Faith, hope and charity are absolute foundational needs for a Christian, if we're going to be in God's kingdom.
The sermon I want to give to you is about: ”What would you do if you wanted to help a nation in trouble?” If you ever watch Glenn Beck…Glenn Beck has three basic issues that he encourages people to get back to. You know what they are? Faith, hope, and charity. I think for faith he has Thomas Jefferson, picture of a former president; for hope he has George Washington and for charity he has Ben Franklin. Faith, hope and charity. He said, “What’s wrong with our country is we’ve forgotten to go back to the basics - the basics that are absolutely essential for life, for our country to work well.” That’s what I’d like to share with you today: faith, hope, and charity.
I Corinthians 13, Verse 13 - In this love chapter, the very last verse of the love chapter - I Corinthians 13 and Verse 13 we read this:
I Corinthians 13:13 And now abides faith, hope, and charity (the word for charity is love) these three; but the greatest of these is charity (or love).
These three are absolute foundational needs for a Christian, if we’re going to be in God’s kingdom. They’re absolutely requisites, and if we get back, as a church, as a people, to faith, hope, and charity, we will be able to see our way a whole lot clearer as we navigate the stormy waters that may be coming up. We need to focus on these three; we need to keep them in our lives. And so let’s take a look at them in that particular order: faith, hope, and charity.
Faith - the Greek word for faith is pistis, and in the Greek it means belief, believe, assurance and fidelity. It means faithfulness; it means faith; it means confident assurance; it means belief; it means believing. Hebrews 11 and Verse 1 tells us what faith is, and you know it’s really interesting, as I was thinking about it today and last night, you know that all three of these are so closely intertwined? For instance, when we read the definition of faith, you’ll see hope is a part of faith. When you see what it takes for faith to be utilized, it takes love; when you see what is involved for love, it takes hope. Hope makes not ashamed; love of God shed abroad in our hearts. So we see that all three of them are kind of tied together. We see that faith works by love, and that hope is part of what you need for faith, and hope is what you need for love, and love is what you need to share all of them, as we’ll see that at the end.
But Hebrews, Chapter 11, and Verse 1 - this is a traditional definition we’ve given for faith - Hebrews, Chapter 11 and Verse 1:
Hebrews 11:1 Hebrews 11:1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
American King James Version×Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Why do you need faith to live a Christian life? Anybody here been in the kingdom of God? Let’s see - anybody seen the kingdom yet? I’ve seen the kingdom, but it was a magic kingdom…Disney World! I haven’t been to the kingdom! Has anybody seen anybody resurrected yet? Anybody seen anybody walking around spirit, who just walks through the wall and appears to you? I don’t think…we haven’t see that either, have we? Anybody see Jesus Christ crucified? Anybody see the blood pour out of Him? Anybody see Him live a perfect life before He ever died? Anybody see Him resurrected from the dead? No! Anybody see God? No! Seen God’s handiwork - seen God? No!
So what does it mean? You have to have faith. You have to believe in those things that you cannot see. That’s what he’s telling you, faith is the substance of things hoped for - that’s what you have until you actually hope for - there’s a glass of water here…do I have to hope for this? No, it’s here - no hope involved, it’s here. But if it weren’t here, I might hope for a glass of water, if I was choking, or something - I might hope that somebody would get me a glass of water. And there’s water back there I know, and there’s glasses back there, so I would have hope! But if it’s here, I don’t have to have hope. See, faith is evidence of things hoped for; it’s what you have before you actually have it, and it’s the evidence of things not seen. I don’t see God, but I know He exists. I never saw God write the Bible, but I know it’s His word. I haven’t seen the kingdom, but I’ve gone to the Feast and I’ve kept…I’ve read about it, and studied about it, but I haven’t seen it. I haven’t seen anybody resurrected, but I know that what happened to men when they did see somebody resurrected, because before they did they turned-tail and ran! But after they did they were willing to be beaten for their faith and belief in Jesus Christ. And many of them were willing to be martyred, because they believed - evidence of things not seen - good verse.
