Skip to main content
Introduction

I like fruit!
My favorites are stone fruits that grew in my childhood home and vicinity. If we did not have a certain kind, someone else did and we all shared between us all. I am speaking about cherries,  peaches, nectarines, grapes, apricots, plums and so on. When I lived in a tropical environment for a while, I grew bananas, paw-paws and mangoes and the like. I think that the Apostle Paul liked fruit as much as I when he used the word Fruit to describe what the Holy Spirit wants to produce inside our lives!

If we look at the book of Galatians, he speaks about two things, using fruit each time as an example. One aspect is the fruit produced by the flesh life and the other is that produced by the Spirit of God as He dwells within us. They are vastly different.


Jesus told us that we would know what kind of tree certain species of plants are by the fruit they produce. It is possible for a citrus plant to grow but you cannot tell what kind until the fruit appears. Is it an orange or a lemon? Well, when the fruit appears, you can tell. In like manner it is impossible to plant an apple seed and grow grapes. The fruit grows according to kind or species and it is like this in the spirit.
Ripe, juicy fruit does not immediately appear on a plant when it sprouts and sends a shoot upward out of the ground. It takes some time for the plant to grow before the fruit appears.

Paul said, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Galatians 5:22-23.

This is the kind of fruit that the Spirit of God produces in us. The word Fruit is from the Greek word Karpos, which describes the fruit of plants, the fruit of trees, or the fruit of one's body, such as a person's children or offspring. The fruit which the Holy Spirit creates is good. It is the God kind of life, character or nature. It reproduces the life of Christ in the believer.

Contrast this with his description of what the flesh produces. Paul described the works of the flesh in 
Galatians 5:19-21 and we shall investigate all of these aspects later. The flesh produces Works which is derived from the Greek word Ergos, meaning hard work or hard labor. A life that is dominated by the flesh is filled with excess, imbalance, unhealthy extremes, laziness, self-abuse, hatred, strife, bitterness, irresponsibility, and neglect.

Regardless of whether it is a plant, an animal, or a human being, all fruit is produced from some kind of seed. God made it that way. According to Genesis 1:11-12, all fruit grows according to its own kind from a seed of some sort or another. As I previously explained, apples always produce apples and oranges always produce oranges. Dogs produce dogs, not donkeys and a human seed produce a human being. We did not evolve from an ape after all. The point to consider is that character or nature of the seed determines the kind of fruit.

When we are born again, we receive Jesus as our Savior by faith. At that moment God sows His Spirit and Word into our hearts like a seed, which is what Peter means by saying that we were spiritually born again by the incorruptible seed of the Word of God. See 1 Peter 1:23. God's seed inside you immediately starts growing to produce the God kind of fruit in our lives.

If the kind of seed thus determines the outcome of the fruit, we can expect our lives to yield or produce the fruit of the Spirit, which is produced by the seed God has sown into our heart. The fruit that the Spirit produces is good! It is the God kind of fruit that enables us to partake of the love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance of God.

The bible teaches us that it is like being transplanted, or taken out of one kingdom and planted in another. It is a new beginning! It is a new way of life that Paul describes as being like the transformation an ugly grub experiences when it undergoes a transformation into a beautiful butterfly.
Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Love produces the fruit

I have heard many differing viewpoints about the Gifts of the Spirit whereby some people ask the question, Which is the greatest Gift?

They refer to Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians chapters 12 -14 on the Gifts of the Spirit and unusually come up with a statement like The greatest gift is love! They often cite 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 to prove their point, but do not realize that Love is not a gift at all!

I may speak in the languages of humans and of angels. But if I don't have love, I am a loud gong or a clashing cymbal. I may have the gift to speak what God has revealed, and I may understand all mysteries and have all knowledge. I may even have enough faith to move mountains. But if I don't have love, I am nothing. I may even give away all that I have and give up my body to be burned. But if I don't have love, none of these things will help me. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn't jealous. It doesn't sing its own praises. It isn't arrogant. It isn't rude. It doesn't think about itself. It isn't irritable. It doesn't keep track of wrongs. It isn't happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never comes to an end. There is the gift of speaking what God has revealed, but it will no longer be used. There is the gift of speaking in other languages, but it will stop by itself. There is the gift of knowledge, but it will no longer be used. Our knowledge is incomplete and our ability to speak what God has revealed is incomplete. But when what is complete comes, then what is incomplete will no longer be used. 

