Chardon church of Christ

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The Fruit of The Spirit – Self-Control

Posted by Chardon in Galatians 5

The Fruit of The Spirit – Self-Control

Galatians 5:22-23

 

INTRO:

Good morning.   For the last several weeks I've been presenting lessons from Galatians 5:22-23.  The sermon this morning will be the last sermon in this group and we're going to be looking at the subject of self-control.

 

I want to encourage you to take out your Bibles and look at the scriptures I mention. If you have any questions about anything I say, I’ll be glad to talk to you about it. If I’m wrong, I will stand corrected.

 

We're going to again begin with Galatians 5:22-23 – “22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23. gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”  

 

Self-Control again is an expression that defines itself. Self-control is the controlling of our selves.   There are two things that are understood from the word self-control here.

 

The first is I have the ability to control myself, self-control.   The mere fact the word exists tells me I have the ability to control myself.

 

The second thing I’ve learned from this is God expects me to control myself.   We human beings are driven by our will and our desires.  In our lives as children of God we understand what the will of the Lord is, yet we struggle in doing it.

 

It is not so much that when we edify each other we have to convince each other of what the truth is, as it is encouraging us to do what we already believe and know the truth to be.   Self-control is living that belief and that truth.   It is one thing to know the commandments of God, to know what is within the Word of God but it’s quite another thing to do it, to live by it.

 

In our lives as Christians we will have various situations and trials and temptations, then with the knowledge of the Word of God, we are expected, by faith, to do the will of God.   Unfortunately though, there are times when there is a situation, a scenario, or a temptation where we know the will of God, yet we choose not to do what God says. This is where self-control is needed.  

If we are going to be Christians, we are expected to have self-control, so we do not just desire to do good, are not just willing to do good, but we carry it out in our lives.  We are keeping His commandments by faith.

 

A point we've made in the lessons so far about the fruit of the spirit is that we're talking about manifestations, the fruit, the product, which comes from our relationship with God.  

 

In examining faithfulness, we point out that faith comes by hearing the Word of God and faithfulness is the product, the fruit, of that faith.   We are keeping his commandments by faith.    Our relationship with God is directly tied to the Word of God where our faith comes from.

If we are going to live by faith, we need to go to the Word of God where faith comes from.   As faith grows, we will find its going get stronger and become hope and the highest level of faith is love.   Love for God, whom we've never seen and then we're walking, living, by love and keeping His commandments because we love Him.

 

  1. Self-Control And The Mind – Self-control is the key, it is the very heart of all of this.   When we have self-control, we are carrying out in our body what we are willing in our heart and mind.  

    1. Let’s look first at the book of Matthew in Matthew 15:18-19.  Here it talks about the tie between the mind and our actions when it says; “18. "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19. "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”

      1. Notice that all our actions, all our words, originate in the mind.  If we're going to have self-control, we need to recognize where it starts.
      2. It starts with getting control of our mind, getting control of our thoughts.
    2. Next in Proverbs 4:23 and let me mention that if you ever want to memorize a verse memorize this one; “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Here we are dealing with the mind – as a person thinks in their heart, so he will be.   We're dealing here with our mind, keeping it with all diligence, gaining control of the process.
      1. You hear the words coming out of my mouth.   They start right here in my mind.  If I am flailing my hands around that starts here in my mind.
      2. Walking back and forth, everything I do, everything I say, originates in the mind.   If we're going to have self-control, we've got to keep our heart with all diligence.
      3. The idea is getting control of what is coming in and what is going out. From our heart spring all the issues of life. Everything we say, everything we do originates with thoughts in our mind.
    3. Now in Romans 8:5 – it says; “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” Have you ever heard a parent ask “where was your mind” when a child got into mischief?   Have you as a parent ever thought “where was their mind?”   I certainly have heard this expressed about the immature, including myself.
      1. Sometimes we think that about adults too.   The point here is the mind… It says someone who's in the world sets their mind on the things of the flesh but the person who’s a Christian sets their mind on the things of the spirit.
      2. The common denominator between these three versus that we just looked at in Matthew, Proverbs and Romans—is the mind. The mind is ultimately what controls the actions.  
      3. That makes the mind pretty important doesn’t it?
    4. The Spiritual War For You Mind – In thinking about this I’m sure we recognize there is a war that is taking place and that war is the war for our mind.   Our mind which controls our actions, is the spoils in this battle.   It is going to determine our soul’s eternal destiny.   Satan wants to fill our minds with filth, with temptations, with the desires of the flesh, so that our thoughts are going to be fleshly oriented and desire oriented.   Then our actions are going to be the actions of the flesh.  We will be creatures of the flesh. - There's a battle for our minds.
      1. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 2:11 – “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,” One of the worst things we can do as Christians is just float through life.  Not keeping our heart with all diligence, not guarding our heart with all diligence, and just allow anything to come into our minds and come into our hearts.

