My scripture today comes from But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace ...” (Galatinas 5:22; John 15:4-13)We have spent the last couple of weeks talking about the Fruits of the Spirit. Today we are finishing up the series with Love, Joy and Peace. When this sermon is over….and we leave this place….the goal is not to try and spend the next few weeks trying harder to be more loving, trying harder to be more joyful, trying harder to be more patient, trying to do a character self-improvement thing. That’s not what we are going to do. Nope! We are going to do something else. We’re going to go after one single word that Jesus talks about in John 15 - Jesus said, Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself. It must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers. Such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples. As my Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Jesus is saying here, “From one moment to the next, keep receiving this unceasing flow of life and nourishment and love from God.” And if you do that—if you abide—the fruit of the Spirit will come. You can’t stop it. And what is this fruit that the Lord wants to produce in our lives?
1. DIVINE LOVE - Now, there are a number of different kinds of love. There’s the physical kind of love. And there the platonic (non-sexual), love we have for family and friends. But the Lord isn’t talking about either of these. This love that is produced by the Spirit is something totally different again. This is a divine love that can only be produced in us when the Holy Spirit lives in us. And this is what it looks like ....Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
Divine love is so important because divine love shows everyone (including ourselves), who we truly belong to. "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 1:34-35). Divine love is also important because any other kind of love that we might give or receive that is not from God, is settling for second best in life.
2. DIVINE JOY …Back in John 15:11, where Jesus is talking about remaining in him, he also says, "I have told you these things so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete." Whose joy are we supposed to live in? Jesus’ joy. …..God’s divine joy is available to us. And we need it! We need God’s divine joy because it’s the only way to stay sane when things get crazy in life. You see, God’s divine joy stays no matter what’s going on around us. Not simply happiness, but “holy optimism.” Divine joy is not dependent upon circumstances. Divine joy is a delight in knowing God. So….Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Divine joy is so important because divine joy shows everyone (including ourselves), who we truly belong to. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18-20). Divine love is also important because any other kind of joy that we might give or receive that is not from God, is settling for second best in life.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).In all of this we must remember that this fruit is produced to be eaten, not merely put on display and admired. Also, producing the fruit of the Spirit doesn’t mean doing a lot of new activities or trying really hard. It means doing the things you already do, but learning to do them with Jesus. This is what it means to "abide" or "remain" in him.