Follow Love

This morning’s message is just taken from one verse in 1st Corinthians 14, I shall read to you the verse before Pastor Isaac brings us God’s message entitled “Follow Love”. 1st Corinthians 14:1,

Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.”

I greet you in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, couple of announcements before we begin to this sermon. Number one is the testimonies of the people who have been baptized and transferred and affirmed in the faith are found in the bulletin today, please take them and read them. And this is our diary for 2018 next year. It is thicker than previous years, not because we added more days to 2018, we just added more pages and the pages are basically sermon notes, places where you can take your sermon notes. So, after every month there are four blank pages and the intention is for you to bring this diary along with you every Sunday and take this sermon notes each Lord’s day. There are 4 pages per month and so there are 4 Sundays, and if there’s a fifth Sunday there are some more blank pages in the back. So please take as many, each one of you should have one at least but as many as you can use. We thank God also for praying for us, for the team that has just returned from the trip to Israel. We landed yesterday afternoon after 12 days touring Israel as well as Jordan. We thank God for his safe keeping. We thank God for very good weather the entire trip. Now please turn your bibles now to 1st Corinthians 14. And I want to return where we left off in Paul’s first epistle to the church at Corinth. We have devoted several past messages to chapter 13 on the topic of charity, or love. Charity is the word that is used in our authorized version but let me backtrack a bit to chapter 13:11-12. Chapter 13 verses 11 & 12 when Paul writes,

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

And these 2 verses, 11 and 12, Paul uses 3 illustrations if you can remember from the last 2 sermons ago to show us spiritual gifts mentioned in verses 8 and 9. Prophecies in tongues, and knowledge that both shall vanish away. The first illustration is a contrast between that which is perfect and partial. And Paul is saying that the work of knowing god’s truth and prophesying occurs only in a fragmental reform. That our knowledge and our prophesying are in part. In other words, incomplete. The second illustration that Paul uses is that of a child and a man, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” And Paul uses that analogy of a child and an adult. And a child normally has a limited vocabulary with which he communicates with. The thought patterns of a child are immature and incomplete and that’s exactly what an adult would expect from a child. And Paul employs the past tense when he refers to his childhood and to him entering the state of manhood. He compares the two periods and then draws the conclusion that the things that interested him as a child had no attraction for him when he became a man. Similarly, at present, we have received God’s revelation which is sufficient for salvation. Yet, we realize that our knowledge of God remains partial, until we personally see Christ face to face. At that time, we will clearly understand God’s design and God’s purpose for our lives. The third illustration that Paul uses again by way of contrast is in verse 12. He says,

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

And Paul is saying that our present lives is similar to a person who sees a rather vague image of themselves in the mirror. You must understand that the mirrors in those days were made of polished metal. The image reflected was sort of hazy and imperfect, unlike our mirrors today. Used as a figure of speech in the New Testament, a mirror indicates the imperfect image believers have. And so, Paul is making a contrast between our present, imperfect seeing which in spite of divine revelation is but a dim reflection. And the future, the perfect vision of God which will no longer be obscure, but be as clear, as believers behold the face of God directly so rather than looking through a glass darkly, he says we see God face to face. And this description of course denotes a direct and immediate – immediate in the sense there is no medium between God and us, an immediate communication with God. Look at verse 12 again, it says,

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

You see the contrast of the words now and then – there’s a contrast between this present age and this coming age. In the future Paul says he shall know as he shall be known. And here he is speaking of God knowing Paul as his son. So Paul would fully know God as his Father when he sees Him face to face and likewise for us we shall know God fully as our father when we see Him face to face. Now, remember chapter 13, this chapter on love is a transition between chapters 12 and 14. Chapter 12 ends with Paul asking a series of rhetorical questions. Look of verse 29 and 30. It says,

“Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?”

