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February 11, 2021 3:00 am
Back on past relationships, attend a think first about people who treated you kindly or about people who wronged you today on Truth for Life. Alastair Begg explains that forgetting past grievances is a challenging characteristic of Christian love. We begin today's message in first Corinthians 13 picking up with verses four through seven. No law. Our initial inclination is to view first Corinthians 13 is a kind of cozy chapter in actual fact to study.
It is like walking through a minefield is a little like sitting on pincushion's and certainly last time. As we look together these initial characteristics we saw that without these facets of genuine Christian love being discovered and displayed in the family of God. Any local church without them will begin to drift and will eventually disintegrate. We said last time that what Paul provides for us here between verse four and the beginning of verse eight is essentially 15 facets of the diamond of agape love.
And again, so that we would return, as it were to first base. On each occasion.
Let me remind you of what we've said concerning this love that we defined in our opening study. I'm quoting Leon Morris now. He says that the love that we are dealing with here is a love for the uncertainly unworthy aloft which proceeds from a God who is love. It is a love lavished on others without a thought of whether they are worthy to receive it or not it proceeds rather from the nature of the lover than from any merit in the ballon last time in order to set the challenge before us as clearly as we might suggest to each other that we would remove the word love from verse four and following and try and read out loud the ensuing verses by replacing our individual names.
There when we begin to do that we see just how challenging these verses really are. We dealt last time with the first seven of these facets and we pick it up again partway through verse five simply working through the list and will go as far as we can. As the time alarms we dealt with.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking and we come now to the phrase, it is not easily angered Paddock suit and I is the word in Greek, from which we get our English word paroxysm which if you look it up in a dictionary and will have a definition somewhere along the lines of violence, temporary crisis of emotion and we usually think of it in terms of a finally outburst having to do with temper.
The fact is that there are some people for all of us who simply provoke us. Sometimes they do it wittingly. Most of the time probably not deliberately and not knowingly but nevertheless consistently we might put it down at the most mundane terms. There are certain people who just get on our nerves and we represent that for others to we can be in their company but they are largely annoyance and the tendency is to blame such people because of the impact they're having on us. We say to ourselves. If they want around. I wouldn't feel the way I do.
If they didn't show up, then I wouldn't be provoked as I am, so it's all their fault for existing for living from being in the same house as me for coming into my bedroom says the brother of his sister, whatever it might be when in point of fact, such reactions failed to face realistically and honestly. The fact about on irritability and our touchiness. John MacArthur recounts the story of the daughter of Jonathan Edwards. One of Edward's daughters had a violent temper and when a young man had fallen in love with her, requested her hand in marriage. He was denied by the father by Jonathan Edward Jonathan Edwards said no you can't marry her, and when the young man sought an explanation. The father said she is not worthy of you. And the young man said, but isn't she a Christian and the father replied yes she is now a court. Edwards, by the grace of God can live with some people with whom no one else could ever live as a tremendous realism about that and brutal honesty, especially in relationship to your doctor and the real challenges do we fit the bill. There is that in any way descriptive of violence instead of loving people. Despite all their faults and their foibles.
Many of us tend so to focus upon what our noises and the people that we are continually provoked to anger we see of people. I just can be in their company. They just get me you think of how many of our offices in the daily routine of business are freeways. As we drive in our cars are school classrooms in our hospital wards display this kind of irritability and touchiness. This provocation and it has to do with our turf and it has to do so often with our rights and when we feel that our turf has been tramped on all our rights have been invaded, then we feel that we have every right is it where to respond in this way, and we are easily angered, justifying it all the time on the basis of what another has done or just because of their presence and this is in direct contrast to everything that we see of the embodiment of love in the Lord Jesus himself.
We refer to first Peter two and I turn you to it again in verses 23 and 24 when they hurled their insults that Jesus he did not retaliate when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He intuited every provocation against them every reason from a human's perspective to result in fiery outbursts chose not to do that.
He embodied this kind of love while says somebody. But what about in Matthew chapter 21 and in verses 11 and 12 when it speaks of Jesus casting the people out of the temple what was happening. Then I'm glad you asked that question because it is a good question because it is often posed and people say well then, if he is such a great lover and if that is the embodiment of love.
