Of the Spirit of God. Charity. Love is a grace that the Spirit works through our life. It’s not a gift like we’ve talked about, but it’s a grace that works through our life out of a result of what God has done in our heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. And it’s sandwiched right between chapter twelve, which we’ve just studied, just went over. It talks about the gifts of the Spirit and chapter 14, where it talks about how some of the gifts have been perverted and taken out of context, like the gift of tongues and speaking in tongues. And so God is trying to show us that the priority to preeminence is not the gifts, but it’s the spirit of God working through us. It’s the love that we have towards one another. Let me just say this real quick. Love is the defining hallmark, defining trait of Christianity. All the other religions have a system of rules and regulations and do this, do that, but there’s a lot of hatred, there’s a lot of hatred in the Muslim religion, a lot of hatred in other religions, but love is a defining trait in Christianity because love comes straight from God and it’s God’s love working through us. It’s also the grace by which the body of Christ functions. Your body functions more or less because there’s lubricants in the body. When those lubricants wear out, we get aches and pains and arthritis, right, and crippled up and it’s more painful to do things. That fluid flowing in the body and around those joints and muscles helps things to function smoothly, you know, that’s the same way with the body of Christ. Each one of us are members. And love, the love of God working through us and working with one another helps those things function as it should function. Chapter twelve, verse number 26. To draw attention to that real quick, it says whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it, or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. This past week, brother Dale, Sister Adelaide, they were suffering with the loss of Sister Rachel. And I know, like we said this morning, she’s not lost, we know right where she is. But they were suffering. And I believe that you were suffering with them. You may not have walked in their shoes, you may have, but you were right there with them, suffering with them. When something happens to one of our congregation and a member is honored, we rejoice with them. We are happy for them. We praise the Lord together for them. That’s the love of God working in our midst to help encourage and unify and lift one another up. So he’s saying, here’s the gift. Chapter twelve. There’s diversities of gifts, but it’s the same spirit. There’s differences of administrations, but the same Lord, there’s diversities of operations but the same God which work us all in all. So there’s differences in how God distributes the gifts, how he operates, the gifts and different administrations of the gifts. But it’s the same God, the same Lord, the same Spirit that works in each of those areas. And the purpose is to edify the Lord Jesus Christ, lift the Lord up and help build one another. Just as a reminder. Chapter twelve. We’re one body, working together, suffering together, rejoicing together, needing one another. We need one another. And if anything we’ll tell you that this week we needed one another. We encourage one another to help one another. We need that more and more. Listen, you’re not going to get that out in the world at the workforce. You go to the workforce tomorrow or next week, you may have a week off, whatever it may be some days off, you’re not going to get that. But you will get that with a church that loves the Lord and is doing what is supposed to be doing and loving one another. It is, well it’s a quote from one of the commentators. Well, to be furnished with the abilities that make one useful. It’s good to have those qualities, those gifts that God gives, but it’s best to be filled with love. And we’re going to see that. In verse 31, chapter twelve, the Apostle Paul writes, but covet earnestly the best gifts. And you notice the gifts of tongues is at the bottom, the other gifts are at the top of be able to edify and encourage one another the gift of prophecy, of speaking, of declaring the word of God, there’s teachers and so on. And we said covet earnestly the best gifts, and yet show I unto you a more excellent way. There’s things that will be said by our actions and our getting together and encouraging one another that may be unspoken words, but will be felt greater than somebody that has an eloquent speaking ability which your pastor does not have. But there are things, you know how it is when you’re suffering, you’re hurting, you need somebody. Somebody comes alongside of you and just slips their arm around you and says I’m praying for you. And they might even say I’m praying for you, may just pat you on the back. I recognize my dad’s patch on the back. When he comes by he might pat me on the shoulder, pat me on the back. You know what he’s saying? I love you son, I’m praying for you. He’s encouraging me. And nothing may ever be said, but that’s the spoken language of love. And that’s what we’re getting into tonight. Chapter 13 the necessity of having