Community Group Study Notes

  1. Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday’s Teaching. 

  1. As we talk over these next several weeks about the fruit of the Spirit, we need to remember that this is not a discussion about nine different kinds of fruit but one type of fruit that has nine sweet flavors. Why is this distinction necessary to guide our discussion for today and future weeks?  

  1. Why is God’s love the foundation for our life in God? Of all the aspects listed on Sunday that are built on that foundation, which one did you most need to hear? Explain. 

  1. Where in your life do you need to ask this question: What does love require of me? What difference will it make in your life when you start to ask (and answer) it? 

  1. What is one action step that you can take in light of Sunday’s message and our conversation today? 


Abide


Sermon Transcript

As you're being seated, I want to say a huge welcome to you that are here with us in person, whether you're here at our CrossPoint campus or you are at our Cheektowaga campus, or you are at our Lockport campus. And I know that we've got Niagara Falls campus people who are still watching either online or you've made your way to one of the campuses as well. I'm so grateful that you're here. For those of you that are watching online, thank you so much for being with us today on this beautiful sunshiny day here in Western New York. So you didn't know you needed this, but you do. You didn't know this, but you need this. And it's funny, and it's pure, and you need to see it. It's babies trying lemons for the first time. Take a look.

Oh, man. Oh, that's just good for the soul. Now, I didn't show this to you just to get some laughs even though it's super fun to be able to watch that. It's hilarious watching them. I didn't do it just for the laughs, I did it because it's a metaphor for 2020. We are all babies trying lemons for the first time, and most of the time our faces demonstrate that. This is really a metaphor for what we are in in 2020. And I can't help but think, while I'm in 2020, of some of the things that we used to hear in the South, things like this, son, I'm going to slap you into next year. And in my mind, I'm thinking back to that going, could they still make good on that promise? Because if so, I think I might take them up on it here in 2020. Maybe not another years, but in this one, maybe so.

It would be fair to say that we're living in some sour times. I mean, for parents and kids who are students and teachers and administrators, you've just walked into a school year and it's a challenge. It's difficult. For workers, it's been a difficult timeframe. Some have struggled with job security during this season, some have lost jobs during this season, some people's jobs have changed. Some realize that the place where they go into work doesn't feel the same anymore because hardly anyone is there. Or you're thinking, I wonder what it feels like at the office because you haven't been there in a whole bunch of months. You add on top of that that we live in an extraordinarily politically polarized timeframe where everything that's happening in our world becomes politicized.

Even while there are good conversations happening about our nation's culture and our nation's heartbeat and our nation's soul and what's right and what's just, and these things should be talked about. But they also become politically polarized here as we are approaching an election. So we live in what we certainly could call sour times. Now, we're not the first people to ever experience sour times, I hope that you understand that. Even though we continue to hear the phrase and we continue to talk about unprecedented times ... Who's sick of that phrase, by the way? Unprecedented times, they're not unprecedented. They're actually precedented. We're not the first people to live through these kinds of things, not the first people to live through a global pandemic. We're not the first people to live through difficult conversations that we're having as a nation. Every single generation has their share of sour times. Sometimes they are major, sometimes they are a combination of major things. If you go back and look at generation after generation, even in modern history, you're going to find that every generation has them.

These are common for humanity. And they were common as far back as the early church, the early church was dealing with significant difficulty in the times that they were living in, facing oftentimes persecution for the sake of their faith. A church like Galatia, for instance. Galatia was under the control of Rome. It had a little more freedom than maybe some other places did, but it was under the control of Rome. And now that there was a church that had been found there that was meeting in some different places in the city of Galatia, now some confusion began to rain because there were Jewish Christians who were working over time to convince Gentile Christians and to convince other Jewish Christians that you still had to fulfill and abide by the Old Testament law, specifically in the arena of circumcision, but among others if you wanted to be a part of the family of God.

This was causing significant chaos and confusion in the local church so much so that the apostle Paul had to address it very specifically and very head on. And that's why he wrote a letter called Galatians. He was writing to the church in Galatia on this occasion. And what he needed to do was firmly established somethings. So at the beginning of the letter, he is firmly establishing what the Gospel actually is because people were trying to add to or at some points maybe even take away from the reality of the Gospel. And in doing that, Paul had to also put behind the idea of the Gospel, his authority for being able to talk about these things related to the Gospel. So he not only talked about his authority as an apostle, but he also talked about his own testimony of being somebody who knew the law full well, who understood what the laws requirements were, and how those were fulfilled ultimately in Jesus.