I’m going to read you a quote: ”Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and receives the impossible.” Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and receives the impossible. Look at James, Chapter 2 - see, for James, the brother of Jesus Christ, he understood that faith was not just some intellectual exercise of going through words and studies - he knew for James, that faith is what you had that affected you right down to your toenails. That faith is what you did as you lived what you believed; that it wasn’t just some intellectual exercise, but it had to do with what you did with your life. So, James, Chapter 2, Verse 14, he says this:
James 2:14 James 2:14What does it profit, my brothers, though a man say he has faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
American King James Version× What does it profit, my brethren, though a man says he has faith (intellectual faith) and have not works? Can faith (intellectual faith) save him?
Can intellectual faith save you? No! You’ve got to act on your faith. If you are faithful, full of faith, you’ll act on what you believe - up here!
Verse 15: If a brother or sister be naked and destitute of daily food, - (So, he shows we need to have action.)
Verse 16: and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” and not withstanding, you don’t give them those things which are needful to the body, what does it profit?
So somebody knocks on your door, one of the brethren has been in an accident, they’re freezing, they’re cold, doesn’t have anything, and you say, “I’ll pray for you; I’ll go right now.” - and close the door - “Bye, I’ll pray for you.” And you could bring them in, give them a blanket, sit them down, heat them some hot tea, or hot coffee, or hot chocolate and make them feel comfortable, loved and warm. But you send them off - “I believe things are going to be okay for you - I’ll pray - God knows your situation”…not enough. It’s not enough; what does it profit, he says.
Verse 17: Even so, faith if it has not works, is dead, being alone. Faith without works is dead - being alone.
Verse 18: Yes a man may say to you, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I’ll show you my faith by my works.
I think it’s rather interesting that the men who wanted to have this person with the palsy healed, that they couldn’t get through the crowd because Jesus was so popular, so they had to uncover the roof - remember that case? They had to transport his body on the stretcher upon the roof, tear out the sod, or whatever the roof was made out of, lower him down - the other two men fought their way through the crowd, squirming their way through, and they lowered this man down. You know what it says? ”When Jesus saw their faith…how do you see faith? By the actions of those who believe. They believed that if they could just get him to Jesus Christ, that Jesus Christ would make him well - it said, “when Jesus saw their faith.” So faith is something you can see, because you’re doing something about it.
We had two booklets, in the early years…one was called “What is Faith?”, and the other one was called “What Kind of Faith is Required for Salvation?” One of them was, do you believe in your head…faith; the other one was doing what you believe in your head - putting into practice. What kind of faith is required for salvation? It was the faith that James speaks about - the only faith that James knew. When James speaks of faith, he speaks about people who are so convicted in their head, that it affects what their feet do - their feet are directed to walk with God. So he says in:
Verse 18: A man may say, “You have faith - (I have faith) - you have faith and I have works. Show me your faith without your works, and I’ll show you my faith by my works.”
Verse 19: You believe that there’s one God. Good - you believe it in your head? You do well. But the demons also believe - and tremble!
So, if you only have intellectual faith, and by the way, faith has two dimensions, intellectual faith and active faith - in other words, “I know and I do.” That’s the faith that James talks about. He said, if you only believe in your head, you’re worse than a demon, because demons believe - and tremble - not just believe in their heads.
Verse 20: But will you know, Oh vain man, that faith without works is dead.
Faith without works is dead - the type of faith that we need. Let me give you another quote to help illustrate this point: An old Scotsman operated a little row boat for passengers. One day a passenger noticed that the old man had carved on one oar: faith; on the other oar: works. Curious, the passenger asked the reason, “Why do you have this one there?” The old man being a Christian, said, “I will show you.” So he dropped one oar and used the other one (works) and the boat went around in circles. (Never been in a boat - I’m not a great boatsman, or great seaman, but I do know that, you know - one oar and you’d go round in circles!) So he dropped that one and he took the one on faith, and he used it, and of course the boat went around the other direction. Then he used both oars and the boat swiftly sailed over the waters. He explained, “One without the other will get you nowhere.” But faith and works together, intellectual and active, pulling together makes for progress. We need both: faith and works. We need to do what we believe; we need to be what we believe.
Hebrews 11, and Verse 6 - Let’s go back there. Another reason why faith is so necessary for our lives, why we must have it in our lives.
Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
American King James Version× Because without faith you can’t please Him. Without faith it is impossible to please Him (God), For he that comes to God must believe that He is. Youhave to believe in that which you don’t see: God. You have to believe that what He says is true; you have to believe to follow what He says. That takes faith; without that faith you cannot please Him. He’s a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. We need it in order to please God.
