The Fruit of the Spirit—At Home

For some time I have sensed a need for another series of lessons geared toward marriage and family. The more I study scripture the more I see the great importance of applying the specifics of the “gospel life,” as some call it, to our lives at home. When I began to study the fruit of the Spirit with this in mind, some amazing things started coming to light!

A theory or ideology is one thing; applying it to practical life can be quite another! Can the principles of love, joy, or self-control actually work in daily life? Can they become reality? They must. What good is my Christian profession if it’s not working at home?

Our loving God has promised to make us partakers of His divine nature. Let’s give our hearts unto prayerful study of the divine characteristics He has shared with us through the pouring out of His Holy Spirit. If you are married or single, a parent or a child, a grandparent or a teenager, there will be something in God’s Word for you in this series!

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”

John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Hosea 14:8b From me is thy fruit found.

Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Philippians 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

James 3:18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

MEMORY VERSE: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. —Galatians 5:22-23

CENTRAL THOUGHT: Jesus has saved us and filled us with His Spirit so we may bear the precious fruits of righteousness every day in our lives; only as we are in union with Him, abide in Him, and remain under His discipline will we bear good fruit that will endure.


John 15:1 “Husbandman”: farmer; vine-dresser; tiller of the soil.

John 15:2 “Purge”: to cleanse from filth or impurity; to prune.

Hebrews 12:11 “Chastening”: discipline; instruction; training. “Exercised”: from a Greek word picture of the ancient Greek athlete in intense training. Stripped of his outer garments, he endures constant, rigorous discipline in order to maintain top physical ability, agility and endurance. From this word, gumnazo, we get the English words gymnasium and gym.


We begin this series of lessons with Jesus giving the example of the vine and branches as He prepared His disciples for His death, resurrection, ascension and indwelling Holy Spirit. Combine this passage with Romans chapters 6 and 11, and you have a very clear teaching about the possibility of being cut off or losing your salvation if through unbelief or disobedience you do not abide or remain in Christ; coupled with verses of hope for the cut-off ones to be reconnected to the vine through faith and obedience. We also quote from Paul’s writings to the Galatians, Philippians, and the Hebrews, and James’ instructions to the church.

Fruit-bearing was not a new subject for Jesus to be teaching. As early as His Sermon on the Mount, He had used analogies of fruit, trees, and plants to illustrate spiritual truths. In the Old Testament, God had compared His dealings with His people to a husbandman who cares for a vineyard: “What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?” (Isaiah 5:4).

Our verses today teach very important truths, which we may use as a quick check-list:

We must be connected to the vine. Fruit only comes through union with Christ! (“Abide in Me.”)

In the parable of the sower, the “ground” of the heart must be “good.” Fallow, unattended, or hard ground must be broken up; meaning the heart must be made tender and receptive, and stones, thorn roots and carnal seeds taken out.

Through trusting in Him and delighting in His Word, we must draw spiritual water from His Spirit. (“And my words abide in you…”)

The old life of self must die—initially and continually. (“If it die it bringeth forth much fruit.”)

We must endure pruning, chastening, cultivating, and fertilizing. (“He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”)

Don’t be discouraged if you feel you just aren’t seeing the love, gentleness, or self- control in your life; neither should you let the fear of being “cut off” keep you from progress. Consider the parable in Luke 13 where Jesus told of taking extra time to dig about and fertilize an unfruitful plant. This is not an excuse for slothfulness but a reminder of God’s mercy shown in discipline.

Accept His discipline which will, many times, involve Him letting you see how weak and marred you are without Him. Remember, He is digging about you, pruning the little shoots of self-reliance and pride, hacking out the stones of envy and bitterness, feeding the malnourished pockets where fear and doubt wreaked havoc. He has chosen you and put you where He put you, and it is His will that you bear MUCH FRUIT!

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. Jesus is the true _________, and His Father is the ____________, which means ____________, _______-_____________ or ____________ of the ________.
  2. Every branch that does not bear fruit, He _________ ____________.
  3. Every branch that bears fruit, He ____________ it, which means to ____________ or ____________.
  4. Find two statements that match very closely—one from Hosea and one from Jesus.
  5. Which prophet told the Pharisees that their fruits must be fitting to their repentance?
  6. Jesus spoke of purging, or pruning, for more fruit-bearing. How does Hebrews 12:11 express this same truth?


Years ago when our children were young, an older minister bared his soul in a message preached at Monark. He gave examples of how he often neglected his sons for the work of the ministry. He was gone a lot in meetings, and when he was at home he was often busy with counseling, visiting, praying for the sick and other ministerial duties. He asked his sons’ forgiveness when they were older, but couldn’t buy back the years that were spent.

We were deeply moved by the message and didn’t want that failure to be ours. One of our greatest desires was to have a happy home. So we made many good memories: camping, trips back to campmeeting, skiing, tubing, hiking, trips to the coast, reading, and singing. However, we failed to comprehend and understand the value and great significance of meeting emotional needs in one another and our children. Being together is wonderful and a great start, but it is not enough. As I, Bob, have gotten older, I realize that my emotional needs as a child were not met; that, along with many negative influences have made it very difficult for me to know and understand emotional needs. I also realize that much of men’s communication is surface level (it’s easier) and lacks emotional depth.

Following is a list of innate emotional needs we as humans have:

1. Security—safe territory and an environment which allows us to develop. Consider the danger of over-using or overdoing of corporal punishment.

2. Attention—to give and to receive.

3. Sense of autonomy and control—having volition to make responsible choices.

4. Emotional connection to others.

5. Feeling part of a wider community or bigger whole.

6. Friendship; intimacy—(IN-TO-ME-SEE)—the knowledge that at least one person accepts us totally for who we are, negatives and all.

7. Privacy; opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience. 8. Sense of competence and achievement.
9. Awareness of meaning and purpose.

We all—husband, wife, children—have emotional needs which are just as real and important as nourishment for the physical body.

—Bro. Bob and Sis. Leah Wilson, Enid, Oklahoma

Married September 28, 1985