Sermon – Introduction to the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:13 – 5:26) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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The Fruit of the Spirit

A New Fight Club Series for 2018

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Sermon 1 of 10

Introduction to the Fruit of the Spirit

Pete Woodcock, Galatians 5:13 - 5:26, 11 February 2018

Galatians 5:13 - 5:26

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

That's Galatians chapter 5 starting to read from verse 13, page 1 1 7 2 of the church bibles. You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh rather serve 1 another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this 1 command, love your neighbor as yourself. If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

So I say live by the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the spirit and the spirit what is contrary to the flesh, They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you were led by the spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious, sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you as I did before.

That those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of god. But the fruit of the spirit is love. Joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Since we live by the spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking, and envying each other. Well, good evening. My name is Pete Woodcock. I'm the pastor of the church.

We're starting this series, as Daryl said, in the fruit of the spirit, and I'm the 1 that's just doing the introduction. And then we have Fight Club doing, the rest of them, I think, or most of them anyway. Now here's here's something for the Canadian team. That you should look out for. If if you walk around a park, a British park, you're going to see dog walkers.

They're all over the place. It seems to me that there basically are 4 types of British dog walkers. I've got no idea what it's like in Canada. You probably have Moose or something anyway, don't you? But there are 4 types of of British dog walkers that you'll find in any park.

At least you'll find 3 of them in any park and then there's there's a special 1 that you find in Chestington. The first 1, the first type of dog, with their walker, I've called spike. So number 1 is spike the dog. This dog's not allowed off the lead. It's held onto the lead.

The entire walk is very unpleasant It's pulling away, pulling away. If it's got a choker collar on, it's choking and pulling away and it struggles and strains. That the owner will often whack it and shout at it, but it doesn't listen and it's hard work walking that dog. That's dog number 1, spike. Dog number 2 are called Buster.

Basically Buster is spike but not on a lead. So he's just hacking around the park running around the park completely out of control, attacks other dogs, sees some rotten decaying stuff on the floor and gobbles it up. Runs through the mud. The owner is shouting Buster. Buster.

Buster. Buster. It doesn't speak the same language. It hasn't got a clue. In fact, I think it thinks run and just mayhem.

That's the second dog, third dog. I've called Max This is a dog that's not on the lead either. He's not on the lead, but he walks closely to his master. Very close in fact. And often rubs against the leg of of the master and is always looking up into the eyes and waiting for the master just to throw a a stick and a dog will run and pick it up and bring it back.

His delight is to be near the master and to please the master, even though he's off the lead. Dog number 4. Now you don't see this is a rare 1, but if you come to chessington, if you live if you're staying in my house, which some of you are, you'll see this dog It's called Benji. Benji the dog. It's 1 of my neighbor's dogs.

Benji has no passion at all about anything. In fact, it doesn't really like walking. It does half a walk and then the owner picks up Benjie and carries on walking with it. And so there's nothing. It doesn't really walk itself.

Now here's the question. Which dog represents your life? Which dog represents the Christian life. Which dog represents the Christian life. Now, here's Galatians, And Paul is writing this letter to the church at Galatia, Galatia, and 1 of his big themes if we were reading through the whole the whole book is freedom, freedom.

And he's been spelling out very clearly that Christians because of the death of the lord Jesus Christ for their for their sins and his resurrection, Christians are free. We're not under the Pagan idolatry anymore. We're not under the rules of Pagan idolatry. We're not under the rules of the Jewish laws, which a lot of false teachers had come into the church and say say were saying that you had to be under all of the Jewish laws. Imposed on people.

We're not under that. Christians are free. We're not defined by outward rules and we're not defined by religious rituals. That is not what defines a Christian. So it's at this point in his letter that you are forced to ask the question.

Okay. He's done a whole load of arguing on those things. Okay. What is it to be free then? What does Christian Freedom really actually look like?

What does it look like? And the answer he gives is walk walk. You need to walk You need to walk in the spirit. So look at verse 16 of chapter 5. So I say to you live.

It's a very poor translation. It would be better to have walk there. So I say to you walk by the spirit and you will not gratify gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Now, Paul's talking about the Holy Spirit here. The Christian Life, he's saying, is a life of freedom.

The Christian life is a life of freedom and it's not a matter of imposing outward religious laws on you. You've been born again. You've been made alive. You have a new nature. Look at verse 25.

