FEAST Academy, Travis Case, Bible, Sermons, Church, Creation, Evolution, History, Prophecy, Religion, Love, Sex, Suicide
   
   The Greatest of These Is Love

John 5:39, "Search the scriptures; for ... they ... testify of me." --- Jesus
   

Travis Case, Pastor/Teacher          Northgate Baptist Church          F.E.A.S.T Ministries
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine:"   (Prov. 17:22)
"... the joy of the LORD is your strength."   (Neh. 8:10)

1 Cor. 8:1, "... Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth." --- V. 3, "... love God,"

(Same word is used in both verses)

1 Cor. 13:1-3, [KJV]"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." --- V. 13, "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."

1 Cor. 13:1-3, [NLT]"If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didnít love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didnít love others, what good would I be? And if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didnít love others, I would be of no value whatsoever." --- V. 13, "There are three things that will endureófaith, hope, and loveóand the greatest of these is love."

Introduction:

A. We will Not be studying the Five Different Greek Words (three in the Bible) translated "Love."

1. The meaning of love described in this chapter is not intrinsic to the noun (agape) or its cognate verb (agapao).

Some say, "To understand love, one must realize there are three Greek words employed for love, yet only one of those words refers to the kind of love which God requires of us."

However, this is Not Correct.

2. In Johnís Gospel, we are told twice that God The Father Loves The Son.

a. In chapter 3:35, "Agapao" is used.

b. In chapter 5:20, "Philio" is used.

3. There is nothing intrinsic to a particular word group that makes its version of love particularly Divine.

Paul use the word "Agapao" to describe Demasí "Love" for this World.

4. However, there is Much that is Distinctive about Godly Love.

a. The Bible gives us a very full Description and Definition of "Love."

b. Paul does Not attempt to give us a very Technical Definition of love --- instead, he Describes Love in a way that Makes It Very Clear.

B. Any Gift or Service performed to the Highest Level of your ability will be of Little Value if it is Performed Without Love.

1. The Greatest Acts of Sacrifice, performed Without Love, may win manís approval but they will Not Win Godís Approval.

a. Some Assume that great Sacrifice (giving up all oneís possessions or oneís life) is Proof of Great Love.

b. However, some people give away their possessions for any number of reasons, some which are Self-serving.

2. People have Set Themselves On Fire, but I have yet to read of one instance in which love was clearly the motive --- usually it is Hate or Anger.

C. Your Greatest Act of Service to God, Without Love, is only a Meaningless Noise like a Loud Gong or a Clanging Cymbal.

1. By living A Loveless Life you become Less And Vastly Inferior To What You Once Were.

2. Goings and cymbals are at their best when employed in Concert with Other Instruments --- Cymbals are Not "Solo Instruments."

3. Can you imagine Listening To Cymbal or a Gong hour after hour --- Irritating.

4. The End Result of that kind of ministry is Not Edification But Exasperation.

5. Love seeks to Serve Others to their Benefit and at the Sacrifice of the one who Serves In Love.

D. The Measure of a man or woman of God is not determined by the gift (talents) they possess, but by the Love They Practice in the exercise of those gifts.

E. "Charity" or "Love" is more insisted on than any other virtue in the Christian life --- without it All Else Is Vain.

1. Speak with the tongues of men and of angels,

2. Have the gift of prophecy,

3. Understand all mysteries,

4, All knowledge;

5. Have all faith,

6. Bestow all my goods to feed the poor,

7. Give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.

F. Love is that which Distinguishes True Christians From Others.

1. There is Nothing at all that avails anything Without love.

2. Let a man Have what he will, and Do what he will, it signifies Nothing without love --- it is Empty And Vain.

3. All Christian Virtues Are Summed Up In Christian Love.

G. All performances or seeming virtues that are Without Love, are Unsound and Hypocritical --- Mere Entertainment.

1. There is No True Respect For God or Man in their actions.

2. Religion is Nothing Without Proper Respect For God --- all is in Vain.

3. Any Faith Without Love is as Dead as the body is without the soul --- All Service And Activities Must Be Forced.

I. Letís Notice The Priority of Love:

A. Love is the Assurance and Sure Evidence of a Saved Soul.

1 John 3:14, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren."

1 John 4:12-13, "If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit."

B. Love is the First Manifestation or Demonstration of the Saved Soul.

1 John 4:19, "We love him, because he first loved us."

Gal. 5:22, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love,"

Rom. 5:5, "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

C. Love is the Path in which all True Christians Walk.

Eph. 5:2, "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour."

