Faithlife Sermons

Someone Who Has Something to Live For

Let's be a Christ-centered Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introductory Thoughts:
* Agape (CHARITY) is something that God has communicated to us through the death of Christ. - ;

What is “charity”?

Agape, because it was used so seldom and was so unspecific in meaning, could be used in the NT to designate the unmerited love God shows to humankind in sending his son as suffering redeemer. When used of human love, it means selfless and self-giving love.
* Agape (CHARITY) is something that God has mediated to us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (which has come by the glorification of Jesus Christ ()). ;
52 of 75 times it is used by Paul - translated "love"
21 of 75 times in Paul's writings used as "charity"

What is Paul plainly saying?

* Agape (CHARITY) is something that manifests itself in selfless acts that will go to any length for the well-being of another. - , ,
Principle: God has made it possible for men to live for something rather than for nothing!

What is Paul plainly saying?

(1) Special communication without charity is meaningless (v. 1)
(2) Special gifting without charity still makes you nothing (v. 2)
Tolerance
As Dorothy Sayers observed, “In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair … the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.”
Against the Night, Charles Colson, p. 93
Galaxie Software. (2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.
(3) Sacrificial giving without charity still profits nothing (v. 3)
This word is so important that Paul says that if you don’t have this you ARE nothing and there is no profit.
Some people thought they were something because of their gifting...
Others thought they were less because of their different gifting...
Agape, because it was used so seldom and was so unspecific in meaning, could be used in the nt to designate the unmerited love God shows to humankind in sending his son as suffering redeemer. When used of human love, it means selfless and self-giving love.

Proposition:

If you want your life to be lived for something, rather than nothing, then you must have charity!
Without charity, all are living for nothing; but the good news is that God has made it possible to live for something rather than nothing!

What things keep us from this kind of charity?

(1) There is confusion about what charity is and where it comes from:

* Agape (CHARITY) is something that God has communicated to us through the death of Christ. - ;
* Agape (CHARITY) is something that God has mediated to us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (which has come by the glorification of Jesus Christ ()). ;
* Agape (CHARITY) is something that manifests itself in selfless acts that will go to any length for the well-being of another. - , ,
Men will give their lives for something they believe to be true; they will never give their lives for something they know to be false.
Larson, C. B., & Ten Elshof, P. (2008). 1001 illustrations that connect (p. 28). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
Being SOMEONE who lives for SOMETHING requires that we have this CHARITY!

(2) There are cultural definitions & values that blind us to this charity:

*The cultural understanding of who deserves this charity (context)

By definition the word refers to: the unmerited love God; this is a love that is not natural affection. (Example: )
By context of this refers to love that is beyond our natural families.
If your love cannot extend beyond the boarders of your natural family, it is not agape love.
If your selfless acts do not extend to those who have not earned your love, it is not agape love.
Agape love is NOT what you show to your family during the holidays. That is natural affection.
Agape love IS what you show to the people who have been made part of the body of Christ by the blood of Christ.
Agape love IS what you show to the people who are less visible within the body.
Agape love IS what you show to those who cannot give back to you.
Agape love IS what you show to those who are NOT your best friends.
Specific Application:
This week, find one person in the body of Christ to show this agape love to.
You don’t know anyone, you can call our office, leave your information and we will help you by the end of the week.

*The cultural value of giving at holiday time (giving)

Ninety-one percent of regular church attendees give to charity each year, compared with 66 percent of those who said they do not have a religion.
Larson, C. B., & Ten Elshof, P. (2008). 1001 illustrations that connect (p. 96). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

*The cultural definition of love

Some define love based on current cultural standards of love, rather than on biblical grounds...i.e.:
They see love as something that you just happen to feel for some people but not for others.
Some see love as something that means you never say "no" to people
Some see love as just an indescribable feeling
Some confuse love with their hormones
Some see love as a feeling that comes because of a release of chemicals in your body.
Some think that genuine love requires tears
Agape
The Greek word agape (love) seems to have been virtually a Christian invention—a new word for a new thing (apart from about twenty occurrences in the Greek version of the Old Testament, it is almost non-existent before the New Testament). Agape draws its meaning directly from the revelation of God in Christ. It is not a form of natural affection, however, intense, but a supernatural fruit of the Spirit (). It is a matter of will rather than feeling (for Christians must love even those they dislike—). It is the basic element in Christlikeness.
Read and note what these verses have to say about the primacy (vv. 1–3) and permanence (vv. 8–13) of love; note too the profile of love (vv. 4–7) which they give.
Your Father Loves You by James Packer, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986, page for March 10
Galaxie Software. (2002). 10,000 Sermon Illustrations. Biblical Studies Press.
Being SOMEONE who lives for SOMETHING requires that we have clarity about this CHARITY!

Concluding Thoughts:

The ultimate manifestation of love is what Jesus Christ did in dying for those who did not deserve this love.
As recipients of this love, it stands to reason that we should also live by this same standard of love among each other.
(1) Do you find that this love is lacking in your life? Have you truly been born again?
(2) Will you commit to finding one person or family this week, in the body of Christ, to show this kind of love to?
Illustration:
As the pastor I have been privileged to see several behind-the-scenes examples of this kind of love. Several years ago, one of our faithful members was going through a trial. As part of this trial, this faithful member had some mis-directed some anger towards an individual who was also a faithful member of our church family. What happened next is CONFIDENTIAL; but it was agape love.
The member who had done nothing wrong called me and asked how in a particular way he could care for a need of the angry brother. That giving member helped in a substantial way, in spite of the anger that was directed towards him.
Who will be next to show this kind of love?
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