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways. 

Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me. So these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the best one of these is love.

This well known passage speaks about Charity or Love, which in the Greek is Agapē. But what exactly is love?

We imagine stories of romance when the handsome prince rescues the fair maiden and carries her off on his white charger into the setting sun and they live happily ever after. Walt Disney portrays this kind of thing very well and may his classics ever remain, but fairy tales are not always true to life.

We often use this word inappropriately with such expressions as I just love Pizza, or I love Toyota cars etc, but how can one fall in love with a hunk of metal, or a fattening but delicious snack?

Our study looks at Love, which is often called The Greatest Gift, with reference to the Gifts of the Spirit (see the page The Holy Spirit and His Gifts), but this is completely wrong as I shall explain.

Love


The greatest love gift is of course Jesus Christ who came to express the love of God for us, the most well known verse in the bible being John 3:16.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
 

We know that God is love.

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth (agapaō ... a verb) not knoweth not God; for God is love (agapē). 1 John 4:7-8.

Notice my emphasis. The words suggest that some affirmative action is required on our part. We are to love God. We are to love our neighbour. If this is something we are to participate in or do, then it cannot be a gift, because love is produced by an active choice process we are to make.

Love is extremely important. There are in excess of 220 references to love and its derivatives in the New Testament alone and the Greatest Commandment involves love. Jesus made this very plain when He addressed religious folk.
But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:34-40 (emphasis mine).

If love is not evident, everything is of no avail.

Everything hinges around the love of God and our love for Him and each other. The gifts of the Spirit are to operate by love. Our ministry should be love oriented, even when applying conrrectoin and discipline. Love is not weak. Rather, it is probably the most powerful force we know. God's own display of love led to Jesus's birth, death and resurrection. Extremist religious factions know nothing of love, only hate and they will fail. That is not a personal opinion but scriptural truth, proven by history.


Love is not an option. We are actually commanded to love each other.

The way people can see that we are followers of Jesus is by the love we have towards each other, not by what we do or say but what we are, for love is internal and is expresses itself through our behavior and conduct. See 1 John 2:7-11; 1 John 4:7-21; 2 John 5:5-6.

The problem is however that of ourselves we cannot love anyone at all... not without divine help!

In this light it could perhaps be looked upon as a gift, but it is not really a gift at all... it is the nature of God Himself. For us to love... and I mean love the way we are supposed to love... we must become like God and this happens by allowing His life to be expressed through us. Love is a by-product of His indwelling presence.

The love of which I speak is a fruit of the Spirit. Everything is dependent on it.

What is love?

One answer to the question, What is love? is one word… God.

I have heard people talk about love in an expressive way, but use it incorrectly. Have you heard someone say something like, I love pizzas, or I love Toyota cars? How can one love a pizza when love is an emotion or an attribute of God? We understand what they mean of course, but that word Love has been misused so much its meaning is obscured. Hollywood has turned love into a fleshly thing that could be better replaced with a word called lust! Anyhow, I’d better get off that track.

Look again at what John said-

Dear friends, we must love each other because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God. The person who doesn't love doesn't know God, because God is love. God has shown us his love by sending his only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins. Dear friends, if this is the way God loved us, we must also love each other. No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. We know that we live in him and he lives in us because he has given us his Spirit. 1 John 4:7-13. 

Please notice the last words of this passage. They refer to the Holy Spirit and for good reason, because the Spirit of God is the agent who reveals Jesus to us, guides, teaches and leads us and gives us the necessary revelation to help us become more like God. In essence, the very nature of God is being manifest in us, to us and through us, by the Holy Ghost.

There are many ways to consider love. The Greek words used for this one word paint many different pictures. For example one word used is Eros and this refers basically to the natural expressions, the physical or the sensual flesh aspect. The word Erotic for example speaks about sexual matters. 

Another well-used word is Phileō. This is basically what we would call brotherly love or the fondness shared between close friends.

