Homecoming: The Last Round Up

Cowboy Ron Zwart, Horseman, Preacher, Husband and Father Presents:
“The Last Round Up”
Sunday, September 24

10:30 am
Immanuel Baptist Church
Clemmons, North Carolina

Ron was born and raised in South Dakota in a farming and ranching family. There isn’t a time when he can’t remember having horses in his life and living the cowboy way. Ron was saved and surrendered to the Lord in 1976 and accepted his call to the ministry in 1979. Graduating with his B.A. in Theology from Baptist Bible College in Springfield, MO., Ron began his calling as an Assistant Pastor in Sioux Falls, SD and then Pastor in Edgerton, WY. He went on to Pastor in Osage City, KS, Lander, WY, Assistant Pastor in Fredericksburg, VA,, Pastor in Ballard, WV and currently serves as Assistant Pastor at the Assurance Baptist Church in Lindside, WV. Ron has always been bi-vocational and owns his own business specializing in historic restorations. Ron and his wife Fawna and son Wyatt enjoy travel, equestrian events, and outdoor activities and reside in Lindside, WV on their farm.

How to Live for God’s Glory

“Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”

How does a person glorify God? No question is more practical or more significant. The supreme purpose in life for any man or woman—for anyone who has ever been born into this world—is to glorify God. That is what living is all about. Glorifying God is the end result of the Christian life. Spiritual maturity is simply concentrating and focusing on the person of God until we are caught up in His majesty and His glory.

Here are some practical ways for the Christian to glorify God:

• Confess Your Sins. Confession of sin glorifies God because if you excuse your sin, you absolve yourself of responsibility and blame God for letting you get into a mess. Adam illustrates this. When God confronted him, what was his excuse? “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). He was practically saying, “You did it, God. If You hadn’t given me this woman, none of this would ever have happened.”

To do that is to blame God and thus to assign guilt to Him. But God is never at fault when we sin. Implying that He is somehow responsible maligns His holiness. So those who try to sneak out from under the absolute responsibility for their own sin commit a grievous sin against the glory of God.

First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The Greek word for “confess” is homologeo, meaning “to say the same thing.” To confess means to agree with God that sin is all our fault and to repent. That act glorifies God. We don’t have to beg God for forgiveness. He is faithful and just to forgive as soon as we agree with Him.

• Bear Fruit. In John 15:8 Jesus told the disciples, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit.” Why? Because then the world can see the results of a Spirit-filled life. That is what we are here for—to put God on display to the world.

Colossians 1:10 says, “Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work.” Good works are fruit. When we live a life of good works, the world will see and glorify our Father in heaven.

• Give Praise to God. Psalm 50:23 says, “He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me.” Praise honors God. One way to praise God is to give Him credit for everything. In 2 Samuel 12:26-31, when Joab won the victory against Rabbah and got possession of the enemy’s crown, he sent for David so he could present the crown to him. This is a good illustration of how the Christian should act toward the Master. You win a victory in your life, but you don’t wear the crown. You give it to the Lord, who has won the victory for you.

• Be Content. We may be discontented about ourselves and about our circumstances. But who made us? God. And He promises to supply all our needs. When we are content, we acknowledge God’s sovereignty in our lives, and that gives Him glory. If we are discontented, it’s the same as questioning God’s wisdom. That doesn’t glorify Him.

Paul testified, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am” (Philippians 4:11). Paul was confident that God would use all things—poverty as well as abundance, comfort as well as pain—for Paul’s good and God’s glory (Romans 8:28). He didn’t say, “I’ll give God glory in spite of my pain.” He said, “I will give God glory because of it.”

A Christian who is discontented for any reason—job, spouse, finances—is a terrible testimony about the goodness of our God. What kind of God do we have? Is He really sovereign? Can He really be trusted? Glorifying God means that we praise Him with absolute contentment, knowing that our lot is God’s plan for us now.