He also talked about how the other apostles had actually given him the right hand of fellowship, that they had received him as one of their own, and so he had this authority to be able to speak to these things. He even talked about a personal story where he had to withstand one of the apostles, Peter, because Peter was actually hypocritically wavering between the idea of, hey, I can associate with Gentiles who aren't observing the law. And then these Jewish Christians who would come in and visit and would require full submission to the law in order to have fellowship. And Peter was wavering between the two, and Paul had to withstand him publicly to his face and say, "Look, you're undercutting the Gospel when you do these things, don't do this, Peter." Paul ultimately had to make the case from the Old Testament, and so he began to unpack that and he used Abraham to be able to talk about the covenant faithfulness of God and what that actually meant in terms of the Gospel.

And then he would give pictures like with Hagar and Sarah about what this actually looked like with the children of promise. And so now Paul finds himself writing in Galatians as we embark upon chapter five. He's appealing to the Galatians church to say, "You're free, but don't use your freedom to indulge the flesh. Don't use your freedom to get locked up again in the very things that you are freed from. You should be free to live life in the spirit. And it's in that context that Paul actually gives some reminders about what sweet fruit in sour times actually would look like. And he says it this way in Galatians 5 beginning in verse 22, he says, "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance or patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law." You see, what Paul is saying right here as he's talking about this fruit of the spirit of God, he says the fruit of the spirit, and then he begins to name what that looks like.

Now, when we hear the word fruit, what we need to understand is that Paul is using a term fruit to describe a harvest or produce. This is the idea behind the idea of fruit, behind the word fruit. Now, what he's doing is he's contrasting what the fruit of the spirit is contrasted to the acts of the flesh. See, if you backed up just a few verses from where we are in verse 22, and we'll see that in just a little bit, you would see beginning in verse 19 that he talks about how the acts of the flesh are obvious. And he contrasts that with the fruit of the spirit and how different those two things look. But I want you to see Paul's phraseology here in verse number 22. It says this, "But the fruit of the spirit."

Now, here's what you need to understand right when we begin to look at this passage of scripture that this harvest or this produce or this fruit does not come from the Galatians. This harvest, this produce, this fruit does not come from those of us who read this. It is the harvest or the fruit or the produce of the spirit. Did everybody catch that? This isn't our production, this is the spirit's production. What is being listed here are not qualities that we can strenuously observe or grab hold of by observing rules. That's not what we're looking at here. What this is in fact is the organic product of the life of the spirit in us. It is the fruit of the spirit not the fruit of us. Now, we have to cooperate with God, we have to submit ourselves to God, but everything we need is already present. And in fact, when we see him use this term, he says, "But the fruit of the spirit is," and then he names, love, joy, peace, faith, you got all of those things.

Did anybody count how many fruits of the spirit are there? Did anybody count them? Nine, you say, and that would be wrong. The answer is one. The word fruit here in the Greek language is singular not plural. That means that there is, listen to this, there is one fruit of the spirit that contains all of the things that are listed right here. You see, what we get confused by is thinking that this is a checklist of ethical behaviors that somehow we can willpower ourselves into. That's not at all what Paul is talking about. Paul here is talking about the singular fruit of the spirit. In other words, Paul is describing an orchard, but he's not describing an orchard with nine different fruits. He's describing an orchard with one fruit that has nine beautiful sweet flavors. It is singular when he uses that term fruit.

Now, when we see the first kind of beginnings of this fruit, we see it in verse number 22. Notice what he says, but the fruit of the spirit is what? Love. This is imperative for us to be able to get because Paul uses this term first for a reason. This is not something that we could just kind of turn over the order of these things particularly as it relates to this very first one, because this is at the head of the list for a reason, that the fruit of the spirit is love. Love is listed first because, listen to this, love is listed first because it is the fountainhead of the river of life that is life in the spirit. This is what everything flows from. In fact, some people would argue that in this orchard that Paul is describing that love is the tree from which everything is born.

And in fact, I believe that to be true because when Paul writes of the idea of love elsewhere, he actually pulls it aside not treating it as if it's just one of a number of virtues. It actually is something that is all encompassing for these virtues that we are talking about. In fact, listen to how Paul described this in Colossians chapter number three, Paul says, therefore, as God's chosen people, Holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves. Listen to what he says, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bear with each other and forgive one another. If any of you has a grievance against someone, forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Do you see how he used that term there? He talked about love being that which both harmonizes and unifies all of the virtues that he's discussing.

