Posts Tagged ‘1 Corinthians 13’

Love Always Protects

July 16, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve just recently spoken with a friend of mine interested in helping us out with getting a good 501c3 and with fundraising and other aspects of ministry today that are not directly research oriented. Thus, hopefully we will have a website up soon. For our own topic of discussion tonight however, I am going to be continuing our look at 1 Corinthians 13 and seeing the topic of “Love Always Protects.”

My wife and I recently had dinner with some friends of ours that go to school with me and church with both of us. In that discussion we had that evening, the topic of our relationships came up to which I told them that my wife does have a genuine fear about my devotion for her. Those who see me know that I am not physically built in any way, seeing as I am incredibly thin, I have scoliosis, and I’m underweight. Despite all that, the Mrs. fears, and I can see myself doing this easily, that if anyone tried to hurt her that I would fight to the very end to protect her, even if my own life was forfeit.

None of us like to think about that of course. (Although granted men, we tend to think of us going kung fu or ninja on a bunch of bad guys and wiping the floor with them.) However, there is a strong protective quality to love. The love that Christ has for the church is so strong that he is willing to die for the church.

Kind of makes the whole thing about the Bible suppressing women look different when men are supposed to be willing to die for their wives doesn’t it?

Why does love protect? Love seeks the good of the beloved. It is not looking out for its own good but how the other can be blessed. For the Christian man then, life is a small thing to give up if he has to. The same is true for missionaries who end up dying in foreign lands for the cause of Christ. Death is a small thing to them compared to the love of what it is that they are dying for.

The protection says that the thing which is loved is that which ought not come under that kind of harm. Of course, some harm can sadly be necessary. The mother is not likely to knock out the doctor who is giving her child a shot, as much as that child might beg and plead for that to go away and for his mother to not allow this to happen, for the mother knows that the shot is for the good of the child.

But if you are seeking the good of the good, then you will protect that good. You will want to make sure that no harm comes to it. While some may think that no harm can come to God, to which they are correct, his message can be harmed. Not in the sense that it will lose its power or be untrue, but in the sense that it can be silenced in a land if it is not protected. This is something we have to be aware of when governments are often encroaching in on us with the open message of “tolerance.”

Our love for the gospel should be that we do not want the message to lose its impact. We want its good to be able to go on, and thus, we will readily defend it from all attackers. We will only do this if we have a love for the gospel. Maybe that’s what we should be asking next. Do we love the gospel?

This might seem like an obvious question, but maybe it isn’t. A lot of times we can get so caught up in the intellectual side of the gospel that we miss out the applicational side of it today in our lives. Let us remember that the gospel proclaimed on Pentecost is the same gospel that we are to be proclaiming today. We are to stand in continuity with our Christian predecessors. The reason we argue against the cults today is that they stand against the truth the church has always stood for.

Now granted, there are some objections we have today that they did not have, but there are still similarities. They might not have had the Watchtower to deal with, but they did have Arianism. They might not have had Mormonism, but they had Gnosticism which was also highly polytheistic. Atheism was around to a limited extent back then. We have to deal with beliefs like Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Islam came after Christ of course, but Hinduism and Buddhism were mainly far away so the church did not have much interaction with them, although there was some. Whenever something arises that is contrary however to the truth of the gospel, it is the duty of every Christian to stand up for the truth of Christ that has been taught.

Let us not miss over this in being intellectual at times. The two are not opposed. One should think about the gospel they love. One should love the gospel they think about. We should seek to know more the God we love and we should seek to love more the God that we know.

Love always protects. If we love our Lord and His message, let us defend both. Many of us who are men would willingly die for our wives. Many women would also willingly die for their children. What are we willing to give our Lord?


Love Does Not Delight In Evil

July 14, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I have seen a comment recently on a post I’ve made on stoning children and it is appreciated. I hope before too long to write something more for CARM as I’ve been writing some for them lately on if belief in God is like belief in Santa. Stay tuned for all that’s going on with Deeper Waters.

Tonight in looking at the topic of love, we’re going to discuss the passage in 1 Corinthians 13 where it is said that love does not delight in evil.

When I was preparing to get married, my pre-marital counselor was telling me that seminary students like myself will be glad to defend total depravity, but when it comes to us, we somehow get shocked when we find out we’re totally depraved. We will gladly evangelize and state that man has a sin nature and that is his problem, but what a surprise to find out it is in fact OUR problem.

But it is.

We are twisted creatures at heart. We find it shocking to hear that love does not delight in evil because, well, who would? The answer? We would. In fact, the Germans have the word schadenfreude to refer to the delight in another person’s suffering. We all have some sadistic tendencies in us.