        1. For example, when it comes to the holiday season, I've got some bad news for us.   We are what we eat. I know we joke about it but it is true.
        2. What we take into our mouth is going to make up our body whether we like that or not.   Think about that.   In like manner, what we take into our mind is what is going to make up our thought processes whether we like it or not.
        3. Have you ever heard someone say “oh I can watch that it doesn't bother me”.   Really?   I guess that would mean what I eat won’t become part of me.
        4. Just like what you consume with your mouth is making up your body, what you take into your mind through your eyes and ears is going to be making up the thoughts in your mind, and it is going to be coming out in the actions of your life.
        5. We need to recognize this is a war that is taking place.  Satan wants into our minds.   We are surrounded by Satan's attacks on our eyes and our ears, the goal of which is to get into our mind and to get into our life.
        6. The text says here abstain from fleshly lust.  What do you understand from the word abstain?  To see how close you can get to it?   No. You stay away from it because it's warring against your soul.
        7. There's a war going on and the worst thing that we can do is compromise, let down our defenses, not guard our heart with all diligence, just let Satan come in and just fill our mind and heart with all kinds of things we do not need.
        8. We need to develop our self-control, to get in control of what we're watching and listening to and reading.
      2. It says this in Psalm 101:3 – “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me.” The way in which we take information into our mind is through our senses—taste, touch, smell, and the primary two senses of sight and hearing.
        1. How can something we see or hear cling to us? Have you have ever learned a song just by listening to it several times on the radio?   I have listened to a song four or five times and by the fifth time or so I know every word and every note.
        2. You see its going in there.   They call this “the information age” for a reason. Don’t we realize that what we watch on television, in the movies, read in magazines, listen to in music, and see on the computer, is information that is being taken into our mind?
        3. No wonder so many Christians struggle when it comes to questions of the spirit and the flesh.   How many are going down the broad way because of the information Satan has managed to get into their minds?
        4. How many become lost because they're sitting there watching filth and pornography, then come to assemble and sing, “Oh how I love Jesus”?    They are acting like; “Oh, I can watch that stuff and I can read about that stuff but it's not going to affect me”.
        5. If we think that, who are we kidding?   We must have control of what we put in our mind.   You don't have to be a Solomon to figure out that we are being bombarded with filth through all sorts of media.   Do not watch it, don’t listen to it, don’t read it… abstain.
        6. If you know it's going to be there before you go there, then don't go there.   Get control of what's coming into the mind.  Guard your heart with all diligence.
        7. Going back to It shall not cling to me. Have you ever got something on your hand, and you can’t seem to get it off?   Rubber cement comes to mind for me. That’s clinging.   We set something wicked before our eyes and it is clinging to our thought processes. People think, “That’s not affecting me.” Oh yes it is, it is clinging to you and it will come out in the things you think about.
        8. Go back and read from Matthew 15:18-19 again - “18. "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19. "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts,”. You must get control of your self and through that control get control of what is coming into your mind.   Abstain from it.  It's warring against your soul.   It will cling to your mind.   You'll find yourself having thoughts that are fleshly oriented and they will come out in your actions.
        9. What can we do?
      3. Do we remember what it tells us in the twelfth chapter of Romans? Romans 12:2 – “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” We need to recognize it is in the mind where the battle is, if we're going to gain self-control.   What we are told in the text is renew your mind.   It is the idea of a changing of our heart, a changing of our mind which will ultimately manifest in a changing of our life, in a word—repentance.
        1. Notice the close of this verse in Romans, and perfect will of God.” That is what we need to be controlling our minds, not the things of this world.
        2. If we want to be spiritually minded, and be keeping our heart with all diligence, a major part of helping us carry that out in our life is letting our mind be filled with the word of God.
      4. Ephesians 5:18-19 – “18. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19. speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,” That brings a question to my mind, what kind of music does God like?   I like many types, though not all types.   Some like rap affect me so negatively I don’t even want to hear it.
        1. Jazz is perhaps my favorite kind of music, yet I have never been spiritually minded by listening to jazz.   I like country, especially the old style that told a story, ballads, but it does not lift me spiritually. I really like classical music. I was raised on classical, but listening to Mozart has never really brought me closer to God.
        2. There's only one kind of music I have found that actually affects me spiritually,  which will even bring me to my knees in the privacy of my room, and that is psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
        3. In Ephesians again we find the idea of getting control of what's coming into us.   It says do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit. Then we are told a way of being filled with the Spirit. Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,  We're being filled with the spirit, becoming more and more spiritually minded by listening to psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.  If we want to become spiritually minded we take things of this nature into the mind through the ears and the eyes.
      5. I’d like to cross reference this with Colossians 3:15-16 – “15. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
        1. In Ephesians 5 it says be filled with the spirit.   In Colossians it says let the word of Christ dwell in your richly.   These verses are saying the same thing.
        2. Romans 10:17 tells us that; “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
        3. John says in John 20:30-31 “many of the signs truly did Jesus in the presence of the disciples which were not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God and that believing you may have life to his name.” [para]  
          1. The reasons Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written was so that we could read and learn about Jesus. His birth, teaching, miracles, crucifixion, and resurrection.
          2. From this record we conclude that Jesus of Nazareth, a man whom we have never laid eyes on, really is the anointed one of God, the Christ.
  • He really is the son of God.  He died for me because He loved me.    He rose from the dead and the resurrection is really going to happen.
  1. Our faith comes from the Word of God.  If you are going have faithfulness you've got to have faith.
  1. In like manner if we are going to be spiritually minded, we've got to have the word of God dwelling in us.   To get to that point we need to have self-control.

    1. I’ll put it to you this way. I have a glass and fill it with water to the very top then turn it sideways, what's going to come out? Water.
    2. If we develop self-control and diligently guard our mind so that what we are allowing into our mind is the Word of God then His word will dwell in us richly and we know what's going to come out in our life. - The word of God.  The perfect will of God.  
  • We have changed our mind to where it is no longer fleshly minded, but is now spiritually minded, motivated by faith, hope, and love and our life will be changed.
  • The Fruit of Self-Control – What are the manifestations of self-control?

    1. A good verse to look at is one we ended with last week 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 – “for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds casting down arguments in every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” [para] Let’s start with “the weapons of our warfare”.

      1. Again, please remember we are engaged in a war folks.   The battleground is your mind and your heart, and the spoils of this war is your soul’s eternal destiny.  If you just lollygag and lay around and are not engaged in the battle, guess what, you're going to lose the battle.   We had better be soldiers of Christ fighting the battle.
      2. What then do we fight this battle with? Spiritual perspectives.   We are fighting against a spiritual enemy. God has given us spiritual weapons. These weapons work.
      3. When Jesus was attacked by our enemy, Satan, in Matthew 4, do you recall how He defended Himself? When Satan said; ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.’    What was Jesus response? IT IS WRITTEN `Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God'. To each attack of Satan Jesus response was “It is written”. What Jesus was doing in His defense was pulling the spiritual sword out of the sheath; and what is that sword?   The word of God.
    2. When we're going to be in battle against spiritual wickedness, we better learn our weapons and use them. Find the scriptures that fit that spiritual struggle.
      1. Everybody here, every one of us, have our own spiritual weaknesses. There are areas in our life that are strongholds.   Last time we briefly talked about these strongholds as something in our mind or the minds of others that prevents the word of God from entering.
      2. A stronghold is where Satan has come in times past into our life and he's tempted us.   We are thinking to our self I'm not going to do this again.   I'm not going to act that way again, I'm going to live a Christian life… and then here comes the same old temptation.
      3. It is not something new.   I’ve been down this road time and time and time again.  I’m sure you have too. Here comes the temptation and you give into that temptation.   You have let that temptation succeed and then you end up sitting there, mentally whipping yourself saying; what is wrong with me?
      4. I know I'm describing everyone including myself, because when we give into temptation, we feel godly sorrow.   We are struggling with a temptation and we are wondering what's wrong with me why am I giving in to this, it is then we realize the problem is self-control.  
      5. We're willing to do good. We want to do the will of God and yet we find our self giving into temptations.
        1. And they're not strangers to us. They are temptations that we're very familiar with.
        2. We can know ourselves and recognize where our spiritual weaknesses are.   But the enemy also knows them. Then what we need to do is find the scriptures that fit our spiritual struggle and put those scriptures in our mind.
      6. I have had and still do have a problem with my temper.   How about this one? Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; Or this one? "Be angry, and do not sin'': do not let the sun go down on your wrath, How about this one from James 1:20 “for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
    3. These verses are spiritual weapons God has given us.  The point we need to recognize, folks, is that the weapons of our warfare are mighty.  They make it so we can pull down a stronghold.  The temptation is seen beating us down again and again and we think what's wrong with me.  
      1. You can have the victory.   You can say no. You can resist it and he will flee from you, but you've got to know your weapons.   And you have to use your weapons.
      2. Find the scriptures that fit where you are.  Put them to memory and the next time Satan comes back, and you know he's coming back, the next time he hits you pull the sword out and say it is written and quote scripture. Then let that sink in.   These weapons work but we need to have them at the ready and use them.
    4. Look at the next part of 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. “bringing every thought into captivity” That says every thought into captivity, every single thing I think is under control. Captive.
      1. That is the level we strive to get to.   Have we reached it? No. But that is where we are trying to get to and what does this bringing every thought into captivity ultimately end in?   “…the obedience of Christ”.
      2. If we're going to keep His commandments, we will need to have self-control to where we carry out in our body, our lives, what we are desiring and willing to do in our heart as Christians.
    5. From James 1:19-20 I was quoting this one to you earlier. We learned “let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;”. Notice it says first swift to hear.   That tells us, puts in our mind, to first listen, hear what is being said.   Then slow to speak, speaking is usually the first reaction to what someone says, or a situation isn’t it?
      1. I’ll paraphrase James 1:26 says; “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.” We should learn to let some time pass before we open our mouth and speak.
      2. It is a very difficult thing to do but if we are going to be Christians, true Christians, we are expected to get a bridle on our tongue and have control of what is coming out of our mouth.
      3. How many times have words come out of your mouth and you really wish they would come back?  Can't get them back.  We need to be slow to speak so the words coming out of our mouth are words we've thought about and are exactly what we want to say at the time.   The right words at the right time. That is using self-control.