And these are rhetorical questions simply means; of course, the answer is no! Not everyone is a prophet and not everyone work miracles. And not everyone has a gift of speaking. In foreign languages not everyone has a gift to interpret. But Paul says there something more fundamental.  You see this something is more universal to the church then all these spiritual gifts and that thing that is fundamental is charity. Is love. And so, Paul says in verse 31,

“But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”

In other words, if God has given you a gift, you are supposed to use that gift for the glory of God – doing the best you can. Yet he says, “I show you a more excellent way”. What is that more excellent way? Love. The more excellent way is that in time and eternity, love remains foundational. To all relationships whether it is divine or human, love will go on forever. And that’s why he says, “Love is greater”. And that’s the reason that love must have the priority because without love, faith and hope are sort of perversions. And so are spiritual gifts. And Paul is saying that love and spiritual gifts, love and truth, will have their proper places and as God’s people we are to be fully committed to both. Yes, we are to use the spiritual gifts that God has given us but to exercise those in love. If not? Then it becomes nothing. Because without love everything is empty. Without love, preaching is empty. Without love, faith is empty, knowledge is empty. Without love, sacrifice and work is empty. Without love, Paul says we are nothing. Without love we profit nothing. So, love remains the indispensable essential in all our relationships with god and with men. We ought to love God with all our heart and soul and mind and we ought to love our neighbours as ourselves. Now Paul picks up this thought again in chapter 14.

So essentially you can reach chapter 12. And sort of skip chapter 13 and go on to chapter 14:1 and the thought will flow naturally. Look at 14:1. Paul says,

“Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.”

Paul devoted an entire chapter, chapter 13, to charity because of the skill mindsets of the Corinthian Christians. The believers in Corinth have been competing with one another over who has the better gifts. And of course, they all think that the better gifts are those that will put the person in the spotlight. The Corinthians thought that when the person stands on the stage, and he speaks the loudest and the longest and is most eloquent; that person must be a more superior Christian. and the Christians in Corinth made up too much of these spiritual gifts that put them in the spotlight but Paul says it’s not necessary. Paul here makes 3 important points concerning gifts and grace. He says number one, these spiritual gifts have their proper place, but they do not occupy a central place in the ministry of the church. They do not even have a permanent place. Second, Paul gives us a principle of ministry in the church and the principle is that grace is more important than gifts. What is the point of a person being endowed with spiritual gifts and yet he does not have love? Paul says that such a person is nothing. What good does spiritual gifts if the person instead of using the gifts to edify and to build up one another chooses to use that gift to despise another person? Because in chapter 8:1 Paul says to the Corinthians we know we all have knowledge. But he says knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. It is a very interesting word he uses, when you’re puffed up, you appear to be big. When you build up, you’re also trying to be bigger as well. But when one is empty – imagine blowing air into a balloon, and that balloon puffs up. But within it – it is just what? Hot air. Rather it is the love that builds up, its love that edifies! Spiritual gifts sometimes can lead to pride and pride stumbles a proud person and the people around him. Gifts are not necessarily evidence of salvation by the way. Spiritual gifts are not salvific in and of their own. Balaam prophesied. But he was a false prophet. And King Saul prophesied. But he was rejected by God. Judas Iscariot had been part of the 12 apostles, he would have been endowed with spiritual gifts, but he was known as the son of perdition. And towards the end of his sermon on the mount, our Lord Jesus Christ gave a warning,

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:22-23)

So, it is a dangerous mistake to measure a person by his gifts, even outward spiritual gifts. But if you have grace, Paul says you are saved.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8)

And Paul writes of himself by the grace of God, 1st Corinthians 15:10,

“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

That grace is manifested here in our text this morning, in charity or in love. And so, Paul teaches us the principle that grace is more important than gifts. The third thing that Paul points out here is this – that grace must always govern the exercise of our spiritual gifts. It has been said that love, it is love that sweetens. And beautify the use of gifts, that love is the master and the spiritual gifts are just the mere servants. If only the Corinthians had exercised their spiritual gifts in a gracious and loving manner, they would have been a blessing. Because they were proud. And their spiritual gifts were puffed up and that’s the cause of all the divisiveness and the factions that are within the church at Corinth. If they had exercised their spiritual gifts in love, they would not have been rebuked by Paul. So, gifts puff up, but if its love that edifies, it is love that builds up. And Paul says here we are to pursue that love. We are to follow after charity. Chapter 14:1, Follow after charity. This is what we are going to consider this morning, just these 3 words: Follow after charity. Paul resumes his instructions on spiritual gifts by reminding us of the key principle in our ministry which is love. Follow after charity follow after love. Why must we follow after love?