Mark 16, and Verse 16, without faith you cannot be baptized and saved - you can be baptized, but you can’t be saved, and it won’t be very legit (as the young people say):
Mark 16:16 Mark 16:16He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.
American King James Version× ”He that believes and is baptized shall be saved” ; without belief, prior to baptism, along with repentance, prior to baptism, one cannot be saved. It’s requisite if we’re to have eternal life. Ephesians 2:8 Ephesians 2:8For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
American King James Version×says:
Ephesians 2: 8 By grace are you saved through faith - by grace are you saved through faith. It takes the faith of God, faith of man, to believe in the grace of God. It takes the faith that we have to believe that God will do what He’s promised, and give us grace.
II Corinthians 5, and Verse 7 - (II Corinthians 5 and Verse 7). We read this beautiful Scripture - very simple. The Apostle Paul wrote:
II Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. We walk by faith, not by sight, because, what is faith? Evidence of things not seen.
Let me read you another quote. This story is told by a Captain of a ship on which George Mueller, of Bristol, was traveling. Mr. Armstrong quoted George Mueller in the Faith booklet; he talked about how this man was a man of faith in England. During his life, George Mueller’s life, he received more than one million pounds from the Lord; without advertising, every penny came as an answer to prayer. ”We had George Mueller of Bristol on board”, said the Captain, “and I’d been on the bridge for twenty-four hours, and never left it. And George Mueller came to me and said, ‘Captain, I’ve come to tell you - I must be in Quebec on Saturday afternoon.’ ”It is impossible”, the Captain said. ”Then, very well, if your ship cannot take me, God will find some other way. I have never broken an engagement in fifty-seven years. Let’s go down to the chart room and pray.” ”I looked at that man of God, thought to myself, ‘What lunatic asylum can that man have come from!’, for I’d never heard of such a thing. Mr. Mueller, I said, do you know how dense this fog is?” ”No” , he replied. ”My eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God who controls every circumstance of my life.” ”He knelt down and he prayed one of the most simple prayers. When he had finished, I was going to pray”, the Captain said, “but he put his hand on my shoulder and told me ‘not to pray, as you do not believe He will answer, and as I believe He has, there’s no need at all for you to pray.’” ”I looked at him” - and George Mueller said: ”Captain, I’ve known my Lord for fifty-seven years, and there’s never been a single day when I failed to get an audience with the King. Get up, Captain, open the door - you’ll find the fog has gone.” ”I got up and the fog indeed was gone. And on that Saturday afternoon, George Mueller kept his promised engagement.”
Faith, believing in that which you cannot see; confident belief so much so that it translates into how we live our lives - faith. So important; so foundational; so necessary if we’re going to have life. And it’s Galatians 5, and Verse 6, where he says: Faith works by love - Galatians 5:6 Galatians 5:6For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love.
American King James Version×: Faith works by love.
Let’s take a look at the next one: Hope. The Greek word for hope is Elpis. It means, confident expectation; anticipation of good, looking to the future with joy - hope. Don’t we all need hope? Did you ever hope for something, keep waiting for it to be fulfilled, and finally it comes? And you’ve waited for it, hoped for it for so long, and then all of a sudden…I know the first time we had a chance to order our car, the new car that we wanted, we ordered one in Texas. It was a green Bonneville - SSE but not the super-powered ones - so we just got the regular powered one. So we picked out everything we wanted, it had heads-up display and everything. We were so excited to get…we couldn’t wait, we couldn’t wait, we couldn’t wait, we couldn’t …I kept hoping, hoping…when’s it going to be delivered? When’s it going to be coming? When am I going to get a phone call? Hope…and finally it came, and then I wished it hadn’t come, because I didn’t have anything to hope for, as far as physical things anymore!
Sometimes you hope so much for something that when it comes, you almost wish you could still keep on hoping for that particular item. And we put some eighty-eight thousand miles on that car, and when we drove it in to get another car before going to Canada they said, “Don’t touch it, don’t drive it, don’t move it - we’ll give you so much on it and here’s the other car you can take.” So we ordered it, and it was something we hoped for. Hope is something we all need.
