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Bible Pathways 12/4/2000

December 4

Ephesians 4 -- 6

We can let the love of Christ flow through us and manifest His loving-kindness to everyone without exception. But, some who have been offended decide not to forgive, but hold feelings of bitterness. However, we are required to give up all thoughts of resentment and ill will without exception. Let all bitterness (resentment), and wrath (quarreling), and anger, and clamor (slander), and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice (desire to inflict suffering on another) (Ephesians 4:31). Instead of bitterness or anger, we are to be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you (4:32).
Quarreling is an outburst of retaliation, often with abusive language, a reaction against someone who fails to agree with our views.
Equally serious is the sin of evil speaking. To slander a person is one of the seven sins that God hates the most (Proverbs 6:16-19).
Malice is an evil that Christ condemned when He said: Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him (I John 3:15). The presence of any of these evils destroys peace of mind, grieves the Holy Spirit, and affects our relationship with God. Feelings of hate are overcome when we allow the Holy Spirit to rule our lives. But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:15).
Instead of thoughts of bitterness, and anger, we should pray for them as Stephen prayed while he was being stoned to death: Lord, do not hold this sin against them! (Acts 7:60).
Every Christian is a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ and is responsible for, as well as capable of, responding with the love of God for those who, by their words, attitudes, or actions, are unlovely. We are to endeavor to keep (maintain) the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. . . . That we . . . speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, who is the Head, even Christ: From whom the whole Body (the Church), fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint (each one) supplies . . . working together . . . edifying itself in a spirit of love (Ephesians 4:3,14-16).
This is one of the many great reasons why God has commanded that we not forsake or neglect to assemble together, but exhort one another (Hebrews 10:25). Within the Church Body, we can unite with others in endeavors that express God's love, and encourage, strengthen, and bless others who need spiritual help. Our greatest usefulness and fruitfulness comes as we submit ourselves one to another in the fear of God (Ephesians 5:21).
Cross References:
For Ephesians 4:8: See Psa. 68:18. Eph. 4:25: See Zech. 8:16. Eph. 4:26: See Psa. 4:4. Eph. 5:31: See Gen. 2:24. Eph. 6:2-3: See Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16.


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Memory Verse for the Week:
I Peter 1:22

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