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Love Never Fails - Part I

"If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing."
I Corinthians 13:1-3 

Good Morning Beloved,

Thank you all for coming.

Today's Message: Love Never Fails

Open with me our Bibles, the Word of God to I Corinthians chapter 13. Today, we'll be taking a closer look at verses 1 through 3. I Corinthians 13:1-3. Beloved, the Lord has so graciously blessed us, with this first epistle from the apostle Paul to the Corinthian church. In receiving such marvelous text, so rich, for our worship service, it is my prayer today, that you will be as moved by the tremendous power of the Holy Spirit, as I have been in preparing for today's message.

First, let's all bow our heads in prayer.

Heavenly Father,

Lord, we humbly thank You, for everyone joining us here today.  Help us to follow the principles You’re about to give us all here today, to know the blessings You’ve promised us, to receive those blessings with open hands, not closed fists. And, to freely share everything we've been blessed with. Understanding, that it is not ours, Lord, but Yours, for us to manage. 

Father, pray that we might truly come to know the love of Christ, His blood shed for us, His Spirit, indwelling in our hearts, and may we yield to the Spirit so that it’s produced as a fruit, that we might touch the lives of others, and may all that we do,  be done so that our love may abound more and more in wisdom, knowledge  and increased faith, all for Your glory
in Christ’s name

I'd like to begin, by sharing a story that I heard some years ago. It was a story about an actor, who was playing the part of Christ in a play. And, as he was carrying the cross up the hill, a bystander in the crowd began heckling him, and shouting insults. This went on for several minutes, until finally, the actor had taken all of it he could take. So he threw down his cross, walked over to where the bystander was standing, and he punched him.

After the play had ended, the director called him aside and told him, "Look, I know that guy was being a pest, but I have to fire you. We just can't have you behaving this way, especially while playing the part of Jesus." The actor begged, and pleaded, "Please!, Just give me one more chance. I promise that I can handle it, if it ever happens again." So the director, after some careful thought, decided to give him another chance.

The next day, as he was once again carrying his cross up the hill. Surely enough, the heckler was back. You could tell that the actor was really trying hard to control himself, but it was about to get the best of him. He was clinching his fists, grinding his teeth, finally, he turn toward the heckler and said, "I'll see you after the resurrection!"

You know, sometimes it is hard, even for those who profess to be Christians, to behave like Christians should. We try as we may, to carry our crosses, until someone crosses us, then we tend to lose our Christian composure and start behaving in much the same way the rest of the world behaves. Badly!
However, the Bible teaches that we are to be people who exercise love in all of our relationships with one another.

I'd like to invite you to follow along as I read, and listen to these words, from the apostle Paul, is his epistle to the Ephesians, 4:2-3, "with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, 3 diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us " . And again, in Hebrews 12:14, "Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord."

Each of these say the same thing. It may be difficult sometimes, and believe me, not everybody will is easy to love, but if it is possible, we are to live in peace and harmony with everyone.

Perhaps, I'll do an entire series of sermons, that will deal with how to get along with other people,  focusing on I Corinthians 13, commonly referred to as the "love chapter" of the Bible.
Today, however, we'll be looking specifically at the first three verses which Paul begins, in verse 1 by saying, "If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal."

The Importance of Love in Our Lives:
Paul is saying, "I want to show you the best way to handle virtually every situation, and that is the way of love." Then he points out, that love is more important than four other things that Christians consider to be very important.

In verse 1, Paul says that love is more important than spiritual gifts. "If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal." On the day of Pentecost, when the very first gospel sermon was ever preached, God gave the apostles the special gift of being able to speak in languages that they had never learned so that the people hearing them could understand what they were saying.

But here in 1 Corinthians, Paul says that if God gave him the gift of speaking every human language, and even the heavenly language of the angels, but if he didn't have love, then he would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. What did he mean by that?

Back in the 1st Century, there was a big gong or cymbal hanging at the entrance of most pagan temples. When people came to worship, they hit them to awaken the pagan gods so they would listen to their prayers.

Here, Paul is saying that even if he were so blessed that he could speak with the greatest of eloquence in every language, but had not love, then his life was as useless as this ridiculous act of pounding on a gong to awaken non existent gods. Because, love, you see,  is more important than any spiritual gift.

Then in I Corinthians 13 verse 2, Paul says that love is more important than knowledge. "If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing."

Paul is saying, that even if you know it all, if you know everything there is to know about nuclear science, about medicine, philosophy, psychology and every other kind of "ology," if you know it all, but have not love, then you are nothing at all.

Why? Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8:1, "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up."
I don't think we need more knowledge near as much as we need more love. For the hearts of people need to change before society will ever change.

Then, thirdly, in I Corinthians 13:2, Paul says that love is more important than faith. Now he doesn't say that faith is not important. He just says that love is more important. He said, "and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing."

But what is your faith? What do you believe? Do you believe that God, is the Creator of heaven and earth? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son, that He came into our world and He lived a sinless life. Do you believe that He died,  was buried and on the third day rose again?
Do you believe that He is at the right hand of the Father, and is preparing a place for us, that one day He will come again to receive His own?