Let’s share with you a little anecdote about hope. Did you know that the Southern tip of Africa used to be called The Cape of Tempest? Some of you who studied geography probably know that - I didn’t. Its swirling seas and continuously adverse weather conditions caused sailors great anxiety and took many lives. But a certain Portuguese man determined…not George de Campus, by the way…but a certain Portuguese man, determined to find a safer route through those seas to the renowned land of Cathay, discovered a safer passage round this promontory, and the area was renamed, The Cape of Good Hope - The Cape of Good Hope, instead of The Cape of Tempest. So, again, hope is something we all need.
Titus 1, and Verse 2 - Titus, Chapter 1, and Verse 2. And our main hope is not for anything physical, not for anything that somebody can take from us.
Titus 1:2 Titus 1:2In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
American King James Version× in hope of eternal life - (in hope of eternal life), which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began, -
In hope of eternal life. Do you hope for God’s kingdom? Do you hope to be in God’s family? Why do you want to be in God’s family? I love God’s Church so much, because we have a lively hope. My lively hope involves not just saving my skin…my lively hope involves seeing everybody else have a chance to save their skin. We are a church that believes in a second resurrection; we’re a church that believes in giving the gospel of the kingdom of God freely because we want every human being to hear it; learn it. We’re a church that didn’t believe that because Mr. Armstrong died in 1986 we should stop preaching the gospel, because what about all the people that have lived since 1986? Do they not deserve a chance? We have a lively hope for all people. And in fact, the last three Holy Days we keep are really not about us. If you’re about “out to save your skin”, what happens on the Feast of Trumpets? You’re changed from physical to spirit. You become a born child of God. You will never be able to sin; you will never be able to fall away then. Never! You saved your skin; why you don’t even need to fast on the Day of Atonement - right? Yes you do, because you’re picturing a world that needs to come and be one with God, too.
And the Feast of Tabernacles, a beautiful awesome world that God is creating for all those people that are still left, and all the generations that come from them. And then, what happens to the rest of the dead, like my dad and my granddad, grandmothers, my wife’s grandmother - wonderful lady, never met anybody nicer. I never, ever, heard a bad word come out of her mouth in all the years we were married and visited there - some forty some years. I never heard a bad word ever come out of…I never saw her grumpy! She was cheerful and loving. Think about what a Christian she’ll make when she understands God’s way. What a beautiful time. See, we’re not just about saving our own skin. That’s the lively hope we have. Peter spoke about our lively hope over in I Peter 1, and Verse 3 - turn with me - I Peter 1, and Verse 3, he says: We have a lively, or a living hope - living hope is not just about us - it’s about other peoples’ - could have a chance in the resurrection too.
I Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively hope - what is my lively hope? By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
If Jesus Christ could go from physical to spirit, we can go from physical to spirit. That’s what it’s about. God is in the business of bringing many children, many sons, to salvation - many. He was called the firstborn among many brethren - not because there weren’t going to be any other brothers, and sisters, in His family.
Hebrews 11, Verses 13 to 16 - See, these people had such hope that they lived their lives in a Godly way.
Hebrews 11:13 Hebrews 11:13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
American King James Version× These all died in faith, - all these heroes of faith: the Noah’s and the Abel’s and the Enoch’s and the Abraham’s, Sarah and Isaac, Jacob…these all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off - they had hope - they had hope - And were persuaded of them.
If I have the hope of eternal life in front of me, I’m not going to let anybody take my crown; I’m not going to let anybody deter me from heading toward that coming kingdom.
And they were persuaded and they embraced them, and they confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on this earth.
We’re just here temporarily. I’m not putting my roots down here, are you? I’m not settling here - is this world going to have the answers, with all its nuclear wrangling? With all its economic woes? With all its fighting and trouble? Does it have the answer? No, it doesn’t. Don’t hang you hat on this world, but do hang it on the world tomorrow; embrace it; confess it; love it; hope for it; keep it in front of us, and the only one that can keep you from it - you! You. When you’re converted, God says “you’re in My hands.” God will take care of His people, keeps them in His hands - the Big Giant. You’re in His hands - “you can’t get by”.…like I used to say, that “my dad’s stronger than your dad; my dad can beat up your dad!” Our dad in heaven, our Heavenly Father, “nobody, nobody will mess with You!” But, He’ll never squeeze you hard enough… John 10:29 John 10:29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
American King James Version×by the way is the reference - He’ll never squeeze you hard enough that you can’t jump. If you want to be in God’s kingdom and you stay on God’s side, nobody will be able to take you away - only you! Never squeeze you tight enough that you can’t jump. But don’t let Satan try to mess with you; don’t let anybody else try to mess with you; they’re going against somebody who’s too great for them. But you can jump if you don’t want to be with Him. We have hope - they did. Verse 14:
Verse 14: For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country,
Verse 15: And truly if they’d been mindful of that country from which they’d come out of - looked, they’d kept their eyes focused on Egypt - they might have had opportunity to return. They might have said, “Let’s go back; well, we had food back there; we had this…” and sometimes they did say that, didn’t they? When they were not in good attitudes.