 

 

CONCLUSION:

Then finally Paul said in First Corinthians 9:27 – “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” Disciplining the body—the idea is gaining control of the body, bringing it into subjection to where when we're willing to and desire to do the will of God guess what?  We carry it out.   We're actually doing the will of the Father in Heaven not just knowing what it is.  We understand it's not enough to recognize what the word of God is.  We're expected to do the will of the Father in heaven, by faith.

 

To do that and to be faithful, to be keeping the commandments of God is going to require discipline of the body, control of the temper, control the tongue and getting all the way down to the core of it—control of the thought, our mind.   Bringing every thought into captivity.

 

To get to that level we need to become more and more spiritually minded realizing that is where the battle is taking place.  That's the battleground, our mind.   We've got to keep our heart with all diligence, taking control of what we are bringing into our mind and into our heart through our eyes through our ears.   Do not allow the filth seen in this world to come into our thought processes because it will cling to us. Then it will come out in our thoughts and our actions.

 

Instead be filled with the spirit.  Listen to songs, hymns and spiritual songs. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.  Spend time reading the Scriptures. Listen to the Scriptures. Learn what they say.

 

I suggest that we learn specifically the Scriptures that fit our personal spiritual struggles and then bringing the sword out of the sheath when the battle is engaged.  By doing this we can experience the fruit of the spirit—self-control.

 

As I said at the very beginning there are two things that are understood by the word self-control.    First, we do have the power within ourselves to control ourselves and second God expects us to do it.

How can we do it?   By becoming more spiritually minded. By getting engaged in the battle and fight to strengthen our faith, to strengthen our relationship with God so that in our lives we are carrying out, doing the will of God.

 

There may be somebody here this morning who is not a member of the body of Christ.

If you believe in your heart that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the son of the living God and you're willing to openly confess your faith and repent of your sins we'd be glad to assist you as you are baptized into the body of Christ.

 

All that will be expected of you in your life as a Christian is to take up your cross daily and follow by faith.  You need to recognize just because you obey the Gospel doesn’t mean the battle’s over.   You’ve finally engaged in the battle.  You're finally fighting against the enemy; standing up to the enemy and not letting Satan just roll over you.   You have begun a race that if you run faithfully all the way to the end of your life, it will lead to the throne of your king.

 

If you are a child of God and you find that you are struggling with self-control and thus struggling with obedience to the will of the king I hope that you have the desire to deal with it.  The worst thing to do is recognize the problem is there and do nothing about it.

We have the ability to grow in these spiritual attributes, but we have to be willing to take those first steps.

 

If you are a subject of the Gospel call in any way let us know while we stand a sing the song that has been selected.

 

 

Invitation song: xxx

Reference sermon by: Wayne Fancher

 

The Fruit of The Spirit - Joy and Peace

Posted by Chardon in Galatians 5

The Fruit of The Spirit - Joy and Peace

Galatians 5:22-23

 

INTRO:

Good morning.   Today we will have another lesson on the fruit pf the spirit.   This time I want to look at Joy and Peace.

 

I want to encourage you to take out your Bibles and look at the scriptures I mention. If you have any questions about anything I say, I’ll be glad to talk to you about it. If I’m wrong, I will stand corrected.

 

We're going to begin in Galatians 5:22-23 – “22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23. gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”  

In working on these sermons, I noticed that my sermon on Joy was almost identical to my sermon on peace.   Rather than preach two similar sermons I have combined them. In addition Mark gave a great sermon on peace just a couple weeks back.

 

When we're talking about fruit, it carries the idea of a product. The fruit of the spirit is a product that comes from our walking in the spirit, being led by the spirit, and having a close relationship with God, to where we are walking and living by faith.   In other words, if you are a Christian this is going to be a product that comes from the relationship that you have with God your Father—joy and peace.

 

I never met anyone who does not desire to have peace in their life, an inner calmness, tranquility, quietness.  Although there are times some act like it.   Nor have I ever met anyone who does not desire joy.   When we're talking about joy, we’re not talking about laughing and comedy.  We're talking again about an inner quietness, a calmness with which you can have a smile on your face regardless of what's happening to you.

 

  1. Joy and peace through the word of God - We're going to see in our sermon this morning that these fruits of the spirit, joy and peace are directly related to, connected to the strength of our relationship with God.

    1. Let’s look at Psalm 119. Here we will find there's a connection between joy and peace and our relationship with God through His Word. In Psalms 119:165 The text reads; great peace have those who love your law, and nothing causes them to stumble. If we look at Psalms 119:162 - I rejoice at your word as one who finds great treasure.

