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Introduction

Some time ago I began a short series of thoughts on fruit-bearing for Jesus Christ from John 15.  In this chapter He tells His disciples He is the vine and they are the branches. He explains that it is only as He is in them they will be able to do anything. His life in them and in us is our only hope of glory and service for Him.  So those first few articles were focused on being witnesses for Christ in this world.

Now we come to the second series dealing with the fruit – bearing in the disciples personal life and walk with Jesus.   Now the nature is controlled by the indwelling Holy Spirit who also brings into our lives the fruit with which we deal in these articles.

Galatians 5:22-23

The fruit of the spirit is love

The apostle John writes in 1 John “….God is love….” John is describing the being and essence of God. Love is one of God’s attributes from which we learn and understand what God is in His Deity. The love John talks about is not-emotional love as we think of love nor is it the “…way a youth with a maiden…” that is more of an emotional love this love is loving a person with the intent of doing and being the very best for the one loved.  In the language John wrote, it is the word “Agape” which drapes the above meaning.  Many people say Agape love or God’s love.    When John says we should love God for He first loved us he uses the same word that is, Agape.  This indicates that the one who knows Jesus Christ as savior and Lord has the same type of giving love as Gods love that is willing to love at whatever cost to the one who loves.  The implications of this thought are not only  tremendous or awesome but many and varied. 

Since God is in essence love, logically His love extends to all the persons in the God Head, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Note in John 3:16 how this love is extended through the person of the Triune God “for God so…..He gave His Son…”  God so loves the sin sick world He gave His Son to be our Savior.  What He did was to give His most loved and precious gift for our good and benefit – His Only Son…Philippians 2:5 shows forth the Son’s love for the Father in His incomparable act of obedience.  The Father in becoming Immanuel (God with us),  as seen in Jesus Christ, both Father and Son were willing to give their very best for us.  God the Father gave His son.  God the Son gave His life for us, becoming our salvation.  Both did this because God loved us, love given at such expense to both God and Son. At such expense given with perfect love. It has a pre-figure in Abraham and Isaac.  The very act of the loving gift of God demonstrates another aspect of God’s Agape love to and through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Love within the Godhead to and for each one shows a horizontal love.  The gift of salvation for people indicates a vertical aspect of love as John said “…we love God because He first loved us”.  Our greatest love is vertical to Him.  We are to love God with all our hearts, soul and mind.  Truly a vertical aspect of love.  Then we are to love our brothers.  Again John says “…if we do not love our brothers in Christ, God’s love is not in us”, however, if, or better, since we love God with all our hearts it is possible to love our brother in Christ with Agape love and not only our brothers our neighbors but also our enemies. 

After describing the character and essence of love and applying it, like Paul says “...now above faith, hope and love… but the greatest of these is love” in Galatians 5 where he first deals with the payment for sin.  He deals with the fruit of the Holy Spirit; the first fruit mentioned is love in the Greek the first thing mentioned is usually the more important.  Here it is love, Agape love, so then in loving God we should love as He loves putting God in the primary place in life, presenting our selves to Him as a living sacrifice.  In the old covenant the blood sacrifice has already been presented so we only need to present our living bodies to Him to fulfill the offering of our bodies to serve our Lord and our God. Now since such a sacrifice is given to Him; should we not also present such a loving sacrifice to our brothers in Christ?  Also, should we not give to our neighbors the same kind of love? Should we not also present to our enemies the same sacrifice of love, which costs to reach out and, present to them Jesus Christ who loved them to the cost of His life? 

Such love is indeed the fruit of the Holy Spirit which abides in every believer giving them eternal life in Christ. 

 

William Hueston

Lay Leader,

Henderson United Methodist Church

    

 

 

 

 

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