There are sad times that we get bad news and in a way, we want to pass it on to see if other people will react. Now of course, there is a sense of justice at times where we want others to reap what they are owed for their actions, but there are times we want them to reap simply because we want them to suffer for the sake of suffering. We want them to suffer for our joy. We will be happy knowing they are suffering.

Many of us can think of situations that seem to paint someone in a negative light and then think about how we’ll show them. How many people have plotted a way they would be tempted to get revenge on someone if they could? Does it seem shocking that a Seminary student might think along the same ways? I am reminded then of the pastor who spoke at a pastor’s conference and said that he was sad to say that just minutes before speaking on the holiness of God, he has some of the most unholy thoughts going through his mind.

Yes. That’s us. Usually rather than do something about those unholy thoughts, we instead relish them when we shouldn’t.

“I know I should let this anger go against this person, but I’d much rather hold on to it.”

“I know I shouldn’t look at this pornography, but it’s just oh so appealing.”

“I know I should be doing more work, but I think I’ll just slack off a bit longer.”

“I know I should forgive this person if they come to me, but I want to hold it over their head and make them pay for what they’ve done.”

Let’s be clear Christians. If we come to Christ’s words and we hear what we should do, we don’t put a “but” onto it. When Christ says “love your neighbor as yourself”, you do so. When he says to forgive as you have been forgiven, you do so. When he tells you not to worry or be anxious, you do so. You don’t add the buts.

But of course, we do, because, well, we all know better than Christ.

Love does not delight in evil since evil is contrary to the nature of God. We should seek the good. How can we say we are seeking good when we are delighting in evil? Ravi Zacharias has spoken of how we can see a scene on TV that we should be looking away from, but instead we watch intrigued. When I got married, I made it a point to avoid those scenes. It’s a battle, but I try. There was a day and age the Mrs. and I have talked about when a movie would have the man and woman go into the room, close the door, and you’d hear a click of a lock. That was it. I don’t approve of the action among non-marrieds, but at least they didn’t have to show everything.

Today, are we delighting in evil or not? Is your delight in God? If so, then how can it be that any delight in evil is allowed? Seek to banish it today!

Love is not Easily Angered

July 13, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Right now, the wife has been looking at a web hosting program so hopefully we’ll be able to get a web site up soon. We’re also planning to talk to someone soon about a 501c3 meaning Deeper Waters will be more than just a blog. For tonight however, we’re continuing our look at 1 Corinthians 13 with how love is not easily angered.

Note that it says easily angered. Anger itself is not a sin. It can lead to sin, but then so can many other emotional states. The modern idea of love can lead to sin. I do not doubt that many couples who have pre-marital sex have a great love for each other. The love of many other things can lead to addiction. As it is, what is needed more than anything else is self-control.

There are facts that we need to get angry about. If someone is hurting someone we love, we should get angry. When the gospel is being mocked by someone, we should get angry. We are too often prone to sit back and say “We must not hurt their feelings.” Most of us would not put up with someone insulting our mother or our spouse or our children, but we sit back and try to be gentle when someone insults our God.

Yet what about the times where we should not get angry? To be fair, working with our reactions can be very hard a lot of times. It is quite natural to have immediate anger when something does not go our way. A danger here is the idea that if it is natural, then that means it is understandable and okay.

It is understandable, but that does not mean it is okay. We can see why someone would get angry, but that does not mean that getting angry is okay. Most of the things we get angry over are things that we should not get angry over. They are little things that go wrong that are mild annoyances and yet we make them all-important issues. After all, the world has to be absolutely perfect. It just has to!

To say love is not easily angered is to call us to self-control and dare I say it, checking ourselves first before we’re ready to lash out at the other person. It means that before you scream at your kids, that you take some time to breathe. It means that when your spouse does something contrary to you, that you don’t just slam the doors in the house.

If you get angry, the best thing to do is to try to work it out. In our household, times where I have been upset I have at the end of the day talked over with the wife and let her know that something she did upset me, and she does the same to me if something I do upsets her. That kind of freedom to be able to share I consider absolutely essential. Note this my friends who plan to get married. You must learn to communicate well, not just to a crowd but to one person.

Learn to control your emotions rather than your emotions controlling you. It is the way to be more loving and thus, more like Christ.

We shall continue next time.

Love is not Rude

July 11, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve been going through 1 Corinthians 13 lately and tonight, we’re going to be talking about how love is not rude.

