The following is by the late James Crumpton, who was the pastor of West Side Baptist Church, Natchez, Mississippi, and president, Maranatha Baptist Mission:
«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. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.» Galatians 5:16-26
«…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…» (Galatians 5:22-23. In looking here at God’s Word, I find it interesting and informative because of what is not said. For example, it does not say that sinless perfection is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The way some folk teach, preach, sing, and testify you would think that surely God’s Word must say that sinless perfection is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. There are no sinlessly perfect ones. Some claim sinless perfection. But to make such a claim is to display one’s ignorance and/or dishonesty. Charles Haddon Spurgeon used to say that he never employed those who claimed to be sinlessly perfect to work his garden because he found that they would steal his tools. I repeat that there are no sinlessly perfect ones, and there has never been any, with one notable exception, our Lord Jesus Christ. He was and is THE SINLESSLY PERFECT ONE!
Again, it is interesting that the Word does not say that witnessing (soul winning is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Some of us preachers talk like that, but it is not what God’s Word says. Now, I am not giving you a lollipop to roll around under your tongue to excuse yourself for not witnessing to the lost. What sin could be more putrid and abominable? who said that letting people go to Hell without a witness is nicer than getting drunk? Who said that letting people to go Hell without a witness is nicer than committing murder?
Who said that letting people go to Hell without a witness is nicer than adultery? I am not wanting you to think any nicer of drunkenness, adultery, and murder, but if we all hated the terrible sin of letting people go to Hell without a witness like we hate drunkenness, adultery, and murder, we would have revival without even having a special service. Why did the Holy Spirit not say that witnessing (soul winning) is the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Well, He is God and does not play around on the fringes of things like we so often do. He goes to the heart of things. You see, we may witness (win sinners to Christ) without having the fruit of the Holy Spirit, but we cannot have the fruit of the Holy Spirit without witnessing (winning the lost to Christ). The Word does not teach that sinless perfection is the fruit of the Holy Spirit! The Word does not teach that witnessing (soul winning) is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Again, it is interesting and informative that the Word does not speak of the fruits but the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The picture here is that of a huge, luscious bunch of grapes. The entire bunch is called «love,» and individual grapes on that bunch are called «joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.»
Only the Holy Spirit can produce His fruit. We cannot fake it. Should we try to do so, it would stick out worse than two sore thumbs. There are three sets of triplets in the fruit of the Spirit. In our hearts, He produces love, joy, and peace!!! In our relationship and fellowship with others, He produces longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness!!! And, in our relationship and fellowship with our Lord, He produces faith, meekness, and temperance!!!
Is the fruit of the Holy Spirit manifested in your life? There are so many of you whom I would not know. However, your wife knows! Your husband knows! Your children know! Your parents know! Your brother or sister knows! Folk at church know! Folk at school know! Folk on the job know! Your friends know! And, above all, our Lord knows!! Would you be real honest with your own heart as we meditate on this precious subject? Is His fruit found abundantly in your life?
First, let us look at the set of triplets which He produces in our hearts: «Love, joy and peace.» Is that not simple? In John 13:35, our Lord said, «By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye censure one another,’ ‘ball each other out,’ ‘give each other a piece of your mind,’ and ‘tell each other where to head-in.'» No, that is not what our Lord said in John 13:35, is it? He said, «By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if he have love one to another.»
Doctrine is very important. We should stand like a mighty rock for the true doctrines of God’s Word. It is very important! But, He did not say, «By this should all men know that ye are my disciples, if you stand firmly for the Bible doctrines.» Church polity is indeed important. We have so many groups that call themselves churches, but according to New Testament church polity, they are not even churches at all. It is important that we have correct church polity. But our Lord did not say, «By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have correct church polity.» Separation is very important according to God’s Word: separation from the world and separation theologically and ecclesiastically. the lack of this kind of separation today is frightening. But, neither did our Lord say, «By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if ye practice separation.» I repeat, He said, «By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.» I have been preaching for more than sixty years, and during this time, I have longed to go and speak in a church somewhere in a series of meetings.
