Fruit of the Spirit: Love
Well this last week I did something that I have not done in about eleven years I went to a pastor's breakfast you know I know you're all excited thank you you know when I was back in Michigan for the eight years that I was a pastor back there I had a group of pastors and we meet about once a month and we go out to a restaurant and we talk and we we chit chat we do shop talk you know when you when you work along with some other people like to do that and so we've been encouragement to each other and we talk about different ideas in a this is what's going on in my church and ever since I moved here I thought that I was going to have that but I haven't or the first several years I would meet with Craig McDonald who is a pastor of a church he's now up in the state of Oregon he's retired now and Steve McDonald Now his son is here I don't know why I brought that up Steve who are you anyway but Craig the Donald and I would get together and we would do that but I've kind of missed having that group you know it's kind of nice to hear from multiple different people and so this last week someone invited me to an area pastor's breakfast and it's been really neat since we've moved here to this building I've had three different pastors who live in the immediate neighborhood reach out and contact me in our church and welcome us here and that's been pretty neat So one of them who actually lives just right on the street just about like five houses up right here on a wall or here he says hey would you like to go to this Wednesday morning first of every month breakfasts and I said sure and so what we did is we we talked about different topics and I guess that's what they do every month but this time what he did as the service or the message was about politics. And you know me at all you know that I'm not that into politics and as a pastor I do not stand up here and tell you who to vote for I don't feel like that's my role at all and so when he mentioned that to me that this was the topic I thought you know maybe I'll skip this one and I'll just go to one and in May I don't know about that but as I went there what they did is about ten or fifteen fifteen of us they were talking about so what does the church have in politics and so from that conversation as I drove home I thought the juices were flowing and I was thinking about lots of things and I want to share two things with you and the second thing is going to lead into our servant OK but the first thing is I was sitting there with all these other pastors It was so nice to hear them express their frustrations and their fears regarding church and politics because I felt like this myself my whole life as I've been in ministry but one thing that I have heard from them a common theme which was which causes them to be hesitant to get into political discussions is because you know the should not surprise you if a pastor or a church stands up in a setting like this and gets into political discussions guess what's going to happen you're going to offend someone and you're going to hurt feelings then for instance how many of you this week heard something political on the radio or saw it on the website online and you got all riled up and upset I think every single one of us right there turn on the news so so I'm not I'm not looking forward to seeing people upset in offended the second thing and I think this might be even more important the first is.
Whenever there's a political issue I as a pastor don't feel like I'm at all an expert on that subject and so it's hard to stand up and say when it comes to this political issue this is the way that we should view it and I'm excluding moral issues OK I'm not talking about moral issues all do that I think everyone we're supposed to do that. What happens is if you get up and you say this is the political issue today this is how we should address it as soon as you say that someone else is going to come up to you and say Well have you ever thought about it from this perspective or did you ever consider this and so it's hard to come up and try to be an expert on something that you don't quite have a full a firm grasp on and I heard these other pastors saying that too and I thought OK why I feel that way as well another reason why pastors are so. Tempted to not really dive into politics is because politics and political issues they change so fast and so if a church or a pastor's up you're always talking about political issues it's like they don't have any identity at all because all they're doing is chasing the politics of that day and so it's good to hear other pastors share their concerns and their fears and frustrations about politics and so that's the first thing I want to share with you the second major issue is what's going to lead us into our message and it was fun as I was sitting around the table talking to these pastors on this topic kept coming to this point about why we should be careful talking politics and it's because of this reason if you're here today and you are a believer in Jesus Christ your identity is in him and not a political party or a political issue right so hopefully that makes sense