When we talked about loving pizzas, the word Phileō would be more apt, for one meaning is to be a friend to someone or to be fond of an individual or an object. We can have affection, strong feeling towards or personal attachments in sentimental ways, which is the meaning of Phileō.

Agapē and similar words like Agapao have much deeper meanings. They affect our judgment and the deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety. It is this kind of love that overlooks faults and flaws in others, will do anything for their betterment and be prepared to pay any price in the process. It is the God kind of love that Jesus came to express and manifest towards us, when we were actually hostile towards God.

This is why love, in the way people relate is not a gift, but an expression of the character nature and personality of God.

Love is a Fruit of the Spirit.

Show us the Father

Philip asked Jesus, Show us the Father. Jesus replied, Philip, have I been with you all this time, and still you have no knowledge of me? He who has seen me has seen the Father. Why do you say, Let us see the Father? Have you not faith that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words which I say to you, I say not from myself: but the Father who is in me all the time does his works. Have faith that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me: at least, have faith in me because of what I do. Truly I say to you, He who puts his faith in me will do the very works which I do, and he will do greater things than these, because I am going to my Father. And whatever request you make in my name, that I will do, so that the Father may have glory in the Son. John 14:9-13.

By this we see that the objective is ensuring that the Father receives the glory.
Jesus explained that He and the Father were so entwined with each other, that they were inseparable.
Jesus never did anything unless He first saw that the Father did it. He never said a thing without first hearing it from the Father and this is the very same principle by which God expects us to operate.

In essence, He said, If you want to see God, then look at Me!

Now we know than no one can see God face to face in the way we understand it whilst we remain in our present state, so the only way anyone can see God is  to see God in us. Paul said-

the things that were hitherto mysteries have been revealed to us (who believe) by, in and through Jesus.
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints (born again believers): To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. Colossians 1:26-29 (emphasis mine).

Please do not misunderstand me, but we should be capable of saying to anyone if they asked to see God... Look at me!
This is one of the objectives of the Holy Spirit. One of His tasks is to reveal Jesus; to make us more like Him every day and to equip us to do the same works Jesus did. We facilitate this by abiding in the vine. He was talking about fruitfulness. If we draw our sustenance from the source... the root or the vine... which is Jesus... the divine sap, feeds us and we reproduce the blossoms and fruit according to the kind of vine... the fruit of the Spirit!

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. John 15:1-8.

Jesus told us the purpose... that the Father will be glorified when we produce much fruit!
We know that God spoke to men by prophets of old,but they merely pointed the way, as John the Baptist pointed the way for the one who was to come to reveal the Father.

In these last days he has spoken to us through his Son. God made his Son responsible for everything. His Son is the one through whom God made the universe. His Son is the reflection of God's glory and the exact likeness of God's being. He holds everything together through his powerful words. After he had cleansed people from their sins, he received the highest position, the one next to the Father in heaven. Hebrews 1:2-3. 

To be like that, naturally speaking, is impossible for us, so God gave us all the tools we could possible require to enable us to meet His criteria. In other words, He has given us three things-

  • His Word
  • His character and nature, and
  • His ability, consisting of His authority and His power.

In plain English, God has given us the Gifts of the Spirit and the Fruit of the Spirit and His Word, by which we live and move and have our being.
We must have All of them in proper balance and perspective. Without one, we are out of balance. 
With regard to the Gifts and the Fruit, for example, we can have the nicest nature and personality, be the gentlest person you'd want to meet, but be totally powerless... wimpy people who possess the fruit of the Spirit. Conversely, one may exercise all the gifts of the Spirit and be a spiritual dynamo, laying hands on the sick, casting out devils and talking in tongues...but not have a pleasant nature. One without the other is a false representation of Christ. Gentle Jesus, meek and mild sounds nice, but He had both genuine authority and real power and delegated both to us.

This is the kind of thing Paul referred to when speaking about love in 1 Corinthians 13.

