A More Excellent Way
If you've been tracking with us at all, you understand that Paul is writing this letter to Corinth as a response to a letter that was written to him and get some information that he had found out and he's really talking to a church about Christianity for Christians who aren't very good at Christianity. Right and we can all relate to that to some degree. And when we look at Corinth Corinth tends to get a pretty bad rap, but if you think about what was going on in that church, it was really an explosion of the earliest Jesus movement to take place. This church had influential leaders. This church was seeing the talents like Romans 12 Talent just exploding amongst their people in the Holy Spirit animating energizing using gifting and Towers if the people possessed at church, too. Share the gospel and care and serve in addition to that. We saw all kinds of stuff. The spirit was doing amongst that body like crosses sign and tongues and healing miraculous works. And so on one hand we learn about Corinth and there was some pretty amazing stuff happen, but on the other hand there is some needed correction to take place in their lives. And what was just read to us is a very familiar passage to anybody who'd attended a wedding. Have you heard that red at a wedding before? Right, we got that. I intentionally do not read that at wedding personal pet peeve of mine here is the reason why as poetic and beautiful the words of Paul are in that section of scripture. It is actually a rebuke. It's actually this idea that you guys think you're so amazing. You think you're so incredible you got these talents in the Holy Spirit is manifesting these gifts through you and what you have done is you've used in to promote yourself to jockey for position amongst one another to rise in the ranks of spirituality and in doing so you have not shown love one to another and he says because of that you are nothing. You can be talented. You can be gifted a church can be doing lots of things. But if you lack love you have nothing and this would come like a dagger in their heart because they like most of us are a group of people that want to be noticed that want to be accepted and applauded and have out a boy for the very things that were doing and participating in and he says if you do not have love You're going to miss out in this life. You can have power. You can have influence. But without love you are nothing now for a lot of people especially in their years of immaturity inside or outside the church. We think of power and influence as the two most important.
Skill sets there are things that we can gain for that then we can use to influence the world. We think of those as the most important things that we can possess. But in reality what Paul is declaring here is you guys are childish in your thinking. And you need to grow up. In fact in 1st Corinthians 14. He says Brothers stop thinking by children. In regard to evil the infant's butt in your thinking be adults. You're falling short Church. You're like babies. I've had four babies. There's babies in here right now. They're going to be rude if they're going to cry in an atmosphere. We say crying is not acceptable write parents. It's okay. I've slept through so many kids crying. I can't reach through it as well. Do not worry about it. My wife would attest to that. Alright, it's okay babies are impatient babies are immature and they're thinking children keep a record of wrongdoing or but Daddy you said we would write babies are self-seeking babies are always fighting right Paul is talking to this church, and he says you need to get rid. How does childish Ness and what we're going to see this morning is not just a review for that's going to be part of apology not but we're going to see some instruction for each and every one of our Lives aspects this morning in which were going to have to dig deep and look at our own heart and our own responses and reactions to people that are difficult to people who inflict to people who are the cause the source of my suffering and how to actually respond to those people in a christ-like way at one side of it. But also to not be the kind of people that do those things and Paul is going to look at this and he's going to say here is some instruction on what it looks like for each and everyone of you, but you have to hear this Everyone everyone who matures finds out that love is a lengthy drawn-out kind of process, isn't it? Think about ready for some of it was 50 years ago 20 years ago 2 months ago. And if you met somebody and you have these emotions and their emotions of Love infatuation and when relationships first start out, they start out with this burning desire. You cannot get enough of that person and you always want to be around them and that's how relationships tend to kick off. But if any relationship is going to last it cannot last on those emotions and feelings alone. Can it. It must have last as it's built upon long-suffering Emma's last as it's built upon patient endurance going through the valleys in spending time and caring for the person next to you 10 years 20 years later. It's going to be so much better. If you build your life on these things, but 20-30 years before that. It was much louder bright shiny flashy. The way of Love is a quiet lengthy process. the way of Love is a quiet lengthy process. Two sixteen-year-olds falling in lust but the way of love it's not the noisy. It's not the spectacular and until you understand that this morning you are a spiritual babe is what Paul is going to declare. Wait a second. I've memorized this chapter and 20 others in the Bible. I attend weekly Bible study. I've done these things in those things and I have this gift. Paul says no pause listing. Understand what I'm about to teach you. If you have not love you are spiritual babe and you need to grow in love mature in it this childishness that Paul is talking about it's someone who has a short attention span with God and a short attention span with others.
