A NEW sermon series begins this week looking at ‘The Fruit of the Spirit’. Preaching from Alan Cole. Service led by David Casse.
This morning we begin a new series on the fruits of the Spirit and what they mean in the life of the Christian. The first of these is “love” and Paul describes it in 1 Corinthians 13 as the greatest of the gifts and it is based on the love of God shown to us by sending His Son to die for the sins of the world – while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
1. We know that we are Christians because we exhibit the fruits of the Spirit – Matthew 7:15-20
2. We show love because the Spirit of God dwells in our hearts, and God is love – John 4:16. This love is demonstrated in our actions – John 13:35; 1 John 3:13 & 14:20.
3. In his book “The four loves” CS Lewis identifies four types of love – physical attraction, affection, friendship and self sacrificial love (agape). It is this type of love which the Christian exhibits and it is defined in John 15;13 as “greater love has no man than this – that a man lays down his life for his friends”. Jesus demonstated this love on the cross – not for His friends but for His enemies – Romans 5:8.
4. As Christians we do not just show love towards our friends, but as is illustrated by the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) to all those people we come into contact with.
5. Sometimes this love can be difficult if we are dealing with people who are awkward or do not reciprocate that love. We are to bear with one another in love – Ephesians 4:2 and to forgive one another – Ephesians 4:32. We must speak the truth in love -Ephesians 4:15, but must be helpful and constructive – Ephesians 4:29,
6. Demonstrating love can often be the means of leading others to Christ.
Question for further study
1. Examine the fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. Which of them do you find the most difficult to show in your life?
2. Study Matthew 7:15-20 and John 13:35. Why is it important to show the fruits of the Spirit in the church family?
3. What aspects of Christian love are shown in each of the following Bible stories?
(a) Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 45:1-12)
(b) Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1:14-18)
(c) David and Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9:1-7)
(d) The Good Samaritan (Luken10:25-37)
(e) The prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32)
4, Study Ephesians 4 verses 2-3; and 29-32. How do these verses show the way in which Christian love should work in practice?
5. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love is the greatest of all spiritual gifts. Why is this so? What aspects of Christian love does Paul outline in verses 4-6?