• Pray According to God’s Will. Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). Jesus’ name signifies all that He is and all that He would want. Praying in His name means praying in accordance with His character and His will. And God delights to reveal His glory in answered prayer. That is why He commands us to pray—so He can show us His greatness and we can give Him the praise He’s worthy to receive.

• Proclaim God’s Word. Paul wrote, “Brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you” (2 Thessalonians 3:1). How was the Word glorified through those believers? Because they heard it and believed. They trusted Christ and were born again—and God got the glory.

Presenting the Word clearly and accurately always gives Him glory. Every time a Sunday school teacher teaches a class of kids, every time a Bible study leader opens the Word in someone’s living room, every time a father sits down with his family and starts talking about the Word of God, God is glorified. We honor Him by making His Word known and understood.

• Lead Others to Christ. God also gets glory when people are redeemed. He is glorified when Satan’s prison is broken open and men and women are turned loose from the power of the evil one. People are saved from their sins in order to give God glory. So the more people who get converted, the more thanksgiving is going on, and the more there are in the choir singing, “Hallelujah!” (2 Corinthians 4:15).

source: Taken from How to Live for God’s Glory by John F. MacArthur

AWANA

Mark your calendar for the AWANA to be held from 6:30-8:00 pm Wednesday nights. The children will enjoy games, food, and

We are excited about the upcoming Awana year here at Immanuel Baptist Church. We are praying this year will be a time of spiritual growth and fun for your child. Please pray alongside us for both the clubbers (kids) and the leaders who will be helping.

The goal of AWANA is to reach children with the Gospel of Christ and train them to serve Him. We strive to do this through memorizing scripture, learning about God’s Word, games, and fellowship. AWANA stands for “Approved Workman Are Not Ashamed”, coming from the scripture 2 Timothy 2:15. Children are encouraged to be confident in who they are for Christ, they are taught how to study His Word, and they are shown practical ways to apply it in daily situations, like at school or home.

We hope to see you at the AWANA!

Children’s Choir

Coming soon to IBC…

Beginning Notes
Children’s Choir

Practice is Sunday nights at 6:00pm
For Rising 1st – 5th Grades

In the Beginning Notes choir program, we will incorporate hymns as an integral part of our music repertoire. These hymns will become a resource that the Holy Spirit can use for the rest of your children’s lives to teach and encourage them in their faith.

Weathering the Storms of Life

The disciples experienced several “mountaintop moments” in their time with Jesus. But when a storm arose while they were out on the Sea of Galilee, fear took over. Amidst the roaring waves and with the boat rocking, Jesus’ chosen ones failed to recall the lessons they had learned about the power and purposes of their leader. Even the appearance of Christ walking on water didn’t bring immediate relief (Matt. 14:26).

IN OUR OWN STRENGTH, WE LACK SUFFICIENT RESOURCES AND ABILITIES TO MEET LIFE’S CHALLENGES. SO GOD PROVIDES WHAT WE NEED.
When trouble strikes, we sometimes forget our knowledge of God, too. We struggle to recall past answers to prayer, specific guidance provided by the Holy Spirit, and lessons learned in previous crises. Only the present seems real. Our minds spin with future implications, and our troubled emotions inhibit clear thinking.

In our own strength, we lack sufficient resources and abilities to meet life’s challenges. So God provides what we need. Our suffering is never a surprise to the Lord. He knows everything we are going through. More than that, He’s orchestrating our circumstances for His glory and our benefit, according to His good will.

Reflecting on the divine purpose in hardship can help us respond to trials in a God-honoring way. Let’s take a moment to fix our attention on the Lord and seek to understand four lessons He wants us to learn through life’s dark moments:

1. One purpose for hardship is cleansing. Because of our own “flesh” nature and the self-absorbed world we live in, it’s easy to develop selfish attitudes, mixed-up priorities, and ungodly habits. The pressures that bear down on us from stormy situations are meant to bring these impurities to our attention and direct us to a place of repentance. Our trials are intended to purify and guide us back to godliness, not ruin our lives.

