As City Harvest Church entered the first weekend of a new year, Pastor Bobby Chaw shared with the congregation on what it means to bear the fruit of the Spirit.
“Many people start their new year by praying and setting goals,” said Bobby Chaw, City Harvest Church’s executive pastor. It is important to have goals and visions because they keep people focused on what God has called them to do.
Pastor Bobby was preaching at the first weekend service of 2020, on Jan 4 and 5. He taught that every believer needs to start the year right with God. Reading out Proverbs 29:18, the pastor reminded the congregation that without a vision, people get distracted by the busyness of life.
“Now once you have a vision and goal, you’ve got to do it and keep on doing it!”
In 2011, Pastor Bobby embarked on a doctor of ministry program with Southern Methodist University in Dallas. But as he got busier with the ministry, he found it hard to keep up with his studies and projects. The only time he could work on his projects was during the holidays. While overseas with his family, he would bring his books and laptop so that he could study while they were asleep.
Despite his efforts, he failed to meet the deadline and received notice that he would be terminated from the program. While on one hand, he felt relief, on the other hand, he was disheartened because all his efforts had not come to fruition. Thankfully, the school considered his situation and gave him a 2-month extension. He finally graduated at the end of last year with a Doctor of Ministry in Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
BEARING THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Getting to the crux of his message, Pastor Bobby reads out Galatians 5:22-23, a passage on the fruit of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and, self-control—these being the characteristics of God. Pastor Bobby explained that the fruit of the Spirit is different from the gifts of the Spirit because different people function in different gifts such as prophecy, healing or teaching; but the fruit of the Spirit is not divided among believers. Every follower of Christ is expected to bear the fruit of the Spirit.
Also, the fruit of the Spirit is singular. “We cannot say, ‘I am joyful, but don’t expect me to be patient.’” The pastor emphasized that all the characters are one fruit.
“How can a person bear such a character? It is only by the Holy Spirit. We cannot produce godliness apart from the Holy Spirit.”
With that, Pastor Bobby taught two ways in which the Holy Spirit works in a believer’s life to produce the fruit of the Spirit.
Firstly, through the Word of God. Psalm 1:2-3 teaches that the person who delights in the Word of God, and meditates on it day and night, will bear fruit.
“As we read and meditate on the Word, the Holy Spirit convicts our hearts and show us the areas that need to be changed.”
The reason why meditating on God’s Word is life-changing is because a person becomes what he or she meditates on (Pro 23:7). Therefore, it is important for believers to guard what goes on in their hearts and minds.
“You have to deal with sin at the point of thought. Don’t deal with it after you’ve done it; deal with it the moment you think about it.”
He urged the church to make a commitment this year to meditate, memorize, pray and study the Scripture.
The second way in which the believer can have the fruit of the Spirit is by abiding in Christ. Reading out John 15:4-5, Pastor Bobby reminded the church that abiding in Christ is a command to every believer. The verse reads, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.’”
The pastor further explained the verse, saying, “We are branches, Jesus is the vine. A branch is lifeless and useless unless it remains attached to the vine.” A branch bears fruit only because of the life provided by the vine.
This explains the importance of fellowship because when the fellowship of Christ is broken, one cannot display the fruit of the Spirit no matter how much he or she leads or serves in the church; it will simply be a false front.
“Now the secret of abiding is obedience. It is to do what Jesus does, live how Jesus lives and think how Jesus thinks,” said Pastor Bobby. He shared that Proverbs 1:23, 30-31 teaches that God will pour His life-giving Spirit on His people when they submit to Him.
He went on to explain that “to abide” is to remain; not to depart; to continue to be present, and to wait. It is something done continuously. In the Old Testament, this practice of abiding is known as waiting on the Lord. In the book of Psalm, the psalmist often calls believers to wait upon the Lord.
“In Hebrew, to wait on the Lord means to literally bind yourself to the presence of God. To bear fruit, we need to maintain a consistent intimate relationship with the Lord.”
Abiding in Christ is also abiding in the church, which is the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12-27). Believers cannot grow in isolation, they can only grow in the community. That is why God created fellowship so that believers can help strengthen one another in their walk with God. Some of the characters of the fruit of the Spirit–patience, kindness, goodness–can only be developed in the company of others.
In conclusion, Pastor Bobby urged the church not to give up on one another, but instead, bear the fruit of the Spirit to eventually grow into the image of Christ.