Convicting short attention span with God short attention span with others and Sir Paul is going to say this is not a mechanical formula in which you grow but you need to get at the heart of who you are identity and understanding if you want to grow in love it stems from knowing god understanding to God has been made you called you and that changes how I view and see myself which then allows for me to love others in the way in which God has actually called me to buy so this morning the highlighted question to ask is how do I know if I'm lacking love know the reality is it is very easy to love people who love you back. Very easy to love people who profit and benefits you. Of course, you're going to spend time with them. Of course, you're going to be around them because they're giving you something in return what Paul is discussing here. How do we love people that irritate us? How do I let people that rub me the wrong way? How do I reload people time in temporary conflict in right now? How is that even possible because that's when this kind of love is put on display in each and every one of our Lives not just loving those who are easy to laugh. So any time in your life Steve knelt down and prayed to God teach me to love. Teach me to be patient guess what defends an irritation into your life doesn't he defend a jab? He send somebody with a different political view. Please send somebody with a different philosophy with a different idea of how life can be if should be conducted and it irritates and it rubs you the wrong way and you have to be right and you have to get your point across and goddess aine. I'm giving you the opportunity to grow in this love. This word is agape what you probably are tons of teachings on agape and phileo and the different kind of love that are in the scriptures when Paul says word Agape, he's not using it as an adjectives describing ideas about love or what love is he's actually using it in a terms and in the way of of verb, so a couple weeks ago we said this Stop the spirit. This Is The Stuff love does in our lives that we don't have a description of love. But we have a way that love is actually supposed to what you mean. It's more than a feeling that's going to be stuck in your head all day now, right specially if you play guitar hero or had kids playing Guitar Hero just ripping that song out more than a feeling. It's more than emotion. It's more than something you can fall in and out of this tells us how to love apps. It also tells us that love is not just an individual task. Pause look around love is a corporate task. This room has a responsibility not just as an individual's or to put the onus on one person all of the weight towards somebody. But it's an action call to entire Collective group to grow in love with one another and so what I want to do as we get into the section of scripture and be instructed and corrected, can we just take a brief second and say holy spirit. What do you want to reveal to my heart today? Holy Spirit, what do you want to teach me today before you commit to serving and doing an acting upon whatever you here today? It's what do you want to do in my life? What is my motivation for even doing those things of service? Is it for identity or out of identity that Christ has given me is it For Love or is it out of love? Spirit what do you want to do? Number to like each this this morning. This is not Brett. Does got it down somehow and is not telling you guys how your to love. This is Brett who is joined in the process with this church to say there's areas. We all need to including myself grow in box. I don't stand up here six feet taller cuz I've got this idea down and you're going well with her. Does he have the right to say those things? I do not accept for in Christ. Can I understand that this morning? That is we go through these the other thing we need to understand in this is whenever Paul gives a list. I don't know about you guys, but I've got this very westernized thought process when it comes to live and listening to check it off get it done move on to the next thing don't think about the other things on the list anymore. This wasn't written or intended in a way to say check that off but it's written and intended in a way that we continually come back to it in order to see how are we growing? What do we need to be doing in our lives to really see the top 10 for us individually and collectively as a church and Zack has Paul begins to share. This could be dissected into three groups. The first classification of grouping comes in the middle section 2 4 through 7, and it's this idea of relationship to yourself. I don't know if you know this, but you have a relationship to yourself what that means is the way you feel About yourself things you believe about yourself ways that you view yourself. Some of that has been shaped by what others tell you what others have spoken into you. You grab onto it and you begin to see yourself through that lens will our relationship with self then impact our ability to be long-suffering and kind to other people. These are interconnected and what Paul is talking about here your relationship to self begins to determine the ability you have to actually love other people around you. I understand that you think believe feel directly relate to how you're going to act towards others outside of you and then there's this relationship between and God and that is the first and foremost most important relationship and how we see ourselves in Christ determines how we actually you are self which enables how we're going to see people around us and if we're actually going to be able to be long-suffering patient loving and all the rest. So what that mean if this is not intact. We don't know who we are in Christ. If we're not spending time with Christ then how we see ourselves is going to be distorted and twisted. We're going to become the very center of the universe which is going to negatively impact our capacity and ability to care for love and serve other people around us. And this goes for people who are inside of Walking With Jesus and those even outside of Rocky with Christ. This goes for a Christian to watch the Jesus for 30 years 40 years and you just started this relationship is primary and important for each and everyone of us. So here we go going to work through these it says I got 18 minutes. I'm going to do my best. Love is patient.
