View Full Version : 1 Corinthians 13
June 16th 2011, 07:50 PM
What is Storge?
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/storge/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, I'd like to start a new topic to discuss. I recently preached a sermon at my church on 1 Corinthians 13. The sermon was quite popular and now I'd like to write out some more about the topic of love. Before doing that, I think we should take a look at what love is and to do so, we should see what each of the four kinds of love are.
First off is storge, which is familiar love. Storge love is the kind of love you have for your fellow man just because he is a man. It is also the kind of love that you have for family. For example, suppose that you did not know the people that are now your parents. I am assuming that you have a good relationship with your parents for this. If not your parents, try to think of any relative you have a good relationship with. If you were not related to this person and you just met this person, do you think you'd really form such a bonding relationship with them?
It is because they are family that you form such a great bond. For some of my younger readers, I wish for you to know that if you have a relationship with your folks that isn't terrible, but you wish it would be better, that it does improve when you get out of the house. It's amazing how much you learn that your parents really do. Now as a married man, I have come to realize more and more that my mother knows a whole lot more than I ever realize and our relationship, though it has never been bad, has never been better.
Storge love does not mean that you make the stranger someone you have a deep devotion to, but it means that all things being equal, you treat them as a human being. You hold the door open for someone just because they are a person. It is the kind of love that we ought to show, which is what should ideally take place when driving for example, a place that we can bear to improve on.
Of course, this does not mean that you can never be tough on someone, but they must give a reason for such toughness. If some stranger comes up to me and insults my wife for example, he's not going to get storge. He may be the stranger still, but he is also someone who has shown himself to be in opposition to the good of the person that I love far far more.
Most of us don't deal with such, although we do deal with some people who get under our skin. It is our case of judgment to know when we ought to say something and when we ought to ignore. As one in the working industry, I often ignore such things realizing when I go home at the end of the day and spend the time with the Mrs., that what was said will not really matter. Are there some battles not worth fighting? Of course. Some are however, and I suggest the reader consider themselves more on which battles to fight and which to not based on their ability, the situation, and the possible consequences.
Next time, we shall look at Phileo.
June 17th 2011, 11:58 PM
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/06/17/phileo/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I started a look yesterday at 1 Corinthians 13 and decided to start that by discussing the four kinds of love. Yesterday we looked at Storge and today, we will be looking at Phileo, the brotherly love.
Phileo is an interesting love in that it could be possible to live without brotherly love. The race could survive without it even. We would not want to however and we often think our lives are richer because of our friends. Special moments are in our lives as well. When it came to filling out my wedding party, the first place I looked to was to my friends. When I'm in a bind and need someone to talk to, I can often turn to friends as well.
Friendship love is often different amongst males than females. I notice regularly when my wife is with female friends, they will tell her mow much they love her or they will speak of both of us and how they love us. From what I've seen, if guys got together and said that, they would be on their way to relentless teasing.
That could be a deficiency amongst us men. Most men are pretty stoic. In fact, it has been noted that when men get together and talk as friends, they don't tend to look at each other. They tend to look straight ahead in one direction.
C.S. Lewis remarks that most friendships begin with these words. "You too? I thought I was the only one!" There are three kinds of friendships that often form. The first is the friendship of pleasure. These are friends who get together and what unites them most is a form of pleasure. They might watch a TV show or a sporting event or have a hobby together.
The next is a friendship of utility. These are friendships that form because it is beneficial to both, such as two co-workers who happen to work together or two athletes who train together. While both of these exist in some form in the final friendship, having a friendship based on just these principles does tend to make it be not a firm friendship that will last.
The last is a friendship of virtue where the friends seek to bring about the improvement of each other. Unfortunately, this can also work in reverse where the friends drag each other down. Such is the power of friendship. The same principle that makes them build up also leads to the possibility of tearing down.
However, this friendship is the best kind of friendship and the one that we should seek the most. We should seek to be people who will build our friends up and accept it when they seek to build us up. I come to see my friends as comrades in arms as we work together on regular quests.
It is a comfort to be looking at my cell phone list a number of times and see a number of friends that I can call for support if need be, some that are even thousands of miles away.
Friends might be something that someone can live without, but I am very thankful that I do not. To all my friends, I say thanks. I am who I am today in many ways because of the way God has used you in my life.
Next time, we shall look at eros.
June 18th 2011, 09:27 PM
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/eros/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I've started to take a look at the topic of love as found in 1 Cor. 13 and tonight, I'm going to be talking about eros. Why am I doing so in this order? Storge love is familiar love. Phileo is a higher form of that in friendship. I consider eros a deeper form of friendship and thus a sexual form.
Note that eros is not sex however. Sex is a part of eros and when eros is fully shared, it is an important part, but it is not the whole. A mistake of our society is to confuse sex with eros where if a couple has sex, then it can be seen as automatically having eros.
Sex can in fact be just a physical action between two people. Now I have actually heard a guy tell me before that he thought I was making too big a deal since I did not believe in having sex before marriage. After all, I was told, it's just orgasm. Such a person however does not understand what is going on.
Sex is a physical activity, no doubt, but it is not just physical. It transcends the physical and while it certainly has great physical sensations, the greater joy of sexual love between two people in a married relationship is the bond of intimacy that they are building with one another.
For a woman, she has to be totally open with her body. She reveals herself entirely to her man. There is nothing for her to hide behind. She has to give total trust to him and open up to him a very vulnerable part of her body and give him the freedom to come and enjoy her.
For the man, he also has to have a high degree of trust. Many men do suffer from insecurities that they will not share, as do women, and for most men it has to do with their bodies. They have to trust that their wives will accept them and put a lot on the line when they engage in a relationship with the woman, particularly the sexual one. Am I really a man? Do I have what it takes to please this woman?
And for both, because they are different sexes, there has to be trust in what is being experienced. A man can never know firsthand what sex is like for a woman. He can study all about the female body all he wants and understand all the physical aspects, but he can never know what it is like the same way a woman can. The same goes that a woman cannot know what it is like for a man.
Thus, in the act itself, the husband and wife have to give total trust to each other in what is liked and what isn't liked. If the wife says that she likes something, the man has to trust that she really is liking it and she is not just saying it in order to please her husband. The same goes the other way. The woman has to trust that the way she is acting with her husband is bringing him joy or not bringing him joy.
We're often told that for men the act is physical and for women it is emotional and relational. There's some truth to that I think, but we need to realize that really, the act is both for both. A man can be incredibly fortified by the act and have an affirmation from his wife that, yes, he is a man. That bond that he feels with his wife is incredibly strong.