Keep in mind that the kind of love Paul is talking about here is that which is needed in the Corinthian church, which will result in unity. It is group cohesion. Paul himself was blunt with those outside the church as were the church fathers. A quite amusing piece is found in Against Heresies by Irenaeus where Polycarp is approached by the heretic Marcion and Marcion asks “Do you know who I am?” and Polycarp answers “I do know thee. You’re the firstborn of Satan.”

In the ancient world, honor and shame were everything. It meant a great deal to give honor where honor is due and shame would have meant being outcast from the community, which would essentially result in a loss of your identity. When one reads Plutarch, one can regularly hear about ostracism, which was a common punishment. To be banished from the city meant great shame. The epistle to the Hebrews is dealing with a group of Christians who are not yet experiencing physical persecution, but are experiencing shame, which is bad enough.

You were expected to be attached to a group and your identity came from that group. Jesus’s apostles were recognized by Jesus. What I mean by that is that what they did was a reflection of Jesus and their loyalty was to be with Him. By being an apostle, they were putting their honor on the line by tying it to His and saying that whatever He did they were supporting. If Jesus was against the Pharisees, so were they. If He was against the Sadducees, so were they. The same was true in reverse. If the Sanhedrin was against Jesus…

By the way, the same should be for Jesus’s own followers today. For those who did not believe in the resurrection, to identify oneself with Jesus was to identify oneself with the crucified Messiah. It was identifying with one who opposed the Jewish worship system and was under God’s curse, in the eyes of the Jews, whereas in the eyes of the Romans, it was identifying oneself with a traitor to Rome.

Neither were good positions to be in.

Honor was something to be sought, but you also did not seek to take honor from one who rightfully had it. If your honor was challenged, you had to defend yourself against the challenge or else you lost the honor you’d earned. This was what was going on when Jesus had challenges with the Pharisees and Sadducees and others. These were more than just an attempt to stump Jesus, but rather an attempt to shame him in the eyes of the audience.

Shame was what all dreaded, and that’s why I have this entry. The idea of love not being rude will not be as sensible outside of that context. We live in a culture where if the group doesn’t want to go our way, then fine. We’ll just go our own way. Our identity tends to come from us. We work on having self-esteem. (I recommend Don Matzat’s book on Christ-esteem instead. We all say our identity comes from God but then try to find it in ourselves.)

The call to not be rude means to not seek to lower the honor of those who have rightfully earned it. It would be an end to one-upmanship. Considering this is a church where everyone was interested in showing that they were more spiritual than everybody else, this is an important message.

Fortunately, that idea doesn’t exist in the church today.

No way. We don’t go around putting on our best Christian faces. We don’t refer to each other as brother and sister one day a week and then forget each other the rest of the week. We don’t talk about our rich prayer lives or our great Bible studies. When you meet us, what you see is what you get.

Doesn’t sound accurate? Didn’t think so.

In that light, when we try to cover up everything and try to be as spiritual as possible, we are actually not being loving. Now some of you may have rich prayer lives and you may find more often than the rest of us great insights in Scripture. God bless you. If not, don’t try to act like you do. A lot of you may think God is communicating with you every day and you have great peace with what’s going on in your life entirely. Watch it. What picture do you think could be being presented to immature Christians or younger ones period who wonder “Well what is wrong with me if my life isn’t like that?”

So there’s a couple at church that is driving to church and having an argument and they’re furious with one another, but they walk into the church and all of a sudden they’re fine and at peace with the world and are telling everyone about how good God is. Then they leave, get in the car, immediately start the argument again, go home and separate themselves from one another and don’t resolve the issue.

Because, well, we know they just couldn’t admit a problem at church. They might be…JUDGED!

No. I’m not one of those people who will quote Matthew 7:1 regularly. There is definitely a time and place for judging. However, a judging that makes people think they have to be hypocrites in church or else not be good Christians is not the kind of judging we need. Do note that sinners were able to come to Christ as sinners. If sinners are not able to come to the church as sinners, then can we really say that we are representing Christ to the world?

What would it mean if we could come to church and someone say “Church. I am really struggling with alcohol. I get drunk regularly. Can you help me?” or “I have been battling internet pornography for a long time. I just don’t know how to handle this,” or “My husband and I are constantly arguing and it’s really hurting the kids. Can anyone help us?”

And then what would it mean if the church actually helped?

Why, things could be different couldn’t they? We could come to church and be real people and get real help and we don’t have to shame those people who seem less Christian than we are, all the while realizing that we want someone to help us out in our own struggles.

