Summary: This lesson discusses three aspects of love: its meaning, scope, and expression.
Get Sermon Outliner for Word:
The Fruit Of Love
1. The triad of spiritual graces we are now considering (Love, joy, and peace) are the foundation of good social conduct. The first of these graces is love, of which the Bible has much to say; which we cannot possibly cover in one lesson; therefore we will confine ourselves to a study of just two Greek words that are inadequately translated into English as ‘love’.
2. This lesson will focus on two Greek words: agape  and phileo . The meanings of which will be clarified as we proceed through the lesson.
I. WHAT LOVE IS
A. The greatest commandment is…
2. To love thy neighbour (Leviticus. 19:18; Mt. 19:19; 23:39).
"Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilment of the law" (Romans. 13:10).
3. "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew. 22:40).
B. A badge of identification
1. Those who love are known by God (1Corinthians 8:3).
2. Those who love God can be identified by the love they have for their brethren (1 John 4:20).
3. The love we show toward one another identifies us as Christ’s disciples (John 13:35).
"So many Christians have taken to adorning themselves with crucifixes, charms, motifs, and other such icons; intended to identify them as those belonging to Christ, as if being identified was the main goal. Jesus shows that the true mark of a disciple is in the ‘doing’ of love; a principle found throughout the scriptures: `Do not let your beauty be that be that outward adorning...but let it be the hidden person of the heart.’ Adorning one’s self with icons, far from identifying one with Christ, indicates a lack of understanding and immaturity" (D. Collins, Quotes & Things).
C. The underpinning of faith
1. Christians are to be rooted and grounded in love (Ephesians 3:17).
2. Only faith that expresses itself through love will avail , i.e., "be effective, capable of producing results" (Vine).
3. Love is the bond of completeness (Colossians 3:14)
II. THE SCOPE AND EXPRESSION OF LOVE
A. Christians are to love God (Matthew 22:37)
1. What motivates us to love God?
a) “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
2. How do we express our love for God?
3. Are there different degrees of love?
a) One who has been forgiven much will love more (Luke 7:36-43).
4. How can we develop a deeper level of love for God?
a) By understanding the seriousness of sin (Cp. Romans 7:13)
b) leading to a greater appreciation of Jesus.
c) Conviction brings godly sorrow, leading to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).
d) By keeping His commandments (1 John 2:1-5).
B. Christians are commanded to love their neighbours (Matthew 22:39).
1. Who are our neighbours? (see Luke 10:25-37)
2. How do we express our love for neighbours? Principles from the old testament
a. Not bear false witness against (Exodus 20:16).
b. Make good if damage borrowed goods (Exodus 21:14).
3. How do we develop a love for our neighbours? The more we learn about God’s love for us, the more we come to love others.
1. How do we express our love for brethren?
b. Providing physical needs (James 2:14-17).
2. How does our love for a brother differ from the love we have for a friend?
3. How can we develop a greater love for our brethren?
a. We must stir one another unto love and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25).
b. By being kindly affectionate (Romans 12:10).
D. We must also love our enemies! (Matthew 5:44).
1. Who are our enemies?
a. Those who hate us, speak evil of us, and persecute us (Matthew 5:11).
2. How do we show love toward our enemies?
E. Love must be perfected.
Chart 1: The Scope Of Love.
Imperfect Love: love of God; love of neighbors; hatred of enemies.
Perfect Love: love of God; love of neighbors; love of enemies.