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Love Never Fails - Part II

"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  

Today's Message: Love Never Fails Part II

Open with me our Bibles, to the Word of God, I Corinthians chapter 13. Today, we continue to take a closer look at verses 1 through 3. I Corinthians 13:1-3. Beloved, it is my honor and great privilege, to be here with all of you today. And the Lord has powerfully reached down and graciously blessed us, with this magnificent, glorious, and very instructive epistle from the apostle Paul to the Corinthian church. In receiving such marvelous text, so rich, for our worship of Almighty God, it is my prayer today, that you will be as moved, as I have been, by the tremendous power of the Holy Spirit. I pray that you will not only hear today's message, but that your heart will be forever changed by it.

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

Heavenly Father,

We humbly thank You today, for richness of Your Word, Your incomprehensible truths, and how blessed are we for its treasures.  Lord, we love You, we praise You, we thank You for this incomprehensible immeasurable wealth of truth that we hold in our hands, the Holy Bible, and the inconceivable power it brings to bear on our lives by the Spirit which dwells in us. May this ministry always be known for its unconditional love, and obedience to Your Word, above and beyond anything and everything else. And may we do it with love and all for Your glory!
In Christs' name we pray

As we previously discussed the last time, there are sometimes, when it is hard, even for those of us, who profess to be Christians to behave in the way that Christians should. We pick up our crosses daily, we try to carry our crosses, but when someone crosses us, when someone goes out of their way to upset us, we tend to lose our Christian composure, and we begin to behave in much the same way, well, that the rest of the world behaves.

However, the Bible teaches us that we are to be people who exercise love in all of our relationships with one another. Our text today, has been determined by some to be the deepest, the purest, and the strongest aspect of spiritual life about which the apostle Paul had ever written.

Listen to these words, from the apostle Paul, letter to the church at Corinth. I Corinthians 1:1-3, follow along with me as I read.

"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."
Then, in the book of Romans 12:18 "If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone.." And again, in Ephesians 4:2, "with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love" And still again, "Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord." in Hebrews 12:14.

What do all of these Scriptures have in common? In these Scriptures, there is a common thread, that is, they are conveying the same reoccurring thought, they're saying the same thing. While it may be difficult at times, and, let's be honest, not everybody is going to be easy to love, what but the concept is teaching us, is if it is possible, we are to live in peace and harmony with everyone.

What then can we learn from this?
That Love is a choice. Love is an action. Love is an act of the will.

So, as I mentioned last time we were all together, I’m starting a series of sermon messages that will deal specifically with how to get along with other people, and again today, we’ll be focusing on
I Corinthians 13, commonly referred to as the "love chapter" of the Bible. Today, we’ll continue to look at the first three verses.

Paul spent much of his letter addressing the problems in the church of Corinth. There were huge divisions among them, and they were taking sides. These arguments gave way to jealousy. They were suing each other. And, there was even sexual immorality. Imagine that, if you can, a group of believers, followers of Jesus Christ, who struggling with sin, and struggling to get along with one another. Seems impossible, right? I'd like you to note the sarcasm in my voice here. Because, it’s important for me to point out, that many of the problems plaguing this first century church are problems that the church continue to struggle with, even today.  

So, what kind of love are we talking about here? What kind of love is being commanded of us? In Philippians 2:4 Paul says that he wants us to behave as Jesus Christ behaved. In other words to love in the same way that Jesus loved.

And here is the way Jesus loved. He said, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." In other words, love becomes unselfish. You begin to think about other people; their interests just like you think about yourself; your interests. You become unselfish. Now I want to apply that to several different areas of your life. Why? Because I believe, we must not only hear the Word of God, but that it is absolutely imperative to apply, that which we learn from it.

First of all, I'd like you to see how that would work within the family. So, let’s suppose that someone in every family represented here today would say, "I’m going to go home and I am going to put this into practice."

So, being that we know the issue is not with, let's begin with your spouse. (crooked smile) After the Lord, you are to love your husband or your wife first and foremost. What does this mean? It means that you are to be kinder, more thoughtful, more understanding, more compassionate, more tender, more gentle to them, and yes, that means even if they’re behaving like a complete jerk! No, I have not lost my mind. You are to do these things, regardless of what they do. Fortunately, you only are required to answer for your own behavior and not that of others! Amen?

So, let's begin first in your marriage relationship.

I'd like you to just pause for a moment, and think about this. Think about the repercussions, the impact. Can you see how that would affect the atmosphere of the entire home? How it would change the dynamics of the whole family environment? Just think of it, There wouldn’t be any yelling, no arguing or bickering, no sharp, hurtful words between one another. How? Because their interests become just as important as yours. And, when this is practiced by the parents, before long, it will filter down into the relationships you have with your children, your in-laws, in fact, it will eventually have a profound affect on everybody else in the family. Just because you love them. Because you value what is important to them. Their feelings matter!

Again, I want to point out, it begins within the family, then it spills over into the church family. In fact Jesus said, "By this they shall know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

What is Jesus telling us? He's saying that by loving others, as He has loved us, that is the way the world will find out about the message of Jesus Christ. And not only that, they will discover that it is valid. And if we’re really going to love each other the way Jesus loved us then we have to develop in our own lives the same kind of compassion for people that Jesus had for us.

When we allow that love, to penetrate us, to flow through us, pour out into our family, into all of our relationships, it will begin to flow into the workplace, too. We do it when we show those people who work next to us that Jesus Christ is our Lord, not just in our words, but by the example we set, the way we live it out in our own lives, then and only then, will they come to believe.

