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The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love: (Part 1. The Presence And Work Of The Holy Spirit)
Although this article is part of a series, it is a Complete study on its own. (1 of 9 in series)
All [bracketed] words in Scripture verses are mine.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive study on the Holy Spirit but to only focus on the fruit of the Spirit which is Love. But before one can talk about such a manifestation of supernatural origin, one must speak of the Source. An article like this is tricky because the manifestation of the Holy Spirit is very difficult for the non-believer to imagine. I was hoping that in so writing, some curiosity would be generated in unbelievers and that they would see that this phenomenon is what we Christians speak of when we say "Holy Spirit power from above."
"He said to them, did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." (Acts 19:2)
These new believers had heard that there was a man that did miracles and that was executed for no reason other than jealousy, envy, and fear on a Roman cross of wood. They were ready to receive information about Jesus and were prepped to believe. The question from Paul would then prompt a lesson about Jesus and lead to the answer about this "other Comforter" that Jesus would send upon His return to the heavens.
In the fullness of time, Jesus came unto His own (the nation of Israel) and chose twelve disciples. He loved them as a brother, as a friend, and as their Lord.
"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law." (Galatians 4:4)
Paul would then go about to expound on the Son. Born of a virgin like foretold, and how He lived a sinless life. He would tell about how this sinless Lamb of God would have to be slain for their sin and if that did not happen, they would not be able to get to heaven because they would have to account for their evil themselves. The price of not accepting the gift of life from Jesus would be an eternity away from God, with God's enemy Satan, in a place not designed for them but designed for Satan and his demons (hell).
And as they heard and believed and cried out to God to save them, the reality of gratitude for what had been done for them settled on them. God loved them so much He came to earth in human flesh and allowed Himself to die for each of them. It did not seem so long ago to these men, and did not seem all that far away. These people were troubled and perhaps Paul used words similar to this to explain to them that Jesus did not leave them. He would never leave them or forsake them.
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.' Thomas said to Him, 'Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way? Jesus said to him, 'I AM the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'" (John 14:1-6)
(vs. 14) "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it "
The question may be asked, "But if Jesus is in heaven, how will He do it? He is with the Father in heaven." So to this type of new believer it would be explained that Jesus has sent us Someone that will make His home in us.
(vs. 16-17) "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever - the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him or knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you."
That statement probably blew their minds. It made me a little light-headed when I first heard it. You mean God will be in heaven but His essence will be inside me too? So all of God is in heaven and all of God is in me and all of God is in each believer... how is that possible? God is omnipresent and is where He says He is. All that is God is everywhere.
(vs. 19) "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also ."
(vs. 21) "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me . And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, 'Lord, how is it that you will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?' Jesus answered and said to him, 'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word ; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.'"
The wonder would only get bigger with each statement. "You mean that the Holy Spirit is in me but also the Father is in me because the Spirit is given, and the Son is too? "
(vs. 26-27) "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
Then Paul would have to explain that in order for the Spirit to accomplish anything in them individually, they would each have to submit themselves to His leading. They would have to learn how to listen for the small, still voice of God. They would have to learn how to flee sin and how to remain turned to Jesus. When that happened, then great things could be done for God in every one of them. But if they did not submit, then they would soon learn that without God they can do nothing.
(Chap. 15:4-5) "Abide in Me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit ; for without Me you can do nothing ."
(vs. 7-8) "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you , you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you . By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be My disciples."
Here in these verses are contained the secrets of a victorious Christian life. Operate within the principles listed here and you will have joyful purpose in your life with eternal rewards after this life on earth. Ignore these principles, and your life will be miserable and empty in this life on earth, not to mention the eternal implications when you get Home.
"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life , and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10)
"For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building." (1 Corinthians 3:9)
(vs.12-15) "Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."
When Christ said that He was sending us out into the world as sheep in the midst of wolves, He did not cruelly abandon us to the task. He did not say, "Go and do the best you can and I'll watch you from afar." He remains with us in supernatural ways the world does not understand or acknowledge. A person truly saved (no matter how wayward) has to admit the presence of God abiding with him. The truth is, God embraces you at salvation and never lets you go. He loves you and gifts you with a potential beyond your wildest expectation. Seldom do Christians ever even give thought to that potential in Christ, let alone living so as to utilize it.
"Go your way; behold I send you as lambs among wolves." (Luke 10:3)
"Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:16)
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)
"Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)
1. The Holy Spirit Indwells Us.
Through the person of the Holy Spirit, Christ never leaves us. He is an ever present friend that sticks closer than a brother. Fellowship with the Spirit is our reassurance, our peace of mind, our source of power. We who are saved know that He is with us. He pricks our conscience and causes our growth. He reprimands us and comforts us.
"A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24)
"I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." (John 14:18)
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you . And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged." (John 16:7-11)
2. The Holy Spirit Gifts Us.
To empower us to do the wonders of which Jesus spoke, the Spirit decides in His omniscience which of the declared gifts would suit us the best. He then blends gifts, talents, and our unique personalities to form our "new man in Christ." The saved (and now gifted) man is totally equipped for the job of "fishing for men."
"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant;" (1 Corinthians 12:1)
(vs. 4) "There are diversities of gifts , but the same Spirit."
