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The Fruit of the Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit

Chaplain Michael Meccia, guest preacher.
Bel Air Chapel, Round Rock, TX, January 4th 2022

Hebrews 13:8 - Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

We are worshiping today during the 12 days of Christian celebration from Christmas Day to the Epiphany on January 6, when the Magi from the East arrived in Bethlehem with gifts for the newborn King of the Jews.

Part of our celebration of the birth of Jesus includes giving gifts to loved ones. We give different gifts to different people. Some gifts are practical and suitable for many, while some gifts are uniquely chosen for a specific person. Some people receive many gifts, others receive just a few. All the recipients of gifts know they are loved by the gift giver.

Buying gifts for loved ones this year has been a challenge for many. We hear of supply chain problems that make finding just the right gift for that special person difficult, and inflation causes the price of all goods, including gifts, to go up.

There are some gifts that are not affected by supply chain problems; in fact, over 2 billion Christians worldwide have already received their gifts. And the cost of their gifts, even with inflation, is not a problem because these gifts have already been paid for and are freely given. Many of the gifts are unique and custom fit to the individual receiving them, and they do not wear out; they get better the more you use them in service to God through serving others.


These are the gifts of the Holy Spirit

We do not get to choose which gifts we receive from the Holy Spirit when we repent from the sin of being the master of our own life, living separated from God, and becoming a follower of Jesus. Once we are born again in Christ, we receive the greatest gift of all, eternal with God.

Romans 10:9
 
Because if you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and in your heart you have faith that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works so that no one can boast.

John 3:36 
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life. Whoever doesn’t believe in the Son won’t see life, but the angry judgment of God remains on them

 2 Corinthians 17 
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

The apostle Paul summed up the gifts of the Holy Spirit in his letter to the church in Corinth:

1 Corinthians 12
4
There are different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; and there are different ministries and the same Lord; and there are different activities but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. A demonstration of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good.

While the gifts of the spirit are chosen by God and are unique to each person, the fruit of the Spirit, which is a measure of the person’s virtues as they gradually model their life after Christ, are the same for all Christians:

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Just as the fruit ripens gradually on the vine, the Fruit of the Spirit is also cultivated and grows over time. Good fruit requires the work and time needed to produce it abundantly.

John 15:2
He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit.

Unlike the “Gifts of the Spirit” (plural) which God chooses for us, all nine virtues composing “The Fruit of the Spirit” (singular) are on display for the world to see in each child of God.

Matthew 7:15-20

15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are vicious wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruit. Do people get bunches of grapes from thorny weeds, or do they get figs from thistles? 17 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, and every rotten tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit. And a rotten tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore, you will know them by their fruit.

The Fruit of the Spirit is singular rather than plural because God’s Spirit has all nine attributes. Imagine baking a fruit cake containing pieces of cherries, raisins, peaches, figs, and other fruits. Once baked, each slice of the fruit cake displays all the fruit used in the recipe bound together in one serving. When you serve a slice of the fruit cake to a friend, they can see each of the different fruit (and sometimes some nuts) that went into the batter. So too is it that people see the Fruit of the Spirit in you when you walk with God.