Father God Almighty, we come before Your throne of grace asking for a spirit of love. We acknowledge You as the God of love. Your Word teach us that You so loved the world that You gave Your only begotten Son, and that Your Son love us so much that He gave His life. We are so grateful, and thankful. You are so worthy! You are so worthy to be praised, to be honored, and to be lifted up on high. Help us today to be love as You are love. Help us to walk in love to bring You glory and praise. Whatever is hindering us from walking in love, we ask You by Your Holy Spirit to move it, help us to put it off in Jesus' name. Bless us to walk in the Spirit, love in the Spirit, war in the Spirit, work in the Spirit, witness in the Spirit, watch in the Spirit, and worship You in the Spirit. Help us, Lord to share Your Word with whosoever we meet in Jesus' name. AMEN.
Study 7 Loving in the Spirit:
Scripture Reading: (Ephesians 5:2) (I Corinthians 13:13)
I Corinthians 13
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." This is such a powerful scripture!
I Loving God:
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" (). This is known as the , taken from the first word "hear" in Hebrew. Modern Jews consider the recital of the both evening and morning to be one of their most sacred duties. It was cited by Jesus as the "greatest commandment in the Law" ().
This command seems to be impossible to obey. That's because, in the natural state of man, it is impossible. There is no greater evidence of the inability of man to obey God's Law than this one commandment. No human being with a fallen nature can possibly love God with his heart, soul, and strength 24 hours a day. It's humanly impossible. But to disobey any commandment of God is sin. Therefore, even without considering the sins we commit daily, we are all condemned by our inability to fulfill this one commandment. This is the reason Jesus continually reminded the Pharisees of their inability to keep the Law of God. He was trying to get them to see their utter spiritual bankruptcy and their need for a Savior. Without the cleansing of sin that He provides, and the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit who lives in the hearts of the redeemed, loving God to any degree is impossible.
But, as Christians, we have been cleansed from sin and we do have the Spirit. So how do we begin to love God the way we should? Just as the man in asked God to help his unbelief, so too we can ask God to help us in areas where we don't love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. It is His power that we need to do the impossible, and we begin by seeking and appropriating that power.
In most cases, our love and affection for God grows more intense as time goes by. Certainly, young Christians newly saved are very much aware of the love of God and their love for Him. But it is through the witness of God's faithfulness during times of struggle and trial that a deep love for God grows and grows. Over time, we witness His compassion, mercy, grace, and love for us, as well as His hatred for sin, His holiness, and His righteousness. We cannot love someone we don't know, so knowing Him should be our first priority. Those who pursue God and His righteousness, who take seriously the command to love Him above all else, are those who are consumed with the things of God. They are eager to study God's Word, eager to pray, eager to obey and honor God in all things, and eager to share Jesus Christ with others. It is through these spiritual disciplines that the love for God grows and matures to the glory of God.
When we walk in the Spirit we are loving in the Spirit. How can we know we are loving in the Spirit?
II Loving Jesus:
To love the Lord is to follow Him wherever He leads, to obey Him whatever He asks, and to trust Him whatever the trial. To love Jesus is to reflect the love that God has for us, for "this is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son" (). To love the Lord is to care for the ones He loves (; see also ). To understand what it means to love Jesus, we must first define what is meant by the word . Since we are discussing Jesus, we will limit our definitions to the two primary Greek words used for "love" in the New Testament. The first is . This refers to a brotherly love or to a close association with another person. To demonstrate this type of love would not require any substantial sacrifice on the part of the lover. This love is shown through a cordial attitude and an allotment of time. Anyone from a mild acquaintance to a close colleague can be loved with . This type of love will easily fade, however, if the loved one moves away or is not often encountered. Thus, this is not the type of love that would be adequate for the kind of love Jesus wants from His followers.
The other Greek word for "love" is . This is love that is considered unconditional. This is the love that Paul describes in and is most appropriate for understanding what it means to love Jesus. Paul explains this type of love by what it does and what it does not do. According to , is patient, kind, rejoicing with truth, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping in all things, and enduring through all things. In contrast, does not envy, boast, or rejoice in wrongdoing; it is not arrogant, rude, selfish, irritable, or resentful. Most importantly, does not end. It will not fade away like . is not based on circumstances and will never end. To love the Lord is to follow Him wherever He leads, to obey Him whatever He asks, and to trust Him whatever the trial. To love Jesus is to reflect the love that God has for us, for "this is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son" ( ). ). To love the Lord is to care for the ones He loves ( ; see also is not based on emotion but on the will. Each characteristic of is a deliberate choice to act in a certain manner. Thus, when Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" ( ), He was teaching that loving Him would be a demonstrable action, not an emotional feeling. If Jesus is to be loved as He commanded, then a conscious choice must be made to act according to the pattern described in . Jesus was clear that loving Him is a service ( , , , ) and that disobedience is evidence of a lack of love ( ). Therefore, to love Jesus is to willfully act in such a way that our devotion to Him is proved through our actions toward Him and our obedience of Him.
