Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pursue Love

“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.”
(1st Corinthians 13:1 NASU)

When I was in the Army I was stationed in a foreign country for two years. Outside of our camp was a small country town. Every night the community had an hour of prayer and worship; we could easily hear the villagers worshiping their god. They would gather and begin their worship service with the sounding of a deafening gong, and then they would begin to loudly chant, then came the clanging of the cymbal. The sounding of the gong, the chant or the cymbal had no distinct sound such as a song or a tune of any sort, just noise. A good description of their worship would be---a very noisy religion.

If we as men of Christian religion speak with many languages, with all the eloquence of the most accomplished orator, and the heavenly languages of angels, and do not have love, we have become nothing but a noisy religion; we accomplish no more than the pagans. It profits us nothing.

“If I have the gift of prophesy, 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.”
(1st Corinthians 13:2 NASU)

Though we as a “church,” if possible, could have received from God the knowledge of future events, so that we could correctly foretell what is coming to pass in the world and in the church; and know the meaning of all the types, shadows, numbers and symbols in the entire Holy Bible, and all the unexplored secrets of nature; and all knowledge of every human art and science; and thought we have all faith-such faith as would enable us even to remove mountains; or had such powerful discernment that we could solve the greatest difficulties, and do not have love for God and man, it profits us nothing (Matthew 7:22-23).

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.”
(1st Corinthians 13:3 NASU)

If all that we had were dealt out in small portions, so as to benefit as many as possible, and yet were not done so with divine love toward God and toward man, it would be all false, hollow, hypocritical, and really of no value in regard to our own salvation. It would profit nothing. It would not be an act that would meet with Divine approval. Though good might be done to others, yet where the “motive” is wrong, it is not connected with God’s graces; it will not meet with Heaven’s praise.

Though we should even be willing to be martyred defending the name of Jesus, to lay down our life in the most painful manner, and have not love, it profits us nothing.

“Love never fails----.”
(1st Corinthians 13:8 NASU)

The flower of the grass blooms today and we behold its beauty and tomorrow it fades and falls to the ground. Like so is the glory of men, it too is tomorrow’s dust to be driven by the wind and scattered to the four corners of the earth; but love never falls away. Because love bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things; and while it does so it cannot fail; it is the means of preserving all the favors of God; indeed, properly speaking, it includes them all; and all receive their perfection from love.

Love to God and man can never be done away with. It is essential to life; without it there can be no communion with God; nor can any man have a preparation for eternal life whose heart and soul are not deeply imbued-saturated, as a garment that has been deeply soaked in dye -with God’s love. Without it there never was a true re-birth, nor ever can be; and it is not only necessary through life, but also will exist throughout eternity.

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
(1st Corinthians 13:13 NASU)

Without faith it is impossible to please God; and without it, we cannot partake of the grace that is brought to us in our Lord Jesus, for it is by faith that we receive this grace unto salvation. And without hope we could not endure, nor have any expectation of eternal life; nor bear up under the trials and tribulations of this life. But as great and useful and indispensably necessary as these are, love is greater, for one who actively possesses love fulfills the law.

By faith we receive grace from our Creator; by hope we expect a glorious future and eternal life; but by love the image of God is infused in the soul of man, for “God is love.” Thus by love we are in the image of God; and by it alone are we qualified to enjoy oneness with Him in this present age and throughout eternity. Faith and hope are perfected by love and is for man alone, but love interacts God and man. Faith is a treasure that is indispensable, and hope is the anchor that stabilizes our soul; but love to God and to our fellowman is the power that sustains and motivates us to be obedient sons of God. This one consideration is sufficient to show that love is greater than either faith or hope.

“Pursue love-----.”
(1st Corinthians 14:1 NASU)

We must first begin to pursue love through repentance. The love that is from God requires a heart that is empty. A heart filled with sin and earthly projects, carnal interests, ambition, thoughts of becoming rich in worldly goods, and with the lust for the luxuries and pleasures of life is not fit to receive the love of God. Thus repentance is the empting of one’s soul of sin and preparing the heart for the impartation of the love of God.

Following repentance, pursue love by earnestly desiring it; pray for it and strive to possess it; cultivate it in your own hearts, as the richest and best endowment of the Holy Spirit, and endeavor to diffuse its influence on all those around you; it is essential to the individual, it is vital to the Church. The gift of love is foremost of all other gifts of the Spirit. To practice all the other gifts without the gift of love would be an empty, worthless religion.

Therefore desire and seek faith, cherish hope, but pursue love with all your energies. Selah.

James C Sanford

1 comment:

Kimba The White Lioness said...

Last night I dreamed of these scriptures and this very subject. Great teaching! I just love it when God, through the Holy Spirit, confirms how He is ministering something to us! Thanks for the post!