“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”

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

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

John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 17:26 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.

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

Romans 12:9a Let love be without dissimulation.

10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.

Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.

33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Titus 2:4 That they [the aged women] may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children.

I John 3:16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

MEMORY VERSE: My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. —I John 3:18

CENTRAL THOUGHT: As God loved Christ, and Christ loved us and gave His life for us, we are to love one another with that same kind of love and sacrifice; particularly, a husband is to love his wife and nourish and cherish her as he does himself, the wife is to reverence and love her husband and love her children, and all of us are to lay down our lives for one another and show our love by deeds and actions, and not just words.


John 13:34 “A new commandment”: not new because the commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” was not in effect, but “His commandment proposed a new object of love, it set forth a new measure of love, so greatly different from all that had preceded it as to become almost a new kind of love, and it suggested and supplied a new motive power for love” (MacLaren’s Expositions). “It was new because it had never before been made that by which any class or body of people had been known and distinguished … They were not to be known by distinctions of wealth, or learning, or fame; they were not to aspire to earthly honors; they were not to adopt any special style of dress or badge, but they were to be distinguished by tender and constant attachment to each other” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible). This “would be based on a new principle, and measured by a higher standard, and even mean more than love of self altogether. Christ’s love to his disciples was self-abandoning, self- sacrificing love” (Pulpit Commentary). “Now Christ more than fulfilled the Mosaic precept; he not only loved his neighbor as himself, but he loved him more than himself, for he laid down his life for men. In this he calls upon the disciples to imitate him; to be ready on all occasions to lay down their lives for each other” (Clarke’s Commentary).

Romans 5:5b “Shed abroad”: poured out; copiously diffused.

Romans 12:9 “Without dissimulation”: unfeigned; without hypocrisy; sincere.

Romans 12:10 “Be kindly affectioned”: tenderly loving; the special affection between family members, especially the reciprocal tenderness of parents and children.

Ephesians 5:29: “Nourisheth”: feed; nurture to maturity. “Cherisheth”: keep warm; foster; comfort. Webster’s definition of foster is, “ to encourage, sustain and promote.”

Ephesians 5:33 “Reverence”: to treat with deference or reverential obedience; respect. Webster’s definition of deference is, “A yielding in opinion; submission of judgment to the opinion or judgment of another. Hence, regard; respect.”


Jesus had just washed the feet of His disciples, thus instituting a new ordinance for them to follow; an example of humility and charity. Afterward, He talked about the one who should betray him, and Judas immediately went out to carry out his plan. Jesus spoke then about His impending death, by which they would be separated from Him. But now He gives them something special and new, and contained in this commandment is a promise that this new and special kind of love would be their identification to all the world.

The emphasis in this lesson is the concept of the self-giving and self-sacrificing love that was in Christ; He spoke of continuing in the love that will cause a man to “lay down his life” for his friends. He also prayed for that love to be in His followers (John 17).

Paul wrote about that love to the Romans as a genuine, sincere love, generously poured out by the Holy Spirit; tender, affectionate, and one which works no ill to its neighbor. In the Romans and Galatians letters he spoke of love as being the fulfillment of the entire law of God. To the Galatians he qualified the freedom we have by saying that we, being set free, are still to lovingly serve one another; that the fruit of the Spirit in our lives would be, first of all, love.

The characteristics of that love are especially essential for marriage and family life. To the Ephesians and to Titus, Paul wrote specific instructions for marriage and raising children. Again he spoke of the special love Christ had as the kind of love a man should have for his wife: He gave himself. The kind of love a wife gives to her husband is also an expression of giving: she must yield to, or respect, her husband. The older women, Paul explained, were to teach this kind of love to the younger women, so that they would love their husbands and their children.

The apostle John also taught the quality of Jesus’ love that would dwell in the hearts and lives of believers. They were to “lay down their lives.” This, he said, is the genuine love that is proven by deeds and actions.

Practically speaking, every husband and wife need to seek God: “Lord, break up the hardened, fallow ground of my heart! Make me tender and completely willing to GIVE myself for my spouse. Lord, make my heart compassionate and tender toward the little ones You have given me. Take out the stony heart of harshness, scorn and sarcasm. Make me a willing servant of love for my family. Help me to lay down my life for my loved ones.”

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck


  1. Give the “new” commandment and its specifications which are set forth in both John 13:34 and 15:12.
  2. What does this mean? “As the Father hath loved me.”
  3. The gospel brought freedom from all bondage, but what special servitude is enjoined?
  4. List the qualities of the love of Christ set forth in the verses of the lesson. Can you find at least 12?
  5. Share how self-sacrificing love is practically carried out in marriage.
  6. Share what hinders the production of this fruit in everyday life.


On our wedding day, November 28, 1987, we had the song “Each for the other and both for the Lord” sung. That was over thirty- two years ago and we have found that when God is the central figure of a marriage union, it is the greatest of blessings. We have enjoyed each other’s company and have found a spiritual strength in carrying the burdens and responsibilities of life together. Our home has been a safe haven for ourselves as well as our children. It is a pleasure to share meals, thoughts, ideas, and memories with our family.

This is not to say that the journey has always been easy or smooth sailing, as life has a way of bringing unexpected twists and turns, but we are thankful that the Lord has been with us to guide and direct every step of the way. We have a plaque hanging in our house that says, “We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.” Life does not have to be perfect in order to enjoy a perfect life.

—Bro. Michael and Sis. LaDawna Adams, Neosho, Missouri