If you believe all those things, that's great, I am very happy you for it. But the Scripture teaches us, that even if you believe all the right things, but do not have love, then you are nothing! Because even faith is of no value unless it is backed up by love. Its not enough to believe the right things, to do the right things, without love, its all for nothing!

The priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan had faith. The problem was they had no love. So they walked by on the other side and just left the man lying there to die.

In Galatians 5:6, Paul says, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything; what matters is faith working through love."

Fourthly, in I Corinthians 13:3, love is more important than generosity. Paul says, "And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing."

I'd like to point out, what he doesn't say here. He doesn't, "If I give my 10%." He does say is, "Even if I empty my bank account, if I cash in all my stocks, bonds and insurance policies, if I give everything I have away to help the poor,  even sacrificing myself, but I don't have love then I gain nothing at all."

You see, generosity by itself is not enough. I get calls all the time, and I'm sure you do, too, from people appealing for funds for many worthwhile causes. So why give? Do you give just because the preacher just preached a sermon on stewardship? Or, do you feel guilty if you don't give? Do you give because you want to impress others who around you?

Beloved, if the only reason that I give is to receive praise, or to benefit myself, then love is absent, then my giving is empty. The motive for giving, should be act of love, love for God and love for God's people. Do you see it?

So, what Paul is saying that love is more important than spiritual gifts, more important than knowledge, more important than faith, and even more important than generosity.

So, How Do We Practice Love in Our Every Day Lives?:

Obviously, love is very important, perhaps, even much more, than we ever realized. Listen, as I read the words of our Lord Jesus, when says, in John 13:34-35, "I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Take notice that Jesus says that this is a commandment! Its not a suggestion, its not a hope that you will do it. Its a commandment! Now, I'd like to make something very clear, God never commands us to do anything that we cannot do! Never!

We tend to think that love is something that just happens, because that is what the world teaches. You fall in love like you fall into a ditch, or you fall out of love like you fall out of a tree. Because, you can't help it. It is something that "just happens" to you.

I'm sure many of you remember this old song - "I can't help falling in love with you." Another one was, "You've lost that loving feeling." And again, "I love you. Please tell me your name." That's really deep stuff, you know.
But the Bible teaches that love is something we can control. God commands us to love each other. Which means that I can decide to love you, & you in turn can decide to love me. So this is not a hopeless situation at all.
Now, what kind of love is being talked about here? In Philippians 2:4 Paul tells us, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." In other words, to love in the same way that Jesus loved.
Think about others & their interests just like you think about yourself & your interests. You become unselfish. Now let's apply that in several different areas.

First of all, see how that would work in the family. Let's suppose that someone in every family represented here this morning would say, "I'm going to go home & put this into practice."
Start with your spouse. You ought to love your husband or your wife first & most. You ought to be kinder, more tender, more gentle to them even if they're behaving like a jerk. Begin first in your marriage relationship.

Then, it filters down to the relationship you share with your children,  your in laws, and everyone else in the family. Just because you love them! It begins in the family, then it spills over into the church family, and into the world. Why are we to do this? Because in John 13:35, Jesus said, "By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Because, that's the way the world will find out that the message of Jesus Christ is valid. And if we really, truly love one other, and I mean love the way Jesus loved us, then we have to develop in our own lives the same kind of compassion for people that Jesus had.

I remember renting the movie "Free Willy" and watching it with my children. My sons were enthralled, especially one son, who was almost 5 years old. My son set his little rocking chair in front of the TV and literally didn't move for two hours as he watched that movie! Now, that might not sound like a big deal to you, but allow me to fill you in on something, my son doesn't sit still for more than five minutes!

His eyes were glued to the screen. He was mesmerized. He watched everything, every detail. You could see tears welling up in his eyes. You could see him laugh when he was supposed to laugh. He was totally caught up in the movie.

In Closing....

Can you remember getting caught up in something and, identifying so much with what's going on that you actually became involved in the story? That's compassion, my beloved. That's compassion. And, it will cause us to ask ourselves some really tough questions.

"What's it like to hurt deep inside, and no one knows you're hurting? And you don't feel free to tell them that you're hurting? What's it like being sick, knowing you're not going to get well, and wanting more than anything to live? What's it like to be handicapped?" "What's it like to be a minority? "What's it like to be dealing with marital problems, domestic family violence? What's that like?"

What kind of burdens are the people around you carrying today? Do you care enough to help them bear those burdens? Because that's what it means when Jesus talks about loving one another as He has loved us! Love is not an emotion, as the world teaches, love is action. Love is action! Love is reaching out, doing something, even if it costs you everything!

Someone once said, "They will not care how much you know, until they know how much you care."

Jesus Christs' love for us, cost Him His life! What are you willing to sacrifice to demonstrate the love of Jesus to someone?

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

If you have joined us here today, and you do not yet know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, we invite you to receive His invitation to you. It is our prayer that you will respond as today is the day of salvation.
Copyright © 2019-2020 All Rights Reserved

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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