Summary: This sermon covers how love is an essential part of Christianity in the first of a sermon series on the Fruits of the Spirit

June 13, 2004 The Fruits of the Spirit: Love

Tina Turner - whom I believe was abused by her husband Ike during their marriage - once sang a song called, “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” I can only remember the second line of the song when she asked, “what’s love, but a second hand emotion?” That’s a pretty pathetic view of love, isn’t it? You can listen to just about any song or watch any TV show and realize that people just don’t know what love really is. One kid said, “Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.”

If we want to know what love is and how important it is, we need to go back to the original Love - our God and Lord. The Bible doesn’t just say that God loves, but that God IS love. In the same way, in today’s text to the Galatians, Paul doesn’t say that love is just a second hand emotion. It is the first fruit of faith. Even though we’re saved by faith, love is still an essential part of being a Christian. Paul also said this of love -

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Co 13:1-3)

He also wrote the Corinthians -

Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Co 13:13)

Why is love so important? We’ll examine that with the theme -

Christianity: What’s Love Got to Do With It?

I. It’s the foundation

Whether you’re Christian or not, everyone is born with a need and a want to be loved - to know that someone cares about them. If kids are going to be even semi-functional, they need to be hugged, kissed, and continually told, “I love you.” If you end up ignoring your kids and complaining about them all the time, I can almost guarantee you that they’ll end up with problems at home and at school - sometimes for the rest of their lives. They’ll end up angry and resentful, because they didn’t get the love they needed.

Even if we are raised right, when we get older and more dependent we still need love - we need to know that someone cares. The sad thing is that many people just plain don’t care. In New York City traffic was stopped on a bridge while someone was contemplating to jump and commit suicide. One motorist was so ticked off that this was situation was holding up traffic that he shouted out his window - “go ahead and jump already!” You’d think that this guy would have cared more for someone’s life than a half an hour of his time - but I guess not. Or try this. Walk down the hall at work. When someone asks you, “how’s it going?”, tell him. Tell him about the corns on your feet. Tell him about your child’s problem with sleeping through the night. Watch the look on his eyes as they glaze over. He doesn’t care about how you’re doing. Unless you have a personality that he likes, a face that he’s attracted to, or something else to offer him, he’s not going to care about how you are. He’s just trying to say hi and get on with his life. That’s the way most people are. Unless you have something to offer them, they don’t care about you. They don’t know you. If you aren’t feeding for them or caring for them, most people could care less whether you lived or died. It’s depressing, but it’s true.

Since there is such a lack of love in our world, it means that people are looking for love all the more - but in all the wrong places. So now we’re facing the fact that fifth and six grade kids think that they can find love by imitating what President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky did. Over seventy percent of African American girls are having children out of wedlock. Other people may not look for love through sexual gratification, but nonetheless they become extremely depressed and suicidal over the sense that nobody loves them. They say to themselves, “if I died - would anyone really care? Who would really even notice?” They pay for psychologists to show them some attention or force others to at least listen by showing signs of suicide. These people don’t know what love really is - but they know they’re missing something - and they’re searching for that missing link in their lives - for somebody to really show some care and concern.

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