the thing is what we're seeing all over the world today is people are taking their opinions and their preferences whether they're right or they're wrong about politics and they're making that their identity they're saying I am this kind of a person and they'll wrap up their political position of their party into their identity and what's sad is we're seeing believers today who are true born again believers who place their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior they'll spend eternity together but they won't even listen to someone else who shares a different political view and there's all this division even within the Body of Christ over politics and so. This is the most I've talked about politics in a long time in the surprise of the most I'll talk about politics but I wanted to share that with you but it got me thinking about the whole thing that I just mentioned and that is about our identity you and I as believers if you place your faith in Jesus Christ we need to have a clear idea that he'd clear understanding of our identity in Christ and I want you to go to go lation chapter five we're going to pick up where we left off we go back to the lay sions And in this passage especially and this is why I'm bringing up this whole political issue this idea about politics into this message this is a passage here and Galatians as we get into the practical section of glaciers about our identity and understanding truly what our identity is who we are in Christ and allowing that to be how we're identified by the world around us. So delicious chapter five and what we did as we left off about four weeks ago I want to read a couple of passages that we've already looked at just are all kind of brought up to speed but here glacier is Chapter five beginning in verse thirteen
this is what we looked at a few weeks ago Paul says this
he says for you were called to freedom brothers only did I use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh but through love serve one another for the whole law is fulfilled in one word you shall love your neighbor as yourself but if you bite in devour one another watch out that you are not consumed by one another do you see a lot of biting in devouring of one another in the world today absolutely we see that everywhere that we look in fact this is what happens when a person is consumed with their own view on the world and we are consumed with our own view and looking at life through our own lenses that's when we find just the opposite of what God wants to see in our lives we find divisions among the people instead of unity God sacrifice his son so that we can be united
and let's keep reading here in verse sixteen this is the passage we looked at three weeks ago before Palm Sunday Mr Paul says but I say walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh for the desires of the flesh are against the spirit in the desires of the spirit or against the flesh for these are opposed to each other to keep you from doing the things you want to do but if you are led by the Spirit you are not under law now the works of the flesh are evident sexual immorality impurity sensuality my Dollar Tree sorcery enmity strife jealousy fits of anger rivalries dissensions divisions envy drunkenness orgies and things like these I warn you as I warned you before that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
And like Paul says these are obvious the works of the flesh are obvious and as you read these actions it's obvious that these produce divisions among people who does not bring people together some of the sins that are mentioned they're private in their internal but they're very destructive when it comes to relationships I mean look at verse twenty again it says that the works of the flesh it's enmity strife jealousy fits of anger rivalries dissensions and divisions those are all things that will destroy and break down relationships between people and so that kind of living as it's described here and Galatians is the fruit of the flesh and God has called us to say no to the flash and yes to the spirit so now we need to do is we need to ask yourself this question as we're getting into glaciers the last chapter five so what then does it look like when God's children let the Holy Spirit work in their lives and starting today we're going to do is we're going to start talking about the fruit of the spirit and we're going to look at these nine qualities of the fruit of the spirit and when I first went through Galatians I was kind of looking forward to getting this portion I thought well maybe I'll just take one Sunday and I'll just do one Sunday on the fruit of the Spirit and then over the last few months I was thinking Oh I think I need to slow it down maybe I'll look at three at a time and then as I got closer to actually looking at the fruit of the spirit I want you know what there's enough with each one of these now we're actually going to look at each character trait each quality of the fruit of the spirit and there's there's nine of them and so we're going to go through this over the next couple months but as we go through the fruit of the spirit I'm going to ask everyone here to do a couple things have you ever asked yourself the question I wonder what would happen if.