Verse 16: But now - these men didn’t - now they desire a country, that is a heavenly…Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city.
New Jerusalem, the wonderful world tomorrow - He’s prepared for them something beautiful. They’re hoping for a better place.
Romans, Chapter 8, Verse 18 to 25 shows you what hope is, and hope is not just wish…hope is not just wishful thinking. Hope is something that we can have, and the hope I’m speaking of is not just a worldly hope - it’s a Godly hope. It’s a hope in God; it’s a hope that nobody can take from you.
Romans 8:18 Romans 8:18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
American King James Version× I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Remember hope: expectation of something good? The glory that shall be revealed in us.
Verse 19: For the earnest expectation of the creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. The whole world’s waiting on you - the whole world’s waiting on you! Waiting on me; waiting on us.
Verse 20: For the creation was made subject to vanity - we didn’t ask to come into the world…be kicking, screaming, crying, whining babies! But you know what? Some of that’s necessary, isn’t it? When a little baby cries: hold me; a little baby cries: feed me; a little baby cries: I’m wet; a little baby cries: I’m uncomfortable; a little baby cries: I’m lonely. Those little babies come into the world that way. They didn’t ask to come into that world that way, and as they grow up, if those little babies have not been taught, then they still act like big babies - and they whine, and they cry, and they fuss and they throw tantrums when they get bigger. That’s vanity.
God made us; for self-preservation you have to have some of those things. When you get older, you’ve got to leave those things behind: ”Hey, I’ve got to think about mom. Yeah, I know I might be hungry, but mom’s been busy doing the wash all day, so I need to be patient while I wait for her to get dinner.” Not complain and groan and gripe. Ah, okay -that’s conversion, isn’t it? That’s people understanding and keeping themselves in check.
He says: The world was made subject to vanity, not willingly, - we didn’t ask to be - but by reason of Him who has subjected the same in hope; Do you know that God in heaven is hoping for you? God is hoping for you; He hopes you make it; He hopes you’ll be there; He hopes you’ll be in His kingdom; He hopes you’ll support and watch over each other, and help each other. He’s hoping for you!
Verse 21: because the creation itself shall also be delivered from the bondage of corruption to the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Verse 22: For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain until now (together till now),
Verse 23: And not only they, but ourselves which have the first fruits of the Spirit, we also groan. We, ourselves, groan within ourselves waiting for the adoption, for the son-ship - placing of sons, to wit: the redemption of our body.
Verse 24: (Why is hope so important?) For we are saved by hope, - you lose that hope, you do all kinds of foolish things. You lose that hope, you walk all crooked; you walk this way, and that way, like a blind man in a maze. You won’t be able to find your way through. We are saved by hope; but hope that is seen is not hope - by that glass of water, “I’m just going to take a little sip…” but if I have a glass of water I don’t have to hope that it gets here - it’s here. We are saved by hope, but hope that is seen is not hope, for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for it?
Verse 25: But if we hope for that which we don’t see - the wonderful kingdom of God, being changed from physical to spirit, having a position in the kingdom of God, and who knows what it will be - we don’t. We do know what we will be, we just don’t know what position we will have. But if we hope for that which we don’t see, then we do with patience wait for it. Patience is involved.
Lamentations 3, Verse 24 - Lamentations 3, and Verse 24, one of my favorite Scriptures - Lamentations, right after the Book of Jeremiah:
Lamentations 3:24 Lamentations 3:24The LORD is my portion, said my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
American King James Version× ”The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore will I hope in Him!” Hope in Him - in hope of eternal life which God promised, He who doesn’t lie.
Verse 25: The Lord is good to them that wait for Him, - takes patience - to the soul that seeks Him.
