Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Fruit of the Spirit is Love...

Rom.7:17-19 - 17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

Rom.8:4-6 - 4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Gal.5:12-18 - 12I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
13For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
15But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

hen a sinner believes on the Lord Jesus Christ and is born again, he receives a new nature that is both made in Christ’s image and in a mystery is Christ Himself. Jesus Christ, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, takes residence within the spirit of a regenerated man. Although this is a great mystery, all of us that have been born again can testify of how different we are on the inside. Others surely see and hear that difference on the outside, but all our lifestyle changes are due completely to the Person and power which now resides within us.
But there remains the old man, the old nature, or the flesh. All of these terms refer to the same thing. All of us who have come to believe upon and love the Lord Jesus begin a new and wonderful life, but we also begin a spiritual war within us that was not there before. Suddenly we can tangibly experience the direction of the Holy Spirit within us, while simultaneously feel the enormous pressure of our old nature, the flesh. To be sure the power for victory over sin is present within us, but the flesh still attempts to have its own way. And the way of the flesh is always at odds with Christ and His kingdom.
In thirty-five years of knowing and following Jesus Christ I have had many victories and yet I have many times succumbed to my own flesh. I desired to blame it on the devil, but I must rise up and admit my responsibility for my own sin. And how many sinful thoughts must come beneath the blood of my Savior in thirty-five years? My experience is that even though I have been born again, I still need and walk in God’s amazing grace. There is not one single day, or even one single moment, that I have felt so secure in my own obedience that I did not need the grace of God. I suggest my experience is yours as well.
The flesh is a monster. The power and desire to do evil is relentless and uses all sorts of deceptions and outright temptations. It is a multifaceted world of evil that was born in Eden but with the assistance and nurturing of sinners throughout the centuries it has gained influence and subtlety. From the Day of Pentecost the flesh has refused to retreat from the lives of true believers, and has actually flexed its evil muscles with great cunning. I suppose the greatest hindrance to the gospel is not the flesh of the unbeliever, but the exhibitions of the flesh of the believer.
This flesh of ours desires camaraderie with others and uses the friendship of this world as comfort and affirmation. So often we judge our spiritual walks by the template of others and in so doing we embrace a compromised form of discipleship based upon what others accept and not what the Scriptures and the Spirit teach. The church in many ways has given way to and been an accomplice to the practices of the flesh in believers. We have been deceived in so many ways that many fleshly practices are even considered God’s will. That is not only tragic, it is sacrilege.
Let us examine the fruits of the Spirit, or that which comes from the Spirit and not the flesh.

Gal.5:22-23 - 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

otice there are no “don’ts”. It does not mean that there are no “do nots”, but it does suggest that victory and Christlikeness come through positive manifestations of the Holy Spirit. And at the very forefront of this list is love. It is a monumental calamity that believers have allowed love to be so compromised and diluted that we are no longer known for our love, either for sinners, for each other, or most tragically for Christ Himself. If we are ever going to glorify God in this fallen world, we must return to our first love, and let His love consume us with such intensity that it becomes an irresistible spiritual force with our hearts. We must again be known for God’s unquenchable love.
Read the accounts of many, many martyrs who walked in love while on their way to the gallows, or sung hymns of love to God as the flames gathered around the very mouths that sang His praise. Read the words of Stephen, the first martyr, who asked forgiveness for those who were murdering him at that very moment. And in the midst of the stoning of Stephen was Saul, who would one day be called Paul, the great apostle. A believer named Stephen asks for forgiveness for his persecutors, but today believers complain and attack the unsaved for the slightest words spoken against us. Believers fill their hearts with the darkness of talk radio and television, and then sing praises to the God who is love on Sunday.
No one can claim with any authority that Christ dwells within him if he does not exhibit a sacrificial love that should remind others of the cross-love. Away with all this smug moralism and the self righteous manifestations of Christianity that disdain sinners, worship doctrine, and seeks the things of this world. Away with the poison of politics that instead of revealing the kingdom of God pours shame and contempt upon it. Away with the kind of Christ that directs war and violence according to the interests of certain nations while allowing other nations to starve. Away with it all!
But we must humbly take inventory of our lives in the glorious light of God’s redemptive love. When we see the bleeding figure of the suffering Messiah dying for His very enemies, how can we even call what we exhibit as mild fondness? He who gave His very life for an entire world of wickedness calls us to live in such a way that the love mentioned in John 3:16 shines through our lives. And that kind of love does not come naturally, it comes supernaturally. It is not of the flesh, it is of the Spirit.
The church has become so imprisoned to the flesh that she barely understands what walking in the Spirit is anymore. Moral stances, building programs, Sunday School attendance, tithing, church membership, and Christian patriotism are important features of today’s walking in the Spirit. But those things are all vacuous shows of religion that tarnish the Person of Christ and create a cast system made after the likeness of Moses and not Christ. Without love you have nothing. And since we have left our first love, we must again seek and explore what loving the Lord Jesus means and looks like in these dark days.
Everything…everything must be scrutinized. Now if you are content with the status quo, or if you desire some insignificant adjustments, then this challenge is not for you. But if you desire, no, if you cannot live without, a fresher and more potent revelation of the Lord Jesus, then you must begin and prepare. This kind does not come without prayer and fasting. If Jesus was in England, would you go meet Him? Well He is in your room. Will you go meet Him? The journey is expensive, but well worth the trip.


Victoria said...

This exhortation is for me. Thank you. This is the kind of church and the kind of fellowship I long for, others who are making Divine Love their first love.

Anonymous said...



Kirk Boswell said...

Thank you again Pastor Rick for sharing your wisdom of the Word. I C&P'd this to my blog along with all credit and a link back to yours. The wisdom God has blessed you with is a treasure to me and surely many others. I hope you don't mind me sharing. Thank you so much.

Rick Frueh said...

Anyone can reprint my posts or link to my site without permission. I resist the temptation to own them, I can only hope they please Him.


Josef Sefton said...

May the infinitely glorious, gracious, sacrificial love of God Triune be exhibited and demonstrated more consistently in our lives.

Yes, we must humbly take inventory of our own individual lives in the glorious light of God’s redemptive love. And yes, Our Messiah died for us - His former enemies!

As for me and my household we are studying and praying diligently for a fresher and more potent revelation of the love of Lord Jesus so that our joy in Him shall be even more complete!