How could somebody ever react in that way. And the answer is obvious when we think about Jesus was reacting on that occasion not to any sense of self provocation. He was reacting not to any maligning of himself on impinging upon himself and any sense of wrongdoing, but he was reacting to the profaning of his father's house, and his anger was provoked not by personal abuse, but my concern for God's glory.
Every so often in reading the great apostle Paul, it becomes apparent that there is that which produces in him. This righteous indignation, but when you check it's not about the fact that he was imprisoned.
You never get anything from Paul bellyaching about the fact that he was in jail nor bemoaning the dreadful way in which he was treated in those dreadful floggings, but his anger comes through when he responds to the distortion of the truth when he responds to the presence of immorality in the same way I put it to you that any one with concern for God's truth and for righteousness must surely have been provoked by the women's section in our local newspaper than they are on the front, we were treated to the picture of a lesbian couple cuddling a baby now if that did not infuriate you. You better take a Bible text. You better take a moral text. You better take a Jesus text because the inference behind the picture was straightforward.
Isn't this a lovely scene who could possibly say anything bad about this. After all, nobody's treating the child in an unhelpful way. Isn't it a lovely picture of of nurture and care and so on. And for the vast majority of people and washes over them erodes any sense of conviction. But for the Christian and cannot be, and there is a sense in which that kind of provocation, which is not directed against ourselves in any way produces within is righteous indignation, but such righteous indignation is a far cry from touchiness in my life with my wife or with my kids touchiness with my colleagues irritability with my friends an unwillingness to see the selfishness in my own life and blaming all my reactions on the impact of the third-party. Every time that I burst into flames in response to the actions of my brother and my sister, I declare that I know little to nothing of agape love's challenge. Love is not easily angered, then love keeps no record of wrongs. If you have the King James version it reads think if no evil. Love does not store up the memory of the wrongs it has received the Verne which is used here is a war word which emerges from the world of bookkeeping and accounting.
It is the verb which means to credit to someone's account is a word that is used by Scrooge. When we CMR reader for him and Dickens work as he's constantly entering into ledger all the things that people all him and keeping a record of it all meticulously in his copperplate handwriting. While says Paul where live has invaded a life where live has invaded our church for. Remember he is writing to a church. It will not be filled with people who love to store in their memory bank. The record of wrongs.
Receive when you read anthropology, you discover that at times in the history of man that have been communities that spent most of their time at least amended either feasting on fighting. They were either eating are they were fighting people and many of these communities.
You can read of them. For example, in Polynesia were so consumed with both of these things that he always had a big pot boiling so that they could eat and the also attached to themselves. The reminders of their feuds and when they were home. They would hang them from the roofs and when they made journeys. They would hang them from their balance. They went out and in the words of the boxer spoiled, and they carry the reminders of every blow that lead them. Lord cut them till they cried out, and when you met them there was every evidence on their person that they had been wronged. You can never meet them, but you knew they had been wrong. Your met somebody like that you're not in the company for five minutes and they start to give you the Chronicles of all the wrongs done against some of them can go back a long way. Some of them have an amazing capacity for recollection, things that are to been long dealt with long buried long release and hanging from their belts are worn on the lapel's you can see them hanging from the roof line of their homes. They are brooding people. They are neutralized. People in terms of Christian effectiveness. When you and I find ourselves in this position, no matter how well we may go through the routine we are held captive to the fact that we have determined that all low love keeps no such records. We keep them and we like them if you like we have them all on video and every so often when no one is around.
We put the video in and we replay and we know what exactly which pointer freeze the frame and when we freeze the free will and then load all over again. She did that to me. He did that to me. He said that to me.
He thought that of me to have such a video in your library and I say to you in a racist record over choose not to play for love keeps no such record of wrongs. Think of how the Lord Jesus has treated us. Paul writes to the church at Rome.
Then he says Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him. Never count against. Not even the remotest possibility that it will count against us all possibility of entering his presence and having him run the video and show it to us all over again.
And when we go bank with our own war theology to see all God. I remember all those years ago when I did this and we go back through all the garbage cans of forgiven sin.
