Sermon on June 1, 2008: Love

15 07 2008

 

Last Sunday I announced that with this Sunday I was going to begin a series of sermons on the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  Well, I can’t do that.  I’m sorry.  If you all came here today ready to hear a sermon on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I just can’t do it.  I know I promised that I would do that.  I even sat down Monday morning to begin working on this sermon.  And I had all good intentions for doing just that – writing the first of my sermons on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  I even opened up my Bible to Galatians 5:22 and 23.  I copied those two passages into my computer.  But then I discovered something.  St. Paul doesn’t call them the GIFTS of the Holy Spirit.  He calls them the FRUITS of the Holy Spirit.  Well, my first thought was that this was just a bad translation.  I mean I had always learned of them as the GIFTS of the Holy Spirit – not the FRUITS of the Holy Spirit.  So I grabbed my Greek New Testament.  What did Paul actually say?  And here is what I found:

 

 

 

There it was KARPOS TOU PNEUMATOS.  The FRUIT of the Spirit.  There it was KARPOS – FRUIT not GIFT.  FRUIT.  That’s what Paul said – the FRUIT of the Spirit.

Now I know what you are thinking.  What’s the big deal?  Fruit – Gift.  What’s the difference?  Well, let me describe it this way.  Have you ever been at a party where things are OK but it’s kind of dull.  And then this person comes.  This certain person arrives.  And as soon as he enters the party, everything begins to change.  Suddenly there’s more fun.  More noise.  As soon as that person arrives, everything changes.  Do you know that kind of person?  Maybe you are that kind of person.  There is just something about that person that changes everything.  That’s the difference between a fruit and a gift.  And what St. Paul is saying is that when the Spirit enters – when the Spirit comes into us – everything changes – because of what the Spirit brings.  Because of what the Spirit is.  He changes everything and everyone around him simply by being there – because of who and what He is.

 

OK so the spirit brings certain things with Him.  His very presence brings certain things into the mix.  Things like what?  Well, Paul tells us.  He says that the first thing that the Spirit is.  The first thing that the Spirit brings into the mix is love.  Ah, that’s nice.  Love.  I like love.  Don’t you?  Yea, but what kind of love?  You know there are all kinds of love.  I love my car.  I love my golf clubs.  I love my house.  I love my job.  I love my wife.  I love my children.  Are those loves all the same?  Do I love my wife in the same way that I love my golf clubs?  Well, hopefully not.  If I do, then that is another problem and we can talk about that in another sermon.

 

In Greek there are about half a dozen words that are translated into the English word – love.  However, there are two words that are used more than others.  The first of these is the word PHILOS.  PHILOS is the kind of love that ones has for something or someone that deserves to be loved.  I mean there is this friend that I just love.  He’s funny.  He’s smart.  He’s intelligent.  There is something about this person that just makes me want to love them.  That’s not the word that Paul uses.  He uses the word AGAPE.  Now AGAPE love is the kind of love that I have for a person even when they don’t deserve my love.  I just love them because that’s the kind of person I am.  For instance, I love my children.  Sometimes they do things that I don’t like.  But I never stop loving them.  You know from the first time the nurse showed me Tim and Jenni, I loved them.  They were my children.  They were a result of the love that Doris and I have.  They were a part of me.  I loved them.  And even when they misbehave.  Even when they disappoint me.  I don’t stop loving them.  They are my children.

 

And what St. Paul is telling us is that this is the kind of love that God has for us.  We are His children.   He loves us simply because we are His children.  He created us and gave us life.  He is our mother and our father.  He loves us.  And even when we misbehave.  Even when we disappoint Him.  He still loves us.  In fact He loves us with a love that is so great and a love that is so powerful that it is has within it the very powerto change who and what we are.  This love is that powerful.  And this love is so great that it moved our God to enter this world and to sacrifice His own life on a cross so that you and I could have life.  That’s what John said, didn’t he – for God so LOVED the world.  God so LOVED humanity.  God so LOVED you and me.  That He gave His very life for you and me.  “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…”  Would you do that for your child?  I mean, would you give up your life for your child?  In a heartbeat!  That’s LOVE.  That’s the kind of LOVE that God has for us.  That’s the kind of LOVE that is the FRUIT of the Spirit.  That is KARPOS TOU PNEUMATOS.

 

And what St. Paul is telling us is that if that Spirit comes to us.  If the Spirit lives within us then that is the kind of love that we have within us and that is the kind of love that we ought to give away to each other.  To love each other not because the others deserve it.  Not because the others asks for it.  Not because there is something about others that deserve our love.  But to love each other with that kind of love because that is who we are.  To love each other because the Spirit now dwells within each and everyone of us.  And when He came and took up space within our souls one of the things that He brought with Him – one of the fruits of the spirit is that kind of love.  To be a disciple – means to love with the love of the God.  A love that gives itself away.  A love that has within it the power to change who we are.

 

So do you want to BE A DISCIPLE.  Then light your light so shine before others that they might see your good works and come to glorify your Father in Heaven.  Let this light shine before others.  Let the love of God shine before others.  Let this power change you and change those around you.  BE A DISCIPLE.   LET YOU LIGHT SHINE.     Amen!

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