And while I am there, that I may go to some grocery story, barber shop, department store, etc., and meet and be able to witness to some sinner friend of our Lord’s saving grace. And as I witness to that sinner, I would like to pause and tell him that I am preaching at a certain church in town and would like to invite him to the service. And then, I would so like to hear that sinner say, «Well, I can say one thing for those folk in that church where you are preaching, they really do love one another.» But beloved, to date, I have never had this to happen. I believe that it is an indictment against us. He said that folk would know that we are His because we love one another!
In thinking back of the people whom I have been privileged to pastor, I try to recall where I have seen the most love in families. One always comes to mind above all others. The family consisted of a husband, wife, twelve-year-old son, nine-year-old daughter, six-year-old daughter, and a baby daughter, not old enough to walk, still in her mother’s arms. I saw such love manifested in that family as I do not believe that I have ever witnessed elsewhere. I am not speaking here of romantic love, though I believe it was there. Every home should have a husband and wife who have real romantic love. You know, it is sad that we have to preach against these dating couples who smooch and engage in petting and then, have to beg the married couples to do a little of it.
But the precious family love that seemed to emanate from all the members of that family was a real blessing. The husband loved the wife and children. The wife loved the husband and children. The children loved the parents and each other. It was evident in their conversations and actions. To visit with them was to be blessed with the recognition of this love that seemed to emanate from their presence like you are blessed by sitting in the sunshine on a lovely spring day listening to the birds sing and enjoying the beautiful green grass and the lovely, blooming flowers. Thank God for genuine family love!! One afternoon, when I visited this home, the mother and children were all sitting on the front porch, and the father was on his job in the oil field. I said, «Front porch.» They are not so numerous any more. Houses now are so often built so that when you step out the front door you fall into the street. But the old front porch used to be a pleasant area between the house and the street.
While I was visiting with this mother and the children, Joe, the Italian «snowball man,» came along selling snowballs. A snowball is simply a Styrofoam cup full of ice with a nice flavoring poured over it. Tastes good on a hot July afternoon! The boy and two oldest daughters asked mother for money to buy a snowball and having one each, they sat down on the steps and/or chairs to enjoy them. Now, that twelve-year-old boy had learned that if you ate slowly, you could enjoy it longer. His nine-year-old sister seemed to think that the more you ate, the more you got. So she took off «ninety to nothing» eating her snowball. In a few minutes, she had eaten all of her big snowball except maybe a large tablespoon full. And her brother had yet about three-fourths of his. Would you believe it!
When this happened, she had the brass and audacity to walk up to him and say, «I want to swap with you.» I thought that possibly I was going to see this love that had seemed to prevalent break down. There was a deep silence. I looked at the mother. Generally, when something is about to go wrong, or goes wrong with the children while the pastor is visiting with the family, the mother tries to correct it with a dirty look. But, the mother was not even looking at the children; she was watching Joe out there in the street selling snowballs to a host of children. The boy looked at the remainder of his snowball and that of his sister, and was there a contrast! She spoke, sounding as though she thought he did not know what she wanted, and she said, «I said that I wanted to swap with you!» He then looked at his sister and said sweetly, «I believe that I am getting cheated, but I will do it.» And he swapped with her!!! I have been praying for a church full of members just like that ever since. Our Lord said that by this shall all men know that we are His disciples, if we love one another.
At the close of one of our Sunday morning services, a young lady came to me saying, «Brother James, what does the Bible mean when it says, «…let each esteem otherbetter than themselves» (Philippians 2:3)?
Does it just mean that we are to make like everybody is better than we are?» I said, «No, indeed! It means that you are to look in your heart and see how selfish, self-centered, proud, stubborn, lazy, critical, and unbelieving you are, and you will surely believe that the remainder of us are not that bad.» Yes, the Holy Spirit produces love in our hearts!
Then, He also produces «joy.» Peter speaks of it in 1 Peter 1:8 saying, «… ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.» I repeat that the Holy Spirit produces love and joy in our hearts. And the «joy unspeakable and full of glory» is indeed wonderful. The Holy Spirit has given me that kind of joy. But I must say immediately that in my ministry I tend to be a workaholic. Though I am above seventy in age, I still work seventy hours and more each week. And because of this, I let my «joy unspeakable» and full of glory» get hidden beneath the debris of being too busy, and my unsaved friends and my Christian friends do not see it. That is sin on my part. It is so important that I correct this for a good testimony for Him. Praise God for the love and joy that the Precious Holy Spirit produces in delicious abundance in the hearts of born again, blood-washed believers who are truly yielded to Him.