3 reasons – number one because love is an active grace. Love is an active grace. Love is not just a nice concept; love is not something when expressed in nice words or poetry. Love is not something we appreciate in our minds. Love is not a piece of art we hang on the wall and we admire. Love is something that we must do and demonstrate. And so, in verse one Paul says we are to follow after charity. Note the verb. The phrase here is follow after. This particular phrase is often translated as persecute. In our Lord’s sermon on the mount he says,

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” (Matthew 5:10-11)

Persecute. It is used by Stephen in his sermon just prior to his martyrdom. In Acts 7:52,

“Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?…”

It is the word used by our Lord Jesus Christ when He confronted Saul of Tarsus on the way to Damascus. When he asked, “Saul, Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?” Persecute. So, what does Paul mean when he says follow after charity? You know those who are purest in their English would say that this is bad English right? You don’t use the word follow after. I mean how can you follow something or someone but to come after? It naturally follows after. But the idea here is that there is an intent of the pursuit of the things of God. As God’s redeemed people we ought to pursue intensely love. We are to pursue love to the same extent and to the same intensity as Paul before his conversion motivated by his hatred for Christians pursue, when he persecuted them to put them in prison. So, Paul would use the same word to exhort believers to pursue. Pursue love, pursue other Christian virtues. Romans 14:19,

“Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”

Same word, persecute. Or 1st Timothy 6:11,

“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”

Or “persecute righteousness and faith and love and patience and meekness”. Or in Philippians 3:12-14 Paul writes of his motto for his life,

“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

So, Love, as the author puts it therefore, is an active grace. Love is the governing principle in Christian living. Is not what you feel, is not what you see, is not what you admire, rather is how we relate to other people, how we treat them. How we talk with them or to them. In 1st Corinthians 16:14, Paul says,

“Let all your things be done with charity.”

Let all things be done with charity. The writer of Hebrews puts love as one of the marks of the believers of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 10:22-23 he writes,

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)”

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. The question is how does this holding fast to the profession of faith look like? When a person is holding fast to the profession of faith how does that person look like? Well verse 24 Hebrews 10 tells us that,

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:”

The person who hold fast the profession of faith is one who is loving. You see Love, dearly beloved, is an active grace. And mind you it can be the simplest of things. It can be as simple as giving a glass of water to one who thirst. Or meals to someone hungers. It may be a kind word to one who is discouraged. Or a listening ear. You remember our lord Jesus one time he said,

“For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” (Matthew 25:42-45)

Love is a simple as that. But our cause therefore as Christians, is to be sensitive to the needs of the people around us. The problem with us is that sometimes we are like ships passing in the middle of the night, we sort of go by one another without even noticing one another. It requires us to be sensitive, it requires us to reach out, it requires us to do the simple things – which any decent human being would do. So, love first of all is an active grace. Second, we ought to pursue love because love is the grace that most resembles our Lord Jesus Christ. Love is the grace that most resembles Jesus Christ. In John’s gospel chapter 13:34-35, our Lord Jesus told his disciples,

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

It is a remarkable thing to know that our Lord Jesus Christ would make love the distinctive mark of the Christian. And the characteristic by which the world would know that we are Christians. By these, by love, shall all man know that you are my disciples. It is not knowledge by the way. It is not even theological knowledge. It is not having our theology where we dot every Is and cross every Ts. It’s not even that. It is not having our theology so straightened out, that the world will know that we are Christians, although that is important. But what? Love. Love. When we first started our missions, I thought all that we needed to do was to preach the gospel. But over the years, I’ve come to realize the preaching of the gospel is important. Very important. But at the same time, we have to realize the people to whom we minister to sometimes in those poor countries are hungry. And their lives are crushed under adverse circumstances. Like our brethren in Vietnam when a typhoon swept and some of the churches were toppled. And you see, you go there, and you preach your gospel and they do not care what we know until they know that we do care. Now why do you think that a Dutch couple, with a strong Dutch accent from Vancouver, would find acceptance by the Hmong people in Thai Samakkhi? I’m speaking of Arie and Jeanette (Missionaries in Thailand). They hardly speak a word of Hmong. They’re the only white people in that part of the village. And when we visit them, we do visitations with them and all we did was to sit down and smile at one another and by hand signals tell them you’re here for them. And you know what? It worked. And so now the youth group now has over 50 young people coming to church every Saturday evening. And Arie would teach English to the children. And he would pronounce duck as dook because of His strong Dutch accent. So don’t be surprised if you go to Thai Samakkhi and find a group of Hmong children speaking English with a Dutch accent. You see, they showed that they care. Sometime ago, I read a book called the Little Princes. It is about a story about a young man (not a believer), who was taking time off from his work and he landed in Nepal. And he was working with an orphanage and he was going to be there and volunteer for about 2 weeks. And these children at the orphanage were not really orphans, they were from parents who were afraid of the kidnappings by the Maoist rebels and  decided to entrust their children to a third party who would then bring them to Kathmandu where they would be educated and so on and so forth, but these parents were cheated, after taking the money these agents would just dump the children on the streets and of course these children were collected and put into an orphanage so to speak. But they were not orphans and this man who was there – in his early twenties, not married, never had any experience with young children he turned up for 2 weeks and he stayed for 2 years. And I remember one statement he wrote in his book very clearly. 