What this means and what Paul is getting at is love patiently indoors. The patiently indoors that's a big difference in just saying love is patient right there with the person in the moment, but it is an enduring patience that even if somebody is constantly coming against you if you're able to take a step back and take that deep breath and respond in a way of endurance maintaining continue forward not lashing out in anger not responding in Rage, but it patiently indoors through whatever suffering is coming your way at the hand of another person. The alternative is to have a short fuse and to retaliate I was thinking about that this week and then the very thing I was thinking about what happens in my life happened this week in my life. We hopped in the car. They were driving down towards Bend to get some dinner and there's that spot between Bend and Redmond where people can pull out and either go left all the way across the highway or right, you know that Cutoff Road and I'm there in those slow lane of traffic cuz that's where I reside and it's just if you ride with me, I'm sorry. That's the way it is. And lo and behold this car just as nobody behind me with right out in front of me right now. This is literally going to cost me no time out of my life to put on my brakes to slow down a little bit and to let the guy go and I couldn't couldn't get over because there's something out of the way what what I do is retaliate by stepping on the gas and for the only time on the entire trip, I speed on the highway to make sure he knows how upset I am with him. I guess just feel me on that. That's really lighthearted.
You in here today? Cuz I you I got the Suburban with the rack on top is falling apart. Yeah, okay.
Love love endures love patiently indoors. The person that is rubbing you the wrong way. The person that is frustrating and angering you rather than retaliate and be a sinner who responds to sin info. It puts the brakes on it slows down. Now listen love and even God's love does not Overlook Injustice nor does it not call out wrongdoing but it doesn't call out wrong doing with harsh words and harsh actions in return when we do that. We're no longer long-suffering when we do that. We're trying to prove a point that I need you to know, but not only did you hurt me, but now I'm going to hurt you to get my point across and what we done in that moment is perpetuated the gap of the relationships that can actually be crossed in order to come back together and reconcile. When I Wrong my wife and like the one time in her life that she's ever wronged me back for it, right? The Gap is just it's going to take some time. Need a couple hours until I come back out of the garage and realized how dumb I was. But that's what happens when we're not long-suffering and patience. Even when we were wrong. That's not fair. I'm sorry. That's the way of Jesus. Play Jesus what I got to let them know. Yes, you can let them know they've wronged you but it ought not to be done in this harsh tone harsh terms because what you've done then is that you've wronged in return and you made it more difficult love is long suffering love then respond and kindness. Love you said somebody is kind we think of it as just kind of this nice person. That's nice being but that's the wrong mentality that you can love and that adjectives kind of sense describing. Somebody kindness is asking that you do for someone even if they've done wrong to you kindness is the way in which we return and respond to somebody who have heard us patience endurance not with retaliation kindness pays them back with good deeds. Romans talks about this heaping coals of fire on them with good deeds and almost sounds like a Vengeance text. But the idea is this person who continually wrongs and hurts me. I'm going to respond in love and kindness by doing nice kind Good Deeds back towards them. What does that look like? Well, here's ways we don't respond and kindness when somebody hurts you when somebody hurts me and relationship cuz were in relationship with one another going to 10 other people and telling them. A slander that's gossip. And that's to get back at them. What it does is knocked them down a little bit and overtime as you knock them down a little bit after a little bit after little bit you determine a moment that they paid enough for the wrong they done to you and now you're ready. What do you know you're doing this or not to get back into relationship with them? Kindness is when you have the moment slander when you have the moment to hurt when you have the moment to be heard in a way, that's not right healthy that causes more pain to the problem kindness is taking that absorbing it in yourself. That's one way we can actually be kind in the moment and the person may not even know that pain it down if somebody always has to pay paint it down yourself or it's been going out of your way to do kind to others would do this moment the next one number three Love is not jealous. Jealousy is I want what you have? Why did you get that? I want that jealousy is like every single Thursday in my family cuz my wife take the kids to the grocery store and one comes back with something and the other three don't Why did she get that maybe they needed it or maybe the mommy was just because I want that even like you actually don't want that. That's a four year old toys. Not a nine-year-old toy. You just wanted to have it and we can act and respond in this way. That's not fair. Why did they get that? Why do they get promoted? Why do they get elevated? Why did they get the job I wanted why do they get the friendships or relationships the community that I craved and jealousy actually makes it for us to be an able to Rejoice with others who are rejoicing and then return it begins to develop a seed of root of bitterness in our own hearts. Love never asks why somebody else is exalted and raised up but celebrates with them