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                       "THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT"

                     The Fruit Of The Spirit - Love


1. Having considered the manifold works of the flesh, we now focus our
   attention to "the fruit of the Spirit"

2. Have you noticed that the word "fruit" is singular, while "works" is
   a. This suggests that the individual works of the flesh are varied
      and not necessarily related
   b. But the fruit of the Spirit, though possessing various 
      characteristics, is in reality ONE, made possible by the 
      combination of all nine characteristics in these verses
   c. A person may be guilty of the works of the flesh when only 
      committing one of the works
   d. But a person cannot be said to be producing the fruit of the 
      Spirit unless all nine qualities are demonstrated together in his
      or her life
      1) Similar to the graces as listed in 2 Pe 1:5-8
      2) Where the expression "add to your..." implies the graces are 
         intricately connected to each other and are all necessary to 
         growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ

3. So while a person may possess one or more of these graces listed in 
   Ga 5:22-23, that alone does not constitute the fruit of the Spirit;
   one who is led by the Spirit will produce them all!

4. As we begin our examination of the fruit of the Spirit, it is only 
   natural that the virtue of "love" should head the list...
   a. For God is love - 1 Jn 4:8
   b. Love is the greatest virtue of all - 1 Co 13:13

[But what is love?  What place does it have in the life of the 
Christian?  How can we best demonstrate our love toward God and man?

These are some of the questions we shall seek to answer in this lesson
as we begin with...]


      1. EROS - carnal, sexual love
      2. PHILIA - the love of close friendship
      3. STORGE - the love of family relationships
      4. AGAPE - that love which seeks only the highest good of others
         a. It is this love that is Paul mentions in our text, and 
            defines in 1 Co 13:4-8a
         b. Jesus uses the same word in Mt 5:43-48

      1. "Agape has to do with the mind:  it is not simply an emotion 
         which rise unbidden in our hearts; it is a principle by which
         we deliberately live.  Agape has supremely to do with the 
         will." (Barclay)
      2. It is not an uncontrolled reaction of the heart, but a 
         concentrated exercise of the will
      3. It is a caring love one which becomes involved with the need 
         of others
      4. It is does not depend upon the one being loved having to earn
         such love
      5. It is not an exclusive love...
         a. Expressed only to select few
         b. But an all-embracing benevolence, shown toward all

      1. It begins with the God of love - cf. 2 Co 13:11
         a. His love is a completely undeserved love - Ro 5:8
         b. His love is an inseparable love - Ro 8:35-39
         c. Indeed, His love is a great love willing to save sinners! 
            - Ep 2:4-7
      2. It finds its complete fulfillment in Christ
         a. God's love reaches its peak in His Son Jesus Christ - cf. 
            Ro 8:39
         b. Jesus has fully demonstrated such love - Jn 15:13
         c. Therefore we come to know what love really is when we look
            at Jesus Christ - cf. 1 Jn 3:16


      1. It is to be the "atmosphere" in which the Christian walks 
         - Ep 5:1-2
      2. It is to be the "tie that binds" the "garment" the Christian 
         is to put on - Co 3:12-14
      3. It is to be the "universal motive" for all that we do - 1 Co
      4. It is to prevent our Christian liberty from turning into
         destructive selfishness - Ga 5:13
      5. It is to characterize our preaching and teaching of the truth 
         - Ep 4:15
      1. Demonstrating our love toward God
         a. Improper demonstrations:
            1) Some think we prove our love by shouting from the roof 
            2) Others, by putting it on a bumper sticker and honking if
               they love Jesus
            3) And others, think that whatever they do "in the name of
               the Lord" will be pleasing to Him
            -- Yet consider Jesus' words in Mt 7:21-23
         b. Proper demonstration of love toward God:
            1) Keeping His commandments - Jn 14:15,21,23-24; 15:10,14
            2) Loving our brethren - 1 Jn 4:20-21
            -- Do we really love God?  What is our attitude toward
               keeping His commandments and loving the brethren?
      2. Demonstrating our love toward man
         a. Showing love toward those who are brethren in Christ
            1) Love for one another is fundamental to the doctrine of 
               Christ - 1 Jn 3:11; Jn 13:34-35
            2) We best demonstrate our love toward our brethren by...
               a) Helping them when they are in physical need - 1 Jn 3:
               b) Helping them when they are in spiritual need - 1 Pe
                  4:8; Ja 5:19-20
               c) Loving God and keeping His commandments - 1 Jn 5:2
         b. Showing love toward those who are not Christians
            1) Love for others must go beyond loving those who love us
               - cf. Lk 6:27-36
            2) We demonstrate that we are truly the children of God 
               (and led by the Spirit) when out of love we:
               a) Do good to them that hate us
               b) Bless those that curse us
               c) Pray for those that spitefully misuse us
               d) Don't resist them when they do evil to us
               e) Do unto them as we would have them do unto us
               f) Treat them as our Father in heaven treated us!


1. It should not surprise us to learn that one who produces the fruit 
   of the Spirit demonstrates the virtue of love in his or her life
   a. The Father demonstrated love in offering His Son as a sacrifice
      for sin
   b. The Son personified love in the way He lived and died for us
   c. The Spirit of God revealed what love is through the Word
   -- Shall not the one born of God and walking by the Spirit manifest
      love in both his attitude and actions?

2. Even if we already excel in the matter of love...
   a. There is always room for growth - cf. 1 Th 4:9-10
   b. There is always the need for prayers such as this one:

      "And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one
      another and to all, just as we do to you" (1 Th 3:12)

We have spoken of God's wonderful love for us;  have you yet responded
to that love? - cf. Ro 2:4-5
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