      1. We find one verse talking about rejoicing at Gods word, the next verse is talking about peace for those who love God’s law.   The connection between these two verses is that they have found the law God, the word of God.
      2. As Christians we understand God has given us the truth about ourselves.   The truth about where we came from.   The truth about our spiritual weaknesses and our flaws and our problems - and how to deal with them.  The truth about where we are going.
      3. God's word is not a set of chains keeping us from enjoying life, it is guidance to help us come to understand our life and get the maximum joy and peace and tranquility out of it. It is the one who finds the law of God, His word, who is going to find joy and peace.
    2. The same thing is stated again over and Jeremiah 15:16 your words were found, and I ate them and your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart for I am called by your name O Lord God of hosts.
      1. It is not just enough to say I believe the Bible is the word of God.   I assume everybody here this morning does, but that's not enough.
      2. You’ve got do something with it. In this text in Jeremiah, he didn't just find it.   It says he ate it, in other words he consumed it.   We are to digest it mentally, take it into our mind through our eyes and our ears, letting it fill up our mind and our heart.
      3. We will find that if we do not have the word of God in our mind, in our heart, we are not going to have a close relationship with God.
      4. We have studied this before.   The strength of our relationship is dependent upon communication and if we do not let God speak to us we will be missing out on something we desperately need in our life.
      5. All of us already recognize we desire joy, and we desire peace.   We need the word of God to have joy and peace.
    3. If you were to examine your life and you think wait a minute, I call myself a Christian and a member of the body of Christ why is it I am not experiencing the fruit of the spirit… what’s wrong?   You are not alone.   Many times, there are men and women in the body of Christ who say I am just not at peace.   There is no joy in my life
      1. There's turmoil in my life and yet I'm a Christian. What's wrong?
      2. We need to realize the answer to that question is in our personal relationship with God.   It is that relationship and the strength of that relationship that is going to bear this fruit.
      3. It's not just enough to know the word of God and that it is the word of God. You've got to take it into your mind and your heart. He says; and your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.
    4. In Proverbs 3:1-2 - my son do not forget my law but let your heart keep my commandments for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you.   And in Isaiah 32:17 - The work of righteousness will be peace and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.
      1. Looking at these two verses together, the one in Proverbs is talking about not forgetting the law and keeping the commandments.   It's not enough to recognize the bible as the word of God. It's not even enough to just know what it says. You’ve got to use it.
      2. Indeed, we can know what the word of God says to do and not do it.  There are many in the world like this.  When we assemble and edify one another it's not that we must convince each other of what the truth is—it is encouraging each other to do what we already know and already believe the truth to be.
      3. God knows us better than we know ourselves.   He knows exactly how we are to live our life to get maximum fulfillment and peace and joy out of it. If we do not keep His commandments, we should not be surprised when our life has turmoil.   It's really that simple.
    5. The text we read next in Isaiah is talking about the work of righteousness.   If we are keeping His commandments and His righteousness in our life, - that will bring peace.
      1. The effect is going to be peace and quietness.   There it is… quietness, peace and joy.   If we say that I'm not experiencing joy, then we need to ask are we keeping His commandments.
      2. God's word is not there to destroy our life or make us miserable.  God's word is there to set us free so we can experience joy and peace.  
    6. Joy And Peace Through Our Faith In God – Another verse I would like us to look at is Romans 15:13.   Here again getting back to the relationship with God it says; Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
      1. This verse makes the point quite clearly. How are we filled with joy and peace?   By believing.  This gets back to our faith, our trust, our confidence in God and our relationship with God.

        1. I wonder sometimes if we realize we are not alone. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
        2. Do you believe that?   Do you believe that God is with you? Do you believe He knows your name? Do you believe He loves you? Do you believe He's in your life? That His hand is in your life?
        3. We need to realize that our answers to these questions are going to determine whether we are experiencing joy and peace.
        4. If you think you're alone, if you think you're facing all your struggles and all your battles by yourself, that God is not with you, God doesn’t care, or God’s not going to help you… you're not going to have joy and peace.
      2. 26:3 says; you will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. If you want to experience this peace, this perfect peace, it is going to come from your mind on God, your eyes on the Lord with total trust in Him.
        1. It's easy to talk about how much we trust God when everything's going well.   As long as the water is smooth everything goes fine.
        2. I look at it this way; when Peter and the Apostles saw Jesus coming to them walking on the water, they thought it was a spirit.
          1. Impetuous Peter said Okay if you’re the Lord bid me to come to you.
          2. Jesus said come.
  • Peter stepped out and actually walked on the water a little bit. Think about that. He actually walked on the water for a few steps and then when he looked around him and he saw the wind was boisterous, the text says he began to be afraid and sink. Remember what Jesus said to him?   Oh, thou of little faith why did you doubt?
  1. Why did Peter sink?   I cannot prove this, but I strongly suspect if it would have been a day when it was calm, there was no wind and he could've seen Jesus face to face and known all along that it was Jesus, by sight, Peter would have walked to Jesus.   But what Peter saw was the wind and the waves, and he became afraid, he lost his faith and began to sink.
  2. We are the same way. If the water is smooth, there is no wind and everything's fine, we just think everything's OK in my life. I'm happy.  God is with me… When the storm comes, when we're surrounded by all kinds of things falling apart, it is then the real test of our faith shows up.
  3. What the Lord wants from us is an unwavering faith and trust in the middle of the storm. It is easy to be at peace when the water's smooth, but the water isn’t always smooth. Trust in Him. Keep your mind focused on Him and realize He really is with you, and He is faithful.   He's not going to leave you. He is not going to forsake you. The Lord is pro nobis (for us)
  1. In First Peter 1:8 - whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

    1. The text says we haven't seen him, but we love Him.   We have talked about that before. Not only do we love Him because we believe, but it goes on to say that we rejoice with inexpressible joy.
    2. Where two or three are gathered together in His name He is here in our midst.   Do we believe that? Do you believe that Christ who died on the cross for you is here with you right now?   Do we believe He is always with us?
    3. If we answer that question with a no, then we cannot expect to enjoy the fruit of the spirit.   It is by our trust in Him and by our faith and confidence in Him that we will come to experience this joy which is inexpressible.
  2. The writer in Psalms put it this way in Psalms 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him.
    1. The writer says his heart trusted in Him, and he is helped.
    2. Because of this his heart greatly rejoices.
    3. Our experiencing of the fruit of the spirit is going to be directly proportional to our trust in God, our relationship with God, and the strength of that relationship.
  • Joy And Peace Through Salvation In Christ - Let's continue in Philippians where Mark was a couple of weeks ago. If you do not recall what the primary theme of the book of Philippians is, I would say you will find it in Philippians 4:4; Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! It is an informal letter with no doctrinal arguments. It is a letter of love and gratitude. It is a tender, warm-hearted, loving friend and brother presenting the essential truths of the gospel in terms of friendly discourse. Paul found in them constant reasons for rejoicing.

    1. It was written by the apostle Paul when he was in prison. There were people that were preaching the gospel of Christ out of envy and strife. Philippians 1:15. He was facing the possibility that he may be executed.  