And then you go ahead a new film The blank for yourself like for instance I wonder what would happen to my life if I maintained a consistently healthy diet probably all thought that right or I wonder what happened to my life if I exercised on a regular consistent basis or I wonder what would happen to my life if I finally went out and got that degree and how would my life be different or maybe from a different perspective I wonder what would happen if I finally was able to stop doing that sinful destructive habit that I continue to do all the time have you ever done that with your life I wonder what would happen if I made some small change how can I make my life better well. When we look at our passage for today and for these next nine weeks we can ask the question I wonder what would happen if if I truly gave control of my mind and my heart to God if I truly let him out of control I wonder what would happen and this is the answer this is what our life would look like you know to kind of tie into this whole political issue that I mentioned God has not called his children to be his children so that the world can identify us by our politics and those positions God has called us into his family so that the world can see him by what he produces in our lives well before we read our passage what I want to do is go over to John Chapter fifteen and this is kind of even setting up what we're about to read John Chapter fifteen this is one of many areas are many places in the Bible where the Bible talks about whatever is in you is going to come out there you are going to produce something in your life and and Here Jesus says that if we abide in Him This is what's going to happen in our lives John Chapter fifteen beginning in verse one.
John Chapter fifteen beginning in verse one Jesus says
I am the true vine and my father is the vine dresser every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away in every branch the does bear fruit he prunes that it may bear more fruit already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you abide in me and I in you as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine neither can you unless you abide in me I am the vine you are the branches whoever abides in me and I in him he it is that bears much fruit for apart from me you can do nothing of verse eight might be the most important section. Jesus says By this my father is glorified that you bear much fruit and so proved to be my disciples and so this is God's will for our lives that we will bear fruit the fruit that God wants to produce in our lives and so that we will bear witness to God Well these next nine weeks we're going to look at one part of one quality of the fruit I notice maybe you've probably heard this before but these are the fruits of the spirit as in There are nine fruits at Cingular there's fruit of the Spirit and all nine of these equal the fruit and so we can pick and choose and say well I want this to be evident in my life but I don't want this we can't pick and choose This is where God works in our life all nine are evident so let's read our passage for today passages in glaciers five twenty two and twenty three
these are the fruit of the Spirit glacial five twenty two and twenty three it says but the fruit of the Spirit is love joy peace patience kindness goodness they fullness gentleness self-control against such things there is no law and the first quality mentioned is probably the most obvious and that is love if we give our hearts and our minds to God He will cause us to produce love and when we say that God is going to produce love in our lives I don't want to get the wrong image I think sometimes when I think when the world talks about loving each other we we get the idea that if we're loving each other we're just tolerating in accepting of anything that anyone does that's not what this love is going to do it's not going to enable people to sin or to tolerate sin or we're accepting it it simply means that you allow God to fill you with the love that he has for mankind and you treat each other as fellow image bearers of God and I know that's easier said than done but this is what we're going to be talking about today so let's take a closer look at love and for this trait I think maybe it's best to look at it from the perspective of what is love evidence of if you're allowing God to have control of your heart in your mind and he is producing in your life love then what is the love that God is producing evidence of to the world around us I mean to give you three things this morning when a child of God is overflowing with love it is evidence of life for someone that has love being produced in your life by God it is evidence of life let's turn over in our Bibles to first John Chapter three.
First John chapter three and if you're looking on your sermon notes can you guess which New Testament author likes to talk about love quite a bit as the Apostle John in fact he even refers himself refers to himself as the Apostle that Jesus loved So this is kind of near and dear to John's heart and I'm sure that all the disciples took Christ's words seriously but I think maybe John the great commandment the two greatest commandments really hit home the hardest And so yes I asked the question what are the greatest commandments and Jesus was very clear the greatest commandment are to love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and strength and number two is to love your neighbor as yourself a gnat's really what we're dealing with here and we're practically getting into that while in first John Chapter three beginning in verse one I think John's kind of shedding some light on what this fruit of love looks like first John chapter three verse one it says see what kind of Love The Father has given to us that we should be called children of God And so we are the reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him and so this begins by speaking about our identity we are first and foremost children of God and then he says this about the children of God Look at verse fourteen go down to chapter three verse fourteen