charity. Again. Charity is the crowning grace of the Spirit of God. It is God’s love should have brought in our hearts towards one another, working itself out. It’s love in the highest and greatest degree. It’s not an emotion based upon compassion. That’s what some people think of charity. And we’ll give to this charitable cause, we’ll give to this organization and not anything necessarily wrong with giving to those organizations, as long as it doesn’t take the place of you giving back to the Lord his first fruits, what’s do him. But that’s not charity. Charity in its biblical sense is actually an affection, an action based upon what’s happened inside the new creation, based upon what God has done to our heart. And it affects all of human relations. We’ll get into the verses here in a minute. It’s made, it’s designed to live in our homes, live in our workplace, live in our lives. It’s the foundation of our home. No wonder our homes in America aren’t what they ought to be, because there’s love that’s missing God’s love. You and I don’t know how to love one another apart from God’s love, from the love of God. It’s the foundation of the family, foundation of the nation. Verse number one. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I become a sounding brass or a tinkling symbol. Let’s pray. Heavenly Father lord, please help us tonight. Pray that you would get glory and honor through the message. Pray that you give me clarity of thought. And Lord, help us to realize the importance of what’s before us tonight of Christian love in its truest sense. In Jesus name we pray. Amen. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not cheered, he said he puts that gift that they were struggling with at the very forefront. He said, no, I have the gift that you’re wanting, that you’re struggling with, that you’re desiring to have to show everybody else, hey, I’ve got the gift of speaking. I can speak eloquently like great men. I can speak like angels. I can even speak their language. He says, though you have all that if you don’t have charity. Look what he says. I have become a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. If you’ve ever been around a marching band, you know that that is the loudest part of the marching band. And he said, you’re really, you’re doing nothing but making noise. It’s not affecting anybody. You’re not impacting anybody. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, you see, he’s listed prophecy, he’s listed understanding, he’s listed knowledge and faith. We talked about that in chapter number twelve. He said, though I have all that, if I don’t have charity, I am what? Nothing. He says, I can do nothing. In verse number one. It’s interesting. William Tindale was one of the men before 1611 that translated the Bible and the first men to translate the Bible in the English language. He had many enemies who persecuted him, but he returned their hatred of love. This is what he said in one of the enemies. He said, take away my goods, take away my good name. Yet so long as Christ dwelleth in my heart, so long shall I love you. Not a wit the list and what a testimony that was. Listen, you might be able to speak out against somebody’s actions, but you can’t deny the love, the testimony of a Christian love, and how many people have been won through that testimony. So let’s not forget that’s why we are here, still continuing on, is to show the love of Christ to those around us. He said that’s what makes us effective is the love of God working through us. He says, if I don’t have love, I can do nothing. I’m just sounding, just making noise. He says, I am nothing. Verse number three though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, so I give everything away. And though I give my body to be burned, I suffer martyrdom. I’m suffering for the cause of Christ and have not charity. It prompted me. What? Nothing. He said, I can do everything right, but if I don’t have love in my heart, god’s love in my heart, it’s not doing me any good, and it’s not doing the other person any good. He said charity is greater than tongues. Prophecy, understanding, knowledge, faith, laying down my life, giving my goods to feed the poor. Now, those things no doubt will happen if we have the love of God in our hearts. But he said it’s got to start with the love of God first. Here’s the description of charity. Charity suffers long and is kind. Long suffering. It bears injuries or provocation for a long time. It’s patient, not easily provoked, like your parents were when you were growing up, right? A long suffering say they weren’t very long suffering. They were probably more long suffering than you realize, and you recognize that the older you get. But they were patient. Says, charity suffers long and is kind. Patience is passive. We kind of refrain from acting when we’re longsuffering. But being kind means you go forward and do something. It’s active. It would be long suffering to listen to that Salvation Army bell day in and day out as you pass by and refrain from doing anything about it, just passing by, not saying anything to them, but just they ring, ring, ring. After a while, that ringing gets in your ears. That’s long suffering. That’s