III Loving the Holy Spirit:
. The most important passages to support the first truth is John 14–16. At least three things in these chapters confirm that Jesus thinks of the Holy Spirit as a person not a mere force. When we love God, we love Jesus and we love the Holy Spirit. It will make a great deal of difference in your own life if you believe that you are being indwelt and led and purified not by impersonal forces from a distant God, but by a person who in his essence is the love of God. We love the Holy Spirit just as we love God and Jesus. We love the Holy Spirit when we obey Him.
IV Loving Others:
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, "I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, Which commandment is the most important of all? Jesus answered, the most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these; (Deuteronomy 10: 19; Matthew 22:39; John 13:35; 15:12; Romans 12:9; I Thessalonians 3:12; I Peter 1:22; I John 4).
Another way of loving God is to sing praises to His name:
Dance is mentioned on many occasions in Scripture. The first appearance of God's people dancing as an act of worship is found in : "Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her, with tambourines and dancing." This joyful dance to the Lord, led by Miriam, followed Israel's crossing of the Red Sea and celebrated Israel's new found freedom from slavery. However, dancing is not always presented in a positive light in the Bible. Soon after Miriam's dance of praise, the Israelites were found dancing before a golden calf in worship. "When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain" ( ). On this occasion dancing was part of a wicked, idolatrous carousal. Thus, dancing is a mode of expression that can be used for good or for evil.Other instances of dancing in the Bible Include , which has David "leaping and dancing before the LORD." Also, the Amalekites danced in celebration after plundering Judah and Philistia ( ); theirs was a short-lived dance, however, as David and his men soon defeated them (verses 17-20).
The Psalms offer a unique look at dance as an act of worship. In , the psalmist says, "You turned my wailing into dancing." , encourages the use of dancing to worship God: "Let them praise his name with dancing!" Likewise, urges, "Praise him with tambourine and dancing!" just like Miriam. Some have argued that dance is an Old Testament form of expression. Since dance is not mentioned as a method of worship in the New Testament, Christians should not worship in this manner. However, this is an argument from silence and is not based on clear biblical teaching. Most early Christians were Jewish and likely would have incorporated Jewish forms of worship in their praise to the risen Messiah.
Another concern has been the association of dance with sinful activities. The idea is that, if dance is used in worship, it could be seen as approving dance in other situations that do not honor God. However, this is not necessarily the case. The Amalekites' dancing in 1 Samuel did not prevent David from dancing in 2 Samuel. Christians can and should utilize dance as they do any other art form such as music, painting, drama, or filmmaking. As long as dance is worshipful, God-focused, and praiseworthy, it can have a proper place in worship. Worship dance is a far cry from the seductive dance of the daughter of Herodias ().
Finally, it is important to understand that dance in the context of worship is not simply self-expression. It should be done in a way that is helpful to the entire congregation. Paul noted that "everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way" in the church (). "Everything" would include the use of dance in worship. Anything during a worship gathering that distracts from a focus on Christ should be left out. Each congregation bears the responsibility to structure its worship service in a way that honors God and encourages those within their group.
Dance is used as an act of worship in Scripture and can continue to be used in that way today. However, churches should take care to avoid dance that leads others to temptation or sin, and the focus must remain on worshiping God rather than drawing attention to self. When practiced in this way, dance is a beautiful art form that can communicate truth, bringing glory to God and edifying others. Walking in the Spirit means loving in the Spirit! We are indwelled by the love of God when we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit.
1). I Corinthians 13 teaches us on love and what else?
2). Faith, hope, and charity, which one is the greatest?
3). Explain Deuteronomy 6:5.
4) What is the greatest commandment?
5). How do we begin to love God the way we should?
6). What do it means to love God?
7). How can we know we are loving in the Spirit?
8). What did Jesus do to prove His love for us?
9). How do the Holy Spirit show His love for us?
10). What question was asked concerning love in (I John 4)?
11). Is dancing forbidden in the Bible?
Explain the dance in the next four scripture.
12). (Exodus 15:20)
13). (Exodus 32:19)
14). (2 Samuel 6:16)
15). (Mark 6:17-28)
16). How should Biblical dancing be expressed?
17). What have you learn from reading (I Thessalonians 1-II Thessalonians 2)?
Exercise: Week # 7 Walking in the Spirit today:
What did you do to know you were walking in the Spirit today?
I choose faithfulness. . .Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My companion will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.
Lord, thank You for loving me. Thank You for giving me Your Living Word as a blueprint on how to live my life. Help me to walk in faith. Help me to exercise my faith and believe the unseen. Help me to develop the fruit of faith, so that I may be a living witness to everyone I influence and come into contact with. I want them to KNOW and understand Your ways through the life of faith I live before them. Give me the strength and courage to do so. You are a Mighty God. You are a Loving God. You are Worthy of ALL the glory, honor, and praise. You are the First and the Last. You are the Beginning and the End. You are the Great I Am. You are Merciful and Kind. I am honored and humbled by Your love for me. Thank You, my precious Daddy for loving and caring for me! Thank You. Bless the Name of my God. Who Reigns FOREVER! Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Praise You! In Jesus' Mighty Name, Amen.
Weekly Reading: Week # 7 (II Thessalonians 3) Monday through Thursday.