Text Box: LOVE  Love is the root and foundation of all the fruits of the spirit. Love must be in a state of growth before any of the other fruits can take root in our spirit. Love is selflessness; it is the restriction of all selfishness; the lack of all fear of not having personal glory or gain. Love is summarized and defined completely in this single phrase: “God is Love.” It is well itemized in 1 Corinthians 13. Love restricts the flesh, which is often rightly defined as the ego. Love is not puffed up, does not vaunt itself, does not behave unseemly, seeks not its own, thinks no evil, is not easily provoked, hates iniquity, never envies and cannot fail. But love is like the Divine Nature; it rejoices in the truth, is kind, is long-suffering. It believes all things that God wishes to be, it endures all that God desires it should endure, bears all God’s burdens, and hopes for the fulfillment of all of God’s future plans. The death of the flesh and the forsaking of the self-conscious ego allows love in the door of our heart. Love is God’s character, His way and the very essence of His being. It is the foundation of all the glorious fruits of the Spirit which are cultivated by faith in dying to self so that the resurrected Christ may find room and become welcome to abide in us.



Text Box: JOY  The joy of the Lord is my strength. So the Scripture entreats. Joy, as a spiritual fruit, is not earthly or carnal joy, but joy that derives from the bosom of God. We are anointed with the oil of gladness by our protracted desires and effort of will to praise God for all of His manifold mercies toward us, “who daily loadeth us with benefits” (Ps. 68.19). Our joy is not confined or conditioned on factors of worldly joy or the style and luxury we may enjoy, or the approval of man we might win to our side. Applause, esteem and awards of men, recognition, or success in the world do not give rise to our joy, in fact, they often end up diminishing our joy. In Christ we are cultivated in and by the Spirit to rejoice in God’s love and grace bestowed upon us on a daily basis. In the end, this is what makes God joyous; this is what makes our spirit beam with joy. Our joy, our true, abiding and lasting joy subsists in union with God’s desires and His joy. This is the meaning of “the joy of the Lord is my strength”, and the essence of the spiritual fruit of joy. My joy will be derived from what God takes pleasure in and when He is happy and glad. God’s joy being realized is what strengthens my soul and blesses my spirit. The joy of the Lord, therefore, will be and is, my strength.


























Text Box: PEACE    The fruit of Peace is the peace that passeth all understanding. What peace could this be? It is the ability to stand in the presence of God feeling no condemnation or apprehension. It certainly must be a heavenly fruit because no man can alone stand before God. It is a peace won by the blood of Jesus Christ that has purchased all forgiveness of unrighteousness in God’s eyes. If I am obedient to Christ I am reassured of God’s love for me. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The peace of the Spirit is the growing assurance that we are in God’s loving care that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to them who are called according to His purpose”. This peace allows us to be used by Him because when we are at peace with Him we can trust Him. We have been reconciled to God by Christ and we are now partakers of the ministry of reconciliation of Christ. The peace of the Spirit is not peace with the world, for Christ came not to bring peace but a sword to the world, but we are at peace with our creator. When we are obedient peace abides in our heart we can stand in the presence of Almighty God with assurance of faith.






Text Box: Longsuffering  The fruit of longsuffering is often thought to be just another word for patience, but patience is much more than longsuffering since it is a requirement for the growth of all the fruits. Longsuffering is the maintenance of hope and the forbearance of faults in other. When we are longsuffering toward a person or their deeds we are as Jesus who was able to put up with the ignorance of the disciples and the “little faith” of His closest friends without condemning them. His longsuffering spirit was able to teach them in spite of these frustrations which at times vexed His soul. Longsuffering is the willingness to aid the feeble-minded and to help those who are weak in the faith. It is able to pardon faults in others and forgive even those who have committed wrongs against us. “And be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” (1 Thess. 5:13-15) Jesus exhibited His longsuffering character when Peter tried to talk Him out of going to Jerusalem to be crucified and when John and James wanted to call fire down on the Samaritans. Both times the disciples did not know what spirit was urging them on, but Jesus did not reject them, He merely corrected them. Perhaps the greatest instance of longsuffering was on the cross when he said, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”












Text Box: GENTLENESS    The early Christian writer Irenaeus associated the fruit of gentleness with what he called “childliness”. Jesus said, “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” We must come to God with a child’s faith and trust. This is being gentle towards the Spirit of God. The fruits are an expression of Christ’s character and He too was and is a son. He always goes to the Father in a humble and gentle manner. He always paid honor and respect to the Father as a dutiful child. As a child is unassuming and trusting, so gentleness of spirit exhibits the same qualities. “speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.” (Titus 3:2)