“I really don’t know how to do with children. but see that’s not important. What’s important was that I was there. I showed up and I’m sure that I care.” 

You see just being there, showing you care, showing that you love, is all you need! Just being there. But you have to be there! And you have to show that you care. You see love is an active grace, love is a grace that bears the distinctive marks that we are the children of God. And I said that in the very first sermon on chapter 13, if we were to substitute the word charity with Christ then you would have a beautiful portrait of who Christ is and to the extent that we do the same things as he did. That we are like our Saviour. Let me show you an example, look at Luke 2:51,

“And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

He went down with them and was subject to them. Christ was a person that was subject to His parents. But the word here is interesting because the word here is in the middle voice, which means that He readily put Himself under the authority of His parents. It was not a forced subjection. It was a voluntary subjection. Christ voluntarily subjects Himself to Joseph and Mary. It is that kind of love. And that is required of Christians. Ephesians 5:21,

“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

It’s a voluntarily subjection. It is a subjection that is given not because it is a duty, it is a subjection that is given because that’s who we are. 

Sometimes in husband and wife relationships, the wife would say well “if my husband loves me as Christ loves the church, I will submit to him like I should”. And then if the husband says “well, if my wife submits to me then I would love her.” You see that’s not the kind of love that Paul was talking about. It’s not based upon a condition. This love that Paul is talking about is based upon a calling and Christians are to be like Christ, it is a calling to be gracious and loving even though we may not be treated as rightly as we should be. Just think about our Lord Jesus Christ and his relationship with the disciples. How inconsistent they were in their behaviour. And how weak they were in the faith. And how poor their understanding of what he taught. But look at Christ how kind he was to them! How long-suffering he was to them. He never abandoned them; He never gave them up. And frankly we see ourselves in those disciples as well. We have the same weakness, we have the same shortcomings, but you see, Jesus who is their master, he’s also our master, and that’s what our Lord Jesus relates to us – He wants us to be the same with one another. You know sometimes, Christians, especially those with some knowledge of theology, do not suffer fools easily and they get impatient with one who is not at a same calibre as they are. And they look for so called more compatible fellowship. Someone with the same level, but you know that’s not love. That’s not Christ-like behaviour. That by the way was how the Corinthians treated Paul. They say about Paul in 2nd Corinthians 10:10,

“For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.”

They were not impressed with Paul’s physical appearance neither were they impressed with his oratorical skills. Yet Paul never turned his back on the Corinthians. Dearly beloved, it is Christ- like to love, all the likeness without partiality. It is Christ-like to be forgiving. Christ was called all sorts of names, he was humiliated, He was scourged, He was crucified. And yet on the cross He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Does Christ expect us to do the same? Well, in Acts, Stephen as he was being stoned, he prayed those very words, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” And that’s what Paul says be ye followers of God even as dear children. 

How are we to be followers of God? Walk in love. Ephesians 5:2. The greatest testimony of the church, the greatest testimony of this church, is that anyone can walk through those doors, worship with us, and not feel as if they have entered into a frozen wasteland. That they leave without no one shaking their hands. No one asking for their names because we are all so self-consumed with our own needs. That’s a blight against this church you know that. Instead there must be a sweet-smelling savour of the love of Christ that permeates this entire place. We are to pursue love; we are to follow after charity because love is an active grace. We are to pursue love because it is a grace that most resembles our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thirdly, we are to follow after charity because it is the grace that there is never too much of. Is it possible for a person to love too much? Imagine a husband comes back to his wife and say “Well you know darling, too bad today the quota of my love for you has been reached. That is 100 percent, no more.” Don’t ever say that to your wives, husbands. You may not have dinner tonight. Because love is a grace that you can never have too much of. Remember the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23? and the first one is, what? Love. 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