in America with the hype of all social media and probably the rest of the world. Hey can shoot out. We have a very difficult time celebrating people, don't we? Why do they get attention drawn to then? Why do they get praised? Why are they in the Limelight? What that is an attitude in our own heart that is jealous of what the other person has is another kind of jealousy and it's incredibly detrimental and her jealousy of it's not just that I want what you have but I don't want you to have anything. I don't want you to get anything or be promoted and I actually wish ill upon you and Paul is writing to this church and they are jealous over gift. They're jealous of her who's being used their jealous over what God is doing to one another but he saying love is not jealous, but it actually learns to celebrate with one another to encourage each other and what God has done love does not boast. But it's to make a show of oneself, which is a form of Pride often stems but not always from insecurities and it comes from thinking too much of yourself Proverbs. 27:2 says let another praise you and not your own mouth. A stranger and not your own lips. this is a cultural moments in 2020. We're all about boasting proclaiming how good how great how awesome we are intentionally or unintentionally. We live in a generation of spoken more words in a written more words than any other generation on the face of the planet. Think about in Paul's day how important opra paper was a little parchment there the process just to get paper and something written down. Think about how many volume just Millennials alone could fill from their social media account. That we have it's so much of it is all self-promotion. Not talking about advertisement. I'm not talking about putting your business out there not talking about those things. I'm talking about the kind of person who is constantly making boastful proclamations of themselves. He been around them. I've been around them annoying frustrating like me and I like to get a few words in I'd like to talk a little bit. All right. Let's have a conversation. Do you not make much of yourself love actually puts this chair towards other people asking them how they are. What's going on in their lives number? Five love is not proud. The word is arrogant even tracking with Redeemer. If we gave a sermon back in 1st Corinthians for the problem of Pride this word that's used is the same word that was used in 1st Corinthians chapter 4 at the food say oh and it's not like Pride how lot of us think of pry but it means you have a King James and new King James version of the Bible. Hit me up. Remember that idea popped up. In Corinth, there were people that were puffed up. They were drawing all the attention on themselves now ever been outside working and you had a hammer you're hanging something and you hit your thumb. I don't want to know what comes out of your mouth right? That's okay. I do live downtown. I might hear you something.
How often do you notice your thumbs? I don't like maybe if they brush up again like weird. I don't notice my thumbs. My thumbs don't draw a lot of attention to himself until until I'm doing construction work. I should not be doing cuz I have YouTube right? So I'm working on something and I hit my thumb what happens it's swells up and it becomes incredibly noticeable. This is pride right eye swollen up personality. Why does it exist will it wasn't previously there but now it's drawing all sorts of attention to itself and it notices itself. I feel my thumb in that moment. And Paul is talking to this church and he says, Love is not proud or drawing attention to itself. Now. The reality is we have to be filled up with something and the vast majority of people are filled up with themselves and do it. Louis Mead says every time you meet a new person you are unconsciously wondering how can this person contribute to my need to prove that I count life life becomes a constant battle to use people to boister your own cell. There's the sickness Pride which is a hunger for Glory I need for respect. I need to be assured were real. The problem of pride is this condition of the natural human ego that needs to be fed? We do this all the time walking to a party at church community group or whatever a work thing and we go I need that person to approve me to applaud me cuz I need to be filled up boom or filled up with people's praises. Clauses and attaboys that's going to get popped and it's going to deflate you. It's a dangerous place to live in rather. Would it be filled up with this identity that is in Christ knowing who we are but so many people operate under the sense of how is that person going to get me a head love instead says, how am I going to get that person to head? How am I going to reach down and help the person who is struggling and failing and suffering and how can I lift them up? Who can I come alongside and help fully knowing that they cannot help me back. Have you done that? She participate in that kind of love because the odds are the majority of us. Once you love and help people who will love and help me back. That's the transaction. That works. Right? But God says I want you to love those that are unlovely that can't help you if they can't serve you. I don't want you just to kind of write a check and send it their way, but I want you to get involved in their life and continue to love them and to be patient with them Soren Kierkegaard in his book The Sickness unto death. Is it normal state of the human heart to try to build at identity around something besides God spiritual pride is the illusion that you are competent to run your own life achieve your own sense of self-worth and find a purpose big enough to give you meaning in life without God human ego is built on the idea that there's a specialness. And there is in Christ, but you don't understand that you're constantly going outside Christ to find that.