      1. What kind of letter would you expect from someone in prison, who may be convicted soon and there are those working against him?
      2. You would expect a very negative, woe is me letter, wouldn't you? Yet, the book of Philippians is the exact opposite.   The primary theme of it is rejoicing and it is not just saying rejoice, it says rejoice in the Lord.  It gets back to that relationship.  This is the whole focus of the book of Philippians.
      3. It is this joy and peace and contentment and tranquility that comes from the relationship with God.  You know what Paul said. I can do all things. How? Through Christ who strengthens me.   It always comes back to that.
    2. In Psalms 35:9 we read; And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; It shall rejoice in His salvation.   Christians should be the happiest people in the world. We need to let that sink in.   We are children of God. The majority of us that are here this morning have obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are in Christ Jesus.
      1. The blood of Christ has cleansed you of your sins.  You have been reconciled to God. You are no longer an enemy of God.  You're a friend of God.
      2. He knows you. Your name is in the book of life. When we die, we get to go to be with the Lord which is far better.
      3. The whole point of the Philippians letter in chapters 1 and 2 tells us to live in Christ.
      4. Is the idea to stay alive?   That's clearly not it, is it?  I will rejoice in the Lord and stay with the Lord. If I die that's even better, I get to go be with the Lord.
      5. I don't see how anybody can meditate on the book of Philippians and not have peace or experience joy when they believe what it is teaching.   We are saved!
      6. Christians should be the happiest people on the face of the earth with that consciousness of our salvation, being reconciled to God, knowing we are going to heaven.  The image that Christians go around looking like we've been weaned on pickle juice, always groping and probing, thinking everything's terrible, everything stinks, and everything is negative it totally wrong.   It doesn't stink and it's not negative, it's great, it is glorious!
      7. We're going to heaven and we are going to experience eternal life with God almighty!
    3. Isaiah says in Isaiah 61:10 - I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. I dare say that most of us enjoy weddings. They're fun. Everybody is rejoicing. Everybody is happy and when the bride comes down the aisle everybody goes Wow! Everybody's happy.
      1. Folks, the church, that’s us, is the bride of Christ.   Through the blood of Christ, you have been cleansed. When you stand before God in the Day of Judgment it is going to be the most wonderful moment of your existence.
      2. John says in 1st John 1:1-3 - That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life 2. the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us 3. that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
      3. Then John near the closing of the book says in 1st John 5:13 - I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. [ESV]
      4. We ask our self; do we know that we have eternal life? If we don't know that, then something's wrong.    If you're sitting there thinking I'm not really sure I’m going to go to heaven, why?  If we think; I'm not sure I’m saved, why?  
        1. If we're living in sin, we may have a reason to be thinking that, but if you believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and you're keeping his commandments by faith, love the brethren, and when you do sin you ask God's forgiveness, and turn from it, then rest assured, you know Him.  
        2. Because you know Him you should know that you have eternal life and have the consciousness of your salvation.   Knowing; I’m right with God.   My sins have been forgiven.  Whatever it is that I have said and done that was separating me from God has been dealt with.   There is peace between myself and my creator and I am ready to go when I am called.
  • It is from that consciousness that we learn to rejoice in the Lord and experience a joy that the text says is inexpressible because we know and believe that we have eternal life.
  1. Nobody's life is always smooth, clear water.   There are good moments and then there are bad moments.  There are days when it seems like everything is going great and everything you touch turns to gold, everything is a wonderful blessing.  Then there are days, I'm sure you've experienced, that before nine a.m. comes, you're ready to hide.  

    1. I have had days where it seems like everything I touch falls apart.   Days when I was afraid to touch anything because everything breaks.   I wanted to go to bed, pull up the covers and wait for a better day.
    2. We need to remember that when those days come, we can still have joy; we can still have peace; even though everything's falling apart around us.
  • Paul’s life was not a bed of roses by any means.   We know from scripture all the things that happened to him and the things that threatened. Life, even for Paul, was not a straight path.   More of a zig zag and that is the way it is for us.
  1. Joy And Peace In Times Of Pain And Sorrow - Even though our life is a zig zag of high moments of good and then bad moments when everything drops out the bottom, our joy, our peace, our contentment, our quietness and our calmness can be, - listen to this, - constant.

    1. Our joy can be constant and not be taken from us by the changing of our environment, not be taken from us because of the storms of life. Psalms 42:5 - Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance. We've all been there.  The writer gives the answer, hope in God.

      1. Here again we're getting back to our relationship, our trust in God, our hope in God, confidence in God, faith in God.   Because of this we realize God's going to help us.  He's not going to leave us; He'll never leave us nor forsake us… even in the middle of the storm.
      2. Did God leave Paul when Paul was in prison? Read the 2nd Corinthians letter in the 11th and 12th chapters with what Paul went through and ask yourself when did God leave Paul?
        1. When he was being beaten in Philippi did God leave him?
        2. When he was being stoned or shipwrecked did God leave him?
  • He never left him, did He?
  1. God allowed him to go through those things.
  1. God's going to allow you to go through storms and trials and suffering, but he will help you. He will strengthen you.   He will be there for you.
  1. Psalms 119:50 - This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life. Earlier we were talking about our relationship with God and by the strength of that relationship comes the strength of our joy and peace.

    1. We need to emphasize that there's a direct connection between the word of God and our joy.   When we find ourselves going through the storms of life we need to let God speak to us.
    2. I wonder, do we realize there are parts of the word of God that are given to us expressly for that purpose?   God’s speaking to us in the middle of the storm.
    3. I would encourage us that whenever the bottom drops out in our life and everything comes crashing down, that is when we go to the Word of God.   That's not the time to run from God and isolate yourself and try to stand alone and fix it all by yourself.  That's when we cling to God.
    4. That's when we draw strength from the Lord and learn the meaning of the verse, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  2. Often those who preach at funerals do so from the 1st Thessalonian It says in the close of the fourth chapter; Therefore comfort one another with these words. It's given to comfort people when they have loved ones who have died in the Lord. That part of the Word of God is given for a specific purpose.
    1. There are many of the verses in the Bible that will be useful to you in your life.   No matter what trial you're going through there are verses that hit you exactly where you are.
    2. God has given these verses for those moments in your life.   You need to feed on them, meditate on them, and let them sink into your heart and mind.  I'm telling you, brethren, it works, but you have to open your Bible and do it.
  3. In Philippians 4:6-7 – we read; Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7. and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
    1. Again, what we see here is relationship.   God is speaking to us through His word and we are listening to Him and taking it into our heart and mind, and then we in turn are speaking to God, casting our cares upon Him because He cares for us.
    2. When we go through the trials of life, that's not a time to stop praying.   I strongly suggest that if you don't have a strong prayer life you need to start today.
    3. If we are not experiencing this peace and joy that we are talking about, we need to ask why. One thing we need to check is what kind of prayer life do we have?
    4. Let me put it this way to those who are husbands and wives. If you never talked to each other, what kind of relationship will you have?   I’m in general a quiet person.   Its one thing for a person to be quiet for a period of time but if they never talk, something's wrong isn’t it?   You need communication and the stronger the communication the stronger the relationship.  The more communication, the more understanding develops and the closer you get.   Talk with God.
    5. The verse begins by saying be anxious for nothing. That's telling us not to be worried. These verses indicate to me that there’s a storm going on, but there is no need to be anxious about it.
    6. So how do you deal with it?   by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  What is the next phrase here? and the peace of God There is the peace.   It is the fruit of the spirit, the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.
    7. I would suggest to you that's not make believe.   This peace does actually exist and we can experience it.  It comes by casting our care upon Him and realizing He hears our prayers.  Having faith that the hand of God is in your life. You're not alone. He will hear your prayers.
  4. Psalms 4:8 - I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. Here you are at the end of the day; and have you ever had a day that was so tough you were glad it was over? Here you are now in your bedroom and you close your day with prayer. You close your day meditating on the word of God and God being in your life. At the end of the day whenever you are close to God, you can close your eyes in peace.

