(1 Cor 13:13 NIV) And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
We have covered the 20 characteristics of God’s love found in 1 Corinthians 13.
- Paul closed out the 12th chapter with a statement that set the stage for the supremacy of God’s love.
- Paul, after going into such detail about spiritual gifts and the composition of the Body of Christ in chapter 12, closed out the chapter by saying, “But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way.”
I felt led to point out this morning that Paul not only led us into this chapter by exalting love, but he closed the chapter the same way.
- Paul concluded that the major facets of Christianity can be summed up into faith, hope, and love.
- Furthermore, Paul made it clear that the greatest of the three is love.
The word greatest in the text means exactly what you think it means.
- Love is superior to any other quality of Christianity.
- Being an usher, singing in the choir, or wearing a clergy collar; means nothing to God if you do not operate in love.
- Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and having pity on the poor; means nothing to God if you are not doing it because of love.
- Preaching on Sunday morning, teaching on Wednesday night, and even knocking on doors on Saturday afternoons; means nothing to God if you are not compelled with love towards those that you are seeking to minister to.
God is love (1 John 4:8) and operating in His love is:
1. The greatest requirement
2. The highest goal
3. The ultimate achievement
1. Check your heart to ensure you are growing in God’s Love.
a. Who are you (really)?
b. Is who you really are close to who God is?
2. Check your motives to ensure that you are doing what you do out of Love.
a. Why do you do what you do?
b. Do you do it because you love God, or because you want to impress people?
God has a DREAM for your life. You role is to open your heart to it. I will use Joseph as an example:
1. Believe the dream: (Gen 37:5 NLT) One night Joseph had a dream
- God does not wait until you are ready before He reveals His dream for your life.
- The key is not dismissing the dream, just because you are not ready for it.
- Look for God to reveal to you your “to be” stage and believe it when He does.
2. Protect the Dream from Dream-Killers: (Gen 37:19,20 NASB) They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer! “Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; and we will say, ‘A wild beast devoured him.’ Then let us see what will become of his dreams!”
- Not everyone who is with you is for you.
- Learn to wait on God and only share precious information with precious people.
3. Submit to the Process:
- Greatness is not accomplished overnight.
- Joseph went through a lot in the space between the dream and the demonstration.
- Know that God is faithful to His promises.
- Submit to the process and know that every day is one step closer.
4. Never Give Up:
- Joseph had plenty of opportunities to give up on the dream, but he remained faithful to God through it all.
- Be faithful to God at every stage of vision development.
- If Joseph would have given up during Pit Phase, the Potiphar Phase, or the Prison Phase of his life, he would have never experienced the PALACE PHASE!
Watch and be blessed:
(Mark 9:22,23 NASB) “It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”
1. There is LITERALLY Nothing God can’t do.
2. Any limit we perceive of our God is an artificial limit we have placed on Him!
3. As we grow in Christ our experiences should help us expand our capacity to believe.
4. The more you can believe; the more is POSSIBLE for you!
We come to God with a set way of thinking and speaking and we must allow the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to transform our thoughts, words, and actions. Once we change the way we think, we will change the way we speak. Once we change the way we think and speak, we will change the way we act. Once we change the way we act, we have changed! Hallelujah!
Here are 5 facets of the Language of Faith:
1. The Language of Faith’s vocabulary is found in the Word of God (Jer 1:12). When I joined the military I had to learn the ‘lingo’ and what the plethora of acronyms that we use meant. Likewise, when I was Born-Again, I had to learn what things like salvation, redemption, atonement, sanctification, propitiation, etc; meant. I learned them through the Word of God. We must all learn the language.
2. The Language of Faith speaks pertinent promises. Once I learned the language, I had to start putting it into practice. I learned that there were scriptures that promised me peace when I troubled, health when I was sick, deliverance when I was bound, restoration when I was alienated, and etc. I had to learn what scriptures were pertinent to my situation and I stood on those pertinent promises. The language of faith speaks those pertinent promises for permanent change.
3. The Language of Faith speaks the desired outcome (Rom 4:17). I had to train myself not to simply speak what I saw. If I can see it, then it does not require faith (Heb 11:1). I had to train myself – under this new language – to speak things, in accordance with the Word of God, that I desired to happen, before they happened. Not only that, but I had to literally train myself to believe that what I spoke would come to pass. That is basically ‘releasing your faith’ over a certain situation.
4. The Language of Faith continues to speak the desired outcome until it comes to pass. It is foolish to think that everything in Christ is going to come easy. You can find the right promise, speak the right things, release your faith, but there will always be opposition. They key is not to allow what you see (opposition) to change what you say (faith). You must continue to speak the desired outcome until you see it come to pass in your life!
5. The Language of Faith never cancels out their declaration of faith with doubt and unbelief (Jas 1:7). We dealt with this yesterday. We must doubt and doubt and have faith in our faith. Know that doubt cancels faith and that faith cancels doubt. Never speak doubt after you have spoken faith.
Far too many believers have given up hope. But our God, is the God of Hope! Paul said:
(Rom 15:13 NASB) Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Frustration is the Enemy of Hope: The definition of frustration is: “A feeling of dissatisfaction, often accompanied by anxiety or depression, resulting from unfulfilled needs or unresolved problems.”
- This definition says it all. In the Body of Christ I frequently run across people, good people, well-intentioned people, that fit this description to a tee.
- They are dissatisfied with the church, with God, with themselves, and with their walk.
- This dissatisfaction leads to worry and sometimes even depression.
- What has happened to them? Some way, some how they have lost their hope.
- They have given up on their situation, their expectation, and sometimes on God altogether. Paul warned us not to be ignorant of the devil’s schemes, because if we are he will get an advantage over us (2nd Cor 2:11).
No matter what you are facing, one Word from God can turn your seemingly hopeless situation around! God can breathe life into anything that looks dead!