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The Way of Love- Part 9

Jason Sliger

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Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Jason is a former full-time evangelist with Amazing Facts, now pastoring in Northern Michigan. He and his wife, Midori, have two children, Evangeline and Christian who are 3 and 1. His greatest desire is to have an experience like Jesus and be part of helping others be like Him too. He enjoys playing with his kids, photography and, when he can find time, playing the guitar.

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  • May 20, 2017
    11:30 AM
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Well before we begin our time together small invite you to value heads with me and we will start with begin with a word of prayer let's pray Father in heaven what a privilege it is to enter into your presence this morning. Knowing that we are sitting at the feet of our heavenly Father who is about to bestow upon us a blessing. Lord it's been a rich blessing so far through Santa's school and the worship time and we're just tearing a little longer to receive an additional blessing. And Lord we ask that as we look at your word together the sworn. That once again your Holy Spirit would take the message and send it home to our hearts that we may be more and more like Jesus but we ask this in his name. Maybe you have taken the opportunity to contemplate this question at some point in your life maybe you haven't but there have been many people who have thought about this question What is the most important thing in the world what is the most important thing in the world and I suppose that the answer to this question would probably be dictated by where you are add in you are in the stream of your life maybe you are facing health challenges and you might say that health is the most important thing in the world maybe you are facing relationship issues and you might say having a stable relationship is the most important thing in the world there would be a variety of answers that would probably come if we were to pull each other the small to answer this question What is the most important thing in the world in fact people have traveled the world from one place to another going to far flung places in this world trying to find the answer to what is the most important thing and yet I. I believe the answer to this question will be found in this our last study of First Corinthians the thirteenth chapter but before we get to that I want to share with you a statement here from testimonies volume six page four hundred and thirty nine where we are told this the greatest work the what work. The greatest work that can be done in our world is to glorify God by living the way. The character of Christ what is the greatest work that we can do. To live the character of crimes very simply put the greatest work that we can do is to live the character of Christ the greatest work that we can do is not the the actions of our life but rather it's allowing the character of Christ to be duplicated in our lines now we've spent much time in our time together studying First Corinthians thirteen we spend a lot of time in a particular section of this chapter that this defining for us this character of Christ which is the greatest work that we can do to live out that character of Christ so go with me in your Bibles First Corinthians thirteen we're just going to quickly look at this and then we're going to push on to the rest of our study together the small one in first Corinthians thirteen you've read this before verses four through seven is where we find Paul's description of the character of Jesus he's defining for us what a God they love is first rate these thirteen versus four through seven the Bible says this. Charity or God pay or you could put the word Christ Jesus suffered long and his kind charity envy if not charity voluntas not itself is not puffed up. Does not behave itself unseemly seek it's not her own is not easily provoked or is not provoked think it's no evil Rejoice is not in iniquity but rejoices in the truth there with all things believe with all things hope with all things and endure if all things what is the greatest work that we can do. To live the character of Christ where we find a definition of the character of Christ right there first Corinthians thirteen versus forty seven that is the greatest work that you and I can participate in as sons and daughters of. God so if you want to do something big for God. You want to do something big for him. The biggest thing or the best thing that we can do today is to live a practical Frisch to Gannett the life in our day to day life that's the biggest thing that you can do. It's not how much you give it's not how much time you spend in acts of service for God It's not how many pieces of literature you hand out that's not the greatest work the greatest work that we can do is to allow God to give us what we have been studying to continue to pray for in our prayer closets the God we create this in our lives we cannot do it on our own thus as he creates it we can do the greatest work for him and for those around us by living the character of Jesus to others. Paul closes his dissertation on love. In a very short phrase in the thirteenth verse. This closes out our study on the chapter he says now abideth. Hope and Charity or these three but what are the last few words they're the greatest of these is a God or love what is the greatest thing in the world I humbly submit to you from the Christian world view from the Biblical world view that the greatest thing that could happen to this world second to the second coming of Jesus the greatest thing that could happen in this world is for sons and daughters of God The children of the Heavenly King to have what Paul has defined for us in first Corinthians the thirteenth chapter he says the greatest of the is is love now as we've seen in this third section of First Corinthians thirteen he's comparing between the present mortal state and the future in mortal state and he's telling us now abideth three things there are three things that will never come to an end and that is faith hope and