"The Power To Prevail Over Your Problems"
Series on the Fruit of the Spirit, Msg. # 2

The Fruit of the Spirit is Love

Read: Galatians 5:16-25
Text: "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." Galatians 5:16
Theme: The Holy Spirit produces love that is selfless in the believer.


Introduction:
When you daily walk in the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit will be evident in your life. (NOTE, fruit is singular, ALL of it is part of EVERY believer's life.)
Tonight, let's examine one aspect of the fruit of the Spirit which can only come from God, and which should be exercised chiefly toward God. That aspect is love.
DEFINITION: "Love that gives selflessly, expecting nothing in return.
"Benevolent love, a love that does that which the one being loved NEEDS, not necessarily what they DESIRE."
e.g. "God so loved..." John 3:16 (Mankind did not ask for a savior, nor want one, but God gave Him because it NEEDED a savior. - Zodhiates)


I. Love is the chief characteristic of our God.

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for GOD IS LOVE." 1 John 4:7-8
QUOTE "The scriptures contain no equivalent statements with respect to other qualities of the divine nature. Love is the highest characteristic of God, the one attribute in which all others harmoniously blend." Merrill Unger
QUOTE "God loves each of us as if there were only one of us." Augustine

II. Love is best demonstrated in Jesus.

"But God commendeth His love..." Romans 5:8
QUOTE "God proved His love on the cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, 'I love you.'" Billy Graham
cf. Romans 8:32-39
He is our standard for loving - "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it." Ephesians 5:5

III. Love is our responsibility toward God - Lev. 19:18

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." Deuteronomy 6:4-5
(Love shows itself in obedience to Him. - READ John 14:15,21,23; 15:10; 1 John 2:5; 5:3; 2 John 6)
QUOTE "God uses the thermometer of obedience to test the temperature of love." Dr. Bob Jones, Jr.

IV. Love is our responsibility toward Men

QUOTE "I love mankind, it's people that I can't stand!" Linus (from Peanuts comic strip)
"Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD." Leviticus 19:18
- Such love seeks the welfare of all.
"Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification." Romans 15:2
- Such love works no ill to any.
"Owe no man any thing, but to love one another, for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law." Romans 13:8,10
- Such love seeks the opportunity to do good to all, especially to Christians.
"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." Galatians 6:10
- Such love is the chief test of discipleship.
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:35
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Matthew 5:44
"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." 1 John 3:14
ILLUS. Jesus, when asked re: greatest commandment - Mark 12:28-31

V. Love is the greatest of all other virtues.

"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." 1 Cor. 13:13
"And above all these things (mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness) put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness." Colossians 3:14

VI. Love cannot be understood unless you are saved.

Romans 5:5 "...the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."


Conclusion:

The type of love we have described is a characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit.
It is not possible in a life that is without Christ. One needs first be saved, and then this glorious fruit is a part of their life.
We have been studying the Fruit of the Spirit.
We have learned that walking in the spirit gives us the POWER TO PREVAIL OVER OUR PROBLEMS!
AND, when you are walking in the Spirit, not only will you have the power to prevail over your problems... not only will you experience the victory that is available in Jesus... YOU WILL ALSO DEMONSTRATE THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT... which is love.

Please direct questions, comments, and submissions to William E. Johnson
Copyright 1996 William E. Johnson.