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The Motivation Of Love Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
October 27, 2020 1:00 am

The Motivation Of Love Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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October 27, 2020 1:00 am

The Apostle Paul wrote the ultimate essay on love. After you master 1 Corinthians 13, you’ll know what real love is, and isn’t. Here are more details on God’s view of love—the kind He shows us, and the kind we’re to show to others.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. The apostle Paul wrote the ultimate essay on love. After you master 1 Corinthians chapter 13, you'll know what real love is and isn't. Today, more details on God's view of love, the kind He shows us and the kind we're to show to others. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, last time you told us that love is necessary. Where are we headed today? Well, Dave, thank you so much, and your introduction has been so perfect in describing this chapter, and today we're going to continue our exposition as we have some practical examples of what love really means. But let me ask you a question. Does God love the world?

Does God love you? You look around in the world today and there's a tremendous amount of suffering. Some of you have gone through real crisis because of COVID. You've lost your jobs.

Perhaps some of the friends of yours or even relatives have died. Where is God in all of this? What is His relationship to these events? In my new book entitled Pandemics, Plagues, and Natural Disasters, what is God saying to us?

Those are the kinds of questions I answer. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to

That's or call us at 1-888-218-9337. And I'll be giving you that contact information once again at the end of this program. But now let's open our Bibles to 1 Corinthians chapter 13. Love is necessary. Love is special. And love is eternal. We keep going here.

I told you we were going for a walk and we're not yet to the end of the garden. Notice it says in verse 8, 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, you know, there are rows and rows and rows of books and booths of the publishing company.

I won't even describe what goes on. And you look at all of those books, you know, enough wisdom to float the world really. But prophecy, the gift of prophecy, and these gifts of communication, they aren't going to last forever. You aren't going to have to listen to sermons in heaven, Paul is saying in a footnote. He says, if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away. Oh, you say, but I can speak in tongues. In fact, there are 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 and themselves a favor. And Paul says if there are tongues, they will cease. If there's knowledge, what that he means is that gift of knowledge he talked about earlier that some people have. He says 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 all burn. 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. Paul says, you know, 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. He said it's childish. He's not depreciating the gifts, mind you.

They are very important. But what he's saying 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. Yeah, that's what he says. For now we see through a mirror dimly but then face to face. Now I know in part but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known. People say, well, we know one another in heaven. Of course we'll know one another and I believe that intuitively we'll know the names of all the folks in heaven because it says now we know in part but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.

It doesn't mean that we're going to be omniscient. In heaven we aren't going to know everything. In fact, one of the things we're going to be doing in heaven is studying God to eternity because the ideas of God will extend to eternity. So we're going to be learning in heaven. We're going to be studying God. That's going to be the subject and but as far as we are concerned, we're going to know each other in heaven and I believe that we're going to be able to walk up to some of those old saints and we'll know them intuitively and we'll just be able to sit down and solve all the biblical questions that puzzled us as to why they acted that way and we'll ask them those questions if they are relevant and that's a mighty big if. I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known but now abide faith, hope, and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love and though not stated expressly, I think Paul wants us to grasp that only love is going to endure because you see when Jesus Christ returns to earth, you'll notice it says now abides faith but we will not need faith anymore because faith will have become sight. We will not need hope because hope will have become a reality but love is going to abide because love is eternal as God for God is love and he that knoweth God loveth the Bible says and so that's Paul's word to the people in Corinth and then he picks up the subject of gifts again and says remember now nothing matters.

It's important but nothing matters unless you love. Well what we need to do is to back up a little bit and ask ourselves this question and the question that we need to ask ourselves is what is going on here in the text that is so significant? What is the love that the Apostle Paul is talking about? It most assuredly is not human love, is it?

Because human beings just don't love that way. This is divine love. This is something that is supernatural and if I could make a distinction it would be this that human love is based on the one who is loved. That's human love. Human love says I can love you because of what you do for me. I love you because you make me feel good. I love you because you are special to me.

When a man says to a woman I love you usually he also means you are lovely in my sight and that's why I love you is because you are easy to love. Now there are two things that attract us to people. One is their looks and I want you to know today that those of you who are beautiful and there are a few of you like that out there, you have an advantage that the rest of us don't have. When you were in supermarkets and your mother took you there, there were people who made over you and talked to you and gave you attention that some of us didn't have because we are attracted to people who are beautiful.

And then the other is personality. You know there are those who just ooze personality. They are very gregarious. They are very outgoing. You'll just love Jim, someone may say, and the reason is because Jim is this outgoing, I was going to say magnetic personality.