2. A second reason we face difficulty is so we’ll be compassionate and bring comfort to others. God’s work in our lives is not intended solely for us. It’s designed to reach a world that does not recognize or acknowledge Him. The Lord uses our challenges to equip us for serving others. As we experience suffering, we will learn about God’s sufficiency, His comforting presence, and His strength to help us endure. Our testimony during times of difficulty will be authentic. Those to whom we minister will recognize we know and understand their pain. What credibility would we have with people in crisis if we never experienced a deep need?

3. Third, God promises us He’ll provide a path through any trial we face. The disciples probably wondered how long the storm would last and whether they would make it safely to shore. Most likely, they wished it never happened. But, had they somehow avoided this storm, they would have missed the demonstration of Jesus’ power over the sea and wind. The frightening situation was transformed into a revelation of the Savior’s divine nature. God wants to make His power known through our trials, as well.

4. The most important thing He gives us is an awareness of His presence. At first, the disciples believed they were alone in a terrifying storm. When they initially spotted Jesus, their fear increased. They thought He was a ghost. But as they recognized Him, their fear changed to relief and hope. Similarly, we may not sense God’s presence during a crisis. But He has promised to always be with us (Heb. 13:5-6). The assurance that the Lord will never leave provides immediate comfort, an infusion of courage, and a sense of confidence to endure.

No one enjoys suffering. But in the hands of almighty God, trials become tools. He uses hardship to shape believers into the people He intends them to be. Jesus allowed the disciples to experience the fear and anxiety of being in a boat on a raging sea. He permitted them to suffer because He had something far more important to teach them. He wanted the disciples to recognize their own helplessness, His sufficiency, and their dependence on Him.

Ask God to reveal His abiding presence in the midst of your trouble. And remember—He always provides for your spiritual needs to help you both endure and grow stronger in your Christian faith.

HE’S ORCHESTRATING OUR CIRCUMSTANCES FOR HIS GLORY AND OUR BENEFIT, ACCORDING TO HIS GOOD WILL.

source: Dr. Charles Stanley

Seven Things Every Christian Should Do Every Day

As Christians, we never want to get into the legalistic practice of creating “to do lists” that we must follow in order to define ourselves as believers.  But at the same time, there certain things every Christian should do every day in order to stay in faith.

If we merely study the word of God, and don’t put it into practice, then faith is nothing more than an intellectual exercise.

It is what we do every day that defines and demonstrates our faith, and for that reason we need to be intentional about how to go about it.

Pray

Our prayer time is our personal time with God. This is the time when we block out the distractions of the world, and concentrate our attention strictly on Him. By connecting with God in this way, every day, we put ourselves in a better frame of mind to deal with everything we will face in our day-to-day lives.

This is something we should look forward to as well. After all, it is the Holy Spirit who equips us and protects us to go out to the world and live our faith. If we miss this step too frequently, our faith can quickly become superficial.

Read Your Bible

In order to consider ourselves to be “believers”, we have to be absolutely clear on what it is we actually believe in. We can do this through prayer, personal reflection, fellowship, attending church, participating in faith-based activities, and even through supplemental study. But the Bible is the very word of God – the source for everything that we all believe in.  The only way to be clear what it is we should believe in, is to spend time studying the Bible. You should be purposeful about doing this each and every day.

As believers, we have to acknowledge that there are many doctrines and beliefs that exist throughout the faith. For that reason, we need to be certain as to what the Bible says – and what it doesn’t. That’s the only way that we can know if a doctrine or belief truly comes from God.

