SERMONS

 

CHRISTIAN LOVE     
[Preached at Community Bible Chapel.  Hico, Texas-10/1999]
  
 
There are three passages of scripture in which there is a list of the spiritual gifts.

There is Romans chapter 12.
Rom 12:4-8 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

 There is 1 Cor chapter 12.
1 Cor 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.

Then Paul goes on about spiritual gifts.
1 Cor 12:4-10 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

There is Eph chapter 4.
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Why does the Holy Spirit give these gifts of which only a few are mentioned today?
Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

How long will these gifts last?
Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

These spiritual gifts are in three categories;
1. Administrative.  Leadership gifts.
2. Serviceable.       For communicating truth or edifying.
3.Temporary Gifts.  Sensational, and incredible in character.

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

But covet earnestly the best gifts.  These are spoken of in chapter 14,one of which is prophecy.  Now the gift of prophecy was a temporary gift.  There is no more "foretelling" but there is such a gift as "forthtelling" or "telling forth".  This is telling or teaching "more" or "detailed explanation" of Scripture that was once foretold.

Yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. This is spoken of in chapter 13.

Christian Charity.  The definition of charity is "moral love".   It we do not have this love, the gifts of the Spirit are nothing.

Love of God is the greatest commandment and the second is like it, which is love of our neighbor.   On these two commandments hang "everything".

Matt 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

It should be noted that the Holy Spirit, at His discretion, bestows the gifts at His discretion or choosing.

1 Cor 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

The Corinthians were very carnal. They were impatient, discontented, envious, inflated with their own importance, selfish, unmindful of the feelings and interests of others, suspicious, resentful, and faultfinding.

Paul was telling them the difference between their condition and Christian love. He was going to show them a better way. Christian love was far better that the sensational gifts of tongue’s, prophesy and even miraculous works.

The old English word "charity" expressed what the Greek word  "love" meant. Over the years it has changed to mean "benevolence", that is good will, loving kindness.

There are several Greek words used for "love".
1. "Eros"- a passionate love. This is where our word erotic comes from, and this word is not found in the Bible. The name derives from Eros, the Greek god of physical desire, whom the Romans called Cupid
2. "Storge" - a pride love for the tribe or family- for your nation.
3. "Phileo"-  a fondness- affection.

4. "Agape" - non-emotional love that loves without any expectation in return. This love does not come with the thought of enjoying or possessing the object of its love.

It is best described as the absence of hate, jealousy, envy, resentment, or bitterness. It as a mental attitude.

Here are several ways this love is expressed in the New Testament.

It is a response to God's love.
I Jn 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

It is implanted in the heart by the Holy Spirit.
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

It displaces the old selfish love of pre-salvation.  This love was a love to possess that which we loved.

Believers are exhorted to love "all" men.
Matt 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Now this is not emotional love.   This is impossible.  This HAS to be AGAPE love.

Christ has commanded this love.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

 It is a proof of our love for God.
I Jn 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

The theme of chapter 13 is: Love is the better way.

It speaks of the value of love
1 Cor 13:1-3 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 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 charity, I am nothing. 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.

It speaks of the characteristics, or attributes, or nature of love
1 Cor 13:4-7 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

It speaks of the permanency, or lasting durability of love.
1 Cor 13:8-13 Charity 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. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 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 now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Without love, tongues are as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.  Tongues had an exaggerated importance to the Corinthians, and they were nothing but "noise makers".

Without love, spiritual gifts make us nothing.

"Mysteries" were the undisclosed doctrines given to Paul, which were not known in Old Testament times.

Eph 3:3-6 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Also the new revelation of the Rapture and other knowledge that I cannot cover this morning.

Without love, all our generosities are vain-worthless. There are many different characteristics of love in the Christian life.

There is love's attitude towards other.

Verse 4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Love is longsuffering and is (kind) patient in time of trouble and does not bear a grudge. It does not desire (envieth) what belongs to others whether it be material possessions or physical or spiritual talents. (abilities)  It does not brag (vaunteth) on itself.  It does not seek to be admired, and it is has not pride (puffed up) in itself.

Verse 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Love does not act (unseemily) indecent.  It is not selfish. It has good manners, and does not act dishonorably. (seeketh not her own) it seeks the good of others.  It rejoices in what others have. It is slow to anger, ( not easily provoked)  It "keeps its cool" and is not quick tempered.  It does not make a mountain out of a molehill, and it does not wish evil on others, (thinketh no evil) even for wrongdoing. It seeks no revenge and harbors no bitterness.

Verse 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Love does not cheerfully greet and give it's blessing to sin, but congratulates, that is to praise and cheer on the truth. It has a hunger for the truth and is excited about truth. (rejoiceth is two different words).

Verse 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

NOTE.-The "believeth all things" here does not mean to be gullible.   It means that the believer is not to be overly suspicious of another. If sin is evident, the believer must judge it and support its discipline.

Love (beareth) is willing to cover some sins.  That is to conceal the fault of others to a certain extent rather that make the wrongdoer an object of malicious gossip. When there is any doubt, love gives the benefit of doubt.

Love believes all of God's Word. The Holy Spirit activates, that is produces faith to believe all of God's Word.

Love hopes all things.  It has faith in the promises of God.  Love has no negative outlook on life, it delights in God's promises and the brotherhood of believers.

Love endures all things.  It is relaxed under pressure, knowing that all things world out for our benefit.

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

THIS LOVE NEVER FAILS.  It never ceases to exist.

1 Cor 13:8 Charity 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.

" Prophecies" will be abolished. "Tongues will cease" "Knowledge (new revelation) will be abolished" These are some of the gifts of the Spirit that would cease when the New Canon was completed and circulated

1 Cor 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

At that time knowledge (new revelation)  and prophecy (foretelling) was in part.  Temporary.  Only for that particular time.

1 Cor 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

 Love is greater because it is for the benefit and usefulness of others FOREVER, even after that which is perfect has come.  AMEN