Summary: A thorough examination of love from a Bible perspective.
Fruit of the Spirit—LOVE (3 lessons)
Series: Fruit of the Spirit Teaching Series
February 2, 9, 16, 23, 2014
Fruit of the Spirit—LOVE
TEXT: Galatians 5:22-23 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Q. = Discussion QUESTION for the class / A. = ANSWERS or possible answers
The last two lessons were an introduction to the fruit of the Spirit to lay the foundations for our examination of the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit, which we will not examine one-by-one. What I’m calling “the graces of the fruit of the Spirit” are the characteristics of the Holy Spirit’s fruit found in verses 22-23 – “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”
Q. By way of review, what has stood out about what we’ve learned so far.
A. Specific things to review if not mentioned:
It’s called the fruit (singular) of the Spirit.
It’s the fruit of the SPIRIT, not the work of our flesh.
Manifested as we walk in the Sprit and are led by the Spirit, which means to be continually “filled” or controlled by the Spirit.
The first grace we will look at is LOVE. We live in a world that desperately needs love. Even though society glorifies the subject of love in their music, television and movies, there is little evidence of real selfless love in our world today.
Why is that?
1) Well, first of all, I think we’re MISGUIDED.
• Society seems to equate SEX with love.
Yet many engage in sex without the slightest thought of love.
Q. Why is sex not the same as love?
A. [NO RIGHT OR WRONG ANSWERS]
THOUGHTS TO ADD TO DISCUSSION: All too often it’s a means of self-gratification and exploitation, the very opposites of love.
• Others think that INDULGENCE is love.
We have children and we buy them all kinds of things they don’t need—expensive clothes, $200 athletic shoes, expensive toys and games—and we find it hard to say NO to our kids about material things. We believe they will think we don’t love them, when in fact, teaching them to work for things they want is one of the supreme acts of love you can show to your children. Instead, we’re tempted to try to buy their love with gifts.
Illus. – I remember reading a sad story in a Tennessee newspaper that shows the tragic consequences of overindulging your children. The news story told of three young people who were killed when they tried to outrun a train at a railroad crossing in their car, and didn’t make it across in time. The parents of the fifteen-year-old driver were grief-stricken over the loss of the son they loved. In fact, they loved him so much that they had bought him his own Trans-Am before he was legally old enough to drive. They loved him so much that they also let him drive the car illegally while he was still underage and didn’t have a driver’s license—right across the railroad tracks to his death. No, indulgence is not love.
• Many people also mistake TOLERANCE for love as well.
It’s the popular credo of our times to be tolerant of any belief or vice without judgment or criticism. No matter what one’s lifestyle or beliefs might be, we’re not supposed to judge or criticize.
> If a person chooses a homosexual lifestyle or if a girl wants to have a baby out of wedlock, we’re not supposed to condemn them, but to tolerate one’s lifestyle and choices.
> If a person believes in a religion that rewards him with Paradise with 72 virgins for eternity for killing himself along with scores, hundreds, or thousands along with him, we aren’t supposed to criticize or critique his religion; we’re supposed to tolerate it.
Why is this kind of tolerance not really love?
A. THOUGHTS TO ADD TO THE DISCUSSION:
According to the Bible, if someone is living a life or believing something that is leading him to hell or doing something that will cause him major heartache, then if I REALLY love him, I MUST do everything I can to help him turn from the error of his lifestyle or belief system and lead him to the truth.
Alas, the world’s view of toleration goes only one way. We have to tolerate everything else, but we’re thought to be intolerant if we share the Gospel. But to share the Gospel with a lost person is REAL love, not intolerance.
So first, I think we’re MISGUIDED about what love is.
2) Second, the nature of love is MISUNDERSTOOD.
One of our problems is the English language. Most other languages, including the Greek language in which the New Testament was written, have several words to express different kinds of love. But our language has just one word that we use in many different, sometimes conflicting and confusing ways.