I know a man who said that his wife has a magnetic personality and the reason is because virtually everything she wears is charged. And you meet somebody like that and you were attracted to them and that is human love. The Song of Solomon is a poem of human love. How beautiful you are my darling, how beautiful you are.

I guess I should bring Rebecca up here and say this to her. It says your eyes are like doves behind your veil. Your hair is like the mountain goats that have come down from Mount Gilead. Your teeth are like newly washed ewes that give birth and bear twins. And then it goes on to say, it says that your mouth is very beautiful and your lips are like a thread of scarlet. And it says that your temples are like slices of pomegranate behind your veil. Your neck is like the Tower of David with rows and rows of stones on which hang the shields of a thousand warriors.

Are you enjoying this? You make my heart beat faster my love, my beloved sister. You make my heart beat faster by a single glance of your eyes. Your love is more precious to me than wine and your fragrance is more precious than a thousand spices.

Well, the guy had it bad. That's human love. Is there anything wrong with human love? No, that's what makes the world go round. That's what gives us energy. But I'll tell you this about human love.

It isn't strong enough to weather some of the real tough situations of life. Many years ago, I was speaking in Peoria and a woman came forward and talked to me and she showed me her burned arm. She had her little child with her. And she said, I was in a fire and I barely escaped. And she said, my husband came into the hospital room and saw my burned body and walked out and said, you are not the woman that I married.

And he left her to marry a younger person. You see, that's human love. You're doing something for me. You are making me feel good.

You are meeting my needs. I love you because you're lovely. That's human love. Isn't it true that many years ago there was a song that said, I no longer love you, dear.

To waste our lives would be a sin. Please release me, dear, that I might love again and again and again and again and again, always looking for somebody more lovely. It's human love. Divine love is not dependent upon the one who is loved. Divine love is based on the lover. You read 1 Corinthians chapter 13.

There is no way that you can love like this unless the love comes from within you, unless there is a self-originating love that says, I can go on loving you even after you change. You see, that's what real divine love is. And that's why it is divine love.

Because the scripture says so clearly that even when we were without sin in due time, Christ died for the ungodly. You see, God loved us even when we weren't lovely. And that's divine love. And that's why the Bible says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering.

This is not a natural kind of love. This is not human love raised to a higher power. This is supernatural because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. It is spilled in our hearts through the Holy Spirit of God that has been given unto us.

It is just God being himself in our lives. That's what divine love is really all about. And by the way, if you have never responded to divine love, I want you to notice that the text did say that Christ shed his blood for sinners. And if you are here today and you have never drawn near to God to receive that love, you can do that even before you leave today, because God is available for fellowship if you are. So that's why divine love is so powerful.

With it, you can love an enemy. Jesus said that you can do good to those who hate you. You can bless those who curse you. Is that what you do with those who curse you at work? Do you bless them?

Do you pray for those who despitefully use you? You say, well, where would I find the energy to have that kind of a response? And that's the very question you should be asking, because the answer is it must come from God. It is the work of God in the heart to enable us to forgive and to enable us to be able to love supernaturally. And could I say that that's how the early church won the world for Christ, is they loved even to the point of being irrational.

They just loved. Bishop Samuel who died in that hail of bullets that killed Anwar Sadat told Ray Bakke, he said, you know how the church spread in North Africa? He said, you must understand that in the ancient times in the first and second centuries and even before that, the means of birth control was to just simply take unwanted babies and leave them on the street.

Today, when that happens here, it's front page news. But in those days, that's just what happened. And the little babies would cry and eventually they would become hungry and die. And if somebody wanted them, they could pick them up.

But you could just pick up these unwanted babies. And what the church did is it gathered together nursing mothers. You have to understand, in those days, there were no baby bottles. It gathered together nursing mothers and it took them to a square in town and then they would organize baby hunts and they'd go up and down the streets looking for abandoned babies and they would bring them to these mothers who would nurse them and who would adopt them and who would rear them and the world would say, what in the world would make a mother do that?

You see, that's what's called credibility. Something else that happened in the early churches that oftentimes the Christians, because they were persecuted, got the worst jobs and some of them were garbage collectors. And thrown into the garbage, because of Greek philosophy, men like Plato said the body wasn't important anyway. Thrown in the garbage, there were many bodies, some of them burned, some of them who had been infected because of disease and therefore died. And these garbage collectors would take these dirty bodies, burned, dying of disease that they found in the garbage and they would wash them and they would bury them. And they did it because of their theology. They said that even the unjust are going to be raised in resurrection.

