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Lesson 8: Fruit of the Holy Spirit *

Introduction: Talking with Christians about the Holy Spirit can sometimes get pretty confusing. Last week we studied the specific "gifts" of the Holy Spirit - which to an outsider sounds like the Holy Spirit might have something in common with Santa Claus. This week we study the "fruit" of the Holy Spirit, which sounds like the Holy Spirit might have something in common with an fruit tree. How would you explain the difference between the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and find out!

  1. Gifts v. Fruit

    1. Read Galatians 5:22-23. Why is it appropriate to call "love, joy, peace, etc." the "fruit" of the Holy Spirit? This sounds like no fruit I have ever seen in the grocery market. How do you explain this?

    2. Read Matthew 7:15-17. How does Jesus use the term "fruit" in this context? (Just as a tree bears fruit, so people bear "fruit" in their actions and attitudes.)

    3. Read Matthew 7:18-19. What does the "fruit" of a person, say about the person? (Fruit reveals what kind of a person you are. If you are a bad person, you bear bad "fruit." A good person bears good "fruit.")

    4. Let's look again at the subject of our study last week. Read 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. If someone is given the "gift" of wisdom by the Holy Spirit, wouldn't the "fruit" of that be "smart thoughts?" Would not the fruit of the gift of healing be healthy people?

      1. If so, why are these not mentioned as "fruits" of the Holy Spirit?

      2. Read 1 Corinthians 12:7. What is the purpose of the gifts of the Holy Spirit? (The "common good." The idea that I see is that everyone has one or more "gifts" from the Holy Spirit that is used to build up the church - the body of believers. Thus, saying that a "fruit" of the gift of wisdom is "smart thoughts" for the individual is not exactly right. The idea is that the gift helps others, it does not just improve the holder of the gift. Everyone works together with their different gifts to make the entire church body better.)

    5. Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. Notice that this text puts gifts and fruits together. What is Paul saying about them?

      1. Is Paul saying that a person can have a gift without having a fruit? (Yes, apparently. He also appears to be saying that things like "smart thoughts" are not a fruit of the Holy Spirit.)

        1. If Paul is saying that, what do you think is wrong with having a gift but not having fruit?

          1. Let's look at the examples that Paul gives us. If someone has the gift of "faith" - the faith to do special miracles, such moving a mountain, but does not have love, why is that a problem?

            1. Last week we discussed the fact that not all Christians have all gifts. Is it possible that "love" is just not the gift given to this person who can move mountains?

            2. If someone with the gift of faith heals me from cancer, do I care if that person is loving or not? I would rather have someone who healed me from cancer without love than someone who loved me but was unable to heal me. "My lawyer (doctor) is really nice, but basically incompetent."

          2. Notice the other example: the gift of tongues. What did we decide last week was the purpose of the gift of tongues? (To communicate.)

            1. What is Paul trying to tell us when he says the gift of tongues without love is like "a resounding gong or clanging cymbal?" (You hear the sound, but it doesn't mean anything to you.)

    6. Have you ever seen someone who had a wonderful, expensive, powerful tool - but did not know how to use it properly? I think that illustrates the difference between gifts and fruits. Gifts are the "tools" that the Holy Spirit gives to us to promote the common good. Fruits are results in our personal life of the use of those tools.)

      1. Are gifts and fruit related?

    7. Read Matthew 7:21-23. Is this a "gifts" and "fruits" problem? (Yes. Remember that the fruits demonstrate the type of tree? Here, people are demonstrating the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but they did not truly know God. The fruit of love shows that the person knows God and has a relationship with God.)

    8. Friend, if you are a Christian, this is scary stuff, right? You can exercise the very "top" gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to Matthew 7, yet not be saved because your fruit gives you away as not knowing God. That makes the fruit very important, so let's turn next to the first fruit of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22.

  2. First Fruit: Love

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 13:4. Since cars had not yet been invented, is there a "driving the car" exception to patience? Should there be?

      1. Have you seen someone who obviously had important gifts of the Holy Spirit, but did not seem to be patient or kind?

        1. Would you fall into that category?

      2. What relationship do envy, boasting and pride have to each other? (They have in common comparing yourself to others. Either others are doing better and you do not like it, or you are doing better and you want them to know about it.)

      3. This past weekend my son, Blake, who is the webmaster and primary funding source of this website ( graduated from Andrews University. He graduated with the highest honors possible: Summa Cum Laude and an Andrews Scholar. I mentioned this to friends (actually, to just about anyone who would listen) several times before and during last weekend. Have I sinned in writing this? Was it boasting and pride that is not love to tell others?

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 13:5. Do you see any relationship between being rude, easily angered, self-seeking and keeping score of wrongs? (These are the opposite of being patient, kind and not proud. If you cannot tell if you are patient, kind and not boastful, see if you can find yourself described in verse 5.)

      1. Why should we not keep a record of wrongs?

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 13:6. What does it mean to delight in evil? Can you give me an example?

      1. Would 1 Corinthians 13:6 be a special text for newspaper editors? (Rejoicing in evil would be to appreciate the misfortunes of others.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 13:7. In what way do you think that love "hopes" and "perseveres?" (As opposed to rejoicing in the misfortunes of others, instead you hope that they will do well. You continue to look forward to the day when things will get better for them.)

    4. Read 1 Corinthians 13:8-10. In what other way is the fruit of the Holy Spirit unlike the gifts of the Holy Spirit? (This text tells us that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are not a constant thing. They come and go. But, the fruit of the Spirit is something that should be constant in our life.)

      1. Which do you think is more important, gifts or fruit?

    5. Read 1 Corinthians 13:13. Why is love the greatest of the fruits of the Spirit?

    6. Friend, what kind of fruit do you find in your life? If your "fruit" shows that you are a bad "tree," then I invite you today to confess your sins, ask Jesus to save you and have the Holy Spirit give you good fruit.

  1. Next week: The Christian Guide.
* Copr. 2006, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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