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October 26, 2020 1:00 am
Our lives are the books people read every day. Those outside the church are drawn to experience the love that we as believers share. Here is why we do what we do, and what our underlying motive must be if we’re to reach the lost.Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
Rain forests looking to Jesus found her own lives and the books read every those outside the church to experience the love we as believers share today. Look at why we do what we do and what our underlying motive must be weird to reach certain this is Jane helps us make it across the finish line. This is your last message on finding more you fit and will be taking us into one of the best-loved chapters, all Bible will day and you're absolutely right. First Corinthians 13 is one of the most beloved chapters in all the Bible. I encourage my grandchildren to memorize that that great chapter on love and the remarkable statement that no matter what we do if we don't have love, we are nothing want to take a moment and thank the many of you who support the ministry of running to win. It's because of people like you that we can continue. And as you've perhaps heard me say before running to win is now hurting more than 20 different countries of the world. Thank you so much. Would you consider becoming an endurance partner that someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gift.
If you want more information. Here is what you do go to RTW offer.com. Let me give that to you again. RTW offer.com. Click on the endurance partner button or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let us open our Bibles to one of the greatest chapters in all the Scriptures so let me begin with the question, what is it that really does distinguish us as a church from the world.
Is it because we have more money than the world how can laugh at that, because obviously the answer is no, let me ask you, is it because we are more committed to our cause than the world is to its causes. Unfortunately, the answer to that again may be no are some people who are more committed to save the whales than we are committed to save souls. Is it because of what we believe is that what makes us different well that's a trick question now, so be very careful before you answer it because in one sense, the answer is yes, of course, it's what we believe it makes us different. But what we believe in and of itself does not give us a visible difference from the world if you're going to speak about visible difference. You have to go back to the words of Jesus Christ. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one toward another. I need to tell you that throughout the years, I've always felt a little uneasy about that verse. I haven't minded quoting it.
Of course, because it comes from the lips of Christ himself, but I feel uneasy because I have seen in church history.
So many churches that have emphasized love that they have compromised truth and there's always that temptation isn't there. The temptation is that love can just swallow truth whole land and we've seen that time and time again when there are those who will begin to renege on the doctrines because they say will you know God is love, and from there all kinds of heresies have flowed the tension between love and truth is always there. It's been there since the church began really. The year is just to 200 just the third century, northern Africa extreme persecution breaks out violent persecution against the Christians and you know what happens is, understandably, there are some Christians who denied Christ under pressure than the persecution ended and the question was should we welcome these folks back to the church or shouldn't wait.
The church was divided. Cyprian wrote a letter and that he was a bishop in the church and he argued that of course we should invite them back if they repent, they should be welcomed because after all, the founder of the church, the supposedly founder Peter himself denied Christ under pressure. So why can't we welcome these people back there was another man in the church by the name of novation and he argued differently. I novation said that if we begin to welcome these people back number one, we will depreciate the value of martyrdom and number two what an example for future generations.
Young people are going to say what you can deny Christ under pressure because all that you need to do is repent and you're reinstated into the church. It's no big deal, so novation became a hardliner.
In fact, he said that we should not even serve communion to someone who is been married twice. So you have a split in the church, you have the love church on the one side and then on the other side you have the. The truth church and that historians tell us that when Matt split occurred. The church began to then have so many internal divisions among itself that soon it forgot its mission to the world because I had to clean up its own act and resolve the problem of a split but in the Bible truth and love go hand-in-hand and today the topic is love and the chapter is first Corinthians chapter 13 first Corinthians chapter 13 and we would misinterpret this passage where it not for the need to put it into context. In chapter 12 in your number. I preached two messages on first Corinthians chapter 12 and then we went to Romans chapter 12 and then now we're back first Corinthians chapter 12 the last part of the chapter and then chapter 13. Paul is been discussing the issue of gifts with people who have been absorbed with the various gifts, particularly those sensational gift and Paul commends them and says I commend you because you come behind it. No spiritual gift. There were people who were seeking gifts like the gift of tongues and miracles and they they were taking these to an extreme. So Paul ends the 12th chapter and says that he lists them in verse 28 God is appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, and then he puts tongues last and he says not all are apostles, are they not all are prophets, not all speak in tongues, etc. he says all do not have the gifts of healing, verse 31 earnestly desire the greater gifts.
Now he is not telling us that we should go through the list of gifts and choose the ones that we want. He's already emphasized that it is God who puts these gifts within the body and distributes them as he will. But Paul is saying that as a church. When you are thinking about gifts don't just concentrate on the supernatural gifts, but rather he says concentrate on the more important gifts. The greater gifts of communication up teaching and of evangelism and then he says, but I have a more excellent way to teach you because no matter how gifted you are.
If you don't know this, you have missed it. You've missed it by at least a mile and that's the context now. First Corinthians chapter 13 now since this is a famous chapter and it's a chapter on love. I'd like to take you by the hand and very lovingly. Let's walk through this passage of Scripture together and then what were going to do is to look at it in and see its implications for us for our lives and for the church. First of all, in verses 1 to 3 Paul says the love is necessary. Love is necessary. He says if I speak with the tongues of men and of angels. If I am back to gifted and do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Wouldn't you like to have the gift of tongues. Some people would some of us don't think that it is necessary today, but there are those within the church is still pursuing impulses.
