1. God Is Love
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” I John 4:10
What is love, true love? We read in I John 4:8 that “God is love”. No love on earth can compare with the love God has for us. “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.” (John 3:16) Again in Romans 5:7 & 8 we read, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” We cannot comprehend the extent of God’s love to us. He loved us even when we were lost sinners. He saves us and He continues to love us even with all our faults and failures. “God is love.”
2 The Greatest Commandment
“And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” Mark 12:28-30
What is the greatest commandment? Moses was given Ten Commandments on the tables of stone. The books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy give laws for the children of Israel. When Jesus was asked this question, He quoted the scriptures, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4 & 5) The older I get, the more I realize that nothing I do matters except for what I do for God. Our time on earth is short. Most of what we do today will not be remembered. If we could love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, everything else in life would take its proper place. Isn’t it foolish of us to put earthly things ahead of serving God? God loved us so much that He gave His only Son to die for us. We could never repay Him, but we should love Him with all our being. In the book of Revelation are seven letters to the seven churches. A portion of the letter to the church of Ephesus says, “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil… Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” (Revelation 2:2 & 4) We may be working and laboring for God’s Kingdom, and God knows our works. But do we still have that first love? Take a trip in your mind back to where you were before God saved you, or think of where you might be if He had not saved you… and rejoice in His love. Time is short, now is the time to love God and give Him your life.
3 Love Thy Neighbor
“And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31
Jesus also said in John 13:34 & 35 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” And again in John 15:12 & 17 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you… These things I command you, that ye love one another.” There is so much in the Bible about showing love to one another. We read again in I John 4: 7, 8, & 11, “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 not knoweth not God; for God is love. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” God loved us before we knew Him. We are commanded to love one another. Our love for one another shows that we are His disciples. There may be people around you who are hard to love. But remember that Christ loved you, when you were lost in sin. And when you think about it… if you love someone, you won’t be as tempted to gossip about them, or cut them down, or hurt them. And how can we show love to our enemies? Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Pray for others and do good to those around you. That is what God wants you to do.
4 Love The Word
“O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97
We are not only to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love our neighbors; we should also love God’s Word. Psalm 119, which is the longest chapter in the Bible, is devoted to the Word of God. Verse 103 says, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” God’s Word is also our light; “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (verse 105) His Word is eternal; “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” (verse 89) His Word is true; “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” (verse 160) God’s Word gives peace; “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” (verse 165) We know that all these things are true about the Word of God, but how often do we meditate on His Word? When you read your Bible, take time to think about what you read. Let the Holy Spirit apply it to your heart, and let God’s Word be your daily guide.
5 True Love
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” I John 3:18
Paul tells us in the book of Philippians 1:9 & 10, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;” We are commanded all through the scriptures to love our brethren. In these references we are told that love isn’t just something you say, but it is something you do. We are to love in deed and in truth and in sincerity. People around us can tell if we do something out of love, or if we are not sincere. The entire 13th chapter of I Corinthians tells us that without love, we are nothing. Verse 3 says, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (The meaning of “charity” here is “love”.) I John 3:17 says “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?” Love gives. The love of God gave us salvation. Our love should be a giving love. Our love should be a true, sincere love. This true love comes from God and reaches out to others through us.
6 Love Your Church
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” Ephesians 5:25
We all know that husbands are supposed to love their wives. We are also told in Titus 2:4 that the aged women are exhorted to teach the young women to love their husbands and their children. And in Ephesians 6:2 children are told to honor their father and mother. So, we see clearly that we are to love our family members, but the portion of our scripture that I want us to notice is the latter part, “…even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Do we love our church? Do we enjoy the fellowship we have with our Spiritual brothers and sisters? Do we truly worship our Lord and Savior in our weekly gatherings? Are we spending time in prayer for the many requests we hear mentioned? Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it. Do we give to our church? I don’t just mean money in the offering plate, although that is good. But do we give of ourselves in the service of our Lord? Think about these things during the remainder of this week. Pray that God will give you a Spiritual Love for your church and your people. Then next Sunday, when you get to church, go in rejoicing in God’s Love. Love your church.