a silly example. Being kind might be buying them dinner or something, I don’t know. But it’s active. It goes beyond and does something for them. 1 may be patient without being kind, but kindness is love. That’s working all right. So charity sufferth long. It’s longsuffering. Charity is kind. Charity envyth not. It’s not grudging. Envy is grudging or feeling uneasy or discontent at the sight of somebody else’s superior excellence or their goodness. A great Scottish preacher, Andrew Bonard, said this after preaching 20 years. He said, it is amazing that the Lord has spared me and used me at all envy as my hurt. Today I’ve been seeking grace to rejoice over the usefulness of others, even when it cast me into the shade. Other men, I’m not glad for them, but I’m glad for me that they have struggled with those things. He said, Lord, give more and more to those brethren whom I have despised. Envy is the opposite of love. We start envying what others get. We’re not loving them. We’re not showing them God’s love. Lord Byron’s poems, when they were first appeared, there was an anonymous quote that was made. And just listen to this. You may not know who this is, but listen to the quote. He said, in the presence of such genius, it could no longer be considered that Sir Walter Scott was a leading poet of his day. You know who wrote that anonymous or said that anonymous quote? Sir Walter Scott. That’s pretty good, isn’t it? He said, in the presence of such genius, it could no longer be considered that Sir Walter Scott was the leading poet of his day. That’s not being envious, that’s saying, Dear hunters, if your cochurch member comes back with a twelve point and you come back with nothing, you rejoice and say, that’s wonderful, bless the Lord. Now will you share some of your deer meat with me? You rejoice with them and thank the Lord for them. Don’t go stealing their deer or anything like that, but let’s keep going. Charity envy is not let’s get too close to home, I think. Charity envy is not charity vantas, not itself. It’s not boastful, not a vain display of one’s own worth, not bragging. The person who loves is not arrogant towards somebody else or trying to make someone else feel inferior. They’re not seeking to gain an advantage over somebody else. You and I have nothing that God didn’t give to us. So we have nothing to brag over except God had mercy and he gave us what he gave us. Many of you have the gift of singing, but I don’t know of any of you that brag that you can sing and bless the Lord for that. Why would we brag? God give you that ability. You may have the ability to build something with your hands. I think Brother James, how he constructs used to construct cabinets. You should do things like that and do the outside work of cabinet trim. Work. That’s the word I was thinking of. And how he can make it look seamless. That’s a talent that God has given him. I can’t do that. I’ve tried. And there are gaps and it looks horrible. It looks like maybe a two year old put it together, but God’s given him that ability. But I haven’t heard him brag about that. Say that I’m better than anybody else doing it. It’s not vomiting itself. It’s trying to seek, and we’ll see that it seeks the betterment of someone else. That’s love. We have nothing other than what God has given us. We love him because he first loved us. Charity bonus not itself is not puffed up that’s the same deal does not boastful verse number five. Does not behave itself unseemly. Unseemly is not fit or becoming an indecent. Not behaving ugly towards somebody. You know how kids in school will start getting ugly towards somebody else? That’s not love. And that shouldn’t have a place in the church house among God’s family. Amen. We shouldn’t be ugly towards somebody else. We should strive to love them. Why? Because God loved us. Think about this. We’re in the enemies of God. We weren’t any better than that person that we have a hard time getting along with. We were just as wicked as the most wicked blasphemer as the most wicked, drunkard as the drug addict. We were just as bad off without Christ as they are. So let’s be careful to remember where God brought us from and loved them in return. Because God loved them. He loved them so much that he came to this earth to dialed a cross for them. So let’s see them as God sees them. Does not behave itself unseemly. Seekth not her own. It’s seeking the betterment of someone else. You love your wife. You want her to do well. You want to see her needs met and to see her better off. It’s not easily provoked. Things that goes back also to being long suffering, but it’s not irritable. Amen. It’s not easily provoked. All those buttons that you know if you push and your spouse will get aggravated, don’t push those buttons. Don’t try to provoke your spouse. Amen. All right. Think of no evil, doesn’t wish evil towards somebody else. This is getting harder and harder, isn’t it? And the only perfect example of love incarnate was Jesus Christ himself. He was love personified. And every single one of these you could think of an event or something that happened that showed this character trait of the Lord Jesus Christ, how he showed this love because