THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 5-27-07

LESSON TITLE: "WALKING IN THE SPIRIT: LOVE AND JOY"

WELCOME

Paul once proclaimed, "Do not grow weary in doing good!" Thanks for joining us this morning in this service of God. The Living Word Program is committed to proclaiming the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible's handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let's begin by talking to our Father in prayer!

(Prayer)

It's now time to join in our songs of praise as we together sing the first hymn of the morning. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing, "Love Lifted Me."

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

Perseverance is a difficult thing for all of us, especially in the day and time in which we live. When there are so many opportunities around us to have things, we often fall victim to our own desires and forget to put God first. Every time we go to the mall or into a store we see something we like and want. It doesn't matter that we already have something similar - we want the latest or the newest versions. Every time we drive down the road we see a car or a house we like better than what we have.

It is because of all of these earthly things that I say we have a difficult time today persevering and accomplishing what we want to for God. How easy it must be for the Devil to put stumbling blocks in our way when so many things are made today to appeal to our fleshly desires.

No doubt perseverance is a Biblical topic. In fact, in 2 Peter 1:5-7, we see that Peter includes perseverance among the Christian virtues one must have to be pleasing to God. How can we then know that perseverance is something we are commanded to do? Let's look at what Peter goes on to say in verses 8 and 9 of the same passage, "For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins." Paul also confirms the need for perseverance when he said, "...we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope," Romans 5:3-4. I hope we are beginning to see that perseverance is a Bible subject.

In James 5:11, we are again reminded of our discussion this morning, as we read of an example which James uses to help in understanding perseverance. The verse says, "Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord; that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful." Who had greater perseverance than Job? He was a greatly blessed servant of God who lost everything at the hands of the devil. However, Job was able to persevere and remain faithful through the entire ordeal. Are we able to do the same? OR, when things start getting tuff do we just give in and fall away. When temptations seem to attractive to us, do we accept them and worry about the consequences later? We need to be more like Christ, learning to endure, and persevere no matter what may come.

This morning, we will continue with our series called, "Walking in the Spirit!" Our specific topic today begin to deal with the fruit of the spirit, specifically, "Love and Joy?" So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with our study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "Night With Ebon Pinion!"

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

We're glad you've continued with us today, there in Galatians chapter 5 as we look at those things that are about "Walking In the Spirit." You've noticed for several weeks now and even months, we've been looking together at those things the text says are not according to the Spirit, those things which keep us from God and are really contrary to His Will.

Well today, we actually begin what is referred to in the same text as the specific part that God approves of in walking in the Spirit and they are again referred to as "The Fruit of the Spirit." Notice they are not multiple fruits or plural fruits. They are fruits of the Spirit. These things that exemplify us and show us as followers of the one true, mighty God and His one true and perfect Will.

You might then notice with me in the text there as we have confirmed those things that are not according to the Spirit that then in verse 22, he says, "But the fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against such there is no law." Notice here in this text that as he says there are things that we can do that are going to keep us from God and the such like, that there are things that are good that bring us and draw of the Spirit. These things that exemplify us and show us as followers of the one true, mighty God and His one true and perfect Will.

You might then notice with me in the text there as we have confirmed those things that are not according to the Spirit that then in verse 22, he says, "But the fruit of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against such there is no law." Notice here in this text that as he says there are things that we can do that are going to keep us from God and the such like, that there are things that are good that bring us and draw us to God and the such like that certainly make us more presentable, not only as people of our Creator, not only as Christians, but also as examples in this world.

So again, we might begin to say, "How do people see that we are walking in the Spirit? How do they tell we are in the Spirit, that we are in God, or that we are followers of God? Well, they see that by the fruit that we bear. So specifically, they see that when we show forth love.

Today, we're going to see in the fruit of the Spirit, and amongst the fruit of the Spirit there from verse 22, we're going to discuss love and we're going to discuss joy.