 

CONCLUSION:

We’ll close with Psalms 30:5 - For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

Just as our life is not a rocket taking off in a straight line where everything is always good and wonderful, your life is also not a rock that continues to drop with everything going bad.

It is a mixture of joy, and of trials; a mixture of wonderful blessings, and suffering.   Right now, as I'm speaking to you, every one of us has something wrong, don't we?   Something in our lives is wrong. It may be physical trials.   It may be physical ailments.  It may be loved ones dying. It may be financial struggles.   It may be spiritual battles we're going through.   We've all got something wrong but there's something else about all of us.  

 

There are a lot of things that are right. Aren't there? There are a lot of blessings. You are alive and you're here. There are a lot of physical blessings being showered upon us this very day. Then there are those spiritual blessings that we have in Christ Jesus and the knowledge that no matter how bad it may be, whatever suffering we're going through in the present life, is not worthy to be compared with the glory that's going to be revealed in us whenever we are with God Almighty.

 

Whenever we are in heaven and we will be, whenever we are there with God, and we will be, whenever we are experiencing that eternal life, we're not going to be concerned about a tough time back here on this earthly plane.   It will be a dark memory in the mist that we will probably give no thought to whatsoever because we will have reached our goal, what we're trying to get to; we will be with our God.

 

I'll close with Paul's statement.   He learned to be content in whatever state he was in.  His contentment and joy were not contingent, not dependent upon his environment and what was happening to him. How could he do that?   He could do all things through Christ.

 

The whole point of this lesson is if you want to experience the fruit of the spirit, you strengthen your relationship with God because that's where it comes from.  If the relationship is weak do not expect to enjoy the fruit of the spirit. It's a product that comes from our relationship with God.   It is because of our relationship with God we can experience the joy and peace which does not go away, which is constant, regardless of what happens to us.

 

There may be somebody here this morning who is not a member of the body of Christ.  If you believe in your heart that Jesus is the Son of God and you're willing to confess your faith and repent of your sins, we will be glad to assist you and baptize you. Your sins will be washed away. They'll be forgiven and when you make peace with God you will come to enjoy the peace of knowing that you're safe.

 

If you're a child of God and you wonder if you are saved, then consider why you are uncertain. Is there sin that you have committed that you haven't dealt with? If that is describing you, I encourage you to deal with it. Take it to God. Ask His forgiveness.   God is gracious and He is faithful.   The blood of Christ is there for you. You can be forgiven.  You're not going to be at peace with God until you know you're forgiven… and you know that.  Deal with the sin.

 

We'll pray for you. We'll pray with you. We will do the best we can to encourage you and strengthen you. If you are subject to the Gospel call in any way let us know while we stand and sing the song that has been selected.

 

 

 

Invitation song: 485 “Does Jesus Care”

Reference sermon by: Wayne Fancher

 

The Fruit of The Spirit - Love

Posted by Chardon in Galatians 5, 1 Corinthians 13

The Fruit of The Spirit - Love

Galatians 5:22-23, 1 Corinthians 13

 

INTRO:

Good morning.   We have had some lessons on worship to God, what repentance is and about the ties that bind us.   Today I would like to start to look at the Fruit of the Spirit.

 

I want to encourage you to take out your Bibles and look at the scriptures I mention. If you have any questions about anything I say, I’ll be glad to talk to you about it. If I’m wrong, I will stand corrected.

 

We're going to begin in Galatians 5:22-23 – “22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

  1. gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Our sermon this morning is going to be a study on the fruit of the spirit, love.

Have you ever wondered; Why do you exist?   Just think about it for a moment.   We are alive.  The creator of the universe has chosen to give us existence.  Why?

Why are we here?

What's the purpose?

Why have you created me?

Why have you given me life?

What do you want from me?

 

In Matthew 22:37-39 – “37. Jesus said to him, " `You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38. "This is the first and great commandment. 39. "And the second is like it: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” This is why you exist.  This is what God desires from you.

 

This is what we as Christians strive, throughout our life, to attain.   To reach the point in our relationship with God where we love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind.  Then we strive in our relationship with people in the world around us to love our neighbor as we love our self.

 

In the text in Matthew we're talking about the Old Testament and the Old Covenant, and on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.   We realize these two commandments are also the very core, the very center of the new covenant of Christianity, the New Testament, and our relationship with God.

 

You hear the word love used repeatedly in songs, in poetry, and in the movies.   You hear the word love over and over again.   Yet it seems that in our world, where the word love is used so often, we don't understand what it is and the seriousness of it.

 

We have heard a multitude of sermons on this subject.   I ask you to listen attentively because, folks, this is what it's all about.  This is why we exist.   This is what God expects us to develop in our life, in our relationship with Him, and in our relationship with other people.

 

  1. Notice the importance of love in Colossians 3:14 – “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”    Then in 1st Corinthians 13:13 – “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  Notice that all these verses I have used so far, use superlatives.   The greatest commandment is love, above all things put on love, and the greatest of these is love.   It is the most important thing for us to develop in our life and since it's so important it would be nice if we knew what it was.

    1. We find that the word love is used many times in all kinds of songs.   We hear people using it in their everyday vocabulary.   Yet, I believe that there are people out there that don't know what it is or understand it.