John 14:15, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." --- V. 23, "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words:"

2 Cor. 5:14, "For the love of Christ constraineth us;"

D. Love is the Bond of Mutual Union and Fellowship of Christians

Col. 2:2, "... their hearts ... being knit together in love,"

What is it that Hold A Church Together? --- What is it that Causes some people to Leave The Church?

Offended --- Hurt Feelings --- Mad --- Didnít Get Their Way --- Etc.

In other words, Selfishness or a Lack of Love.

E. Love is the Foundation of the Christian Character.

Eph. 3:17, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,"

1 Peter 1:22, "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:"

2 Peter 1:5-7, "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity."

Col. 3:12-14, "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness."

1. Love is the True Character of all true children of God --- Distinguishing Mark

Eph. 5:2, "And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us,"

John 13:34-35, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

2. Love is the Fullness and Completeness of Christian Character.

1 John 4:12, "... If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us." --- V. 18, "... made perfect in love."

3, Love is the Characteristic by which we become More Like God.

1 John 4:7-8, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." --- V. 16, "... God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."

F. Love is the Spirit by which we may Fulfill All of God's Requirements.

Romj. 13:8-10, "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."

Lev. 19:17-18, "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. 18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD."

Matt. 19:19, "... Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

Gal. 5:14, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

G. Love is our Protection in the Spiritual Warfare.

1. 1 Thess. 5:8, "... putting on the breastplate of faith and love;"

2. True Love Will Cause Us To Stand Against Sin But To Love The Sinner.

3. We are Not To Retaliate against our enemies.

Luke 9:55, "But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of."

II. Love Is of Special Importance And Is Essential To Christians.

A. Christ and His Apostles insisted more on Love than any other Virtue in the Christian's Life.

1. Remember --- John 13:35, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

2. Paul Interrupted His Teaching on spiritual gifts in chapters 12 & 14 to underscore the Priority of Love Over Spiritual Gifts. --- Our lesson text, chapter 13.

1 John 4:7-8, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."

B. The Greatest Things you can do in this life are Empty & Vain Without Love:

1. The Greatest Privileges:

a. Preaching with the greatest of Elegance and Talent.

b. Gift of Prophecy.

c. Understanding all Mysteries,

d. Faith to move mountains.

2. The Greatest Performances:

a. Giving all your material possessions to feed the poor.

b. Giving your body to be burned.

C. The One Virtue that Distinguishes true Christians from all others is Love.

You may Have what you will, Do what you will, and Say what you will, but it Avails Nothing Without Love.

III. All True Christian Love Is The Same Because It Is From The Same Source!

A. The Love of The World comes from many different Principles and many different Motives.

1. The World may love from Different principles and motives Depending Upon The Object Loved.

2. However, True Christian Love is always from The Same Principle or Motive, whatever the objects upon which it flows.

B. True Christian Love is always from the Same Spirit influencing the heart.

1. It is from the Same Spirit that True Christian Love arises, both toward God and Man.

2. It is the Spirit of God that Infuses Godís Love To Us.

Rom. 15:30, "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christís sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;"

Col. 1:8, "Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit."

Phil. 2:1, "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,"

Rom. 5:5, "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

1 John 3:23-24, "... love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24 ... And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit (of love)which he hath given us."

1 John 4:12-13, "No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit."

C. True Christian Love, both to God and Man, is wrought in the heart by the Same Work of The Spirit.

1. There are Not Two Works of The Spirit:

a. One to infuse a spirit of Love To God,

b. Another to infuse a spirit of Love To Men.