Again, He (the Holy Spirit) produces «peace.» That is another precious fruit in the lives of God’s children. God’s Word speaks of «peace with God.» that is ours in being saved. We were «at outs» with God because of our sins; yes, we were separated from Him. But the Lord Jesus provided redemption through His Precious Shed Blood at Calvary. And when we came in repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, He (Jesus) «reconciled» us to God. And that is «peace with God.» there is also the «peace of God.» This is ours (produced by the Precious Holy Spirit) as we live above the circumstances. You meet a friend and say, «How are you this morning?» He replies,» Well, fairly good under the circumstances!» You feel like saying, «My, what are you doing under there?» God wants us to live above, not under, the circumstances. The Holy Spirit, when we are fully yielded to Him, gives us grace to live above the circumstances and the peace that passeth all understanding (Philippines 4:5-7).
The word «peace» here in our Bibles comes from two words, one meaning «together» and the other meaning «a binding.» So it is peace that is «a binding together.» Why do the translators call it «peace»? Well, is God worried, discouraged, walking the floor and pulling His hair, crossing bridges before He gets to them, only to find that there is no bridge there, as we so often do, blowing His top, flying into a rage, and «giving somebody a piece of His mind»? Of course, the answer is emphatically, «No!» And if you and I are all bound together with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we do not act that way either. I like to illustrate it by letting my right hand represent Jesus, my left hand represent the Christian, and then put my hands together and interlock my fingers. That is a binding together, and thus, when we are bound with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, there is peace!!!
What precious fruit!!! How the world needs to see some samples, some examples!!!
Have you ever had some unsaved friend say to you, «I have been watching you for the past six months (and some sinner has whether he or she ever told you or not) and you have something I do not have.
And I want it!» Well, if you let the Holy Spirit produce His fruit, you will have sinners talking to you in this manner. And will it be a easy thing to lead them to salvation in Christ!!!
I flew to a Monday and Tuesday night meeting in a distant city. The clouds were low and the rain was pouring in torrents; so, we had «to hold» for nearly thirty minutes before we could land. When I walked into the airport lobby, the pastor was pacing the floor like a caged lion. He said, «Oh, Brother James, the weather is so bad; people will not come to the services, and you can only be here two nights! What can we do?» I said, ‘Well, now, my Brother, it is the Lord’s weather and the Lord’s work. Surely He has a purpose in it all, and He certainly can work it out to His own glory!» This pastor does not have ulcers; he just gives everybody else ulcers. His wife does have ulcers; are you surprised? The Holy Spirit produces «peace» as His delicious fruit. Amen and amen!!! Love, joy, peace!!!
Suppose that when I am in a meeting somewhere, the pastor places a glass of water filled to capacity on the pulpit, and while I preach, I jostle the glass when I bump the pulpit. What will come out of the glass? Water, of course, because it is filled with water. When the Holy Spirit produces His fruit of love, joy, and peace in our hearts, what will come out when we get jostled? Love, joy, and peace!!! What does come out of your and me when we get jostled? When the wife burns the toast, when the husband is late and the supper has gotten cold, when the battery goes dead just as you start to school, to work, or to church, when you are about to be late to work and you have a couple of flat tires, when you get laid off your job, when your salary is cut one hundred dollars a week???
The Holy Spirit produces love, joy and peace in our hearts that we may face and live above the circumstances!!!
It seems that the worst somehow comes out of people when they are driving a car. Have you ever noticed it? If your driver is a woman, and you meet, pass, or are passed by another car driven by a man who makes a mistake, your driver says, «That is just like a man. Men do not know how to drive!» Or, if your driver is a man, and you meet, pass, or are passed by a woman who makes a mistake, your driver says, «Lady, if you do not know how to drive, why don’t you park it?» And all drivers, both men and women, do make mistakes when driving. One of my professors in school sought to define a split second. He said, «that is easy; a split second is the time between the time when the red light turns green and the guy back of you sets down on his horn!»
The Holy Spirit produces His fruit of love, joy, and peace in our hearts!!!
