The Heart for Charity (Love)
1Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. 2And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
This admonition ties in with the last two verses of Chapter 4 where Paul has warned us against bitterness and anger. It is tragic when these attitudes show up in the family of God.
There are many times that one can witness malice and bitterness at funerals and at weddings. You would think that sharing the sorrow of losing a loved one or sharing a joy of a marriage would enable people to forgive past wrongs and try to get along with each other.
Such is not the case. It takes a real love in the heart for charity (love).
1 Peter 4:8
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
When Paul encouraged his readers to “walk in love,” he was not asking them to do something that was foreign to the Christian life, for we have received a new nature that wants to express itself in love.
The old nature is basically selfish, and for this reason, builds walls and declares war. However, the new nature is loving and, therefore, builds bridges and proclaims peace.
The second reason is that we are God’s beloved children, Ephesians 5:1, above. Imagine, God speaks of us the same way He spoke of Jesus Christ, “my beloved Son”.
John 17:23 (Jesus speaking)
I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.
We are born into a loving relationship with our Heavenly Father that ought to result in our showing love to others by the way we live. What more could the Father do to express His love to us? Is it asking too much for us to “walk in love” to please Him?
3But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
Since God is light and we are imitating our Father, then we should walk in the light and have nothing to do with the darkness of sin.
Paul gives three descriptions of believers that prove his point. First, we are Saints. That is, we are set apart ones and no longer belong to the world of darkness around us. We have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light.
1 Peter 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.
Covetousness may seem out of place next to fornication, but the two sins are but different expressions of the same basic weakness of fallen nature and uncontrolled appetite.
The fornicator and the covetous person each desire to satisfy the appetite by taking what does not belong to them: the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes.
1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
In Ephesians 5:4, above, he warned against sins of the tongue, which of course, are really sins of the heart. Foolish talking does not mean innocent humor but rather senseless conversation that cheapens the man and does not edify or minister grace to the heavens.
The gift of wit is a blessing but when it is attached to a filthy mind or a base motive, it becomes a curse. Christians who have God’s Word in their hearts will always season their speech with salt.
Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
When we trusted Christ, we entered into His Kingdom, but we are also awaiting the full revelation of His Kingdom when He returns. Paul makes it clear that people who deliberately and persistently live in sin will not share in God’s Kingdom.
There are many people who are deceived, and they argue and try to convince people that they can sin repeatedly and still enter God’s Kingdom. They say go ahead and sin that God’s grace may abound. Paul answered that foolish argument
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
God judges sin no matter where He finds it and He does not want to find it in the life of one of His own children. We, as God’s children, are lights. To walk as children of light means to live before the eye of God, not trying to hide anything from God. From people you might, because they cannot see our hearts and minds, but “all things are naked and open unto the eyes of Him” to Whom we must give account.
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
By being God’s light, we help others find their way to Christ. Light produces fruit but light also exposes what is wrong. Jesus tells us we are the light and the salt of the earth.
If food isn’t salted, it tastes bland. The Christian has what the world needs to get rid of the blahs and find life worth living. It is joy, hope, peace, excitement and laughter. Jesus is the source of this and more.
I Corinthians 7:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Matthew 5:16 (Jesus speaking)
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
By our character and conduct, we bring God’s light into a dark world. As God’s light, we help others find their way to Christ. If we live in God’s light, we will not stumble; neither will we cause others to stumble.
God has given us a mind. We discover the will of God as He transforms the mind.
And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Also, this transformation is the result of the Word of God, prayer, meditation and worship. If God gives us a mind, then He expects us to use it. This means that learning His Will involves gathering facts, examining them, weighing them and praying for His wisdom.
God does not want us simply to know His Will; He wants us to understand His Will. God has a plan for our lives. If God saved us, He has a purpose for our life. He reveals His plan through His Word, His Spirit in our hearts and the working of circumstances. Like the builder following the blueprint, He accomplishes what The Architect planned.
18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 1SSpeaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20Giving thanks always for all things unto God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 2SSubmitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23For the husband is head of the wife, even as Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24Therefore just as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for her; 26That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27That He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church. 30For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. 31For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverences her husband.
The unity of the people of God that Paul described must be translated into daily living if we are to enjoy the harmony that is a foretaste of Heaven on earth. Paul stated that there are three evidences of the believer. He is joyful (verse 19, above). He is thankful (verse 20, above) and he is submissive (verses 21-33, above). He stated that home can be a heaven on earth if each family member is controlled by the Spirit and is joyful, thankful and submissive.
Christian joy is not a shallow emotion that, like a thermometer, rises and falls with the changing atmosphere of the home. Rather, the Christian joy is a deep experience of adequacy and confidence in spite of the circumstances around us.
The Christian can be joyful even in the midst of pain and suffering.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content.
God even gives us songs in the night. In spite of pain and shame, Paul and Silas were able to sing praises to God in the Philippian jail.
But at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
The result was the conversion of the jailer and his family. They had the Spirit of God and He was all they needed.
How does a grateful heart promote harmony in the home? For one thing, the sincerely grateful person realizes that he is enriched because of others which is a mark of humility.
The person who thinks the world owes him a living is never thankful for anything. He thinks he is doing others a favor by permitting others to serve him.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
The devil moves in when a Christian starts to complain, but thanksgiving in the Spirit defeats the devil and glorifies the Lord.
Paul applied the principal of harmony to husbands and wives and children and parents and masters and servants. He began with the admonition that each submit to the other.
Jesus taught His disciples not to throw their weight around nor seek to become great at somebody else’s expense. Unfortunately, they failed to learn the lesson and even at the Last Supper they were arguing over who was the greatest.
Luke 22:24-27 (Jesus speaking)
24Now there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. 25And He said to them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. 27For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is it not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.
When Jesus washed their feet, He taught them that the greatest is the person who serves and who uses his authority to help people.
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to work in our lives wherever God may place us and when our lives are fruitful and pleasing to God, this means Heaven is our home, our final destination.