      1. I thought about giving you the definition of love by going to a lexicon and a concordance, giving the definition of the words used for love but we have done that before.   Actually, the definition for love is found in the scriptures.
      2. It is in 1st Corinthians chapter 13 where we find love defined by God.   The way in which God defines love is by the things that it does and the things that it does not do.   How love is manifested in someone's heart and in their life.
      3. Let’s look at 1st Corinthians 13:4-8 – “4. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5. does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6. does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7. bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8. Love never fails.” You’ve probably read and heard these verses a number of times. In the richness of scripture God gives us even more information than this.
    2. I would like to look at another text where the Word of God helps us understand love.   We are going to look at the text dealing with the works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit because in the works of the flesh and the list of the fruits of the Spirit we again can find a definition of what love is by its actions.
      1. Notice this if you will.   In First Corinthians 13:4 we have the first characteristic of love—it suffers long.  When we go to Galatians 5:22 where it talks about the fruit of the spirit, we find in the description of the fruit of the spirit, is its long suffering.
      2. Again, First Corinthians 13 for the very next definition of love is; love is kind.  When you go to the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22 the fruit of the spirit is kindness.
      3. First Corinthians 13:4 says love does not envy.   When you go to the works of the flesh over in Galatians 5:19-21 we find one of the works of the flesh is jealousy.
    3. Now when we look at the works of the flesh, I want us to realize that everything that is listed in the works of the flesh—that's not love.  It is the exact opposite of love.   Everything listed in the works of the flesh is the opposite of the definition of love.
      1. Look at this some more. First Corinthians 13:4 – “love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;” and in verse 5 - does not seek its own. But when you go to the works of the flesh you find the one of the works of the flesh is selfish ambitions.   Do we see the opposites?   Love is not self-seeking it does not seek its own, but a work of the flesh is selfish ambition, the exact opposite.
      2. Again, we find in First Corinthians 13:5 that love does not behave rudely.   When we go over the Galatians 5 and listed in the works of the flesh are hatred and contentions.  
      3. First Corinthians 13:5 – Love is not provoked.  In Galatians we find one of the works of the flesh is outburst of wrath.  Again, the opposite.
      4. First Corinthians 13:5 says thinks no evil.   In Galatians we find in the works of the flesh hatred and jealousies.
      5. First Corinthians 13:6 – (love) does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;”. Go to the works of the flesh and we'll find listed among them; dissensions and heresies, people who get caught up in lies and false teaching.
      6. First Corinthians 13:7-8 – “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” When we look at the fruit of the spirit one of the fruits of the spirit is… faithfulness.
      7. By the way, notice again verse 13 in First Corinthians – “now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Faith, hope and love are the three motivators in the life of a Christian.
    4. If we want to know what love is, we read the text in First Corinthians 13. When we study the works of the flesh, we find that the work of the flesh is the exact opposite of love.
      1. I want to go a little further on that because remember in the works of the flesh, one of the works of the flesh was adultery and another one was fornication.
      2. A lot of times you can hear people say: “Oh we're in love!” when they're involved in fornication.   No, they are not, they are in lust.  Adultery is not love either, that's lust.
      3. Outbursts of wrath are not love, hatred is not love.  If we look at the works of the flesh every single one of them, that's not love.   Love is the opposite of them.
    5. God expects us to develop this characteristic in our hearts, in our life and our relationship with Him first, and then in our relationship with our fellow human beings. We should understand this is what it's all about.  This is the greatest commandment.  This is what we are to put on above all things.
  2. That being said let's go to First Peter 1:8 and get down to the application of love. First Peter 1:8 – “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,” [ESV].
    1. In our relationships with each other we can see each other.   We can interact with each other. We can come to know each other by just talking with, interacting with and seeing.
    2. We have not seen God. How can we love a God we’ve never seen?
      1. I have a question for all of us. How do you feel about God? Please be honest. Answer that question in your own heart. How do you feel about your creator? Do you understand what it is He wants from you?
      2. He wants us to love Him and not just love Him, He wants us to love Him with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind. He wants us to love him more than we love anyone. Total, complete love for him.
      3. How can we love someone that much when we’ve never seen them? You see we still link love with sight, don’t we?   We may say we love an animal because they are so cute, but to love our unseen God with an all consuming love?
    3. In First John 4:19 – “We love Him because He first loved us.” We realize the only way we're going to be able to get to that level of loving God, is going to be through faith.  That's right.  Our love for God is the strongest development of our faith.
      1. Remember what we learned earlier about faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love?  As I said. those are the motivators in the life of every Christian.

        1. Faith is dealing with things not seen.  We walk by faith not by sight.
        2. Hope is dealing with things not seen. We are hoping for eternal life in heaven which we have not seen and yet we believe in it to the point that we're rebuilding our entire life and all our actions around it.
  • The strongest development of something in our relationship with God, who we have not seen, is love.  Love is the strongest level of faith.
  1. You love Him because He first loved you.  How do we know He loves us? First John 4:16 says “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”  Look at this very slowly with me.

    1. We have known.
    2. And believed.
  • The love that God has for us.
  1. How do you know God loves you?   Do you believe the creator of the universe is conscious of you, the individual, the person, and knows you individually and loves you personally?
  2. That's a very important question to answer because if you are not conscious of His love for you, if you are not aware of the magnitude of His love for you, you will not love Him back, and you will struggle in your relationship with God.
  1. That's why we began this part of the lesson by asking the question: how do you feel about God?

    1. If we're struggling in that relationship, (and that's what this is all about you know, that's what our existence is all about, our relationship with God)... if we’re struggling, then we need to be trying to figure out what's wrong.
    2. Do you know and believe the love that God has for you?
    3. How do you know He loves you?
    4. First John 3:16 “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” This is how we know the love of God and the love of Christ.
  2. Let’s look at it this way. Which one of us would give a child of ours as a sacrifice for anyone here? I would go as far as to say I love many of you very deeply but I'm not giving my son or my daughter to die for you.
    1. We've heard it a thousand times.   We can all quote it. God so loved the world He gave His only begotten son. Don't let that wash over your heart and brain like water over a rock. Let it sink in. God knows us personally.
    2. He knows you individually and He loves you so much He gave His only son to die for you.
    3. What about us?   Would any of us die for another in this room?   Would we be willing to go out and be scourged and beaten and whipped?   Would we be willing to be crucified and be tortured for six hours on a cross for someone here?
    4. Jesus does love you that much.   He was scourged.  He accepted every stroke of the whip, because He loves you.
  3. Paul says in Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,…”[para]
    1. Notice the last part of the verse, who loved me and gave himself for me.
    2. What Paul is doing is individualizing the love of God, coming to know and believe the magnitude of the love of God in Christ for you.
    3. When we know, when we believe; - we realize, that was done for me!   He loves me that much!  He made that sacrifice and went through all that suffering for me.
    4. As we become conscious by faith of who Jesus is and what happened at Calvary, what will be developing in our heart will be love.
    5. We will find ourselves loving God, whom we've never seen, because we know and believe the magnitude of the love He has for us.
    6. We will find ourselves loving a savior whom we've never laid eyes on because we have come to know and believe the sacrifice that He made.   That is personal, individualized, love of God and Christ for us and we believe it, we know it.
  • Let’s look at Luke 7:47 – “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”  I wanted to look at this verse because I believe this is another reason why we love God whom we have not seen.   It has to do with our consciousness of forgiveness.   The reason Christ died for us, motivated by His love for us, is because He understood that sin was separating us from God.

    1. As long as that situation continued, we would have no hope of being with Him in heaven.  Is there anybody here who is not conscious of this reality?   We are sinners and left on our own we are lost.

