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Nothing + Love = Everything

"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing."
I Corinthians 13:1-3 

Good Morning Beloved,

Welcome to worship!
Thank you all for joining us, we're so glad you're here.

In our continuing study of the book of I Corinthians, today we begin a new chapter. Chapter 13.
I would encourage you to take out your Bibles and open them with me, to I Corinthians chapter 13. 
There is so much to be said about this magnificent epistle from the beloved apostle Paul. If you haven’t read it, I would strongly suggest you do that. I Corinthians chapter 13, is often referred to as the "love chapter" of the Bible. I Corinthians 13:1-3, follow along with me as I read to you from this incredibly rich text from the apostle Paul.

"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing."

So, today, in the first three verses, we'll be talking about love. And if you would just take a look at the news, social media, the events happening in our society, and our world, its not difficult to come away with the conclusion, that love is an important subject to talk about. This world desperately, so desperately, needs more love.

Though, I am fairly certain most would never admit it, our world is craving love. The word love, is most likely the most over used, misunderstood word used in our culture today.

The word love, is a very familiar word. We hear it used at weddings all the time. Love, love, love. The word love, also follows Paul’s discussion of spiritual gifts in the previous chapter and are the answer to any question you might have as to which of the gifts Paul thinks is most important. I am inclined to agree. 
My wife and our dog Marty as I was leaving for work this morning : aww

However, many people use the term "love," for just about everything. Unfortunately, in the English language, we have this one word, "love," and it means so many things, to so many different people. I mean, there are people who love their car, some people love their wife, they love their dog, there are even some people who love their dog more than their wife. Women, you love your children, you love your new dress, and if you would stop and think about that, for just a moment, you have really got to mean different things. Or maybe you don't, I just don't know about that.

Unfortunately, the English language doesn’t really help us out any does it? Because it uses the same word for all of expressions of the word "love." However, in the Greek language there are multiple words, for the word love, for the different types of love, which helps to eliminates any kind of confusion. In fact, the words in the Greek that are different words translated "love" in the English language, have absolutely no connection in the Greek, so people wouldn’t really even relate them.

The Greek word related to romantic affection or to friendliness, the kind of warm affection and self-identification that comes when two people become very close, apart from any sexual attraction at all. That’s a totally different word.

So today, I really want to speak to all of you, about the importance of love in our lives. The importance of "LOVE."

In verse 1, Paul says, "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal."

This reference used, in the verse, is a characteristic of heathen worship, especially the worship of some of the Greek deities, was the clanging of cymbals and the braying of trumpets. However, I believe what Paul is saying, "I want to show you the best way to take care of virtually every situation, and that is the way of love." Then he points out that love is more important than the four other things that Christians often consider to be very important.

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 was being said.

In essence, what Paul is saying that even if he were so blessed that he could speak with the greatest of eloquence in every language, but didn't have love, then his life was as useless as this ridiculous act of pounding on a gong to awaken non existent gods.

Then in verse 2, Paul says that love is more important than knowledge. Here he says, "If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."

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

Why? Paul answers that for us in I Corinthians 8:1b, "Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies." 

I don't believe we need more knowledge nearly as much as we need more love. For the hearts of people need to change before society will ever change.

In the last half of I Corinthians 13:2, Paul even tells us, that love is even more important than faith. Now, let me be clear here, Paul is not saying that faith is not important. Hep is only saying that love is more important!

"....and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."

But what is your faith? Where have you placed your faith? What is it that you are believing in today? Do you believe that God is the creator of the world? Do you believe that God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son? Do you believe that Jesus Christ, died for the forgiveness of sin? Do you believe He rose on the third day, that you might have everlasting life? Do you believe that He is now at the right hand of the Father, He is preparing a place for us, and that one day He will come again?

Do you believe all those things? Well that's good, but Scripture teaches that if you believe all the right things, yet do not have love, then you are nothing! Because even faith is of no value unless it is backed up by love.
The Good Samaritan, 2017 — The Works of George MacDonald

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, "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."

Beloved, love is even more important than generosity. Paul says in I Corinthians 13:3, "And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing."

Now Paul doesn't say, "If I give 10%." He says, "If I empty my checking account, if I cash in my insurance policies, if I give everything away to help the poor, and even sacrifice myself, but I don't have love then I gain nothing at all."

You see, generosity in and of itself is not enough, if its not done with love, its meaningless.

So, then why give? why give? Do you give because the pastor just preached a sermon on stewardship? Or, is it because you feel guilty or convicted if you don't? Do you give because you want to impress others around you?

