"WALK IN LOVE!"
Written and preached by David P. Nolte
EPHESIANS 5:1, 2; 1 CORINTHIANS 13:4-8
The coat aunt Caroline sent was so warm that little 8 year old Joseph
snuggled down into it with gratitude. His thin little legs seemed to lose
themselves upward and his happy face, sitting atop a thin little neck lost
itself downward in the huge coat. It would be just right for this exceptionally
cold winter. As he walked to school, his mother thought, "Nobody will look
at his back, they'll just think about how warm that little boy is in his
new coat." But as Joseph came to a fork in the road, somebody did look
at his back. Philip, the minister's son, and his friends fell in behind
Joseph. They were all wearing new coats too, but theirs fit neatly and
had fluffy collars going up around their ears. Seeing the back of Joseph's
new coat the older boys began laughing and shouting, "Look at Joseph's
coat! Joseph's coat of many colors!" When Joseph got to school he, too,
looked at the back of his coat. He noticed a long straight seam in the
middle and on either side of the seam the material was horribly faded into
two distinct colors. The leap came out of his thin little legs and the
joy left his little heart. What has this story to do with walking in love?
Philip, the minister's son and his friends remind us of one key element.
Philip and his friends fell short
in that respect. They taunted Joseph about his discolored coat. The next
day, Joseph waited to pass the fork in the road until the other boys had
gone by. Then he decided that if he just stayed in the room during recess
and noon breaks, he wouldn't have to put his coat on and nobody would laugh
at him. He watched wistfully out the window as the other kids were playing
in the snow. The next day, to his horror, he noticed Philip wearing the
discolored coat on the playground and all the kids were giggling as he
cavorted around. The next day, Joseph turned the coat inside out to hide
the discoloration. His mother had lined it with black wooly material all
of one shade.. That made things worse! When the older boys saw it they
taunted, "Look at it! Look at it! Inside out! He's wearing his coat inside
out!" In desperation, Joseph decided that he would leave home wearing the
coat, and then on the way to school he'd ditch it behind a rock wall before
he got to the fork in the road. He walked the rest of the way to school
shivering in the cold - but at least no one taunted him about his coat
of many colors. A few days later when roll was called, Joseph did not answer.
One of the children told the teacher that Joseph was home sick with pneumonia.
For several nights, he lay in bed incoherently muttering, "Joseph's coat.
Joseph's coat of many colors. Don't tell mother. Don't tell her they laughed."
Those words came to the ears of Philip, the minister's son. Understanding
what had happened, he hurried with a heavy and sorry heart to the gate
at Joseph's yard to be near, and to pray for, that shivering, sick little
boy. When we walk in love, our hearts become burdened with the burdens
WE WALK IN LOVE WE WILL DO NO WRONG TO OTHERS:
Here's how Paul stated that truth:
"Love does not act unbecomingly."
It is not ugly or rude or thoughtless.
"Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness."
It does not delight in mischief or evil works or cruelty.
13:10 he said, "Love
does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law."
So, would you walk in love? Refrain
conscientiously from doing wrong to others. Don't wrong them
Physically by abuse or assault or
even neglect of their physical needs.
Mentally by treating them with contempt
and making them feel stupid and useless by insults and ridicule and taunts.
Emotionally by failing to encourage
and uplift and by withholding friendship and love and succor.
Spiritually by failing to teach them
Biblical truth and by hindering their walk by our bad or inconsistent example.
Jesus Christ is our prime example
here; He went about doing good, and never doing wrong, to others
His miracles were beneficial, healing,
redemptive and always for the good of others.
His heart was kind to those who failed
Even Judas who betrayed Him with a
kiss, Jesus called, "Friend."
To the disciples who slept while Jesus
agonized in Gethsemane, Jesus spoke kindly and understandingly.
His teachings all point to the good
life and right relationships and closeness to God.
He prayed for God to forgive His malefactors
as He hung on the cross.