charity but out of the three of them Paul says The greatest thing that can happen in this world is for you and for me to have the character of price as we witness to those around us. The greatest of these. Is lung Now this isn't the only place we find this in the Bible cautions chapter three in verse fourteen the Bible says this and above all things put on a got they which is the bond of perfect in is above all these things Paul says Peter goes on and he says the same thing in first Peter chapter four in verse eight he says and above all things have what fervent charity where. For your family. To whom. Everybody has fervent charity among yourselves for. For charity he says shall cover a multitude. Of. Sins So this isn't just an isolated thing it's not something that we just find in the writings of Paul but actually Peter cooperates with this and he says yes the greatest thing that we can have is that charity among ourselves for charity shall cover a multitude of sins and in fact Paul tells us as much in First Corinthians chapter thirteen that Paul or put it got they beareth all things or cover overs with covers over with silence the faults and failings of others. Paul tells us these three Christian graces they are permanent they are unchanging they will abide for ever when the spiritual gifts fail when the spiritual gifts pass away as he tells us in this chapter faith hope and love will withstand the test of time I want to go through each one of these very quickly here this morning because I want you to see the enormity of the statement that Paul has made here that charity or God pay is the greatest of these when we look at faith you can over estimate the value of faith in the Bible right let me just do a quick bird's eye view of what the Bible says about faith you're just very quickly here you're all familiar with these passages you can jot them down your notes Acts Chapter sixteen in verse thirty one The Bible says this is Paul talking to the Corinthians jailer he says Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shall be want say have faith believe in God and you shall be saved Jesus said to Mary when she anointed his feet in Luke Chapter seven in verse fifteen and he said into the woman Di faith has saved the Go in peace how important is faith. It's huge in the Bible it's huge the Bible tells us that her faith in God and His Word his faith her faith in the promises of God is what would bring salvation to her you cannot overestimate the importance of faith being exercised in the life of God's people Hebrews Chapter ten in verse thirty eight The Bible says that the just you know this one shall live how. God's people the just people will live by faith not by feeling but they will live by faith Hebrews chapter eleven in verse six the Bible says but without faith it is what is impossible to please gone throughout the Bible we see passage after passage where the Bible talks about the importance of faith first in the chapter six in verse twelve the Bible says that we are to fight the good fight of faith and then it goes on and tells us that we are to take the shield of faith there's so much in the Bible that tells us the importance of faith look at Hebrews chapter eleven verses thirty three and thirty four The Bible says who through faith subdued kingdoms what righteousness of tainted promises stopped the mouth of lions quenched the vile violence of fire Xscape the edge of the store sword out of weakness were made strong wax valiant in flight fight turn to flight the enemies the armies rather of the aliens there's so much their fate has done yet out of these three Christian graces Paul tells us that his greatest faith is as important as faith is as intricate as it is to our salvation he says it takes the back seat when compared with the god. I. Don't I don't really. Fully understand it it's it's something that I'm working through it's something that I. Frame for that the Lord would give me a greater knowledge and understanding. Of how important it is not to just have a theoretical knowledge of the character of Christ but to have an experience. In my life Paul puts the emphasis right where it needs to be and the emphasis is yes we need to exercise faith. But not to the Diminish of charity or of God in our lives. If we have a little room for growth here in our experience with the Lord fact Paul tells us in first Corinthians thirteen in verse three you've read it before he said he said even if I had all faith so that I could remove mountains but what does he say without love I am. Huge these these statements are so big that I think we could spend hours just contemplating this one verse and its practical application in our lives but we don't have the time to do the leisure time to do that here to give this morning I will leave that with you as you go home and contemplate it a little bit more but Paul goes on now abideth faith and then he also brings in this concept of hope what would we do as Christians with out. What would you do without hope I mean hope is really what kind of keeps our art keeps us keeps us on the right track looking for the coming of Jesus we call it The bless it hope that's what we hope for as Christians that soon this world as we know it will come to an end that Jesus will come in the clouds of heaven and take us from this earth of sin and suffering into a place of paradise where there will be peace joy and happiness for ever that is hope. That drives us as God's people it drives us and it's something that we would even take with us to the kingdom of heaven in fact you can write this down in Romans chapter eight verse twenty four. Paul tells us there that we are saved by hope. Hope hoping that God's promises will be fulfilled in my life we are saved by hope in fact I want you to go with me to Hebrews I want to read this next passage together with you Hebrews Chapter six and verse eight. Hebrews Chapter six and verse eight eighteen sorry eighteen and nineteen percent versus eighteen and nineteen. This is what Paul says here it's a fascinating Bible passage. Again talking about hope. Paul says this. By two Immutable things. In which it is impossible for God to lie we ought to say amen to that that's why we have a hope because God