THE NATURE AND CHARACTER OF GOD
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. I John 4:7-9
God is love, His nature and character exude love and His total being is made up of pure Agape love. In the context of scripture in regards to the love of God the Greek word used is Agape, meaning to love in a spiritual sense. The term "I love you" in Greek refers to a general affection or deeper sense of true unconditional love rather than just a physical attraction such as Eros love, a passionate love, or Philia love, an affectionate regard or friendship type of love.
In this teaching series we will explore the true meaning and definition of Agape love and how it applies to the believer as well as how God's nature and character is made up of the fruit of love, or in other words the spiritual connotation of the true sense of Agape love. When one becomes a born again Christian a seed is planted within his spirit, the seed of the word of God that will eventually take root, grow and finally sprout the true nature and character of God which is Agape love. The believer is like a spiritual fruit tree that bears spiritual fruit in it's season and as it matures God cultivates within us His own character and nature that manifests within us His love to a lost and dying, sin-sick world in need of a Savior!
God has planted men as trees throughout the earth to produce good fruit and display His very nature to the world as a loving God who gave up His Son for them. We are created in the image and likeness of the Most High and even in our natural body we display certain God given attributes before we are born again. Once we believe in the Lord Jesus and become sons and daughters of God we begin to take on His likeness as well as His divine nature and character. Just as human beings look like their parents as they grow up, so also do spiritual children begin to take on the image of their Father.
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. "By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:7,8
THE FRUIT OF LOVE
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, (a long and patient endurance) kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22,23
Love has it's own list of attributes that mirror the divine nature of God, some to be sure can be counterfeited and some are just natural characteristics that people have within their nature, but as the born again spiritual man begins to grow and mature the fruit he displays will be observed to be the nature and character of His heavenly Father.
Jesus is the image of God in the flesh, sent not only to save the world from sin but to give the world a glimpse of what our heavenly Father looks and acts like. We in turn are reborn into the image of Jesus growing up into Him to become sons and daughters of God. As Jesus had all the fruit of the Holy Spirit within His nature, so we too begin to develop through the process of trials and tests ultimately conforming us to His image. A silversmith was once asked the question, "When you heat the silver to purify it, how do you know when it is ready?" The silversmith responded, "When I can see my image in it!"
So it is with us, God purifies us with the fires of trial and as we grow up and pass through these tests of life we begin to bear fruit through the process of pruning that our heavenly Father patiently does to each one of His children. When fruit trees undergo the process of pruning they bear more fruit because that which is dead is cut off enabling them to receive more nourishment from the root system, and that is what is done to us as we grow and mature, God prunes those things in our lives that hinder us from bearing fruit for Him.
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. "Every branch that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit." John 15:1,2
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. I Corinthians 13:1
Being a drummer I understand the meaning of sounding brass and clanging cymbals. Have you ever heard a child beating on a cymbal or someone who doesn't know how to play the drums banging on them, the sound is horrible and immediately you know that they do not know how to play! So it is in the realm of the Spirit, many prophesy, speak in tongues, understand mysteries but they have never allowed the fiery trials to touch their lives to purify them.
No one can bear fruit of his own unless God orchestrates the process of purification in his life by trials and tests, for instance when you undergo a trial in your life, maybe a financial loss, or a sickness or maybe a broken relationship, a divorce, nonetheless these trials produce in us patience, longsuffering, hope, peace and the outcome is joy. That is how God purifies His children, through the natural experiences of life, even Jesus learned obedience by those things He suffered and the apostle Paul learned humility because of a thorn in his flesh. This separates the wheat from the chaff, the sons of God and the sons of the devil, the sheep and the goats, because they either allowed God to purify them, or they didn't, and the outcome was the broad road to destruction that leads to being cut off and thrown into the fire!
Are you bearing fruit for God or are you cultivating the nature and character of the devil by the works of the flesh? If you are truly a child of the Most High you will experience His loving hands molding you and conforming you into His glorious image. If you have rejected His purification process He will reject you from being a fruit bearing spiritual tree in His kingdom. The choice is yours if you have made a commitment to follow Him, He will always lead you to the cross to be crucified to the deeds of the flesh and the things of the world.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; (arrogant) does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. I Corinthians 13:3-8
Your servant in Christ, Tim Laughlin