Verse 26: It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord - both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. What a strong, beautiful, inspiring Scripture.
I want to share with you one more quote before we leave hope. The Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, had their many gods. They had gods of war, and gods of industry, gods of agriculture, gods of cities, gods of towns - various other gods, but in all of paganism’s galaxy of gods, there was never one called “the god of hope” - not one. That is scarcely surprising, for in that ancient world, hope had become a despised delusion long before our Lord was born in Bethlehem. The fact is, there is no hope for a sin-cursed world apart from the true God - the God of Christians. Romans 15:13 Romans 15:13Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×says:
Romans 15:13 Romans 15:13Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version× Now the God of hope - your God, your God and my God, is a God of hope. He’s a God who gives hope; He’s a God who makes possible hope; He’s a God who helps us to keep our eyes on Him.
The third area is love - love: charity in the Old King James. The Greek word is Agape. It means love of God; it means Godly love; it means doing things out of concern for others, not out of concern for you; it means doing things and not expecting anything in return. That is agape love. I John 4 - we read about this love which is awesome - I John 4. John is the apostle of love. He’s the one that Jesus Christ loved more than the others, in the sense that He felt a connection with him; not that He didn’t love them, He did
I John 4:7 John 4:7There comes a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus said to her, Give me to drink.
American King James Version× Beloved, let us love one another, - let’s think about others; let’s give to them; let’s think about what we can do, how that affects others, positively or negatively. Let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. - Is a new person in Christ - right now you need to be loving God - and knows God.
Why do you know God when you love? Because you know the way He is; you know what He would do and you know how He would do it. Verse 8:
Verse 8: He that loves not does not know God, for God is love.
I’ve done things out of my own love - I’m ashamed. When I do things out of Godly love I don’t think of anything coming back. Love as Christ loved, never expecting anything in return. Did you ever do something nice for somebody and the only reason you did it so they would do something nice back? You feel bad because they didn’t do something nice back of the same magnitude? You didn’t love with a Godly love; you loved with selfish love. Godly love, you love because it’s the thing to do; it’s inspired, you’re inspired to do it, and you don’t do it for any ulterior purposes; no motivation for you, but for them. The thought’s on: ”What can I do for them? How can I help that person?” Godly love; he goes on to say in Verse 9:
Verse 9: In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Remember John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×: for God so loved the world - what did He do? He gave. Love often times involves giving; love often times involves sacrifice - sacrifice: gave His only Son on our behalf.
Verse 10: (Here’s love) Not that we loved God, - we didn’t reach out to God first; He reached out to us, right? None can come unless He calls us. But He loved us and He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
He already determined to send His Son into the world before He ever created mankind - slain before the foundation of the world. Talk about love! He loved us so much that He had His Son already planned to die for us before Adam and Eve were even made. That’s pretty awesome.
Verse 11: Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
See, here’s how it’s translated: God loves you (hm); then you should love others - not God loves you; you should love Him back only. But God loves you to set you an example so you could love others. I think one of the nicest things one of our baby sitters in Canada told us - when she was older, married, she invited us for dinner (my daughters will remember this) and we had dinner with her. And she served us one of the things that we used to serve when she stayed at our home and she helped us out as a baby sitter etc. and the kids were little - its was Cornish Game Hen - she served us Cornish Game Hen that night. And we said, “Thank you very much for a nice dinner.” She said, “I learned how to do it by watching you!” - I learned how to do it by watching you.
See, as we love others with a pure heart, fervently, other people see. And they may never love you back the same way, but if they pass it on to others, you’ve done your job - and I know they did that to others as well. So it’s good, brethren, to love, because love is of God, and Verse 12 says:
Verse 12: No man has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and His love is perfected in us. Again, it takes loving and we’re to learn how to love and be perfected at it.
Verse 13: Hereby we know that we dwell in Him…How do we know that we’re in Him and He’s in us…Because He has given us of his Spirit.
Verse 14: We have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Skipping down to Verse 16, it says:
Verse 16: We have known and believed the love that God has to us. (God is love - twotimes: I John 4:8 John 4:8(For his disciples were gone away to the city to buy meat.)
American King James Version×; I John 4:16 John 4:16Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband, and come here.
American King James Version×: four times two; four times four. I John 4: 4 times 2 - I John 4: 4 times 4 - 16). He says: God is love, he that dwells in love dwells in God and God in him.