He was not saying that love is the best gift. He was speaking to a group of people who were not balanced. They lacked wisdom and self control in many areas and went to excesses. His letter to them was one of correction in many matters, including the balanced exercising of the gifts. It was as if he said... Use them by all means and seek to do so, but do everything decently and in order and do everything motivated by love! He was not only speaking about the gifts, but our acts of charity and more...
If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God's love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God's love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food (charitable deeds) , and if I surrender my body to be burned (self-sacrifice) or in order that I may glory (pride and boasting), but have not love (God's love in me), I gain nothing (it is out of balance). 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.

He then explained the nature of love, or the fruit of love.

  • Love is patient
  • Love is kind
  • Love isn't jealous
  • It doesn't sing its own praises
  • It isn't arrogant
  • It isn't rude
  • It doesn't think about itself
  • It isn't irritable
  • It doesn't keep track of wrongs
  • It isn't happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth
  • Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. 

He then said that love never comes to an end, but other matters will and many folk latch onto the tongues part and say that tongues will come to an end. So they will... but not in our present dispensation. He said that knowledge will fail, but this has nothing to do with the gifts of the Spirit. Knowledge has not failed. In fact it is increasing. If you doubt that, check our educational institutions, the media, or see how many new inventions are being created.
No... the gifts of the Spirit are here to stay for the duration until the Perfect One arrives and until He does, we need all the help we can get in a rapidly failing world system!

A fresh start

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows. For everything we know about God's Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That's an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? Galatians 5:13-15.

When midnight comes on New Year's Eve, many people from all over the world celebrate. Resolutions are made. I am going to do this next year, and they don't! People may say, I am not going to do that next year and seconds after making that bold statement go ahead and do it anyhow. I know that is true because I once did those things myself. If this sounds familiar, see how the apostle Paul felt.

He said, I wanted to do something and made all the promises in the world and never did a thing. He added, there were things I was doing and I tried to stop, but for one reason or another I found that I couldn't stop. There I was—doing them again! Will I ever be able to have control? See Romans 7:15-25.

You see, at that point, he was trying to do it all by himself and miserably failed as we will all fail without help. The best help anyone can ever get is in a person—Jesus Christ! He came to exchange your weaknesses and failures with His strengths and abilities. He nailed all of that stuff to His cross and took it away. When He died, He dealt with the power of those things that held us in bondage upon Himself to the grave with Him.

Now when someone dies in my country, we bury the body.

They buried Jesus too, but when that happened, all the power of sin... all that stuff that if beyond your control... you know what I mean... was buried with Him. The bible says that we died with Him, so God provided a way for us to identify with His Son and be buried also. The great news is that Jesus is no longer dead, in the grave, hanging on a cross... the tomb is empty. When God raised Jesus from the dead, the way was made available for you and for me to rise also! This is getting onto the matter of Baptism now, but to continue, when Paul was struggling within himself as I just explained, he suddenly received a burst of revelation about all this and it set him free! It can set you free too! If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. See John 8:36.

Paul said-

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Romans 6:3-10.

When he found this truth, he jumped for joy. He found the answer! He had been saying-

I know that God's standards are spiritual, but I have a corrupt nature, sold as a slave to sin. I don't realize what I'm doing. I don't do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate. I don't do what I want to do, but I agree that God's standards are good. So I am no longer the one who is doing the things I hate, but sin that lives in me is doing them. I know that nothing good lives in me; that is, nothing good lives in my corrupt nature. Although I have the desire to do what is right, I don't do it.

I don't do the good I want to do. Instead, I do the evil that I don't want to do. Now, when I do what I don't want to do, I am no longer the one who is doing it. Sin that lives in me is doing it. So I've discovered this truth: Evil is present with me even when I want to do what God's standards say is good. I take pleasure in God's standards in my inner being. However, I see a different standard {at work} throughout my body. It is at war with the standards my mind sets and tries to take me captive to sin's standards which still exist throughout my body. What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body? Romans 7:14-24.

Now he shouted...

O thank God! [He will!] through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One) our Lord! So then indeed I, of myself with the mind and heart, serve the Law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:25.

He found that we can and will all go through a spiritual battlefield, unless we know the truth. It is a minefield indeed, but God has provided a way for us to be victorious. It is by allowing the divine exchange to take place in our lives. By receiving Christ at salvation we can then start abiding in the vine so that the fruit of the Spirit can grow and produce Godliness in us, instead of the weeds produced by the flesh life to choke the life out of us.

