(#066) 1 Corinthians 13 - Whatever the Question, Love is the Answer
a Christian Church
Welcome to Barah Ministries…an intimate, local Christian Church with worldwide impact. My name is Pastor Rory Clark. Welcome to this Bible lesson!
The Bible makes it clear that a Pastor’s job is to teach you…to build you up…and we build you up through repetition of the same biblical things over and over again. What’s always perplexing to me is why Christians resist repetition in church but don't resist the repetition the world uses to inculcate ideas into their memory center.
Music uses repetition to make you remember. “You put your right hand in…you take your right hand out. You put your right hand in and you shake it all about!” The news media uses repetition to make you remember. “Stay safe.” “Socially distance.” “Stay healthy.” “In these unprecedented times…” Advertising uses repletion. “15 minutes will save you 15% or more on car insurance.” When consoling people, we use repetition…"Sorry for your loss." When thanking servicemen and women we use repetition…“Thanks for your service.” But in church, we have no tolerance for hearing the same things over and over. “Jesus Christ is God.” Yeah yeah yeah! The apostle Paul warns us in Colossians, Chapter 2, Verse 8…
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception…according to the tradition of men…according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.
Whether it’s true philosophy or false philosophy…teachers use repetition to get their ideas across. Me, too! Every lesson, I remind you who the Lord Jesus Christ is, what Barah Ministries stands for, and who God’s enemy is…and I repeat it and repeat it and repeat it so you can’t forget it. It’s that important to you!
Who is Jesus Christ?
At Barah Ministries we know this truth…that Jesus Christ is God. As the Lord He is 100% Deity…He is God the Son, a member of the Triune Godhead. He is also 100% human just like you and me, and His name is Jesus Christ. The Lord…God the Son…became flesh…Jesus Christ...and lived among us. He is the uniquely born One…meaning He is 100% God and 100% man in one Person forever. No one else EVER can make that claim. He is the Sovereign God of the Universe. He is the Jewish Messiah.
Philippians, Chapter 4, Verses 8 and 9 remind us…
…whatsoever things are true…let your mind dwell on these things…and the things you have learned and received and heard and seen (over and over again from me)…PRACTICE these things.
Why does Barah Ministries exist?
At Barah Ministries, we make a difference by teaching the Word of God from God’s perspective and not from man’s perspective. As those who make Barah Ministries our spiritual home, we are Christians. Being a Christian means we believe in the DEITY of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we have a deep, intimate, and personal relationship with Him. In Second Timothy, Chapter 2, Verses 14 and 15 Paul reminds Timothy to…
SECOND TIMOTHY 2:14
Keep on reminding believers in Christ of biblical things…and solemnly charge them in the presence of God the Father not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of those who listen.
SECOND TIMOTHY 2:15
Instead, study to show yourself approved by God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed…accurately handling the word of truth.
Who is God’s enemy?
God has an enemy, Satan, whom God made ‘the ruler of this world.’ In John, Chapter 12, Verse 31, the Lord says…
“Now judgment is upon this world…now the ruler of this world (Satan) will be cast out (he will be dethroned at a future time).”
Satan is a liar who deceives the whole world, including you and me. He doesn’t want us to get to know God, and he interferes with our chance to know God. Satan attacks your mind because He wants you to be ignorant of God’s will. In Ephesians, Chapter 5, Verse 17, Paul exhorts believers in Christ…
…do not be foolish…instead, understand what the will of the Lord is.
He requests this so we can do what Ephesians, Chapter 6, Verse 6 suggest…
…do the will of God from the heart!
Satan attacks anything that would reveal God’s will…and he knows the Word of God reveals the will of God…because it gives us both peace and divine power so that we fulfill our potential.
Believers in Christ are not fighting FOR the victory in this life…we are operating FROM victorious ground…we are in union with Christ, and we have the victory over Satan through our Lord, who has overcome the world.
TODAY'S BIBLE LESSON
Whatever the Question, Love is the Answer
When we think about the way we treat other people, sometimes it is just downright silly. The Lord wants us to treat others just like He treats us…with unconditional love. A great question from the youth bible study yesterday…“Why did God give Satan unconditional love and privileges even after Satan rejected a relationship with God?” Love is the answer. God always responds in LOVE…and He expects the same from us.
In today's lesson, Paul continues to instruct the first-century Corinthian believers in the value of unconditional love so they can use their spiritual gifts in a way that glorifies our Lord.