If you are practicing and growing in love God is becoming more acquainted with you; the less you love, the less God knows of you.
Verse 18: There is no fear in love; (because) but perfect love casts out fear, - because fear is always incoming; love is outgoing. Fears: “what‘s going to happen to me, what‘s going to hurt, and I think this…” too much worries about yourself; think about others - casts out fear. He that fears has not been made perfect in love. - why? Because - too busy worrying about him or herself.
Verse 19: We love Him because He first loved us. And in Verse 20:
Verse 20: If a man says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he’s a liar; - don’t tell me you love God if you can mistreat your brother - for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
Verse 21: And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God loves his brother also.
So, the Apostle John really goes to great detail about the need for love, because without it you don’t know God; faith, hope, and love - why do we need love? Without it you don’t know God. How do we have it? Romans 5:5 Romans 5:5And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.
American King James Version×- here we see it tie in with hope. He says:
Romans 5:5 Romans 5:5And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.
American King James Version× Hope makes not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us.
We have the love of God in us by the Holy Spirit, and as that Holy Spirit in us becomes greater and we as humans, ourselves, the old man, becomes less, then the Spirit of God leads us to do the love of God; we need that Spirit in us to have that love of God. It is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, right? Galatians 5:22 Galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
American King James Version×- love, joy, peace. It’s one of the fruits we should all be bearing. I John 3, Verses 14 to 18 - can we just talk about love? Is that good enough? Love, love, love…it’s love, love, love.
I John 3:14 John 3:14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
American King James Version× We know (we know) that we have passed (or, are passing) from death into life, because we love the brethren. You know the sign that is given that you are God’s disciples, His people: by the love you have one for another. Do you care about others; do you reach out to them; do you help them; do you greet them; do you meet them; do you encourage them? How do people feel after you’ve been with them? Encouraged, uplifted, inspired - or discouraged, downtrodden and “de-spired” (no such word!) How do you feel? How do you interact with others? The love of God needs to be shown by all of us. He that loves not his brother abides in death.
How important is it that we love one another? How important is it? To have love is one of the basic issues, as Glenn Beck pointed out, for our country. Verse 15, he says:
Verse 15: Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. If you hate somebody, you can’t have the love of God.
Verse 16: Hereby we perceive the love of God, because He laid down His life for us. We ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. So doing something is giving up something, it’s sharing, it’s reaching out.
I John 5, Verses 2 and 3. Let’s not forget; love is not just a sentiment, although I hope when you love you have feelings. I think about Jesus Christ, it said: Looking upon them, He loved them. Jesus Christ had feelings - looking upon them He loved them. He didn’t necessarily go up to them; they didn’t do anything for him, He didn’t do anything for them - but looking upon them He loved them. There were feelings.
Verse 2: By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.
You can’t love your fellow man if you don’t love God first. You won’t love them with a Godly love - we have to love God first. That’s where we draw our strength from to love our fellow man with a pure heart, fervently. Verse 3, he says:
Verse 3: For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not grievous.
If you love God, you’ll be obeying Him. If you love God, you’ll walk in His law, you’ll walk in His statutes, you’ll keep His way of life - if you love God. That’s what the love of God motivates you to do. Remember the two great commandments: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your might; and the second is just like it, love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang the law and the prophets; that’s what they lead you to. When you come right down to it, what is it all about? Love God; love your fellow man. And you have the guide lines and the teachings and the instructions and the laws that God gives to that end. John 13, Verse 34 - the only sign that He gave, or one of the signs He gave that we are His disciples - John 13: 34 and 35:
John 13:34 John 13:34A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
American King James Version× ”A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; - wasn’t really new, not to love one another - but, as I have loved you, is new - as I have loved you.
It wasn’t just love others, “I’ll scratch your back; you scratch my back” - it was love others as I loved you, that you also love one another.
Verse 35: ”By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another.” If you have that outgoing concern and that outgoing care, one to another.