This is something many women can seem to forget, hence that there can be marriages where the man feels he is sexually neglected. For women, I'd say if you think your marriage needs some work, try starting in the bedroom. "Well he doesn't do what I want him to do!" Okay. Are you doing what he wants you to do? A woman can clean the house all day and take care of the kids and the man can appreciate that and she should be doing that, but what the man will really want is to know that his wife can affirm him sexually. Women need to realize that this is a deep need for a man.
Men on the other hand need to realize that because their wife isn't interested at the time does not point to a lack of love necessarily on her part. A man can be ready for sex in a moment's notice. A woman is not that way. It has been said that women are stoves and men are microwaves. If men want to be have times of romance from their wives, they need to do their part. Are the men cleaning up around the house? Are the men helping with the kids? Are they forming dates? Men. Don't expect to come home, prop your feet up on the footstool while sitting on the couch, expect your wife to bring you dinner while you watch your favorite TV show, and then have her be in a mood to please you when the day comes to an end. Go the other way. Why not wait till she has to go out one day while you're home alone? Clean up the house, take care of the kids (And send them to their grandparents then or someone else's house) and when she comes home, have dinner ready and let her hold the remote control. Or better yet, go without the remote and try a candlelight dinner where you just talk. Such actions will build up desire in your wife for you.
Our society has made sex an idol and fails to realize eros has many more components to it. Eros is found when the man is being a man for his woman and the woman is being a woman for her man. It does not have to be necessarily sexual, but there is such an aspect. It is when the woman fixes her hubby dinner, or when the man holds open the door for his wife.
To limit sex to just the physical is to cheapen the activity entirely. You might be able to get a good time out of it, but you wouldn't be getting the best time that you could get. This happens in the bond of marriage where the two are already committed to each other. Neither one of them needs to think that they are on trial. They have already been accepted and can then give themselves with abandon.
To which also men need to make sure that their women know that they are more than just objects of sexual pleasure to them. Women, on the other hand need to know that the sexual pleasure they give their husbands is important. Sex should not be seen as everything in marriage. The other temptation to be avoided is seeing it as nothing.
In sex in marriage, there is a unique bond in that you two are the only people that can satisfy that desire for the other. If the man wants to go watch a movie, he can call a guy friend up and go watch a movie. If he has to, he can go watch one by himself. If he wants to have sex however, he can't (Or he shouldn't at least!) call up another female and ask if they want to get together for sex. The same goes for a woman. She cannot call up just anyone to get that unique closeness she should only have for her husband.
Another mistake we make with eros is that we make eros a feeling. Eros can and certainly often does result in feelings, but strong feelings are not the sign of eros either. When you marry, you do not make a commitment to a psychological state of feelings where you say you will have those feelings for the rest of your life. You make a commitment to a person and that commitment is before God and men and lasts until death do you part. When the feelings are there, enjoy them. They're great! When they're not, then oh well. You're still called to be a great spouse anyway. As one in ministry, I can attest that if I only served Jesus when I had strong feelings for serving Jesus, I would not be serving Him that much.
Eros will also grow deeper over time. For the sexual aspect, the honeymoon is just the start of it and it's a start that gets better and better as the two of you come to know each other more and more. You will come to understand your spouse in other ways as well and know their personality. My wife and I today are far closer to each other than we were the day we got married and I am still amazed many a night when I go to bed and realize the woman I am sharing it with. God was not obligated to give me a spouse, but He did. That is His blessing and I ought to treasure her more and more every day.
For the young Christian also, enjoy eros. Many of us can have a feeling of shame when it comes to eros. God made the sexual system however. It was His idea. He fashioned all the parts and even has a whole book of the Bible for celebrating sex, the Song of Songs. We can talk all we want of it being an allegory of God and Israel or Christ and the Church, and in some ways it could be, but let us also affirm that it is also a book celebrating sexual love. If God considers it something to celebrate, ought not we?
Of course, the Song includes warnings about not awakening it before its time, so don't. Be cautious. There are many a couple who have regretted not waiting until their wedding night. I do not know of any who do regret waiting until their wedding night. My wife and I both waited, and we are glad we did.
Next time, we shall look at agape.
June 21st 2011, 10:34 PM
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/agape/).
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We've lately been looking at 1 Corinthians 13 and love. In discussing the four type of love in Greek thought, we are going to be discussing now the one that Paul writes about, which is agape.
We are often told that agape is God-love, but this isn't really the case. After all, agape is said to describe the love of darkness that some people have. We would not say that they have the love of God of darkness. What can it mean then? I would take it most likely to mean something like the love of devotion.
More can be said about agape love as we go through this series, particularly after we get started on verse 4. However, I do wish to give some general comments. To begin with, I do believe that agape is the love that makes all of the other loves better.
What about storge? As an Aspie, I am familiar with how people can do social niceties and not mean anything whatsoever by it. They just do it because that is what they are supposed to do. I don't know how many times I heard someone come to me at work and say "How are you?" and then have them walk right on by. It always has left me with the impression of "If you don't care, don't ask. I'd appreciate it more."
Of course, there could be times people really do care and I don't realize it, but wouldn't it be best if good manners were genuine rather than something that we do because we think we have to and aren't going through the motions? Wouldn't it be great if when someone at church said "I'll pray for you" that you were sure that they meant it?
What of Phileo? Phileo is the love of friendship and we would like the friend that sticks closer than a brother. What would it mean for phileo if friends were really, well, friends? Christ told us that there was no greater love than that a man would lay down his life for his friends. Do we have that kind of love?
And eros love? What would it mean if sex was more focused on the joy that one person could bring the other than in the joy that person received from the other? Now I do know that you do have to in part focus on your pleasure as well so your spouse can know the best way to please you, but that should not be the focal point. If you are both focused on the love of the other, then will you not find your own pleasure that way?
Agape improves everything. Devotion to that which is good in proper proportion is always good. Let us make sure we are doing both. We should only devote ourselves to that which deserves devotion. We should also not devote ourselves to that thing if we make it greater than what it is. As wonderful as your spouse is, don't make an idol out of them. My wife and I regularly make sure to state that we are each other's #2 in life. God is our #1.
Next time, we shall start going through the text.
June 22nd 2011, 03:35 PM
Tongues of Love.
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/tongues-of-love/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I'm going to be continuing again our look at 1 Cor. 13. Last night, I wrote on how agape is the kind of love being discussed in this passage. What is agape exactly? Before he gets to what it is, Paul wants us to know how valuable it is. Often times, I fear some of us can be so eager to get to the latter part which describes love and then get to the ending part with so many great quotes we regularly use, that we miss the gravity of what has been said here.