Love is not rude. It doesn't disgrace other people. Where the number 7. Can you need to move through these cuz I want to finish love is not self-seeking. I'm not looking at ways to only benefit oneself to prop oneself up is not selfish, but it's getting it is not irritable. It is not touchy. It is not grouchy. It doesn't have quick responses, but it slows down. It listens and responds and kindness. Love is not resentful but love absorbs and doesn't choose to retaliate. This idea being resentful as love does not keep record. Tony sit down with somebody you don't without the 50 things. They did wrong 10 years ago. Not keeping track of the same kind of bird is that she used it? How Christ does not remember our sins anymore and it's not adding those up and going. Okay. Now I'm going to nail you for all of these things number 10 love does not boast in wrongdoing but rejoices in truth Paul finishes with this. 2 paws on it There's a lot of people now who boast in wrongdoing and here's what I mean. It's not that they're making much of people who are doing wrong if that their Delight in the fact When leaders fail when others fall and we look at them and instead of weeping and mourning at the destruction that sin has brought upon oneself and a gas station is wrecked on others around them. It's going yes. We got them. Yes, we brought them down now Paul couples that with it rejoices in truth. So on one hand, we don't Rejoice at the destruction and falling of another person. But we also don't see to cover up the truth to minimize it the Justice does take place Injustice has a process but Allowing God deal with what is actually just Understand that cuz we live in a culture that is so readily to jump on rejoicing over somebody else daily. How on Earth can we love like this? Put your name in this list instead of love. But your name in there. Brett is patient rent is kind. Brett does not envy or boast Brett is not I should stop right? I mean I should have stopped after number one. It doesn't work. I am not this all the time. I understand my humanness my Frailty my ability to fail and let people down but there is one. Who is this? Look at it. Jesus is patient. Jesus is kind. Jesus is not envy Jesus is not boast. Jesus is not arrogant. Jesus is not rude Jesus not insist on its own way. Jesus is not irritable or resentful. Jesus is not rejoice it wrong to him but Jesus rejoices with truth Jesus Bears, all things believes all things hopes all things and Dewar's all things. Here's the transition. I want to make for us they're going to close out. I look at this list and like bottom line. I'm exhausted. The can't be all those things. So what I need to do is spend time with the one who is those things and I spend time with the one who is those things taking it on Christ likeness of his nature his character begins to change who I am than I can love that way, you know if it's a work in progress. But I have moments when I respond in anger in the sheets and I do quick reactions. Jesus did not act that way. I want to learn to be like Jesus by spending time with Jesus. I want to be somebody who's given quickly to serving like when needs are placed up and there is a need to serve Jesus came not to what be served but to serve. Salamander laying down his life by want to love this way. It's not looking at the list and going. Okay, how can I get stronger here and better there if how can I spend more time with Jesus? So he transforms and shakes my heart. So then idea to naturally act like Jesus in these moments. Do you see the difference? AR
nature is to take something from that list and go okay this week. I'm going to work on this one alone. Straight highlighted you need to change you need to grow but how you do? It is not going to be by mustering it up into your own strength. It's going to be by spending time with the one who is that way, which the neighbors you should go and love the way that he laughs. We need to church individually corporately continue to take time and create space to spend time with Jesus flamingos live like Jesus. Amen. Amen. Praise. God. Thank you.
This list we could just talk and talk and talk on and we probably couldn't even exhaust it. But the idea that we need to spend that time and closeness with you in as that happens. We're slowly transformed over time to act and respond in the ways of Jesus and God. I am the first raise my hands and to admit I need help here. I need help to grow in responses. I need help to grow and how I view others and I understand if the way to do that is to grow closer to you and I pray for others who would Echo that same sentiment in this room that there'd be a spark ignited and they're hard to not just try to improve themselves become moral and loving but you dedicate time to spend with you to know you to be changed by you to go forth and be changed in a situation. Give us the ability to live this way. We pray in Jesus name.