Maybe we could even have people think they’re coming to people who are really Christlike. After all, Christ didn’t put on a spiritual face. When he wept, he wept. When he was happy, he was happy. What you saw was what you got.

When it comes to people in the church who are successful meanwhile, celebrate it. If you want to be in that position, work for it. We have already covered envy and this would be included. Do not begrudge someone the position that they’ve worked for if they do indeed rightfully hold it. (I do happen to think there are many pastors who have no business being pastors unfortunately and this can only result in the harm of the church.)

Give honor where honor is due and respect where it is due. The church is called to be a body. When the body attacks its own, it will not survive. The body cares for its wounded. The church has been described as one of the only institutions that shoots its wounded. Let’s change that.

We shall continue next time.

Love Is Not Proud

July 9, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve been going through lately 1 Corinthians 13 and seeing what Paul has to say about love. Tonight, we’re going to look at the topic of “Love is proud.”

Pride. That’s a big one isn’t it? Some of us will say we don’t struggle with it and those who say they don’t could be the ones most likely to. Any time we sin, ultimately at heart it is the sin of pride. It is trying to find a good for ourselves outside of God. We are saying that our idea of the good is better than God’s idea.

A few years ago a Garfield movie came out. It was a good movie that I happen to own on DVD and if you remember, the main ad for that movie was one that fit Garfield to a T with him saying “It’s all about me.” Of course, in the movie, he ultimately found out it wasn’t all about him as he risked all he had to save his friend Odie.

For a lot of people however, that was an all too real idea. Too many people who were wearing the T-shirts that said “It’s all about me” did seem to personify that. We have been referred to as the “Me generation.” People are constantly looking out for what’s in it for them. I won’t deny that I’m just as guilty.

Today, we have an idea that the word exists for our happiness. A friend of mine in ministry told once of how his wife answered the door one day to find some Jehovah’s Witnesses and they asked her “Do you think God wants you to be happy?” to which the wife said “No.” This left the Witnesses flummoxed immediately. That answer isn’t in the book!

There was a lot of truth to what she said. Now God does want us to be happy in the sense that He truly wants our good. He does not want us to be happy in the way that many modern Americans view happiness. He does not simply want us to have warm fuzzies or always feel good about ourselves. Nothing wrong with these in themselves, but there is something wrong with making that the goal.

Our idea of happiness however usually means that we’ll be happy when the universe bends to our desires. A lot of the things that really frustrate us are things that don’t go our way. Our lives do not go according to the script that we had written up. Perhaps we should heed the advice of that great philosopher Mick Jagger who said “You can’t always get what you want.” (Though keep in mind, he also said that sometimes you get what you need.)

Just look at a lot of things that make you angry. Are they really worth getting angry over? Does the universe have to bend to your desires? Was it supposed to work out that that person in front of you at the check-out line would not question the price of every item they got? Was it required of the world that you not get behind someone going slow on the road?

What if instead we sought the joy in the other for the other? Consider how many times this can happen in marriage? My wife and I can think about couples who we have heard complaining. The husband will say “Well why don’t I get more sex from my wife?” The wife will say “It would be nice if he would help me out around the house a little bit!” Both of these could have some valid ideas. Both likely make the same mistake. The husband says “Well if she doesn’t give me what I want, why should I be expected to help with the house?” and she says “Why should I be romantic for him if he’s not willing to do anything to help me out around here?”

Yes. Why should any of you do that?

Because you’re in a covenant of love to seek the best of the other even if the other isn’t seeking your best in your eyes.

For husbands, if they will work to help even just a little bit with the housework and taking care of kids and such for their wife, their wives will see this as greatly loving and really thinking of you and when that happens, the wife will be more prone to think of her husband and want him more.

For the wife, if you are having this kind of problem with your husband, take the advice that a marriage therapist in Jennifer Roback Morse’s book “Smart Sex” gives. Spend two weeks seducing your husband. Really seek to give him what he wants. Wives left the therapist thinking she had to be crazy, but when they gave their husbands what their husbands wanted, they were shocked at the men that suddenly showed up in their lives. Their husbands were helping with the housework and getting the kids to bed and being romantic as well!

Now this doesn’t mean that you seek to please each other so that you can get what you want, as tempting as that can be. I have to remember that if I bring home flowers for the Mrs. one day, she’s not obligated to please me the way I want to be pleased. What kind of gesture would it be to get angry thinking “I did this for you and you did not get give me what I want!” That instead would show a very shallow love. Instead, the giving of the flowers is its own reward. If it leads to something more, great. If not, I should make it a point to delight in the fact that I was able to do something good for my wife.

