1 Corinthians 13
You cannot have opened the Bible long, before in every book, you’re confronted with the royal command, calling us on to fervent love! The New Testament epistles spare no end of space in urging us to fill up this command and there’s not a single New Testament epistle that does not contain some exhortation on love!! Amongst the many beautiful chapters in the Bible, must surely be found the thirteenth chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. Outside the life and example of our Saviour, there’s no clearer setting forth of the attributes of love than is found in this chapter.
In this sermon, we place our focus on just one of the fifteen attributes; love thinks no evil. May the Lord speak to all of our hearts on this greatly important aspect of love.
Knowing the Bible for Yourself (Pt. 1)
As one opens the Bible, one quickly comes to discover that what they hold in their hand is not a single book, but a volume of ancient literature (some 66 books). In fact, there are some 780, 000+ words all found sitting within a careful and purposeful grammatical structure with the oldest sections being more than 3 ½ thousand years in age and the most recent, 2000 years! There are many different ways in which God could have communicated his will to mankind; he could have appeared at a given location every fifty years to speak to man in person or sent an angel to speak on his behalf. Instead, God in His sovereign wisdom has chosen to communicate His message to mankind through the medium of written language.
In this first teaching part, we ask the question; “Why do we need to interpret the Bible?” As soon as one begins to read any literature, the need for interpretation comes immediately into play!! This not only applies to the Bible, but all pieces of literature, because the underlying question that inevitably will arise is; “What does that mean?” You cannot escape this question, and as soon as one asks this question, one by default has moved into the realm of interpretation. The aim of all true Bible study is to uncover the plain meaning of the text so as to arrive at the proper understanding of truth. Having understood what God’s Word was to those first receiving it, we are then in a position to correctly apply the Word of God to our lives.
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1 Peter 5:5-6
There are things in this Christian walk that are greatly to be desired, and then there are those things that are indispensable. Love, holiness, faith, and love…these are precious virtues that are not desirables to be added to the list of Christian attributes – these are absolutes!! Added to this list is also found the like precious virtue of humility.
In this sermon, we ponder at length the exhortation found in 1 Peter 5:5-6. We there discover that two different attitudes on the part of man, summon two radically different actions on the part of God. “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble”. Which attitude of heart will you choose to walk in?
I have come to realise that a man can be in love with the concept of holiness and make the fatal error of equating form with substance!! He thinks that because he has the form, he has the substance! Ever do we need to be on guard against this kind of self-deception! What saith the half-brother of our Lord? “…be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (Jms. 1:22). To hear only and to do nothing about it is to deceive ourselves! Having good intentions and the words to along with it are not the same thing as having the actions to back it up.
The challenge goes forth with strength in this sermon to put rubber to the road and to enter into a life of holiness!!
Sometimes as Christians, we can forget that our Lord not only said that the gate was strait; He said also that the way was narrow which leads to life eternal! Not only a narrow entrance, but a confined path also to traverse; and on account this He said that they’d be few that ever find it!!
This sermon is aimed at two groups of people, of which everyone finds themselves belonging to one. Group number 1, are those yet to enter through the strait/narrow gate. They’ve seen its gloried from a distance and have approached unto it for further inquiry; yet, they’ve still to cross over its threshold. Group number 2 are those who having crossed the threshold of the narrow gate, onto the narrow way, have yet to finish the journey and to cross the threshold into life. May the Lord speak to each heart!
Some 33 parts on and some 65+ thousand words later, we finally come to the final teaching part in our Revelation series. With the old earth passed away, and the former heaven gone forever, John saw a new heaven and a new earth, and the holy city—the New Jerusalem—coming down from God out of heaven. In chapter 21, John described this glorious city, and in the first part of chapter 22, he continues to do the same. There’s no escaping the parallels that exist between the first paradise in Eden, and this second paradise. What was lost in the curse has now at the end, been restored, not only to an equal state but to one far exceeding it in every degree!
The chapter concludes with a series of warnings. The end is at hand and the Lord instructs His Church. “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen” (Rev. 22:20-21).