This is where the word live is. Since we live, since we've been made alive, since we've been born again by the spirit, Let us keep in step with the spirit. So freedom is when you live and walk like you were made to live and walk. You're walking your nature. You're walking your god nature.

You're walking like god walks. That's what it is. So when you're free, you'll say no to the sinful nature that is within you and yes to this new nature. The Christian life is freedom, but what's it look like? Dog 1 Spike, mastered only by the leash, never really changed.

Spike's character never changes. He's just pulling. The only thing that holds him back is some kind of leash. It looks like He's as moral if you could ever say that about a dog as Max, but he's not. He's not changed.

He's just held back by a a leash around the neck. He's not free. He's leashed. Doctor 2 buster. Well, he's not free, even though he looks free, He's just running around in his dog nature.

He's led to run and to walk his dog nature. You know, he smells a rabbit. Way rabbit. And you can shout at him, buster, buster, buster. He doesn't hear.

He just smells rabbit. Rabbit has all consumed him, and he runs anywhere and everywhere, or he sees another dog. Dog. Right? Chief.

Bite. And you say, buster, buster, buster, and they shout it out all the time. You will see this in British. And it doesn't pay any attention. This 1 though hasn't got a leash to stop it.

It looks less moral than bike, spike, but it isn't. It's exactly the same as just off the leash. Or is it Benjie? Benji is thought to just roll over and let the master do everything. You know, is that the Christian life?

Well, none of those are a picture of the Christian life. The Christian life is 1 of freedom to walk freedom to keep in step with the master. Not ruled by outward leashes religiosity. Not ruled by inward natural sinful desires, but ruled by love. Devotion to the master, wanting to do what the master wants him to do.

And that's Max. That's Max. Now it doesn't mean to say that Max doesn't smell the rabbit. He smells the rabbit as much as buster and spike. It doesn't mean to say that Max doesn't really desire that lump of rancid meat in the middle of the field.

It doesn't mean that Max would just love to roll over in another dog's poo to get some kind of smell on it. It does it doesn't mean any of that. He's got those desires in him but he's captivated by another vision. That's why his eyes are always looking up at the master. He's capture captivated by another vision.

So with that illustration in mind, let's get into this this passage. We're doing, as I say, we're starting a, a series of of sermons on the fruit of the spirit. We'll look at a fruit each week, I think. And this is an introduction. Look at verse 22 of chapter 5, but the fruit of the spirit is love joy peace, patience kindness, gentleness, fruitfulness, a faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

I read 1 wrong there. I can't remember what it was. But there's the there's the fruit of the spirit. Now Let's get into this and get into the setting. And I want us to get the setting so we'll understand when we come to the fruit what they really mean.

Here here's Here's the setting. I want you to notice that the setting is conflict. The setting for the fruit of the spirit is conflict. You must get this point is conflict. The situation here is warfare.

Look at verse 16. So I say walk by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For this sinful nature desires what is contrary to the spirit and the spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other so that you do not do what you want. Since we live by the spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit.

There's a conflict going on here. Every Christian has 2 natures. We have 2 natures. It's a bit like we are Doctor. Jackal and mister Hyde, if you know that story.

We're doctor Jackal and we're mister Hyde. Or go back to Max where Max We love the master, but there's that old dog like nature in us that can't help smelling the rabbit and the rancid lump of meat. Yeah? When you become a Christian, you enter into warfare. That's what happens.

When you're not a Christian, there's no warfare. When you're a Christian, there's warfare The Christian life is a bloody warfare. It's vicious. It's conflict. It's painful.

Look at verse 25. Since we live by the spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit, go back to verse 17. For the sinful nature desires, what is contrary? Do you see it? They are in conflict.

There are these 2 natures, and there's a battle going on. Now this is vitally, vitally important for us to grasp. That we're in a battle. And this is the normal Christian life. The normal Christian life is 1 of conflict and battle 2 natures in contrast with each other.

That is the normal Christian life. There are periods in the Christian life where there's peace and there's joy and there's wonderful experiences but the normal Christian experience I think the Bible says is that we are in conflict. The penalty for our sin has been absolutely fully completely paid for by our savior, the lord Jesus Christ. The penalty for our sin has been paid for, but the presence of sin is still a reality within our nature. That's what's going on.

