What is the Fruit of Salvation? (part three)
WHAT IS THE FRUIT OF SALVATION?
In Genesis, we come to understand that our Creator designed us to consume fruit. Fruit is necessary for us to live.
Our Creator also made us fruit cultivators. God places Adam and Eve in a garden to grow fruit for themselves, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air.
God commands Adam not to eat of the fruit that grows on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam does not believe in God, disobeys, and dies spiritually, and becomes a slave to sin. As a result of Adam’s fall, all of his descendants are born spiritually dead and slaves to sin (Romans 5:12).
God is love. He provides salvation to free us from spiritual deadness. God promises that all who put their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are born again from spiritual deadness.
God’s salvation is given freely to all people who are willing to repent from their sin and put their faith in Jesus as sin-bearer. Salvation is a gift of grace, by faith alone, in Christ alone.
The blessings of salvation are beyond imagination. Salvation rescues sinners from ultimate destruction and condemnation and delivers them from darkness to the eternal kingdom of light. Those who put their faith in Christ are no longer rebellious enemies in the eyes of God, but He adopts them as His children. Salvation in Christ makes us completely new creatures, born again. The spiritual reality is that those in Christ are in spiritual matrimony with Him, as a pure and holy bride to a Bridegroom, and risen and seated with Christ in the heavenly places.
The final word is that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
MAIN IDEA: SEEK TO BEAR GOOD FRUIT FROM THE SPIRIT
The main idea of the message today is the same as last week. We are to seek to bear good fruit from the Spirit and not from the flesh. We will cover these three truths.
• Fruit from the flesh
• Fruit from the Spirit
• Fruit for the glory of Jesus
FRUIT FROM THE FLESH
If you are not a Christian you are a slave to sin. You are like a tree that bears no fruit. You cannot bear fruit pleasing to God because you are spiritually dead. Your tree may appear to look good to people, but not to God. the Bible says, “Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Luke 3:9).
Please, beg God for mercy. Repent of your sins and cry out to Jesus for salvation. He will hear your prayer, and you may be born again to bear good fruit.
If Jesus you are a Christian, there is a spiritual reality commonly referred to as the already, not yet, salvation. We have a dual nature. We are born again spiritually, but we live in sinful flesh.
Our born-again spirit receives all the blessings of salvation. The penalty for our sin is paid. Jesus bore the wrath of God on our behalf. We may say with confidence, we are not condemned. Our born-again spirit is in union with Jesus. We abide as branches in Jesus the Vine. We are the sons and daughters of God and coheirs with Jesus. Our inheritance is guaranteed because God gives us a pledge. His pledge (down-payment) is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit testifies to our inner spirit that we are born again, children of God. Our salvation with Him is secure, and it finds its security in the faithfulness of God to fulfill His covenant.
Another truth of our salvation is that we are free from the power of sin. Sin does not have power over us. We are no longer slaves of sin.
But, the not yet part of our salvation is that we are not free from the presence of sin. We have sin dwelling within our flesh. As long as our flesh is alive, sin is present. We are not removed from the presence of sin until we see Jesus face to face. Our flesh must die. For us to live is Christ, but to die is gain!
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. (1 John 3:2)
Therefore, while living in fleshly bodies, we are to fight against the passions and desires of our flesh. Our flesh lusts for sinful pleasures. Our flesh covets and wants to be satisfied. The passions and the desires of the flesh are never pleasing to God.
In Romans 7:16-24, the Apostle Paul, who works miracles for Christ and does great things for Jesus, confesses difficulty in overcoming sin.
Our flesh desires to work and seek the fruit that leads to death (Romans 7:5). Our born-again spirit in Christ seeks fruit that leads to life (Romans 6:17).
God gives us His Holy Spirit to help us fight against the flesh. If we listen to the Spirit and live by the Spirit’s leading, we will not carry out the desire of the flesh. But, it is not easy! The flesh sets its desire against the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit against the flesh. We are never happy. Our flesh wants to find satisfaction, and our born-again spirit seeks satisfaction. The flesh and the Spirit are in opposition to one another so that we may not do the things that we please (Galatians 5:16-17).
God desires for us not to do the deeds of the flesh. To help us, God gives us His Spirit.