One of the dumb things Christians say when they want something is “God willing!” Well God IS willing. God has will for your life and He reveals it on every page of the Bible! Here’s an example…First Thessalonians, Chapter 4, Verses 3 to 5…
FIRST THESSALONIANS 4:3
For this is the will of God…your sanctification…that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality…
FIRST THESSALONIANS 4:4
…that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor…
FIRST THESSALONIANS 4:5
…not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God…
When we do His will for our lives, things go better for us. Here’s Hillary Scott with a beautiful song that is actually a plea…that we do THY WILL.
MUSIC AND REFLECTION
Be Occupied with the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ
Enjoy the Singing of His Praises
Let us pray...
We're grateful, Heavenly Father, for the privilege of studying Your absolute truth...the Word of God…
Father, thank you for helping us to see that we are not better than others… thank you for teaching us a more excellent way…thank you for giving us the answer to every problem, no matter the question…Your answer is always LOVE…
Help us to reflect You and Your virtues through the fruit of God the Holy Spirit to a lost and dying world until Your Son comes again in glory to receive us to HImself…
…we ask this through the power of God the Holy Spirit…in Christ’s
TODAY'S BIBLE LESSON
Whatever the Question, Love is the Answer
When I think of the immature "elitist" ones in the first-century church at Corinth…even though they are believers in Christ…even though they should be reflecting a more excellent way in their Christian conduct…they remind me of the Pharisee in a parable the Lord shares in Luke, Chapter 18, Verses 9 to 14…
Now Jesus told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous (when they were not…actually they were unbelievers)… who viewed others with contempt (relating to them without unconditional love as a foundation)…
“Two men went up into the temple to pray…one a Pharisee (a religious unbeliever) and the other a tax collector (considered the lowest of the low).”
"The Pharisee stood and began praying this regarding himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other people…I'm not a swindler, nor am I crooked, nor am I an adulterer, nor am I even like this tax collector."
The Pharisee, in telling God what a good man he is, was doing the worst things of all…he was being self-righteous…pretending to be self-sufficient!
“I fast twice a week…I pay tithes of all that I get.’”
“Now the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to raise his eyes toward heaven…instead he was beating his chest, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’”
“I (the Lord Jesus Christ) tell you…this tax collector went to his house justified (saved…the move from sinner to saint…declared legally righteous by God)…unlike the Pharisee (who is still an unbeliever)…for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled…but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The "elitist" believers in first-century Corinth saw themselves as special because of their spiritual gift…specifically the gift of tongues…and in First Corinthians, Chapters 12 to 14, Paul is addressing this problem. In Chapter 12, Paul lets them know that all believers in Christ are spiritual, and all believers in Christ have spiritual gifts. In Chapter 13, he lets them know that spiritual gifts are not a reflection of Christ if they are not used accompanied by unconditional love.
A quick review and then on to the verses for today…let’s begin at First Corinthians, Chapter 12, Verse 31…
FIRST CORINTHIANS 12:31
But keep on earnestly desiring the use of the greater grace spiritual gifts (pursuing the use of your gifts with the fervor of a zealot)…and I (Paul) will show you a still more excellent way (to use your fervor).
What is the more excellent way to use your spiritual gifts? All you need is a foundation of unconditional love to drive the use of your spiritual gifts. What is NOT love? First Corinthians, Chapter 13, Verses 1 to 3…
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13:1
If I (Paul) speak with human tongues…and I do…and if I speak with the tongues of angels, and I do…but I do not have unconditional love (as my foundation)…I have become a noisy gong (a sounding brass) or a clanging cymbal.
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13:2
If I (Paul) have the gift of prophecy…and I do…and if I know all mysteries and I have all knowledge…and I do…and if I have all faith so as to move mountains (able to do the impossible)…and I do…but do not have unconditional love, I am nothing.
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13:3
And if I (Paul) give all my possessions to feed the poor (philanthropy)…and I do…and if I surrender my body to be burned (martyrdom)…and I do…but do not have unconditional love…it profits me nothing.
What is love?
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13:4
Love is patient…love is kind and is not jealous…love does not brag and is not arrogant…
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13:5
…love does not act unbecomingly…love does not seek its own…love is not provoked…love does not take into account a wrong suffered…
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13:6
…love does not rejoice in unrighteousness…but love rejoices with the truth…
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13:7
…love bears all things…love believes all things…love hopes all things… love endures all things.
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13:8a
Love never fails!
Galatians, Chapter 6, Verse 10 says what Paul is recommending another way…
So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
Treatment matters! When we return from the break, we’ll take the offering, and then we’ll study the last part of First Corinthians, Chapter 13 verse-by-verse.