God has given you and me the way of wiping the slate clean and making a fresh start!

The old flesh nature

It is clear that a struggle is possible within us. The old nature, which is often described as the flesh or the self life constantly wants to regain control of our lives.

We are spirit beings created in the image and likeness of God who is a spirit. Our real selves, that is, our spirits live in a physical body and we possess a soul where the mind, will and emotions reside.

Although we are created to have and enjoy certain things, such as our emotions and thoughts and satisfy the physical needs and requirements of our bodies, the flesh life constantly wants to dominate us.

For example, God created us... male and female with a command to reproduce. The bible teaches us about marriage as being a good and honorable thing in which sex is a God given part. When taken to excess, or when out of control, we have all sorts of problems such as pornography, illicit sex, prostitution, disease and so on. These things arrive as a work of the flesh.

The bible tells us what happens when we are flesh dominated, instead of being spirit led or guided.

Let me explain further. Live your life as your spiritual nature directs you. Then you will never follow through on what your corrupt nature wants. What your corrupt nature wants is contrary to what your spiritual nature wants, and what your spiritual nature wants is contrary to what your corrupt nature wants. They are opposed to each other. As a result, you don't always do what you intend to do. If your spiritual nature is your guide, you are not subject to Moses' laws. Galatians 5:16-18.

Moses' laws can be summed up in one word... Love. All of Moses' Teachings are summarized in a single statement, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Galatians 5:14.

When out of balance, or controlled by the flesh nature, the following is the result.

Now, the effects of the corrupt nature are obvious: illicit sex, perversion, promiscuity, idolatry, drug use, hatred, rivalry, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, conflict, factions, envy, drunkenness, wild partying, and similar things.

Please notice that Paul sums this up with a reminder... I've told you in the past and I'm telling you again that people who do these kinds of things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21.

God is not about spoiling our fun or enjoying life. On the contrary, He wants us to live life to the full until it overflows, but when we are controlled or dominated by the lusts of the flesh, the outcome can be very unpleasant. All He asked Adam was not to eat one piece of fruit when the man had a whole garden of Eden full of good things, but by pampering to his flesh nature, sin came in and death as a result.

Jesus came to restore everything. When Paul was speaking about the resurrection, he said-

But now Christ has come back from the dead. He is the very first person of those who have died to come back to life. 

Since a man brought death, a man also brought life back from death. 

As everyone dies because of Adam, so also everyone will be made alive because of Christ. 

This will happen to each person in his own turn. Christ is the first, then at his coming, those who belong to him {will be made alive}. 

Then the end will come. Christ will hand over the kingdom to God the Father as he destroys every ruler, authority, and power. 

Christ must rule until God has put every enemy under his control. The last enemy he will destroy is death. 1 Corinthians 15:20-26.

We see with all this that the self life or the flesh life produces death. This is the nature of the devil, who came to steal, kill and destroy. See John 10:10.

Let us now look at the what the Holy Spirit came to do... 

The fruit of the Spirit

But the spiritual nature produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There are no laws against things like that. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their corrupt nature along with its passions and desires. If we live by our spiritual nature, then our lives need to conform to our spiritual nature. We can't allow ourselves to act arrogantly and to provoke or envy each other. Galatians 5:22-26.

In the previous section, we saw what the flesh life produces, but here we immediately see what the nature of the Spirit produces. One translation says it like this- The fruit of the Spirit is love.

Stop here. The bible tells me that God is love. I want to share a full chapter of 1 John 4 with you before continuing.

Dear friends, don't believe all people who say that they have the Spirit. Instead, test them. See whether the spirit they have is from God, because there are many false prophets in the world.This is how you can recognize God's Spirit: Every person who declares that Jesus Christ has come as a human has the Spirit that is from God. But every person who doesn't declare that Jesus Christ has come as a human has a spirit that isn't from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that you have heard is coming. That spirit is already in the world. 

Dear children, you belong to God. So you have won the victory over these people, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. These people belong to the world. That's why they speak the thoughts of the world, and the world listens to them. 

