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Summary: A focus on one of the fruits of the Spirit that really shows the state of our hearts - LOVE. As Deuteronomy 6:5 says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

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This month we are looking at the Spirit in the Ministry of Believers.

We will be thinking about how the Holy Spirit operates in us, how the Holy Spirit gifts and enables us, how we allow the Holy Spirit to use us to minister to others.

This morning I want us to focus on one of the fruits of the Spirit that really shows the state of our hearts - I want to talk about LOVE.

The bible tells us simply and clearly that “God is Love.” (1 John 4:8).

The list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 begins with LOVE - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and

self-control

Why is love first on the list? Probably because without love the other 8 characteristics of the Spirit of God can not be fully present in our lives.

We need to love. We are commanded to love.

As Deuteronomy 6:5 says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength”

Ah, Deuteronomy - Maybe your thinking, Old Testament - Old Covenant - we are New Testament Christians, we live by Grace not by Law...

ALL It’s a nice thing to aspire to, but not essential.

Sorry - wrong answer - wrong grasp of scripture. Listen to the words of Jesus in (Matthew 22:36-40)

Jesus was asked the question, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” And Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, you shall love you neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

Jesus is clear and emphatic. We are to“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength - and we are to show Love to others.

Actually, depending on your point of view, it gets better - or worse - if you look at the original Greek. In Greek the word translated love in this passage is Agape – Unconditional love.

The word translated Love in this passage is Agape and God requires us to give back Agape love to Him and to the world we live in.

“…You shall Unconditional Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37

“…You shall Unconditional Love your neighbour as yourself.” Matthew 22:39

There is such an importance placed on this commandment that Jesus tells us:

“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:40.

Do you see that Love is important to God?

The Apostle John wrote: in 1 John 4:10 “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

John also wrote:

“For God so Loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, thatwhoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Love is important to God. Love is one of the fruits of the Spirit.

Do you demonstrate God’s love to others?

Do you unconditionally show love to others?

Do you love your neighbour as yourself?

The Church at Corinth was filled with people who had become Christians because they had responded to the idea that God actually loved them and sent His only begotten Son.

They knew what love was - because God had loved them first.

But, after they’d been Christians for a while…

it seems that they began to forgot what love was all about.

Paul writes an entire section of his letter to them to describe what love meant to God: 1 Corinthians 13 is so poetic and eloquent and precise that it’s one of the best known sections of the Bible.

So many people love this chapter is because it does such a powerful job of answering the question: What is love?

It seems like everyone who’s ever read these words agrees:

YES… THAT IS WHAT LOVE IS ALL ABOUT!

Let’s look at the first eight verses:

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have 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 do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8Love never fails. (1 Cor 13:1-8)

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