Now, what is it about love that makes it so precious, so special? I think one of the most obvious points about love that certainly brings to our attention the importance of love is found over in the book of 1 John there in chapter 4. What is it that verse 8 of chapter 4 says? It says, "God is love." In the same text, it says that, "The one who does not love does not know God, but the one that loves knows God." Why? God is love. Doesn't it just make sense? Doesn't it make sense that the way we bear fruit is by showing forth love is God is love. For what are we supposed to do as Christians? Imitate God. Imitate those things that Christ did which certainly are found in His Word. Imitate those things that show forth and reflect who Jesus is in and through our lives. God is love, therefore we must show forth love. As God is love, we must be love. Now then there's no confusion at all in understanding why the same text would say that, "We must love each other. We must love our brethren. We must love our enemies." And how can we say that we love God, but we hate our brethren for God is love and God loves all? So should we not also love all of mankind? The answer is "yes!" Yes, as God is love, we must be love.

Now it also makes me think of another very familiar passage on love and that is found there in 1 Corinthians 13 where Paul talks to the church at Corinth and encourages them to know what love is. Why is it do you think (that) he thinks love is so important? For God is love and Paul knew through the Holy Spirit the same thing that we do. As God is love, love is the greatest. In fact, that's what Paul said. In 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and verse 13, he said, "Between faith, hope and love, the greatest is..." There's no consideration but, "love." Love is clearly the greatest. Why? It's the foundation. You can't faith for faith is worthless without the proper love for God and others. You can't even really have hope without love, for there is no hope apart from love.

Well love is important, and so that's why he spends so much time in the same text, 1 Corinthians 13, demonstrating to us what love is and the power of love. Verse 4 he says, "Love suffers long. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not parade itself. It is not puffed up. It does not behave rudely. It does not seek its own. It is not provoked. It thinks no evil. It does no iniquity or sin. But rejoices in the truth. It bears all things. It believes all things. It hopes all things. It endures all things. Love never fails." Wow! It almost sounds impossible that we could practice love, but with the help of God as God is love and perfect, we can strive for that proper love, that perfect love, that complete love. We might not reach perfection, but we can do our best to have the love that demonstrates all of these things. By doing it, guess what. People see love in us, and when people see love in us, they see God in us for God is love.

Another important aspect is not only that God is love and that we are love and that we must love because love is the greatest of all things as certainly it is given and comes from God. But we find over in the book of John several more ideas about love beginning there in John 13. It tells us that, "We are known by love." Well, if you were to ask someone, "What do you think of when you think about me? Or what am I known by?" Would people say, "Love?" Well, notice with me there in that text in verse 35, again of John, the gospel of John 13, and verse 35. It says, "By this, all will know that you are My disciples." This is Jesus speaking. He is speaking to His disciples and He says, "By this, here is how folks are going to know that you are children, My disciples, and My followers, and the faithful." What is it? "If you have love for one another." God is love. Love is the greatest. Love is a part of the life of a child of God. Why? For it is through love in our lives, in action not in word, but in action that people see God in us and they know that as God is love, we have demonstrated love, for we love God.

Isn't that what John 14 says, one chapter over? John 14 and 15 says, "If you love Me, the way you show your love to Me is by obedience, by keeping My commandments. So if you keep My commandments, one of those is to love not only Me," Matthew 22, the first and greatest commandment, "but to love your neighbor, to love all men. So it's by and through that love for Me and for all man that love is solidified and then man and the world sees you are My disciples." Oh yes, when Paul talks about "The Fruit of the Spirit," and he begins with love, it is not an accident. For the same man had said to the Corinthians, "The greatest of all things is love." And therefore, if you are to walk in the Spirit and bear the fruit of the Spirit, it can only start one place and that is where God is, love.

The second idea really stems directly off of our actions and our attitudes and characteristics like love, and that is "joy." Have you ever thought much about joy? Are you a happy person? God wants us to be happy. God wants us to have a smile on our face and He wants us to be people in this life who enjoy what we have spiritually and physically. Who made the things that we have? God. Who provides for us? God. Who protects us? God. Who gives me the ability to earn a living and to have the things that I want? God. God is responsible for all things. He gives me not only spiritual blessings, but all physical blessings. Now if that's true, God wants me to be happy. For it is through these things that I find proper joy. How could I not be happy knowing what God has done? How could I not be happy knowing that God loves me enough to give me what I need and to do anything for me that I have need of, that He hears my prayers, that He answers my prayers, that He blesses me? How could I know all of these things and not be joyful? Well you see, the reality is that as Christians, we have no reason to be unhappy. In fact, we have every reason on the other hand, to be joyful, a rejoicing people, a happy people, an excited people for God wants us to be happy.