Be Thankful

It’s all too easy to sink into self-pity – in fact, it’s practically the way of the world (just watch TV talk shows if you doubt that). There’s plenty happening in your life and in the world to regret or be bitter about. But it’s important that we understand that as Christians were called to come out and to be different. Rather than immersing ourselves in the negatives that are all around us, it’s far more important that we make it a practice to be thankful each and every day.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this step. A thankful heart is a changed heart. If forces you to focus your attention on the good things that God has given you in your life (starting with eternal life), rather than on the missed opportunities and unfortunate circumstances that we’ve all been exposed to. A thankful heart also makes it easier to witness to others. The answer to mankind’s problems can be found by seeking out God, that point is best expressed by someone who knows why we should.

Being thankful to God is also a form of positive thinking. It forces you to think about all that’s good in your life, rather than spending time ruminating over your problems. We need to be people of hope, and the only way to do that is by being thankful. And that’s an attitude that is developed on a day by day basis.

One other point: Being thankful is a form of worship – the kind that comes from the heart.

Be Forgiving

In Matthew 6:14, Jesus tells us “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

If Jesus is truly our savior, than we must be absolutely serious on this practice. A forgiving heart is another of those qualities that doesn’t come to us naturally. It’s something that comes about through practice. And we can practice forgiving people each and every day. Once you get into the habit of doing so, it becomes second nature like any other good habit.

And it’s a habit that we need to develop. In our sinful hearts, we desperately want to see the flaws in others, while expecting complete forgiveness from others for our own shortcomings. But we cannot expect forgiveness from others, until we are ready to freely give it to them. God requires this of us!

Reflect On Your Own Sinfulness

In order to worship a holy God, even to consider the whole concept, we first have to realize our own inherent sinfulness. That means we need to own up to what we’ve done wrong in the past, and what were doing right now. It’s only when we realize the true depth of our sinfulness that can we truly appreciate the need for a Savior.

When doing this, don’t merely concentrate on specific past sins. Rather, focus on the overall state of your heart. That includes your evil and selfish desires, which reveal the true state of your heart. God sees what’s in your heart, no matter how righteous you or others may think you to be.

Realizing our own sinful nature is probably the start of all forms of worship. It’s a form of coming to the end of yourself, and that sets the table for true worship. It also makes it considerably easier to forgive others, when you realize the depth of your own sin.

Be Ready To Help Where There’s A Need

While we’re busy being wrapped up in our own lives and problems, there are people with needs all around us. While it is impractical to spend all day every day helping others with their problems, you can easily choose one or two people to help out each day.

Focus on the people around you, and try to be sensitive to any issues that they may be going through. A kind word or helpful gesture from you could be all it takes to get them moving forward. It will also help them to begin seeing you as a follower of Jesus Christ, and not just another insensitive face in the crowd. Opportunities for more direct witnessing can flow from these encounters.

Be Mindful That Your Behavior Is Your Most Powerful Witness To Others

In all that you do, understand that your behavior is your most powerful witness to others. All of your best words and impressive pronouncements will become meaningless if your actions go in a different direction.

Whether we like it or not, the world will hold us to a higher standard because we are believers. They will be moved when we practice what we preach, but turned away when we do the opposite.

Each day, consider all of your behaviors, and how they might impact others for good or for evil. Put greater emphasis on your more positive behaviors, and eliminate or gradually reduce those that could be perceived as a negative witness.

Do you put any of these into practice on a regular basis?

 

The Missing Soldier

Teen Discipline vs. Punishment

Behavior Problems Are Heart Problems

Parents, you want me to change your child’s behavior. That is why you have brought your daughter to counseling. She is driving you nuts with her meltdowns and defiance. You tell me that she is needy, attention-seeking, and unwilling to trust God. You are at your wit’s end, having tried every form of punishment you can think of. And still, there is no change.

You are desperate for help. You assume that I, as a counselor, am able to say just the right things to your daughter that will make her trust God and change her behavior. You believe that my role is to back you up as parents and to pile on more expectations of improved behavior. You want me to convince her to sign your behavior contract designed to bring peace to your home.

I cannot help you with any of that.