says we know that we have passed out of gas into life. Because we love the brothers whoever does not love abides in death and so love here is evidence that someone has life eternal life for them the a pass over from death to life you know Jesus when he was speaking with the disciples talked about that in fact let me read for you John five twenty four Jesus said this to John and the other disciples and I think it had many many years to kind of resonate in John's mind for him to write what he wrote here in John three fourteen but in John five twenty four Jesus said Truly truly I say to you whoever hears my word and believes in Him who sent me has eternal life he does not come into judgment but he has passed from death to life so Jesus teaching them if you have face in me you have passed from death to life and so John wrote first John about sixty years after Jesus said those words to him and so if someone says something to you that is really profound and you have a lot of time to think about it are you going to see evidence of how true that saying was in your life absolutely and so John wrote John three fourteen after sixty years of hearing Jesus say that if you have me in your life you have passed from death to life look at three fourteen again John says this he says we know that we have passed out of death into life and how does he know this because we love the brothers whoever does not love abides in death and so love is evidence of life it's evidence of eternal life and there are many examples on earth of how something like this is true how do you know that a tree is alive while you look for the buzzer of eggs or if it's a plant citrus tree a look for the citrus How do you know that when a child is born as it's alive what's the first thing that Ellie not Eli Bennett did when she was born the new heir Russian or longs I'm sure I should probably screen now you know babies lie because they scream and cry I know I don't know. But I know my three kids they sure did that how do you know when a dog is happy its tail is waiting right so there's evidence all throughout our lives who have something is true you're going to be able to see it listen how do you know a human being has passed from death to life the Bible says you're going to see you love in their life if they're truly a child of God there is going to be love in their life
I'd like to to read books and commentaries to help me as I'm starting in right now I'm reading a book called cultivating the fruit of spirit by Christopher Wright and he wrote this and I thought it was good enough I want to just share this with you just a couple verses a couple first couple sentences he he writes How do you know if a believer or a church is alive you look for the love where there is love there is life. When Christians truly put love into practice it is evidence assurance that the life of God is present among them and in them but when we don't put love into practice when we fight in we squabble and we divide and we denounce each other what does that say about us if there is no love says John we have not come to life at all we remain in death
so the people that you come in contact with on a daily basis your family your friends your coworkers can they see evidence that you have eternal life
if they do it's because of the love that is in you
will love is evidence of life and something else that love is the evidence of is love is the evidence of faith if we have love in our lives it's evidence of faith of a person as face they will love others you know our face in Jesus it obviously begins in our minds right we have to make a decision is Jesus truly the Messiah did he really die and come back to life but it is intended to produce action it's not intended to stay in our minds forever looked down in the first John Chapter three just a few more verses to to verse twenty three first John three twenty three John writes this and he does something very interesting here he says and this is his commandment that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another just as he commanded us now notice the John says Jesus gave a command but command is singular not plural and when he says that he gave them a command he lists two things so why in the world does John do that he does this because he sees these two commandments as here inseparable from one another if we believe Jesus then we will love one another just like a tree that is alive is going to produce fruit if you're here and John first John three go back a couple of verses diverses seventeen and eighteen This talks about the practicality of putting our faith into action first John three seventeen and eighteen it says but if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need yet closes his heart against him. How does God's love abide in Him little children let us not love in Word or talk but in deed and in truth that's evidence of our faith if we love the world around a set of evidence of our faith and I realize it's not just believers who are moved to act compassionately towards other people in the world however if a child of God gives control of their heart in their mind to the Lord then your love will be evidence of your face you have you ever been moved to help another person that you were kind of surprised by that where did that desire where did that passion come from because I know it didn't come from me and you realize in a very humbling way God put of desire in your heart to love and to care for another person or another group of people that's what happens when we allow God to produce fruit in our lives you know talking about loving others and that's evidence of our faith you know I have to ask the question so who are the people that we're supposed to show love to and I think that question is pretty obvious for the answer is pretty obvious we can look around us and we can look at each other here in our church and say well we're supposed to love each other and love our family members but something I think maybe God's kind of in putting in my heart my mind and I think some