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Simlpy LOVEby: Jim Keeling
Greetings Little Flock,
Well, here we have advanced on into another month on the calendar and it seems only yesterday that I was beginning this on line ministry and wondering where God was going to take it. But for better than 12 years now, you all and I have grown in love with one another through that love of Jesus, which Our Heavenly Father has given us. I am in awe as I sit and reflect the many times you all have shown your love toward me, Connie girl, and this ministry. The little gifts and prayers, the phone calls, and the touching emails we’ve shared with the good times as well as some bad have shown such great love. Even this week several have called and asked if we were alright after the tornadoes came thru. Yes, your concern for Connie and I has shown such a sweet love from you. God has truly blessed me with such a loving little flock to oversee… A preacher could ask for no more than that and I praise God for each of you. Well Glory!
And so with this thought in mind I’d like to think for a few moments today about this little 4 letter word, called ~LOVE~…
1 Corinthians 13: 1, 13
In verses 1, 3 we find the necessity and advantage of the grace of love.
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.
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.
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.
The excellent way had, in view, in the close of the former chapter, is not what is meant by charity in our common use of the word, almsgiving, but is love in its fullest meaning; true love to God and man. Without this, the most glorious gifts are of no account to us or are they of any esteem in the sight of God. A clear head and a deep understanding, are of no value without a compassionate and charitable heart. Doing good for others will not be beneficial to us, if it be not done from a love to God, and good-will to men. If we give away all we have, while we withhold our heart from God, it will profit nothing.
Next we see love’s excellence represented by its properties and effects;
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Some of the effects of charity or love are stated, so that we may know whether we have this grace; and that if we have not this grace of love, we may not rest till we do have it. This love is a clear proof of regeneration, and is a touchstone of our professed faith in Christ. In this beautiful description of the nature and effects of love, it is meant to show the Corinthians that their conduct had, in many respects, been a contrast to it.
Charity is an utter enemy to selfishness; it does not desire or seek its own praise, or honour, or profit, or pleasure. Not that charity destroys all regard to ourselves, or that the charitable man should neglect himself and all his interests. But charity never seeks its own to the hurt of others, or to neglect others. Should we in love not show or prefer the welfare of others to our own private advantage? How good-natured and amiable is Christian charity! How excellent would Christianity appear to the world, if those who profess it were more God’s principle of love? Let us ask whether this Divine love dwells in our hearts. Has this principle guided us into becoming behavior to all men? Are we willing to lay aside selfish objects and aims? And to God’s love is the call to watchfulness, diligence, and prayer.
In verses 8 thru 13 we see Love and its abiding, and its superiority.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Love is the only thing which will never fail. The present state is a state of childhood, the future is that of manhood. Such is the difference between earth and heaven. What narrow views, what confused notions of things, have children when compared with grown men! And this is what you and I shall think of our most valued gifts of this world, when we come to heaven.
All the things of this world are dark and confused now, compared with what they will be hereafter. They can only be seen as by the reflection in a mirror, or in the description of a riddle; but hereafter our knowledge will be free from all obscurity and error. It is the light of heaven only that will remove all clouds and darkness that hide the face of God from us.
To sum up the excellences of charity, it is preferred not only to gifts, but to other graces, such as faith and hope. Faith fixes upon the Divine revelation, and assents thereto, relying on the Divine Redeemer. Hope fastens on future happiness, and waits for that; but in heaven, faith will be swallowed up in actual sight, and hope in enjoyment. There is no room to believe and hope, when we see and enjoy. But in heaven, love will be made perfect. There we shall perfectly love God. And there we shall perfectly love one another. God is love, 1st John 4:8,16. Where God is to be seen as he is, and face to face and it is there that charity (LOVE) is in its greatest height; there only, will it be perfected.
But for now, you and I can, with simplicity, still see love everywhere we turn, can’t we? We see it in the eyes and glowing faces of the parents of their new born child. We see the love of a child in their innocence and love for their parents or even a puppy they got as a gift. We see the love of the children as they sit beside their ageing parents bed side, sick and frail and waiting to go on to be with the Lord. We see love in the faces of a young couple as they hold hands and exchange their first kiss. Yes, we see love in many places don’t we?
And some of these we see would gladly lay down their lives for their loved ones wouldn’t they. But we haven’t even touched with understanding the love Our Heavenly Father has shown to us. A Heavenly Father who gave His only precious Son so that you and I might have eternal life. And you and I haven’t come close to understanding this love which Jesus shown us as He willingly gave His life on that old rugged cross.
Yes, you or I might lay down our life for a loved one but Our Precious Jesus laid down His life for those who spat upon Him. Jesus gave His earthly life for those who cursed Him and beat Him unmercifully and pulled the beard from His torn face. He gave and shown His love for those who drove those long nails into His hands and feet and then drove that spear into His precious side spilling all of His blood… Yes, Our Lord Jesus gave His last breath in love. And this is the love shown for you and I which is far beyond our very comprehension.
Well dear little flock, you and I love one another in Jesus and we need to keep our thoughts on this type of love Our Lord and Saviour has for each of us, don’t we? And I, for one, am so thankful that God has left this love chapter in His Bible for us to reflect upon and as a guide for us to live by. Could you just imagine how different this ole world would be if there were no hatred, only love? We may never see that in our lifetime but one day, if you are a child of God, you and I will live in a place filled with only LOVE. Well, I don’t know about you; but this ole preacher man is truly looking forward to that day when we will see that kind of “Simply Love” where I shall look upon the loving face of Jesus. Well Glory!
I’d like to share a few more references concerning charity (LOVE); 1st Cor 8:1, Eph 5:2, 1st Thess 3:6, 2nd Thess 1:3, 1st Tim 2:15, 1st Tim 4:12, 2nd Tim 2:22, 2nd Tim 3:10, 2nd Pet 1:7, 3rd John 6, Jude 12, Rev 2:19
And now may that heavenly love of Our Lord ever be in your hearts,
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