We belong to God. The person who knows God listens to us. Whoever doesn't belong to God doesn't listen to us. That's how we can tell the Spirit of truth from the spirit of lies. 

Dear friends, we must love each other because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God. 

The person who doesn't love doesn't know God, because God is love. 

God has shown us his love by sending his only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. 

This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins. 

Dear friends, if this is the way God loved us, we must also love each other. 

No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 

We know that we live in him and he lives in us because he has given us his Spirit. 

We have seen and testify to the fact that the Father sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 

God lives in those who declare that Jesus is the Son of God, and they live in God. 

We have known and believed that God loves us. God is love. Those who live in God's love live in God, and God lives in them. 

God's love has reached its goal in us. So we look ahead with confidence to the day of judgment. While we are in this world, we are exactly like him {with regard to love}. No fear exists where his love is. Rather, perfect love gets rid of fear, because fear involves punishment. The person who lives in fear doesn't have perfect love. We love because God loved us first. 

Whoever says, “I love God,” but hates another believer is a liar. People who don't love other believers, whom they have seen, can't love God, whom they have not seen. Christ has given us this commandment: The person who loves God must also love other believers. 1 John 4:1-21.

Please notice my emphasis and please notice how many times reference is made to love.

Love is not sloppy, emotional, or weak sentimentalism but a powerfully active and force that is demonstrated by activity. God Gave to prove His love for us...

Love therefore is the driving force or activating agent that produces an outcome. Love is like an acorn that produces an oak tree or an apple seed that produces an apple tree that can be identified by its fruit!

Love is therefore not a gift, but a by-product of the life force of God within us... the Holy Spirit indwelling within us to produce the life, nature, character and personality of Jesus Christ

The product of love

Jesus said that a tree is known by its fruit. See Luke 6:43-45. Some citrus trees look very similar until the fruit starts growing. Unless one is trained, it is all but impossible to know if that tree is a lemon, a mandarin or an orange until the fruit comes!

Love therefore produces the fruit or the nature of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23. 

Please notice that there are nine fruit. According to 1 Corinthians 12, there are nine gifts of the Spirit. Herein lies the balance.

We have dealt with the aspect of Love, so look at the next item which love produces.

It is Chara, which obviously means Joy, but other meanings describe gladness and a joyful or joyous state. The bible talks about the Joy of the Lord, the most well known verse of scripture is Nehemiah 8:10. A word study of the word Joy produces close to 230 occurrences. God wants us to have a joyful disposition, because of the abundance of His blessing towards us.

The next item is Peace. The word is Eirēnē. It describes a state of peace, quietness and rest. It produces prosperity. One suggestion of its meaning includes a reference To  Join. Jesus was able to sleep in the midst of a storm because He had this quality in His life. He was joined with the Father and if we abide in Him, we too can be Joined with the Father!

Look now at the aspect of Longsuffering. It is Makrothymia and talks about patience, forbearance, long enduring temper. It speaks volumes about maintaining restrained and patient self control, when all that is inside the old nature wants to get even or inflict some drastic form of retaliation when opposed. God waited patiently for Noah to build the ark whilst preaching righteousness (see 1 Peter 3:20) when He could have destroyed the world out of hand because of sin.

Gentleness, the next fruit, is a great attribute. It is Chrēstotēs, which has a variety of meanings, including good, goodly, goodness, kind and kindness. It describes moral excellence in ones character or demeanor. If you have heard he saying, As gentle as a dove, this is an apt description, for the Holy Spirit is a gentleman's gentleman, described as a dove (see Matthew 3:16-17). A dove, it is said, has no guile and its vision is such as it can focus on only one object at a time.

Goodness is Agathōsynē, which relates to pure goodness. It differs from   Chrēstotēs  in that it relates to benevolence. The absolute goodness of God means that He is always wanting to shower His love and all the benefits He has upon us. It is far beyond our natural comprehension and His goodness is what leads us to repentance.

 No matter who you are, if you judge anyone, you have no excuse. When you judge another person, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things.

 We know that God's judgment is right when he condemns people for doing these things.