Even if you get it and you can talk supernaturally like the Angels and nobody knows how the angel talk is is and if you don't have love it, it's, it's nothing you are empty and then there are those who say will you know I am not interested in tongues.
I'm interested in the gift of prophecy. If there's anything that I want to do is I want to train for the ministry.
I want to really have the gift of communication and preach the word of God. Paul says if I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge this week as I was looking at this I thought you wouldn't it be wonderful if we here at the Moody church hired somebody on the staff like that. Imagine somebody having the gift of prophecy and knowing all mysteries, and the having all knowledge. Can you imagine his counseling sketch. Just imagine, because here somebody who is all this insight and people from around the world are trying to sign up and to get 20 minutes of his time and finally finding the answer of the deep mysteries that plague us. And Paul says if you had a gift like that and didn't have love. It's not just that you would be empty, but he says you would be a nothing you would be a toothpick. With all of the wood carefully shaved from it, nothing, zero.
Well, what about if you have all faith, so as to remove mountains. Now there is something that I'd like to have all these mountains that are in the way. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to speak the word in the mountains disappear pulses.
If you have faith to remove all mountains and if you have love your nothing covers three really, I struggle with it. I think you will too. And if I get all of my possessions to feed the poor and if I deliver my body to be burned but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
I look at this and I say how can somebody who gives all of his possessions to feed the poor not be loving.
I mean there have been those in church history who have done this and and we hold them up as the quintessential example of what love is all about.
And then there are those who give their bodies to be burned. In France there were martyrs who were marched to their death, who sang so loudly that the world hired a man to drown out the sound of the people were going to lay down their lives, impulses I could give my body to be burned.
I could die at the stake still not of love and I say Paul, I thought that that's exactly what love does and Paul would say no, wait a moment before you shout, he would say you have to understand that it's even possible to do that with such a wrong motive that it's not loving though, it looks that way if I give my body to be burned and if I get my possessions to feed the poor pulses. If I do not have love, I am nothing. Love is essential, it is necessary now in the next versus pole picks it up and says that love is special love is special and is certainly by the way, he would say to us you know if we no matter how much we know. No matter how gifted we are, no matter how much we delight in the gifts of others, no matter how wonderful our worship service. What a wonderful worship service. We've had here this morning, no matter how wonderful it is. If you do not have love, you are nothing Paul would say now beginning at verse four and going through to the end of verse seven pulses that love is very special. It is extraordinary. You don't find this in the average office down the loop. You don't find this in the average home. This is this is something so unusual that as we shall see. It is a gift of God. It has to be an Paul doesn't defined love. I wish I'd said Paul you know they're all kinds of arguments can happen in church history over what love really is when I did give us a definition subtly arguments but he doesn't do it, just that I want to describe it, and he gives us some behavioral responses of love and here he lists quite a few.
He begins with two positive ones. He lists eight -ones and then on the other side. He comes up with five positive responses again. So let's just simply take them. First of all, love this patient. That means it's able to endure injuries without retaliation. Remember in first Corinthians 6 he's discussing the question of lawsuits and he says you know you Christian should be going into court with one another in front of a pagan judge on a catcher resolve your own differences and can't you even rather take a wrong then to do something like that love is patient does not have to take another Christian to court to settle the score and to get that last time Bob, love is kind pays back with kindness, that which was delivered in hurt in any begins that negative list. Love is not jealous, it delights rather in the success of others. If you are thought of the roots of jealousy in our hearts and who of us is not been jealous. Who of us has not been willing to see someone who is above us in our company or in our ministry or whatever. Who of us has not secretly seen him fall and perhaps delighted in it. That's not love that that comes from somewhere else. But that's not love. Love is not jealous. Love does not brag. Oh, we've all met those people who draw attention to themselves or say things that even may be true but you listen to them and USACE parenting spare. Love does not brag. Love is not arrogant. We recognize that right away. And the reason we do so with such facility is because we look into the mirror several times a day.
Love is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly know what what would that be will Paul uses that word in chapter 7 of this epistle to referred to a man who might lead a woman along and then in the end not marry her.
Given the indications that he's going to and then and then turn around and having misused or is not love. Love doesn't use a woman towards its own. And there's another word to describe that the begins with a L, that's a four letter word but it's not love it something else. That's not love.
Love does not seek its own, it's, it's not into it for its own interests.
I it's not just interested in its own selfish narrowminded individualistic agenda that's not love. Love is not provoked, and how easily we get provoked at our Day of prayer.
Yesterday somebody was praying and saying that Lord help us when we are in traffic not to get angry. There are people on the expressways who can provoke us if we aren't careful, but be very careful, especially if you have a Jesus bumper sticker of love is not provoked. Love does not keep a record of wrongs. Pulses it doesn't have this whole file folder that can resort to because if you do this and that I can draw up this particular killer file and I can show you what you did back in November 1992. That's not love. I love does not rejoice in unrighteousness. It doesn't delight in evil.