FRUIT FROM THE SPIRIT
The Spirit cooperate with us
To walk by the Spirit means that we are to cooperate with the Holy Spirit. We are not robots with God’s Spirit as our operating system, making us say and do things.
God gives instructions for us to struggle and cooperate. We are to press on, fight the fight, and persevere.
The Apostle Peter tells the saints that because God has granted us His precious and magnificent promises, and they have escaped the world’s corruption, we need to work (2 Peter 1:3-11). He says, “apply all diligence” to add to our faith: virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. There is nothing laid-back about applying all diligence. Work hard to have purity, self-control, godliness, and so forth.
Notice that some of these characteristics are the same as are listed in Galatians 5:22-23. These are the fruit of the Spirit, which we diligently work to attain.
Peter tells the saints that if we are working to increase these qualities, we will be fruitful. But, if we don’t, we are blind or short-sighted, having forgotten our purification from sin.
The Spirit helps cleanse us of unrighteousness
We are to cooperate with God’s Spirit to cleanse ourselves from sin. Peter greets the saints and tells them they are chosen by the sanctifying work of the Spirit to obey Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:1-2). Paul says the same in his letter to Thessalonica (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
We are to be pure and flee immorality because our body is the temple of God’s Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Remember Jesus makes a whip to drive out those who defile the Temple in Jerusalem (John 2:15-16). We are the Temple for God’s presence.
The Bible says that if by the Spirit, we are putting to death the body’s deeds, we will live (Romans 8:13). God wants us to cooperate in killing our flesh.
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. ” (Luke 9:23-24)
One thing for sure, dying is not easy. Picking up our cross daily is not easy. But it is exactly what Paul talks about in Galatians. He says we are to crucify the flesh. God’s word tells us to put off the flesh and put on the Spirit.
Our flesh does not want to hear that it needs to be crucified. Our flesh wants to hear that we can sit back and take it easy. Our flesh says things like, “Didn’t Jesus say it is finished? Why do we have to fight against sin? Didn’t Jesus die for my sins? Why do I have to strive to be righteous if I have the righteousness of Christ? I am not the problem; other people are the problem.”
Along with our cooperation with the Spirit, our Heavenly Father becomes involved. God prunes us. Pruning is discipline. The Father disciplines and prunes those that He loves.
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:11)
The Spirit gives us instruction in righteousness
God’s Holy Spirit writes the words of Scripture as an instruction manual on how to fight against the flesh and live by God’s Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16).
The Bible says to bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8). We are in a continual mode of repentance. The word repent means to have a change of mind. The transformation takes place by renewing our mind (Romans 12:1-2). We cannot be conformed to this world, but we need to be transformed.
We cooperate with the Spirit by hiding God’s word in our hearts. The Holy Spirit brings to remembrance, but it cannot bring to remembrance something we haven’t learned.
God’s Word is wisdom. Listen to James describe the fruit which the wisdom of God’s word gives:
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:17-18)
Making decisions as a Christian can be summed up with the following adage, “Do the next right thing.” Righteousness is doing the right thing.
In doing the right thing, we have to examine our motives. What are the passions and desires of my flesh? Are my desires being driven by my flesh, or are they driven by my desire to glorify Christ?
It is thinking, speaking, and doing right. What does God’s Word say about how I should think about my situation? What does God’s Word say about what I should say or do in my situation? If I am unclear about what to do, who in the church can I talk to that will help me to know the right thing for me to do?
The Spirit empowers and unites us
God’s Holy Spirit unifies. God’s Spirit brings us together in unity. God desires for us to encourage one another to love and good works. We need one another in our fight against the flesh. The body of Christ (His church) is the only place we may go to receive help and encouragement in our fight against sin.
The encouragement is two-fold. We are to encourage one another to look to Christ for our salvation. And, we are to encourage one another to die to ourselves.
The hard part of being in a church is that none of us likes to be corrected by other people. Encouragement is fine, but correction is not accepted very well. We think it is fine when the mirror of God’s Word reveals us, but our skin crawls when others tell us what they see. It is important that we not resist the truth spoken in love.