does not lie we might have a strong consolation who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the what hope set before us we find refuge and hope it goes on verse nineteen which hope we have AS and what an anchor of the soul both sure and steadfast which enter is in with into that with in the veil what is Paul call Hope in verse nineteen there he calls it an anchor. Was an anchor for. When a ship is in the ocean and it gets caught in a storm is it thankful for its anchor why. Keeps you in place so that you're not buffeted by the storm the Bible. Tells us that hope the hope in the coming of the Lord the hope that we have as Christians that Christ is coming back the hope that we have that God will duplicate his character in our lives that hope is an anchor that keeps us sure and steadfast when the storms of life press in around it's without that hope were like a ship that's caught in the ocean without an anchor that will eventually be washed up on shore and probably destroyed by the rock it's in fact I heard a story. Happen in El Salvador some years ago off the coast of El Salvador. There was some fisherman that wanted to go out and do some fishing and it was a beautiful day. And they got together two men got together in their little fishing boat and before they set off they noticed that in their fishing boat they did not have an anchor they looked in the sky and it was a blue sky the sun was shining it was a beautiful day they said ah forget it we won't need that let's go it's a beautiful day without anything to worry about Well unfortunately they didn't look at the weather forecast. Then they got out there and they were fishing and they were bringing in fish and having a good time and then all the sudden they saw that dark cloud rolling in and it rolled in a lot quicker than what they thought and before they knew it their little ship their little boat was caught in the middle of the storm the boat became swamp the engine stopped working and sure enough the batteries on their G.P.S. ran out their intercom their radio stopped working and there they were stuck in the storm the storm went on and on and on and on and finally when the storm had passed they had been swept out into the Pacific Ocean they spent fourteen months washing or. Around throughout the Pacific Ocean fourteen months over a year they were bobbing around in the ocean until they got washed up on some lonely Pacific island out there because they didn't have a. And that's much like the Christian who doesn't have hope that's much like the human who doesn't have the hope in the coming of the Lord the hope that God's Word provides for us we are like that ship tossed to and fro just going about with the current of life and the wind where it blows us until somebody comes along and shares with us that hope that is an anchor that keeps us put until Jesus has. Faith Hope both important things for us in our spiritual journey. But Paul takes the last one. He puts it on the top shelf and he says the greatest of these is. I got a gump is the route out of which faith and hope grow out of. So in order for faith and hope genuine faith and hope to exist there first has to be the root of a god that has taken hold in my life as God creates that in my life faith and hope begin to spring forth we are saved by faith we are cheered by hope but it is love in our life that defuses into the lives of other people that draws them like a magnet to the feet of Jesus. Of course you've heard this passage we read it just a few moments ago first Peter chapter four verse eight and above all things have fervent charity again for fervent charity among your self it's. Beginning of our study together. We looked at a passage of scripture and I want to pull it in here again as we conclude this and wrap it up you're still you're actually and he was this go to First Corinthians thirteen again we're actually going to go first printings twelve thirty one. Percent is twelve thirty one. Read this passage on our very first message when we looked at this start looking at this chapter. Paul says this before you even introduces the concept of a god pay before you even gets in the first Corinthians thirteen he says this verse thirty one but covet earnestly the best gifts talking about the spiritual gifts and then he says and yet show I unto you a. More excellent way or a way that is beyond comparison as we looked at that we talked about how this is the only place in all of Scripture where Paul tells us as God's people to covet something we're told in the Bible that we shouldn't covet that I shall not covet it's one of the Ten Commandments but Paul says the one thing that you can covet is the covet the best gifts the spiritual gifts that God wants to give to us but listen to me carefully if Paul tells us that we are to covet the gifts if we are to covet the gifts of the spirit how much more should we covet the more excellent way. How much more should we covet this thing called a god pay which is the greatest work that a human being can do the greatest thing in the world how much more should we be earnestly pleading with the Lord give me this I will not let you go until you answer this prayer for me not for my good only but for the benefit of our church and the benefit of our society and for the upbuilding of your kingdom Jesus please give me this experience. How. Much more should we be coveting this more excellent way that Paul talks about in first Corinthians thirteen. Want you to go with me in your Bibles to Matthew twenty five. I want to read to you a passage as we conclude this year. That really challenge me in my personal life. As I pray and ask God to help me. To do this greatest work in my life. This is a passage that I have struggled with not because I don't believe it of course I believe it with all my heart. But because. Unfortunately I don't see it done very much by me and by others. The Bible says this. Matthew twenty five years thirty one. And when the son of man shall come in his glory the blessed and hope. That's what we're looking forward to and all the holy angels with him then shall he sit upon the throne of His glory. And before him shall be gathered all nations how many nations. And he shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divided the sheep from the goats so there's a separation that's going to take place the sheep on one side it's on the right. There's thirty three and he shall set the sheep on his right hand but the goats on his left then shall the King say unto them on his right hand come you blessed of my father and here at the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world how many of you looking forward to that how do you want to hear God say that of you. Beautiful thing. Now listen to what the next verse says the very first word the first word is what. For you could translate that in your mind because right so he says Come you blessed of my Father inherit the kingdom which has been prepared for you because he's going to tell you the reason why they will inherit the kingdom which has been prepared for them because I was a hungered and you gave me meat I was thirsty and you gave me drink I was a stranger and you took me and naked and you clothes me I was sick and you visited me I was in prison and you came into me then shall the righteous answer saying Lord when saw we the and hunger and fed the or thirsty and gave the drink when shall we the a stranger and took the year in or naked and close the or when so we the sick or in prison and came unto thee and the King shall answer and say and to them Verily I say unto you in so much as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brother and what does he say. It's very interesting to me the reason that the Bible gives that righteous will inherit the kingdom of heaven. And what you are seeing described there is this benevolent law of for human kind. If God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son He paid with a heavenly currency for your salvation is that valuable yes or no if God valued humanity so much so that he was willing to pay with the life of his son how much more should we love one another. And then that Nancy was telling us in fact this is Jesus that's talking here Jesus is giving us the reason why the righteous will inherit the king. Of heaven and it has nothing to do with what they believe. This challenge to me this challenge me it's not about what I have inside of my head but in the eyes of Jesus it is how I have lived my life in my interaction with other people. Of course it doesn't end there verse forty one it goes on and it says this then. Shall he say also on to them on the left hand Depart from Me you cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels what's the next word. Or you could say because it's right so now he's talking about the wicked that they will be departed into everlasting fire and he's going to give the reason why and here's the reason why because I was one hundred and you gave me no me I was thirsty and you gave me no drink I was a stranger and you took me not in naked and you closed me not sick and in prison and you visited me not then shall they also answer and say on to him or since answer him saying Lord when saw we the and hunger or thirst or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister unto the then shall he answer them saying verily I say unto you in so much as you did it not to one of the least of these you did it not. Unto me and be shall go away into everlasting punishment but the righteous into life. Eternal we need to have this experience. Where we are not just converted to Jesus but we are converted like Jesus. That we love the world as the father love the worlds. So much that we would be willing to spend of ourselves to better other people around us. This is the reason. In fact if you read this in inspiration you will find that the judgment hinges she used the word hinges on this point right here Matthew twenty five the way we treat one another now of course what we believe the truth that we hold to is important it's important to understand the truth the doctrines of God's word that's important but in the judgment Matthew twenty five is what the judgment hinges on because Matthew twenty five will reveal whether or not you have the character of Jesus in your mind Matthew twenty five will reveal whether or not you are engaged invade most important work Matthew twenty five will reveal whether or not your Christianity was genuine or if it was a counterfeit. Paul says the greatest of these. Is love and that love is manifested in the various ways that we've just read about in Matthew the twenty fifth chapter I'm like you to go home and wrestle with this wrestle with the Lord on it and say and if if if if this is not what you see in your life I don't know what goes on in your daily life from day to day but if this is not what is taking place in your life wrestle with the Lord and say Father give me opportunities to get better other people give me opportunities to show you in a practical way Matthew twenty five in my life in the show other people the love of Jesus in a practical loving experience. Or last passage of Scripture I invite you to go with me to the book if Eason's if used in chapter three. Visions three we're going to begin in verse fourteen. Visions chapter three in verse fourteen. Horse Paul is talking here to the church of emphasis. But you see a common theme here that's going through some of his a pistol's to the different churches. For this cause he says I bow my knees unto our father unto the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ what we call that when we buy our needs. Worship or we call it prayer so he's bowing before the father in prayer he's bending his knees praying for the Church of F.S.S. How do you think that's a good example of. Pray for one another pray for the different churches pray for God's people he's bowing his knee and it goes on and it says this. Verse fifteen. Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named that he would grant you according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man that Christ made well in your hearts by faith that ye being rooted and grounded in one love may be able to comprehend with all the saints What is the breadth the length the depth and the height to know and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge that you might be filled with all the fullness of God. I. Pray for the Muskegon Seventh Day Adventist Church and for each one of you here that we would be a church. That is rooted and grounded in love Amen. We have the truth. But that we rooted in love. That we would draw our nourishment from love. The love of Jesus and that it would flow in us and through us and out of us to those that God brings us into contact with that would be rooted in a god. That we may be able to comprehend. Read length that the height of the love of God which passes all knowledge you know that tells me in that passage of scripture there. That tells me this we do not properly understand love in any way. It passes all knowledge you could think about this stuff until Jesus comes back and there would still be a debt to our God pay that we would be learning throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity in the kingdom of heaven that's how deep it is we think it's just a very shallow thing that we're kind to one another as we've talked about in the series but know there is a depth there that God can share with you the more you contemplate the more you meditate the more you pray through it and you ask God give me this thing they will become deeper and richer and more beautiful. I think for us to try to describe a god and this is kind of the thing that I've struggled with as I've gone through the series for us to try to describe the love of God It's like it's like me going to Yosemite National Park anybody ever been there before. There's a couple of it's like it's like me going to Yosemite National Park. And snapping a picture of the valley with a Polaroid camera and then coming back and trying to describe to you the grander and the beauty of that wonder. Place. You think it would do it justice. Those of you that have been there really know that it would do it any justice even my fancy camera that that cost me lots of money even if I use that to take pictures of the Yosemite Valley it would still pale in comparison because a picture cannot capture the feeling the sounds the grand jury or the Penn Aramic view of how wonderful that place is in my opinion it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. But perhaps that snapshot of the Yosemite Valley might inspire you. To take a trip out there and see it for yourself. And trying to describe a god is a lot like that it's like we're looking at a Polaroid a snapshot of the character of Jesus it just pales in comparison to the reality but we do it anyways because it might inspire somebody else and might inspire others around us to dig a little deeper to pray a little harder to have greater faith that God would show us the grand jury and beauty of not Yosemite Valley but the beautiful character of Jesus you know in fact it's interesting to me you've heard this passage before where John tells us and first John he says Behold what manner of Love The Father has stood upon it's almost like John as he's thought about the love of Jesus he just he got so tired trying to describe it because his human words couldn't really describe it so he just says behold it. Look at yourself because I'm having a hard time describing it and I think that's a great thing for us to do to be hold it to go into our prayer closet to go into our just devotional time and to spend time be holding the love of Jesus and I think that's why we're told. That we would do well to spend a thoughtful hour each day in the meditation of the life of Christ expression only the closing scene. She says where to take it point by point scene by scene and she says to allow the imagination to grasp what happened the whole behold what manner of. Love The Father that stood upon. A couple of promises I want to leave you with. So I think about. Doing this greatest work. Allowing God to give me his character it's a little daunting. Seems a little too big. Like it's never going to happen. But the Bible tells us and first John five fourteen. That this is the confidence that we have in him that if we ask anything according to His will. What is a say. He what he hears us so if I pray and ask God please give me this this character so I can partake in the greatest of work will God hear that prayer will he answer that prayer even if it appears like it's impossible in my life to have that experience there is no question about it God will hear and God can answer that for if you shall ask anything he says in verse fourteen. Of John fourteen if you ask anything in my name. I. Will do it that's a blank check if you ask anything. Anything in my name he's saying here's a blank check just write down what you anything in My Name Of course if it's according to the will of God anything in my name. I. Will do. And so I peeled to the sworn in as your pastor and as your friend. That. You would continue to press home this petition to the throne room of God that as we move on to other subjects in our study of the Bible that we won't forget what we have seen thus far and that we would ask the Lord to continue to perfect his character of love in our lives that our church would be rooted and grounded in the love of Jesus towards those rams. That you desire invite you to stand with me this morning as we make this commitment together to God as a body of believers as a family of Christ Father in heaven. Realize this morning our own inadequacy. It is impossible Lord. For us to a ten attain to this greatest work. On our own. Before there with you as we've read all things are possible. So Lord we ask that you would strengthen us in the inner man. That as we contemplate the length and the depth and the breadth and the height of the love of God that we as John would be hold it and be moved by it that we would be changed into the image of Jesus from within our. Father we want to be rooted in love. We pray that you would perform this miracle in our own lives individually. That it may be a reality corporate. Thank you Father for already starting this perfect work thank you for the transformation that has already begun to take place we thank you for what's going to continue to have. More and more. This media was brought to you by audio first a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermon leave to visit W W W audio verse or.

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