it’s only divine love. This isn’t human love. Somebody out in the world that doesn’t know Christ can’t live like this. But God’s people should be able to. We should be able to say, hey, brother, I’m not walking in your shoes. But you’re hurting. I’m hurting with you. I’m not walking in your shoes. You’ve been honored, you’ve been promoted. God’s blessing you. God’s helping you. Bless the Lord. Let’s rejoice together. We’re in this together. Does not behave itself unseemly. Seeking not our own is not easily provoked. Thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in. Iniquity. I read this. It said, don’t think it’s no evil. Our memory often is a mirror of our character. We too often forget the wrong we do, but we remember the wrongs of others. True love will cover that memory and say, what are you talking about? Think about this. That’s what God did with our sins, didn’t he? He put them out of his remembrance. He said, what sins are you talking about there? As far as the east is from the west. They’re forgiven. They’re gone. Now things may come back up to mind, but we don’t hold that to the other person’s account. When we truly forgive somebody and you know where that starts is the love of God. But you can’t love your neighbor. You can’t love your fellow church member. If that love for God’s not where it should be, when we put ourselves on the throne, God’s off the throne, then this relationship here is going to be messed up as well. So what’s the answer? We’ll put God back where he belongs. Lord, you’re preeminent my life. And if you love that person, then I’m going to do my best to love that person too. And you’re going to have to help me. But Lord, you shed abroad your love in my heart for them. Rejoice is not iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Why is it that bad news travels so much faster than good news? Gossip travels. We love. If we’re honest, our natural flesh loves to hear gossip, loves to hear bad news. We love to hear that, hey, maybe we’re better than somebody else. It makes us feel good for a while, I guess. But when we make our ears garbage cans, we’re actually showing ourselves to be not at all better than what we just heard. Rejoice is not an iniquity. Don’t rejoice inherit the bad news? It happens to somebody else. We ought to consider that could be us if it weren’t for the grace of God. But by the grace of God, there go we. Rejoices in the truth, beareth all things. There are things that we bear from maybe the hurt of a loved one. Somebody hurts us, but we bear it because we love them. Somebody that doesn’t love will have a hard time bearing that. We bear the faults of others, overlooking the faults of others by covering it with kindness. I like this quote. It says, True optimism has a place for sorrow and tragedy. In the purpose of God. We bear things. We know God loves us. If God loves us, we know that he won’t cause anything to happen to me that’s not in my best interest. And for his glory, it’s going to work out together for good. And that love is made perfect when I’m trusting Him. So I’m able to bear that when those things happen to me, it believeth all things, beareth all things, believeth all things, full of trust, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love may see the worst, but we hope for the best. When Jesus the night Jesus was portrayed, what did he do? He went out with his disciples. He sang a hymn. Jesus went out to meet the worst that the world had to offer. He endured the cross, despising the shame for the joy that was set before Him. He knew what lay ahead, but his love was his motivation for going through with the cross. Charity never faileth, but whether it be prophecies, they shall fail. Whether it be tongues, they shall cease. Whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. Let’s just sum up so far what we’ve heard. Love is not selfish. God’s love is not selfish. But instead it’s giving oneself for the good of somebody else, seeking the best for someone else and rejoicing in the best. When that happens and it’s God’s love, it’s not out of human love, but God’s love is permanent says, whether they be prophecies, they shall fail. Whether there be tongues, they shall cease. Whether it be knowledge, they shall vanish away. Let’s look at the context where we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come and that which is in part shall be done away. This was written at a time when the scriptures were not complete. And so there was a need for the gifts of tongues and the gifts of prophecy and gifts of certain revelations that God would be soap on certain people to give certain truths out. But now we have the completed word of God that we can trust, we can anchor our faith in. And so those things are no longer necessary. And if they do still happen, they happen in God’s choosing and in specialized circumstances. And you probably won’t hear about them because it’s not for the glory of man. I would say if things like that were to happen, I can see it happening maybe with a tribe that’s never heard the Gospel and somebody doesn’t know their language and that God uses this ability to cross over that barricade to get somebody to the Gospel. But you and I, in today’s time, we had the completed word of God. Those other things are done away with. We’ve got God’s word, we’ve got what we need. We just need to get in the Bible more and understand it more, study it more. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things. It’s time for us to grow up inn. And it’s what he’s saying, it’s time to grow up and be a man. And we’ve got the scriptures. You and I have the scriptures. That Paul was saying to the Corinthian Church one of these days you’ll have the Scriptures. He said, I don’t want you arguing anymore over the gifts. I want you to start loving one another and helping one another, encouraging one another. He said, for now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now by the faith, hope, charity, these three. But the greatest of these is charity. The strongest testimony for a Christian in today’s time is the testimony of God’s love shed abroad in our hearts. When we love our enemies, we bless those that persecute us. We pray for those that despitefully use us and would abuse us. That’s on a whole nother level. That’s not my love. That’s God’s love working through me. And that’s a testimony to them. Hey, something’s different about them. That’s God’s love working through them. That is the strongest testament to this world. A mature Christian has learned to love. It’s become a controlling and dominant factor of life. So let me ask you this how is your love for your brethren, for one another? How is your love for your Heavenly Father who’s given us all these things? You remember chapter twelve. It seemed like they were more concerned with the gifts, with the outward things than they were with the giver of those gifts. And how often you and I get caught up in that too. We are more concerned with what God gives us. So it’s a week of thanksgiving. We are thankful for what God has done for us. We sit around the table and we say thanks unto God. We give God thanks for what he’s done for us this year. And then the very next day we go Black Friday shopping. And maybe even a week before we go Black Friday shopping. And I’ve been Black Friday shopping. But where is our mind? Our mind is immediately transferred off of what we’re thankful for. What can I get next? And I said, well maybe I’m doing it for the good of others. I’m Black Friday shopping to get the best bargain out there so I can get more things for others. I like the way you think, but this is you see where we’re going. Our mind is not being thankful for what God’s done for us automatically. It’s a trend. It’s a thing that happens all the time with us. We got to remember, be thankful for what God’s done. A child has to learn how to love their parents and their family. They have things given to them all the time. And they’ve got to learn to love, take sacrifice. Love is a choice. It’s an action. But how many times do you and I act like children with our Heavenly Father? Say, Lord, thank you for this. I really wanted this, but I’ll put up with this. I thank you for it. That’s the best maybe you could do. And we don’t give God thanks for giving us exactly what we need. Say Lord, thank you, I’m trusting you. I love you. I want you to have my whole life. Whatever you see fit for me to have is okay with me. Love is trusting love. There’s no greater love than the love that we can have with our Heavenly Father. We ought to trust Him with everything. He’s faithful. Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known. I think this has a reference to heaven. We can’t understand everything now. We see through the eye of faith what God has revealed to us through His Word. We know what God has told us. We know the comfort that God gives us through his spirit. But you and I have not been there. We haven’t seen that face to face with these eyes. We haven’t experienced it. Think about what Sister Rachel has already experienced. We talked about that this morning. What she is enjoying now, she’s saying, no doubt that look what I traded for a mansion. Say, look what I left behind. I left all that suffering behind. Even the best days I left there on Earth to be with my Lord and Savior said it can’t get any better. You might think that, but it does get better. And one of these days when we’re with Sister Rachel, we’re with our Lord and Savior, things will get even better. And that as much as she is enjoying the presence of her Lord, I believe there are some things that the Lord saves to be enjoyed until after the Rapture and we’re all with our loved ones together. And I don’t know if I can explain that or even go into all the details of that, but I believe that she’s enjoying the presence of God right now. No doubt she’s at peace. She’s rejoicing. I believe there’s even something better that we all get to experience together when we’re with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So now we see through glass, likely. But then face to face. Now I know in part, but then shall I know even as also I am known. We’ll know one another. We’ll know Sister Rachel, and maybe just have to listen for that Southern accent. Amen southern draw. But we’ll know her. We’ll know her and she’ll know who we are. And now, by the faith, hope, charity. These