FIVE MINUTE BREAK
TODAY'S BIBLE LESSON
Whatever the Question, Love is the Answer
It's not often that I ask for things. I can probably count on my hands the number of times in my life that I have asked anyone for anything. I give, but I don't ask…and quite often that extends to my prayer life…I don't ask God enough for the things I need. People within Barah Ministries encourage me to ask. Okay! So I need a new computer, and I need to add books to my library. If in your generosity you see fit to provide a special offering in addition to your regular offering for your Pastor’s specific needs, I am grateful. Let’s welcome up Deacon Denny Goodall with one of his always inspiring offering messages.
Deacon Denny Goodall
FIRST PETER 5:10
After you have suffered for a little while, the God and Father of all grace… who called you to His eternal glory in union with Christ…will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
THERE IS NONE LIKE YOU
TODAY'S BIBLE LESSON
Whatever the Question, Love is the Answer
Let’s continue at First Corinthians, Chapter 13, Verse 8…
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13:8
Love never fails! But if there are spiritual gifts of prophecy, and there are, they will be done away…if there are spiritual gifts of tongues, and there are, they will cease…and if there is a spiritual gift of knowledge, and there is, it will be done away.
Why have some of the spiritual gifts going away? Why will all of the spiritual gifts go away eventually? Second Peter, Chapter 3, Verse 13 tells us…
SECOND PETER 3:13
…according to God the Father’s promise (and His plan for mankind) we believers in Christ are looking forward to the new heavens and the new earth (Revelation 21:1) in which righteousness dwells (because the Righteous One…the Lord Jesus Christ…will be running things with no interference from evil).
Love is a virtue that endures forever…love is permanent…love is eternal… love never ends. Tongues, and knowledge, and prophecy are not permanent and they are not eternal. They end. It’s much like what happens for parents…which most parents never are willing to acknowledge…when a child grows up, the parenting job is finished. Most parents want to continue parenting their children long beyond the time when it is welcome. Adults don’t need parenting. Most of the time they don’t value your advice. Human life is temporary as well…eternal life is not.
Second Corinthians, Chapter 4, Verses 16 to 18…
SECOND CORINTHIANS 4:16
Therefore, we believers in Christ do not lose heart, but though our outer person is decaying, yet our inner person is being renewed day by day.
SECOND CORINTHIANS 4:17
For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison…
SECOND CORINTHIANS 4:18
…and we look not at the things which are seen…but we look at the things which are not seen…for the things which are seen are temporary…but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Quite often we get wrapped up in this life’s temporary picture and completely miss the eternal picture. The “elitist” Corinthians were certainly doing that…they were reflecting the world with their elitism, and they were not reflecting the Lord’s values.
The big picture is one day believers in Christ will be completely resident in love…there will be no sin in us…there will be no guile in us…there will be no conflict in us…we will live in perfect environment with perfect circumstance under the direction of our perfect God.
The mistake religious people make is settling as if they have all the answers about God. They are finite in their orientation because they are lazy in their approach to learning about God. Religious people are attracted to a "systematic theology" because they want a formulaic way to worship God. God's infinite nature blows up formulas. With God, there is always more to discover. With Satan and religion, there is not. The creature is finite and limited.
Abiding in the sphere of faith, hope and love is a chance to abide in the infinite and not in the temporary. Being in union with Christ means residing in LOVE…being bathed in LOVE…radiating LOVE…and most people just aren’t willing or able to comprehend the magnitude of that.
Love never fails…the Greek word PIPTEI actually means love never “falls.”
In other words…love makes a difference…love affects…love solves all problems…love never falls apart…love never collapses in defeat…love cannot be destroyed…love endures…love never ends…love exists even in heaven…love never ceases to exist like the spiritual gifts cease.
People who are “elitist” don’t realize that the power of their elitism comes to an end…the power of wealth comes to an end…the power of human aggrandizement comes to an end…but love does not come to an end. As Christians, we reflect the enduring values…as Christians we seek a more excellent way!
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13:9
For (right now…in this age) we know in part and we prophesy in part…
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13:10
…but when the perfect comes (the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ)…the partial will be done away.
The spiritual gifts will be done away…they will cease to exist when they have fulfilled God’s purpose for them. The Corinthians believers value knowledge (the Greek influence) and tongues…yet their power has ceased. Their usefulness has been used. The full truth is coming when Christ comes. Paul illustrates this idea with an example…First Corinthians, Chapter 13, Verse 11…
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13:11
When I was a child, I used to speak as a child speaks, think as a child thinks, and reason as a child reasons…but when I became a man, I put an end to childish things.
Grow up! Most of us don't! We are little kids in adult bodies. "Elitism" is little kids thinking from back in kindergarten. We have to acknowledge that there is a time to grow up. In the realm of spiritual gifts, there is a time when they are no longer needed. In the matter of "elitism," there is a time when the pagan practice of thinking you're better than others must cease, and be replaced by a more excellent way. This is Paul's subtle but powerful message to the Corinthian believers.