2. At the point of Conversion, the Holy Spirit renews the heart by giving it a Divine Temper.

Eph. 4:23, "And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;"

3. Love To God Is The Foundation of Gracious Love To Men.

D. True Christian Love, both to God and Man, is from the Same Motives.

1. When God is loved aright, He is Love For His Excellency, the Beauty of His Nature and especially the Holiness of His Nature.

2. Saints are loved for Holinessí Sake.

3. Our Love To God is the Foundation for our Gracious Love To Man.

E. True Christian Love, will cause us to grant Proper Respect to both God and Man --- We need No other Stimulation to show each other all the Respect that is due than Love.

1. True Christians Need No Other Incentive, than Love, to show Respect To All Men.

2. Love for God will Lead a person to:

a. Honor Him --- Acknowledge His greatness and glory and dominion,

b. Worship and Adore Him, Exalt Him above all,

c. Acts of obedience in Obeying Him --- walk Humbly before Him.

d. Show Gratitude to Him --- Praise Him for His mercies we received,

e. Be Submission to His will --- Acknowledge God's Right To Govern in our lives.

3. Love for God will Also Lead us to Love Our Fellowman.

a. Show Gratitude for any kindness we receive from our fellowman,

b. Fulfill all our Duties Towards Our Neighbor.

Rom. 13:10. "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour:"

c. Always Demonstrate Truth toward our neighbors --- never lying, fraud, or deceit.

d. No one exercises fraud and treachery Toward Those They Love.

e. You can Destroy Your Enemy By Loving and making a Friend out of him.

4. We will have Meekness and Gentleness toward our neighbors --- Calmness and Kindness.

5. True Christian Love will restrain everything like a bitter spirit --- Love Has No Bitterness In It.

Gentle and Sweet Disposition.

6. A. We will practice Acts of Mercy to our neighbors.

7. Proverbs 10:12. "Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins."

F. True Christian Love will cause us to Walk Humbly before Men, have High Thoughts of Others, and to Honor one another.

1. 1 Peter 2:17, "Honour all men."

2. Phil. 2:3, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."

3. Love will cause us to Give To The Poor --- Bear One Another's Burdens.

1 John 3:17, "But whoso hath this worldís good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"

Gal. 6:2-3, "Bear ye one anotherís burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself."

Prov. 19:17, "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again."

Prov. 28:27, "He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse."

G. Love will cause us to be Content Where God Has Placed Us, without Coveting or Envying.

1. Love will cause a Woman, not only to be content, but to be Excited About Being A Woman rather than Coveting Manhood.

Many Women Are Bitter Against God .....

2. Love will cause Citizens to be in subjection to those in authority over them.

3. Love will cause Those In Authority to rule justly, seriously, and faithfully, seeking the good of those under their authority.

4. Love will cause Children to be obedient to their parents and their parents not to neglect their children.

5. Love will cause Employees to be obedient to their employers and their Employers to exercise gentleness and goodness toward their employees.

H. True Christian Love is the Sum Total of All the Laws and all the Duties and Virtue required in God's Word.

Rom. 13:8, "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law." --- V. 10, "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."

1 Tim. 1:5, "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:"

Matt.22:37-40, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

IV. True Faith Is That Which Produces Good Works --- Which Are Produced By Love.

A. True Love is the most Essential and Distinguishing ingredient in a True And Living Faith.

1. Love is the very Life and the Active Working Spirit of a true Faith.

2. Faith Works By Love --- Gal. 5:6, "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."

B. 1 Cor. 13:13, "And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

1 Cor. 13:7, "(Love) ... believeth all things, hopeth all things, ..."

Love is the Foundation of Faith --- and Hope

1 Thess. 5:8, "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation."

Now notice what Paul says in:

Eph. 6:14, "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;"

1. Why does 1 Thess. 5:8 refer to the Breastplate as "Faith" and "Love" but in Eph. 6:14 it is referred to as "Righteousness"?