If the only reason that you give is to receive acclimation or to gain benefit, then love is absent, thus your giving is empty. The motive for giving should be from a place of love, love for God, love for Christ and love for God's people.

Therefore, Paul is saying that love is more important than spiritual gifts, more important than knowledge, more important than faith, and more important than generosity. Love is everything!

Love is so important in fact, John 13:34-35 teaches us, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Again, we see, that love is everything. It is by the act of love, people will know that we belong to Christ. So, obviously, love is vitally important, I believe much more maybe, than we ever realized.

I'd like to direct your attention for a moment back to John 13:34, notice our Lords words, "A new commandment I give to you.." It's not a suggestion, rather it's just a directive. Bear in mind, God never commands us to do something beyond our ability to do it.
What Does Love At First Sight Feel Like? An Expert Explains

However, it would seem many tend to think that love as something that "just happens," That is what this broken and fallen world teaches. People think that falling in love, is like falling into a ditch, or that you fall out of love like you would fall out of a tree. You just can't help it. It's something that just happens to you.

However, Scripture teaches us that love is something we can control. God commands us to love each other. Which means that I can decide to love you, and you, in turn, can decide to love me. So, beloved, apparently this world is not completely hopeless after 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 and their interests just like you think about yourself and your interests. You become unselfish. Now let's apply that in several different areas.

I'd like to encourage all of you think for just a moment, how that would work within the family dynamics. For the sake of discussion, let's just suppose that someone in every family represented here today would say, "I'm going to go home and implement this, put this into practice in my own situation."

Start with your spouse. After God, you ought to love your husband or your wife first and most. Therefore, you ought to be kinder, more gentle, more tender, to them. Yes, even if they're behaving like a complete jerk. The point is, begin first in your marital relationship.

And, before you realize it, it filters down to the relationship you share with your children, maybe even your in laws and eventually, everyone else in the family. Why? Just because you love them.
It has to begin in the home. In your own family, then it spills over into the church and then into the world.
Remember John 13:35? That's the way the world will know we belong to Christ! And, that's the way the world will find out about the message of Jesus Christ and might come to believe its validity. And if we really love each other the way Jesus loved us, then we have got to develop it in our own lives the same kind of compassion for people that Jesus had.

In Closing...
Stop Trying To Be Like Jesus?

You know, sometimes it is hard for those who profess to be Christians to behave like Christians should behave. We try to carry our crosses, but if someone crosses us, we tend to lose our composure and behave in much the same way those who are of the world behave. I suppose, for me, the most disturbing part of this, is rather to be repentant, they justify their actions as godly. The problem is, however, this is not biblical. Scripture teaches us that we are to be people who exercise love in all of our relationships with one another.

Ephesians 4:1-3 teaches us, "Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

And Romans 12:18: "If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men."

Let's not forget Hebrews 12:14, which teaches us, "Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord." 

All of these verses in Scripture, are teaching the same message, that if you're a follower of Christ, though it may be difficult sometimes, and not everybody will be easy to love, but if it is possible, we are to live in peace and harmony with everyone.  

The Greek word agapē, is a word that simply means "the ultimate act of self-sacrifice." It is a word for the ultimate act of sacrificing one’s self for the good of someone else. In fact, it could easily be translated as, "If I speak with the tongues of men and angels and have not a spirit of self-sacrifice, I am nothing." That would be the essence of the meaning of the word "love." I believe this is the spirit of its meaning as indicated by our Lord Jesus when He said: "Love your enemies." 

That brings me to another issue in this world, not only is there a lack of love for one another, but there's also the lack of compassion. Seriously, I cannot help but to ask myself, what is wrong us as a society, that it doesn't hurt us deep inside, to our very core to cause pain and suffering to another human being?

And, there are many others, suffering in silence, no one knows they're hurting, and they don't feel free to tell anyone that they're hurting. For those of you who are healthy, just imagine for a moment, what's it like to be seriously ill,  knowing you're not going to get well. Wanting more than anything else just to live? Something so many take completely for granted, and you'd give nearly everything for it.

Then, imagine what's it like to be handicapped? Not to be able to do the normal every day things for yourself, that a person is expected to do. Like getting dressed, cooking a meal.

And, what's it like to be a minority? What's it like to be dealing with marital problems or domestic problems? To be physically or mentally abused? What's that like?

What I am trying to point out here, is there are all kinds of people, carrying around all kind of burdens. People are people, regardless of where they live, their social or economic status. Do we not care enough to help them bear those burdens? Isn't that what Christ means when He speaks about loving one another as He has loved us. Well, isn't it?

Beloved, people will not care how much you know, until they know how much you care. There is another way, and that is the way of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the way!

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

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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