I say to the girl who thinks that she has found «Prince Charming,» Find out how he treats his sister and/or mother, when he is upset and at home with them, when they do not have company, and you will know how he will treat his wife under the same circumstances.» I say to the boy who thinks he has found the Queen of his life, «find out how she treats her brother and/or her father when she is upset at home and they do not have company, and you will know how she will treat her husband some day.» Some of you girls should ride with your boyfriend in the five o’clock traffic in New Orleans, if you would like to know whether he lives under or above the circumstances! Some of you girls think you have found a «dream boat,» but when you marry him you soon find out that he is a «nightmare»!
The Holy Spirit produces the delicious fruit of love, joy, and peace in our hearts. What a precious set of triplets!
The second set of triplets, in the fruit of the Holy Spirit, that He produces is that in our relationship to and fellowship with other people: longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness. One lady said to me, «If that woman does any other mean things to me, I am going to give her a piece of my mind.» I said, «Dear lady, your mind is like mine; you do not have any to give away. You better keep it all.» A little boy said, «We do not need to build a den on our house. Daddy roars over the whole house!» But the Holy Spirit produces longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness in our relationship to and fellowship with other people!
When I was preaching in a Bible conference out in Austin, Texas, a pastor gave a testimony that was a blessing to my heart. He said that he began to emphasize how important it was for his people to have «a quiet time» every day. You know, a time when you read the Bible and pray! And that is indeed important for every one of us Christians. In fact, if you and I do not have a time to eat our food and still have «a quiet time» daily, we would do ourselves a favor to skip eating and have «the quiet time.» And you can tell that not many of us miss many meals. He said that in emphasizing «the quiet time,» he started by saying that it should be an half an hour every day. As time went on, he increased it to an hour, an hour and a half, and even two hours! And he said that became self-righteous about his own «quiet time.» It dawned on him one day that many of his men went to work at 5:30 A.M. and that most all of them went to work by 6:30 A.M. As for himself, he generally slept until 7:00 A.M., got up, leisurely shaved, showered, dressed, and went down to a good hot breakfast that his wife always had prepared for him. And keep in mind that he was growing more self-righteous about his «quiet time.» One morning after nearly two hours of «quiet time,» he went downstairs and found his wife in half ankle deep water all over the kitchen, her hair disheveled, and disappointment written all over her face. He screamed, «It looks like to me that anybody who has kept house as long as you have would not be here in a mess…» and he stopped before concluding the sentence because she began to cry audibly. And then she said, «John, I do not believe that your ‘quiet time’ is helping your disposition very much.» After this statement and a moment of weeping silence, she said, «This old washing machine has already stopped up twice this morning, overflowed, and I have had to mop the whole kitchen both times. Now, it has done it the third time, and you see what a mess it is. I believe that if Jesus came in here and found me in this mess, He would come over, put His arms around me, and tell me that He loves me. And I believe that He would mop the floor for me.»
The Holy Spirit produces longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness in our relationship to and fellowship with other people.
In Birmingham, Alabama, some years ago before they had the dial system on the telephones, a Baptist preacher finished his sermon notes about ten o’clock and went to bed. It was a cold Saturday night, ice all over things outside.
At 2 A.M. the phone rang. In that pastorium the phone was in the living room, and his bedroom was upstairs. They did not have central heating, only space heaters. And they turned the heaters off at night. He got up and went down those long cold stairs, and by the time he reached the phone, his teeth were chattering because of the cold. He answered the phone, and it was a long distance operator with a wrong number. She apologized, and he said, «That is all right little lady; I understand.»
He returned to his good warm bed, and fifteen minutes later, when he had barely gotten warm, the phone rang again. Same long cold stairs, same preacher with cold chattering teeth, same long distance operator with another wrong number! When the operator recognized his voice, she apologized profusely. Again, he said, «That is all right little lady; I understand.» The preacher went back to bed, but fifteen minutes later the phone range again, the third time between 2 A.M.