Doing good for the other will make you draw yourself out of your world, which is where we are in pride. We get so caught up in ourselves that it is hard to see the perspective of the other and realize that the other person really does have good reasons for acting how they do and it is not a giant conspiracy on their part to annoy you.

Annoy. That’s a good word isn’t it? Most of what goes against our pride is not stuff that is really wrong or harmful. It’s more something that is annoying. Hearing the kid cry while you’re trying to take a nap or watch your favorite TV show might be annoying, but is it really something to get angry over? Does the kid owe you that time, especially if they’re too young to understand?

And what happens? You make your judgment that is temporal the final and eternal judgment and you keep feeding that negative idea. You form one negative concept in your mind and it grows and grows. It’s not enough when you see the original premise that created that idea blown out of the water. The damage is still done. Why? You started with yourself as the ultimate judge instead of God.

While I have gone after presuppositionalism on this blog, let us keep in mind that it is certainly true that all truth is God’s truth. As my pre-marital counselor told me about these struggles, it comes down to “What is truth?” It’s apologetics. The answer is not how you feel at the moment, but what is true. You need to work through how you feel to an extent, but you can’t expect a certain feeling to show up. Would God take what you are thinking at this moment and say “Yes. That is true.” If he would not, then it is not true.

And with God, wouldn’t that be a good one to lose your world in? Why not spend more time focusing on His world instead of your own? Why not seek His love instead? If you are tempted to focus on the wrongs that are done against you, why not think instead of the wrongs you’ve done against Him? See His great love for you and seek to have that kind of love for others.

Reality won’t go your way. So what? You think you’re supposed to be writing the script. Besides, the world would not be as enjoyable with our scripts. It’s those little things that often interrupt the main act that can be the most entertaining. Remember the Romans 8 passage and that while you may not like what is going on, God is able to shape it for your good. Why not trust Him to do so?

We shall continue next time.

Love Does Not Boast

July 7, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I wish to remind about our Facebook page. I also want to let everyone know about a sermon that I did at my church back in May. The link can be found here. It was done on 1 Corinthians 13 at the request of my pastor which led to this sermon series. Tonight, we continue our look by discussing how love does not boast.

Now to be fair, I do believe there is a place where you can celebrate with those who have already accepted you on compliments that you have heard. I will gladly share with my family comments that someone makes to me that I enjoy, but when it comes to the public square, I prefer to let my actions speak for themselves. There are compliments that I have been given that will never be spoken in the public square, not because I do not believe them or do not like the commenter, but because I do not believe I need to say them.

Boasters however pump themselves up entirely. Christ had a problem with some boasters. These were namely types like the Pharisees who wanted everyone to know about the good that they were doing when making an offering or wanted the world to know that they were fasting.

Today, many of us in fact know the reality of doing a good deed and not waiting around to receive the recognition for it. While in the time of Christ, a Good Samaritan would have been unheard of, today, we have turned that into a position of honor and can often speak of an unknown Good Samaritan who showed up.

Love does not boast because love seeks the good of the object of the love. The love itself is not the greatest good. In our society, when people say they have fallen in love, it could be more often that they have fallen in love with love. Emotional states are good things, but they are not the reality. Lewis warned about this in “The Screwtape Letters.” He spoke of the people who think an emotional experience is more important than a vow taken for the improvement of character, the mutual benefit of a man and a woman, and the continuation of the species.

Boasting is an outward act that draws attention to ourselves rather than to the one we love. The Pharisee trumpeting what he was doing in the streets was not drawing attention to God but to Himself. The person witnessing this did not walk away with a knowledge of God, but he sure walked away with a knowledge of the Pharisee.

Contrast this with the experience of Paul in wanting to be a slave of Christ. The idea was that the slave drew attention to the master. If you were a really good slave, it was not to speak about you, but to speak about the master that you served. When Paul is a good slave, it does not mean that he is a particularly hard worker, which he was, but rather it means that he had a really good master. The question that needs to be asked when you read a letter of Paul or what you could imagine as a sermon of his to early listeners is “Did they leave with more knowledge of Paul, or more knowledge of Christ?”

Now this does not mean that we will never speak of ourselves in public, but let us try to make sure that we are not building up our own kingdoms when we do so. There is only one king. He does not accept competition nor can we ever truly think of giving Him any, deluded as we may be in thinking we can.

We shall continue next time.

Love Does Not Envy

July 6, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’m still waiting for those links to be available for all who have been interested in some of my recent endeavors. I also encourage readers to visit our Facebook page, have some discussion, and of course, become a supporter.