If you're still not sure about that, I want you to think about some of the things that our God did. What about in the Old Testament when He saw His people suffering and crying out in Egypt? What did He do? He sent a deliverer, Moses, and He brought them out that they might have what? Joy. That they might again have freedom and happiness and have a new law under a new and wondrous God who many of them had forgotten. You see, God wants His people to be happy. He wants us to be happy.

Think there at the first great sermon ever recorded for us in written form. In Matthew chapter 5 what is often referred to as "The Sermon on the Mount." It is interesting as He begins to open His mouth what it is that Jesus says to those whom now He speaks that they might know the Truth unto salvation. What is the first word that He says? "Blessed." Do you know what "blessed" is translated as? Happy. Jesus, the first word that he spoke was "Happy. Joy is found in those that (what?) are poor in spirit." Verse 4, "Blessed are those that mourn." Verse 5, "Happy are the meek." Verse 6, "Happy are those that hunger and thirst after righteousness." The next verse, "Happy are the merciful." The next verse, "Happy are the pure in heart." "Blessed are the peacemakers." "Happy are those who are persecuted." You see, our God wanted us to be happy and He wanted us to know that we can be happy for with His help we are never alone. We are never alone! Our God cares for us, and protects us. He provides for us and He makes sure that even in trials and tribulations, we are happy. How interesting.

Was it not in James there in James chapter 1 and verse 2 that he said, "Count it all joy when you fall into trials." Why? God is there and He is going to help you. Then in verse 12, he says, "Happy is the man who endures it for God will give him a crown of life." Happiness. Joy. In good times, in bad times, for God is always there. He is always going to pull us through.

1 Corinthians 10:13, has God not given us a way of escaping temptation? Has He not provided us an avenue to get out of the temptation, to be safe and sound and to find our way once again? Certainly He has and He has promised that. So be happy. Know that God is there to help. He is there to pick us up. He is there to assist us and to show us that love that a father has for a child. Certainly that's exactly the results that we find taking place in the church of the New Testament.

You and I know that in Acts chapter 2 on the Day of Pentecost as the Holy Spirit came with power that the church was established. In fact, there in verse 47 of chapter 2, it says, "Those that were saved were added to the church on that day." Those in verse 38, "who had heard the plea to repent and be baptized." But I want you to notice there also the reaction of those that had been saved. In the same text there in Acts chapter 2 and verse 46, the Bible says, "They continued daily with one accord in the temple, in breaking bread from house to house and they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart." They were a happy people for they knew now they were saved. God was with them. They were not alone and they would be blessed today in this life and blessed eternally with heaven. What joy! What joy! What happiness! How exciting to know that our God loves us that much.

Look over in Acts chapter 8. We continue to see the same precedent set and referred to over and over in the early days of the church. In chapter 8 there in verse 8, it says there, "There was great joy in the city of Samaria." Why? Paul had preached and the preaching there of Philip rather, and others who had been there, they responded and obeyed the gospel of Christ. What did it cause them to do? Be joyful. To be happy. To find that God loved them. Certainly God loves us as the church. As He loved the church in Rome in Romans 14 and 7, as it says, "The kingdom of God is made up of those who are happy and joyful." As he spoke there also of the church in Rome in chapter 15 and verse 13 where it says that, "God is willing for all of us that we might have joy in His kingdom, joy in His presence."

But then finally again if you consider our main text, we see there in Galatians what this joy can lead to. There in verse 24, Galatians 5, "And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh and its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Those who bear the fruit of the Spirit by showing forth love and as we see having joy are those who are walking in the Spirit and thus as we find here in verse 24, those who have died to the old and sinful desires, who are focused on Christ and who now have rewards in this day and have more joy and know also of the great reward of eternal life.

So now the thing you must consider is this. Are you living a life and doing the things in your life that you must, that you can show forth the fruit of God in your life, such as love and joy, so that you'll be found faithful in the end, that you'll be taken when Jesus comes again and return to the Father to live eternally on High? Isn't that what you want more than anything? Isn't that the joy that can be yours if you choose to be faithful even this day?

(SONG # 3 - "O The Depth!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.

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How blessed we are to imitate our savior and to strive to love as He taught us to. Furthermore, what wonderful joy it brings to our life to be followers of God and to do those things which are according to His Will.

(Program closing)