7 Love Your Pastor
“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
Jesus sent men to preach the gospel. Today, Jesus is still calling men to preach the gospel. Romans 10:14 &15 says, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Preaching is a calling and preaching is a gift. We also read in I Corinthians 1:21 “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” We need to love God’s men and pray for them. Preachers may get discouraged when they feel like they have delivered God’s message and nobody responds. II Peter 2:5 reads, “And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;” Noah was 600 years old when the flood came. (Genesis 7:6) I don’t know how many of those 600 years he preached, but it must have been extremely discouraging for no one other than his family to be saved. Encourage your pastor. Pray for your pastor. Always show respect and love for God’s men.
8 "Love Thy Salvation"
“Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, the LORD be magnified.” Psalms 40:16
People who have never known the loving salvation of my Lord cannot understand Christianity. Many see it as a weakness. And I suppose they are right, because as Christians we realize that “we are weak, but He is strong”. Others say that they will be saved later, just not now… they want to live a little first. But we read in II Corinthians 6:2 “… behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” We are not promised tomorrow. We could be called to meet our Maker before the sun comes up in the morning. Make sure you know the one and only God of Salvation. Rejoice in the Lord. Magnify, lift up the name of the Lord.
9 Love Not The World
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” I John 2:15 & 16
We have been looking at God’s love to us, our love towards God, and our love to those around us. But we can also see that there are some things we are commanded not to love. John tells us to love not the world or the things in the world. Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” We are not to conform to the world. We are tempted by the lust of the flesh… this faces us mainly while we are young. Next John mentions the lust of the eyes… during our middle age years when we want those things around us. Last in the list of temptations is the pride of life… when we are old and we look back over our life in pride. John goes on to tell us, “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (I John 2:17) So today we have learned that if we want to know the will of God, we cannot love the world and the things in the world.
10 The Love Of Money
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” I Timothy 6:10 & 11
We notice that Paul doesn’t tell Timothy that money is the root of all evil, but that the love of money is the root of all evil. We need money to survive in this world, but we cannot put the love of money above Spiritual things. We should be content with what God has blessed us with and provides daily. I Timothy 6:6-8 tells us, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” Then the next verse tells us the dangers of great wealth. “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” Jesus tells us to consider the ravens and how God feeds them and to consider the lilies and how they grow in beauty. We are not to seek after things, “But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Luke 12:31) Trust God to provide your needs, and be content with what you have.
“But all their works they do for to be seen of men… And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets…” Matthew 23:5-7
Jesus is talking about the scribes and Pharisees. He is telling the multitudes all the things that they love. Jesus describes their appearance and explains that the works they do are to be seen by men. They loved to sit in the best seats, where they probably ate the best food at the feasts. They also loved the attention they received from people calling them Rabbi. Jesus then warned, “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased: and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23: 11 & 12) We should not lift ourselves up. Proverbs 16:18 tells us, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” And instructions written especially to remind the young, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” (I Peter 5:5 & 6)
12 Lovers Of Pleasure More Than Lovers Of God
“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.” II Timothy 3:1-5
I believe we are in the last days. We see all of these things more and more. The first one on the list, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves” shows through even in TV commercials. Many of the advertisements say, “Buy our product because you are worth it.” And I don’t know of any other time in history when men and women spent so much time and money on their bodies. This also goes along with the one next to the end, “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”. When I was young, even those who did not attend church had respect for Sundays. Now Sunday is just another day for many to enjoy being off from work. The racetracks and football stadiums are packed. There are many other things listed here but I wanted to look at these since we have been looking at “love” this past month. We need to be careful that we don’t love ourselves and love pleasure more than we love God. In conclusion Paul tells Timothy they have a “form of godliness” but deny the power. I have met many people who, according to their talk have a form of godliness, but they don’t live a godly life. They tell you all about their love for church, but they don’t seem to have love for those around them. We are told to turn away from them. We need to pray for them, and also pray that we won’t fall captive into these groups.
