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The Greatest of These


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The Greatest of These

1 Cor 13:13  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three;

but the greatest of these [is] charity.

 

The biggest struggle Christians have today is learning to LOVE! 

CHARITY is the greatest!

It’s our greatest challenge.

            Faith is what we preach and teach.

                        We’re not bad at it.

            Hope is our firm belief in the imminent return of Christ for His church.

            We’re not bad at that either.

But Charity!  Now that’s a struggle!

 

Even those in the world can sense that Bible Believers are finding it difficult to love one another!

John 13:35  By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

When we come together here for worship, do we love one another?

Do we involve ourselves with each other for the good of our families and the salvation of souls?

Do we come together for prayer?

Do we come together for exhortation?

Do we come together to help one another?

 

When we speak with our neighbor about the things of God, what is he hearing?

1 Corinthians 13:1 ¶ Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

 

Those around us don’t appreciate the depth of Bible knowledge that we have from our Bibles.

2  And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

 

Those around us have no clue that we are living sacrificially for the chance to be a witness to them and their families.

3  And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

 

But you say, “Brother Swanberg, WE DO LOVE ONE ANOTHER!!!”

            Yes, but are we loving one another in a way that our neighbors are seeing?

            Are we impacting the community around us because they can see our love?

 

I believe that the trouble is that we hardly know what LOVE is!!

Like the world we have become content to simply compare our walk with those around us.

2 Corinthians 10:12 ¶ For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

 

We seem to think that it’s a question of:

            Are we loving one another more than the church down the street.

            Or are we loving one another more than the world loves one another.

But, my friend,

The Question actually is:  What kind of grade do you think the Holy Spirit gives us for our effort at loving one another?  1 Cor 13:4-7

 

I.                      Longsuffering and kind  

Endures evil and injury - Yet does good and is ready to show favor

Example:  Jesus upon the cross, having suffeblack much at the hands of the soldiers and priests,

            Yet he cries out “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

When people make remarks while you are giving them the Gospel.  Do we think they are unkind and don’t deserve our kindness?

What kind of grade?

 

II.                   Envyeth not  

Not grieved at the good of others, Their gifts, good qualities, honours, or possessions

Example:  Luke 9:58  And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air [have] nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay [his] head.  Yet, Jesus sat with the rich and the poor.

Some might have trouble witnessing to a person with much property, or who is famous, or someone with great honours.  Is it because we are humble?  Or is it because we envy them?

What kind of grade?

 

III.                Vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up  

Not self-conceited, swelled by possessions. Not insolent, showing contempt or scorn

Example:  Philippians 2:8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Whatever God has seen fit to give us or trust us with; He did not give it so we would be conceited and proud of owning them.

He did not favor the European colonists to America so that they could show contempt upon and scorn all other races.

What kind of grade?

 

IV.                Does not behave itself unseemly  

He is Sensitive to the conscience of the community.  Recognizes social order, rank & privilege.

Example:  Acts 23:4  And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest?

Acts 23:5  Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.

            Some show little respect for authority.

What kind of grade?

 

V.                   Seeketh not her own      

Example:  Luke 5:14  And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

An utter enemy to selfishness.  Seeks not its own praise, honour or profit

What kind of grade?

 

VI.                Is not easily provoked 

Example:  Isaiah 53:7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

"During the oft storms of life, -Where the showers of love fall, -Bolts of wrath will not easily kindle -Nor long keep burning."

What kind of grade?

 

VII.             Thinketh no evil 

Example:  Luke 7:38  And stood at his feet behind [him] weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe [them] with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed [them] with the ointment.

Luke 7:39  Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw [it], he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman [this is] that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

Not apt to be suspicious.  Resists forming an ill opinion of another. 

Appearances alone will not sway its opinion

What kind of grade?

 

VIII.          Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. 

Example:  2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

            “Your Daddy don’t live here any more.” A song about a man who was a drunk, but got saved.

                        He tries to explain to his small son why is different now.

No more does the Believer secretly chuckle at dirty jokes. 

Every sin known will bring a wince of pain to charity. 

But it is glad of the success of the Gospel. 

Rejoices to see men come to Christ. 

Looks past the sin to see the regenerated believer justified as he stands before Christ one day.

What kind of grade?

 

IX.                Beareth all things, endureth all things

Example:  1 Peter 4:8  And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Does not prefer to shame the brethren for its             faults, but to reclaim and forgive.

Charity will stand with the beloved thru thick and thin.

What kind of grade?

 

X.                   Believeth all things, hopeth all things.         

Charity is always inclined to believe well and hope for the best in others.

Example:  John 8:10  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?   11  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

When all is well and things look promising,                     believe in them.

            When there is doubt about others and people talk,      believe in them.

            When dark clouds overshadow them,                            believe in them.

            When there is no more room to believe,             then hope for them.

            Hope for their reformation, for their recovery, for their reclamation, for their                  salvation.

What kind of grade?

 

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