraham asked him, “Don’t you worship God?”
The old traveller replied, “I worship fire only and reverence no other god.”
When he heard this, Abraham became incensed, grabbed the old man by the shoulders, and threw him out his tent into the cold night air.
When the old man had departed, God called to his friend Abraham and asked where the stranger was. Abraham replied, “I forced him out because he did not worship you.”
God answered, “I have suffered him these eighty years although he dishonours me. Could you not endure him one night?”
– Thomas Lindberg
A. Gentleness is from the Greek “chrestotes” and means “useful, profitable. gracious, kind, profitable.” Noah Webster says, “Genteel behavior. Softness of manners; mildness of temper; sweetness of disposition; meekness.” Gentleness is best defined as grace in action. It speaks of a genuine and tender concern for others. It is the genuine desire to treat others with the same grace that our Lord has shown us. Paul practiced this kind of gentleness.
But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us. (1 Thess. 2:7-8)
B. As Christian workers we need to remember the grace and gentleness with which God dealt with us. Gentleness is a qualification for service. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient. (2 Tim. 2:24)
There are a lot of good men and women who have failed in service for Christ, not because they were compromisers, but because they could not keep a balance between truth and grace. Remember, gentleness is grace in action.
Illustration 2: Abraham Lincoln
Despite his busy schedule during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln often visited the hospitals to cheer the wounded. On one occasion he saw a young fellow who was near death. “Is there anything I can do for you?” asked the compassionate President. “Please write a letter to my mother,” came the reply. Unrecognized by the soldier, the Chief Executive sat down and wrote as the youth told him what to say.
The letter read, “My Dearest Mother, I was badly hurt while doing my duty, and I won’t recover. Don’t sorrow too much for me. May God bless you and Father. Kiss Mary and John for me.” The young man was too weak to go on, so Lincoln signed the letter for him and then added this postscript: “Written for your son by Abraham Lincoln.”
Asking to see the note, the soldier was astonished to discover who had shown him such kindness.
“Are you really our President?” he asked. “Yes,” was the quiet answer. “Now, is there anything else I can do?” The lad feebly replied, “Will you please hold my hand? I think it would help to see me through to the end.” The tall, gaunt man granted his request, offering warm words of encouragement until death stole in with the dawn.
A. Goodness is from Greek “agathosune” and speaks of the honesty and integrity of heart that not only despises evil, but refrains from doing it. It is a heart condition that produces a good lifestyle. It is conviction with action. This goodness is a characteristic of God. David said, I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. (Ps. 27:13) This same goodness is
reproduced in the Christian’s life as he yields to the Holy Spirit. It is a quality that we need in dealing with others. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Gal. 6:10)
B. Goodness according to Barnes, seems to be used in the sense of beneficence, or a disposition to do good to others. The sense is, that a Christian must be a good man.
1. Barnabas is described as a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. (Acts 11:24)
2. As a Christian, he brought the price of his field and laid it as a contribution at the apostles’ feet. It was he who took Saul after his conversion, when the other disciples were afraid of him, and “brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way,” etc., and had “preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus” (Acts 9:27).
Illustration 4: Alexander the Great
The story is told that one day a beggar by the roadside asked for alms from Alexander the Great as he passed by. The man was poor and wretched and had no claim upon the ruler, no right even to lift a solicitous hand. Yet the Emperor threw him several gold coins. A courtier was astonished at his generosity and commented, “Sir, copper coins would adequately meet a beggar’s need. Why give
Alexander responded in royal fashion, “Copper coins would suit the beggar’s need, but gold coins suit Alexander’s giving.”
Longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness are virtues that reaches out to others. God demonstrated these towards men. He did this even we don’t deserve it. Would you do the same? Why not?