 When you judge people for doing these things but then do them yourself, do you think you will escape God's judgment?

 Do you have contempt for God, who is very kind to you, puts up with you, and deals patiently with you? Don't you realize that it is God's kindness that is trying to lead you to him and change the way you think and act? Romans 2:1-4  (emphasis mine).

The nature of Faith comes next. Pistis is the word used. It can be summed up as Faithfulness! It relates to absolute assurance and Fidelity. An associated word is Peithō, which refers to similare things as well as coming into full and total agreement and obedience, trust and yielded-ness to another.  With a friend or representative like Him, you can utterly, totally and absolutely trust Him in everything!

Meekness, the next item is absolute humility, coming from the word Praotēs. Meekness is not to be confused with weakness. It takes exceptional strength to be truly meek. When Moses for example was under great personal attack, he went to God in prayer on behalf of those attacking him morally... his virtue and leadership being threatened and simply turned it over to God. Meekness is not promoting your own agenda, but wanting to make sure that the one you represent gets all the credit and glory!

Temporance, or Enkrateia is pure self control and continuence.

By growing in God, or becoming more like Him, which is displaying the Fruit of the Spirit, we can live as God intends us to live.

God gives us various gifts to use for service, but He gives us the Fruit of the Spirit to grow and develop.

When the Holy Spirit lives inside us, we have everything He has. His divine sap is in us once the seed is planted and the plant is growing.

In order to use the gifts in the most powerful and blessing-producing way that God desires, we must allow the fruit to grow up and mature in us by cultivating it. The gifts of the Spirit must be accompanied by the fruit of the Spirit to get the best, balanced  results.

We can cultivate all the fruit by focusing on love, the first in the list of the nine fruit, and self-control, the last in the list.

Love and self-control are like bookends that hold the others in place. All of the fruit issue from love and actually are a form of love, but they are kept in place by self-control.

If you concentrate on developing the fruit of love, you will not become impatient with people as you walk through your day. You will not be anything but kind. You will be good to people, supportive, and faithful instead of being haughty or trying to appear better than others.

If you are not motivated by love, you will find that operating in the fruit is very difficult. It is a lifestyle in which there will be times when you will not always feel like being patient, kind, joyful, peaceful, or even nice at all! Those are the times that you need self-control in order to continue to respond with the fruit of the Spirit even though you do not feel like it.

If you need to develop this fruit of self-control, begin by simply making little choices throughout the day to respond with the fruit to situations you encounter. The Fruit of the Spirit helps you to act like Jesus that,when working with the Gifts of the Spirit enable you to do what He did.

Real love

To sum up, I want to say that real love is gutsy! It is not sloppy sentimentalism, but requires true grit. This little four-letter word is one of the most misunderstood and misused words in our vocabulary.  I said that Love is not an emotion, but a deed, but our emotions are often very involved.

In the New Testament, four main words are found, namely Eros, Stergo, Phileo and Agape. They convey four very different forms of love that I will deal with here.

Eros:

This refers basically with sex. It describes sensual, carnal impulses to satisfy or gratify the sexual desires of the flesh and one of the words associated with it is Erao, which means to ask, to beg, or to demand.

Eros is not a giving type of love, but a demanding form of love that does not seek to give or to please someone else, but a carnal love that seeks the fulfilment of its own desires. It actually does not appear in the New Testament for any reason, not even in the context of sex in marriage. The word Eros represents a carnal, self-gratifying base form of craving or a yearning or appetite for sexual gratification that is totally self or flesh oriented, which may be the reason that is why it is not mentioned in the New Testament.

Eros is a self-seeking love.

Stergo:

This is the second word for Love I present for your consideration.

This is the kind of love that is ideally present in a family type of environment. It is the love expressed between parents and their children. It has a close association with devotion and we can see this with regard to the love of a do with its master.

It is not often used in the New Testament, but I draw your attention to its use in 2 Timothy 3:1-3, 7.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Pleas take note that Paul told us to avoid those who have a form of Godliness (religion) that lacks power and energy. It is one matter to focus on the love aspect but forsake the power aspect. Jesus displayed both. The early church displayed both. Many part of the church today only exhibit half of the Godly qualities required.