The text is as follows:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
The text is straightforward enough, but what is being said? Let us consider the surrounding context. Paul has been talking about spiritual gifts and one that has been a hotbed of controversy is the gift of tongues. For now, let us lay aside what we think the gift of tongues is. Whatever it is, we can all agree it is a gift and all sides I know of believe it contains with it a way of speaking another language or understanding another language, be it an earthly language or a prayer language.
Let us suppose that someone has this gift, to which Paul himself later says that he does. Note that in Paul's time, oratory ability was highly valued. There were several rules for speaking and one needed to be a good speaker in order to get the point across. Paul does the same in his epistles as well as there was a proper rhetoric to follow when giving an argument.
Many of us have experienced today the idea of being dazzled by a speaker and while we cannot really tell what they said, they sure sound persuasive. Politicians try to specialize in this wanting to get an audience caught up in an emotion rather than address the arguments that they put forward. Sadly, a lot of preachers do this as well thinking that a lot of emotion in place of a good point is enough to spur people to Christlikeness and shows that their message is from the Holy Spirit.
In saying that, I am not against rhetoric. I do believe that talks ought to be presented in a way to be persuasive. I believe there is a great importance in emotional appeal, thus there is no reason to decide someone does not know what they are talking about simply because there is great emotion there. There is also no reason to they they know what they're talking about because they lack great emotion.
However, what Paul is saying is to picture that you are a great speaker in some way and you do have the gift of tongues, even if you could communicate with the tongues of angels. Paul says that if you do not have love while you have that gift, then you are simply making noise.
Consider the magnitude of this. This was a gift that the Corinthians were taking pride in. They were vaunting their spirituality by this gift and what does Paul say about it? "You've got the gift? Well congrats. But you don't have love, so you're just making noise. Nothing good will come of it."
What does that say to us today? It tells us that we don't want to be just making noise either. Now I believe in our evangelism there is a time to be tough and a time to be soft, but there is never a time to not have the love of Christ in what we say. In our talks, we need to be persuasive and prepared, but we must have love. It is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, we could spend hours upon hours talking, and we would simply be making noise.
What else has Paul to say about the importance of love? That is for next time.
June 23rd 2011, 05:33 PM
Prophecy and Love
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/06/23/prophecy-and-love/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I've decided to take us on a tour lately of 1 Corinthians 13 and see what this magnificently beautiful chapter has to say about love. My wife knows that one of my prayer requests every night is to understand this chapter. Tonight, I'd like to look at the first part of verse 2. It raises the point about having the gift of prophecy.
What do we know about Paul and his view of prophecy? Paul was abundantly clear that prophecy was the greatest of the gifts and he advised the church to seek prophecy. Moses in the Old Testament had a wish that all of God's people could be prophets and in the New Testament we see at Pentecost the start of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel as to the pouring out of the Spirit would mean that people would prophesy.
Now we're not going to get to the end of the verse tonight, but Paul's point here is that if one has prophecy, but they do not have love, then they are nothing. Note that he is not saying that he has nothing. He is saying that he himself is nothing. As important as prophecy was to Paul, love was far more important.
What was prophecy? Today, we can often think of prophecy as simply foretelling the future. To an extent, that did happen in prophecy in the Old Testament especially, but it was not always that. Much of prophecy in the Old Testament is the exhorting of the people to righteousness. It was not so much telling the future as it was giving commentary on the present.
In the New Testament, the closest role could be to that of a pastor. Because someone was a prophet, it did not mean that they were telling the future. It could mean that they possessed a key insight into the message of God at the time and knew how to apply it to the lives of the people. After all, it is doubtful following the rules of 1 Cor. 14 that God would give one prophecy to one person only to have them sit down when He decided to give another prophecy to a different one.
Paul values prophecy because it is involving the proclamation of the gospel. Tongues would be seen as a means of conveying the gospel, but prophecy would be seen as having to do with the content of the gospel. Paul was grateful to God that he had the ability to prophesy. Of course, being an apostle, he did such on a far greater scale, yet at the same time differentiated. In 1 Cor. 7, we find him making a distinction between what he says and what the Lord says. If anyone could say "Thus sayeth the Lord" surely Paul could, but he did no such thing. He simply pointed to his authority as an apostle and we trust today that God did guide this fine evangelist in what he said.
Let us not skip over this part however. Remember what Paul says about prophecy and look at what he says about it after this chapter and what is his conclusion? IF you have prophecy, but you do not have love, you are nothing. You're not worth talking about. No one should take you seriously at all.
Let us keep this in mind as we pursue what love really is.
June 24th 2011, 04:36 PM
Knowledge and Love
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/knowledge-and-love/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I've been going through 1 Corinthians 13 lately and tonight, I'd like to look at one of my favorite topics as an apologist, and that is the topic of knowledge. After all, for many of us, our books are our life's blood. A Seminary professor's wife I know once stated in a talk to women whose husbands were in Seminary "Make peace with the books." Books mean everything to us.
The relevant part of 1 Cor. 13:2 tonight tells us that if we can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge but don't have love, we are nothing. Now consider that if you are of the apologetic mindset. Paul refers to many things in the Bible as mysteries. These could not be understood without divine revelation. Note that he doesn't mean it in the sense in which a pastor often asked how God can be three and one says "It's a mystery" instead of giving an answer that He is three in one sense and one in another.
Imagine having that spiritual insight that when Paul speaks about a mystery, you could say that you knew it all along. You were able to divine that before the revelation was given. Paul wants you to realize that even if you could do that, if you did not have love, you are nothing.
What about if you have all knowledge? Now Paul does say in 1 Corinthians 8:1 that knowledge puffs up. The solution to this is not to cast aside knowledge but to gain humility in addition to knowledge. Sadly, this knowledge can often come across in the form of spirituality. After all, I know what God approves and disapproves of and I am a better Christian than you for doing what he approves and not doing what he does not approve.
In the apologetics community however, it's easy to think that you have to answer every objection out there. It's tempting to see other people as a threat. We have to avoid that. We also have to realize that just because someone knows a lot about God, it does not mean that they really know God. The love of God is more than intellectual knowledge, although it is certainly helped by such knowledge. The more you love something, the more you will want to know about that something.
