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Divine Love, A Look at I Corinthians 13Posted Saturday, February 12, 2011, at 12:45 PM
In the New Testament, King James Version, the word Love appears 712 times. There are ten Greek words translated love. They are as follows:
Agape, translated love in John 3:16 and in other places referring to Divine love, and Charity in I Corinthians 13, is the kind of love I want to comment on.
Divine Love, Agape Love, or Charity is a gift of the Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 12:31 calls it "the best gift" and "the more excellent way". It is the kind of love the Father had when He sent His only begotten Son (John3:16). It's the kind of love we are told to have toward God and our fellowman. IJohn 4:17,18 calls this love perfect.
I Corinthians 13 may be divided into three parts in its description of Divine Love: Importance, verses 1-3; Definition, verses 4-7; and Power, verses 8-13.
I. The Importance of Divine Love- Verses 1-3
A. It is more important than the ability to speak in other languages of men or angels. "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". In other words, if I have the ability to speak in several languages but don't have Divine Love, Im just making a bunch of useless noise!
B. It is more important than having the gift of prophecy (foretelling the future or forthtelling the Word of God. It is more important than the ability to understand mysteries and the understanding of knowledge. "And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge;"
C. It is more important than having enough faith to remove mountains. "and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing."
In other words, even if I can predict the future, reveal the meaning of dreams, preach an eloquent message, have all kinds of doctorate degrees, and have faith to remove mountains, I'm a nobody if I don't have Divine Love!
D. It is more important than giving. "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." So, even if I give all my belongings to help the poor and risk my life to rescue the burning, it profits nothing without Divine Love!
II. The Definition of Divine Love- Verses 4-7
"Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." This definition of Divine Love is what Divine Love does and doesn't do.
A. Suffers long: This means longsuffering. It is the ability to still love God and our fellow man no matter how we are treated, lied about, mistreated, accused, etc. It is the Divine Love the persecuted Christians had under Roman rule and still have under Communist oppression.
B. Kind: Divine Love is kind to others, and i might add, kind to all God's creatures. There is a kindness Christians should have toward those who may do us wrong or misunderstand us.
C. Envies not: Divine love enables the Christian to not envy the oppressor (Proverbs 3:31). We are not to envy the rich (class envy). Only Divine Love gives one that ability.
D. Vaunts not itself: To vaunt one's self means to make a big show of one's accomplishment's or abilities. Divine Love makes a person remain in the background if need be. A person with Divine Love isn't a boaster.
E. Not puffed up: A Christian with Divine Love doesn't make a display. Oh, I've seen that done in so many circles! The Pharisees loved to be seen praying long, loud prayers in public places to be noticed. "Look at me; aren't I holy?"
F. Doesnot behave unseemly: Divine Love helps a person's conuct to be Christlike. It's unseemly for aq Christian to act in such a way as to bring reproach on Christianity.
G. Seeks not her own: Divine Love is unselfish and desires to seek to help others before helping one's self.
H. Not easily provoked: Divine Love enables one to hold the tongue when it would be so easy to lash out. It helps the Christian to not be easily stirred up over things and may be say or do something retaliatory that would be later regretted. It enables the Christian to "turn the other cheek".
I. Thinks no evil: Divine Love gives others the benefit of the doubt.
J. Rejoices not in iniquity: You know, some folks love to hear the latest bad news about others and even rejoice at what they hear. Divine Love doesn't do that! Divine Love wants to hear the good about others!
K. Rejoices in the truth: Divine Love wants to hear the good about others! It loves to hear those praise reports of what God has done or is doing!
L. Beareth all things: Divine Love enables the Christian to carry a burden for the lost, for those less fortunate, for the homeless, for the missionaries, for our country, etc. It enables on to bear reproach for Christ. There are those, who throughout the history of Christianity, have despised Christians. Christians have been persecuted and martyred for their faith for centuries. There are those in our country who despise Bible believing Christians. We're called all kinds of names: holy rollers, fundamentalists, extremists, Bible thumpers, right wingers, you name it. We're accused of bigotry, racism, etc. Divine Love enables the Christian to bear the misunderstandings of those who have not Divine Love.
M. Believes all things: This doesn't mean being naive. It means the ability to trust God. It means the ability to believe God will see one through.
N. Hopes all things: We live in a world where hope seems to be waning. We can't hope in the economy, in our bank accounts, in a political party, in education, in our accomplishments, etc. But, we can hope all things to God. That is what Divine Love does.
O. Endureth all things. Divine Love gives one endurance in the battle for Christ, in the race of the Christian life, and the reproach of carrying our cross for Christ. Divine Love enables the Christian to stay true whatever the cost and not to lose out over difficulties that will come.
III. The Power of Divine Love Verse 8-13
"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. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 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. 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. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
A. Divine Love compared to prophecies, tongues (languages), and knowledge.
Divine Love never fails. Prophecies fail, ability to speak in other languages ceases, and knowledge vanishes away. Prophecy and knowledge is limited and is imperfect. Divine Love, being perfect, does away with the the limitations and imperfections of prophecy and knowledge.
B. Divine Love gives maturity. A Christian who recieves Divine Love through the baptism of the Holy Ghost, becomes an adult spiritually. The Christian also begins to mature as an adult and continues maturing until passing away and recieving the eternal reward of Heaven. The immaturities of spritual things become a part of the past!
C. Divine Love is greater than faith and hope. John Wesley about Divine Love, "You can go no higher until carried away to Abraham's bosom."
Happy Valentine's Day! And may your heart be filled with Divine Love!
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My wife Susan (Sue) and I have lived in Soddard County since September of '96. We both graduated from Bible Missionary Institute, our denomination's small four year Bible college in Rock Island, Illinois. I was born and raised in Pomona, California while my wife was raised in Monmouth, Illinois. I am an ordained minister in the Bible Missionary Church. We attend and are members of the Dexter Bible Missionary Church. I've been employed by Tyson Foods for 14 years. My wife is a CNA. I've always been conservative in my political views and have always been active in politics and the Pro-Life movement. My politics have not always been Republican. From 2003-2009 I was vice-chairman of the Prohibition National Committee, the steering arm of the Prohibition Party. In '09, I joined the Constitution Party of Missouri. But, I've been attending the GOP rallys and club meetings since last year and have been campaigning for certain Republican candidates since we moved to this area. I'm on the SEMO Life Chain Committee.
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