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Characteristics of Christian Love (Part 1 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
February 10, 2021 3:00 am

Characteristics of Christian Love (Part 1 of 4)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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February 10, 2021 3:00 am

Expressing Christ-like love involves a lot more than simply telling others how we feel. Like an exercise routine, it requires hard work and discipline. Listen to Truth For Life as Alistair Begg explains why love necessitates action.


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Think of love as we'll find out today on Truth for Life to express love toward others is hard work. It demands action. Listen as Alister Beck explains what love does in a message titled characteristics of Christian love, both useful and important for us to recognize that in Greek.

Despite an English. Some of these words are here as adjectives in Greek and they are all of these facets are invaluable form. I why is that important.

Well it's important because Paul's emphasis here is not so much upon what love is.

As it is upon what love dominance and the fact that these facets are written is doing words is a reminder to is that if we merely read the word hear the word and do not put it into practice, then it is of no avail to is and where actually like the foolish man who built his house on the sand is important to realize they are all invaluable form secondly is important to realize that each of them is written in the present continuous tense and whether it is indicative or not it is always present continuous a reminder to us that these facets denote actions or and/or attitudes which must become habitual in our lives. They will be employed. They will be seen gradually and by constant repetition in much the same way as one would build a muscle by exercising and it would see it atrophy as a result of an absence of exercise in Corinth, as we have seen, there was jealousy trying selfishness. Surprise, surprise. 2000 years later, in the church of Jesus Christ in Parkside church.

We have to be honest and recognize there is jealousy, pride, dissatisfaction and selfishness. So is it useful to study first Corinthians 13 absolutely because some of us are jealous of the success of other people. Some of us are dissatisfied at the gifts that God has given us, and many others are more concerned about jamming people with their responsibilities than we are humbly accepting from God our opportunities now in considering these characteristics. We need to keep in mind also that Paul is not writing as a technician is not a technical list, as it were, nor is he writing as a theoretician, but he is is is writing rather as a practitioner, he realizes that what is necessary in Corinth is not simply instruction, but transformation.

It must be truth apply, not truth simply learned in the head but truth that is channeled through to the hands and the feet and so on. What will do this evening and wonder of any meaningful way of summarizing these facets is just simply to work through them one at a time and will ask God's help to put his hand upon areas of our lives and areas of our church's life that are obviously in most need of attention.

Okay, so we got a list of 15.

We start now and we finish when were done number one love is patient. Now the word actually refers to a holding intention in our minds before we give rise to passion is a word which is expressive of control. It's what Paul is seeing is this that love has a long fuse. Love takes time before fuming and bursting into flame and the emphasis the usage of this word. Patients here is a patience which primarily refers not to circumstances to people. Some of us are quite patient with circumstances that go awry. But when it comes to people that lead is down or annoy eyes that were not just as loving and as patient as we might be and this is the emphasis here Chrysostom writing in the early century said this word is used of a man who is wronged and who has it easily in his power to avenge himself, but will never do it is not weakness, it is if you like what we find in Jesus. Meekness is another person's is totally bereft of the passion with which to respond, but it is rather that passion is held in check. As a result of the ministry of the Holy Spirit that I wasn't very attractive to the mind of the average Corinthian the heroes of the day where the avengers littlest change once again.

Aristotle taught that the great Greek virtue was a refusal to tolerate insult or injury and to strike back in retaliation at the slightest offense.

If you want to show you what a good guy and a tough guy and a Greek guy and that's exactly what you did. Now Paul says no, no. Love does not do that love is actually patient consider the epitome of this in Jesus himself.

First Peter chapter 2 when they hurled their insults at him. He did not retaliate when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly nothing about it were the two thieves on the cross, although we always think the other was a good guy and a bad guy.

The fact is, they were both bad guys at the start.

They were both involved in mocking Jesus at the beginning. They were both joining in with the course of the crowd and you remember that Jesus had pointed out that he could have called 12 legions of angels just firing the place in his AAN has protection, he chose not to do that and to an individual who hanging facing his death may well have been worthy of the most scan response.

Jesus says to the fellow today you will be with me in paradise.

Love is patient, the love of the father described in second Peter it still Peter writing writing out of the father's love for people to Peter chapter 3 and verse nine the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness. So what's the explanation. The explanation is he is patient with you not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. The patience of the father, the patience of the sun is representative of the patience which should be manifest in our lives. Secondly, love is kind love reacts with goodness towards those who will treat this as if you like the counterpart of patients word of God says do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness that is there to lead you towards repentance is easy to state this, love is kind. It's easy to understand. This, but is hard to do you know if you think about all of the descriptions that might mark our life for longevity.

I put it to you that you that you would never wear this one out.

There's always a spot for kindness.

