Grow Fruit Part 1: Internal Fruit

The fruit of the Spirit describes the inner character of Jesus, that God the Holy Spirit produces in you when you are intimately and organically connected to Christ. 

Grow Fruit: Part 1: Internal Fruit
That task of a disciple is to Grow Deep, Grow Up and Grow Fruit. Today we are going to start a series of messages about the types of fruit a believer in Christ is expected to grow.

We will utilize Jesus teaching concerning producing fruit as our guiding text for our exploration.

John 15:5 (NLT) & John 15:5 (MSG)
 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.” “When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.”

Of primary importance is being joined with Jesus. An intimate and organic relationship is created when you proclaim that you are a believer.

Matthew 10:32 (NCV) & Romans 10:9 (NLT)
“All those who stand before others and say they believe in me, I will say before my Father in heaven that they belong to me.” “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Observation and study of the scripture indicate that God desires to redeem humanity from the sin that has created an estrangement in relationships. The gospel is that Jesus died, making atonement for our sins so that whosoever believes may know God (Romans 10:13). That you and I may be redeemed from living dead-end lives (John 8:24) and be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:18) that we may live our lives to the full (John 10:10). 

1 Peter 3:18 (MSG)
That's what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others' sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.

Jesus is the only way to know God (Acts 4:12  16:31). To become a disciple of Jesus, repent of your sins (Acts 2:38). But you ask, “What is a sin?” A sin is anything that deters, damages, or destroys, a good, healthy, right relationship. If there are relationships in your life that have gone bad, where once you were close and now estranged that is the result of sin. To become a disciple of Jesus you acknowledged that you have sinned, that you have made choices other than God’s best for your life. To become a disciple you then believe the gospel, that God wants to forgive you and cleanse you and restore you and that it is Jesus sacrifice upon the Cross that makes that possible.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NLT)
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.

To become a disciple of Jesus you commit yourself to follow this risen Christ, you learn how to live righteously.

Jesus cautions you—
Luke 14:28 (NLT) & Luke 14:27 (MSG)
 “But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?” “Anyone who won't shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can't be my disciple.”

If you are willing to surrender your life to God’s will, God’s way, regardless of the cost, then to become a disciple of Jesus ask God to accept you as His own. God sees the sincerity of your heart and engrafts you into the Vine. Now God has established in you an intimate and organic relationship with Jesus. The result is that you will bear fruit.

The first fruit that will begin to grow in your life is internal fruit. There is transforming power that God puts inside of you. It is the power of the Holy Spirit to sanctify you, to empower you to live God’s way. The result of this empowerment is that internal fruit grows, we call it the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 (MSG)
But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

Slowly love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23 (NIV) begin to grow, changing you within. Jesus said that he was the vine, he was referring to grapevines. We live close enough to vineyards for you to go and walk through one. The vine supports the branches upon which the grapes grow. On the branches, tiny buds appear between the stem and leaf. From the buds comes a flowering. After the flowering, there is pollination, and after pollination, the flower develops a seed around which a grape will begin to grow. The grape changes colors as it grows and ripens. Finally, there is an abundant harvest.

Now that you are intimately and organically connected in a right relationship with Jesus the fruit of the Spirit will naturally grow inside of you. This fruit comprises the characteristics of Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit are virtues which help you to relate to life in accordance with the scripture. As the fruit grows inside you, that transformation into the likeness of Jesus is taking place.

Love is the disposition to obey God and in relations with others, it is respecting others and seeking to meet their needs even at the cost of a sacrifice of your resources in time, talent, treasure. Some would tell you it’s the cardinal virtue, some would sing “All you need is love.”

Joy for me has been the most elusive because I did not understand what it was. I equated joy with the emotional elation we feel when something wonderful happens. But joy as the fruit comes from being convinced that we are saved now coupled with the anticipation of the full salvation that is coming to us. This joy is inner confidence in God being able to deliver us into life eternal. This joy convinces you that you win no matter what happens.