Today I will be continuing our look at 1 Corinthians 13 in how love does not envy.

Envy has been said to be the sin that causes more pain to the person with envy than to the person that is being envied. It is one of the seven deadly sins. What is the idea behind envy however and why does love not envy?

Envy is not necessarily the same as wanting what someone else has. To some extent, we all want that. I often look at my apologetics heroes and think that I want to be in the position they’re in of teaching and debating. I could look at people I knew who were married and say “I want that”, which of course I have now. The correct attitude to have when you see someone with something that you want is to do your best to earn that something by your own efforts.

Envy however says that even though the other person has earned what they have, they ought not to have it. The only reason is that we are being deprived of that something and because obviously, we are more important than everyone else, then we ought to get that something.

It is painful since the other person can often have no idea of what we’re feeling and instead, we are the ones who are suffering by focusing on what we do not have and since we cannot be happy not having that, we don’t want it to be the case that anyone else is happy having that.

By contrast, love seeks the good of the other and if you are seeking the good of the other, you will be happy for the good that the other person is having. As said above, you can still want this good for yourself but be delighted that someone else can partake of that good since you realize that the universe does not circle around you. It was not designed to meet your personal tastes.

Isn’t that what we should be doing more often anyway? Do we really want to spend all our time focusing on what we do not have? Do we really want to focus so much on how other people are not pleasing us instead of focusing on how we should please other people? Do we want to get caught up in our own world entirely or do we want to realize our place in God’s world?

The early church took envy seriously. Clement said that Cain had envy which led to the result of his murdering his brother Abel. Thus, the Corinthian church needed to banish envy from their midst. Yes. Envy is a sin that in its first appearance in Scripture leads to murder. This is not little thing.

Few of us will murder, but it will cause us to hate our brothers in our hearts. We should all remember that Christ had something to say about hating your brother in that way. Envy is in a way then wishing the death of the other. How can it be that you love your neighbor but wish their death simply so you can profit? In fact, even if your brother lost what he had that you wanted, would that mean that you got it? No. You wouldn’t get it but then you think you could still have happiness knowing that someone else isn’t happy? What an awful thought it becomes!

Keep in mind that this can happen with Christian ideas as well. Aaron and Miriam had envy over Moses since God got to speak to Him and well, aren’t we just as good as Moses is? God should speak to us! What was their result? Miriam got struck with leprosy and the two of them were warned not to speak against Moses.

As if it wasn’t enough of a lesson that the high priest and the sister of Moses had to suffer, Korah and his followers wished the same thing for themselves and were swallowed alive by the Earth. The situation was so bad that God had to make an object lesson for Israel out of Aaron’s staff to put an end to debates.

Yes. Envy does not have to be of material goods only. It can be of the things of God. We should all hunger and thirst for righteousness, but let us not envy another person’s righteousness. Instead, seek to emulate it.

We shall continue on the topic of love tomorrow.

Love Is Kind

July 5, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I had a good time on my trip and did an interview with a radio station on the topic of the Trinity. I plan to have a link up soon. To get to the topic of the blog tonight, we’re going to teach on kindness.

Now keep in mind that this is concerning love within the body. I do believe that there is a way to approach those outside of the body of Christ who wish harm on the body. That is done for the love of those who are in the body. Tonight, I will be assuming that the love we are talking about is the love within the body of Christ.

Kindness does not mean that you never do get tough with the body however, but the question is in what way and why? We often want other people to be open to ways we’d like them to change, but God forbid that they ever dare suggest to us any ways that we should change! When that is done, we quickly become defensive.

Love is that which seeks the good of the other and being kind means seeking that good. Even when we are angry with someone, we should be kind. Ravi Zacharias has said that in marriage, there is never a good reason to be unkind. Unfortunately, many people can think of times in their marriage when they have been less than kind. (Even in my short time of marriage, I know of times that I should have handled things better)

Why is this important? It is because we seek the good of the other for the sake of the other and not just for what we can get out of it. A wife should seek the good of her husband so that the husband will be good for his own sake and not just so that he’ll clean the house or watch the kids. A husband should be good to his wife for her own sake and not just because he wants to have sex. Granted both spouses could get what they want for themselves by helping the other, but helping the other should be seen as a reward in itself and if a bonus comes from it, well enjoy it.

If you are seeking the good of the other, then when you find that they are the better, you will find your joy. This would be something that would benefit many married couples if they could realize that their joy was to be found in the other. It is not about the other person meeting your expectations, but about you meeting the expectations of the other. Of course, you have to express some of what you like and don’t like and ideally, the other partner would understand that and seek to comply.

