New Series - Practicing the Way

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Introduction

The book of Mark ends by posing a question; how do we respond to the mysterious victory of Jesus? Do we go and tell or freeze in fear?

When the disciples initially encountered that question, they froze, unsure how they were supposed to live into the reality of Jesus’ victory. But, Jesus made them a promise in Acts 1:8, saying, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Then following Jesus’ promise in Acts 2, on the day of Pentecost, the followers of Jesus were “filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Later in the New Testament, when writing to a young church, the apostle Paul talks about life in the Spirit and calls the church to “walk by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16), which is then followed by a list of “fruit.” We often think of the fruit of the Spirit as “abstract virtues” or qualities of character that develop over time. That’s sort of true, but for Paul, the fruit of the Spirit are practices through which we “walk by the Spirit.” They are the way we embody our belief and cultivate a life of a Christlikeness. They aren’t virtues to be admired but a way of participating in the life of the Spirit and live into the reality of Jesus’ victory.

From September 29 – November 24 we will be exploring the fruit of the Spirit, not simply as values or virtues but as a way of participating, keeping in step with, the Spirit’s work in us and the world. Each fruit will be partnered with a passage and a historic Church practice. These practices are not absolutist, but they are traditional ways the people of Jesus have embodied their belief together (aka Faith). For example, the fruit of kindness will be partnered with the practice of hospitality as a tangible expression and means of participating in God’s kindness to and through his people to the world around us.

Fruit, Passage, Practice

Love – 1 Cor. 13 – Prayer

Joy – Hebrew 12:2 – Submission

Peace – Ephesians 2:11-22 – Preaching the Gospel

Patience – 2 Cor. 2:3-11 – Rest

Kindness – Ephesians 4:17-32 – Hospitality

Goodness – Luke 6:27-36 – Forgiveness

Meekness – Matthew 11:28,29 – Simplicity

Faithfulness – John 15:1-11 – Community

Self-Control – 2 Peter 1:3-11 – Worship