Text Box: GOODNESS  Goodness is simply godliness. Being a partaker of the Divine Nature means partaking of God’s character and godliness is fundamental to being like God. “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (II Tim. 2:22). Godliness is the forsaking of self. All selfishness, self-consciousness and self-pity. Godliness is the propensity to look to the things of others and come in the spirit of a true servant. Resisting all temptations of the flesh makes room for attitudes and actions of godliness. Godliness is the true positive outlook on life, “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Phil 4:8). The spiritual fruit of goodness expresses the wholesome and clean spirit of God.

















Text Box: FAITH  Faith is unique among the fruits because it is the only characteristic that is common to the Scriptural list of both the gifts and the fruits of the Spirit. Faith is given by the Spirit and is grown in us. It is a two way street: the gift of God and a fruit that is cultivated through prayer and by asking God Himself to increase it in us. The Word itself is the food that supplies the energy that causes faith to grow in us; “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Since faith is either given to us by God or grown in us by the Spirit it is obtained in purely spiritual ways through our relationship with God and, therefore, has spiritual substance and reality. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” God sees to it that our faith is confirmed by evidence and that it takes on substance. Through faith we are told that we gain understanding of things which cannot be discerned with our physical senses.


















Text Box: MEEKNESS  “The meek also shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.”, so the prophet Isaiah reports. (Isa. 29:19) Meekness is the forsaking of our own way and rejoicing in God’s will. This attitude will strengthen us in the inner man though we appear weak on the outside. The Bible tells us that Moses, the mighty man of God was “very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth”. In his lack of self-reliance and his recognition of God’s power Moses found true strength. The Psalmist sang, “the meek shall inherit the earth: and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace”  It was this Psalm Jesus referred to when He said, “blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth”. Humble meekness allows us to enter into the treasury of God’s wealth. When we are weak, or meek and humble, then He can be strong in us. This is the meaning of: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”. The prophet summed up the fruit of meekness in this command: “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

Text Box: TEMPERANCE  As the fruit of Love is needed as a nutrient for all the other fruits, temperance is an aggregate of all the fruits combined. Temperance is more than just abstaining from lusts and carnal appetites, though it is certainly that. Temperance is the balance of all the fruits together so that nothing but love dominates. Temperance blends and molds joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness and meekness with the right proportion of faith. Temperance sees to it that the fruits are put at God’s disposal according to His timing and His need. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” (Rom.15:13) Our joy, peace, goodness and faith, along with the other fruits will be made evident in our natural operation of a daily life in Christ through our temperate and modest life.


Cultivating the Fruits of the Spirit
                                                                                                                  by Terry Smith
         It’s all about the fruit. This should be common knowledge among all mature Christians. Jesus told his disciples that they would be able to detect a true believer, not by the gifts of the spirit which they exhibit, or the power they wield, or even by the kindly words they utter, but he said, “by their fruits ye shall know them”. The book of James puts it in these terms: “Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only”. John’s first epistle says our love of God and man is proven by our obedience to His Word, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” In essence, the critical thing about our life in Christ is not in how results are obtained and fruits are produced by how good the results and how good the fruits are, and how useful they are to the purposes of God in enriching His kingdom. In other words, the tools God uses to grow the fruits are secondary in importance to the fruits. Just as a rotor-tiller, shovel, rake and hoe are important instruments in the hands of the gardener yet incidental compared to the purpose for which they are employed, which is to see to it that fruits grow to maturity for the owner’s enjoyment and consumption.

            The fruits, therefore, are the bottom line of the spiritual life. Without them coming to being and growing to maturity our lives are extensively failures, fruitless and barren. If the peach tree does not have sweet peaches for our eating its reason for being, even if it gives shade, for other trees are better suited for this purpose, is not realized. It is nothing more than an ornamental tree and no glory is given to the gardener who expects sweet fruit to nourish his household and garnish the table of his friends. There are too many “ornamental” Christians who make a good show of being fruitful, but in truth bear no fruit for the Master’s use. Like a peach tree, we were not created for show. We were not given new birth for the sake of the gifts of the spirit, neither for knowledge, great preaching, beautiful writing, or fine evangelizing; but to bring forth the fruits of the spirit. This is most true of the call to brideship. It is the ultimate reason why we have been chosen to live a life in Christ.
            As the apostle Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of the angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And thought I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”
         Without love (the primary fruit, under which all others bow in submission) then all the most wonderful prophecies and sweet sounding spiritual utterances are just so much racket and clatter. Without the fruits, all knowledge of the Word and every deep revelation of God ends up as just a Brooks Brothers suit by which we dress up our pride. Even faith to heal or to do miracles which have the power to transform vulgar reality into true new reality will result in nothing in the end, unless it is done by the majesty of God’s loving works. Every charitable act and good work, if done apart from love, will profit the laborer nothing at all. Only the fruit of the spirit can make things count, make things eternally real. Without love, Paul contends, we are just a bag of hot air amounting to nothing and being of no profit to God or, ultimately even to ourselves.

      The Gifts of the Spirit, as enumerated in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, along with others not expressly mentioned in those lists, are tools in the hands of the Great Gardener (The Husbandman) and they should not be despised or discarded any more than a gardener would refuse the use of tilling, watering, pruning and weeding implements. The gifts and knowledge are vital but they are not the end all. They may look impressive, as they duly are, but they are not what glorifies The Father. Christ when plainly spoke at the Last Supper. The Father He equates to a Gardner and He said He is the vine. “Here in is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” So then, it is not a spectacular show of faith, not the wisdom of Solomon, not compelling preaching in the Church, or even outstanding knowledge of the Word that glorifies God the Father, but the fruits of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance - and the like. We could add righteousness, patience, brotherly kindness and mercy as other godly fruit. These fruits give glory to God the Father for they prove His love is true, His mercy strong and enduring, His care for Man beyond doubt or reproach. The way to glorify God is to see to it that the fruits have room to grow in our lives and hearts. We must allow the Great Gardener to do His work in us. We must permit the use of His tools such as the gifts of the Spirit, the Word of truth and fellowshipping with the body of faithful believers as tools for His use in us and for us. Quench not the spirit, we are told. Despise not prophesyings we are warned. Receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save our souls. The word is given to us to make our souls healthy, to reform, transform and conform our souls into the image of Christ. Forsake not the assembling of yourselves and be sure to share fruit among the body, for the eating and mutual consumption of the works God has wrought in the believer are critical for their continued fertilization, flowering and fruition.
            But, sadly, if we have no godly fruit, which is the only fruit fit for consumption in the household of faith, then we have nothing to contribute to the banquet of the body of Christ. If we do not have the true fruits all we will have are the plastic fruits of hypocrisy or the rotten fruit of disobedience, which is of no use to God’s table. Just as the Father is the true Gardener so Christ is the single Vine from which all other good and fruitful branches must stem. 

       “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 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.
       Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 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. 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.
       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.
       If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” John 15:1-8

        Apart from Christ we can do nothing. In Him we can glorify God by showing forth the power of Christ’s love in the fruits that are truly exhibited in our lives. Anything else is shear talk and vanity. If a branch does not bring forth fruit for the Master’s use then it will be thrown on the rubbish pile, even the hard woody, gnarled, dead branches from the vine are of no use on the compost pile. They are burned along with the rest of the burdensome debris left over from the death of a fruitless winter.

Cultivating the Fruits of the Spirit

     If the Gifts of the Spirit, the Word of Truth and the body of Christ are the tools used in the employ of the Master Gardener to bring forth fruit in the Vine, what shall we say about the techniques which He employs in bringing about the growth of fruit in His branches? Two primary rules of cultivation employed in the spirit by God are first, prayer and then separation. Prayer is the means in which we can become sanctified, or separated. Being separated from the world and sin is the only path to true holiness and the only setting in which good fruit can flourish and become pleasant nutrient in God's Holy Kingdom. That which is separated unto God, or sanctified, is that thing which is first separated from sin and returned back to God, its creator and rightful owner. This separation from sin and a subsequent attachment to God is the pure definition of holiness. That which has been separated out so that it can be separated exclusively to God. Just as the plant must be put in the right place to flourish, so prayer puts the Christian in the right place to have the fruits come forth. And, just as the plant must be isolated from other contending elements like weeds, pestilence and bugs that would take desperately needed nutrients away, so the believer who desires to bring fruits to maturity must be isolated from the injurious things of the world.
            It is in these two states, prayer and separation from the world, that the methods of spiritual cultivation and gardening are able to have effect. We are the plants, God is the gardener. As every gardener has a method and applies knowledge and skill in utilizing his specialized tools; the Spirit knows how and when to use each instrument and for what end it is designed. He knows where to place the plants, whether in the shade, the direct sunlight, or along a fence. He knows what kind of soil is needed, sandy or rich. He understands how much room a plant requires between rows, what kind of pestilence it may be subject to, when and how heavily to water it, how to prune and fertilize it, and when the fruit is ready for harvest, and when it is in a dormant state. The farmer applies his tools to a method of cultivation, and so it is with God, our Father in the Spirit, who is the Great Gardener.
            Jesus told a parable about God The Gardener and the cultivation process that takes place in the kingdom of God.

            “He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.”  (Luke 13:6-9)

            The “certain man” at the opening of the parable is God who has planted, by the power of His Word, a soul in His vineyard. He has prepared the soil and laid the groundwork for a person to be reborn and thrive in the spirit. And after a while, He comes to see His plant has realized its reason for existence: namely, that it has brought forth fruit for the Master’s use. When He finds no fruit he tells the vinedresser, which can be understood to be Christ and His body, to cut it down and get rid of it. “Why does it cumber the ground”, he says with a certain tone of disgust and frustration. All it is doing is taking up space, sucking up water, and requiring precious resources spent on it in vain. The fig tree in this parable is any individual person of the commonwealth of God. As we are warned in the words of the Last Supper, if we do not bare fruit we shall be cast away and burnt like any other useless flotsam and jetsam. The reborn-soul
is being spoken to by God and has been planted in the kingdom by God Himself, but He will not put up with a fruitless, disobedient, and evil servant forever. God will not strive with man forever.

            In His mercy, the Father allows for repeated attempts at cultivating the fruits in one of His precious “branches” to be made. The cultivation process begins with prayer. The vinedressers (the body of Christ) have asked God to give the fruitless tree some more time. God is asked for some favor. This represents prayer in this parable. It is a prayer request of hope and patience. Christ and His body beseech the Father to let some more cultivation take place on this soul before it is uprooted and cast away. An unfruitful and impossible situation can be turned around by spiritual cultivation. First, a plea of hope, a petition of mercy is granted by The Great Gardener, at the request of the body. Prayer, making the request for the chance that fruits may grow, by and for ourselves, or for others in the body of Christ, is the first and most important step in the cultivation of the fruits. (See Steve Gagnon’s story on the prayers at Gethsemane in this section.) Cultivation of the fruits, then, is mounted on faith and established by prayer. Without prayer and faith in God the fruits cannot even begin to grow. We have to trust God that the fruits will grow.

            “And he said, so is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.

For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” (Mark 4:26-29)
            Key to our understanding here is the phrase, we knoweth not how. For the growth of the spiritual fruits are so foreign to our natural impulses and the instincts of our carnal nature that we cannot naturally believe that they will grow in us. We cannot, by our own will power, talent, righteousness or discipline make spiritual fruits grow in us. But it is by faith, through prayer and belief in the power of Christ and His shed blood that the Divine attributes of the fruits of the Spirit can actually take root in us and come to full fruition. Prayer is the first evidence with God of our faith in Him for the growth of the fruits. It sets all further cultivation in motion. We must ask God for the fruits to grow in us and expect that He will see to it, by His loving care, that they will grow in us and expect that He will see to it, by His loving care that they will grow in us. As a plant reaching out of the shade desperately climbing to life-giving sunlight, we must desire through prayer that the sunlight of Christ will shine so brightly on us and nourish us that the fruits will begin to bud, blossom and ripen within us and crown our whole being to the glory of God.
            Prayer is the first method and requisite for growth of the fruits in a believer. As placement of a plant in the right spot and soil condition is key to its health and fruitfulness, so prayer is key to the growth of spiritual fruit. Prayer opens the heavens and the skies and lets the light of growth shine directly on us. As the vinedresser did, we must ask in faith, counting on the Master’s mercy, so we can be tended to and our fruits can grow to maturity.

            Second to prayer in the cultivation of the fruits is the separation, or isolation, of the plant. (See LeRoy Gardenier’s article in this section on the Rechabites.) The vinedresser, often in the person of members of the body of Christ, praying in the name of Jesus for the fruitless person, have asked for opportunity to apply spiritual methods of cultivation. Just as the vinedresser in the parable, we must beseech the Father to keep the plant rooted so that efforts in the spirit can be made to coax the plant into bringing forth fruit.
            The notion of separation is signified in the action of the dresser to “dig around” the tree. A person must have the soil of his heart turned over by the Spirit of God and through the preaching and receiving of the Word in his soul. Faith to believe God’s Word so that action upon it can result is a process that requires digging and turning. As with any plant, the weeds must be removed so precious nutrients are not competed for and depleted by idolatry or any other form of spiritual competition. Water (the Word) that life-giving fluid must reach to the tap-root so life can be sustained in every single cell of our being. We do not want any good part of us die wither and die. The plant must get the necessary sunlight so it can convert elements of the water and nutrients of the soil into food and energy. For these things to take place the plant must stand alone in a proper setting so it can be free to get what it needs. Spiritual Man is no different. If the fruits are to grow we must be segregated. Come out and be ye separate and touch not the unclean thing, is the Bible’s direct plea. We must drink up the water of God’s Word and bask in the life-giving light of Jesus Christ and none other. But our segregation is not only to God, it is also away from the World which is poison to the spirit. A Christian must let the Holy Ghost till the soil of their heart in order to receive His judgment and deliverance from sin - the deadly scourge that shrivels the fruits in us. The Christian must allow God to cut them off from the wisdom of the World and become isolated from the sin and weight that “so easily besets us”. This means the Bride will not believe in or believe the doctrines of the World. She will forsake her worldly judgment, not lean to her own understanding, but trust the Holy Ghost to be her guide and to be her voice. Those who hear the Word of God and do it are the true family of Christ.
            The dresser also promised to “dung” the tree. He said, in essence, that he would feed it. We too must realize that a primary process in the cultivation of separation is fertilization. Manure is required. To us it may not be the most pleasant of processes. It may even be odious. This is the trusting of the Holy Ghost to judge us of our sin, to give us the foul smell of ourselves and our sinful fruits and to feed us with the Truth. How repugnant is the dunging process compared to the sweet smell of the fruits of the Spirit which are afterward produced. We must accept this offensive procedure if the fruits are to take hold and overpower the smell of our sin. We are not favored or understood in the World when this process of “dunging” in us, or in others we are ministering to, is underway. It naturally separates us from the World. We must accept this separation and the persecution which follows.
            The cultivation of the fruits exacts a price sometimes hard to bear. It demands a faith and a willingness to allow the Great Gardener to divorce us from the world, to dig around us and make us unpleasant to those about us. But when the fruits begin to grow it makes our painful separation from old familiar worlds all worth it. First the blossoms come forth with an aroma of beauty and then the much-awaited fruits are ready to be harvested by God for use and consumption at His table for His household. 

Cultivation of the Fruits of the Spirit

                                                                    by LeRoy Gardenier

           There has been renewed interest lately in the ancient tribes of Israel. In certain quarters, focus has been placed once again on the legendary “Lost Tribes of Israel”. These venerable families were, in fact, the historical and very real ten clans of the Northern Kingdom. Many centuries ago, at the time of the Assyrian invasion, they were deported from their Palestinian homeland and scattered abroad. According to a lengthy television documentary aired by a prominent cable network, there are vestiges at this present time of descendants of all these tribes still following rituals and displaying reminders of their remote Israelite origin. According to some experts, living relics of the dispersed tribes can be found on a Mediterranean island; in both  prominent places and remote recesses of northern Africa; among many of the diverse cultures of the Near East; and, even as far removed from their Sinai and Canaanite origins as the far reaches of the Orient!
            In numerous sections of the Bible God’s Word clearly and emphatically states that His separated people will one day be reunited. The southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin will once again be joined with the northern ten tribes of Israel. Excitement about “discovering” the Ten Lost Tribes and speculation by modern researchers of how and when the full and complete reunification of God’s ancient people will take place could quickly peter out and end up on the dust heap of religious sensationalism. But the reality of God’s promises will not pass away. And what He has said and what He has pledged will eventually be fulfilled. All this, in spite of the fact that we may not be able to foresee the details of the fulfillment nor even conceive of the intricate logistics involved.      The current surmising about “The Lost Tribes of Israel” have renewed my interest in and appreciation of another biblical group distinct from the Chosen People but intimately associated with the earliest origins of the divinely appointed nation of Israel. The Kenites and, later, a branch of that tribe called the Rechabites, could accurately be styled as a peculiar people. I use that term, “peculiar”, not in the sense of odd or strange; but rather as denoting a singularly distinctive clan. This is the true biblical meaning of this word, as in 1 Peter 2:9 where the Holy Ghost refers to Christians as “…a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar people…” The larger tribe was not Jews but Arabs who were originally connected with the Amalekites, the earliest and fiercest of Israel’s enemies. It seems, though, that God separated a portion of the Kenites to be used as an edifying example of utter consecration and complete obedience. In His mercy, this spared segment came under His blood covenant and embraced the practice of circumcision through Zipporah, their kinswoman and Moses’ wife. Jethro, Zipporah’s father and an Arabian priest, was the prominent patriarch in their native area. God used this godly father-in-law of His great deliverer to assist Moses in organizing the twelve tribes of Israel. Some, perhaps a majority, of the Kenites remained behind when Israel moved out of the Sinai and headed for Canaan. Yet, a sizable contingent of these descendants of Abraham through his third wife, Keturah, escaped the Amalekite curse. These pious Arabs chose to accept Moses’ invitation to migrate to the Promised Land. Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law, was given the privilege of being the scout and guide for God’s people through the treacherous desert wastes. In this honored post Hobab became the human complement to the Divine guidance of the supernatural pillars of cloud and fire.
Even before the pilgrims arrived in Canaan, God’s prophetic Word assured them that their enemies would be divinely dealt with. In general, the Kenite clan were destined to be destroyed by a future world kingdom called Assyria. In the meantime, a remnant was spared and God used a Kenite woman named Jael to deliver His people from the oppression of a relentless foe named Sisera. Little is said of the Kenites from the time of the Judges until the reign of the anointed Kings. By piercing together brief references to this people, we learn from the Bible that they left the region of Jericho, the entry point into the Promised possession. These select Arabs, all Hebrew proselytes, settled in the Wilderness of Judea. Their chosen habitation included the city of Jabez. At this place, named after a godly Judean prince, there arose a colony of scribes and teachers. We know that these particular Kenites continued in God’s favor. When God commanded Saul to fully extirpate the remaining Amalekites, he first warned and protected this spiritually sensitive group. Again when David, still in hiding on the borders of Judah, divided his spoils among the Judean cities, the Kenites were singled out as worthy of his benefits. These faithful friends were given a fair share of the captured booty.

     The spiritual affinity between these distinctive Arabs and God’s unique nation is highlighted by the final two scriptural references to members of the Kenite tribe. In the sweeping aftermath of the great revival under the prophet Elijah, Jehu is commissioned by God to destroy totally the house of Ahab. He was to eliminate from the land every remnant of the perverted Sidonian idolatry introduced by Jezebel, Ahab’s scheming consort. On the road to godly vengeance, Jehu urges Jonadab, son of Rechab, to accompany him in the mopping-up operations. As with one hand and one heart, Arab and Jew- Jonadab and Jehu – join forces to thoroughly cleanse their common land from the hideous worshippers of Baal.

      In the closing days of the Kingdom of Judah, a select branch of the Kenites came up to Jerusalem to avoid entanglement with Nebuchadnezzar’s invading army. This devout, somewhat ascetic, group was called the Rechabites in honor of the father of that valiant hero, Jonadab. Like his ancestor, Jethro, Rechab must have been an outstanding spiritual leader and a highly revered patriarch. He set high standards of holiness for his followers. They were forbidden to drink wine. The Rechabites could not really settle down in the way some of their kinsmen did, but were permitted to live only in tents. Whether these religious practices were mandated by God or merely distinctive requirements, the Rechabites were applauded by God Himself for their dedication to the wishes of their earthly father and for their unwavering obedience. Through the ministry of the prophet Jeremiah, God commended the Rechabites. He contrasted their sincere submission with the rebellious disobedience which characterized the more privileged tribes out of which He had formed His special nation.
            Although the Rechabites portray a seemingly insignificant role in the story of salvation, I feel they loom quite large on God’s scale of spiritual values. The final biblical promise given by Jeremiah speaks for itself:

          “And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me forever.” (Jeremiah 35:18)

            Such a powerful pledge as this is comparable to the regal Messianic promises called “the sure mercies of David!” However inconsequential others may regard them, for me, the Rechabites represent the forerunners of truly Spirit-submitted believers. Led only by the One who leads into all truth and brings to remembrance all that the Lord Jesus has taught and modeled, modern Rechabites strive for the spirit of wholeheartedness and utter consecration shown by their “separated brethren” of earlier times. Those of us who are fully Pentecostal in the broadest and deepest Full-Gospel sense of that term, will often appear to be, like these ancient people, merely on the fringes of Christendom. Yet, in all spiritual reality, Holy Ghost surrendered worshippers; those aspiring to practice the kind of faith represented by the Church in Philadelphia are intimately involved in Christ’s Kingdom. This class of believers is like their Old Testament spiritual forebears and constitutes a remnant-like minority which displays “little strength” (Rev.3:8). Pentecostals of Philadelphian faith are often raised up in times of crisis and through their continuing yieldedness and submission to the Third Person of the Trinity afford sure guidance and real support to the true Church – that “blessed company of faithful people.”