His approach is described by Matthew
in these words: "A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick
He will not snuff out, till He leads justice to victory. In His name the
nations will put their hope." Matthew
His love does no wrong to others;
if we walk in love, neither will we do no wrong to others.
Philip began to have sympathy for
that little boy he had mercilessly ridiculed. As he hovered near Joseph's
gate, he saw someone leaving the house and recognized his own father. He
ran to his father, weeping. "I've killed him! I've done it! I've killed
Joseph!" His father asked him to explain and he told him the horrible story
about Joseph's coat. His father asked, "Did you think Joseph died, Philip?
He came near death, but the crisis is past. He will live." Philip knew
he needed discipline, and said, "Father, may I punish myself this time?
Please let me do it! Let me try anyhow!" He explained his method and the
father approved. When Joseph returned to school, he wore a fine new coat
with a fur collar. And for the rest of the winter, Philip showed up wearing
a discolored coat with a black wooly lining. He had learned to walk in
WE WALK IN LOVE WE WILL FEEL SYMPATHY TOWARD OTHERS:
"Love is kind." It is considerate
"Love does not seek its own." It is
not self absorbed or self-centered.
To the Colossians he wrote, "Therefore,
as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion,
kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive
whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord
forgave you." Colossians
To the Thessalonians he wrote, "And
we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help
the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong
for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else." 1
Thessalonians 5:14-15 (NIV).
Those who walk in love will not be
unmoved by the predicament of others.
It will never be, "Am I my brother's
It will never be, "You made your bed,
now lie in it!"
It will never be "That's your problem,
It will never be, "Better you than
It will never be, "So what? Big deal!"
Jesus Christ always had a heart of
sympathy for others.
He cared about the lame and blind
He cared for the poor and hungry and
He cared about the oppressed and downtrodden
He wept with the grieving and heartbroken.
We read, "For we do not have a high
priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one
who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may
receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews
Do you feel with others in their pain?
Do you care about others in their cares?
There are two aspects to walking in love: First, Walk in love toward others.
Be kind, forgiving, generous, helpful. Seek reconciliation; seek the good
of the other person; love as Christ loved. Second, Walk in His love. Jesus
said, "Abide in My love." Nobody ever loved you like Jesus does. He knows
you inside out, and amazingly, still loves you. He loves you as you are,
and sees what His love can help you become. He loves you in your weakness,
and wants to make you strong; He loves you in your failure, and wants to
help you succeed; He loves you in your sin, and wants to make you sinless.
His is a love that seeks, that saves, that redeems, that restores and that
embraces. And you can walk in that love as you walk with Jesus who stands
ready today just to love you. He loved you to death on the cross and wants
to love you to life. If that isn't love, nothing else is. Experience that
love as you commit your life to Him. :Come to Jesus this morning, and begin
the wonderful experience of walking in His love.
IF WE WALK IN LOVE WE WILL GENEROUSLY GIVE TO OTHERS:
"Love is kind." That is it is benevolent,
generous and magnanimous.
"Love is not jealous." It is not afraid
someone will get something it has; it does not hoard possessions for self.
"Love never fails." It doesn't fall
short of any demand, it doesn't fail in face of need.
To the Galatians he wrote, "Therefore,
as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those
who belong to the family of believers." Galatians
To the preacher, Timothy, he wrote
concerning the rich of this world, "Command them to do good, to be rich
in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." 1
Timothy 6:18 (NIV).
Jesus, the greatest lover and the
greatest giver, said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Acts
Jesus Christ taught us how to give
by giving Himself:
"For you know the grace of our Lord
Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor,
so that you through his poverty might become rich." 2
Corinthians 8:9 (NIV).
"This is how we know what love is:
Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives
for our brothers." 1 John
You can bank on this: You will never
have less than enough when you give out of love.
Story from "Great Stories Remembered" compiled and edited by Joe Wheeler,
published by Focus On The Family.
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