Summary: How do we actually love each other? Scripture gives us a variety of guidelines and illustrations for doing so.
Love in Action-Caring for each other 10-16-11
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
1. Love is Long Suffering – Love is an uncommon force that copes with suffering. By enduring the pain, sorrow and anger we are exhibiting God’s unconditional love. People who are mature in love endure the pain of selfish, critical and immature scoffers.
1. Love is patient - Love’s patience does not accept evil or adopt an attitude of resignation that becomes fatalistic. Love is not blind to abuse, sin, or ignorance, but knows how to speak the truth with a love that accomplishes God’s purposes. Love does not naively accept suffering without looking for God’s purpose through adversity. Love is not judgmental, rushing to judgment based on our own expectations.
2. Love is Kind – Love is considerate, benevolent, and gentle. Love is kind even to the unkind. Kindness freely accepts others based on their good, not based on what they can do in return. Love does not fear to identify with people in their pain, problems and weaknesses, seeking ways in which to enhance, heal, and help people regardless of who they are. Kindness is not gushy, but is intelligent and tough when necessary. Kindness works with Godly wisdom with fairness according to the given realities. Kindness encourages the faint hearted, gives strength to the weak, and is patient. Kindness looks for a way of building up others in every situation. Kindness knows how to speak in healing voice tones.
I. BE SINCERE - vs. 9 9 Love must be sincere.
A. Genuinely love. - Let it be the real thing
B. More people have been brought into the church by the kindness of real Christian love than by all the theological arguments in the world, and more people have been driven from the church by the hardness and ugliness of so-called Christianity than by all the doubts in the world.
C. John 13:35 "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
D. Love - the visitors in church may not be able to explain it or define it, but they know when it is there and when it is not. People will get up, dress, pass ten other churches, and drive all the way across town if he knows that a warm experience awaits him with love and true fellowship in the house of God. For many, the love they receive in church is the only love they will experience all week long.
E. One of the greatest expressions of love is simply to notice people and to pay attention to them.
II. BE CONSIDERATE - vs. 10 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
A. Put others first - Luke 6:31 "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."
B. According to U.S. News & World Report (4/22/96), 89 % of Americans think incivility rudeness is a serious problem:
73 % - Think mean-spirited political campaigns are to blame:
67 % - Think rock music is to blame
52 % - Think talk radio is to blame:
1 % - Think their own behavior is uncivil.
C. Philippians 2:3 "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."
D. In the eternal triangle of Christianity, God is first, others are second, and self is last.
E. Christian maturity begins to grow when you can sense your concern for others outweighing your concern for yourself
F. There is a story of a king who organized a great race within his kingdom. All the young men of the kingdom participated. A bag of gold was to be given to the winner, and the finish line was within the courtyard of the king’s palace. The race was run, and the runners were surprised to find in the middle of the road leading to the king’s palace a great pile of rocks and stones. But they managed to scramble over it or to run around it and eventually to come to the courtyard. Finally, all the runners had crossed the finish line except one. But still the king did not call the race off. After a while one lone runner came through the gate. He lifted a bleeding hand and said, "O King, I am sorry that I am so late. But you see, I found in the road a pile of rocks and stones, and it took me a while, and I wounded myself in removing them." Then he lifted the other hand, and in it was a bag. He said, "But, Great King, I found beneath the pile of rocks this bag of gold." The king said, "My son, you have won the race, for that one runs best who makes the way safer for those who follow."