In other words, they all flow from love. Everything that we're reading about here with the fruit of the spirit all flows from love. Why is that? Well, because the spirit of God is actually sharing the life of God with us. And the life of God is a life of love. This is what we need not miss out on. In fact, when the spirit of God shares his life with us, we know that that is God sharing his love with us. In fact, listen to how Paul, and I'm referencing Paul a bunch because Paul is who we're studying in terms of Galatians five. He's the writer here, but he also talks about this all throughout the context of his writings. When Paul talks about the idea of God's love being shared with us by the spirit, listen to what he says in Romans 5:5, "And hope doesn't put us to shame because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

That as the spirit of God is given to us when we believe, when the spirit of God is given to us, what happens? God's love is poured out into our heart. Because what the spirit of God is doing is sharing with us the life of God, and God's life is actually that of love. See, love is the nature of God's Trinitarian personhood. I was so grateful just a few moments ago when we were singing praise the father, praise the son, praise the spirit three in one. You see, when we understand the nature of God's Trinitarian personhood, we understand that God is a God by nature of love. The father has eternally loved the son and will eternally love the son. The son has eternally loved the father and will eternally love the father. And the spirit magnifies the love of the father for the son and the love of the son for the father. And the spirit now invites us by God giving his spirit to us, the spirit invites us in to a love relationship that preexisted us from all eternity past.

This is the beauty. By the way, for those that don't understand the nature of the Trinity, and I recognize that it's a mystery, they are missing out on a God of love. They are missing out on a God of love because a single personhooded God would have had to create to be able to share love or be loved. But a God who exists as father, son, and spirit has always existed in his essence by love. Always a self-giving, always a sacrificial, always an other-centric love in the nature of God's own personhood. And the spirit of God is given to us to be able to share that with us. And listen, how does he do that? How does the spirit enable us to share in the love of God? By revealing Jesus to us.

This is how the spirit does that. Because the role of the Holy Spirit is to magnify the son of God. And when we lay our eyes on Jesus, when we recognize that we who have sinned can never save ourselves. And by the way, we all in our hearts know that to be true. All of us know we can't save ourselves. We've tried by the way, many of us have tried, ask around. We've tried and failed, and tried and failed and continue sometimes to try and fail until we recognize that we are sinners who cannot save ourselves and that this God who wholly loves us has given us his son that we might be reconciled to him because on an act of his own love that while we were yet sinners Christ still died for us that when we begin to experience and recognize that we now can be reconciled to the father and can come into the beauty of the love relationship with God that he's always designed for us.

This is the activity of the spirit of God. The spirit reveals Jesus. And as a result, we now begin to know the love of God. This is a beautiful thing because love is God's nature. The apostle John writes it this way in 1 John chapter four. And so we know and rely on the love God, did you catch that? We know it, and we rely on it the love that God has for us. God is love. Not just God has love, not just God gives love, God is love. There is, friends listen closely, there is no definition of love outside of God. There is no ... Let me say it this way. There is no right definition of love outside of God.

Sometimes what we call love is not love because it is absent of who God is. God is love, therefore love cannot be defined without God. Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in them. You see, this is the very nature of the God that we serve. And the son of God, Jesus, when the Holy Spirit reveals the son of God to us, we begin now to understand that the son of God not only demonstrates this eternal love for the father, but that actually Jesus shows us this eternal love and shares it with us through what he has done. In fact, when Paul is writing in Galatians, if you backed up a couple of chapters to chapter 2 verse 20, here's what he says. Paul says, "I've been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. and the life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God," listen to this, "who loved me and gave himself for me."

You begin, and I begin to see the nature of the love of God when we begin to see Jesus the one who loved us and gave himself for us. This is the kind of love that only God can offer. That's why when Paul writes, but the fruit of the spirit is love, he's using a very specific term. You see, in the Greek language, there are four primary words for the word love, but some scholars would argue that there are up to eight words actually for love in the Greek language. But there's four primary ones. That's why the word that Paul has chosen here is very important for us, it's the word agape. The word agape is a descriptor of the love that only God can give. It is a God-natured and God-oriented love. And Jesus demonstrates this agape love because it is other-centric, self-giving, and sacrificial. The son of God loved me and gave himself for me. So that's why we need to understand when we read this phrase, but the fruit of the spirit is love, this is not some ordinary type of love that we might think about in our minds.