C.S. Lewis wrote about how it can be to look at the woman in church who is a little old lady and think about what an impoverished life she lives not knowing about such things as the Nicene Creed or the Calvinism/Arminianism debate or who Irenaeus and Justin Martyr were, but then you realize that in her prayer life and devotion to God overall, you are not worthy to untie her sandals, it brings a humility to you. Let us never make the mistake of thinking that being a better Christian apologist means that we are a better Christian.
Now I'm not saying that this lady would not be blessed by knowing about the Nicene Creed and such. In fact, I think she should seek to know about them, but she does not have to be an intellectual. Not all Christians are of that kind of mindset. That is fine. Each has their own part to play.
For instance, in our household, I am the intellectual. My wife is smarter than she realizes, but her bent is more towards matters of the heart. That is fine. She helps me in many ways by seeing things from a layman's perspective that I often miss and by being a strong encouragement and fortification for me.
Is knowledge important? Absolutely. Knowledge is not love and if we do not have our knowledge with love, we essentially have nothing.
We shall look at the next part next time.
June 25th 2011, 03:34 PM
Faith and Love
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/faith-and-love/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, I'm going to be continuing our look at 1 Corinthians 13 and how much we can learn about love from this chapter. I invite you all meanwhile to come to see our new Facebook page that has been put up. If you are on Facebook, just type in Deeper Waters and check us out.
The text today tells us about if we have the faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, then we are nothing. There's a story about a man who visited a monk living alone on a mountain. The monk asked the visitor "How are things going in the world? Do they yet have the faith that can say to this mountain 'Rise up. Throw yourself into the sea.'?" At this, the mountain began to rise to which the monk said "Mountain. I was not giving a command. I was just quoting Scripture. Sit back down" and the mountain sat.
It's amusing, but it is not what Christ had in mind. Of course, that could be possible if God so desired it, but it is doubtful the request was based on a wish to change the topography of Israel. The ancients were prone to hyperbole and Jesus is using an extreme answer to make an extreme point. However, what is really being talked about with faith?
Faith is never to be seen as blind belief. It's not just a great hope that we have. Faith could best be translated as a kind of trust or loyalty. Faith in YHWH is the kind of loyalty that can move mountains. When one realizes that He is able to do all that He has said he would and that He truly is who He claims to be, then one is living by faith.
But how can one have loyalty and not have love? Such a question is simple to answer when one thinks about situations we have today. Many of us have had bosses who we have not respected at all. We did what they said and we were sure that they were able to carry out what they told us that they would, but we did not do so out of love for them. It was done simply because we had to. In other words, we were going through the motions if anything, to save ourselves from being fired.
Service to God can become the same way. We can serve God simply in order to avoid his judgment or by just going through the motions. We could thus be incredibly loyal to God, but if we do not have the kind of love that God is looking for, then our loyalty counts for naught. What good does it do to have a loyalty to God that does not end in our becoming Christlike? None whatsoever.
This is also important for the Word of Faith teachers who think that the performing of miracles in their presence is the sure sign of God's blessings. While I question the huge majority of those claims, God could respond to the faith of someone who is sincerely seeking him through the flawed teaching of a word of faith teacher. To point to several miracles done around you is not proof that you are of God. Matthew 7 makes that clear to us.
Next time, we shall continue going through the text.
June 27th 2011, 03:46 PM
Love and Giving.
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/giving-and-love/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I've been taking us through 1 Corinthians 13 lately to see what the Apostle Paul has to say about love. Tonight, we're going to be looking at the topic of love in relation to giving.
Many of us often see big announcements from businesses when they make donations. If you go to some stores and shop, you can see them announcing how much they've given to a local charity. Most of us upon seeing this can think it's just PR. To an extent, we can be right about that.
Of course, we shouldn't blow it all off that way. Some companies could really care about these charities and want their customers to know that this is a caring company. We cannot judge the hearts. However, we can at the same time be aware that a large act of giving does not necessitate the existence of love.
Paul here tells us that one can give all that they have to the poor and still not have love. We can remember the story of Jesus being in the temple and seeing the rich come in and dropping in large amounts of money. It is when the widow comes in and gives all that she has that Jesus really pays attention.
We can also remember the words about the Pharisees that Jesus said in that they like to make it known when they are giving gifts so everyone can see. He tells us that they have their reward then. They want to give to be seen by men and so they are seen by men. The reward is given.
Now sometimes you will give and the giver will know who you are when giving. This happens with PayPal donations today to our ministry and we definitely see it when we have Christmas and birthday celebrations going on. "Okay. This gift is from Mom. This gift is from Aunt Susie. This gift is from my brother."
Isn't there such a blessing however in receiving a gift often and not knowing who it's from? Right off, I can think of three incidents in recent history in which I have received a generous gift from someone and to this day, I have no idea who it is. Of course, I can speculate each time, but I suspect that the person just wants to see the satisfaction of knowing that we enjoy the gift. In a sense, that person too has their reward in the joy of giving, but I can be sure that they have even more coming eventually.
In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells them that God loves a cheerful giver. When we give, it should not be something that we think we're guilted into. A lot of churches do this on sermons involving tithes. Whether you think the tithe is valid today or not, the point is that sermons on giving to the church regularly tend to be met with skepticism, and we can see why. Unfortunately, there are a lot of churches today that are highly interested in big bank accounts on Earth instead of in Heaven.
By all means, Christians should give, but giving itself is not a sign of love. It has been said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Let us learn to love first then and those of us who might have a tendency to being stingy can learn more about giving on the way.
We shall continue next time.
June 28th 2011, 09:15 PM
Martyrdom and Love.
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/self-sacrifice-and-love/)
The text is as follows:
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.
June 30th 2011, 09:06 PM
Love is patient.
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/love-is-patient/)
The text is as follows:
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.
July 5th 2011, 08:01 PM
Love is Kind.
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/love-is-kind/)
The text is as follows:
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.
July 6th 2011, 12:52 PM
Love does not envy.
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/love-does-not-envy/)
The text is as follows:
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.
July 7th 2011, 08:58 PM
Love does not boast.
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/love-does-not-boast/)
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 (http://www.vimeo.com/25062197). 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.
July 9th 2011, 10:37 PM
Love is not proud
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/09/love-is-not-proud/)
The text is as follows:
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.
July 11th 2011, 07:54 PM
Love is not rude.
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/love-is-not-rude/)
The text is as follows:
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.
July 12th 2011, 10:07 PM
Love is not self-seeking.
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/12/love-is-not-self-seeking/)
The text is as follows:
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 seeing what the Apostle Paul has to say about love. Tonight, I'd like us to look at the question of if love is self-serving.
