The Fruit Of The Spirit Is Love

THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE

Galatians 5:22-23; I John 4:7-16

INTRODUCTION

A story about a professor of psychology illustrates how difficult it is to love others. Although he had no children of his own, whenever he saw a neighbor scolding a child for some wrongdoing, he would say, “You should love your boy, not punish him.” One hot summer afternoon the professor was doing some repair work on a concrete driveway leading to his garage. Tired out after several hours of work, he laid down the trowel, wiped the perspiration from his forehead, & started toward the house. Just then out of the corner of his eye he saw a mischievous young boy putting his foot into the fresh cement. He rushed over, grabbed him, & was about to spank him severely when a neighbor leaned from a window &  said, “Watch it, Professor! Don’t you remember? You must ‘love’ the child!” At this, he yelled back furiously, “I do love him in the abstract but not in the concrete!”

When God tells us that “the fruit of the Spirit is love” He means it in the concrete. That is, He isn’t just telling us this because it sounds nice, or because He wants to give us some unreachable goal. God tells us that part of the very fabric of our being as Christians will be a demonstration of genuine love for one another.

Now most of us don’t have a problem understanding that God wants us to love, or that we should love, or that love is a demonstration of Christ-like behavior. Our problem is on the more practical level: how do we do it? – how do we love the unlovable? – how do we actually implement this part of the Fruit of the Spirit in our daily walk, when we’re on the job, when the man in the lane next to us won’t let us get over to make our turn?

The answer to these questions are best answered in 1 John 4:6-16.

THEME: IF WE ARE TO MAKE LOVE AN INTRICATE PART OF OUR LIVES:

I. WE MUST ACCEPT GOD’S LOVE FOR US

     A. Some People Have Trouble Doing That

          1. They have trouble believing anybody loves them, let alone God

NOTE: One day a man came for help to the pastor. “What is your difficulty?” asked the pastor. The man answered, “My difficulty is in Romans nine, where it says, ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated,’” “Yes,” said the pastor, “there is great difficulty in that verse; but which part of the verse is difficult for you?” The latter part, of course,” said the man. “I cannot understand why God should hate Esau.” The minister replied, “That verse has often been difficult, but my difficulty has always been with the first part of the verse. I never could understand how God could love that wily, deceitful, supplanting scoundrel Jacob.”

          2. That pastor was right, God’s love for us is hard to understand

               a. Why should He love us? We’ve rebelled against Him, we’ve slandered His name, we’ve refused to follow His way for our lives

               b. Why does God love us so?

NOTE: Some reasons include we were created in His image. He loves us as a Father loves His children. But we don’t have an answer that totally satisfies our need to know. But it’s really not that important that we understand why God loves us. The important part is that we accept the fact that He does.

     B. We Do Know That God Loves Us

          1. That’s what He tells us

               a. vs. 8, 16    God is love

               b. vs. 7           love is born of God

               c. vs. 9           In this was manifested the love of God toward us

               d. vs. 10        Herein is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us

               e. vs. 11        God so loved us

               f. vs. 12         His love is perfected in us

               g. vs. 16        We have known & believed on the love God has for us

     C. We Can Accept God’s Love For Us Because It Is A Fact We Can Rely Upon

          1. We have faith that when God says He loves us He is telling us the truth

          2. The acceptance of that love is the first step we must take if we are to have this part of the Fruit of the Spirit prominent in our lives

T.S. IF WE ARE TO MAKE LOVE AN INTRICATE PART OF OUR LIVES:

          I. WE MUST ACCEPT GOD’S LOVE FOR US

II. WE MUST SEE GOD’S LOVE IN ACTION

NOTE: The story about a man in Wales who sought to win the affection of a certain lady for 42 years before she finally said, “Yes.” The couple, both 74, recently became “Mr. & Mrs.” For more than 40 years, the persistent, but rather shy man slipped a weekly love letter under his neighbor’s door. But she continually refused to speak & mend the spat that had parted them many years before. After writing 2,184 love letters without ever getting a spoken or written answer, the man eventually summoned up enough courage to present himself in person. He knocked on the door of the reluctant lady and asked for her hand. To his delight & surprise, she accepted

     A. Let Us Imagine How God Has Shown Mankind His Love Down Through History

          1. Time & time again He tried to get His message of love through to His human creation with little response

          2. Finally, He wrapped up His message in person

      B. God’s Love For Us Was Displayed In The Person Of Jesus Christ

          1. God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him       4:9

               a. God’s love broke through history in the person of His Son

               b. The amazing demonstration of God’s love in action

                    1) He was willing to send His Son

                    2) The Son was willing to come

          2. Sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins       vs. 10

               a. This is the language of the cross

               b. Jesus was not only willing to live among us, He was willing to die for us

NOTE: But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us     Romans 5:8

NOTE: With every stripe on Jesus’ back, with each nail that pierced his hands & feet, with the spear that went through His side – in each of these actions God’s love is demonstrated for each & every one of us

          3. Sent His Son to be the Savior of the world      vs. 14

      C. So Where Does This Leave Us?

          1. We’ve seen how God loves

          2. The question we must ask today, in light of the Fruit of the Spirit, is how can we love like God?

T.S. IF WE ARE TO MAKE LOVE AN INTRICATE PART OF OUR LIVES:

          I. WE MUST ACCEPT GOD’S LOVE FOR US

        II. WE MUST SEE GOD’S LOVE IN ACTION

 

III. WE MUST MAKE GOD’S LOVE OUR LOVE

     A. Three Times In Our Text The Phrase “Love One Another” Occurs

          1. In vs. 7 it appears as an exhortation

          2. In vs. 11 it appears as a statement of duty

          3. In vs. 12 it appears as a hypothesis

          4. The first aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit and the plain duty of all Christians is found in loving one another

               a. And this love is born out of our relationship with God

               b. God loves so we love

               c. God’s love is sacrificial, so our love must be sacrificial

               d. God’s love is unconditional, so our love must be unconditional

     B. Sixteen Times In This Passage The Word “Love” Is Mentioned

          1. Every time it is used it is the word agape

          2. The Greeks had four words for love

               a. Eros = passionate sexual love

NOTE: Never found in the Scriptures

               b. Storge = Family love & devotion

               c. Philia = Friendship & affection

              d. Agape = Care & concern

          3. Agape is the kind of love we find here in I John & also in Galatians 5

     C. We Love As God Loves When We Love Without Conditions Placed On The Loved One

          1. Agape loves even when love is not deserved

          2. Agape loves without restrictions

          3. Agape loves by choice & by will, not just by feeling & emotion – it is the only kind of love that can be commanded

          4. Agape loves without counting the cost, and without calculating its own profit

          5. Agape loves the unlovable, expecting nothing in return

NOTE: Corrie Ten Boom is the German Christian lady who was in a concentration camp during W.W.II. Corrie shares this true story in her book, The Hiding Place, about a time after her release from the concentration camp. She was speaking at a church: “It was a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former SS man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there – the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing. He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. ‘How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein,” he said. “To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!’ His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side. Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more?

“Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him. I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. ‘Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.’

As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.

And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”

CONCLUSION

IF WE ARE TO MAKE LOVE AN INTRICATE PART OF OUR LIVES:

I. WE MUST ACCEPT GOD’S LOVE FOR US

II. WE MUST SEE GOD’S LOVE IN ACTION

 

III. WE MUST MAKE GOD’S LOVE OUR LOVE

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