No, this in fact is showing us the life of God and the life of God is a holy love that only he can give. This is so rich that we need to understand it deeply. Because when we begin to understand the love of God, it is a game changer for us. Maybe write this thought down, it's kind of a big idea here in what we talk about. And it's this, the love of God is the foundation for our life in God. The love of God is the foundation for our life in God. And what I want to do over the next several minutes is simply illustrate that to you in Paul's own writings. Because when Paul is writing that the fruit of the spirit is love, there is a lot behind what Paul is saying. Now, we have the extraordinary privilege of having a completed canon of scripture.

We get to look at all the things that Paul said about love. We get to look at Paul helping us to understand that the love of God is actually the foundation for our life in God. We get to pull from Galatians to understand a bit of what it says, but we can pull from some of his other writings and some of his other letters as well. So I just want to jog us through for a moment to help us see why the love of God is the foundation for our whole life in God. So here's how this will go. And I'm kind of setting it up this way, that the love the spirit shares with us is the foundation first for our conduct. This is really important for us.

The love that the spirit of God shares with us because he's sharing with us the very life of God, that this is the foundation for our conduct. Listen to how Paul said this in Ephesians chapter five beginning verse one, "Follow God's example therefore as dearly loved children," and here it is, "and walk in the way of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." In other words, what he's saying is this, is that the way that we behave, the way that we conduct ourselves is that we should walk in the way of love. Why? Because love is the foundation for our conduct. The love that God has shown to us, the love that the spirit is sharing with us that is the very life of God, this is the foundation for our conduct, but it's also the foundation for our unity.

This is imperative for us to understand as well, listen to what Paul said in Colossians chapter two. He said, "My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love. You see, this is the foundation for our unity. The love that God has for us, what he has demonstrated to us in Jesus, our faith in Jesus and us being together caught up in the love relationship with God. This is what unifies us, the very nature of God's own love for us is what unifies us. But there's a third thing, and it's this, that the love the spirit shares with us is foundation for our growth in maturity.

Listen to how Paul said this in Ephesians chapter four. He said, "Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head that is Christ." We simply, ladies and gentlemen listen carefully, we simply will not mature in our faith in the way God designed us if we are not maturing in his love, we won't. You see, sometimes we think maturity is the ability to regurgitate information or data. But maturity is actually how we flesh out the truth in love, that's what spiritual maturity looks like. It's not just that you know more than someone else, that's not at all what's being talked about here. It's about our ability to walk in love. Maturity is measured, listen, maturity is measured not by information, but by love. That's where spiritual maturity is measured. But it's also the foundation for our fight against self-love.

The love that the spirit shares with us is the foundation for our fight against self-love. Now don't misunderstand what I'm saying here, I'm not saying you should hate yourself. That's not what I'm saying. I'm not talking about cutting yourself down all the time, I'm not talking about having a really bad attitude about yourself. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about what the flesh designs us to do, and that is that we just begin to be lovers of self instead of lovers of God. And what the foundation for what the spirit does in our hearts, this fruit of the spirit being loved, what it does in our hearts is it helps us to work against that idea. In fact, Paul, in Galatians five says this, "You, my brothers and sisters," this is verse 13 and 14 of our same text that were in, "you, brothers and sisters were called to be free, but do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh, rather serve one another humbly in love."

Do you see how this fights against self-love? Because he said the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command, love your neighbor as yourself. You see, this is imperative for us because self-love consumes us oftentimes. But when we recognize that the fruit of God's life in us is the love that he has and this love is an others-centric, self-giving, sacrificial kind of love, it enables us to serve one another humbly in love as opposed being so focused on ourselves. The love the spirit shares with us is also the foundation for our generosity. See, this is a part of who we are as the people of God, we are to be a generous people, but that generosity is actually motivated by love.

Listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter eight, "But since you excel in everything, in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness, and in the love we have kindled in you, see that you also excel in this grace of giving." And then over in verse 24, he says after basically talking about demonstrating your faithfulness to taking up this collection and showing people that you care, he said, "Therefore, show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you so that the churches can see it." And he was saying that the proof of your love will be expressed in generosity. You see, that's what we have to remember because as has been said before, you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. You cannot love without giving.

This is a foundation for our generosity. Do you know what also it's the foundation for? Our forgiveness. Not only is the love of God what is responsible for us being able to be forgiven, right? While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God has demonstrated his love to us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. That's not only our forgiveness, but it's also, listen, love is also the foundation, God's love is also the foundation for our ability to forgive one another. Paul was talking about a very specific issue that he was dealing with in the church of Corinth, and notice what he said in 1 Corinthians two. He said, after talking about how they dealt with this man, he said, "Now, instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you therefore to reaffirm your love for him."