We are forgiven people. Absolutely. And because we're forgiven, The spirit of god, the holy spirit lives in us and starts working in us to change us. But that's where the conflict is. And I want to say to you if you're a Christian and you're struggling.

If you're struggling with sin at the moment, that shows you you're alive. It's when you stop struggling that there's a problem. If you're struggling to be a Christian and you're struggling to follow the lord and the smell of the rabbit and the rancid lump of meat is attracting us and we are weary with ourselves and upset with ourselves and sometimes broken. Why am I attracted to that? If that's your battle, that is Christian.

There's encouragement in that because that says that the spirit of god is in you. There's this conflict going on. A conflict going on that sometimes you do what you don't want to do and you don't do what you want to do. It's because of this battle. They're in conflict.

And notice I want you to notice that the conflict is in the realm of desires. Have a look at verse 16 again. So I say walk by the spirit, and you will not gratify the desires. There's the words. See, the desires or the lusts, is an old version.

The desires of the sinful nature. First 17, for the sinful nature, desires You see, there's a conflict in the actual desire, desires what is contrary to the spirit and the spirit what is contrary. To the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other. The sign of whether the Holy Spirit is in you is not so much that you don't have bad desires, but you battle them.

Does that make sense? It's not that that that you don't have the bad desires and the lust is that you're battling with them. That's that's it. We have this wrong idea of Christianity that There's no conflict, and I can just walk through life. Now I'm a Christian, and there is no battle.

That is nonsense. Now the spirits in you, There's this wrestling and battling that goes on. Walk by the spirit. Walk like Max close to the master. Desire him.

The battle is where are you going to put your desire for the master or for the rabbit, for the master or the rancid meat. Where are you going? Max, he's off the lead, and he has these intense doggy desires to go, to run. And there are times when he takes his eyes off the master and sees the lump of rancid meat. I don't know what it's doing there in the middle of the field, but there is always in Britain.

A lump of rancid meat. It's and he wants to run for it and he goes. He leaves the master's side and he goes. Now what brings Max back? Max.

Max. Come on, boy. Boy. Come on. Come on.

His name is called out. His attention is brought back to the master. Max. Come. Bye.

Boy. No. No. No. No.

Come here. Here. His turns around, his tail wags, and he runs back to the master. That's it it's the name. It's the reminding of who he is.

Here I am, walking down Kingston High Street, I see something that I never particularly wanted to see. Perhaps someone's dress blows up, and my sinful nature calls out to me go in your imagination, carry on with those desires. Run. Wasn't my fault? It's not Max's fault that a rabbit goes past.

But now the desire comes run run for the and it's strong to leave the master and then I hear Pete Christian Christian. Back. Back. Back. Christian.

Jesus died for you. You. You sinful person, even though you've been following Jesus for many years, still tend tation pulls you away from the master. And yet, this whole scene of conflict This whole scene of battle reminds me just how gracious Jesus is to die on the cross for me, and I go back to my master. And I look up at him with gratitude, and the fruit grows a little bit more of love.

Rather than misusing people as objects. And the next day it starts again. And as I walk around Kingston the next day, exactly the same thing, and I'm reminded, Pete, Christian. Back. And a little bit more of the fruit grows.

I'm listening to how successful some other pastor is. I'm a pastor, and I'm a human. And I'm listening to how successful another pastor is, and there's a strong pull of jealousy and self ambition and it's pulling me as I want the success that that 1 has, and I start running and moving away from Pete. Come back. Christian, you couldn't be more loved.

You couldn't be more secure. Don't run after jealousy. And I realized that Jesus died for me. Such a sinful person, been walking this Christian for so long and still undrawn away to a lump of rancid jealousy meat. And I realized that Christ died for even this sin.

And as I looked to him with gratitude, The fruit of joy grows a little bit more in the conflict instead of envy and jealousy. And the next day, I start again. There's the conflict That's the first thing I want you to see. There's a second thing I want you to see. There's a contrast, no just a contrast.

It's vast, isn't it? Look at verse 19. The acts of a sinful nature are obvious sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery, idolatry, and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, and envy and drunkenness and oranges, and the like I warn you, as I did before, that those who live Like this will not inherit the kingdom of god but the and it's a big but isn't it? But the fruit of the spirit love joy peace patience kindness goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control against such things there are no law. There's a massive contrast.