13 Don't Forsake Those You Love
“Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.” II Timothy 4:9 & 10
Paul wanted to see Timothy, whom he called, “my dearly beloved son” and said, “Greatly desiring to see thee…” (II Timothy 1:2 & 4) He said in 4:11, “Only Luke is with me…” Sometimes we feel alone. We can be in a crowded room, and still feel alone. We need to remember that others, our friends, also go through periods of loneliness. Don’t forsake your Christian friends. It can be tempting to follow things of the world. It may be hard to choose between going to a church service, or devotional meeting, and the entertainment that the world offers. But don’t forsake your Christian testimony. Don’t forsake your church. Don’t forsake your pastor. Don’t forsake your Christian friends. Paul goes on to say in II Timothy 4:16 & 17, “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me…” If you feel like everyone has forsaken you, remember that God said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” (Hebrews 13:5 & 6)
14 Think On Things That Are Lovely
“Finally, brethren whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
In looking back through the last month, we have talked about God’s love, our love to God and others, and even things we should not love. Here we are told to think on things that are lovely. This is contrary to the world’s thinking. If you read through the newspaper it seems that almost all of the news is bad. The movie and television industry rarely have shows that are true, honest, just, pure, or lovely. Many of the songs on the radio aren’t songs of virtue and praise. But Christ wants us to think on good things. He wants us to meditate on His Word. I know we cannot close our eyes and make all the badness go away, but we can spend more time thinking on the good. Maybe today, you can ask God to show you something lovely to think on. Then, be sure to thank Him.
15 What Doth The Lord Require Of Thee?
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8
When you go into a new class, or onto a new job, it is good to find out what is required. The book of Micah is a short book in the New Testament, but in it we read what God requires. First, God requires that we do justly. As Christians, we should always try to do justly, do the right thing. But sometimes it is hard to know exactly what is the right thing to do. It takes prayer and a strong commitment to do justly. Next, we are to love mercy. We want God to be merciful to us, and we should certainly be merciful to others. And there are people today who are not saved and they can do justly, and love mercy. There are doctors and nurses who are lost, and they do justly and love mercy. But I don’t think you can walk humbly with God unless you are saved. You have to humble yourself and admit you are lost without God, and believe that only He can save you. It is good for us to do justly, strive to do the right thing. It is great for us to love mercy and show grace to those in need, but it is even more important for us to walk humbly with our God. I Peter 5:5 & 6 says, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” What does the Lord require of us? Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
16 The Fruit Of The Spirit
“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
Paul gives us some good advice in verse 16 of this chapter, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Living in this sinful world is hard. How can we show others that we are walking in the Spirit? I think others can see it by the fruit we bear. The first three on the list, love, joy, and peace, are things that show the character of our inward man. God can give us true love, true joy, and true peace that those around us can see in us even when things go wrong in our lives. We have love, joy, and peace that the world can’t understand. We feel it deep down in our soul. The next three are longsuffering, gentleness, and goodness. These are things that affect our relationship to other people. These virtues have to do with how we treat those around us. We should be patient, gentle, and good to the people we meet everyday. The last three are faith, meekness, and temperance. They have to do with our walk with God. We have a Spiritual faith in God that leads us in our daily walk with Him. We should live in humbleness and meekness, for we are nothing without the grace of God. And we have temperance, letting our lives be controlled by God. I heard a preacher say once that the fruit of the Spirit is love and all the other things are different flavors of love, just like different flavors of ice cream. Make up your mind to “walk in the Spirit” so you won’t “fulfil the lust of the flesh”.
