Sun 26 June sermon ay St Edward’s / Fruit of the Spirit / with Thanksgiving
Reading: Galatians 5: 13-25
I am going to start today, with a little quiz. So I want you to tell me if, according to science, the following are fruit or not fruit:
Strawberry – fruit (berry)
Pea pod (fruit)
According to science, fruits are seed-bearing structures that develop from the ovary of a flowering plant.
(Vegetables, on the other hand, are all other plant parts, such as roots, leaves and stems)
Ok not bad – but you can see there is some confusion about these every day things. We’ll come back to that.
Now, a few weeks ago we talked here about God as the Trinity – which means that we believe God is made up of three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each of these shows us different characteristics of God, different ways we might relate to God. And in today’s passage from Galatians we read about the Spirit.
Galatians is a letter than was written by St Paul to the church in Galatia, not long after Jesus was on earth. Paul was known for starting new churches and he often wrote to them to give guidance while he was travelling around. So here in this letter to the church in Galatia Paul is probably addressing some things that were going on there, but as this is the word of God we also need to read it in a way that might speak to us where we are at now.
So Paul talks about ways to behave which are not good – things ‘the flesh desires’ which he warns against – but he also gives some guidance on how we should behave. And these good ways of being he talks about as the ‘fruit of the Spirit’. By this he means that if we are led by the Spirit of God – the Holy Spirit – then the fruit of the Spirit is – our good behaviour. So he is essentially highlighting what is and what isn’t a fruit – of the spirit.
More fruit of the Spirit!– less ‘getting fruity’ if you like!
Now Paul says these things are obvious, but clearly he needed to give the church at Galatia a reminder and perhaps we need it too? Because there was back then, and I would say now too, confusion over what is the right way to be – what are good characteristics and values? What is a fruit and what isn’t?
Paul was probably reminding his readers of all this, because of things that were accepted in the culture of the day, and he wanted to remind them that as Christians we should be different.
So the fruit of the Holy Spirit – the behaviour or characteristics that come from being led by the Spirit of God are (v22-23) are as we read:
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
So these characteristics are our goal. And we might like to ask ourselves whether we could say these are things that we display in our own lives? I mean, I don’t know about you but someone cuts me up on a roundabout and I don’t feel very filled with the fruit that is peace, for example… but that is why we all need God’s help.
Paul says in v25 let us be guided by the Spirit – because he knows we need help – we’re all human – so perhaps that is something for us all to reflect on this week – do we need a bit of help with one or two of these?
For you as parents and guardians, these fruit might be a helpful guide – to seek to help C to grow up to be kind and patient, peaceful and filled with joy and so on.
But of course the Christian faith is about more than how we behave it is about our motivation – as Paul says. Christianity is not just a moral code or something that gives us certain values, it is about knowing God – as Father, as Son – Jesus, and being led by the Holy Spirit.
Following Jesus, as we heard in our Luke passage, isn’t always easy but it is worth it. I can tell you that the fruit in my own life is so much more apparent since making the decision to become a Christian and find out more about this Jesus fellow. My life before becoming a Christian may well have resembled some of Paul’s other descriptors, and I certainly wasn’t peaceful, joyful, or filled with goodness – less fruit of the Spirit and more rotten tomatoes maybe! But Jesus has brought me purpose, direction, meaning, love, hope, and he can do the same for all of you.
In the coming week, I’d encourage you to do 2 things:
1. To think about the fruit of the Spirit in your life – and ask for God’s help where you need it.
And 2. If you’ve never considered who Jesus is before, why not take the opportunity to think about it? You can always come and chat to me, or chat to someone who you know is a Christian, do an Alpha course or heck get on Google!
My prayer this week, is that we may all be people who display the fruit of knowing God in our lives.