Rooted & Grounded In LoveSeries: Fruit Of The Spirit
ROOTED & GROUNDED IN LOVE
Sermon By Terry Siverd / June 11, 2023 / Cortland Church of Christ - - www.cortlandcoc.org
This morning we want to bookend this very important sermon on LOVE with prayer.
Let's begin with a prayer written by the apostle Paul (Eph.3:14-21 from the NCV).
I bow in prayer before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth gets its true name.
I ask the Father in His great glory to give you the power to be strong inwardly through His Spirit.
I pray that Christ will live in your hearts by faith and that your life will be strong in love and be built on love.
And I pray that you and all God's holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of God's love - -
how wide and how long and how deep that love is. Christ's love is greater than anyone can ever show,
but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with the fullness of God.
With God's power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine.
To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen.
Paul's prayer is that we might be rooted and grounded in love (Eph.3:17/NASV).
Our modern world uses the word “love” in a variety of ways.
In particular, our English word “love” is employed to express a whole host of feelings.
I love my wife … I love kids … I love NE Ohio … I love to golf … I love my dog … I love my new car …
I love my job … I love the Browns (Steelers) … I love pizza … I love lobster … I love my country …
And yes, I love God and Christ … I love my church family - - my brothers & sisters in Christ … etc.
The New Testament utilizes four different words to speak of various kinds of love.
Storge (natural/family) … Eros (sexual) … Philia (friendship) … and Agape (unconditional love).
When the New Testament Scriptures refer to God's love for us and the type of
love that we are to have for Him and others, the word is always AGAPE.
Love can be a feeling (a sentimental knot in our stomach, but agape love is exponentially more than a feeling.
Another misconception that we sometimes have about love is that it is uncontrollable.
I've fallen in love! (as if we've stumbled). Or, I can't help it, I'm in love. Or, I can't help it, I don't love him/her anymore!
In the Bible Jesus commands us to love. This assumes/presumes at least two things.
First, love is a controllable action.
In Col.3:12f Paul directs the disciples to PUT ON love. It is a matter of choosing to love.
As with dressing ourselves each and every day, we can make a choice as to how we are clothed.
Over all of these virtues put on LOVE, which binds them all together in perfect unity (Col.3:14/NIV).
Secondly, love is witnessed by our behavior (not feelings alone).
The apostle John addresses this in 1Jn.3:18 - -
let us not love with word or with tongue (only), but (let us love) in deed and truth.
It is notable that Jesus does not command His disciples to LIKE everybody and their deeds.
Our lives are filled with people we don't like.
We don't always like the way some people speak.
We often dislike the way some people act.
Sometimes we may even be turned off by what others wear.
Jesus' command to agape others is not a demand for us to have a tender fondness for all people and their actions.
WE DON'T HAVE TO LIKE EVERYONE, BUT WE MUST LOVE THEM.
In Eph.5:2, Paul exhorts us to walk in love,
just as Christ also love you, and gave Himself up for us, and offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.
This “walk” requires effort, moves in a certain God-given direction and needs to be something we do every day.
One of the most formidable challenges to practicing agape love is loving someone who doesn't like you.
Perhaps even more difficult is loving our enemies (Lk.6:27).
How can we love others who do not love us and sometimes even seem to hate us?
In dealing with these extremes, we must continually look to God for strength to be loving.
...the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
A remarkable transformation can take place in our lives when we
determine to bathe our hearts in the Word of God on a daily basis.
John declares (1Jn.4:16) that God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
1Jn.4:19 adds, we love, because He first loved us.
The key to learning to love others is to realize that we are all sinners.
God did not love us because we were deserving of such.
Let all of us as recipients of God's unmerited grace exercise diligence in extending grace to one another.
Our Holy God and loving Father,
You have reached out to us as ungodly ones and sinners
to grant us Your marvelous grace by Your bountiful love.
May we follow in the steps of our Lord Jesus to do the same to those all around us.
Through Christ, the epitome of love, we pray. Amen
Note: Many of the thoughts and ideas expressed in this sermon have been borrowed from the
inspirational devotional booklet, The Word For You Today (June, July & August, 2022).