17 Love And Joy
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:10 & 11
Love and joy, the first two fruits in our list, are paired together here in these words of our Lord. When we keep the commandments of God, we abide in His love, and when we abide in His love our joy is full. Following are a few of the many verses in the Bible about the joy of the Lord. “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:10) “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4) “Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:18) “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126: 5 & 6) “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) And finally, to get your day started right, just say… “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)
“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” II Corinthians 13:11
“The God of love and peace shall be with you.” What a wonderful God we serve. He truly is a God of love and peace. He can give us peace that the world cannot understand. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) He can give us peace in the midst of our storms. “And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” (Mark 4:39) He will give us a blessed peace of comfort and rest. “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8) We have a promise of peace that will be there even when we face death, as we read God’s promise to Abraham in the very first mention of peace in the Bible. “And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.” (Genesis 15:15) We have the peace of God with us… but we can also share this peace with others. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) Do you know this peace of God?
“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:2 & 3
Our next fruit of the Spirit is longsuffering. We are given a good example of longsuffering in this verse, “forbearing one another in love”. There are people in this world, even Christians, who we don’t agree with on some things. There are people whose personalities seem to clash with ours. Sometimes we just have to bear with them in love. We have a saying around our house, “he gets a rude”. There are some people who “get a rude” just about every time you see them. But you cannot get down on their level and be rude back to them. Try to pray for them and bear with them in the love of Christ. I know that there have been times when I was rude to others or said something that hurt someone’s feelings. There are probably more times that something I said or did was taken the wrong way and I didn’t even realize it. Think of all Christ suffered for you… and try to be longsuffering with others.
“Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation; and thy gentleness hath made me great.” II Samuel 22:36
Can someone strong still be gentle? These words of David come in the scriptures just before his last words. In this song of deliverance David praises God for being his rock, fortress, and deliverer. (verse 2) He says, “God is my strength and power; and he maketh the way perfect.” (verse 33) David recognized the power and strength of God and yet he also praised God for His gentleness. Verse 26 tells us “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright.” David was thankful for the gentleness and mercy of God and also for the power of God. “It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me.” (verse 48) We can also read in the New Testament of God’s gentleness. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17) Do you want to be great? Let God’s gentleness make you great, just as David did.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Psalm 23:6
Our next Fruit of the Spirit is goodness. Many of us learned this simple prayer when we were young: “God is great, God is good, Let us thank Him for our food.” As we grow older, we need to think about it from time to time and remind ourselves “God is good.” God also wants us to be good. Not only do we read of goodness in the Fruit of the Spirit in Galatians, but also in Ephesians 5:9. “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;” You may remember your parents telling you to “Be good” when they left you somewhere. Well, God wants us to be good also. Do something good for someone today.
“(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” II Corinthians 5:7
What is faith? Hebrews 11:1 tells us “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I like to think of faith as just believing God. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews gives us many examples of Godly men and women who walked by faith. “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house…” (verse 7) “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place…, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” (Verse 8) These are great Bible men and they followed God by faith. Faith is not limited to men of God, there are women mentioned in this great list also. Verse 11 tells us “Sara… judged him faithful who had promised.” How important is faith? Verse 6 tells us “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” So, where do we get this faith? “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:16) Exercise your faith, believe God.
“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” I Timothy 6:11
What has Paul warned Timothy to flee from? Verse 10 tells us, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” We are not to seek after money or the things of the world, but we are to “follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” We are almost to the end of the list of the fruit of the Spirit. We have come to the fruit of meekness. You may think being meek means being weak, but it does not. Read the next verse, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” (I Timothy 6:12) It takes courage to “fight the good fight of faith” and be a Christian in the world “before many witnesses”. Numbers 12:3 tells us, “(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” Yet, God used Moses mightily before Pharaoh and to lead His people. You can be meek without being weak.