You see, the early church saw it as its responsibility to out-love the world. And may I say this, that the world can out-finance us. They've certainly done that. They most assuredly can out-entertain us. They can out-organize us. They can out-business us. But may it never be said that the world is able to out-love us.

May that never be said. And that's the way in which we're going to gain the very thing that the evangelical community has lost in this generation, and that is the word credibility. We are not credible. Intellectually, we can win the arguments at any day. We've got books and we've got scholars, all of whom are very important. And if you take it argument by argument, point by point, Christianity can take on any comers, period. But we're losing it because people don't make their decisions just on the basis of intellect and the basis of rational argument.

They will not make their decision unless there is credibility. And the Scripture said, by this shall all men know that you're my disciples. And Jesus said that because he knew right well how naturally of ourselves, how difficult we find it to love.

Very, very difficult. It is contrary to our nature. That's why we read 1 Corinthians 13 and can scarcely grasp it. Charles Weigel, whom we probably don't know, except that he is the author of the hymn, No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus, was preaching in Pasadena in the previous century. And he came to the evening service where he was to preach. And the first people who met him said, how did you enjoy the rose garden this afternoon?

And he said, very fine. But the next people that he met also said, how did you enjoy the rose garden? He thought he had been seen by a few people.

He couldn't believe that so many had seen him. Everybody said, how did you enjoy the rose garden? Finally said, how come you know that I was in the rose garden this afternoon? And they said, it's because you brought the smell of the roses with you. How are people going to know tomorrow that we were at Moody Church?

How are people in your office, in your bank, in your factory, in your hospital, how are they going to know that we have been in the presence of Christ? It is through this sweet fragrance that God works in our hearts and enables us to respond differently to the painful situations of life because we go on loving and loving and loving. And herein is love, not that we loved God, but because he first loved us. And because he loved us, we love him. And therefore, we also love one another, even to the point of being irrational.

Because love does not confine itself to the categories of reason. It just goes on loving. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples. If you have love one toward another, and it should begin, should begin in this auditorium and spill out into the streets of the city of Chicago. Join me as we pray. Our Father, today we ask in the name of Jesus that all the excuses that we give for why we can't love might be broken down in light of the fact that we've been granted the Holy Spirit, to whom we can submit if we so will, to work in us that which is totally supernatural, that which is so unique, that the world is astonished.

The world is astonished and say, how can somebody do that? Oh Father, we pray that from this congregation that you might raise up those who have been called, and all of us are, to special vocations, to special works, knowing that they have been planted there, that people who know them may say, this person has the smell, the aroma of Christ granted, Lord Jesus, we pray in your name. Amen. My friend, this is Pastor Lutzer. It's very difficult for me to read the scripture without a sense of conviction.

And I suppose that there is no chapter that is so convicting as 1 Corinthians chapter 13. What a high bar God gives us about the doctrine and the teaching of love. Let us love one another. And you know, during this time of crisis in America, it's a great opportunity for us to show love one to another. Perhaps you know someone who because of COVID is ill, someone in a family that needs help.

Maybe someone lost their jobs and not just their health. We're going through a time of crisis. And this is an opportunity for the church to be different, different than the world.

I've written a book entitled pandemics, plagues, and natural disasters. What is God saying to us? Five chapters are devoted to what God says to us. Two chapters on what we should be saying to God.

For a gift of any amount, it can be yours. Here's what you do. Go to That's

Or you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. Time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Bible versions, which are safe to use? George has written asking this. Does Dr. Lutzer endorse the message paraphrase of the Bible?

I need to know before buying it. Well, George, whether or not you buy the Bible, the message is really your decision. I'm not going to make that decision for you. I just need to tell you that there are many good paraphrases out there that can be confidently used and profitably used if they are used as paraphrases. Whether it is the message, also there are those that talk about the living Bible.

We're all acquainted with that. I use these also, particularly in the Old Testament, because when you read it in some of the more literal translations, sometimes it is difficult to get the meaning clearly. So the answer is yes, I think that you should buy a copy of the message, but don't preach out of it. Don't teach out of it. You need something that is much more literal to make sure that you're simply not paraphrasing what someone else has said. But it can be beneficial because its vivid imagery, its contemporary illustrations help us to get to the meaning of the passage.

Bottom line, it depends what you need the translation for. Thank you, George, and thank you, Dr. Lutzer. If you'd like to hear one of your questions answered on this broadcast, go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. The sins of mankind separated us from God, but He was not content to let His finest creation die without hope. He put in motion a plan to redeem those that believe in the value of a great sacrifice, that of Jesus on the cross. Next time, don't miss a series on The Drama of Redemption. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-01 11:22:42 / 2024-02-01 11:31:30 / 9

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