And then Paul adds at the end of the phrase “again such there is no law”.  “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance against such there is no law.” What does that mean, “against such there is no law”? – It means there’s no legal limit. There is no cap on love. The Apostle John puts it this way,

“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16)

Because He has laid down His life for us, we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. The question is how far does love carry us? The answer to that, John gives us in 1st John 3:16 is to the point of sacrifice. That’s the same kind of love that Christ has for us and there is a close resemblance to the gospel in John 3:16 and 1st John 3:16. John 3:16 gives us the fact that Christ died for us and 1st John 3:16 tells us how we are to apply that fact, that truth. John here is giving, of course, or telling us the extreme example. Just as Christ laid down His life for us, we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. Let’s face it, it’s not likely anyone here would have to give up your life for another person. In all likelihood, all of us, most of us, will die of old age and illness. God has not ordained every Christian to die for Him. Or to die for another person. That’s the ultimate you see. But before we reached that point, where we can declare or when we can say with our lips, “I would die for you”? Look at 1st John 3:17-18. Well John gives us a more down to earth and realistic application. He says,

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

The question really, is that we have to answer is not when we give our lives for another for the sake of Christ. That’s not a question most of us would face. The real question that we have to face is this; to what extent will we inconvenience ourselves in order to demonstrate the love of our Lord Jesus Christ? How much would we inconvenience ourselves? Will you walk the second mile? Will you turn the other cheek? Will you forgive a person beyond the seventh time? Will we apply the love of God only to people who are lovely? Our Lord Jesus Christ asked that question,

“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?” (Matthew 5:46)

If you do good to them which do good to you what thanks have ye for sinners also do the same? 

In 2014, there was a deadly Ebola outbreak in Africa. Some of doctors remained behind when everybody else has evacuated. All the so called “UN Help Agencies” all pulled back. The only doctors remained behind were Christian missionary doctors and nurses. In over the years, there’s always been some concern that Christian missionaries and doctors and nurses do the work because they want to lure people into the church. You know, I offer medicine, you believe in Christ, I offer you more medicine, that kind of idea. But one reporter who was an atheist. He wrote this.

“There is one big difference between missionaries and western merchants. Those who want to exploit, sell their goods to third world countries and make money, so on and so forth. The missionaries don’t profit personally from their work, they’re are compensated very poorly if at all.  Many risk their lives, how many people would risk death to spread the gospel of western consumerism?”

And he noted, this unbelieving reporter, he noted that, “Countries in Sub Saharan Africa, 30% of healthcare facilities are run by Christian missionaries and the healthcare system is crumbling because of declining funding.”

And this writer, by his own admission, an atheist, concludes with this stunning statement. He says,

“As an atheist, I tried to make choices based on evidence and reasons. So, until we are finally ready to invest in secular medicine for Africa, I suggest we stand aside (UN Agencies) and let God and the Christian missionaries do their work.”

Why are they effective? They are effective not because somehow their medicine is better, they’re effective because, they show up and they show love. Can I say this to you, Christians, that every time you show up and you show love, you make an impact for Christ. It means coming to Sunday service, coming to fellowship groups, coming to bible studies. Show up and show love. We are to pursue love because love, is a grace that is excellent. We are to pursue love because love is the grace that most resembles our Lord Jesus Christ. We are to pursue love because love is the grace that we can never have too much of.

My friend, if you are an unbeliever today, let me say this to you. Love, this sacrificial love – the love that we can never have too much of, has a divine source. On our own, no Christian is able to love this much. But we love because He first loved us. And how does God love us? By sending His Son to die for our sins. 1 John 4:10,

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

If this morning you have not yet known the love of God, you must come and confess Christ as your Lord and Saviour.

Now a word to the Christian. Love is the grace that most resembles our Lord Jesus Christ. “By this, shall all men know ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”. To the world, love is the distinctive mark, that we are indeed the people of God. But there is also the assurance that love gives to the one who loves. Love assures us. By loving, we assure ourselves that we are the people of god. 1st John 3:18,

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

How do we know that you are a child of God? How do we know? When we love, not just in word, but in deed and in truth. We are to love by not just in what we say, or what we think about, but in deed, and in truth. Love is an active grace. Therefore, Paul tell us, follow after charity, pursue love. Pursue Love. That is the way Calvary should be. As you come each day, be sensitive to the needs of others. Pursue love. Follow after charity. This is the excellent way Paul has ordained for the church.