      1. When the judgment day comes and we know it is coming, if every one of us got what we deserved we would have no hope of being with God.
      2. Is there anybody here this morning who can say I have only been forgiven a little? No.   The truth of the matter is, we have all been forgiven much.
      3. Consciousness of forgiveness and the magnitude of that forgiveness produces love.
    2. The two things for us to see in this part of the sermon is first; know the love of God for you and the sacrifice of Christ.   Be aware of the blessings of life that are given to us by God, because He loves us, but also at the same time in our relationship with God - be conscious of forgiveness.
      1. Be conscious of the sins that you and I have committed. They have been removed by the power of the blood of Christ and we stand before Him forgiven.
      2. I don't know what else to say to Him on the Day of Judgment other than thank you and I sure do appreciate it.
      3. The more I am aware of what the magnitude of this is… the more I find myself loving somebody I’ve never laid eyes on. Yet it is not enough to just have an appreciation of God and what He does, is it?
    3. God wants a perfect relationship, a total, absolute love, with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind. When that is true then in our day to day living you can see a manifestation of our relationship with God.
      1. First John 2:5 says; “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.” Actions tell what's in our heart.   We can tell what kind of relationship we have with God by the way we speak and the way we live.   If we really love Him, we're going to want to live a life pleasing to Him.  

        1. We all understand that in the relationship of husbands and wives.   If you love someone you want to live a life pleasing to them.
        2. In our relationship with God, if we really love Him, we'll keep His commandments.   You don't want to harm the relationship.  You don't want to be separated from Him.  You want to be with Him.
        3. If we want to be with Him that sort of brings up the question; what's heaven?
        4. Let me give a good definition of heaven.  Heaven is being with God.  I don't care where it is. I don't care what it looks like.  I just want to be with Him.  That's what heaven is.   Wherever He is, is heaven.
      2. One of the spiritual health checkup questions we ask ourselves is; what kind of relationship do I have with my creator?   Understand this is why we exist.  This is why we are alive.  This is what we are expected to attain to in our existence.
    4. First John 4:11-12 – “11. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” What is John talking about here? He is talking about the brethren. Remember what we learned earlier. The second command is likened to the first and it is to love your neighbor as you love yourself.   When we're dealing with the commands of God, the majority the commands are dealing with our interaction with other human beings.
      1. Thinking back to the Old Testament and the list of the Ten Commandments the first few of the commandments are dealing with our relationship with God, but the last ones are dealing with our relationship with people.   When we love one another, we are showing our love for God.
      2. As a matter of fact, if you continue First John 4:20-21 – “20. If someone says, "I love God,'' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21. And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.”
        1. We see each other, we interact with each other.   If we do not come to the point where we love each other, the truth of the matter is we really don't love God either.   Learn to honestly love people.
        2. God loves everybody.  He loves you. He loves the vilest sinner so much that He gave His son to die for him.
        3. Jesus loves the most despicable person we could ever meet.  Learn to love our fellow human beings.

 

CONCLUSION:

Again, in First Corinthians 13:4-8 – “4. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5. does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6. does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7. bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8. Love never fails.”

Learn how not to think evil and how not to live with pride.

Learn how to rejoice in the truth and be glad when people obey the gospel.

Learn how to be patient with people; bearing all things believing all things enduring all things.  

 

Take the text and learn to live it in your relationship with everybody not just your mother and your father, your sons and your daughters—everybody.  That's the second great commandment.

 

First John 5:1-2 – “1. Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begat also loves him who is begotten of Him.

  1. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.” There it is again.   We're dealing with our relationship with each other by this we know that we love the children of God (how?) when we love God and (there it is) keep His Commandments.

When we're keeping His commandments, they're not chains to keep us from enjoying life. They teach us what real love is. - As I told you earlier, the word love is used all the time by people in the world who haven't got a clue what it really is.   Come to understand from the Scriptures what love is, and above all things… put it on.

 

The last verse we will look at is First John chapter 3:17-18 – “17. But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18. My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”

Verse 18 is putting it as clearly as it can be put, getting down to what we call the brass tacks of the application of love. We come in contact with a brother, or sister and they have no food. They’re in need and we do nothing.  We pass by on the other side.

When we do that, we don't love them, and we don’t love God.  Understand both of those are true.   When we pass by on the other side what we are saying is I don't care about you, but at the deeper level we don't care about God, the one who gives them life.

 

If we're really going to come to love God and love our neighbors as we love our self, we must stop passing by on the other side.   It's not just enough to say I love you.   I hope things work out.

 

Notice the last part of this verse let us not love in word or tongue.   That is the way the world looks at love, it is something you say.   Oh, yeah, I really care about you. Oh, that’s really bad.  Hope things work out. Bye. I gotta go.

 

He says let it be in deed, there's the action, and in truth. Let it be real!  Have we reached the level of loving God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our minds?

No.

Have we reached the level of loving our neighbors as we love our self?

No.

We spend all our life working to put this on.

 

The truth of the matter is every time we sin, every time, we are showing our lack of love for God and our lack of love for our fellow human beings.

Let me tell you something. Do you know there is going to come a time in your existence when you will reach the level of love that God desires of you?

 

Do you know where that's going to be? That's what heaven's all about.

In heaven you will love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind in a perfect relationship of love with God our creator and you will come to love everyone around you perfectly.

 

Does that surprise us?   There will come a time, and as a matter of fact, think about this, it's going to be the majority, the major part of your existence, where you will have reached the fulfillment of the primary command of learning to love.   But on this side of eternity what God wants us to do is to strive above all things to put it on, realizing it is the greatest, it is the primary thing, as to why God gives us life.   It is the first of the fruits of the spirit.

 

There may be somebody here this morning who hasn't obeyed the gospel of Christ.

If you believe Jesus is the Son of God and you're willing to confess your faith and repent of your sins we'd be glad to assist you and baptize for the remission of your sins as you put off the old man and put on the new man.  

 

As you put on a new man who you're putting on is Christ who lived the life of love perfectly. His love for God was perfect. His love for mankind was perfect.  What we do is we look to that example and we strive to learn to love God and love our fellow human beings.   That's what you're putting on above all things.

 

If you’re a child of God already and you find you are no longer being described in the way love is defined, the fruit of the spirit no longer describes you in your relationship with God and your fellow man; we would like to encourage you to make a change.   We would like to encourage you to start focusing at the very core of your relationship, coming to know and believe the love God has for you, coming to be conscious and aware of how much you have been forgiven, and then motivated by your love for God, keep His commandments, and learn to love your fellow human beings.

 

If a sin is standing between you and God, we'll be glad to pray for you to pray with you to do the very best we can to encourage you.

If anyone subject of the gospel call, in any way, let us know always stand and sing the song that’s been selected

 

Invitation song: ???

Reference sermon by: Wayne Fancher

 

 

 

 

      

 

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