(vs. 11) "But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills ."
"Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin." (Romans 6:6)
"Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds." (Colossians 3:9)
"Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19)
3. The Holy Spirit Produces Fruit.
As we operate within the parameters of the gift bestowed, the result is that God draws men to Himself. As we allow God to work through us and He brings the increase. That means for us that we are to stay out of God's way, let Him work through us, not minding the things of the flesh.
"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44)
"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself." (John 12:32)
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase." (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)
4. The Holy Spirit Rewards Us.
The Holy Spirit rewards us for obedience with a peace and joy the world cannot understand, plus, He keeps the books for eternity.
God's love for us is a gemstone glistening and reflecting God's light. God's love is the fruit of His Spirit. Notice in the verse below that fruit is singular. Notice the Greek structure that points out to us how this verse is to be read. Perhaps a bit of punctuation could have made this fact clearer. It is not fruits of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love. Then the rest of the sentence is attached as a highlight of the first noun descriptor. As the light of God's love shines through the gemstone, different facets of His love burst forth: Joy, Peace, Long-suffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance, and so forth. To clarify further, Joy is a manifestation of love in us. So also is Peace and Long-suffering. Each facet a communicator to the world of the Father's love to His children and to the lost world of mankind through us. Each facet designed to fit a lost soul, so that he will be affected for the gospel and be drawn to God
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." (Galatians 5:22-25)
The world sees us with ability to love; sees us with joy in all we do; sees us with peace, and is drawn to God.
Much can be said about the fruit of the Spirit: Love, much more than we will say here in this part of the study on the fruit of the Spirit. Upon love hangs the whole law, and the prophets. Jesus said that it is the first and greatest commandment. It is the fruit of the Spirit because the world does not know how to love. It cannot love without the Spirit empowering it, and they have not the Spirit of God.
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:36-40)
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but I have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing . Love suffers long and is kind ; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails ." (1 Corinthians 13:1-8)
(vs. 13) "And now abide faith, hope, and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love ."
So now to the person on which the Holy Spirit has not come I say, the Holy Spirit is real. He is as real as God and you will only know when He begins to work within you. You may ask, what does it feel like to be indwelt by the Spirit? Well, first I must say that we were designed to be attached to God in this way. It is a natural state for those who are saved, so there is no tingly, supernatural power eminating from fingers as movies may depict with those who have power. This condition of Holy Spirit habitation is not a feeling so much as a sureness and a comfortable affirmation when you do right and a definite sense of what is wrong for you to do. He rides along in your life and the more you give Him the reins to steer your life, the more full and joyful your life becomes. Conversely, the more you ignore the Spirit inside you, the more you realize that you need to make a course correction in order to restore the joy you had. It's the person without the Spirit that is handicapped in a sense, because he has trouble seeing God in the things God most often uses to display Himself to individuals. Without the Spirit guiding and opening the eyes, we see through eyes half-blinded to reality. The eyes will tend to see "reasonable" "rational" reasonings which will never include God or the spiritual. Indeed, the things of the Spirit seem foolishness to them. Once the Spirit empowers us, we see things much more clearly and things that we could not understand become almost simple at times, even though while remaining profound. Now I believe that God has let everybody "see" things that no else perceives with their eyes of "reasoning." He allows the eternity of God to peek through here and there, so that each person at one time or another is sure at that moment that God exists and that there is a spiritual realm worthy to be explored, needing to be explored. He has used death, or birth, or poverty, or riches or some event to reveal Himself to you. This is always with the idea that you need Him as your Savior.
Think back... Have you ever went through something in your life and it caused you to question about God and look up. At that moment you saw eternity peek out from the haze caused by sin's blindness. At that moment you knew God was calling to you to come to Him, to seek Him out. Perhaps then you rationalized the event away. Maybe you dismissed it all as a moment of weakness or irrationality. I tell you the truth, the irrational thing was when you dismissed the God of the universe drawing you to Him.
Maybe, just maybe, as you read this and the accompanying Scripture, you have felt that pull yet again. That small still voice and a clarity to call on God because you need Him in your life. Do not dismiss it again, for no one knows for sure how long his life is or how much time you have to pull against that draw of God. It is easy to call on Him and it will change your life forever.
This is what you need: A faith, a belief that Jesus came to earth and died here for your sin. That He was God in human flesh so that His blood was the perfect payment for all sin for all time. This faith must also include the belief that Jesus was buried and then after being dead for three days, He rose from the dead and now sits at God's right hand. With this belief all that is left is for you to call out to Him knowing that you are a sinner incapable of paying for your own sin. If you are willing to turn from your sin and turn to Him as your only way of Salvation, just pray.
Pray this: Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, incapable of saving myself. My forever stands in front of me and I want to spend it with You and not apart from You. I believe that You died for me, was buried for me and rose the third day for me. I believe You are God of only God and Your blood cleanses me from all sin. Please save me and place the value of Your holy blood upon me. I turn from my life of sin and way of doing things and turn to You as the only way of salvation and I promise to follow You all the days of my life. I pray this in Jesus' holy name. Amen.
We will explore further the fruit of the Spirit in part 2, where we will begin to examine the facets of love in our walk and how to implement them.
Others in this series of independent articles: