Sound Doctrine - Titus 2:1

"Fruit" Is Singular

Andrew R. Lehmann

Paul lists the "works of the flesh" and contrasts the "fruit of the spirit" in Galatians chapter five: "Now the works of the flesh are made manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like...But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..." (Galatians 5:19-22)

In verse 22, the word "fruit" is singular even though it encompasses multiple virtues. The singularity of this word is designed to convey a complete, well-rounded picture of the character of a child of God. It imparts the idea that the "fruit" is a single unit which consists of individual parts. Each of these parts plays a significant, unique role in creating the "fruit" as a whole. They strive in balance and harmony with each other to achieve the one product. Without every one of these parts the "fruit" is incomplete.

In contrast to this, note that in verse 19, Paul uses the word "works" (plural) rather than the word "work" (singular). Why would he use the plural word form here? Unlike the single "fruit", the many "works" are disjunctive. True, they do stem from one source but they do not content together in balance and harmony to produce a single unit.

They produce confusion and divisions, even among themselves. The "works" are unproductive and, in the end, there will be no harvest - it matters not how much activity there has been. The only anticipated outcomes from the "works of the flesh" are death and destruction.

Like other passages, there is preciseness in this Holy Spirit inspired context. As Paul used the singular word "seed" to make an argument in Galatians 3:16, he also used the singular word "fruit" here to make an important point. The subtleties of this exactness give us a greater appreciation of the wisdom and perfection of scripture.

To enhance your appreciation of the beauty and depth of the word, study it with the same precision as was needed to write it. Strive to be a complete, well-rounded child of God. Refrain from the unfruitful works of the flesh (Ephesians 6:11). Perfect the virtues Paul lists in Galatians 5:22, so that you will become that single, complete fruit.

Getting Ready To Grow

Kyle Campbell, adapted

Often there are concerns that must be addressed before a congregation can grow. Sometimes the way the Christians think and act makes it difficult to teach sinners and edify saints. All too few of the lost are rescued anywhere, but perhaps a greater tragedy is the mortality rate of those who are rescued. What are some of the matters that must be tended to if a congregation is to expect solid, enduring growth?

First, we must be close with God and close with each other. We must live as those who genuinely know the Lord and who enjoy a closeness to Him. Others must see in us the blessings of walking with the Lord. Furthermore, in studying with prospects, we need to portray the Lord's church as a loving family which supports one another (John 13:34-35; Acts 2:46-47). In this busy age, the same situation is occurring to our spiritual family that is happening to our physical families: we are merely coexisting under the same roof without any real closeness. We desperately need to become involved or intertwined with one another.

Second, the assemblies of the church must be edifying to the outsider and to the babe in Christ. To our shame, the services of the Lord's people are not always such as would move an unbeliever or a new convert in God's direction. In our assemblies, unbelievers ought to experience courtesy, warmth and genuine interest in spiritual matters: real love for God, His truth, and man. We need to, for their sake, be more mindful of the presence of visitors and more deliberate in our efforts to worship God reverently and enthusiastically.

Third, we must be prepared to nurture babes in Christ. In addition to the hard work of grounding a babe in Christ, there is the additional difficulty of converting someone who is not from our socioeconomic group and dealing with their problems (Matthew 9:9-13). One reason we have not grown more than we have is that we have limited our evangelism to individuals who we think would "fit right in" with little work on our part. Until we have Paul's attitude, it is unlikely that we will enjoy new converts (1st Thessalonians 2:7-8).

If we leave the Lord out of His own work, we do not deserve to grow. Work in the strength of the Lord and to His glory.

What Needs Changing?

Lloyd Atherton

When you look into the mirror and your face appears dirty, it is your face, not the mirror that needs attention. The Bible is the mirror of the soul. It reveals our imperfections and shows us how to make corrections. However, some try to rework the Bible instead of reshaping their lives. Don't make that mistake. When you look into the "perfect law of liberty", continue in it. Don't be a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work (James 1:25). Don't try to change the word; let the word change your life.

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