• By Rev. Devadosan Sugirtharaj
  • Posted 06/28/2020
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The Fruit of the Spirit Sermon Series

Reclaiming Your Love

Matthew 22:35-40

Rev Dr Devadosan Sugirtharaj

 

Introduction

  • The fruit of the Spirit is the natural product of the Holy Spirit who lives inside us. The Greek word ‘fruit’ refers to a natural product of a living thing. Here the natural product of the Holy Spirit is referred as singular as ‘fruit’ and it means the whole and combined character of all nine characteristics. As fruit needs time to grow and ripen, this fruit of the Holy Spirit grows and ripens in our lives until we enter eternity.
  • Today we are going to meditate on first characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit and it is LOVE.
  • In our time, the concept of love is distorted in different ways. We love movies. We love chocolate. We love a friend. They all make us happy and so we feel that we are in love. The culture we live in identifies love as an intense emotion or strong response to someone or something.
  • The biblical meaning of love is lost in our culture and world today and we need to reclaim it.

 

Word Study

  • Agape: Greek word Agape is described as God’s love and it means unconditional love and it  is not based on the goodness of the one who receives but based on the goodness of the one who gives.
  • John 3:16: 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
  • Phileo: Greek word Phileo is used for love that signifies affection, delight, friendship or personal attachment. It is used for describing an emotion mutual agreed relationship.
  • Romans.12:10:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
  • Eros: Greek word Eros is used to express feelings shared between people physically and sexually attracted to one another. This should be experienced in the context of marriage only and it is honourable before God.
  • Today we are focusing on Agape, God’s love in this passage as Agape is one of the characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit.

 

Context

  • When Sadducees, Group of Liberal Theologians, who did not believe the resurrection and asked questioned about it to Jesus, the Lord silenced them by his wise response. Pharisees, Group of Fundamental Theologians, who believed the resurrection of the dead but rejected Jesus as Lord. Scribes are the group of people who are expert the laws of the Bible, laws and customs of the Lord.  So when one of the lawyers heard about how Jesus silenced the Sadducees, he asked this question: What is the greatest commandment in the law?
  • Jesus responded to this question and explained to him about how God’s love manifest in the life.

 

  1. Reclaim Your Love to God: The Agape, God’s love, is manifested in a believer’s life as loving God wholeheartedly. Love upwards.
    1. Look at Matthew 22:35-38: :“‘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.
    2. In his response, Jesus said that the first and primary part of Agape love is to love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. He literally quoted Deuteronomy 6:5. This love is not a feeling or passive but active response of a faithful person to God.
    3. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
    4. To love God wholeheartedly means to choose to respond to God even as God chooses to love. It is a commitment. It is a covenant relationship. It means that we are loving our heavenly Father as his children.
    5. In the context of teaching discipleship, Jesus teaches us about our relationship with him as branches to the Vine and Sheep to the Shepherd. John 15:10: 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.
    6. Deuteronomy.10:12-13: “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your [a]good?
    7. Biblical Example: Ephesus, one of the seven churches in the book of Revelation, a loveless church. Rev.2:1-7: Look at verse 2-4: 2 “I know your works, your labor, your [b]patience, and that you cannot [c]bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. God wants the church to repent. 5:5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.
    8. Sermon Illustration:Bishop Ryle tells a story about an Englishman traveling in America. He meets an Indian who talks with great enthusiasm about Jesus Christ: The Englishmen is rather reserved, as they tend to be, and he says to his new friend, “You are always talking about Jesus Christ. Why do you make such a big deal of Him?”The Indian knelt down and gathered some leaves, some twigs and some moss, and placed them in a circle on the ground. He picked up a live worm and put it in the middle of the circle. Then he lit the leaves.As the flames rose, the worm began to move, but every way it moved, it got nearer to the flame, and so after a few moments, the worm curled up in the middle and prepared to die.The Indian reached his hand into the flame, picked up the worm, and held it next to his heart. Then he said, “I was the worm—helpless, hopeless and on the brink of an eternal fire. Jesus Christ stretched out His hand. He saved me from the fire, and took me into the heart of his love. That is why I make much of Him.”