This should be obvious to us and it could be something we want to deny because we come to realize how much we are not acting in love. How often is it that we are making suggestions for someone and while we want to act like we're acting in their best interests, in our minds we're thinking "This will work out really well for me if they do this."
This is not to deny that there can be benefits for us if some people do some things, but the reasons we should seek for them to do those things should be the benefits that they will incur from the actions and not the benefits that we will incur. We can enjoy those benefits for us, but we should realize that if they get benefited and we don't, well seeing them benefit should be our benefit.
Why isn't it so often?
We Christians should realize that to grow in true biblical love is to grow closer to God. When we act in the loving way, we are acting in the way that He would have us to act.
In his book, Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas says that the man who says to his wife "I don't love you and never really have" is not just a bad husband, but he is a bad Christian as well. For the Christian, love is not a choice. Love is a command. It should be what we are seeking to do. We cannot get up every day and say "Is it really to my benefit to love my neighbor today?" No. We get up and we love our neighbor. It is our choice only in the sense that we can choose to be obedient or not. It is not a choice in that God has given us no other options on how to act Christlike to our neighbor other than loving ones.
I get the Late Night jokes emailed to me regularly and before posting tonight, I read one from Jay Leno. While I know this was meant as a joke, I shared it with a friend of mine pointing out that this is something that could be said straight from the pulpit. Leno said the following:
"A right-wing religious group in Iowa is now asking all the Republican presidential candidates to sign a pledge to remain faithful to their spouse. Isnít that the marriage pledge?"
Yes. That's indeed what it is. That was the covenant made before God and men that a spouse is to abide by. I can often look at my wedding ring, which is of course on my hand as I type, and think about that awesome responsibility that I have taken on, which is hard for our society to recognize seeing as we don't like the word responsibility. The problem is always someone else's fault or we are someone else's responsibility. There are some things we cannot do on our own and there are ways we can help each other, but let us seek to do what we can on our own.
That could be one reason many marriages have difficulties that drive them apart. To be sure, all marriages will have difficulties. It's how we face them. The Mrs. and I have had several difficulties from surgery to finances to deaths in the family. We've made it through based on the devotion we have to one another. A statement I made to a counselor was one that he replied with by telling me that if more couples realized it, they wouldn't need marriage counseling. I told him that when things don't seem to be going my way and the Mrs. is acting in ways I can think of as hurtful, I keep in mind two things. First, that she loves me. Second, that she would never do anything to intentionally maliciously hurt me.
Do I do that perfectly always? Doubtful. But I try.
Our society tempts us to have us think that if we have problems, well the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. However, if a person cannot be trusted to be faithful to the one they have now, why should they be trusted to be faithful to anyone? (This is not saying there are no biblical grounds for the sadness of divorce such as a spouse who has been cheated on or is being abused)
The problem is we're largely self-seeking. We seek to do things for ourselves. If the other is not making us happy, well we move on because it's all about our happiness. Instead, we do not seek to make the other happy and realize that our happiness should largely consist in making them happy.
Jennifer Roback Morse in her book "Smart Sex" talks of a marriage therapist for women who had women come to her complaining about their husbands. "He doesn't help with house work." "He doesn't help with the kids." "He just watches TV all day." The therapist gave them the exercise of going home and seducing their husbands for two weeks. The women scoffed at this thinking it absolute nonsense, but nevertheless, some tried it.
When they came back, the results were astounding. "He cleaned up the whole house." "He was actually reading to the kids at night." "We've never spend such great time together." The women before could have been saying "Why isn't my husband doing what I want him to do to provide for my happiness?" instead of asking "What can I do for the happiness of my husband?"
It's also important for the two to understand what they mean with their terms and actions such as the love languages. My wife loves quality time for instance. If I'm just in the same room with her, she considers that as something special. She can be quite happy watching me play through a Final Fantasy game or if we play Samurai Warriors together.
For myself, my language is physical touch and so I prefer to get to be held by her. Both ways of love are okay. It is not right or wrong. It's just different. Couples need to learn this about each other. Don't just look at what you would want someone to do to you that would be loving. Look and say "What will the other person find loving from their perspective?" I could say "I would love to get a good book on apologetics, so I'll get her one and that'll go over well!"
Not a chance.
Neither would her buying me a sketchbook and some pencils for artwork go over well. We have different interests. Men and women in every other area know this. Women do not order flowers for their men usually. Men do not bring home hunting knives normally for their women.
Wouldn't it just be great if we could all get outside of ourselves and stop looking for ways that others can please us, but ways that we can please others. Could it be that we might have a more biblical love then? Could it be that we might actually start to look like Christ on Earth?
Wouldn't it be worth it?
July 13th 2011, 04:45 PM
Love is not Easily Angered
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/love-is-not-easily-angered/)
The text is as follows:
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.
July 14th 2011, 05:37 PM
Love Does Not Delight In Evil
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/14/love-does-not-delight-in-evil/)
The text is as follows:
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!
July 15th 2011, 05:03 PM
Love Rejoices With The Truth
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/love-rejoices-with-the-truth/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, we're going to be continuing our look at 1 Corinthians 13 and love in that chapter.
I find this passage to be an interesting contrast. Love does not delight in evil is how it starts. We would expect the contrast to speak about goodness, but instead, it speaks about truth. Why counter evil with truth? In reality, those of us who are apologists know that this is what we do every day.
The way to counter evil is with the truth, and this is the truth of the gospel. Martin Luther taught us that we need to preach the gospel to ourselves every day. Why? Because we all need that truth. We all need to know what the truth is about who God says He is and who He says we are.
It surprises some people when they find out that as one prone to anxiety, that I often can think quite clearly on philosophical and theological matters, but when it comes to my own personal thinking, then all the rationality that I possess seems to go right out the window. In those times for me, the truth of the gospel can be hardest to come home.
I suspect that I am not alone, and why would it be the case that the truth of the gospel is so hard to see? It is because when we are in the midst of problems, all we can generally see are the problems. God is usually seen as off in the distance and we don't see the immediate relevance of the gospel to our lives.
Many of us are also wired differently emotionally. I often wonder about worship services I'm at, particularly with a much younger audience, as I see the people worshiping and raising their hands and such and I'm tempted to wonder how much of it is really real. Are people really worshiping or is it sometimes that they are wanting to worship and thinking that worship consists of a mood?
Honestly then, I am not one who wakes up in the morning and says "Jesus is alive and my sins are forgiven. Let me rejoice!" Now there are times I do get caught in awe and wonder, but those are not normative. Is this a deficiency in me? It could be. Or it could be that I'm more normal than I realize and simply get concerned for not seeming to build up to the "common" notion.