Paul says that in the last days such strong family ties, devotion and family values will deteriorate alarmingly and this is certainly the case in our day. The marriage vow of loving your spouse for life is disappearing and the terms Husband or Wife is being replaced with the word Partner. Such relationships are not based on biblical love and I suggest that they are more often than not based on Eros (can I say lust?).

Stergo is a limited expression of love, usually shown only to one's family.

The third word for Love is the Greek word Phileo describing affection. Phileo has many derivatives.

Philadelphia:

This is a compound of Phileo and Adelphos. The word Adelphos means a brother, so we can easily see why the word Philadelphia means Brotherly Love.

The term used for someone who is a lover of pleasure is Philodonos, which is a mixture of the base word Phileo and Edone, the Greek word for Pleasure.

Two words that sound alike are Philoxenos and Philoxenia. They talk about strangers or foreigners and hospitality. The uses relate to a person who loves to be hospitable or entertain strangers.

If you hear about someone who is kind to mankind in general or loves to show acts of kindness, the term used is Philanthropia. It too is a compounded word with Phileo as its base. The other word is Anthropos, which is the Greek word for Mankind.

I am sure that you have heard of the word Philosophy. This too is a mixture of words, using Phileo, but this time the other word is Sophos. The latter is the Greek word for Wisdom, so the word Philosophy simply means a love of wisdom.

Phileo is somewhat fickle. Because it is based on mutual satisfaction it can feel disappointment.

Agape

The last word I want to talk about is the God kind of Love, which is called Agape. This is the highest degree of love one can imagine or experience. Agape is a giving love that is best described in John 3:16, which says For God so Loved—that He gave…

Agape is an action love. It is a love that loves so profoundly that it knows no limits or boundaries in how far, wide, high, and deep it will go to show that love to its recipient. God proved that Agape love will go to any length to act. It will sacrifice itself for the sake of the person it loves.

Agape is a love that has no strings attached. It isn't looking for what it can get, but for what it can give without any thought or expectation of receiving love in return. When you love like that, it is impossible for you to feel hurt or let down by the reaction or lack of response of the recipients of your love. You just love them because you love them!

God wants us to have His kind of love for each other. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. 1 John 3:11-24.

The Father loved us to the point of self- sacrifice and Jesus' agape drove Him to lay down His life for us. God wants us to similarly Agape our brothers and sisters. If we are truly operating in this love they won't offend us or hurt us, because we are not looking for what others can do for us—we are focused on how to love others unconditionally. Love demonstrates itself with deeds and actions. That is why it is so powerful. It is not an empty love that just talks—it does nothing.

This love is not attained easily. Sometimes you have to work at it or pursue after it. This is why Paul told us to Follow after it. See 1 Corinthians 14:1.

The word used for Follow is a powerful energetic word Dioko which means To Hotly Pursue. This term is used in hunting when the hunter follows the tracks of the animal, through any kind of condition whether comfortable or not until he reaches his objective.

To reach the level of Agape love that God desires of us we must go after it and focus on it or to pursue after it like the hunter. 

When Agape is the expression of love, then Eros will not be self-centred and instead of seeking your own gratification, you will seek to please your spouse.

If agape is the basis of your family relationships rather than Stergo you will always be faithful and devoted to your family.

If Agape is the basis of your friendships rather than Phileo, you will not enjoy a mere casual relationship, but be a faithful, friend for life. Agape will turn you into the best, most devoted, faithful, and reliable friend anyone could ever want.

Agape is an outcome of the life of Christ working in your life. You cannot do it alone, but when the seed of the Word of God is sown in your life and when you have made Jesus the Lord of your life the fruit that will grow will be the same fruit He had. That fruit is love personified.

That is Real Love!


Our ministry is registered with the Australian Government

Keep walking by faith

Site Map  ::  Privacy Policy  ::  Permissions  ::  Subscribe to email teachings  ::  info@bashanministries.org
 

Bashan Ministries ABN 83 173 400 921
PO Box 1552 Victor Harbor South Australia 5211

Site Powered By
    Turnkey Website Solutions
    Online web site design