 

  1. Reclaiming Your Love to Others: The Agape, God’s love, is manifested in a believer’s life as loving neighbour as you love yourself. Love outwards as inwards.
    1. Look at Matthew 22:39-40: 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
    2. Jesus gives this second commandment by quoting Leviticus 19:18. 18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
    3. There are two things Jesus emphasizes here. You have to love your neighbour based on how you love yourself. Your love outward is the expression of how you love inward.
    4. Selfish and Self-Care are two different things. Selfish means that we behave in a manner to take away from others to their detriment and fall. Self care is never a selfish act and it is a responsible way of stewardship to make ourselves a blessing to others.
    5. In Luke.10:25-37, The priest and levite walked away from the victim but the samaritan helped him and carried on his life. Because he looked after himself, he looked after the victim too.
    6. If there is a wall, there we will draw a picture: Tamil proverb.
    7. If we do not know how to love yourself or how to take your self-care of your body, time, treasures, talents, work, and family, you do not know how to love your neighbours. Paul writes to the Corinthians how to take care of themselves. 1 Cor.6:18-20: 18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body [g]and in your spirit, which are God’s.
    8. 1 John 4:7-8:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
    9. By doing this, Jesus said that by doing these, you will fulfill the law and the prophets. That means the word of god.
    10. Romans.13:8-10:8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” [a]“You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
    11. Biblical Illustration: John 22:15-17: The risen Lord asked Peter three times this question: Do you love me more than theses? He responded Yes. Jesus responded to his response with this responsibility. Feed my lambs and tend my sheep.
    12. Sermon Illustration:In March 1992, Jeff and Kristi Leeland of Seattle, Washington found out that their baby boy Michael had cancer and needed a bone marrow transplant. Little Michael's older sister Amy was a perfect match, but the cost of the operation was $200,000 and Michael needed to have the transplant done within 90 days to live. To make things worse, Jeff's insurance, at the junior high where he taught, did not cover the procedure. Fellow teacher Joe Kennedy told his class about Mr. Leeland's situation. Dameon, a seventh grade boy who walked with a limp and struggled in special education classes, heard about little Michael and visited the Leeland home. "Mr. Leeland, don't make a big deal out of this.if your baby's in trouble, I want to help out.” Dameon, the kid others teased, reached out his hand and stuffed 12 five-dollar bills into Jeff's hand. It was the Dameon's life savings. Word got out about "Dameon's gift." Some kids organized a walk-a-thon. Others contacted a local newspaper. Others held a car wash. Soon, the kids' wave of compassion poured out across Seattle. By late May, area TV stations picked up the story. The response from the news stories was overwhelming. Only four weeks after Dameon's gift of $60, the Michael Leeland Fund totaled over $220,000. Michael got the marrow transplant. He lived. Dameon, the boy who gave sacrificially so another could live, accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior after becoming close with Michael's family. Having struggled for years with physical problems of his own, Dameon died from complications after he got an infection in one of his legs. Michael Leeland lives on to tell Dameon's story, the unlikely hero, who gave his all to save the life of another and in the process, he received life everlasting.
       

Conclusion

The first characteristics of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is Love. It is a natural product of Holy Spirit living and working in us. Love is God’s love. It is given by God’s Spirit. We cannot produce to ourselves. The Holy Spirit works in us to show this love to God, to others through ourselves. Reclaim your love.

  1. The Agape, God’s love, is manifested in a believer’s life as loving God wholeheartedly. Love upwards.
  2. The Agape, God’s love, is manifested in a believer’s life as loving neighbour as you love yourself. Love outwards as inwards.

 

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Agape, God’s love,  in us as one of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit should be expressed in our relationship with God  wholeheartedly. How do your relationships, life style, worship, prayer, devotion to God, church life and ministry reflect your wholehearted love to God?
  2. What does it means to love God with all heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and even with all your strength? How do you love your God you can see or you cannot see?
  3. What does it mean that Love your neighbour as Yourself?
  4. How do you love yourself as healthy and God-honouring ways?
  5. Who is your neighbour? How do you help a person who is hurting and how can you show them love in a  tangible way?
  6. The greatest gift you can give someone is Jesus Christ. How can you share Christ to others through your lives?


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