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13:12
For now, we see (the plan of God) in a mirror dimly (not so clearly)…but then )in the future we see) face-to-face (and not through an intermediary)… now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known (personally by God from eternity past until now and for all eternity).
Right now, we do not see our God so we can get our instruction directly from Him. We have the Bible, and Pastor-Teachers, and spiritual gifts that reflect Him in this lost and dying world. In the future, we will see Him face-to-face and we'll be instructed by Him face-to-face. There will no longer be a dim reflection of Him…but a clear vision of Him right before our eyes. The imperfect will hand off to the perfect, and we will be at home with our Lord in a kingdom that is ours forever. Until then, as in a mirror, we reflect Him with unconditional love.
Think about your partial knowledge of who God is right now. Imagine full knowledge. How will the way you operate change when it is no longer obscured by Satan’s deceptions?
FIRST CORINTHIANS 13:13
But now faith, hope, love, abide these three…but the greatest of these is love.
Let love guide your use of your spiritual gift.
GOD WANTS YOU!
Make the Most Important Decision of Your Life
Did you know the Sovereign God of the Universe, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, wants to have an eternal relationship with you?
What the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ wants you to know is that thirteen words tell the story of how to be saved! The first word is GOD. There is ONE AND ONLY ONE God as it says in Isaiah, Chapter 45, Verse 5…
“I am the Lord and there is no other…besides Me there is no other God.”
The one and only God, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, reveals Himself in ways that make sense to human beings. He’s the One who wants to save you.
The next word is MANKIND, a name for all of the Lord's human creatures. John, Chapter 1, Verse 3…
All things came into being through the Lord (God the Son) … and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
The Lord is the Creator and the Lord created you!
The next word is SIN. All of us were born in a state of sin. Romans, Chapter 3, Verse 23…
…for all creatures have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
Romans, Chapter 3, Verse 10…
…as it is written, “There is no creature who is righteous…not even one…”
First Corinthians, Chapter 15, Verse 22…
FIRST CORINTHIANS 15:22a
For all in union with Adam at physical birth (and that is every human who comes to earth) are set to die the second death in the Lake of Fire…
That’s bad news for you. It’s not your fault that you were born in a state of sin but it is your circumstance. Sin is a barrier that keeps you from having a relationship with the Lord.
As a result of being born in a state of sin, you need a Savior. The next word is JESUS…the Name above all names…that magnificent Name…The God-Man…the Christ…The Jewish Messiah…the Savior of the whole world. John, Chapter 3, Verse 17…
For God the Father did not send God the Son into the world (as the Lord to become Jesus Christ) to judge the world…but the Father sent the Son into the world that the world might be saved through Him.
Jesus Christ is God and He wants to save you.
The next word is CROSS. The Lord Jesus Christ chose to become a sin substitute for you by shedding His blood on a Cross so you wouldn’t have to die for your sins. Philippians, Chapter 2, Verse 8…
Being found in appearance as a man…the Lord Jesus Christ humiliated Himself (for you) by becoming obedient to the point of death…even death on a Cross.
The Lord’s Father…God the Father…participates in your salvation as well! John, Chapter 3, Verse 16…
“For God the Father loved the world unconditionally…and He loved the world so much…that He gave His uniquely born Son (the God-man…the Lord Jesus Christ…to be crucified on a Cross)…so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but has eternal life.”
Jesus Christ had you in mind…personally…by name…as He hung from a Cross to pay for the sins of the whole world.
The next word is RESURRECTION. Three days after Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, He proved Himself to be Deity…just as He had told everyone… by being resurrected from the dead…in Luke, Chapter 24, Verses 5 and 6, an angel asks a question of two women who have come to anoint Jesus’ body with spices on the third day after His crucifixion…
“…why do you seek The Living One among the dead ones? Jesus is not here…but He has risen (from the dead…just as He predicted) ...
Being resurrected from the dead separates Jesus Christ from all who pretend to be gods.
The next word is SALVATION. Acts, Chapter 4, Verse 12 credits Jesus Christ with the salvation of the whole human race…
“And there is salvation in no one else…for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved (except the name of the Lord Jesus Christ).”
Salvation is ONLY available through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Accepting His work on your behalf at the Cross saves you from an eternity in the Lake of Fire.
The next word is GRACE. Ephesians, Chapter 2, Verses 8 and 9…
For by God’s grace you have been saved through faith (in Christ for salvation) … and that grace and that faith and that salvation are not from
the source of yourselves…it is the gift of God….