and 2:45 A.M.! Down those long stairs he went once more with cold chattering teeth to answer the same long distance operator with another wrong number. This time the operator was frantic and frenzied with a tearful apology saying, «I am so very sorry.» Again, as at the other two times, he simply replied, «That is all right little lady; I understand!» The operator then said, «Are you a preacher?» His answer was, «Yes, why do you ask?» She said, «Most men would have ‘cussed’
me out by now!» He said calmly, «I have made many worse mistakes than calling the wrong number three times!» Who of us hasn’t! He then said, «Are you a Christian?» She replied, «No, sir, I am not.» He said, «Well I will preach this morning at a certain Baptist church here in town, and we would like to have you come to the service.» She said, «I am sorry that I cannot come because I shall have to work all night. But I am off next Saturday night; so I will come next Sunday morning!» The next Sunday, she was in that preacher’s morning service. He preached the gospel, and when he gave the invitation, she came forward and accepted Christ and was gloriously saved. When she stood to give her testimony, she said, «I am really here because of your preacher. I am a long distance telephone operator, and last Saturday night, or rather early last Sunday morning, while we had an ice storm here in town, I got your preacher out of bed three times in about 45 minutes with a wrong number. When I apologized, he always said, «That is all right little lady; I understand.» She then said, «I thought if Jesus could make a man that sweet, I would like to get saved and honor Jesus, too!»
This would not have happened in many of our churches! But, praise the Lord, the Holy Spirit produces His fruit of longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness in us in our relationship and fellowship with others.
Some years ago, in one o four small southern towns, if you could call it a town, at a crossroad there was a big general store, a railroad depot, a little quick pick store selling junk food, a barber shop, a little medical clinic, five or six houses, and a little white frame building that was a Baptist church. In that little town, an eighteen-year-old girl committed adultery, got pregnant, and had a baby without getting married. She did not go off to some home in a distant city to have the baby, but she just went down to that little medical clinic right there at home. Tongues were wagging all over the place, including at the church. On Sunday, the pastor said to one of the ladies, «Is it true that so and so is in the hospital with a baby?»
The lady answered, sadly, «Yes, Pastor, it is true.»
He said tearfully, «I am sorry. When she was a junior girl, she never missed Sunday School and church. I guess we did not love her as we should have because when she dropped out of Sunday School and church, we did not go and try to get her back. I think I will go down there tomorrow and ask her to forgive us.»
Let me now tell you the story as the girl told it. She said, «I knew that all the folk were talking about me and putting me down, and I was just hating them back. And then on that Monday morning, the preacher opened the hospital door to come in for a visit, I thought, ‘Oh, I am in for a tongue lashing now!’ But he came up to my bed and said, ‘How is my little friend? I told Mrs. So and So at church yesterday that I remembered that when you were a junior girl you never missed Sunday School and church, and I guess we did not love you as we should have because we never went to find you and get you back. Will you forgive us?'»
Then she said, «He read the Scriptures, prayed for me, told me that he hoped I would soon regain my strength, and urged me to come back to Sunday School and church as soon as I was able. When he was gone, I felt so little, dirty, cheap, and disappointing to Jesus.»
Two weeks later that little unwed mother walked down the aisle of that little Baptist church, accepted Christ, and was saved.
That would not have happened in many of our Baptist churches. But praise God the Holy Spirit produces longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness in us in our relationship and fellowship with other people.
One Monday morning in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a cold blooded business man stepped up on the shoe shine stand and said to the black boy, «Shine them up, quickly; I am in a hurry!» The boy seemed to be slow and awkward. Then the man said, «Hurry up; I do not have all day to wait on you.» The black boy looked up at him with tears flowing out of his eyes. Then the man said, «I did not intend to make you cry.»
The boy replied in his characteristic way, «Boss, yo have not done made me cry. My eyes were done already full of dese tears and when you spoke sharply it done make dem come out. You see, Boss, my mommy done died last night and we is gwine to have her funeral tomorrow.
And I am just a pore shoeshine boy, and I ain’t got no money to buy a bouquet of flowers for my mommy’s funeral. I am just trying to shine a few extra pairs of shoes so’s I can buy a bouquet of flowers for her funeral.» The man would never have spoken as he did if he had only known.
Oh, that we would let the Holy Spirit produce His fruit of longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness in us toward others. The Indians used to have a saying, «Do not criticize a fellow until you have walked in his moccasins for two weeks.»
Some years ago, we had a dear man who had been saved for some time.
He worked in the tire plant here in Natchez, and he surrendered to preach. And he would go to towns all around here in Mississippi and Louisiana and preach on the streets, find Baptist churches that had closed, locate some former deacon for one of those churches, begin services, see the churches open again, and lead souls to Christ. Amen and amen!!!
One day, as I came out of the old post office down on Main Street, I met this preacher. He talked about the street services and services in churches that were opened again, and he said, «Brother James, do you know Henry Ford?»
