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The Spirit of Love (Galatians 5:22)

Sermon on 20 Jun 2021 by Ps Gaius


Introduction

Many passages in the bible talk about love. Love is the reason why Jesus came to earth to die on the cross. We are created to share His great love with others.


Message


There are nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit. These characteristics can be developed in our lives.


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23


Why did Paul write “against such things there is no law”? At the time, there were wrong practices against which Paul had to call out. These wrong practices limit people coming to God, bonded by their own traditions and understanding. These things cause people to remain in slavery.


For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. – Galatians 5:1


But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. – Galatians 5:15


Paul was trying to warn them against their wrong mindset.


Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. – Galatians 5:26


Love your neighbour as yourself.


For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Galatians 5:14


The bible mentions four types of love (in Greek terms):


1) eros – romantic love

2) storge – familial love

3) philia – friendship

4) agape – divine, unconditional sacrificial love – God’s love for humankind


Agape love is not an emotion. Rather, it is a choice. You have to decide to love someone in agape way. Love is spiritually-minded. Romans tells us to mind things of the Spirit, instead of things of the flesh. We have to submit ourselves to the Spirit. As the fruit of the Spirit is love, the source of the seed must be love. Doing the things of the flesh will cause inability to inherit the kingdom of God.



1. Love is spiritually-minded

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, 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. - Galatians 5:19-21


Our God is full of love. If we say that we are born of the Spirit, then we must have love in us. If we are spiritually-minded, we will definitely love our brother. Love is a choice. It is not an easy choice. Let us come close to the Holy Spirit to cultivate this love.


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. – 1 John 4:7-8


If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. - 1 John 4:20-21


2. Love is selfless

We must love even the unlovable. As a fruit of the Spirit, we must be able to be picked by others. Those who pick us may not thank us. This is why it is a selfless love. When things do not go our way, do not be irritable. When wrong is done against you, do not be resentful. Endure all things. You can do so, with love.


Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8


“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – Matthew 5:43-48


Enemies aside, even for people who make things a little difficult for us, it is already difficult to love them. It is even harder to love enemies. We do not act falsely in our interactions with them, but we should pray for them. Loving only those who love us is not difficult at all. It is no different from how the world behaves. We want to go one step further, as light and salt of the earth. We have to be different. Where people cannot love, we step in and love. This way, our good works can reflect the glory of God. We may not reach perfection, but we progress. Where we fall short, we repent, and we improve.


3. Love is sacrificial

Seeds must die in order to grow again. We have to crucify our old selves, then grow into a new creation.


Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. – John 15:13


“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16


God loved all the people of the world – every single one of His creation. John 3:16 talks about the purpose of sacrifice. It is to bring a person closer to God. For instance, we do not sacrifice our money to someone we know is going to gamble it away. Rather, we should aim to get the person to know more about Jesus, so that he can be saved. Sometimes we need to go all out to achieve this purpose. This is agape love.


Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, - Philippians 2:5


complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. - Philippians 2:2-4


When we pray, don’t only focus on your own needs, but also for the needs of others. This is one way of agape love in action.


4. Love is sustainable

Fruit takes time to grow.


If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. – John 15:10


Abide means remain. It takes time.


You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. – John 15:16-17


Your fruit should not wither and die the next day. It should remain, for the long term.


A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. – John 13:34


Love others just as how Jesus loved us. If we have love for one another, then we are truly disciples of Jesus.


Closing


The love that we give to others – is it a sweet love? The quality of the fruit reflects the quality of the tree. If our fruit is not sweet, we are not from God. If our fruit is sweet, we are truly the followers of Jesus.


So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. – Matthew 7:17-18


Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. – Matthew 7:20


If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. – Galatians 5:25


The fruit of the Spirit is love. We want to obey the two great commandments from God. Obey God with all our heart, our mind, our soul and our strength; and love others as ourselves.


For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not 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.” – Galatians 5:13-14

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