That kind of kindness is easily expressed is easily understood and is difficult in its application because if you think about it, even within our families within our nuclear family is one of the greatest challenges we have is to be kind to one another to teach brothers and sisters to be kind to each other parents grow weary of saying to their children. If you don't have something kind to say just don't say anything if you can't be kind then just go somewhere else because they recognize his parents the absolute necessity of kindness. But then the children watch the parents and sore from our husbands approach to his wife is anything but trying so the children learn from the absence of kindness in the eyes of the father or in the words of the father not to treat one another with kindness. You see it's not kindness that asserts its rights that despises the gifts that has been given that envies others and treats people with insensitivity, kindness is always long remembered. I find this very challenging. I wonder if you do I see myself in the mirror of the word of God. I realized the need for spirit enabled obedience. Phillips paraphrases this little phrase love looks for a way to be constructed.

Love is patient with the shortcomings of others. Love is constructive in its kindness. Thirdly, and now begins a real list run of negatives saying something positive by the use of a negative number three. It does not envy, it does not envy the real test here is to check our reaction at the news of another success I did.

I feel when some measure of success accrued to someone near me but not to myself. You see, this is the great task of jealousy is a destructive emotion and jealousy was a large part of the church in core people were silly, they were still could not grasp what Paul was saying that the parts of the body that are unseen of the most important parts that are most prominent and that have so much focus are not actually the keys to the issue despite the fact that we can understand that in physical terms, assume and begin to apply it in spiritual terms we can, we tend to think that were not really speaking it right so consequently it's so possible for us to become jealous and envious of one another other so always be a problem because there will always be people who have more than we have and there will always be people who do better than we do.

So we don't learn somehow to win the battle with envy were in deep trouble. The word is used that is used here is Eli is actually used in both a positive and a Negative Way in Scripture, it is the word which would be translated fervent or zealous. Mark my zeal here. Used in a negative way.

The inference is obvious.

There are essentially two kinds of envy, let me tell you what they are. There is the simple envy which covets what other people have. All I wish I had her hair all I wish I had that thing all I wish I had this whatever it was, and am ticked off because I don't that's straightforward, envy the second kind of envy is worse.

It's not as immediately apparent, but is more devastating in its impact. This kind of envy, grudges, the very fact that others have stuff doesn't want the stuff they have bridges hates the fight they have. I want your stuff. I still want you having I don't care if I get it.

I still want you to get. I don't care if I don't have your gift but I don't like you have a negative and I hope you lose it or hope something happens to your will befall on a whole because I am deeply envious of and is one Scottish commentator says meanness of soul can sink. No further than that.

And when that begins to infect a church is one of the most virulent diseases that can ever get it destroy the place all right. Fourthly. Love does not boast, the loving person who is successful doesn't seek a platform upon which to parade their accomplishments as we say, the person who is filled with the love of the Lord Jesus, no matter how successful they are, how bright they are gifted. The art does not always have to be in the front of the operation parading accomplishments. Now this was really apropos current because they had a real problem with this people in Corinth were spiritual showoffs. They were boasting about their gifts they were boasting about their accomplishments. Paul asked to write to them in later chapters to remind him of a principal that he made clear in the seventh verse of chapter 4 for who makes you different from anyone else. He asked what did you have that you did what you have that you did not receive. And if you did receive it. Why do you boast as though you did not.

How easy it is for some of us to enjoy the focus of attention.

How difficult to be out of the focus to find ourselves happy only when we are the ones who are in the spotlight to be interested in the conversation as long as we are the center of the conversation and to be totally disinterested when it moves away from this topic of great interest, namely arts what Paul says is that love is not constantly anxious to impress. Yet within our hearts we sense the need to flaunt our reputation to stir up our background to display our abilities and our successes and then suddenly we read the words concerning the Lord Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant in made in human likeness.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. Love does not boast, fifthly, love is not proud. Great word is foods you try the good work. Sounds almost Japanese way I said it, but worry about that. It means to puff oneself up like a pair of bellows challenges. This is an age where you walk in the average bookstore and it and it's all about be the person you're supposed to be sees them on the wrong guy. Tell them what you are.

Instructors thought of show everybody how cool you are. If you don't, no one else will therefore get in your bosses face and just bought yourself.

Sincerely, what is about in the year that you want to say that Christianity supposed to make a difference.

Says knowledge person who is really finding that the love of the Lord Jesus to puff himself up like a pair of bellows parents you buy that stuff for your kids, you will reap the whirlwind.

And so will I don't buy this garbage. The key to the future of your chalice to puff them up like a pair of bellows to send them out as arrogant little characters so full of their own importance in their own abilities to tell them how wonderful they are and how great they are and how terrific they are, how they're going to be this and are going to be that to be the next thing they surely wash behind your ears. Make sure they say their prayers. Make sure they say please and thank you and be thankful for every minor achievement ever make. But don't go around telling them they're the best thing since sliced bread. You'll regret we all will. There's nobody worse in your office in a fathead litigator, fathead he pumped himself.