For a lot of us, it would certainly be better than getting on the defensive. Even if it is in the context of receiving criticism that one does not agree with, one can simply reply with a thanks to the person for giving their input and really take it into consideration. Maybe there is more truth to it than you realize.

We shall continue next time.

Love is Patient

June 30, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Before continuing tonight, I wish to let you readers know that I will be out of town this weekend so there will be no new blogs until I return. Tonight however, we are going to start our look at love in 1 Corinthians 13 with verse four where we start with “Love is patient.”

Now honestly, how many of us when we think about what love is would start off with patient? However, this is what Paul starts off with. In a church that was struggling so much with disunity, this could be one of the most important lessons that was needed. Love is indeed long-suffering, as we would say.

We seem to live in an age where we have no patience, which is interesting since we supposedly have so many time-saving devices around us. Where we should have the most time, we feel rushed to and fro and rarely seem to take the time to enjoy ourselves and can rarely get a good night’s sleep because we’re so stressed out.

Of course, one of the best examples of this is in driving. One can imagine the joy the apostle Paul would have if he could have traveled the Roman Empire the way we can travel today. What do we do though? We complain suddenly if we have to wait a little bit longer at that red light or if someone is taking too long to make that turn. Many of us have seen that driver that weaves in and out of traffic on the internet at high speeds. A few of us have been that driver before. We’ve been the driver that pulls out in front of someone because we have to make it, and we’ve been the driver who honks the horn at that moron who does that to us.

Why is it we get impatient? Could it be because, well darn it, reality is supposed to go OUR way! The world is meant to adjust according to our schedule. When we’re going somewhere, everyone else on the road ought to know where it is we’re going and exactly just how important it is. When we’re at the check-out line at the store, that idiot in front of us should know that we are in a hurry and if we do not get that extra minute the world will suffer cataclysmic change.

Of course, chances are, when we get home with that extra minute, we’ll waste it and while we’re wasting it, we’ll get upset with others for interrupting it. I know my Mrs. had to remind me a few times that my family doesn’t always know they’re interrupting something when they call. Granted sometimes people do interrupt, but do they know that?

And speaking of family, they can often receive the greatest extent of our wrath. After all, they should know our demands better than anyone else and they should know the way we want things to be. Why is it that they are not complying with our wishes? Can’t anyone see how important MY needs are at this moment?

Could it be that your needs really aren’t that important?

And could it be that honestly, they’re not really needs?

C.S. Lewis once said that we are all very hard to live with, and indeed we are. When I preached my sermon on love, I had even said in it that my wife is at a disadvantage seeing as being married to me, she never has to learn patience whatsoever. I also then told the audience that our couch would be nice and clean that evening if they visited seeing as I’d be sleeping on it. Yes. I am very hard to live with also. (If she reads this, she will give a huge “AMEN” I am sure.)

While we may think the rest of the world should be more considerate of us, perhaps we should see if we are more considerate of the rest of the world. You can influence other people for good or evil and you will do so in fact, so you’d best try to influence them for good. You can only change one person directly however. It is not your child. It is not your brother or sister. It is not your friend. It is not your parent. It is not your spouse. The only person you can directly change is you.

So if you’re going to change someone, why not start with the someone you see in the mirror every day?

Might it be nice if that other person changed too? Yes. It could be. Perhaps you can influence that, but you can definitely do something about you so that whether that person changes or not, you can still live in a Christlike manner. Do you want your Christlikeness to depend on what the other person does?

This issue that you think is all-important right now, will it really matter a year from now? I remember speaking to a friend once concerning a mutual friend of ours and how she said that the situation was so bad that she didn’t really know how their friendship would survive. I remembered that and about a year later asked her how she and this friend were doing. “Fine. Why?” I then reminded her of that incident. It was a revealing moment for the both of us.

Of course, when we make it a panic situation, we’re normally forgetting God as well. If we want to talk about someone who is patient, it is God. What is it that we’re putting up with? Well someone is driving too slow or haggling with the cashier about the price of an item or our parents are nagging or our spouse is interrupting our work or our kids are making too much noise.

When it comes to God, we’re guilty of divine treason.

Treason? Isn’t that a bit strong?

No. If anything, it’s not strong enough. If you are driving down the road and you see a police officer, do you not tend to automatically slow down and make sure you are doing everything right? If you are at work and you realize your boss is watching, do not most of us try to make sure we’re doing the best we can at our job? If you’re a student at school and you know the teacher is coming by, do not most of us try to make sure we look like we’re studying or working hard?