three. But the greatest of these is charity. That’s an amazing comparison. And I can’t begin to expound that thought this evening. I don’t know that I understand all of that verse, but there’s three graces that are abiding. Faith, hope and charity. Faith is our anchor point. Hope is what keeps us going. We’re looking for that blessing, hope. But charity is what helps us function. So listen, we need faith. We need hope. We also need charity. We need our love for God shed abroad in our hearts our love for one another, encourage one another, help one another, lift one another up. Say, brother, I’m there for you. I’m praying for you, sister, I’m praying for you. Is there anything I can do? And when faults are revealed of somebody else, the first thing we do is don’t go post it on Facebook and don’t go telling somebody else. And you know what I found out, but covered it with love and praying for that person, obviously for doing something. That’s detrimental to them or should be taken care of. And we deal with that, but we don’t go spread in it. We love them, encourage them. Love is what the body of Christ functions on. Does that make sense? Chapter 14, verse one. Follow after charity and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy. He said, Follow after charity, desire spiritual gifts rather that you may prophesy. Chapter twelve, verse 31. Now, I’ve shown to you a more excellent way. What God’s given us to do is wonderful. What God enables you to do is wonderful. Let’s do it in love. Love for our Savior, love for one another and be there to help encourage one another. Listen, we are soon approaching, I believe, the sound of the trumpet, the voice of the archangel, the Lord descending from heaven with a shout. And we’ll be with our Lord forever. But how are we going to accomplish what God has left us to accomplish in this life unless we’re working together? Just like this parade coming up, we’re trying to get things together. Many of you brought in candy canes and I haven’t ate one of them yet. I told somebody, I said, I’m only going to eat the ones that are cracked. And I go back here and I toss them up on the counter. And whichever ones are cracked I’m just kidding. I haven’t done that yet. But we’re working together to try to get the gospel out in our community. We’re working together. We’re praying for those that are sick in our church, trying to help one another. Listen, your closest friends are going to be those that you go to church with, those that you meet together with. If they’re not your closest friends, you might not do checking up. So who are you running with? They’re going to rub off on you. You’ve heard the expression run with the dog, you get the fleas. So they should be your closest friends, should be those at church. And I’m thankful. I’m grateful for our church. You are a longsuffering to your preacher who does not have the gift of tongues in one way or the other. Amen. Thank the Lord for that one way. But anyway, charity sufferthong. Let’s just read through that again. We’ll be done. Charity suffereth longsuffering. Charity is kind. I believe we have a kind church, a loving church. You know, visitor comes in, that visitor feels welcome. Many of you go and shake their hands, say, good to have you here. You’re welcoming to that person, that family. That goes a long way to show them how to show them the love of God and it goes a long way to make them feel welcome. I appreciate that. Keep that up. You’re kind. When we have a need, we give to that need. Like the love offering that we’re taking up for Brother Dale and Sister Adelie. You’ve given to that need. And time and time again, we’ve had a need and you’ve given to it. You’re putting that love in action. Let me commend you a little bit for that charity envythnaught. We bless the Lord when God moves in another congregation. We want God to move here, but we thank he is. He is moving here. We thank God for what he’s done in other places as well. What he’s doing. Charity vineth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly. Seeth not our own, it’s not easily provoked. Thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. Said we’re not rejoicing. And somebody sinned when they get converted. We’re rejoicing. We’re rejoicing in the truth going out. Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. You and I can only accomplish this, the true sense of God’s love, by giving our hearts to the love of God, letting God shed his love in our hearts. In other words, we can’t do it ourselves. We have to let God do it. Amen. At the yield to that. That’s a god. All right, let’s stand head down and eyes closed. Thank you, church family, for being a church that loves your preacher and loves one another, loves the Lord, loves lost souls. Here just encourage you tonight. Let’s not quit. Let’s not give up. Let’s keep loving as God told us to love. Sister Bethany is going to play. If you need to come to altar and pray, you’re more than welcome to. We ought to just say, thank you, Lord, for loving me. That’s where it all started. We love him because he first loved us. Whatever it may be, once she plays, you pray.
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