However we do it though, we are called to rejoice with the truth. The truth of the gospel should bring joy to us. Note I said joy and not happiness as happiness is a loaded term in our modern terminology. Joy I think refers to an attitude and not to a feeling. It refers to the outlook we have on life. Are we going to be living our lives looking through the lens of the truth of the gospel are looking as if we think we're all that there is and God for all intents and purposes does not exist?
We all know we need the gospel for salvation, but we forget we need it for all else. We need the truth of the gospel. You need it. I need it. Your pastor needs it. The Seminary teacher needs it. Everyone needs it.
So let's give it.
We shall continue next time.
July 16th 2011, 08:45 PM
Love Always Protects
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/love-always-protects/)
The text is as follows:
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?
July 18th 2011, 04:10 PM
Love Always Trusts
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/love-always-trusts/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. A good friend did make a donation last night to us and for that we are very much appreciative. What is able to be done here is because of the support of such good friends prayerfully and financially. To get to the blog, we're continuing our look at 1 Corinthians 13 and seeing how love always trusts.
What does it mean to trust? It does not mean blind belief. It does not mean that love just accepts everything that is said entirely. It means that love prefers to give the benefit of the doubt.
Before my marriage, a friend of mine I was dialoguing with who happened to be the one who did the ceremony told me that he always saw my devotion to my wife because I was always ready to give the benefit of the doubt. If I thought there was something she needed to work on, I could say it but then say, "But I also have to keep this factor in mind."
Let's face it. There are all times that we do not really act in the way we generally behave. Something could be wrong. Maybe we didn't get enough sleep or maybe we're hungry or maybe we're in a stressful time. Whatever it is, there are times that we reply to situations as we ought not to. Most often, we know that we are doing so. The reality is also that most of us don't want to be judged by those times entirely. We realize we have made a mistake and that we should not act in that way and that we will work on that.
This means that if someone seems to be doing something to wrong you, then please throw out the idea of a nefarious plot to hurt you. It could be that for a time, they do desire to hurt you, but when the push comes to shove, if you needed them at that moment for something special, do you think that they would be right there for you? Absolutely.
This is also something we are more prone to do the less we're focusing on ourselves. Many of our issues comes with the way we perceive other people will see us, as if they have nothing better to do with their days than spend all their time watching us. The truth of the matter is that most people throughout the day don't care a bit about you. They don't care, and that's a very good thing. Why should you be under pressure to be perfect for people who aren't all about you? (And frankly, no one should be all about you.)
It is usually our tendency to assume the worst in one another and not only in one another, but also in ourselves. In fact, I would say several of us do it with God as well. We often picture God as looking down on us just seeing how He can make our lives miserable.
I wonder, how it would be if we could really see God as constantly working in the lives of those who love Him to bring about their good? What if we could really believe that? What if there was a place in the Bible such as, oh, I don't know, maybe Romans 8 where such a thing was promised?
Maybe we should start believing that?
And maybe if we got the love of God right, we'd get all the other loves right as well.
July 19th 2011, 09:35 PM
Love Always Hopes
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/love-always-hopes/)
The text is as follows:
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 and looking at what Paul has to say about love. Tonight, we discuss how love always hopes.
No one likes to fail. There was a time in my past when I was working hard on getting my Master's in the New Testament. When the time came, I was told by one of the professors that my thesis had not been accepted and I was stunned. I was told it was because of my writing style. I was surprised since I had taken writing tests that had placed me on the top. My reply was that I might have reached my maximum academic potential and just wasn't capable of that kind of writing.
For one who loves to write, that was like being hit with a ton of bricks.
As it stands, I am now at Seminary and have written a number of successful research papers and when I look back on that point, I realize that really, that's just one person's opinion and there's no reason to give up on a dream. I am quite pleased where I am and believe the future holds great things.
That's the beauty of hope, and that's what love does. Love hopes. It refuses to see the failure as final. This doesn't mean that love refuses to look at reality. In fact, we Christians should be the people emphasizing reality the most, for all of reality is God's reality. He is Lord of all that is.
Keep in mind other writings of Paul. Paul was the one who told the church in Thessalonica that they were to grieve, but when they grieve, not to grieve like those who have no hope. Not even death is final. He wrote to the church in Rome that all things are working together for the good of those who love the Lord. If that is the case, then indeed no failure is ultimately final.
Now he tells us to hope. This would be a comfort to a church that was stricken with numerous divisions. It might be difficult for them, but God isn't done with them yet. This division does not have to define them. That's our great danger. Failing in one thing, as we will all do at times, does not make us failures. If that is the case, everyone in the human race pretty much is a failure because we've all failed. We cannot define ourselves by one-time events that happen to us.
When we consider the aspect of seeking the good of the other, love becomes even more important. Love seeks the good of the other. When we say love always hopes, it means that love always hopes in the good of the other. Love always believes that the other is capable of doing good and is wiling to stand beside them. It is by love that the two stand together and face all odds.
Love always hopes.
July 20th 2011, 08:51 PM
Love Always Perseveres
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/20/love-always-perseveres/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Right now, we've been going through the chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 and seeing what we can learn about the subject of love. Tonight, we're going to be looking at the topic of perseverance.
As I sat down to write this, I thought about the Calvinistic doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Now I'm not an expert on Calvinism I admit, but from what I gather, it is the idea that those who are saints will indeed persevere in their faith. Despite what circumstances come their way, if they are saved, they will endure to the end.
Whether that is true or not is irrelevant at this point. When we think about the doctrine, we think about it in the sense of salvation, but do we think about it in the sense of practical living. We know if we persevere to the end, then that shows that we are of the elect. However, perhaps we should take persevering to the end to also mean that we will be loving to the end.
Ever been angry at God? I mean really upset with Him? Now I fear we might have some types who see themselves as super holy and will say "Nope! Not me! I've always loved God intensely!" Well if that's you, good for you. The rest of this then is written for myself and the rest of us mere ordinary Christians who have had anger with God.
What do you do? If you're in ministry like myself, do you say "Forget you! I'm done with this!" and go off on your own way? Note I did not ask if you're not tempted to do that. The temptation to walk away in ministry can be very tempting at times. The question is what do you do?
If you're like me, chances are you find somehow, there is something within you that makes you want to serve Him anyway. It's not because you really feel like it at the time, but because you know that you have a devotion to do so anyway and you're going to whether you feel like it or not.
Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias in a talk of his tells about being in a classroom once in a Christian school, probably a Seminary, and hearing the professor say "Marriage is hard work." He told his classmate sitting next to him that he didn't like that and the classmate said "Yeah. I know what you mean. Why don't you say something?"
So Ravi raised his hand and stood up and the professor said "Yes Zacharias?"
"I heard you say that marriage is hard work. I don't appreciate that."
"Are you married Zacharias?"
"Shut up. Sit down. You don't know what you're talking about."
When Ravi got married, he realized his professor was right. Marriage is hard work.
Marriage is hard because it's two people and let's face it, we each tend to look out for #1, and your #1 gets in the way of my #1. The two people don't always see eye to eye and yet have a commitment. Sometimes, they won't feel like it. Sometimes, it'll be hard. Sometimes, the other person will be someone you don't want to be with at that moment, but you are to love anyway. I hear of guys who say their wives are driving them crazy.
For me personally, I try to look at myself first every time. That doesn't necessarily mean that I am at fault every time, but why not start there? What can I do to better love my wife. It also means however that now or in the future, no matter what I am feeling, I am to love my wife. That is not a feeling. That is an action. It may or may not result in feelings, but it is to be done nonetheless.
And that love will persevere. If you are not persevering, perhaps you need to ask yourself if you are really loving. This does not mean that the love in marriage and the love of God will not get difficult. Do you persevere through something you enjoy? I do not sit down and say "I'll have to persevere through watching all of these Smallville episodes." You don't endure through good books. You endure through bad ones. If we're off to do something we enjoy we jokingly say "Well I guess I have to put myself through this suffering." No. Perseverance comes through hard things.
Love goes through hard things. That's love. The question is, "Do the benefits outweigh the costs?"
And in the case of ministry and marriage, I will say "Yes. Absolutely."
July 21st 2011, 07:45 PM
Love Never Fails
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/love-never-fails/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We're currently going through 1 Corinthians 13 and seeing what the apostle Paul has to say about love. Tonight, we are going to discuss the topic of "Love Never Fails."
Love is permanent. Whatever else is going on in the world, love will always be there. Why? Love is of the nature of God and the nature of God will never change or pass away. The apostle points to this side of love in distinction to other things that will pass away, things that the Corinthians were priding themselves on.
Prophecies. Prophecy was one thing Paul was proud of as well. Paul told the Corinthians to seek prophecy and that it was the greatest of gifts, but yet, prophecy will pass away. When humanity stands before God and sees Him as He is, there will be no more need of prophets to act as conduits between God and man. Man will have direct experience of God. In that day, prophecy will cease.
Tongues? The same principle applies. If tongues are a prayer language meant to allow the person to pray to God in an unknown tongue, there will be no need of that as the person will communicate with God on a whole new level. If tongues are a known language meant for the spreading of the gospel, there will also be no need of that as there will be no spreading of the gospel message in Heaven. All will know about the goodness and grace of God immediately.
What about knowledge? Well obviously in a way, knowledge will not cease since God is omniscient and we will know God, but knowledge of things that are temporary and changing will have a problem. We will know things not by knowing the objects, but rather by knowing God. Imagine how it will be when the day comes and you see your neighbor through God. No wonder there will be such immense love between people in Heaven.
In contrast to all of these, love itself will not fade. It will last forever. The community of Heaven will be one of love. People there will have a great love for one another. It has been said that the six activities that are done in Heaven are knowing and loving God, knowing and loving ourselves, and knowing and loving our neighbor. If these sound boring to you, then the problem is with you as not realizing how vastly interesting God is, you are, or your neighbor is.
The challenge to the Corinthian church would apply to us today. If this is how we are to be in the end as a community of love, then why are we not living it out now? Do our churches really come across as places of love or places of condemnation? The Corinthians had the error of being too condoning, such as allowing people to be drunk at the Communion services, suing one another, and a man marrying his father's wife. Our problem would be that we are too strict at times. The people of the world often don't want to come to church because they're a bunch of judgmental hypocrites and frankly, we've deserved that a number of times.
Our command is to love one another, the way Jesus's disciples were to be recognized even. Are we doing that? Do we need to practice what Paul says?
July 23rd 2011, 09:17 PM
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/partial-and-complete/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I can assure everyone that I will not be on tomorrow night. If you remember where we were a year ago, I had announced that actually I was to be married and tomorrow, the Mrs. and I celebrate our first anniversary. We think everyone who's helped us both prayerfully and financially and we hope you will continue to do so. For now, let's return to 1 Corinthians 13 and see what Paul has to say about love.
Paul tells us about the partial in verses 9-10. What we do in part, and we know about this. The more you think you know about something, the more you will come to realize that you do not know. The more knowledge we have of a topic, the more that we are amazed at that topic.
This includes our knowledge of God and if there is anything we do not understand to the maximum, it is definitely God. This is a topic we need to wrestle with. For instance, with the Trinity, we can show the Trinity from the Bible, but have we really took the time to think out what those texts mean if they're true? If the Trinity is true, what does that tell us about God? If the Trinity is a topic that doesn't leave you with questions, then you can be sure that you do not understand the Trinity at all.
Paul tells us that we speak in part, probably because that is all the knowledge of God that we can have, partial. When we get to the complete however, we will not know in part. We will know completely.
What is completeness? There are many debates on this topic, but I am inclined to think based on the later words of the passage that it refers to when we get to the point where we see God. When that happens, we will know completely. Of course, this will be commented on more as we get further into the text.
What does this mean for love? It does mean that our love is incomplete at this point. We can never fully love someone here as we ought. This could be seen as saddening for some of us, but I would prefer to think of it as exciting. But how can it be exciting to know that our love is incomplete?
If what we have now is complete love, we are quite lacking in many ways. Instead, think of how it will be when you reach eterinity. You will love your friends, family, and your spouse and children in ways you never could before because your sinful nature is gone. Look at those relationships that you have now and think of how different they will be when you get that perfect love.
For now, that means that we are to grow in the love that we have more and more, as to grow in love is to grow to be more Christlike. What are we going to do today to be more loving?
July 25th 2011, 06:00 PM
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/25/childish-ways/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. For those who are interested, the Mrs. and I had a very nice anniversary. We stayed at the Hampton Inn we stayed at on our wedding night and we had excellent treatment from them we greatly appreciate. Now that I'm back here, I'll be continuing our look at 1 Corinthians 13 with talking about childish thinking.