Why? We know these people have the authority to deal with us if they see us stepping out of line and we could pay the consequences.

However, with the ever-present God who is the all-knowing judge, we don’t do that. Consider what we are denying.

We are denying His omnipotence saying He does not have the power to judge us.

We are denying His omniscience saying He does not know that our way is better for us than His.

We are denying His omnipresence by saying that He does not see. Our sin is secret.

We are denying His omnibenevolence in saying He does not have the best for us in mind.

We are denying His sovereignty saying that our rule is superior to His.

In essence, we are saying He is not who He claims to be. We will be on the throne of our lives instead of Him.

Everyone of those sins merits us eternal punishment also and is the reason Christ died.

Now take a look at any sin you’ve committed and consider the Son on the cross and ask “Is it really worth it?”

“Is it really worth losing my cool with that guy on the interstate I don’t know?”

“Is it really worth mentally insulting the person in front of me at the store taking a long time at the check-out?”

“Is it really worth getting upset with my parents when they just want to help?”

“Is it really worth getting upset with my spouse when chances are they just want to spend time with me?”

“Is it really worth getting upset with my children when they could just be wanting to be with Mom or Dad?”

Now of course, there are times to act. These times we normally know. If your children are seriously misbehaving, by all means let it be known and deal with them. However, you must know if they are really misbehaving or if it might be just something in you that needs to change. For what needs to change in you, the starting place is your reactions. How are you handling the situation? Don’t just look at what you’re doing on the outside. Look at what’s going on inside.

J. Allan Petersen says in his book “Your Reactions Are Showing” that we can see a small child in a room of toys playing and think this is a happy and contented child. We cannot know that from those actions. Want to know what kind of child you really have? Just bring in another one and see how the first one reacts to having to “share” his or her toys.

Many of us can be good Christians on the outside, but we all know who we are on the inside with our reactions and we have to ask if they’re really being Christlike. Are we treating others the way Jesus did? Yes. Jesus got tough at times. Jesus was soft at times. Both times He was so appropriately. It’s not an all or nothing game. We have to see how He did it and see if we’re following likewise.

Then we must remember that we, the ones guilty of divine treason, have a God who is patient with us in all of this. Ought we not to be patient with our fellow man the way God has with us?

We shall continue next time.

Self-Sacrifice and Love

June 28, 2011

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Right now, we’re going through 1 Corinthians 13. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at the topic of self-sacrifice and love. After all, Paul’s next point is that if we give our bodies to be burned and have not love, we have nothing.

Martyrdom became something common in the early church. Christians weren’t the most popular people around. For some moving accounts of martyrdom, one can read some of the writings of the early church and read about people like Ignatius and Justin Martyr. One of the most incredible ones to read about is the martyrdom of Polycarp. There’s also the account of how Peter when he was crucified asked to be crucified upside-down because he was not worthy to die in the same matter as his Lord.

Indeed, one can read these accounts and hope that if push came to shove, that we would do the same thing. It’s quite easy to talk strongly. We can all be like Peter and say “Lord. I am wiling to die for you!” How shocking it is if we were told that “You will deny me three times.” “Me?! Deny you Lord?! Never!” only to hear ourselves later say “Him? Sorry. Don’t know him. You must have me confused with someone else.”

And of course, as I tell people, if we think about it, dying for Christ is pretty easy. Living for Him is the hard thing and rather than think about dying for Him, we should think about living for Him.

Paul’s point in this situation however is to say not even the sacrifice of death is worthwhile if one does not have love. We can even conceive of how someone would make that sacrifice if only for the sake of personal honor rather than out of love for the one that they say that they serve.

Of course, I don’t intend to call into question the faith of the early church fathers. I do not doubt that Ignatius, Justin, and Polycarp were all believers. I do believe that we should look to them as great heroes of the faith and hope that we could make the sacrifice, but we must remember that because one is a Christian, one can make the sacrifice. Making the sacrifice does not make one a Christian.

Thus, we have seen that for Paul, there is nothing that you can have or do that if you do not have love, will merit you anything. Love is absolutely essential in everything. The question we can ask ourselves then is if we are really seeking love. There is the problem in our society that we are seeking the wrong thing in that we make love something that it is not. Let us be clear that we must be seeking biblical love.

So what is that love exactly? We’ve spent much time talking about the value of love and indeed we have to do that. As I said at the start, it can be tempting for us to read through that portion without taking the time to really see what it says. Now that we have seen that, next time, we will begin looking at what it is.