Summary: Active love is the first fruit the Spirit grows in us

Fruit of the Spirit – Love

Galatians 5:22-3

Gad & Elaine share

Intro Fruit of the Spirit

…The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

What is this thing called Love?

Obsession, lust, … passes for love these days

Warm feelings, affection…

Love for “humanity” – called to love real people – the people God gives you. Most of us can have a much greater effect on the people that we are in contact with daily than we could ever have on the larger population

Bible definitions

Jesus’ definition: Sacrifice:

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:12-13)

I think that we would all like to imagine that we would give up our lives for those we love if we were asked to do it, It would be hard, but we would. We would brave the burning building, search the sinking ship, we would jump into the surging river.

Since we don’t often get the chance to die for our loved ones, and then only once, I think that the more difficult, but more practical way to live up to this definition of love is the little sacrifices that we make for each other every day. By giving up little things like preferences, or plans, the remote control… or even the big things like dreams, so that the other can reach their dreams, we are giving up our lives for them. We are saying to them “You are more important to me that the other things that I have held dear.”

No light thing – we are to be like Jesus in our sacrificial love – living sacrifices.

Isaiah 58:9-10 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;

you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,

with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry

and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,

then your light will rise in the darkness,

and your night will become like the noonday.

Paul’s Definition

1 Corinthians 13

Paul didn’t write 1 Corinthians 13 to be read at weddings! It is actually a passage that was written to talk about how we should treat each other in church. It is specific to the Holy Spirit – it is bracketed by two passages about the gifts of the Spirit. Paul says that love is far grater than any of the gifts

Put it is not just a nice sentiment – it is a deep truth.

1 Corinthians 13

1 If I speak in human or angelic tongues, 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.

4 Love 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. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

He tells us Christians, it doesn’t matter how spiritual I appear – you might speak in tongues, prophesy, know your Bible in and out, perform miracles, give all your money away and even get martyred for the faith, but if you don’t love the people around you, all that powerful spirituality is meaningless!

Paul isn’t talking about the way that we feel, but about the way that we act toward each other

Listen to how Eugene Peterson translates this section:

“Love never gives up.

Love cares more for the other than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always "me first,"

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, - forgiveness

Doesn’t revel when others grovel, - cant do the “I was right, you we wrong” dance.

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.”

Importance of love

John’s Definition:

1 John 3:11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. …14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. …

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17 If any one of you has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in you? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Love proves our faith

Love is not just a nice sentiment

Love is active

Nouwen Quote –

“Doing Love

Often we speak about love as if it is a feeling. But if we wait for a feeling of love before loving, we may never learn to love well. The feeling of love is beautiful and life-giving, but our loving cannot be based in that feeling. To love is to think, speak, and act according to the spiritual knowledge that we are infinitely loved by God and called to make that love visible in this world.

Mostly we know what the loving thing to do is. When we "do" love, even if others are not able to respond with love, we will discover that our feelings catch up with our acts.” – Henri Nouwen

Not just affection – affection is nice, and commanded, but action comes first

How does the Spirit grow this fruit in us?

I’ve heard many people turn the “love your neighbour as yourself” command on it’s end

– “well if I am to love my neighbour as myself, I’d better love myself first!”

This doesn’t work for two reasons – 1) it’s not what Jesus meant – It’s his assumption that we love ourselves, not his command – it is made clear by how we want to turn this on its heard that we likely love ourselves a little too much!

2) I can’t trust my own love If I am going to focus on any love in order to love my neighbour the way that I should, I should concentrate on God’s love for me.

“…act according to the spiritual knowledge that we are infinitely loved by God and called to make that love visible in this world.

Abba Father – Spirit of adoption

Galatians 4:6-7 (New Living Translation)

And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” 7 Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

Romans 8:14-16 (Today’s New International Version)

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

Once I went forward for prayer at a church service, and as I was waiting for one of the prayer team members to come and pray for me I felt something on my head - I first thought it was someone’s hand, then I realized that no one was there. I then thought it felt like a hat, but it was harder than a hat - I suddenly realized that it was the sensation of a crown, and I knew it was from God - I asked God why the crown, and I heard in my heart, “just because you are my son.” God often fills us with his love when he fills us with his Spirit.

How do we cultivate love?

Be filled with the Spirit

Meditate on God’s love for you – combat the unloved messages we receive

Plant seeds of love

Act in love, regardless of the response

Fake it ‘till you make it…