The Fruit of the Spirit Is … Goodness
The Fruit of the Spirit (Part 7)
This is the seventh in a multi-part series by Dr. McKeever on the fruit of the Spirit. You can read them here: Part 1 (Counterfeit Fruit), Part 2 (Love), Part 3 (Joy), Part 4 (Peace), Part 5 (Longsuffering), and Part 6 (Gentleness).
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness…. (Galatians 5:22-23).
God will make you good.
Or at least gooder than you are now.
Looking at me, you might want to argue with that. After all, you don’t see a lot of goodness in me. My responses are: a) You should have seen me before and b) you ought to know what I would have been without Him.
Here is what I have learned about goodness through more than a half-century of living as a Christian:
1) Jesus is good. God is good.
2) I’m not. And you are not either.
3) The sanctification process–that growth into Christlikeness which the Holy Spirit initiates in every believer’s life from the moment of spiritual birth and continues until the nanosecond of our actual glorification–involves making us good.
Monday Exposition Idea:
How Should We Then Live? (3 John 1:4)
By Franklin L. Kirksey, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice
These expositions by Dr. Kirksey are offered to suggest sermon or Bible study ideas for pastors and other church leaders, both from the exposition and from the illustrative material, or simply for personal devotion.
Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984) wrote a monumental work in the 1970s titled How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture. I remember seeing the film documentary soon after they released it.
John writes to Gaius in 3 John verse 4, “For I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
Scholars define wisdom as “the skill of living”. We could call our overall philosophy of life a “worldview”. This is the way we approach life with its promise and problems.
Maybe you remember hearing a three-point sermon and poem about problems. Here it is.
I. You’ve got’em.
II. I’ve got’em.
III. We’ve all got’em.
Poem: Adam had’em.
While it is easy to state the problem, discovering biblical solutions for life can be challenging. Dr. Vance Havner (1901-1986) explains, “Jesus did not lay down minute rules to cover every little problem. Had he done that He would soon have been out of date.” Therefore, it is necessary to wade through issues related to trends, traditions, and truth.
The Fruit of the Spirit Is … Gentleness
The Fruit of the Spirit (Part 6)
This is the sixth in a multi-part series by Dr. McKeever on the fruit of the Spirit. You can read them here: Part 1 (Counterfeit Fruit), Part 2 (Love), Part 3 (Joy), Part 4 (Peace), and Part 5 (Longsuffering).
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness…. (Galatians 5:22-23).
“Would the gentleman from North Carolina please yield the floor?”
“The gentle lady from California makes a good point.”
The U.S. Senate may be the last place in this country where people are recognized as being gentle. It’s a nice trait. “Gentle” means you are not bombastic, not mean-spirited, not rude or unkind or harsh.
My goal is to become gentler in this life.
Various translations make this “kindness” and “goodness.” Same difference, I suppose, although there is something about “gentleness” that weighs heavily on my mind.
Did you hear about the local preacher who was protesting a “gay and lesbian pride” march winding its way through the French Quarter? According to the news reports, the minister was preaching to the participants in harsh and condemning tones. At one point, a woman decided that this angry man of God (we’re giving him the benefit of the doubt on this point) needed a hug. So, she stepped out of the crowd, walked over to him, and kissed him.
He has filed charges against her. Accused her of assault.
I once heard my old seminary professor, Dr. Jack MacGorman, say that “walking and talking with God does not mean having a ‘walkie-talkie’ relationship with Him.” When I heard him say that, it helped me. I had heard people tell of their running conversations with God. They would say, “I told the Lord. . . Then He told me . . . And I said . . . And the Lord threw up His hands and said, “You’ve got be kidding.”
That sort of dialogue reported to me by some who seemed very spiritual made me feel inferior. I had spoken to the Lord in prayer, but He never did just sit down with me and talk to me like that. Finding out exactly what He wanted me to do has always been a struggle for me.
I recently read Charles Swindoll’s book, The Mystery of God’s Will. Right off I liked the title of the book because it implied that finding God’s will is difficult. We are struggling with a mystery. That does not mean that we are to despair of ever knowing God’s will. It does mean that knowing His will is often more difficult than some would admit.
The Fruit of the Spirit Is … Longsuffering
The Fruit of the Spirit (Part 5)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
John Cameron Swayze crowned a long career in news and television work with a series of commercials he did for Timex watches. After subjecting a wristwatch to brutal treatment, he would retrieve it (from the hole in which it had been buried, the building they had just blown up, whatever), hold it up to the camera, and observe, “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”
That’s you. That’s me. That’s the disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When we do it right.
The Lord told His followers that as a result of their identification with Him they were most definitely going to “take a licking.” In one passage, for instance, where we are commanded to love our enemies, Jesus said we can expect to be hated, cursed, threatened, and spitefully used. If we are struck on the cheek–that sounds like a licking to me!–we are to turn the other to our assailant. If someone steals our cloak, we are to offer our tunic also. (Luke 6:27-30)
In order to love the person who hits me, hates me, curses me, and forcibly takes what is mine, I am going to be needing one resource that does not come as standard equipment with the human animal: restraint.