2. Remember we are commanded to "Walk In Love" but then Christ says, "If a man love me, he will keep my words:"

3. "Faith" and "Love" are Action Words which results in Righteous Works.

1 Thess. 1:3, "Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope " --- Faith --- Hope --- Charity.

4. Faith Without Works is no better than the Faith of Devils --- believing while they Tremble .....

C. All Christian Activities of the heart and life are From Love.

1. All Christian Holiness begins with faith in Jesus Christ.

2. All Christian Obedience is called the obedience of faith.

Rom. 16:25, "... my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, ..... 26 ... is ... made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:"

Back in 15:18, "... to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,"

Gal. 2:20, "... the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, ..."

V. Love Is Not Only Our Priority --- It Should Also Be Our Pursuit!

A. If Love is not Continually Pursued --- It may be Quickly Lost!

1. Love abides only as we make it our Priority and our Pursuit.

2. How Do We Pursue Love?

B. We Begin By Reading Godís Word And Meditating Upon It.

1. The first thing we gain from Godís Word is an Accurate Definition of Love.

2. The Bible is the Only Source of Truth that defines what love is and does.

3. As the Word of God speaks to us of love, we should recognize the Serious Sin of our Lack of Love and Repent of It.

C. We Must Look To God Alone As The Source of Our Love.

1 John 4:19, "We love him, because he first loved us."

Jude 20-21, "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."

D. We Must Never Stray From The Cross of Calvary.

1. There, the Question of Godís Love For Us Was Settled!

2. Godís Love Was Demonstrated On The Cross.

John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Romans 5:6-8, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth (demonstrated) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

Conclusion:

Let's Examine Ourselves, And See If We Have The Spirit of Christ --- Love.

A. From love to God Springs Love To Man.

1 John 5:1, "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

1 John 3:14-19, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this worldís good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him."

1 John 4:20-21, "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also."

B. God's Kingdom is one of Love and Peace --- Not A Revengeful Spirit.

Luke 9:54-55, "And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of."

John 17:20-21, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."

John 15:13, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

C. Love is the Sum and Substance of the True Christian Experience.

1. Divine Knowledge and divine Love go together.

2. A spiritual view of divine things always Excites Love In The Soul.

3. Christians do not rejoice in themselves --- but it is God Who Is Their Exceeding Rich Joy.

4. There is the Spirit of Christ --- the Pleasantness of a Christian life.

D. Christianity And Contention Can Not Live Together.

1. James 3:16, "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work."

2. When Contention comes into a place, it seems to Prevent God's blessings and all good things.

3. Christianity Cannot Flourish In A Time of Strife And Contention Among Its People.

E. Christians should keep a watch and guard against Envy and Malice, and every kind of Bitterness of Spirit.

1. These things are the very Reverse of The Real Essence of Christianity.

2. We should:

a. Suppress the first beginnings of ill-will and bitterness and envy.

b. Watch strictly against all occasions of such a spirit.

c. Strive and Fight to the utmost against such a temper.

d. Avoid, as much as possible, all temptations that may lead to it.

e. Keep A Strong Guard against everything that tends to overthrow or corrupt or undermine a spirit of love.

3. That Which Hinders Our Love To Men, Will Also Hinder Our Love To God.

4. An envious, malicious, cold and hard-hearted Christian, is The Greatest Absurdity And Contradiction.

F. Christianity strongly requires us to Love Our Enemies, Even The Worst of Them

Matt. 5:44, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"

G. Those who profess to be Christians should Live In The Spirit of Love, and Abound In The Works of Love.

1. What Deeds of Love Have You Done Lately?

2. The Principle of Love is the main Principle in the heart of a real Christian.

3. The Labor of Love is the main Business of the Christian life.

1 John 3:18-19, "My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him."




If You Are Not Saved, Nothing Else Matters
There Is No Second Chance After Death!
Hebrews 9:27

                                                          

Prayer Request                           E-Mail                              Guest Book