It doesn't like to spread stories and gossip.
Even if the gossip is true because did you know what so-and-so did and I just can't believe it but you know, come to think of it, it is just like him, that's him is not one of something else that is not love doesn't do that pulses it rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, that means that when the going gets difficult. It keeps bearing it believes all things, is it na´ve it's not na´ve, but it does at the give people the benefit of the doubt, it will always try to put stories in the best possible light. That's the way love is and then he says it hopes all things, it hopes for the very best.
It endures all things. That is love. Now I don't think that we should interpret this to mean that if you are being abused, you should simply take it. I want you to know today that if you are being abused in your home by a father or if husband is abusing his wife for abusing his children. You should go for help, but the Bible does indicate that this is a quality of love that you do not find on Main Street. This is special. Love is necessary.
Love is special and love is eternal. We keep going here. I told you we are going for a walk and were not yet to the end of the guard. Notice it says in verse eight love never fails. But if there are gifts of prophecy. They will be done away this past week I was in Nashville speaking at the religious booksellers convention and that you know their rows and rows and rows of books and blues of the publishing company. I would even describe what goes on and and you look at all of those books know enough wisdom to float the world really prophecy the gift of prophecy and and these gifts of communication that they are going to last forever. You are going to have to listen to sermons in heaven.
Paul is saying in a footnote he says that if there are gifts of prophecy. They will be done away all you say but I can speak in tongues factor people now in certain churches who not only are speaking in tongues, but are making animal noises and they are doing that, thinking that they are doing God a favor in themselves a favor and pulses. If there are tongs, they will cease. If there is knowledge what that he means is that gift of knowledge.
He talked about earlier that some people have pieces. It's going to be done away. So all of the books and all of the tapes and all of the things that we put so much stock in today.
They will no longer be relevant at a certain point of time and they will all burn they will over for we know in part and we prophesy in part. See, this is the best we can do.
We need these gifts. In this side of eternity. But when the perfect comes, that is when Jesus returns to earth and the church becomes perfect. This partial, this struggling with our own gifts and knowing where we fit.
He says it is going to be done away when I was a child I used to speak as a child I thought as a child and reason as a child when I became a man I put away childish things. Pulses in all your arguing about gifts and this one is greater and you really need that if you're going to get really plugged into God's childish is not depreciating the gifts mind you, they are very important, but what he saying is is if that's your emphasis and you don't see this overwhelming tide of love. That should engulf all that you do he says you have really missed it and you are childish now what he says will I do know about you, my friend, but I feel rebuked. After reading this chapter and contemplating what the Bible has to say about love how desperately we need it but we also need faith, especially during this time of coded and it's constantly on the news. Let me introduce you to a pastor in Germany whose name was Martin and Kurt now Rinker lived in the 1600s and a plague came to his town and believe this or not. In one year. He buried 4000 people. Now there were days when he had 50 funerals. Of course they were all grouped together in one big service but he's the man who wrote these words. Now thank we all our God with hearts and hands and voices. Let's not think that the church of Jesus Christ has not been here before I'd written a book entitled pandemics, plagues and natural disasters. What is God saying to us very critical and has answers to many questions that people are asking for a gift of any amount. It can be yours.
Let's hear from you today. You can go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com or I hope you have a pen or a pencil where you can write down this phone number 1-888-218-9337 be encouraged from the past but most assuredly from God's holy word is time once again for you to ask Pastor Luzerne question about the Bible or the Christian life Sue Joe, a Coney is one of our many running to win listeners. She has a question about Pastor Luther's view of how creation took place. She writes I have a question about the seven-day creation in Genesis. How do you reconcile this with the appearance of prehistoric creatures such as dinosaurs and then humans, Sue Joe, thank you so much for your question. It's a very good one. And as you might know it is debated among even evangelicals. Not everyone is agreed on these matters, but there are some scientists who believe that it's possible to explain the prehistoric animals and human beings and that dinosaurs and what have you.
It's possible to explain them as having existed prior to the flood so matter fact, there are changes, incontinence and changes throughout the world that can be explained by a worldwide flood that would've taken and displaced many of these fossils in places where you might not expect to find them. I'm not an expert on these matters.
I simply want to encourage you to continue to study and also to realize that there are different points of view and I think we need to be open. We need to be charitable with those who disagree with us to understand that there are many fine Christians who hold an entirely different interpretation of Genesis chapter 1. Meanwhile let us continue to read. Let us continue to listen and to study and someday Sue Joe will understand it all. Thank you Dr. Luther if you'd like to hear your questions answered.
You can just go to our email@example.com and click on ask Pastor Luzerne or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614, the apostle Paul wrote the ultimate essay on after you master first Corinthians chapter 13 you'll know what real love is and isn't will get dogs love the kind he shows us in the kind where to show to others on our next running to win our series concludes with more exposition from the famous local chapter and first running to win is sponsored nature