1 is beautiful, the fruit of the spirit, and yet the acts of a sinful nature are selfish, disgusting, and destructive. They're nasty little things, aren't they? They're me being allowed to run around the park ravingly mad. Like it got rabies or something. Look at verse 13.

See the contrast here. You, my brothers, were called to be free, but do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature rather serve 1 another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command. Love your neighbor as yourself. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you'll be destroyed by each other.

There's a massive contrast of love and giving and serving and biting and fighting over the rancid meat. The sinful nature bites devours, and that is not freedom. Mine, I love those things in that whatever that Disney film is. Was it is it is it finding nemo? Yeah.

You know, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine. That's what they are. Yeah. Exactly. We're there, you know, and there's a fight You see a crab, it's mine, and we're biting and devouring.

And that's 1 picture of these dogs fighting at each other. You see this in our parks, by the way. It's quite nasty. In fact, little benjy got ripped open by a dog but he just laid down and got ripped open. And his and his owner had to carry him back.

So there's some vicious stuff going on here. The contrast is immense, love, giving, devouring. There's another contrast as well. And that is 1 is natural, the natural human nature or the dog nature, as we've been thinking in the illustration, and the other is not natural. It's supernatural.

The fruit of the spirit are not produced by the natural nature of anyone. They are fruit of the spirit generated by life in the spirit. They're supernatural. It's the fruit of the spirit. It's not your efforts.

It's the fruit of the spirit. Now, this is what I think is very important. It's the fruit of the spirit, but this fruit grows only in the soil of conflict. This is the big thing I've been trying to say. The fruit grows in conflict.

As I am in battle, as I move away from my savior and he calls me back and I come back, that's the growth. That's the growth area in the conflict. So that's why I think verse 18 it talks about being led by the spirit. Now, we did something on this in our in our summer stuff, but being led by the spirit is to be led into battle. So when Jesus was led by the spirit, he was led at to be tempted in the wilderness, It's led into battle.

That's really what that is saying there. And we're led into battle because in that battle, in that conflict is where we grow. The fruit of the spirit. That's where you grow. You sometimes we just wanna get away from all conflict, where you won't grow.

You know, the whole idea of monasteries and stuff, and you go and hide away from any conflict You won't grow. You'll never grow there. No. We grow in this area of conflict. Notice that It's the fruit of the spirit.

It's a supernatural working growing in us. And notice it's fruit. It's not a instant kappa soup or a, you know, pot noodles, or you just add boiling water and there you go. This is fruit. It takes time, not a minute.

You're growing, maturing the fruit of the spirit. It's not fruits, by the way. This is all 1 fruit. All of those different sections of 1 fruit with its begin to grow and display those fruit in our lives. This isn't the gifts of the spirit.

We bang on and on and on about the gifts. The fruit is so much more important. This is the growth and the character change. The gifts and the skills that the spirit of god gives us to serve people is 1 thing, but the character, the fruit. This is so vital to change us so that we love the lord Jesus more.

So there's the conflict. There's the contrast. Here's my third point. The context. Now I've already shown you the context of the fruit of the spirit is the battle.

But there's a larger context here as well, which is really important, which actually shows us where the big battle is. And the larger context is Christian Fellowship. This passage, the fruit of the spirit, comes right in the middle of a section that starts at chapter 5 verse 13 and ends at chapter 6 verse 10. There's a whole section there. Now if you understand the beginning of the section and the end of the section, you might get the middle of the section a little sorted.

The beginning of the section starts with this chapter 5 verse 13, you, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature rather, here we go, serve 1 another in love. If you're going to be free, you serve 1 another. You hard work serve 1 another. You serve 1 another.

Rather than devouring each other. Yeah. That's the beginning of the section. The end of the section is chapter 6 verse 10. Listen to it.

Therefore, as we have opportunity let us do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers. We're to do good by loving people. And then the section of the the fruits of the spirit come right in the middle of that. In other words, We will grow in conflict, but the bigger context is the church. No 1 grows if you don't go to church.

It's nonsense. It's absolute nonsense to say that you can be a Christian without church. Now there are exceptions where there are people in persecuted lands that are desperately wanting to meet with people but can't, but don't use that as your excuse. You will not grow as a Christian if you're not committed to church and to fellowship. And you're not grow as a Christian if you stomp out every time I upset you.