I said, «Well, of course, everybody knows Henry Ford.»
He said, «No, wait, I do not refer to the famous Henry Ford who built the Ford Motor Company. I refer to a Henry Ford who lives here in Natchez.»
I said, «Well, no; I do not know anyone who lives here in town by the name of Henry Ford. When you see him some day, point him out to me.»
And one day soon, I came out of the post office, and my preacher friend said, «Look up the street; Henry Ford is coming down the street right now in front of Natchez Printing Company.»
I hurried up the street, met this big husky man, stopped in front of him and said, «Say, are you Henry Ford?»
He said, «Yes, and who are you?»
I replied by saying, «I am Brother Crumpton, Pastor at the West Side Baptist Church.»
He said, «Yes, Dr. Crumpton, I have heard of you.»
We chatted for a few minutes, and I asked him if he were saved, had he ever become a Christian?
He said, «No, Sir, I am a sinner man indeed.»
I said, «Well, Henry, I was a sinner man when Jesus Christ saved me.
And if He could save me, He certainly could save you. I shall pray for you to be saved.»
He thanked me, and I noticed sweat drops on his brow making me realize that our Lord was speaking to his heart because it was not a hot day at all. It was the Lord convicting Henry that he needed to be saved.
I began looking him up and visiting with him. I even went to the bar that he frequented, went in, sat on the stool by his side, opened my Bible, and showed him how that we are all Hell-deserving sinners, that God loves us and sent Jesus to become sin for us, die for us, and arise from the dead. And I emphasized how that if we come to God confessing that we are sinners and believe Jesus died that our sins could be forgiven and ask Him to save us that He would do just that and instantly.
He listened very intently!
I remember the last night I saw him. It was a Saturday night between 9:00 and 10:00 o’clock. I went in the bar, sat on an empty stool beside the one on which he was sitting, and said, «Henry, I have come to talk to you about confessing to God that you are a sinner, believing that Jesus died in your place, and inviting Jesus to save you.»
He said, «Brother James, I hate to see you have to come to this bar to try to get me saved. Let us go outside and talk.»
And that we did. While standing out there on the street, I said, «Henry, accept our Lord right here tonight and get saved. I don’t want you to go to Hell.»
He said, «Brother James, I told my wife the other night that I was going to have to get saved because I have found a preacher who loves me!»
Well, I urged him again to get saved then and there. He said that he had had too many beers and needed to wait until he could think more clearly. And then he said, «I will be in the services with you over at West Side and get saved in less than thirty days.»
I said, «Oh, but Henry, you and I may neither one still be alive thirty days from now.»
I left him with a heavy heart, feeling that our Lord was really moving on him to be saved. The next day, Sunday, I preached morning and evening here, and on Monday I took a flight to Anderson, South Carolina, to preach in a Tabernacle meeting with a number of churches cooperating. Evangelist Preston Garrett was directing the meeting. I was praying day and night for Henry to be saved. Toward the end of the week, I received a letter from the preacher brother to whom I have been referring as having pointed Henry out to me near the post office one morning. In the letter was a clipping from the Natchez Democrat newspaper saying that Henry had been shot to death at that bar while I was away when he and the bartender argued about his having or not having a free drink. I do not know whether or not, between the time he was shot and they arrived with him at the hospital dead, he had repented and accepted Christ as His Saviour.
Oh, how I hope he did!!!!
But I am at least glad that before he died he found a preacher who loved him and sought to get him saved. Think of the thousands who need to find preachers and Christians in general who love them and want them saved.
Yes, the Precious Holy Spirit produces His fruit in the hearts of the children of God who yield to Him. In their hearts He produces love, joy, and peace. In their relationships to others, He produces longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness. And in their relationship and fellowship with our Lord, He produces faith (that is a growing faith), meekness (humility), and temperance (self control).
Oh, Christian friend, is the fruit of the Holy Spirit manifested in your heart and life? I would like to challenge all of you Christians to so yield to Him (the Precious Holy Spirit) Who lives within you that He may produce a bountiful and luxurious crop of His fruit in your!!!!
May our Lord grant you grace to do so now!!!!
And may sinners be brought to the place to say, «I am going to have to get saved because I have found a Christian who loves me.»