Friday, December 5, 2008

The Love Chapter

Sounding Brass

1 Cor 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.

Covet earnestly (expect) the best gifts. But there is even a better way then walking in the Spirit gifts which bring joy and fulfillment, it is the way of love. This is not physical love, or lust that causes another to suffer. This love gives no pain. It is God's love The King James Bible calls it Charity, I will substitute the word love, as used in other translations.

1 Cor 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

Referring to the gift of tongues, If we speak in earthly and heavenly angel talk, and have not love, we are an irritating sound. Sometimes gifts can be exercised arrogant pride. Speak in love, for we will be judged by the intent of the heart. Love or charity used here is the Greek word agape; affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love. This is the greatest love. This is God's love given to us to love others with.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Mat 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Mat 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

If we belong to Jesus we wll not be under God's wrath, but our motives will be judged. Our words will be judged as the fruit of the heart, for rewards.

Mat 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
Mat 15:20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

An angry unforgiving heart will show in our speech.

1 Cor 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.

Talking again about the Spiritual gifts even if they are used in mighty ways, without love you are nothing. God's love is the most beautiful and powerful and gentle force of all creation. Its is the nature of God. If we perform gifts of the Spirit without love, beware. God's Spirit is love, no love may be an indication of unforgivness or anger, or even a bad spirit. In the last days there will be many false ones posing as Christians who are not of God's Spirit and who are not motivated by love. Love cuts through defenses to the soul. All need love, admit it or not.

Love In Action

1 Cor 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Stern words; many think that good works will earn their way into heaven. No, heaven is reached through faith in Jesus Christ. We are saved unto good works given to us from the LORD. Now the word of God says that all works done without love are worthless. Are you working hard to gain God's favor, that's good, but without love you are wearing yourself out. We are to share love in all that we do. We are to love our Father in heaven and our neighbor as ourself.

The description of love; note that love is an action word.

1 Cor 13:4 Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

To suffer being wronged,

1 Pet 3:13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
1 Pet 3:14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

Love is kind, does not behave rudely; too often, kindness and holiness are missing in the Christian life. These are essential to reflect the image of Christ to others.

Love does not envy; envy is the least productive and most damaging of all such sins . Envy can destroy the object of it's love.

Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;

1 Cor 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Love does not seek its own, but is willing to reach out to others, even the "unlovable"

Love thinks no evil; literally, this means that "love does not store up the memory of any wrong it has received"; I suppose we could fill ourselves so full of hurts, that there would be no room left for Gods love and light. Let Jesus have them all, be free in him.

1 Cor 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Love does not rejoice in iniquity; bad things, but rejoices in the truth; truth brings Jesus to heal a troubled heart. Love wants the best for others, building them up, not tearing them down.

1 Cor 13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Love bears, believes, hopes, endures all things; it keeps going, willing to suffer hurt and wrong for it's cause: to glorify the LORD..

The first time I read this love chapter I was so excited. I was saved at the age of 19. I remember the Sunday School teacher of the teens asking someone to bring verses for the next week. I was not at all familiar with the Bible. The next Sunday with great excitement I brought in these Love verses from 1 Corinthians 13. I knew I had found a great treasure. I had discovered them for my first time. The response of the teacher? " Oh we are all familiar with these verses". What was joy for me faded to embarrassment. Friends, never consider these verses as familiar or routine. They are of the greatest thing God has for us in our service to Him; His love, and our love to others will bring others to Jesus. His love brought Jesus to the cross in our place. Our love reaches out to others in need. Always our reason for ministry is the love of God. I say it again, these are verses of great wealth to us. Learn them well.

Love never fails

1 Cor 13:8 Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

The gifts of the Spirit are appropriate for the present time, but they are not permanent; they are imperfect gifts for an imperfect time.

1 Cor 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
1 Cor 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

Some teach that the gifts, especially tongues ceased when that which was perfect; the Bible was come. These people think that the gifts of tongues, miracles, prophecy, healing's and some of the other gifts ceased with the passing of the twelve apostles.

What do I believe? I believe in the truth of the Bible. I also believe that all the gifts are still exercised by faith. I believe we are in the end times and that in the end times the Holy Spirit will do great works through the Spiritual gifts. I believe that the coming of Jesus and our glory with him will be that which is perfect. Now we are in fleshly bodies who rely on the Holy Spirit. When we are in heavenly bodies we will know as we are known of Him, for we shall see him as He is.

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

1 Cor 13:11 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.
1 Cor 13:12 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.

There is the answer in context. We see through a glass, a looking glass dimly, now we know in part.

2 Cor 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Wait you say? What about the Bible? It is truth, isn't it all we need? Yes it is all we need now, but it doesn't tell us everything. It tells us the way to God, through Jesus Christ. There are questions it does not answer about our life in heaven. How did God make so many planets? What's on those planets? Spiritual questions; were my parents both saved? Questions will be answered when we are with him. When that which is perfect is come. One thing we know, love never fails. It is eternal, We are eternally loved by God. I rest in the hand of my God who loves me.

1 Cor 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

What is your Christian life focused on? What do you really want more of? It should all come back to faith, hope, and love. If it doesn't, we need to receive God's sense of priorities, and put our focus where it belongs.

1 Th 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

1 Pet 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
1 Pet 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Love is the greatest character trait in a child of God.

1 Cor 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.

Love is greater than a mountain or a miracle. Love is the heart of God.

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