What I can do, and what I am committed to do as a biblical counselor, is to point your daughter to Jesus. Yes, we will talk about some practical and behavioral changes that may be necessary, but most of our time will be spent talking about how God loves her. We will thoroughly discuss the gospel and what her personal relationship is with the Savior. Then we will talk about how to apply the gospel to her struggles. We will not apply the gospel to her behaviors, but to her heart, targeting her thought life, belief system, and desires.

As her thinking, beliefs, and desires align with God’s Word and the gospel, only then will you likely see some behavioral changes. She will not change out of willpower or a desire to please you. She will not change because I have said all the right things to her. She will not change because of your threat of punishment for not fulfilling a behavior contract. She will change because of God’s work in her heart.

Punishment Does Not Change Hearts

This kind of heart change takes time, parents. It also takes tender care. You must have consequences for poor behavior, just as God disciplines His children. But please consider this truth: punishment will not bring heart change. Discipline? Yes. Punishment? No. A punitive approach penalizes a child as a type of “payback” for an offense. Discipline applies appropriate consequences to encourage a child to make better choices in the future. Consequences are instructive. Punishment inflicts a form of pain without instruction. Consider the following verses:

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

“Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart” (Proverbs 29:17).

Nobody is ever punished in to God’s kingdom, and nobody is ever sanctified through punishment. This would be contrary to the gospel because Jesus bore the punishment we deserved. You cannot demand that your child trust God, nor should you punish them if they do not. Their heart does not belong to you, it belongs to God. He will tend to it as He sees fit. Together, we can point teens to God’s Word to show them how to have a personal relationship with Jesus. As He draws them to Himself, only then will they be able to have a truly changed heart. Only a truly changed heart will lead to behavioral changes.

We must offer your teen the gospel. We begin by evangelizing them if they are not a believer. Many parents make the mistake of believing their teen is a Christian just because they were brought up in church, answered an altar call at a young age, or were baptized. When you bring your teen to me for counseling, I will first assess whether they can clearly articulate the gospel. If not, I will proceed with the assumption that they are not a believer, rather than vice versa. Until they repent and believe, heart change will not occur regardless of punitive measures taken for misbehavior.

Disciple Your Teen

If your teen is a Christian, there are many practical things you can do to aid in their sanctification. As you are faithful to parent biblically, and as God continues to change your teen’s heart, you are more likely to see some of the behavioral changes you have been longing for. Here are some practical ideas to aid in your child’s spiritual growth:

Encourage them to attend church and all that it offers for their age group.
Encourage them to serve others.
Encourage them to have daily time with God in His Word and in prayer. Model this for them.
Have frequent, natural discussions about God, His Word, and the gospel. Weave it in to conversations and family activities.
Do not punish them for any lack of growth. Encourage them when you see progress. Offer behavioral consequences that fit the situation (discipline), but do not be punitive.
Remind them of their new identity in Christ.
Talk about all the hard teen subjects together: sex, drugs, all of it. Do not “freak out” when you realize they know more than you thought they did (or if you learn that they have experienced these things).
Attend counseling with them as the counselor directs. Remove the log out of your own eye, and remember you are also a sinner.
Seek their forgiveness where you have failed them.
Be interested in the things they are interested in. Engage.
Ask yourself at every step “Is this a battle I am willing to fight?” Stand firm on battles that would otherwise compromise spiritual wellbeing. Where there is only a difference of opinion, let it go.
Respond rather than react. Nothing shuts down a teen more quickly than an overly reactive parent.
Keep your own spiritual walk healthy.
Keep your marriage healthy.
Pay equal attention to other siblings in the family.
Remember that love is patient, kind, forbearing, and that we are called to long-suffering. This applies to our children, too.
Practice all of the one-another passages with them. Once your teen is a believer they are not only your child, but also a brother or sister in Christ. There are times to encourage and times to admonish, just as we are called to do with all believers.
Some of your teen’s typical age-related behaviors will pass in time. Others will need to be more specifically addressed from a biblical perspective. Wisdom is offered to parents in God’s Word. Do not lose heart, discipling your teen is a privilege!

