[Galatians 5: 22 -23]
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Beginning today I will talk about the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit in the evening services.
Together with the Beatitudes in Matthew Chapter 5 and spiritual love in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit make up one of the guide posts that help us evaluate where we are in our faith.
By reflecting on ourselves through these messages, we can easily check how deeply we have gone into spirit or what measure of faith we have achieved.
We cannot say one has great faith just because he has been a Christian for a long time and he has extensive knowledge of the Bible.
We can discern one’s measure of faith by how much they have changed into a heart of truth and how much they have come to resemble heart of the Lord.
The Beatitudes, spiritual love, and the fruits of the Holy Spirit can become the standard by which we can check our faith.
We can also check how closely we have drawn to New Jerusalem, our final goal.
For example, suppose you are going to Busan from Seoul.
If you know the different points on the way, you can find your way more easily.
You may not know all the small towns, but just knowing the names of the major cities will help you a lot.
You can check that you are on the right track when you pass those points on the way.
You can also see how far you have come and how far more you have to go, and which cities you have to pass through next.
Even if you get lost, you can quickly realize it.
It’s the same when we go to the heavenly kingdom.
It is very beneficial to have standards to check our faith along the way so we can get to our final destination, New Jerusalem.
There are some parts of the Bible that act like signposts to guide us on our way to New Jerusalem.
They are the Beatitudes, spiritual love, and the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
We have to cultivate these characters in our heart to advance to better heavenly dwelling place.
The more of these characters we cultivate, the closer we will have gotten to New Jerusalem.
Through these messages beginning today, I hope you will check how well you are bearing the fruits of the Holy Spirit in you.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today’s passage says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Then, just what are these ‘fruits of the Spirit’ and how can we bear these fruits?
Fruit is the outcome of having sown the seed, the budding, and the blooming of the flower.
Similarly, the fruits of the Holy Spirit are the fruits that are borne when the Holy Spirit comes into our heart and the seed of life grows up.
God gives the gift of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of those who accept the Lord.
Upon receiving the Holy Spirit, the dead spirit is revived. The Holy Spirit lets us know about sin, righteousness, and judgment.
He helps us cast off sins and lawlessness and live in righteousness.
He leads us to follow a life in Christ with faith and have the hope of gaining the kingdom of Heaven.
As we obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our Christian life, our spirit begins to grow up.
This way, we bear the fruits of the Spirit one by one. These fruits are the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
But not everybody who has received the Holy Spirit bears the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
We can bear those fruits only when we obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
From a physical perspective the Holy Spirit is like a generator.
When the generator runs, it generates electricity.
Here, if the light bulbs are connected to the generator, the bulbs will shine the light. The darkness goes away because light has come.
Likewise, when the Holy Spirit works in us, the things of the darkness that belong to the flesh will go away.
Light will come into our hearts and we will bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
But we have to remember that for the light bulb to shine light we don’t just connect the bulb to the generator.
We have to run this generator.
God has given us this generator called the Holy Spirit, but it is we who have to operate this generator.
In order for this generator to operate, we have to be on alert and pray ardently.
And we have to obey His guidance and practice the truth.
When we follow the guidance of the Spirit to accomplish the truth, it is following the desires of the Holy Spirit.
When we diligently follow the desires of the Spirit, we will have the fullness of the Holy Spirit.
Being full of the Spirit, our heart will change through the truth, and to that extent we will bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
But when we try to follow the desires of the Holy Spirit, there is another kind of desire that hinders us. It is the desire of the flesh.
The desire of the flesh tries to follow the things opposite in nature to the desire of the Holy Spirit. It causes us to follow sins, unrighteousness, and lawlessness.
It leads us follow the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of this life.
When we follow the desires of the flesh the Holy Spirit groans in our hearts. That’s why we suffer from the disquiet in our heart.
We gradually lose the fullness of the Spirit, so that it becomes even more difficult to follow the desires of the Spirit.
We will belong to the light if we follow the desires of the Holy Spirit, but we will belong to darkness if we follow the desires of the flesh.
That is why Galatians 5:16-17 says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”
To bear the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit, we have to follow the desires of the Holy Spirit obeying His guidance all the time.
But if we follow the desires of the flesh, the consequences will be sins and lawlessness, and works of the flesh.
If we commit works of the flesh, we will eventually depart from the way of salvation.
Galatians 5:19-21 says, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Also, Galatians 6:8 says, “For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
If we follow the flesh the outcome will be something that is perishing, namely the fruit of death.
We can reap the fruit of eternal life only when we follow the Holy Spirit.
As saved children of God you have to sow for the Holy Spirit.
You have to bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit everyday in you by following the desires of the Holy Spirit.
From this point on, let us look into the fruits of the Holy Spirit one by one.
The first fruit is love.
1 John 4:7-8 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
We cannot say we know God if we do not have love in us.
Also, from one person to another the love of each individual is different.
The unbelievers of the world also use the word ‘love’ a lot.
But the love of the worldly people is the fleshly love that perishes and changes.
On the contrary, the love that belongs to God is spiritual love which is truthful and forever unchanging.
When God created Adam, the love that He gave Adam was spiritual love.
But Adam’s spirit died because he disobeyed the word of God. He corrupted into the flesh.
Since then, the love of people began to change into fleshly love.
And today, after a long time that has passed since then, it is very difficult to find true spiritual love.
There are so many people who make declarations of their love.
But their love changes as time passes. They only have fleshly love with which they seek their own and follow their lust.