…therefore, being saved is not a result of works (deeds you have done in self righteousness) …so that no one may boast (about saving himself).
A God who is “full of GRACE” provides your salvation free of charge.
The next word is FAITH. Mathew, Chapter 17, Verse 20…
“…if you have faith the size of a mustard seed (the smallest of all seeds…and you do)…you will say to this mountain (any obstacle), ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move…and nothing will be impossible to you.”
God gives you the gift of faith to spend on your own salvation.
The next word is REPENTANCE. Second Peter, Chapter 3, Verse 9…
SECOND PETER 3:9
The Lord is not slow about His promise of salvation, as some accuse Him of…instead, He is patient toward unbelievers…not wishing for any of them to perish in the Lake of Fire but for all of them to come to repentance…
When you repent, you have a change of mind about having a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. This gospel message invites you to change your mind.
The next word is RIGHTEOUSNESS. Second Corinthians, Chapter 5, Verse 21 says…
SECOND CORINTHIANS 5:21
God the Father made Jesus Christ who knew no sin to be a sin sacrifice on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God the Father in union with Christ Jesus.
Righteousness is your admission ticket to heaven. When you believe in Jesus Christ, absolute righteousness is credited to your account by a merciful God.
The next word is TRUTH. John, Chapter 8, Verses 31 and 32…
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who were paying attention to Him, “If (3) you continue in My word (maybe you will and maybe you won’t you have a choice), then you are truly disciples of Mine…”
“…and you will know the truth…and the truth will make you free.”
Thirteen words tell the story of how you can be saved. There is a GOD…He is the creator of all MANKIND…and SIN separated mankind from having a relationship with Him. JESUS CHRIST saved the day by dying on a CROSS to pay for the sins of all mankind. His RESURRECTION from the dead three days later proved that He is God. As a result, you are offered a “so great” SALVATION, provided free of charge by means of God’s GRACE...a salvation you cannot work for. By spending your gift of FAITH, you can be saved. When you REPENT, you change your mind about having a relationship with Christ, and God the Father credits His absolute RIGHTEOUSNESS to your account…a righteousness that is your admission ticket to heaven. When you know this TRUTH, it will set you free from slavery to sin and from bondage to the law. The power of the thirteen words can be summed up in just one word…BELIEVE. Acts, Chapter 16, Verse 31…
“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and everyone in your household who also believes.”
When you BELIEVE, you take God’s word for it concerning what it takes to be saved. So, heed the warning in John, Chapter 3, Verse 36…
“He who believes in the Son has the resurrection life right at that moment… but he who does not obey the command to believe in the Son will not see the resurrection life…instead the wrath of God (the Lake of Fire) abides on him.”
So, use these thirteen words that all boil down to one word…BELIEVE…to get on the Lord’s team. Just take God’s word for it concerning what it takes to be saved, and you will be saved! Do it right now!
In Luke, Chapter 23, Verse 34…the Lord Jesus Christ, as He hung from the Cross, went boldly to His Father in prayer…
Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive these men who are crucifying me…for they do not know what they are doing.”
The Lord made this request in the imperative mood…He was commanding His Father to grant His request…and the word "forgive" is in the Greek aorist tense…indicating that forgiveness is a past action. Your sins were forgiveness in the past…and they stand forgiven forever…because once the Lord does a thing, it is done! Why do so many Christians beg for forgiveness from God when they make mistakes as if God isn’t willing to forgive them? Here’s June Murphy to sing a song she wrote and produced…and June reminds us…WE’RE FORGIVEN.
A Doxology of Praise to Our God
Worthy of praise is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us believers in Christ in eternity past with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms (a place of permanence) … through our union with Christ…
God wants us to enjoy His gracious provisions…
In Jesus…we have redemption (deliverance from slavery to sin) through His blood…the forgiveness of our trespasses…according to the glorious wealth provided by His grace…which He lavished on us…including as a gift, wisdom and insight…
Now to God the Father…who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we could ask or imagine (more than is humanly possible) …according to the divine power (omnipotence) that works within us…
…to Him be the glory…through the church age believers in union with Christ Jesus…and to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Let us pray...
Thanks for coming!
Thanks for watching!
Thanks for listening!
WHAT DOES GOD OFFER US IN PRAYER?
God offers you the desires of your heart through prayer
“And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
What are the desires of our heart? Here’s a short list…
We want burdens lifted
We want relationships healed
We want insights…to see the underlying truth in a situation
We want perspective…a different way of seeing things
We want specific things
We want healing
We want situations the world considers impossible handled with supernatural power
It matters how we treat people.