Or someone else. It's an opportunity to forgive and to love and to move to each other. We heard that this morning a bit. It's an opportunity. The local church, as we were seeing this morning, really, is is the shop window to the world.

We're a community of love and peace and patience and kindness And the irritable people in the church would be patient with, let them grow. They don't know enough. Yeah. They're only young students. They know nothing.

They're Kingston students. They know nothing. Nothing. Sorry. Should I emphasize it again?

You know? They're only 19. What would they know? What did you know at 19? Nothing.

Yeah? Well, that's what they know. Yeah? I don't know why I imported to you Saskia, but there we go. Let them grow.

Love them. Help them. Help them mature. They're not a pot noodle. Don't just pour hot boiling water on them.

Let them grow. See them grow. It's a delight to see fruit begin to grow. It's within the context of fellowship. Here's the fourth thing I gotta finish.

The change. The change. Do you see the change? We are meant to change and it's the walk word. We're to walk in the spirit, we're to be like Max looking up to our master, we're to be looking at him and walking and that is a walk in the spirit because actually those fruit of the spirit are actually Christ, basically.

Yeah. You gotta become like your master, and he is love joy peace patience kindness and so forth. So if we're going to walk in the spirit, we need to be looking at the lord Jesus Christ regularly and long and listening to him. That's That's what the spirit does. He's always pointing to Jesus.

Spurgent, said this, I looked to the cross and the dove flew in. I looked to the dove and he flew away. Now what he means by the dove is the Holy Spirit. So have a think about this. I looked to the cross.

I looked to Jesus on the cross. And the dove, the Holy Spirit flew in. When I looked to Jesus, you'll know the Spirit power. But when you look to the spirit that dove flies away, he's a very sensitive beast. He's all about Christ.

And if we're to walk in the spirit, it's Christ we want to be reading about. It's Christ we want to understand. It's our lover The 1 who brings us joy and freedom and peace with god. Who's so patient with us. He's so patient with us.

Full of forbearance towards us. He's gentle with us. He's the self controlled 1 that went to the cross for us. And as we look at him, as we gaze at him, as we understand price, we walk in spirit, we walk, we learn to walk, first, we're falling over, we're tripping up, we're running away, we're being foolish, but we walk. Now the whole idea of walking is that you move.

There is a movement. You are not Benjie, just lie down and wait to be picked up. We're learning to walk a Christ like walk, and we walk means we're going from somewhere to somewhere. There's a clear vision of where we're going to be like the lord Jesus Christ. I love the words of John Newton.

They are so helpful If, if you're battling as a Christian, he says that he said this. I'm not what I want to be. Are you? Doubt it. I'm not what I want to be.

I'm not what I should be. I'm not what 1 day I will be in heaven, but thank god. I'm not what I once was. I'm not what I once was. There's a movement to be like Christ.

You know, sometimes it is worth keeping a diary, and the people that do that, I I I often envy them I remember once as a as a younger Christian, I'd probably been a Christian about 5 or 6 years, and I genuinely didn't think I'd grown as a Christian at all. And I was going through 1 of those stages where I was doubting whether I was even a saved Christian, and I was chucking some rubbish out of my, of my room, and I came across a little tape no 1 even knows what it is, but it's a cassette tape. And, I I thought, well, what's this? And I shoved it in and it was a classic album, by the band called the Harry To band. And I was the drummer of that band.

The hairy toe band, I guess you've heard of them in, yeah. Got the Beatles, you got the stones, you got the hairy toe band, you got the, yeah, So I was in the Harry tow band and I heard this blowcast trying to work out which member of of the band it was. Telling this filthy story, an extraordinary dirty story. I mean, it was very funny, but it was it was filthy. And I was, who who who is that?

And then I realized it was me, because that's what I did. I used to tell filthy stories. I'm not what I should be but are not what I once was. And we're walking, walking, growing. The fruit of the spirit, what a wonderful, wonderful thing that is, and we're gonna learn what they are in weeks to come.

Father help us please to walk like Max close to our saviour,

Preached by Pete Woodcock
Pete Woodcock photo

Pete is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone and lives in Chessington with his wife Anne who helps oversee the women’s ministry in the church.

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