It has been said that men never really grow up. Their toys just changed. If you look at professional sports, that's certainly an example. A little boy who develops a talent with hitting a ball with a stick can eventually become a sports icon playing major league baseball. Is that what Paul is speaking against?
If you walk into arcades, though few are around, you will often find grown men in there playing games still. Indeed, many owners of video game consoles are adults. We happen to own quite a few around here. Why? We like to play games. Is this what Paul is speaking about?
When we are younger, we often have highly active imaginations. We feel out many situations and like to dream big and think about doing something great for the world. We are often told later on that we will grow up and get out of that phase and come to realize that we just need to accept our place in life. Is this what Paul is talking about?
No. Paul is talking about a mode of thinking more than anything else. He is not talking about something that is emotional. He is talking about something that is entirely rational. He is not telling us to abandon childlikeness as we should all be like little children in our wonder and trust of God. He is telling us instead to abandon childishness, and we all recognize the attitudes of childishness, and especially can usually recognize them in ourselves. We often still have this idea that reality ought always to go our way.
Paul gives a similar warning in 1 Corinthians 14:20. The Corinthians were acting like children in many ways with their attitudes and their constant one-upmanship and chasing after something grand for them rather than seeking that which is for the good of the body, a lesson we all need to learn. The question is not what good can the church do for you, although the church should support its own, but what good you can do for the church.
We should all have the wonder of children, but we should all seek to constantly be improving our thinking. When we think about God for instance, are we thinking just about what He does for us, or are we thinking about what we can do for Him and who He is? Much of our worship today seems to be about us rather than about God. We can often define a good worship service as one where we leave feeling good, when in reality, it could be some of the best worship services are the ones where we leave feeling miserable because we've been convicted of our sin and know we need to do better.
Christians should be about good thinking. It's a shame that in our world today, the church has often been seen as abandoning rationality and indeed, many churches pride themselves on that. The more you can live by blind faith rather than actually believing something for a reason, the better you are.
I actually am of the opinion that if it seems many people today even outside the church have crazy ideas and are abandoning reason, it's because the church did it first. Much like we led the way with many universities, we are also leading the way with many ignorances because we allowed childish thinking to come in.
Let's follow Paul's words and be adult in our thinking. It's the loving thing to do for future generations.
July 26th 2011, 06:48 PM
Through The Looking Glass
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/through-the-looking-glass/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, we're going to be continuing our look at 1 Corinthians 13 where we will be further looking at the view of love from the apostle Paul. We're almost through this chapter and already I have two more series in mind at least at this point.
Paul talks about looking through a mirror at this point and this is something the Corinthians would have known about as their city was famous for their mirrors. Paul tells us that we look through a mirror dimly at this point. We are not really seeing what is there to the best of our ability. While the mirrors were good back then after all, they were not as good as they could be and it would be rare to find a Christian who could afford one of a good quality.
The idea is that we will always have partial knowledge here and so it is with love. We will not know what love is fully in this lifetime. As beautifully as Paul has described it, he has only scratched the surface. We rightfully find it incredibly awesome when we read what he said, but we must remember that even the biblically inspired author in holy writ cannot fully do justice to his topic.
Well if we will not know it here, when and where will we know it? Paul tells us that we shall know as we are known and that is when we are face to face. Paul does not have to spell out what he means by this. The wonder of prophets like Moses were that they supposedly spoke to God face to face. For Paul, all Christians will have what Moses had and in fact will have even better. This means that when we read about what happened to Moses and others with fantastic experiences, we should realize that we will have the most fantastic experience one day of seeing God.
And this is in fact the highest good of man. Man was designed to know God. The highest knowledge one can think about is the knowledge of God. This is not just knowing about what God does and has done and will do. This is about knowing Him as He is. Unfortunately, for many of us today we only look at God in the capacity of what He does or more importantly to us, how He makes us feel. Too many of our worship services are about how we feel about God rather than about God himself. In this way, worship can be more self-directed at times than God-directed. Now there is a time to talk about our response to God, but this is after we have talked about who He is.
But as was said in an earlier blog, if this is the way that we will end, with the knowledge of God, we might as well start preparing for that now. Too many churches are filled with too many people, including the pastor, who have never taken the God question seriously. I frankly wish more Christians would be tempted with atheism because at least I can see that they're taking the question seriously and trying to determine what difference it would mean to their worldview if God was removed.
We're nearly through. What remains in the end? Well next time Paul will tell us and I will then wrap up our look at 1 Corinthians 13.
July 27th 2011, 09:11 PM
The Greatest Of These Is Love.
The link can be found here (http://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/the-greatest-of-these-is-love/)
The text is as follows:
Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. Tonight, we're going to finish up our series of looking at 1 Corinthians 13. I hope that it has been helpful to you.
Paul tells us in the last verse that three remain. Those are faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love. Why is love the greatest?
Faith, contrary to what some think, is not blind faith. It is trust given to that which has been shown to be reliable, and being shown to be reliable means that it is based on evidence of some sort. Not all evidence is the same and some evidence is better than other evidence, but it is still evidence. Christians are not called to believe in Jesus blindly. It is fortunately landing in the right place, but it is not a virtue to be paraded about as some Christians do.
However, even with that faith, there is still trust. It can be easy to sign a doctrinal statement at a church, but it is a whole lot harder to live it. We all believe that God is the supreme judge when we sign those statements, but when it comes to making that a reality in our lives, our struggle with sin shows that it has not fully become a reality to us.
That is where we need more trust in what has been said and the ability to act on it. James is of course right when he says that faith without works is dead. What good is it to say that you trust that God is the supreme judge, but then you don't live accordingly? Even the demons know that He is, and they tremble. Should not we?
Of course, when we stand before God, we will not need that faith anymore. We will know as we are known.
What about hope? There are two things specifically that Christians hope for and these are connected. The first is the vision of God which I also believe is part of the return of Christ for when Christ returns, we shall see God. The second is the resurrection. Even if we are alive when Christ returns, we will get new bodies.
None of these are hopes in the sense that we wish they would happen, like one might hope to meet their future spouse or one might hope to win the lottery. These hopes are treated as realities coming that we eagerly anticipate. Of course, once they happen at the end, there will be no hope as there will be no faith, for we will have what we have hoped for.
What about love? Well love is that which will remain throughout all eternity as love is of the nature of God. God invites us to enter into that love for all eternity. However, as we close this series, I ask that you keep in mind that Paul introduced this chapter talking about the most excellent way. Love is not just an object of thought, but a way of life. So the question is, are we treating it not just as a lofty idea, but a way of life? Are we living love?
Only you can answer for yourself.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.