Walking in LoveBro. David Chancellor
8/17/2008 6:00 PM
Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
To walk in the Spirit is to live a life of love. Too often people are substituting something for a walk with the Spirit. They’ve substituted submitting to authority and following rules for living in the Spirit. It’s not the same thing. Walking in the Spirit isn’t unregulated, but it is a life lived out of love and personal accountability. Walking in love is a thoughtful, careful life in the Spirit of God. If you’re not walking in love, your life isn’t regulated by the Holy Spirit. Paul tells them not to owe anyone anything but love. We have an obligation to love our fellowman. It is part of the commandments Jesus gave. "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor…" If there is someone that you want to hurt, love isn’t the source of that and the Holy Spirit isn’t working in you. Shine the spotlight on yourself. Love doesn’t want bad things for anyone. "Do no harm." Without love in your heart it will be difficult to live a moral and ethical life. Start your investigation of love with yourself. What is your perspective of yourself? Take personal responsibility to do no harm to others. Focus on yourself and how you’re doing in your walk. Look to do no harm and to do good toward everyone. This is what makes unity work. What is the effect of your life? Does it produce good or ill? If it produces ill, the love of God is needed on the inside.
Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up; for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord: and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. Let not then your good be evil spoken of: For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure: but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak. Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.
This is a chapter that Christians need to be familiar with; it’s a recipe for how to walk together down here. "But if thy brother be grieved with thy meant, now walkest thou not charitably…" Despising and judging aren’t part of the Spirit of God. They are opposite sides of pride. In either of these, self is elevated above others. Everyone likes to think of himself as strong. The Bible tells us "despise not." We’re not to go around looking down on other folks. If it wasn’t for God’s grace we’d be right where the sinner is. We shouldn’t be in the business of despising or judging. If you spend all your time judging, you’ll be refusing people that God accepts. There are some things that can’t be compromised, but there are some things we won’t all agree on. If we walk in love, there are some things we can disagree on, but still get along and walk together. Keep the spotlight on yourself. When we walk by love that way, we don’t have to have a man write us a list of rules. Keeping ourselves clear and considering our brother will keep the church clear. "What should I be doing to help the people I’m with?" It will consider the way you dress and how it affects others. Walking in love will restrain and constrain you to benefit your neighbor. It will keep you from destroying someone. It will give you a desire to help others. If you’re going around telling people what to do, "or else," you need to examine yourself. We want the love of God working in our hearts and lives. Consider how your life is affecting others.
Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia. Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment. It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
Some had gone out and told people if they weren’t circumcised or keeping the law that they weren’t saved yet. It was causing confusion. God knows who belongs to him. God can hold you up even if people decide you’re not saved. Salvation is between you and God. These wrote the letter to help clear things up. They encouraged them to hold to what they’d been taught and a few necessary things. The necessary things were necessary because of love. "For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogue every sabbath day." Some of those things that they were asked to restrain themselves from were things that could be a hindrance to those who had grown up under the law of Moses. It was very clear in the letter that they weren’t under the law of Moses, but these things were needful because of love. They didn’t want to be a hindrance to the Jews of the community. There are some things we leave off for love’s sake. We care about our influence to those that are without, just as much as we care about our influence to those that are within. There will be times when there are necessary things that aren’t a question of sin. We don’t want to put anything in anyone’s way. Some things become necessary because of love that by and of themselves aren’t sinful.
And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads; and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law, As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.
When Paul came to Jerusalem, there was only one church, but there were thousands that observed the law and thousands that didn’t. Paul didn’t need purification, but he loved Israel and cared about them. He didn’t go to Jerusalem to straighten them out. There will be times when we’re not 100% identical because we didn’t start out in the same place. God knows those that are his. Paul went through with the rites because he loved the people. He wasn’t out to cause a revolution. The Jews had to live under the law because it was their government, too. Paul was concerned with changing the hearts of men. Paul wasn’t in Jerusalem to fuss about the law. It had already been established that the Gentiles didn’t have to abide by Jewish law. We do our best to do right by other people, regardless of the attitude they take toward us. If we behave as love ought to behave, then we’ve done all we’re accountable for. Love is more than warm fuzzies. It is being willing to do more than required to be a blessing to others. Some necessary things may come if we would be a help to others. Paul did what he did for the sake of those in Jerusalem. How much do you want to see others make it? The walk of love is what will make the church of God glorious.
We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.
The measure of your strength is how much you can bear. If you can’t bear, then you’re not strong. Is your revelation producing the love of God in your heart? Can you be humble and bear with others? If others would see it, you’ll need to bear with them until they see it and be compassion toward them. If it’s of God, he can reveal it to them. Love like this can affect those around you positiviely.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth: Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
This tells us what love really is. Lives that live this out will have an impact on the world. Without the love of God, nothing else will make a difference. If the church would shine, we have to live a life of love.