Summary: Walkling in the Lord's love can be quite different from earthly conceptions of what love is. This message explores a Biblical understanding of what this means and how we need to live as followers of Jesus Christ.
Read I John 4:7-8
Jesus walked in love. Make no mistake about this. He perfectly demonstrated the statement found in verse 16 of the same chapter. “God is Love”. When Jesus offered forgiveness to the woman caught in adultery, he demonstrated love. When he told her “Go, and sin no more.” he also demonstrated love.
Jesus walked in love when, in Mark Chapter 6, he equipped the disciples to go on a ministry tour, sending them out two by two to proclaim the Good News, heal the sick, and cast out demons. He also walked in love as recorded in Chapter 9, when he rebuked them for their unbelief when they could not cast the demon out of a demonized convulsing boy.
Jesus acted in love when he told the disciples that he would soon go to Jerusalem, be delivered into the hands of evil men, and suffer and die there. When Peter tried to de-rail this plan, and Jesus rebuked him sternly, he was still walking in love. When Jesus went to Jerusalem, for the purpose of, as he had said in John 15:13, “laying down his life for his friends” he demonstrated the greatest expression of love. Jesus also spoke the truth in love one verse later when he said, “You are my friends if you do what I command.”
EXPLORING WALKING IN LOVE
Walking in love that is God’s love, is something far different from the sentimental. It is something far different from magnetic attraction. Let me explain about three different Greek Bible words, which are all translated “love” in English.
1. Eros (magnetic attraction)
2. Phileo (mention Philadelphia)
3. Agape (love which seeks the ultimate good for the other party, and only comes from God)
Some ways of walking in Godly love are obvious. For instance, when we are moved with compassion for a suffering person, who is going through something through no fault of their own, and we do something to alleviate their suffering, we are acting in accordance with Godly love.
However, there are many times, when people are suffering due to their own sinful choices. If we respond to that suffering in a way that enables the sinful choices to continue, we are not acting in love at all. Some of these choices are pretty obvious. For instance: - Giving money to an alcoholic so that he can get a fresh supply of booze is not love at all, even though he may be begging you to do this.
But, what about instances where the matter is not as in your face as drunkenness is? Suppose a professing Christian who is in the local church, begins a dating relationship, and then begins living with their dating partner, and the two are not married. It would be easy to rationalize ignoring the situation, because it is risky to confront sin. Some people even would go so far as to say, the only Christian response is to “live and let live, after all, it is their business, not ours. Besides, its normal now to live like this.”
CONFRONTING CULTURALLY POPULAR SIN IN THE CHIURCH
There was a situation like this in one of the churches in the New Testament. Let’s see what advice the Bible gives for such matters. Turn with me please to I Corinthians 6:18-20 (read it). The apostle was not shy about going against 180? against the prevailing culture of Greece and especially that of the sexually loose Corinth of his day. The reason for this is the reality that God’s standards do not emanate from culture. They are rooted in eternal, immutable truth. They stand apart from and above all cultures. Therefore, Paul declared the truth about fornication, that is, sexual sin. He did not water it down, and he did not hide it for fear of hurting the feelings of some in the church. If Paul had watered down this part of the Christian message for any reason, that would not have been an act of love.
Some would have called it that. Those who think that love is simply whatever makes people feel self-actualized, also think that it is hateful to declare moral standards. They think that the right thing is to let each person decide what is true for them, for each person to construct their own moral reality… They would be right, if there was no such thing as objective truth. But there is indeed truth, which exists apart from the opinions of human beings.
The Apostle Paul, understood the human centered nature of the false gods of Greece, and the whole tide of humanism so prevalent in that culture. Yet he spoke up to the largest Christian church in that land, and warned them that they were becoming contaminated with the prevailing amoral mindset of their city. He clearly warned them, in verses 9 and 10 of the same chapter, that the wicked shall not inherit the kingdom of God. He then cataloged various sexual sins, classifying them as wicked. He told the Corinthian believers, that some of them had been wicked, but were now washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of God. In stating this, he clearly made the point that the practice of sexual immorality stops when one is truly washed in the blood of the savior.