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Summary: Paul begins a detailed discussion of the Christian life-style

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Introduction:

Several years ago the "Christian Life and Faith" magazine presented some unusual facts about two families. In 1677 an immoral man married a very licentious woman. Nineteen hundred descendants came from the generations begun by that union. Of these, 771 were criminals, 250 were arrested for various

offenses, 60 were thieves, and 39 were convicted for murder. Forty of the women were known to have venereal disease. These people spent a combined total of 1300 years behind bars and cost the State of New York nearly 3 million dollars.

The other family was the Edwards family. The third generation included Jonathan Edwards who was the great New England revival preacher and who became president of Princeton University. Of the 1,344 descendants, many were college presidents and professors. One hundred eighty-six became ministers of the gospel, and many others were active in their churches. Eighty-

six were state senators, three were Congressmen, 30 judges, and one became Vice President of the United States. No reference was made of anyone spending time in jail or in the poorhouse.

Not all children of good parents become useful citizens, nor do all the offspring of wicked people turn out bad. Parental example is extremely powerful - either for good or for evil.

The apostle Paul saw a parallel in the Christian life. Because we are children of our Heavenly Father, we are to reflect His character. In chapter 5 of Ephesians, Paul begins a detailed discussion of the Christian life-style.

I/ LIVING IN LOVE - Ephesians 5:1-2

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; {2} 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 savor.

Notice two key phrases "Followers of God" - "Walk in love".

Whatever our pretensions to enlightenment, he who lacks love is living in the dark, moving around in darkness, stumbling, lost, and blinded.

There is no darkness deeper than hate, and no hatred darker than religious hate. Of all the bitter lessons of the twentieth century,none is more plain than this:

that victory is not enough, that revenge solves no problems.

National hostility, racial rivalry, class hatred, ideological bitterness, family quarrels and personal feuds, all mend nothing. He who hates his brother is in darkness, he does not see where he is going, what lies ahead, or where his attitudes will come out; the darkness of an unloving heart gets into the mind, the conscience, the eyes and the very soul.

Hate blinds men to facts, to people, to reality,

and to all good sense. It is because self-seeking governs men that life becomes so entangled.

As Christians we are to hate the Sin, but love the sinner. The quickest way to stumble as a Christian is to hate those who believe differently than we. The Bible says; "Love covers a multitude of sin".

The light of God is love and those who are blinded with the false doctrines of the world, will never see the truth without love. That means we are to love the members of other Christian faiths, and even love the lost! That doesn’t mean we have to agree with them, or do what they do, or believe what they believe, but we must not hate them or we will surely stumble.


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