What Characterizes Christianity
I. Christians are to be Characterized by Charity
A. It is a Love that is Experienced
1. The love that Paul first mentions in this text is AGAPE love. The divine love that God imparts to the believer at conversion.
2. It is not a Fickle and Superficial love that comes and goes with time and is dependent upon circumstances and situations for its survival.
3. It is a Faithful and Supernatural love that loves unconditionally in spite of the circumstances. This love Saves, it Sanctifies, it Satisfies, it Sustains, it Sacrifices, it Surrenders, and it Serves.
4. It is the greatest of all Christian graces, for it never fails
5. Nothing works without it and nothing is of value absent from it.
6. It enables you to love what you couldn’t love, to love the unlovely, to forgive the unforgivable, and to accomplish the impossible
7. Hey it’s a love you have experienced! It’s God’s love! Paul said this should change who you are, and because you have experienced it…..
B. It is a Love that is Expressed
1. For this is a Love that Produces a Hatred for Sin
a. Abhor means to be repulsed by, to despise and hate to the extent of complete avoidance.
b. You should never allow sin to become appealing, but appalling.
c. We live in a society were Christians have become numb to sin. We’re no longer offended by it. We’re living peaceably with it.
d. God has not changed His mind on how He feels about sin. He Hates It! It cost Jesus His life!
e. Sin is not humorous, it’s horrible. It’s not something to celebrate, it’s something to correct.
f. God is calling us to Abhor sin in Ourselves and Others
2. For this is a Love that Produces Holiness in the Saints
a. True love will always desire righteousness. It doesn’t just play a part. It is true. It doesn’t say one thing and live another. It is not hypocritical. It says let us have genuine break from evil.
b. Cling means to glue to associate. We are to glue ourselves to righteousness. We should always associate ourselves with righteous company
1Co 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Pro 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Pro 9:6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.
Application: Light has no fellowship with darkness, nor does Christ with Baal. Don’t play a part on stage. Young people if you have friends that are conducting themselves in ungodly things then separate yourselves from them. Sex, drugs, filthy language, alcohol, etc. You may say I want be popular or get that position if I separate myself. Would you rather be popular and powerful or pure? Today you must choose. Choose you this day who you will serve. Today every single one of you will decide. Question is who? I urge you to surrender and follow Christ!
3. For this is a Love that Produces an Honor for Saints
a. There is an Affection
1. Paul was urging this church to love as a family.
2. To love each other dearly as an immediate family member.
3. What the church should realize is that we are family and should love each other as such.
4. This love is not optional. Joh 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
5. The love we have for each other reveals to world we belong to Christ
Joh 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
6. Many churches resemble war zones instead of worship centers.
7. Its not always easy. Someone once said, “To dwell above with saints we love, That will indeed be glory; To dwell below with saints we know, Well, that’s a different story!
Application: How’s your relationship with fellow believers? Is there someone you need let know that you love them? Do you need to make a mends with someone? Forgive someone? You cannot say that you love God and hate your brother.
b. There is an Appraisal
1. Honor= To consider as very valuable, priceless, and precious
2. This is how we are to look upon each other. We are to see one another as someone who has been wondrously saved, gift by God, and specially placed in the body. And that they are someone that we just can’t do without.
3. There are no big “I’s and little u’s.
Application: We should never consider ourselves superior over someone else. Never look down on anyone. God hates haughtiness.
c. There is an Aspiration
1. To prefer means to lead the way.
2. We are to aspire to take the lead or be first in giving honor.
3. We shouldn’t wait on receiving honor before we give it. That would be hypocritical and haughty.
4. We are to be quick to show genuine appreciation and admiration for one another in the family of God.
Today are you characterized by true love? Have you experienced it? Are you expressing it? Are you expressing it through righteous living? Is there sin that you need to deal with personally? Will you decide to follow Christ and serve Him? How is your relationship with other believers? Are you your biggest priority?
If God has spoken you need to respond.