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” II Peter 1:5-8
We have come to the last fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 & 23, temperance. Peter gives us this little mini-lesson on how to be fruitful. He begins with faith. You must have faith to believe God and be saved. Then he adds virtue, which is doing what is right, comparable to goodness in the list in Galatians. After that comes knowledge. We can gain knowledge by spending time in God’s Word and in prayer. Next is temperance, our word for the day. Temperance is self-control. This can include having self-control in our body, our appetites, our tongue, and our temper. Having this self-control brings patience, which leads to godliness. Then kindness and charity follow. Peter tells us that when these things abound, we will be fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
25 Nothing Can Separate Us From The Love Of God
“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39
Paul asks the question in verse 35, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" Then he declares his answer. Well, I am also persuaded. There are enough people going about today that don't know what they believe or where they are headed in life. I don't know where God will lead me, but I know the God I serve, and nothing can separate me from His love. Death came and separated my Dad from me three years ago. But I know he is in heaven and I will see him again. But even death cannot separate us from God's love. Angels, principalities, nor powers can separate us from God's love. We are under powers here on earth that can have a certain control over our lives. We can lose our jobs, our health, and our possessions, but we would still have God's love. So what are we to do with this love that will not let us go? Paul said, "...we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." (Romans 8:37) God's love gives us power and strength to conquer those things that stand against us. When you lay down to sleep tonight, rest in the knowledge that God loves you, and that nothing can separate you from that love.
26 The Love Of Christ Has No Boundaries
"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19
Stop for a moment and think of the amazing love it took for God to give His only Son to die a cruel death for our sins. Paul has spoken of the breadth, and length, and depth, and height. This covers all directions. Paul tells the Ephesians that he wants them to comprehend and know the love of Christ, but then he says that it passes knowledge. I think he is trying to tell them to be rooted and grounded in God's love and the love of Christ by faith. His love has no boundaries and no limits. We read in the next two verses, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." That pretty much covers it all for all time. God's love spans all directions and all time. Thank God for His amazing love.
27 "All Things Work Together For Good To Them That Love God"
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
I know that sometimes bad things happen. And just because we are Christians, and God's children, that doesn't make all our sorrow, and pain, and suffering go away. Paul suffered great persecution, but he still wrote these words to the church in Rome. We can read some of the hardships he faced in II Corinthians 11:24-29. "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?" Even through all these hardships, Paul was able to say, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." We have to realize that there is a purpose. I am a firm believer that nothing happens by chance. I don't believe in "luck". Everything that happens in our lives is for a purpose. We don't understand why we have to go through these trials on earth, but we can be sure that if we love God, all these things are according to His purpose. These can be comforting words when we are in the midst of storms. Just remember that your life is in His hands, and everthing is working out for His purpose. Individual things in our lives don't seem good, but God sees the whole picture, He sees "all things" and it all works together for good.
28 The Greatest Of These Is Love
"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." I Corinthians 13:13
The thirteenth chapter of I Corinthians has often been called the "Love Chapter" of the Bible. The King James Version has the word, "charity", but we can clearly use the meaning to be "love". Enjoy the language and meaning of these verses as you read.
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth:... And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." (I Corinthians 13:1-8 & 13) Anything and everything we do, is nothing, without love. Let the love of God be the center of the goals and purpose in life. Let His love be the light that shines through to others.
29 "Lovest Thou Me More Than These?"
"So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep." John 21:15-17
This scene takes place after the resurrection of Jesus. Let's begin with verse 3, "Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore; but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord..." (John 21:3-7) Now they knew it was Jesus. This had happened before. In the beginning of Jesus' ministry, He sat in Peter's ship and taught the people. "Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake... And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him." (Luke 5:4-11) The Lord showed Peter and the other disciples that the death on the cross had not diminished His power. He was the same Lord. If the disciples were having doubts as to what they were to do now, this surely gave them direction. They found that they could do nothing on their own. They could not go back to the old life. We say that we love the Lord. But are we trying to make it on our own? Are there times when we slip back into the old lifestyle we had before we were saved? Do we really love Him more than these? If you feel like you have toiled all night and caught nothing, go back to the Lord. Renew that love you had for Jesus when you first got saved. God knows all things, and He know how much we love Him.