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Summary: Love is the first of the nine Fruits of the Spirit.

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INTRODUCTION

Over the summer we’re going to be spending time examining all nine fruit of the Spirit. My main goal for this series is the same as God’s goal—for each of us to display these nine character qualities every day of our lives. But you don’t have to try to be loving, joyful, loving and patient; there’s a better way. Jesus has all the love, joy, and patience you’ll ever need. So when you understand that Jesus is living in you, you’re set free to surrender to His power in you. My secondary goal in this series is for you to memorize the nine fruits of the Spirit.

Fruit is the outward expression of an inward nature. My dad was a forester and he could identify every tree in the forest. I didn’t inherit that gift; I can barely tell the difference between oak trees and pine trees. But when I see an apple hanging on a tree, I know that’s an apple tree. When these personality characteristics are seen in your life, it is the evidence of Jesus living in you. The Bible says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

Today, we’ll talk about love, the first fruit on God’s list. There’s a lot of confusion about what love is. A group of children were asked to define love, and here are some of their answers: Karie, age 5, said: “Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Emily, age 8 said: Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. Karen, age 7, said: “When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” Mary Ann, age 6, said: “Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.” Lauren, age 5, said: “I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.” Jessica, age 8 said: “You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.”

More songs have been written about love than any other topic in the world. This past week I asked my Facebook friends to remind me of some of these love songs. Here’s a few of the songs about love. The Partridge family sang “I think I love you.” Olivia Newton-John confessed, “I honestly love you.” The Doors just said, “Hello, I love you, won’t you tell me your name?” Justin Bieber piped in with, “I just need somebody to love.”

The Beatles said, “All you need is Love, but “you can’t buy me love.” Roxette claimed that “It must have been love.” Robert Palmer was “Addicted to Love,” and 10cc declared, “I’m not in love.” Elvis crooned “Love me tender,” and “Hunka hunka burning love.”

Usher blamed the “DJ got us fallin’ in love again,” and Stevie Wonder “just called to say I love you.” Ke$ha said “Your love is my drug.” (but I think she’s on something stronger) Ray Charles sang, “I can’t stop loving you.” But Air Supply admitted they were “all outta’ love.” And Kenny begged Ruby “don’t take your love to town.”

Tim told Faith, “It’s your love,” while Taylor Swift wrote “A love story.” Dolly wrote it and Whitney sang it, “I will always love you.” Jackie DeShannon said it best when she sang, “What the world needs now is love sweet love.”

Then some songs just ask questions about love. The Spinners asked, “Could it be I’m falling in love?” Jefferson Airplane asked, “Don’t you want somebody to love?” To which Tina Turner answered, “What’s love got to do with it?” And the Bee Gees, the Brothers Gibbs, just wanted to know “How deep is your love?” Then Sir Elton put on a Lion King DVD and asked, “Can you feel the love tonight?” And Haddaway summed it all up by asking, “What is Love?” So, “What is love?” I’m going to answer that question with three life-changing truths from the Bible.

I. LOVE IS THE FIRST-FRUIT THAT PRODUCES THE OTHER FRUIT

One of the problems in the English language is that we only have one word for love. We have to use the same word when we say we love God, love our sweetheart, and love hot dogs. Because we’re restricted to the one English word, you can be misunderstood.

The New Testament was written in Koine Greek, one of the most expressive languages in the world. And there are four different Greek words for love. If you want to dig more deeply into these four words, C.S. Lewis has written an amazing book called The Four Loves.

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