By: Tim Sader
1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
The week before last we talked about putting our hope in the Lord so he can bless us and strengthen us in every way imaginable. Then last week we found out that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of what we cannot see. We learned how faith works, how to gain faith, how to use faith and how faith produces results when we pray. Just as hope is the beginning of faith, hope and faith both are part of a far greater gift from God. In today’s scripture these three biblical truths are listed together because they are in relation to each other. Love is the greatest of the three but hope and faith operate in love so you can’t have either of those without it. Love by far is the most important spiritual truth we can walk in and should be considered above all spiritual truths. When writing this I had been reminded and shown a few things about love. First off last night I was just having some quite time trying to hear from the Lord concerning love. I heard Him tell me in my spirit that a large part of the church is so worried about becoming the bride. In striving for perfection we have become so worried about every ones sin that we have forgotten how to love. What He showed me is that we were already made perfect when Christ showed us His love and laid down His life for us. We need to stop playing the blame game and simply learn to walk in love as Christ commanded us over 2,000 years ago. In the movie Luther Martin Luther said, “We live in a world that hates evil more than it loves good.” It seems to me not a lot has changed since then because we are still more concerned about hating evil then with love. In 1 John 4:11-12 it tells us, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
On Monday I was watching God TV in preparation for getting under the anointing to write this bible study. A preacher named Duncan Smith in the UK was sharing with us how easy it is to share Christ with others. He said where ever he goes; the gas station, a restaurant, on a plane or in a taxi cab he asks, “Have you heard the good news today.” They usually ask something like, what good news? He then tells them, “Jesus really loves you.” This simple conversation is not normal to most people but the effect of hearing of Christ’s love more often than not leads to him being able to share powerful works of the spirit in his every day encounters. The love of Christ is a force that is so powerful nothing evil can stand against it. In Ephesians 3:17-18 the writer prays, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” If we hope in Christ our faith makes the sacrifice he made as the evidence of what is unseen in or hearts. This faith when rooted in love produces power so strong our minds can’t even begin to understand how his love can change things. This power is why the message of Christ’s love shared by Smith leads to ministering salvation, healing and Gods goodness with others. When we walk in love and show others love we to can have the power to show Christ’s love to others.
Jesus in Luke 10:27 answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” It says all the laws of the prophets are fulfilled in these two commands. If we walk in love we will not want to kill, steal, mistreat others or hurt the Lord in anyway. Further on in Luke 10 Jesus explains who our neighbor is with the story of the Good Samaritan. He helped the man who was beat and left for dead when a priest and Levite walked right past. The Samaritan was just passing through but he made sure the man was taken care of. Jesus said the Samaritan was the injured man’s neighbor because he did good to him and showed him love. Romans 13:10 tells us, “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” This Samaritan man was no one special just a stranger on the road he was no priest but still showed more love by saving this man’s life. Christ not only wants us to show love to a stranger but even our enemies. In Luke 6:27-28 Christ says, “I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” If we do this verse 35 tells us, “Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” When we show love to all mankind we are doing as Christ did for us on the cross. 1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” Ultimate love should be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice even laying down our life for another.
1 Timothy 1:14 says, “And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” When Christ surrendered all he showed us great grace and had faith in God because he chose to love man despite our sinful way. He did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. Remember Romans 13 tells us, “Love is the fulfillment of the law.” In Romans 8:38,39 tells us exactly how deep this love is and it says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Nothing can keep us from the love of God; through Christ all we must do is hope and have faith in him and his love will embrace us. So if we really want to reach others we cannot continue focusing on how bad everyone is and constantly putting them down. Christ does not condemn neither should we. 1 Corinthians 13:2-3 says, “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” Basically if we do something good for others only out of obligation or because someone asks us to but are not doing it out of a loving heart we are doing it for no reason at all. 1 Timothy 6:11 says, “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” If we are followers of Christ we should not be doing things for our own gain we should restrain ourselves and pursue what is right in love.
Some of these spiritual traits listed above are fruit of the spirit. They are found in Galatians 5:22,23 and they are, “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Notice here the number one spiritual fruit is love it is before all others for a reason because it should be considered before all other gifts if it’s not in love we should question our motives. Love is number one because it fulfills the law and if there is no law without these fruit then love cannot be fulfilled. In 2 Timothy 1:13 it says, “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.” Faith in Love is the pattern of sound teaching if we follow it we will not be lead astray.
In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 it says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” Today I cannot break this all down but I think it is a strait forward definition of love. It is pure goodness from the heart of God. It is not always easy to walk in this kind of love and many times this love can only be experienced in our hearts when God reveals it to us. We need to strive to love like this though because Galatians 5:6 says, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor un-circumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” He wants us all to love 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” If we are young we should set an example for believers and doing so in love is one of several was to do this. Titus 2:2 says, “Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.” Here faith again is paired with love honoring the wisdom of old age because in old age we should have had the chance to build our faith and love. In James 2:5 he addresses the poor it says, “Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” Here the poor are living in more faith and if they chose to love the Lord they will be made rich and inherit the kingdom.
In 2 Thessalonians 1:3 Paul says, “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.” We should also let our faith grow more and more by reading the word and spending time with God. Our love also should be increasing because Christ’s sacrifice was given by love because God is love. Faith, hope and love go right with each other. 1 Thessalonians 5:8 says, “Let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” We must walk in faith and love always willing to share our hope of salvation with others and showing them our love and the power we have because of our faith in Christ. This morning I was talking to my mom and she not knowing my topic for today had a revelation of God’s love this morning by remembering the most well-known scripture about Gods Love. John 3:16,17 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” God’s love was shown by the sacrifice he made on the cross and by this act saved us all from sin and death. This ultimate act of love fulfilled the law of God and it alone is our command to love God and our fellow man without pointing our fingers at them and judging them because of the sin God has already cleansed them of. Love people! It is truly that easy, you want to see the kingdom come then love is the way to make it happen.