William Carey, the father of modern missions goes to India. He came from a cobblers background came from a shoe shop in the circumstances of India at that time Kaylee was caused to move around in environments that he would never ever been in, and even still back in England. God used Carrie God moved Carrie God gave Carrie abilities beyond any training that he never had Carrie translated Scripture into some therapy for Indian dialects in the period of time that he was in India. He was uniquely gifted. He was powerfully use but he was greatly despised because he didn't come out of the right store.

He didn't come from the right kind of pedigree and background, and on one occasion at a function which he was attending a snob at a dinner party with the idea of humiliating Carrie said in a tone of voice loud enough for everyone to hear. So I hear Mr. Carrie you are a shoemaker or no said William Carey I am a shoe mender not a shoemaker.

The guy thought he would doing down Kaylee put himself floor in a world that exalts windbags and fatheads. It's hard not to join the race. Arrogance has a big head. Love has a big heart. Love is concerned to give itself not assert itself. Love is not root it doesn't behave itself indecently or in a shameful manner. In other words, love has good manners. William Barclay says there is a graciousness in Christian love, which never forgets that courtesy and tact and politeness are lovely things. I asked the little boy this morning the course of conversation I said and are you excited to see your grandfather and he said yes sir I comes from the right side of this line, you have your what's this called this Dixon line or something. Whatever it is easy on the right side of it. As far as I'm concerned it would be worth all moving south just to raise our children and then I'll move back again. There is something about the Yankee. The Southerner has a right to comment on love doesn't think that is silly love does not behave indecently love his gracious, courteous, tactful and full of good manners.

It was said by Bishop Lightfoot of one of his students let him go where he will. His face will be a sermon in itself, and there is a way of looking at displays that kind of courtesy and there is a way of looking that manifests disdain and in the church of Jesus Christ. We need to make sure that our attitude and behavior is marked not by rudeness but by kindness. Finally, love is not self-seeking, it does not pursue selfish advantage were halfway through verse five in the matter of the woman who lives for their own selfish advantage will die eventually and obscurity. They will be forgotten in a moment. In contrast, give me, let me give you one from St. Paul's Cathedral in London. A tombstone again.

It is inscribed sacred to the memory of Gen. Charles George Gordon, who at all times and everywhere gave his strength to the weak. His substance to the poor, his sympathy to the suffering and his heart to God. True love, then, is always unselfish.

How easy to say how hard to practice. Let us pray together and now may the love of Jesus filaments as the waters fill the sea him exulting self abasing.

This is Victor pour out upon his Lord as individuals and as a church family.

We pray a genuine desire to channel our energy is enabled by the Spirit to live in love to walk in love, not some kind of mushy sentimentality, but a strong virile God ordained a gap below. Be with us in the journey to our homes and abide with us. There granted in the days in which we are separated from one another that our thoughts and our words concerning one another may be in accord with our study this evening and made a love of the Lord Jesus Christ draw us to himself.

May the joy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Give us strength as we seek to Serafin and made a piece of the Lord Jesus Christ God and keep our hearts and minds today and until Jesus comes or calls us to himself and then forevermore Alister with a message titled characteristics of Christian love your listing to Truth for Life. Alister will be back in just a minute with a special invitation so please keep listening before Alister returns. Here's a reminder, you can request a six week Easter devotional titled an ocean of grace, each entry in this devotional includes a writing or prayer from an important figure from church history on the topic of Christ's death and resurrection, and you can request your copy today when you donate to support the Bible teaching ministry on this program.

Give through our mobile app or a Truth for also call 888-588-7884 again asked for the book an ocean of grace. Now, as promised, here is Alister with an invitation, a seven-day tour of the Alaskan coastline from aboard a Holland America cruise ship. How does that sound. I think it sounds really terrific. The Pacific coastline is as you know, spectacular, and the section that runs all the way up there in Alaska has peculiar beauty. The Bible tells us again and again that the firmament that God is made shows his handiwork that causes us to look up and out and beyond ourselves. And so when we look at God's creation and then we look into the Scriptures together as were going to you have this wonderful juxtaposition of all that God has made so that we might in learning this, and in learning together about this gift to him the praise that he deserves. I hope you'll consider coming along. I think it will be a terrific time and Bob will give you the details as to how you can make that happen and you can find out more about this opportunity will reserve your spot by visiting deeper faith or call 855-565-5519 Bob Lapine join us again tomorrow to learn more about the characteristics of Christian love. The Bible teaching of Alister bag is furnished by Truth for Life or the Learning is for Living

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