Temple Baptist Church - 10-21-2009
A. Here, in these verses, we once again find liberty and love at odds! Saved people biting and devouring each other! We that are saved are of the same spiritual blood line; we have the same Father; we have the same Spirit; we have the same spiritual characteristics; and yet—in our spiritual liberty—there is potential, yea, even probability of problems arising. Most problems that arise in churches come from just this: not having the love that gives while having the liberty that takes. Just because we have liberty does not mean that we can enjoy it to the detriment of others.
1. Love is Giving
2. Liberty is Taking
1 Corinthians 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.
B. It should be noticed in Scripture that man must be both commanded and learn to love! Throughout the Bible, command after command deals with the love relationship of:
1. Man To God - Deuteronomy 6:4-5 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (“Thou shalt?” Why not “thou wilt!” After what He did for Israel? After what He did for us at Calvary? We must be COMMANDED? Why? Because of our human nature.)
2. Saint To Mankind - Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (This one is a little harder but is made much harder because of our selfish nature. Red, yellow, black, brown, and white; every race in every place! “And who is my neighbor?” All mankind for whom Christ died.)
3. Saint To Saint - John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (A new commandment given to family? You are my brothers and sisters in Christ and I love you better than butter pecan ice cream! But, there are times when we squabble and fight. We want what we want and want everyone else to see eye-to-eye with us on every point! I am not always right on every subject but am hard to convince sometimes. I have a selfish nature!)
4. Husband To Wife - Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (We, as men, have to be commanded to love you gorgeous creatures? Whoa! You mean it is not always easy to love you? Men are selfish by nature and must be instructed by God to give ourselves to our wives. A man was looking for a wife so he took out an ad in the local newspaper which read: “Wife wanted. Must have bass boat, motor, and trailer. Send a picture of the boat, motor, and trailer!”)
5. Wife To Husband - Titus 2:3-5 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (You mean that the women have to be taught to love that “hunk” that she married? That good looking bundle of muscle and brawn? Most of us are still “hunks,” just a little more of a hunk now! You women are selfish too! You want the man to be in charge when it is convenient and obedient to you when it suits. Than is human nature. You are obedient to him when it suits and disobedient to him when it suits. You are human!)
6. Mother To Children – Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children. (Mothers have to be taught to love their children? Why? Those wonderful little darlings who keep you up all night, mess their diapers, tear up an anvil in a sand pile, lie every chance they get, tell everybody else what you do, etc. Those wonderful little children of yours [I know everyone else’s are brats, but not yours!]. We are selfish in nature and children require monumental amounts of time and effort.)
C. Though love for the above persons should seem natural to our thinking, man by nature is self-centered. It is of no wonder that humanism is so easily taught to children and adults alike. In nature, we are our own “gods!” Self-gratification is the rule of the day and people must be taught to get along.
D. Love goes far beyond just getting along though. Love is our motivation for getting along with each other. If we love God, then His commands are not grievous! If we love our fellow man, then being a good neighbor becomes no problem. If we love souls, then loving the sinner—even in his sin—becomes easy. If we give ourselves to each other, then loving becomes a natural and wonderful thing within the church. When a husband gives his life for his wife and children, then love comes easy. When a wife dedicates her love, life, and longings to her husband and children—then loving them is all that she knows.
E. Love must be taught! We sometimes use the terminology “old school” when referring to our beliefs and character. It means that we have been raised us or taught from our youth to hold certain things dear. We have “learned behavior” circumscribing our lives so that we act and react properly when issues of integrity arise. We are taught. It does not come natural in our human nature.
1 Thessalonians 4:9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
F. The Book of James shows forth a salvation that works. In chapter four, the Holy Ghost said, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.” (James 4:1-2) (Wars and fightings? Those are strong terms describing the interaction of some believers. Where do they come from? “Your lusts that war in YOUR MEMBERS! Lust is defined in Easton’s as “sinful longing.” These wars and fights do not come from personality conflicts: they come from sinfulness within the believer.)
G. Back in chapter three, He said, “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” (James 3:13-16)
H. Liberty is not the right to do anything that we desire anymore than love is a natural, simple interaction one with another. Liberty must be tempered while love must be preeminent in our lives in order to have a loving relationship with each other. Love among God’s people is both natural and learned. We have love that comes through relationship in Christ but learned love comes from learning how to interact.
I. Vs. 13 proclaims our liberty but places the stipulation that misused liberty causes sinfulness in our flesh and, therefore, division and fighting.
HOW TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER:
1. Stay Close To The Lord - 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I cannot emphasis this enough! Right with the Lord is right with each other. Sideways with the Lord is sideways with everyone else.)
2. Be Of The Same Mind - 1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. (Everyone has a different personality, different opinions, different desires, etc. I do not have to get my way! I do not have to be right! Our goal is Christ! Our goal is souls!)
3. Be Courteous - Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: same mind in the Lord. (Courtesy has gone “out the window” in our day. It is no longer “Yes, Ma’am; no, Ma’am; thank you, Ma’am; please.” People charge to get in front of you in the checkout lines, run through the doors ahead of you, no longer rise in the presence of women or elders, etc. Be courteous because courtesy is thoughtfulness and thoughtfulness is putting others ahead of self.)
4. Be Gentle - James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (Gentleness is a wonderful attribute. When I worked in the coal mines, we had a reflector sticker that we sometimes wore on our hard hats that said, “Life is fragile, handle with care.” People are fragile! Their feelings often get hurt without us even knowing it so we must be kind and gentle when dealing with them. Believers are so abrupt with other believers sometimes.)
Proverbs 18:19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
5. Be Loving - 1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: (Pure in heart is to love in a right manner. As a pastor, I love each of you—men and women. I love the men right. I love the women right, as sisters. Love is a four letter word: give. For God so loved…that He gave. Give your life to and for one another. Bind your heart together in Christian love. Work at it!)
6. Be Forgiving - Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (People sometimes hurt your feelings either advertently or inadvertently. Some people are like a “bull in a china shop” around others. They say and do things so ignorantly. Most of the problems that I have as a pastor are not in the areas of sin, compromise, apostasy, etc. They concern brothers and sisters beating up on each other. If a brother or sister offends you, forgive them. Don’t run to someone else and involve them, just pray for them—do good to them—forgive them—and forget it! Hurt turns into anger and anger into bitterness if not handled right.)
7. Be Understanding - Psalms 119:165 Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (People have bad days. People say wrong things. You do not know what they are facing in their private lives or what has happened to them today. When they are “out of sorts,” do not let them get you “out of sorts.” Love them in their hard times and be there for them. Just ask, “Is there anything that I can do to help or pray about because I care!”)
8. Be Thick Skinned! - Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Proverbs 18:19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. (Don’t be the brother offended! You have told on yourself when you become offended. Be tough! Be adult! Be Forbearing! That means to bear a long time!)
9. Be Encouraging - Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Be a God called exhorter! Don’t always have the “poochie lip,” walking around looking like a mule eating saw briers. Don’t always be complaining, discouraged, defeated, or murmuring. God is in control of your life and this is the day that the Lord hath made—rejoice and be glad in it.)
10. Be Christian! - Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. (When around people, ask yourself what Christ would do or say.)