This is the case with the love between a husband and a wife.
At first, they say they will love each other forever and they say they cannot live without the other person, but what happens after they get married?
In most cases, their hearts change as time goes by. They begin to see things they don’t like about the other person.
Before, they tried to do what their spouse wanted them to do, but now if their spouse does not follow their opinion, they give a hard time to their spouse.
Nowadays, people so easily get divorced.
Just some decades ago, a divorce was very rare in Korea.
But nowadays, they easily get a divorce and soon marry another person.
Still, every time, they say they truly love the other person.
It’s the same with the love between parents and children.
Of course, there can be some parents who are willing to sacrifice their lives for their children.
But even though they love their children to this extent, we cannot say they have spiritual love.
If they have truly spiritual love, they will love all others the way they love their own children.
But as the world becomes more wicked, it’s a rarity to find parents who sacrifice their lives even for their own children.
If they have different opinions between parents and children, many times they even have enmity between them.
The same goes with the love among the brothers or friends.
When favorable conditions are met, and when they share the same opinions, this love is sustained. But when the conditions change, it changes any time.
Also, in most cases they want to receive as much love back from others as they have given.
Of course, when their hearts are passionate, they can say they want to give unconditionally.
But if that passion cools down, they regret the fact that they only gave, and they become disappointed.
This means they gave only with a desire to receive. All this is fleshly love.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 13 we can find what true love is like that God really wants.
Verses 4-7 says, “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
This is spiritual love.
But the love as in one of the fruits of the Spirit is at a higher level than the spiritual love in 1 Corinthians 13.
It is the love that encompasses sacrificial love which is loving enough to give even one’s life.
With this love one can give his life for God, for His kingdom and righteousness.
Also, because he loves God, he can give his life for the brothers.
It is the highest level of love with which one can give his life even for his enemies who hate him.
How can we give this kind of love?
It’s because God first gave us such love.
Our Lord also loved us until He gave His life for us when we were yet sinners.
If we do not just know it as knowledge but realize from heart what kind of love God gave to us, we can truly love God, too.
Sometimes we may go through difficult trials in our life of faith.
Sometimes, we may encounter a situation in which we may lose everything precious to us.
Even then, our hearts will not be shaken if we have true love.
Our love and trust in God will not change.
We have already received His love even to give His one and only Son, and thus, there is no reason for us to be disappointed in Him or doubt His love.
Our love for Him will not change, and we will still trust in the love of the perfect God with faithfulness even to give our lives.
It is the same towards other souls.
1 John 3:16 says, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
We will love other souls with true love if we have true love towards God.
We will not have any desire to seek our own benefit.
We will not want anything in return even if we give everything we have.
We just sacrifice our selves for a noble cause, and we can give everything for others.
But this kind of true love is cultivated in you to the extent that you cast off flesh from you.
You can bear this fruit to the extent that you cast off sins, evil, and lawlessness and become sanctified.
In the Bible, we can see what kind of love the patriarchs had cultivated.
Moses wanted to save the sons of Israel, even if it meant his name would be blotted out of the book of life.
The apostle Paul said in Romans 9:3, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,”
When Stephen was being stoned he prayed to God saying, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
How much of this kind of love has been borne in you?
How much do you love God the Father and how much do you love the Lord?
How much do you love your brothers and sisters in faith?
Some say they love the Lord and the shepherd, but they do not really love their brothers in faith.
Though these people are not even their enemies nor are they asking for their lives, yet they have troubles with them over trivial matters.
Even though they are working together for God, they still develop hard feelings when they have differences in opinions.
Even when they see the souls who are spiritually dying, some of them are numb without feeling any sadness about them.
Is it that they really love God?
Once I professed before you.
“If I can save just one thousand people, I would be willing to go to Hell in their place.”
I know very well what kind of place Hell is.
And I wouldn’t do anything that could lead me to Hell no matter the cost.
But if I can save the souls who are falling into Hell, I am willing to make that choice.
The thousand people may include our church members.
They might be some leaders or church members who do not choose the truth but go the way of death even though they continually hear the word of truth and witness the power of God.
Or, they might be those people who have misunderstandings about, or are jealous of our church and oppose us.
They might be some poor souls in desolate places (like those in Africa) who are in despair due to wars and famine.
They might be some people who compromise with the world living in the countries where the fiery works of the Holy Spirit have ceased.
Just as Jesus died for us, I can give my life for those people.
I don’t love them feeling it’s my duty only because God tells us to love.
I don’t love with words. I give my life and all my energy for them each day to lead them to salvation because I love them more than my life.
It’s because I know this is the greatest desire of God the Father who has loved me.
I only think about how I can preach the gospel in more places; how I can make more souls believe in God by showing greater power; how I can let them understand the world is meaningless and let them take hold of better heavenly dwelling places.
How much of the love of God, who has given His one and only Son, is inscribed in your heart?
If you are filled with that love, you will also love God. You will love the souls with your true heart.
I urge you to cultivate this kind of true love perfectly.
In the next session, I will talk to you about the fruit of joy, the second fruit of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today, I talked about love, which is the first fruit of the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.
I urge you to cast off all fleshly love which seeks one’s own, desires to receive back, and changes.
Instead, cultivate spiritual love, which is true and with which you can unconditionally sacrifice yourself.
Then you can get to Heaven, which is the culmination of love, and especially into New Jerusalem where only those who have cultivated perfect love can go.
I pray in the name of the Lord that you may all go into that place and share eternal love with the Father God who is love itself and our Lord.