Peace is a precious fruit. It consists of inner serenity, an eye of the storm inside of you, where you can find tranquility because you trust in God to see you through all the situations of life. This peace overcomes frustration and anxiety which we are so commonly prone. This peace keeps you on track when troubles come for you are convinced that “everything will be alright in Christ.”

Patience is fruit that makes it possible to restrain our anger when dealing with those referred to as EGR’s. “Extra Grace Required” and it is, to maintain a healthy relationship with that person who “tries our patience.”  An older term comes to mind “long-suffering.” Patience empowers a gracious response to those who drive us crazy.

Kindness allows us to be generous and considerate, to do good to others, to look beyond their outward behavior and sense their heart.  This fruit demonstrates its fullness as it tempers our retorts when someone is rude, harsh, and unjust towards us. The fruit of kindness makes it possible for you to speak truthfully without potentially hurtful and divisive comments.
Goodness empowers moral excellence, loving conformity to Christ-likeness. We are good because we obey the great command of scripture Love God, Love Others. Instead of rendering evil for evil when we have been sinned against we can bless the offender, giving them the opportunity to repent and be reconciled. 

Faithfulness knows that God is dependable, it allows one to be steadfast in one’s loyalty to God in the midst of difficulty, even with a lack of understanding of what is actually happening. Inside we find a quiet consistency to remain on task in our pursuit of God, in carrying out the calling God has placed on our lives especially when we are in the midst of difficult times.

Gentleness, or in the older translations “meekness” is only possible when one is strong in the Spirit. Teachable is another word I have heard that describes this fruit, It means that when some sort of correction comes instead of discouraging you, it stimulates you to do better with the hope that you will. Another understanding is that you are able to bear an attack upon yourself when you are accused of some malfeasance because you know who judges justly. Your response to such will be assertive, not aggressive.

Self-Control is to be governed by principle and reason, not passion. Temptations arise to be selfish, to indulge our egoism, this fruit empowers us to choose our behaviors such that we remain true to the law of love. We have the power to control our drives and desires submitting them to obedience to God’s will and way.

It is this fruit growing in our lives that we are like Jesus. You need to know that these are not nine different fruits, these nine are the fruit, the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit. This is the fruit that should be growing in your life having believed. Not only should you sense it ripening in your inner self, but others should be able to see that your behavior is in accordance with this fruit.

This fruit grows naturally but not independently. [(H.R. Dunning, Becoming Christlike Disciples, p 85. ] As in the vineyard, the branches need to be tended to, the soil needs to be cared for, pruning, fertilizing, watering, guarding against disease or crop devouring insects, for a fruitful harvest we must keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).

To keep in step with the Spirit, to tend the vineyard, recall the elementary teaching of the 7 habits of a disciple. It is through our bible study, prayer, fellowship, service, worship, obedience and contemplation that we encounter God, that we sense God’s direction in our life. Building upon that foundation, those continual practices of the 7 habits, we must choose to act in accordance with the fruit of the Spirit. We are to develop a conscious dependence on God. Remembering God is with us in all that we do. There will be times when you will not feel and not act according to the fruit. When we miss the mark, we repent, becoming that much more aware of our need for God’s Holy Spirit to transform us and reproduce the mind of Christ within us (Philippians 2:5). That awareness helps us to choose correctly next time.

Jesus said: “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.” “When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.”

When people walk through the vineyard, which is one’s very life, coming in contact with you, they should find an abundance of this fruit of the Spirit.

Such fruit only grows in those who have an intimate and organic relationship with Jesus, such a person has chosen to become a disciple of Jesus. As disciples of Jesus, we must cooperate with what the Spirit is growing within us. We must learn to listen and put into practice the wisdom the Spirit gives so that we produce an abundant harvest. Is there fruit growing in your life?

John 15:8 (NIV)
This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.


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