Cultivating the Fruits of the Spirit
                                                           by Steve Gagnon

        We should all be familiar with the account recorded in the gospels of how Jesus took the disciples into the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed. It was here, shortly before the betrayal that would lead him from his friends into the hands of his death sentencers, where He agonized over the death he would soon suffer. Sweat-like drops of blood fell from him as he sought the Father in earnest prayer, “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42) Jesus knew the business of his Father and had come to do his will and expressed this to his disciples before they left to go to the garden as we see in John 14:31, “…as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” Jesus was always in communion with the Father showing us the necessity of prayer for accomplishing God’s will.
            It was here in the garden where Jesus brought three privileged disciples, Peter, James and John. They left the other disciples behind and followed Jesus further on into the garden. These are the same three who Jesus took to witness his transfiguration on the mountain and who also accompanied him at his side when he raised the daughter Jairus from the dead. Now Jesus left them to pray at only a stone’s throw away and told them to remain and “pray that they would not enter into temptation”. After this we see in Matt 26:40-41, “And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
            This passage has gotten my attention and has raised some questions in my heart. Who is Jesus addressing? I’m inclined to take this personally as though Jesus were speaking directly to me, but what about it? Could this have any significance for them who seek to serve our Lord, to do His bidding? We are told in the books of Matthew and Mark that Jesus was speaking to Peter and in Luke it says that he spoke “unto them”. Peter does seem to be the one whom the Lord pointed out but certainly the others were involved and needed to take heed to what Jesus said and I believe those who want to serve the Lord should also.
            It may be helpful to look at Peter and ask what sort of man he was and can we relate to him at all? Jesus spoke to Peter, I believe, because his character symbolizes the general character of man in many ways. Peter was a great apostle because he was determined to serve and follow Jesus. Peter once said to Jesus while expressing his devotion to him “I will lay down my life for thy sake”. Peter wanted it all from the Lord as we see in John 13:6-9, “Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, what I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” But Peter’s flesh was weak and susceptible to the influences of Satan, and in his own zeal, offended the Lord. We see in Matthew 16:21-23, “From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: Thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” Peter certainly had a need for the fruit of meekness and a humbleness of heart. Peter had much confidence in himself and hesitated little when “he said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.” (Matt 26:35) Yet we know that, just as Jesus had prophesied, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. Peter walked on water at the Lord’s bidding, yet he began to sink as his faith was shaken. He recognized and declared to Jesus, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt 16:16)
             It was apparent in the heart of Peter that he had a great desire to serve the Lord, Jesus. But he could not yet serve him in meekness and humbleness of spirit. The apostles were greatly privileged to have been instructed in God’s business. When James, John and Peter were told by the Lord to remain where they were and to watch and pray, He was speaking to his friends and followers who He had informed about God’s business (read John 14-16). Jesus told them that He was leaving and what would soon happen to them. Jesus told them all what would have to happen concerning his death and resurrection. He explained that He would be leaving them but soon return before going to the Father, and that He would one day come back for them and bring them to the heavenly place He was preparing for them. They were told that after He was gone He would send to them the Holy Spirit to comfort and teach them. He said and explained to them “whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” (John 14:4). He called them His friends in John 15:14-15, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have made known unto you.” They were informed and knew what was God’s business, yet they slept and did not “watch and pray” as Jesus had told them to do for the sake of avoiding temptation. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation…” (Matt. 26:41). Hard times were soon coming upon his friends and he wanted them to be prepared. Jesus knew the likes of Peter and the others, including us, when he said “…the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
       When Jesus was taken by the soldiers Peter cut off the right ear of the high priest’s servant, with which Jesus responded, “Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11). Peter’s spirit was willing but his flesh was weak. Peter was impetuous and in need of temperance.
     The following is recorded of Peter’s third denial of association with Jesus, “Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.” (Matt. 26:74-75) Here was another act of intemperance to be sure, which had been set up by his impetuous self-confidence.

