Sometimes I wake up with a song in my head. Most times it’s a hymn, but the other day I woke up with an old song from my generation (the Baby Boomers). It was written by two men, England Dan and John Coley and is called “Love Is The Answer”. It’s a beautiful song. Listen to the lyrics:
Name your price
A ticket to paradise
I can’t stay here any more
And I’ve looked high and low
I’ve been from shore, to shore, to shore
If there’s a short cut I’d have found it
There is no easy way around it
Light of the world, shine on me
Love is the answer
Shine on us all, Set us free
Love is the answer
When I first heard the song I thought “These people are singing about Jesus”. Jesus Christ said:
John 8:12 …. I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
But when I listened to the song further I realized they weren’t talking of Christ. They sang:
Who knows why
Someday we all must die
We’re all homeless boys and girls
And we’re never heard
It’s such a lonely, lonely world
People turn their heads
And walk on by
Tell me is it worth just another try …
They were singing of love not seated in Christ but divorced from Christ. They were – like so many in this world today – elevating love as an EMOTION without reason and without basis. Two people come together and they say “Well, at least they found love”. Did they?
If God is not in the midst of it, it is not love. God is Love. God defines what love is.
God shows us love in what He did for us on the Cross. Love is not self serving and self seeking, but reaches out to lift up others even at the expense of ourselves.
Question: What Are The Characteristics Of Godly Love? ______________________________
Paul addresses this as he speaks to the Church at Philippi. This Church was a strong, mostly united Church. The Apostle writes:
|Philippians 1:8-9 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;|
Verse 8 is partially obscured by the Old English of the King James. What Paul told the Church was “God is my Witness how deeply I miss you all with the affection of Christ Jesus”. The Love that Paul had for the Church was based on the affection of Christ Jesus.
Love is the Answer, and Love has a Face and a Voice – and it is the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Love that the world – and we need – is to “abound more and more in KNOWLEDGE and in all JUDGEMENT or DISCERNMENT”. What is “Godly Love”?
Answer: Godly Love Is Marked By Both Knowledge As Well As Good Discernment. The Apostle prayed that “your love would abound (grow) in KNOWLEDGE and all JUDGMENT. Genuine Godly love is a thinking love. It is not rooted in confusion, but in God.
John 3:16 is a wonderful Bible text that promotes the Gospel, but one of my favorite Bible verses that helps me both as a believer and as a Pastor is found in:
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is NOT the author of confusion, but OF PEACE, as in ALL churches of the saints.
I love that verse because it has cleared up so many things in my life. God is not the Author of Confusion, but of Peace. When the Apostle wrote this it was to a Church that was proud of it’s use of spiritual gifts. Paul told the Corinthians …
1 Corinthians 14:12 …. forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may EXCEL TO THE EDIFYING OF THE CHURCH.
1 Corinthians 14:26 …. How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
You can have spiritual gifts. You can do great things. But if LOVE – Godly Love – is not in the mix then God is not in it. God is NOT the Author of confusion – but of PEACE. When someone says something to confuse me I ask them to repeat the statement. If they still confuse me GOD IS NOT IN IT. Genuine Godly love edifies – it builds up – it blesses. It thinks.
Pastor Ray Stedman said “Love acts like hate when it refuses to think”. A good thing becomes a bad thing when it does not LIFT UP to God. A good thing becomes a bad thing when it does not glorify the Master. Paul prayed for the Church that their love would grow in knowledge and discernment – that it would be SPIRIT driven and SCRIPTURE based.
After Paul expresses his heart’s desire for the Church he writes:
|Philippians 1:10-11 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; 11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.|
An ABOUNDING, EDIFYING, THINKING GOD SENT LOVE has four things true of it:
- It “approves things that are excellent”. It magnifies things that matter most, and does not waste itself on trivia. It is not side tracked by minutia or the mundane but focuses on “What has God said”.
Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
- It is “sincere and without offense”. The phrase “without offense” is ἀπρόσκοπος aproskopos (ap-ros’-kop-os) meaning “not leading into sin”. Genuine love will lead people TOWARD God not AWAY from God. The congregation at Rome began to fight among themselves over MEAT and what was right to eat. The Apostle told them:
Romans 14:13-21 (KJV)13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. 14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died. 16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. 19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. 20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. 21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
- The Love that God wants in His Church is “filled with the fruits of righteousness” means to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. It is Spirit driven.
Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
There is a difference between LUST and LOVE. LUST is motivated by the desire to lift up SELF. LOVE is motivated by the desire to lift up GOD and our FELLOW MAN.
- The Love that God desires of us will always bring “glory and praise unto God”. We were made to give praise to Him, to honor Him, to love Him.
Psalms 104:1-2 (ESV2011) Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, 2 covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent.
Psalms 86:12 (ESV2011) I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
Love is the answer, but that love must come from and magnify God. I have a dear friend I lost touch with over the years, but I will never forget him. His name was Ron Golder. Ron loved the Lord. He and I used to study the Bible together for hours at a time. Ron taught me Biblical Greek and mentored a young Christian boy into manhood. He made a difference in my life.
Whose life are you making a difference in? Who are you blessing, building up, edifying? If you belong to Jesus Christ, then you are called to be discipled and to make disciples. Let’s make a difference for Him!
May God touch your hearts with His Word.