I want to read you a couple of quotes about love - you may have heard them before, because they are a couple of my favorites, but I won’t shrink back from reading them to you. This one says: ”The Love that Absorbs Sufferings” - this is supposed to be a true story from the time of Oliver Cromwell in England. ”A young soldier had been tried in Military Court and sentenced to death. He was to be shot at…quote: “the ringing of the curfew bell.” His fiancé climbed up into the bell tower, several hours before curfew time. She tied herself to the bell’s huge clapper, and at curfew time, but only muted sounds…bump, bump, bump hit against the bell as it came out of the bell tower. Cromwell demanded to know “why the bell is not ringing?” His soldiers went to investigate and found the young woman cut and bleeding from being knocked back and forth against the great bell. They brought her down, and the story goes: ”Cromwell was so impressed with her willingness to suffer in this way on behalf of someone she loved, that he dismissed the soldier, saying, “Curfew shall not ring tonight.” Love, giving, sharing, being willing to help out - being willing to give of herself, in sacrifice, herself.
I want to share another one with you: The power of an attitude. A little over fifty years ago, Johns Hopkins Professor, gave a group of graduate students this assignment: ”Go to the slums, take two-hundred boys between the ages of twelve and sixteen, investigate their background and environment, then predict their chances for the future.” The students, after consulting social statistics, talking to the boys, compiling much data, concluded, 90% of those boys would spend some time in jail: that’s 180 out of 200 would spend some time in jail. Twenty-five years later, another group of graduate students was given the job of testing that prediction made twenty-five years earlier. They went back to the same slum area; some of the boys, now men, were still there. A few had died and some had moved away. But they got in touch with 180 of the original 200. They found that only four boys of the group had ever been sent to jail.
Remember, the prediction was, based on where they were brought up, and what their living circumstances were, 180 of them would go to jail - only four! They wondered, “How did this happen?” Why was it that these men who had lived in a breeding place of crime had such a surprisingly good record? The researchers were continually told: ”Well, there was this teacher.” And they pressed further and found that in 75% of the cases, it was the same person, the same woman. Researchers went to this teacher, who was now living in a home for retired teachers. How had she exerted this remarkable influence over a group of slum children? Could she give them any reason why these boys would have even remembered her. And she said, “No, I really couldn’t.” And then, thinking back over the years, she said, musingly, more to herself than to her questioners, “I loved those boys” - I loved those boys.
Brethren, never discount how much your love, and care, and thoughtfulness about other people, how it makes a difference - never discount, and when it’s coming from Godly love, how much more than what this woman was able to give. But 180 were supposed to go to jail based on all the statistics they studied, and only four went! Because this lady made a difference in their lives. Will you make a difference in others’ lives? By having faith, hope, and love in yours.
One final one I’ll read on love - a short one, then I want to read to you a conclusion. Early Christians love for each other: ”The heathen had a saying, ‘Man is a wolf to a man whom he does not know.’” He meets ‘somebody he doesn‘t know’ - he’s got to have his fangs showing! But concerning the Christians, the heathen explained, “They love each other without knowing each other, and behold, how these Christians love one another.” It is apparent to others when you love one another. Christians love; that’s something we all must keep in our lives, and in fact, according to Romans 13:8 Romans 13:8Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law.
American King James Version×, you should not have any debts except one. One debt that you and I could never pay as long as we’re human, that is to love one another.
Romans 13:8 Romans 13:8Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law.
American King James Version× Owe no man anything but to love - but to love.
I want to read I Corinthians 13 - I want to read I Corinthians 13 and Verse…see if I can find it here…want to read I Corinthians 13 from the (here it is) New Living translation - obviously done out of the minority text, but I think in conclusion, if you listen carefully, you’re going to see in this, faith, hope, and love.
I Corinthians 13: If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth, but didn’t love others, I would only be making meaningless noise, like a loud gong or a clanging symbol.
If I had the gift of prophecy, or if I knew all the mysteries of the future, and knew everything about everything, but didn’t 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.
If I gave everything I have to the poor, and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it, but if I didn’t love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude; love does not demand it’s own way. Love is not irritable, it keeps no record when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
Love never gives up; love never loses faith; is always hopeful and endures every circumstance.
Love will last forever. But prophecy and speaking in unknown languages, special knowledge, will all disappear. Now we know only a little, and even the gift of prophecy reveals very little, but when the end comes, these special gifts will all disappear.
It’s like this, when I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does, but when I grew up I put away childish things.
Now we see things imperfectly, as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me.
There are three things that will endure: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.
All three, faith, hope, and love, are vitally needed if we’re going to be in the kingdom of God.