You see, even in the context of forgiveness, we have to recognize that love is foundational to that. You realize this, listen, forgiveness can only happen when you love. Some of you are going, "Oh-oh, I'm having trouble loving this person because I'm struggling to forgive them." I understand, forgiveness is a process. You forgive, but the next day you wake up and you're still angry. You know what you do? You forgive again. And then the next day when you wake up and you still can't shake it, you know what you do then? You forgive again. How many times should I forgive, up to seven times? No. How much have you been forgiven? There's your measurement. How often have you been forgiven?

But listen, ultimately, you know when we can actually get to the place of forgiveness? When we can get to the place of loving the person we needed to forgive. Now, don't misunderstand. Some people have been greatly, greatly violated. The Gospel still demands that you forgive, it doesn't demand that you trust. It doesn't demand that there should be no justice or no accountability. Forgiveness is not an option, but it doesn't mean that you have to negate all the other things. But we'll only get to a place of forgiveness when we get to a place of love. Are you starting to see with Paul how love is the foundation, the love of God is the foundation for our whole life in God? Are you seeing this? And I'm not done, Paul's not done because this love of God is also the foundation for our knowledge and discernment.

You're going, "Wait a minute, love is the foundation for our knowledge and discernment?" Yes, it exactly is. Listen in fact to how Paul opened up in the first chapter of the book of Philippians. He says, "This is my prayer that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ." Isn't that interesting? That what Paul prayed was that your love might abound bound so that you will grow in knowledge and depth of insight. Do you know what he doesn't say? My prayer for you is that you read a thousand articles on the internet so that you will grow in knowledge and discernment.

By the way, I'm perfectly fine with reading articles, I read a lot myself. That's not necessarily a bad thing. But understand this, you can have all the information in the world, you can have a head full of information and a heart without love. And you will struggle to understand the knowledge and the discernment of the way of God because only love does that. That's why Paul in another place said knowledge puffs up but love builds up. You see, it's a great combination to have knowledge and love, but understand this, love is what gets us to the knowledge of God. Love is what gets us to the depth of insight of God. This is why it's so foundational for us.

Do you know what else the life of the spirit or the love that spirit shares with us is the foundation for? Our empathy. It's the foundation for our empathy. Listen to in fact how Paul said this in Philippians chapter two. He said, "Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ." If any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, rather in humility value others above yourselves. Bot looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of others.

This is what we're talking about here. Listen, when the love of God overwhelms us, we will be a people who can look at our brothers and sisters, listen to this, and if they hurt, we care. What hurts them is of concern to us, what hurts us is of concern to them. It's the ability in the body of Christ to have an empathy not just of any type, but an empathy that has as its foundation the love of God. This is the foundation. Let me see if I can say it real specifically instead of leaving it kind of at the level of you're trying to figure out. Let me say it real specifically in two different ways. As a brother and sister in Christ, the love of God ought to be able to allow you to see your brothers and sisters of Christ of color that when events happen in our world and that hurts them, it should concern us too. Or another illustration would be this, regardless of what your politics are, if you're a person of Jesus and you are living in the foundation of the love of God.

If you see a spouse who's a sister or a brother in Christ of a law enforcement officer and it hurts them every day to see their spouse leave, maybe be yelled at, screamed at, mocked at when these are people who love the Lord, that ought to concern us too. Why? Because the love of God is the foundation for our ability to look not only to our own interests but to the interests of our brothers and sisters in Christ in humility. Consider their interests, consider them. Let me give you one last one since it's all encompassing. The love the spirit shares with us is the foundation for everything. How's that for you? For everything? You're like, "Well, Jerry, do you need a scripture for that?" Well, I've just given you a bazillion of them, right?

But in case you wanted to know, Paul did say it, listen to what he says 1 Corinthians 16th, "Do everything in love." How's that for straightforward? Do everything in love. In other words, listen, love is the motive, love is always the motive. Do you know why it's safe for Paul to be able to say that? Because that is always God's motive, because God is love. God's motive is always and forever love. And when we are, listen, when we are built on the foundation of the love of God, then so too is ours, our motive is love. So we can ask ourselves some questions as a result of this. A question that's really simple for us to ask is this, what does love require of me? Paul says that the fruit of the spirit is love. In other words, this is the spirit's activity in our life. So what is it that love would require of me?