Incidentally, as we unite with one another, let’s remember what Galatians says right after it talks about the fruit of the Spirit. Paul writes,
Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:26)
Don’t boast about fruit. We wouldn’t have any fruit without the Holy Spirit. Don’t challenge others, otherwise, they might try to produce fruit in the flesh and not in the Spirit. And, don’t envy the fruit of others. It’s not their fruit; it’s Spirit’s. Be joyful that God is at work. Concentrate first on our spiritual maturity rather than others.
Resist the urge to be fruit Inspectors or comparing to others.
FRUIT FOR THE GLORY OF JESUS
Bear the Fruit of Righteousness
The purpose for God to save us is the glory of Jesus. We will spend eternity praising the glory of His grace. Salvation is the beginning of our bringing glory to Him. Jesus gets the glory for dying on our behalf. Jesus gets the glory for defeating sin and death. Jesus gets the glory for demonstrating perfect obedience to the Father and giving us His righteousness. Any fruit we bear is not because we can, but because we are branches that abide in the Vine. Without Jesus, we can only bear fruit that leads to misery, brokenness, and death.
Therefore, we are to bear fruit for the glory of Jesus. There are two ways we bear fruit. The obvious fruit is that we strive to be righteous. Jesus gives us His righteousness so that we may bear the fruit of righteousness.
We love others because Jesus loves us. We serve others because Jesus serves us. We are humble because Jesus teaches us to be humble. Every way in which a Christian bears the fruit of righteousness is a revelation of the righteousness given to us in Christ. We are righteous because of Jesus.
God is working through us for the glory of His Son. Our fruit is testimony before people and the principalities and powers of the heavenly places of the glorious work of Jesus! We bear fruit and Jesus gets the glory!
Bear the fruit of the Gospel
The other way to bear fruit for the glory of Jesus is to declare the Gospel. The Gospel most glorifies Jesus.
Let me give us all a little heads-up. The flesh hates evangelism. Call a prayer meeting, and a small group will show up. Organize a time to go and witness the Gospel and see how many will attend. But, we cannot listen to our flesh. Paul writes that the reason we are joined together with Christ is that we will bear fruit for God (Romans 7:4). The fruit of salvation is that God transforms sinners into righteous people who glorify Christ by bearing fruit for the kingdom.
Listen to these many ways in which the New Testament refers to the Gospel ministry as bearing fruit.
• When Jesus confronts the religious leaders, who should be declaring the Gospel, but were in opposition to Jesus, He tells them, “the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.” Instead of Israel’s religious leaders, God uses fishermen of Capernaum and eventually Gentiles from other nations. (Matthew 21:43).
• When Jesus is in Samaria, He tells His disciples to look and see the fields are white for harvest. The Samaritans are the fruit of the field His disciples will harvest (John 4:34-38).
• Jesus tells His disciples the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. He says to pray for laborers for the harvest. The laborers are those willing to enter the mission field to gather the fruit of the Gospel. (Matthew 9:37-38)
• When writing his first letter to Corinth, Paul refers to Stephanas as among the first fruits of Achaia (1 Corinthians 16:15). In the second letter, Paul encourages the church in Corinth to give bountifully for the Gospel’s sake. He refers to supporting mission work as feeding the laborer who is working in a harvest yielding the Gospel’s fruit (2 Corinthians 9:6-11).
• The Apostle Paul begins his letter to the church in Colossae, saying the Gospel has come to them, just as it has in other cities, and the Gospel is constantly bearing fruit and increasing (Colossians 1:5-6).
• Paul tells the Romans how eager he was to go to Rome to obtain fruit, converts, as he has from among the Gentiles (Romans 1:13).
BE FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY. FILL THE EARTH WITH DISCIPLES FOR THE GLORY OF JESUS.
God’s purpose for the church is to evangelize and make disciples. The church is God’s instrument for helping us grow in maturity.
A fruit tree does not reach maturity until it bears fruit. In the same way, Christian maturity occurs when we bear fruit for the kingdom. The Bible considers us mature Christians when we are disciple-makers.
The very first command God gives Adam and Eve is found in Genesis 1:28. He said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.”
In the same way, Jesus commands His disciples to be fruitful and multiply by making disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that He commanded. When we do so, He is always with us until the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).
Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth with disciples for the glory of Jesus.