The Lord looks of this is not even know what you're talking about because he loves us with an everlasting love when people come to confess to us and remind us of things we need to remember that we been treated with such grace in response to the enormity of our offenses that surely we are to forgive and forget the offenses done against us seems to be the one of the great arts in life is learning what to forget. Why is it that it is so easy to forget what you need to remember and to remember what you need to forget. It's part of our fallenness and the perversity is nonnuclear that in a life or in a whole, or in a church that harbors the record of wrongs. So we proceed through the minefield of first Corinthians 13, you will never again believe this to be a cozy chapter up to which you cut never again it is one of the most challenging sections in the whole Bible.
Next, love does not delight in evil or rejoices not in iniquity, as the King James version sets now well so somebody we can just gloss over this one. It's not a problem. Is it well think it out. There's a part of their streak in human nature, which actually is intrigued by it even enjoys evil, especially in others is neutral, you're halfway through jeopardy. If you watch Jeopardy and they have one of those 22nd promos from one of our famous little news channels to which we all look forward at 11 o'clock at night I'm sure on ask your question. When that little 22nd thing comes on, you can run your own check on this. How often do they come on to tell you something good.
Not often came to me vividly because I was in preparation for this during last week and I was thinking along these lines, I'm watching jeopardy. It cuts away. The man's face comes up and goes and it shows a picture of some gentlemen and it says grandfather involved in the molestation of his grandchildren.
More about this at 11 o'clock all yes sure I want to stay on for more of the filthy trash out of the gutters of life and yet there is a perversity in human nature says the limits of its own. When I want to do that but that evil, including vicariously involved in other people's blackness. Think about it in relationship to movies.
Everybody love the music. I am a compact disc of out of Africa. The great wonderful soaring lines there from the great pictures of the M gong Hills really was back story.
It was an evil story. It was a story about adult and love cannot rejoice in adult love cannot rejoice in evil stand in the grocery line and look at the folks try to sell his magazines even the little Reader's Digest is in it now. They don't leave it permanently on that.
I've noticed that one of these sticky sheets that they put on the front of it amusing that so the you content it often goes away and then you can keep the Reader's Digest in your bathroom and no one will know what it said on the front but then into it now as well because that boring little missive as it appears, is going to need to get jazzed up next to people and Cosmo and all the others, and what's on the cover, adultery, indecency, cheating, lies, corruption, self because it sounds why because men and women of an appetite for you see the transforming power of Jesus Christ is what Paul is addressing here and he saying when the love of Christ invades a fellowship is going to transform all this stuff about coming to the temples of demons is going and is going to transform the way we relate to one another is going to make is the kind of people who learn to live in love and therefore rejoice not when evil is exulted is Philippians 4 essentially in verse eight, whatsoever things are true and whatsoever things are holy, whatsoever things are of good report, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if there's any excellent or praiseworthy think about such things. And yet, we can too easily. As Christians fall into the trap of delighting not in those things, but actually in what is murky and sordid, we can avoid the dangerous traps. Alister is talked about here by setting our minds on things above helpful take away from Alister's message titled characteristics of Christian love your listing to Truth for Life with Alistair Begg as we just heard it's helpful for us to think about things that are excellent, and praiseworthy, but sometimes we could use some encouragement to aim our thoughts in the right direction. That's the reason were recommending the book this week called an ocean of grace. In this devotional pastor and author Tim Chester guides us through the six weeks that lead up to Easter and for each day to most chosen a reflection or a prayer written by a figure from Christian history. People like Charles Spurgeon or Martin Luther just to name a few. There time-tested words continued to paint a compelling portrait of Christ's death and resurrection that will uplift you as much today as they did when they were first written.
Tim is also carefully updated the language in each daily reading so that you clearly understand the treasured thoughts of these inspiring men and women, you can request your copy of an ocean of grace today when you donate a truthful life for when you become one of our monthly crude partners through partners or blisters just like you who give an amount they choose consistently every month and in appreciation for their enabling partnership, they are invited to request both of our monthly book recommendations and they can subscribe to a special message on CD from Alister that is sent out every month. These benefits are our way of saying thank you for being a part of the team that makes Truth for Life possible.
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When you make a one time donation. Simply go to Truth for Life.org/truth partner or you can give us a call at 888588788 Bob Lapine thanks so much for joining us today. You can listen again tomorrow as will learn about two more aspects of Christian love. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life or the learning is prolific