of you as well we as a church should have some kind of a mission field and sometimes it is a foreign mission and sometimes it's local but something I've realized over the last ten twelve weeks and even before we moved here is you know what a mission field we have right now and in the coming years and that elementary school right over there that is going to be huge for us. You know I mentioned a few weeks ago I'm Sara Kincaid and I met with the president of the Parent Teacher Association and she is just beside herself excited that there's a church right here that can love those kids and not only those kids but the parents and the administration the faculty of that elementary school over there how can we as a church let that untapped potential that mission field let them know the love of God Young I'm excited about this I'm excited about Vacation Bible School and how many kids we can really show the love of God to and the thing is every year a new set of kids comes in so we have a mission field literally right on the other side of that fence and it's never going to go away now that should be exciting for us and so when we talk about showing our love to the world we don't have to be nebulous and say oh we need to kind of show what we can literally live erotic and I know I'm not you know as I know exactly where I'm walking it's right over there I'm not lost the school is right over there that's something that I hope all of us start praying about how can we share the love of God with that elementary school over there is something I'm looking forward to and so love is evidence of life if you are if you pass from death to life there should be love in your life love is also evidence of face and finally love is also evidence of God Love is also evidence of God And when you had the kids come out here I thought you were going to kind of steal my final point in the sermon but this is where John mentions to us I want you to turn over to chapter four A First John first John chapter four
beginning in verse seven
John writes this he says First John four seven Beloved let us love one another for love is from God and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God Anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love in this love in this the love of God was made manifest among us that God sent His only Son into the world so that we might live through him in this is love not that we have loved God but that he has loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins beloved if God so loved us we also ought to love one another verse twelve says no one has ever seen God but if we love one another God abides in the US and his love is perfected in us you know John says a lot of important things in this passage he talks about how God is the source of all love that God gave us prove it is love is love through sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins but then he says that God becomes visible through our love for one another in verse twelve he says no one has ever seen God. We can say wait a second I thought I thought Jesus says that if we saw him we saw the father in fact all read out for us and John fourteen Philip said to Jesus Lord show us the Father and it is enough for us and Jesus said to him Have I been with you so long you still not know me Philip Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father how can you say Show us the Father while John is writing and he's telling us listen no one has ever seen God the Father because He is Spirit we've seen the sun in scriptures but no one has seen the Father but Jesus revealed the father how did he reveal the father he revealed the father by his love for mankind and guess what and tell Christ returns you and I get to reveal God to the world through our love that's how it works and so love is the first quality of the fruit of the spirit and over these next I guess eight weeks because this this message is pretty much done I want to challenge us to do something over these next eight weeks I really want you to seriously pray every day every day say God I'm giving you control of my heart in my mind I want to say no to the flesh I want to say yes to the spirit that you have placed within me I want you to pray that and then pray specifically that God will manifest these qualities in your life now what do you think would happen if all of us prayed this for the next eight weeks do you think I would answer that prayer that's kind of exciting it is kind of scary to see what God would do but if we ask ourselves the question I wonder what would happen if I truly became the branch on the vine that God wants me to be and God produced through me the fruit of the spirit how do you think your life would be different well I hope as we go through this series we will all find out let's close in prayer and today as we close in prayer what I'm going to ask you to do is I want you to stand with me and we're going to close in prayer together
Dear Father I pray. On this day that you may live in our presence and that we may please you more and more Father and Father I pray that you will fill us with yourself and you will cause your fruit to ripen in our lives in the fruit of love joy peace patience kindness goodness faithfulness and gentleness and self-control Father we want your love for us to be the evidence that the world truly needs evidence that we have passed from death to life evidence that our face is real and also evidence of you that people will see you in our love for them and so father i help i pray that you will help us all to be aware of the people in our lives that especially and specifically need your love and that you will give us the wisdom in the strength to come alongside them and to be your hands and feet father you show have shown the world your great love for us and I know that you want to spill out your love even more inch of the world than you do that through us and so Father we just open up our hearts and our minds to you today an assett you will produce us in our lives for your honor and your glory we pray this non-crisis day and.