Now, you may have a hard boss, one that you don’t like very much. Or maybe you work with someone who makes fun of the way you live, who ridicules you. I'd like you to just recall with me, the words our Lord Jesus said, that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

In fact, in the book of Romans, the apostle Paul writes in Romans 12:20-21, "But
If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing
you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good."

There is a story about Doug Nichols, that I want to share with you today, because I think it will illustrate to all of you, what I have been trying to teach you today. Doug Nichols, an Australian born, professional athlete, Churches of Christ pastor and church planter, ceremonial officer and a pioneering campaigner for reconciliation. Doug went to India to be a missionary there, but while he was just starting to study the language he became infected with tuberculosis and had to be put in a sanitarium.

Now, it was not a very good place to be. It was not very clean, the conditions were difficult because there were so many sick people there. But Doug decided to do the best he could, even in that situation. So he took a bunch of Christian books, tracts and tried to witness to the other patients in the sanitarium.

But when he tried to pass out tracts, they were rejected. No one wanted them. He tried to hand out books, but no one wanted them and no one would take them. He tried to witness, but he was handicapped because of his inability to communicate in their language, he began to feel so discouraged. Here he was, and because of his illness he would be there a long time. Yet, it seemed like the work that he had been sent to do would not be done because no one would listen to him.

Because of his tuberculosis, every night at about 2 o’clock he would wake up with chronic coughing that just wouldn’t quit. Then one night when he awoke, he noticed across the aisle an old man trying to get out of bed. He said the man would roll himself up into a little ball, teeter back and forth, trying to build up the momentum to get up then to stand on his feet. But he just couldn’t do it. He was too weak.

Finally, after several attempts the old man laid back and wept. The next morning, Doug had come to understand why this man was weeping. He was trying to get up to go to the bathroom and he didn’t have enough strength to do that. So his bed was a mess,  there was a smell in the air. The other patients made fun of the old man. The nurses came to clean up his bed, frustrated, they weren’t kind to him, either. In fact, one of them even slapping him in the face. Doug said that the old man just laid there, and he cried.

Doug said, "That next night about 2 o’clock, when I awoke and I started coughing again. I looked across the way, there was the old man, once more trying to get out of bed. I really didn’t want to do it, but somehow I managed to get up,  I walked across the aisle and I helped the old man stand up."
But he was too weak to walk, so Doug said, "I took him in my arms and I carried him like a baby. He was so light that it really wasn’t a difficult task. I took him into the bathroom, which was nothing more than a dirty hole in the floor,  I stood behind him and I cradled him in my arms as he took care of himself."

"Then I carried him back to his bed & laid him down. As I turned to leave he reached up and  grabbed my face and pulled me close and kissed me on the cheek and said what I think was `Thank you.’"

Doug said, "The next morning there were patients waiting when I awoke and they asked if they could read some of the books and tracts that I had brought. Others had questions about the God I worshiped and His only begotten Son who came into the world to die for their sins."

Doug Nichols says that over the next few weeks he gave out all the literature that he had brought, and many of the doctors,  nurses and patients in that sanitarium came to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, too.

He said, "Now what did I do? I didn’t preach a sermon. I couldn’t even communicate in their language. I didn’t have a great lesson to teach them. I didn’t have wonderful things to offer. All I did was take an old man to the bathroom & anyone can do that."

Someone has said, "They will not care how much you know, until they know how much you care."
There is a more excellent way, & that is the way of Jesus Christ. Today, if you are gathered with us here, I assure you, it was not by mistake. It is by His divine power! And so, if you are outside of Jesus Christ, if you do not know Him as your Lord & Savior, I would like to extend His invitation to you. It is my prayer, that today, right now, you will respond. That you will accept His invitation and receive Him into your heart, allow Him to transform your life, in ways you cannot fathom.

In Closing....

God has given us a choice. We all have a choice. Decisions concerning how we act, or in some cases, will not act.  Not only once, but over and over again, throughout our lives. The choice to live them out daily, until eventually they become habits. And then habits become character traits. Ultimately, becoming who we are.
That's it, there you have it. That’s what it means to love one another. That’s what love looks like, from the Apostle Paul’s point of view but more importantly, from God’s point of view. 
We can only love like this in and through the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is God’s Spirit the Holy Spirit, working in us and through us, molding us, transforming us and the lives of those our lives touch.
When we try to love others simply with our own human capacity to love, our love always has and always will fall short. Because, our love is always conditional. 
But the more that I have read the Bible, the more I allow the love of God to fill me, to transform me and to create in me a new heart, the heart and mind of Christ, the better I am equipped to truly love others, as Christ loved me.
No, it doesn't happen over night, it is a lifelong process. And it is only accomplished through God’s grace and mercy, only through the unconditional love and forgiveness extended through His Son Jesus Christ, that I am enabled to even begin to love like way, as Christ first loved me.

Beloved, He isn't just calling me to do it, it’s what the Lord is calling all of us to do. To love God with all of our hearts. And truly love one another.  

I'd like to encourage each of you, for just a moment, to pause and think what it would be like if all of those in this world, those who claim to be followers of Jesus reflected this kind of love in all our relationships with one another and the world. We have not only the ability, but we have the power of the Holy Spirit, to be able to share with others the very thing they need the most, true, genuine love , unconditional love. The love of Jesus Christ. This is our sacred calling as followers of Jesus. It's always our job.

This kind of love, the love of Jesus Christ, is the kind of love that brings life, it is kind of love that brings healing, it is kind of love that brings hope. We can speak life into a dying world, hope to a hopelessly lost and broken world, and love to a world that desperately needs to be loved.
Beloved, this is the kind of love the world needs now, the love of Jesus Christ!
And this is God's calling to all of us.

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

Copyright © 2019-2020 All Rights Reserved

The Brian Monzon Ministries



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