Lesson 9

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CHAPTER NINE

POWER PRINCIPLE THREE: THE POWER OF LOVE

OBJECTIVES:

Upon completion of this chapter you will be able to:

C Write the Key Verse from memory.

C Define "love."

C Define the word "charity ."

C Identify love as the greatest principle of spiritual power.

C Identify the first and second greatest commandments.

C Explain how the world will know we are believers.

KEY VERSE:

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (I Corinthians 13:13)

INTRODUCTION

In the last chapter you studied about the power of the Holy Spirit. You learned that

spiritual fruit was one manifestation of power produced by the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. One of these spiritual fruits is the Christ-like quality of love. It is the first fruit in the listing in Galatians 5 : 2 2 -2 3 :

But the fruit of the Spirit is love. . . (Galatians 5:22)

THE GREATEST POWER

Read I Corinthians 13 :1-13 before proceeding with this lesson. The word "charity" in this passage means love. This chapter focuses on one of the greatest principles of spiritual power, the power of love. The power of love is greater than:

Tongues given by the Holy Spirit: Someday these tongues will cease. Whether you speak
in tongues known or unknown to men, it is a powerless message without love. (Verses l
and 8)

Knowledge and understanding: Knowledge is powerful, but someday human knowledge will vanish. Love will remain. (Verses 2 and 8)

The gift of prophecy: What a powerful gift prophecy is–to be able to speak a direct message from God and foretell future events. But prophecies will some day cease . (Verses 2, 8-1 2)

Faith: Even if you have enough faith to move mountains it is nothing if you do not have

love. (Verse 2)

Giving: No matter how much you give to others, it is of no benefit unless given in love. (Verse 3)

Martyrdom: Even if you were to die for the cause of the Gospel, it is a worthless sacrifice unless done in love. (Verse 3)

Hope: Hope is important because with out it life is full of despair. But love is more important than hope. (Verse 13)

You have learned and will learn much more about spiritual power in this course. But remember this:

All other principles of spiritual power, all spiritual gifts , all ministry must operate through the power of love, or they are useless. When everything else fails, the power of love will
succeed.

THE DEFINITION AND CHARACTERISTICS OF LOVE

Love is an emotion of deep affection, care, and concern developed in your life through the Holy Spirit. It is not a type of love you can develop yourself. It is a Godly type of love that can only be developed by the power of the Holy Spirit:

. . . the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:5)

Note the characteristics of this Godly love given in I Corinthians 13:

VERSE 4:

Love suffers long.
Love is kind.

Love does not envy others.

Love is not prideful, lifting up self.

VERSE 5:

Love does not behave unseemly (bad conduct towards others). Love does not seek for itself (is not selfish).

Love is not easily provoked (made angry).

Love does not think evil of others or think of evil in general.

VERSE 6:

Love does not rejoice in iniquity (does not take pleasure in doing wrong of hearing wrong about others).

Love rejoices in truth (not lies and gossip).

VERSE 7:

Love bears all things (even hard things).

Love believes all things (believes in others).

Love hopeth all things (does not give up hope in God or others, despite the circumstances).

Love endures all things.

VERSE 8:

Love never fails (regardless of the circumstances).

WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES ABOUT LOVE

To understand the power of love, you must know what the Bible teaches on the subject. The spiritual fruit of love, this powerful force, is not the type of sexual or carnal love depicted by the world. It is “unfeigned” love, which means it is a holy love. Unfeigned love is the type of love you are to show to others:

Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit

unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently. (I Peter 1:22)

The first and greatest commandment is that you are to love God:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength; this is the first commandment. (Mark 12:30)

(See also Deuteronomy 6:5; Luke 10:27; I John 2:5,15; 3:11-17; 4:7-20; 5:2; II John 1:5-6)

Your love for God is tested by your obedience to Him:

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our
abode with him. (John 14:23)

But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. (I John 2:5)

The second greatest commandment is love of others:

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:31)

Jesus wants you to love others as much as He loves you:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (John 13:34)

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. (John 15:9,12)

And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
(John 17:26)

It is by love that you are recognized as a believer:

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:35)

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. (I John 3:14)

If you do not love other believers, God’s love is not in you:

He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. (I John 2:9-10)

(This is a very important truth. Study it further in John 13:34; 14:15,21,23,31; 15:9-17; 17:26; 21 :15-17).

Love of other believers results in spiritual unity which is a powerful force. When they were united in prayer, Pentecost happened (Acts 2). They were of "one heart and mind" (Acts 4 :32) and with power continued to testify (Acts 4:33 ). They devoted themselves to the unity of fellowship (Acts 2:42 ) and many signs and wonders were done (Acts 2:43).

You are to love your enemies:

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.

Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? For sinners also do even the same.

But love ye your enemies, and do good. . . (Luke 6:27,28,33,35)

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and
persecute you. (Matthew 5:43-44)

Your love is to abound, which means it is to continually increase:

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment. (Philippians 1:9)

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men. . . (I Thessalonians 3:12)

You are to be rooted and grounded in love:

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth and height;

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

If you are to be filled with the fulness of God and His power, you must have love . It is important to power because it eliminates fear:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (I John 4:18)

You are to walk in love:

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.
(Ephesians 5:2)

You are to "forbear" or relate to others in love:

With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)

You are to keep yourself in love:

Keep yourselves in the love of God. . . (Jude 21)

. . . follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (I Timothy 6:11)

Faith, which is so important to power, works by love:

. . . but faith which worketh by love. (Galatians 5:6)

Your work for the Lord is to be a labor of love:

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love. . . (I Thessalonians 1:3)

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. (Hebrews 6:10)

As we near the end of time here on earth, the love of many will not endure. It will "wax cold," which means people will become uncaring:

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (Matthew 24:12)

But we are given the assurance that nothing can separate us from God’s love:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:35, 38-39)

THE GREATEST LOVE

The greatest love is the love God had for the sinful world. He showed that love by sending Jesus to die:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that

whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Jesus demonstrated this great love as He willingly gave His life on the cross:

Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:7-8)

It is this powerful force of love – -the love of God–that the Holy Spirit desires to develop in your life :

. . . the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:5)