That's like saying, what is it that God would require of me? What does love actually require of me? And maybe you should ask that question before hitting send on that email. Maybe you should ask that question before posting those things that you post to your social media account. Maybe you should ask that question before you respond to your crazy Republican or crazy Democrat or crazy whoever friend. Maybe we should ask what does love require of me? What does it require of me in my job? What does it require of me in my home? What does love require of me in my school? What does love require of me during this timeframe? How can I demonstrate something so sweet as the love of God in the midst of such a sour time?

Some of who may be struggling to love in the situations that you find yourself in, I've got a little more of a penetrating question to ask that maybe you could ask of yourself. What is growing in love's place, what's growing in love's place? Because listen carefully, please hear this, here's what I can promise you that whatever is growing in love's place was not planted by the spirit of God. Because the fruit of the spirit is love. And if something is growing in love's place in your heart, I can promise you it was not planted by the spirit of God. So what do you do in that case? You repent and you run to Jesus because what he can do is he can reorder your world. He's going to do that through the revelation of himself, that the spirit of God has given us through the word of God so that when we come and we allow the word of God to wash over our lives, that we bathe in the word of God.

What will happen is that the love of God will begin to shape you because the word of God has been given by the spirit and what the spirit does is share the life of God with us as he reveals Jesus. And it brings us into the love of God. You see, the love of God is the foundation for our whole life in God. That's why we cannot just easily skip by and go the fruit of the spirit is love. We need to dig in and understand that love is the foundation for our whole life in God. So what I would ask for us to do on every campus, our musicians are coming back up because what they're going to do on all of our campuses is they're going to lead us in a song for us to be able to respond in worship.

What we're going to do is we're going to respond by declaring that the love of God is the foundation for our whole lives and that when that foundation is in place, that what happens is this, is that we begin to share and show that love to those that are around us. So we're going to respond now on all of our campuses to that love. And then I'm going to come back on this campus and the campus pastors at the other campuses, and we're going to close up with a final word as we remain standing in just a moment to be able to respond in worship. So I'm going to ask you on this campus and on every campus, if you'll stand to your feet as we respond in worship, sing this in truth with your heart to the Lord. And then we'll be back in just a moment to close out.

The love of God is the foundation for our whole life in God. That's just the truth of the Gospel. So before we get out of here, there's two things that I want to share. And if you're a believer, if you have put your faith and your trust in what God has done for you that you could never do for yourself, what Jesus has done in dying for your sin to satisfy the justice of God so that you now by faith in the one who died and rose from the grave can be reconciled to God. If you've done that, if you've put your trust in your faith in Jesus, could I ask you, is there anything you are allowing to grow in love's place in your heart? Could I challenge you to do something?

Would you do an inventory with the aid of the spirit of God of your own heart? And would you do an inventory ... I'll give you something practical, do an inventory of your social media posts for the last four months. And ask yourself with them, did this come from love? Was this motivated by love or did I give in to the acts of the flesh? Maybe it's a conversation that you've had with somebody and you knew that it wasn't motivated in love. You knew and you still know, and you need to make it right, then do. Repentance is doing works that give evidence of that. You may need to go to them and say, "I wasn't motivated by love in that conversation that I had with you. I haven't been motivated by love in what I've been sharing on my social media platform."

It's practical. But maybe you're here and you've never actually surrendered your life to the Lordship of Jesus. You've never experienced the forgiveness that God offers to you and the grace that he has shown to you in Christ. And you want to know what that looks like? Well, if you're here, we'd love for you to check in just outside near the information center. There's some folks that would love to talk to you. Really in the fireside room if you want to go by there. That'd be the best place, pastors, prayer partners there. Just go straight across the atrium into the fireside room. We'd love to talk to you about what it means to follow Jesus, give you something to take home that'll help you in that journey of faith because he loves you. And he wants you to be caught up into this relationship of love with him.

Maybe you're watching online. If you simply want to contact us, we'd love to do it one of two ways, either go to thechapel.com/knowingjesus. Or if you want to talk to somebody, just place a phone call 716-631-2636, and we'd love to be able to talk to you. Father, we pray in the name of Jesus that we would continue to learn what it means to live and to walk in love by allowing the produce, the harvest of the spirit that is already in us who believe to live his life out through us because we cannot manufacture love. We simply yield to you who are love, may we do it for the world around us that so desperately needs to know the love of God in Christ as revealed by your spirit. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.


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