            All this was redeemed by the Lord after his resurrection when Peter, the Lord’s friend, was given the opportunity to publicly tell Jesus three times that he loved him. Jesus responded each time with “Then feed my sheep.” At a time before Jesus’ death Peter’s faith had already pleased the Lord, for he was the disciple who spoke out when Jesus asked them who they say He is. Peter’s pleasing response was, “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt 16:16).|
            At the last supper Jesus spoke much about the Holy Ghost, calling Him the Spirit of Truth and the Comforter. He knew the lives of the Apostles would be greatly changed when the Father sent the Spirit to dwell in them. “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:17) Everything changed for Peter and the apostles after they received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. His impetuosity could be changed into temperance. Peter’s pride could be blanked by the Spirit who could grow meekness in him. Peter, especially, became a bold preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but it did not have to be with pride or bravado. Now the fruit of faith could make it a fruitful and truthful matter. Thousands of lost souls were won to Christ’s kingdom and baptized in the name of Jesus and of the Holy Ghost. Under the authority of Jesus, by the lively power of the Holy Ghost, Peter healed the lame and raised the dead. He preached with boldness and refused to cease, even when under great persecution. But Peter did not always hold firm in his deliverance and in the garden of his fruits. He bowed to the sect of Judaizers and was ashamed to eat with the Gentile Christians, for which God had to rebuke him. It is not that we never slip it is only important that we truly repent and retain our living status of deliverance and our place among the garden of fruit which God has grown in us. By the power of the Holy Ghost Peter was instructed in a vision to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles and began a great expanse in the Kingdom of all Christians are able to eat of if they are wise. With the indwelling presence of God’s Spirit now alive in the hearts of the apostles, Peter and Paul and the rest and all the obedient and informed friends of Christ, they were now able to remain alert, watching and praying, and to avoid falling into delusion and temptation.
            For the believer today, those of us who are born of the flesh and the spirit (born-again) and have received the full baptism of the Holy Ghost, just as the apostles had, our lives need not be any less than the apostles who were preaching the Gospel two thousand years ago. If God’s written word has informed us of his business, whether through prophecy, or instruction by exhortation, or recorded examples, and if the Spirit speaks his word in our hearts, then we have heard His voice and know what our Lord is doing. Let us do whatever He commands us so we, too, might be called the friends of Jesus. “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:14-15) Like Peter,we may have a desire to serve the Lord and the Lord may even call upon us to intimately partake with Him, as he did with the apostles in the Garden. It might be to labor in prayer, to preach the Word of salvation to the lost, to exhort the saints to a greater faith, to instruct in the Word, to stay at home and minister to our households, to go to work or school and wait for openings made by the Spirit, or write a letter to a friend and offer our only Hope. Whatever our calling is we also need to heed the instruction given to Peter and the others to “watch and pray”, lest we fall into temptation. Our spirit is willing, but certainly our flesh is weak. Jesus doesn’t want his friends “sleeping on the job” or to put it more clearly, complacent.
            By watching and praying, what sort of temptations might we possibly avoid falling prey to? How about the ones where we say in our hearts, “Not today Lord, I’m tired”, or “I’m too busy with important things in my life”, or “I’m scared!”, or “How about something else Lord, this just doesn’t seem important enough”. The list could go on forever. Jesus knows this and that is why He gives us directives like watching and praying. It is why he said “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” It’s the battle so often presented to us in the scriptures of the Spirit against the flesh. Paul instructs us “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal 5:16-17) Remember how everything changed for Peter and the apostles after the Spirit came to dwell, not just with them, but in them. They, who are examples to us, were walking in the Spirit. Look around today, aren’t there some living examples for us to see in our churches and fellowships? Ask the Lord to show us. We want to be His servants and long to call ourselves His friends, and we can be by remembering that our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak. The fruits of faith, meekness and temperance teach us and help us to not trust in the flesh. The flesh wars against these sweet fruits of the Spirit. Let our willing spirit be possessed by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is our only surety of being able friends of Jesus and make us the bearers of abundant fruit. Let the Spirit tell us what to watch for and what to pray about while we learn to heed the words of Jesus. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation…” Friends of Jesus, remember this. Jesus said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23) And, the thing that glorifies our Father in heaven is fruit born by His children. Nothing short of fruit, LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GOODNESS, GENTLENESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS AND TEMPERANCE, et. al. - will do.