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Questions for Reflection

Parents: Do you find that you tend to be more punitive than instructive with your teens? If so, how do you plan to correct that?

Source: Ellen Castillo

Loving Difficult People

Difficult People Are Everywhere

It probably isn’t hard for you to think of a difficult person in your own life. In our broken, sin-filled world, they are everywhere. The coworker who is willing to do anything to get ahead, including taking credit for your ideas. The in-laws who always seem to be peering over your shoulder, critiquing your parenting skills, and offering “suggestions” for improvement. The child who knows exactly how to push your buttons to leave you exasperated and flustered again. The person in your ministry who is constantly complaining about your leadership, who thinks he has better ideas and communicates them with a sharp and biting tongue. The passive-aggressive friend who is kind one moment and gives you the cold shoulder the next. The list can go on and on.

So, what do we do with these people? With constant strained relationships? Our natural tendency is to want to run the other way, to avoid them as much as possible. But is that what honors God in these hard situations?

Difficult People Have Been Around Forever

Moses was no stranger to leading a group of difficult people. Even after rescuing them out of slavery and leading them safely away from the Egyptians, the Israelites were not happy with him. Instead of being grateful for their new freedom and provision from God, they were shedding tears over the menu (Numbers 11:4–6), grumbling about not having water (Numbers 20:2–3), wishing they had died in Egypt and could choose another leader (Numbers 14:2–4). Even Moses’s own siblings were jealous of his leadership (Numbers 12:2) and complained to God about their brother and his Cushite wife.

Yet what amazes me about Moses is that he didn’t retaliate against this annoying group of people. He didn’t even defend himself against the harsh accusations. Instead, he demonstrated amazing humility and compassion on those he led, repeatedly interceding for them.

Moses pled with God to heal Miriam’s leprosy (Numbers 12:13). He begged God to forgive Israel’s unbelief when it was time to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 14:19). He lay prostrate before God, fasting forty days and nights after Aaron and the Israelites had made the golden calf to worship (Deuteronomy 9:13–18).

Admittedly, there were moments when the Israelites’ constant complaints drove Moses to the brink of despair (Exodus 5:22; Numbers 11:14–15), yet by God’s grace he persevered. And even at the very end of his life, he was still lovingly leading the disobedient Israelites.

Keep on Loving

Moses remained steadfast to his last days and made sure God had another leader in place to take over. He didn’t want his wandering sheep to be without a shepherd (Numbers 27:16–17). Moses never stopped loving them, even at their worst.

“Ask God for grace not to run away, but to keep engaging in love that hard-to-love person.”

By God’s grace, we too can keep loving the difficult people God has placed in our lives. The easy thing is to cut the troublesome person out of your life when possible, or just avoid them at best.

But I suggest we are more like our patient and loving Savior when we bear with each other and seek to show mercy and kindness, no matter how we are treated.

Here are six practical ways, among many others, to show love to a difficult person God has placed in your path.

1. Pray for your own heart.

Ask God to soften your heart towards this person, to put off anger and irritability, to put on meekness and kindness, to understand this person’s struggles and meet them with compassion (Colossians 3:12–14).

2. Pray for them.

Ask God to be at work in their hearts, drawing unbelievers to himself and sanctifying believers to become more like Jesus (Philippians 1:9–11).

3. Move toward them, not away from them.

Although our tendency is to want to steer clear of people with whom we have strained relationships, they are exactly the people we need to be intentionally moving toward. Find ways to engage them in conversation, meet them for coffee, send them a text.

4. Find specific ways to bless and encourage them.

Write them a note of appreciation. Buy them a book that has been an encouragement to you. Tell them you are praying for them.

5. Give them grace, just as God extends grace to you.

Remember God’s lavish grace poured out for your own daily sins. Ask God to help you bear with them, forgiving them, as he has forgiven you (Colossians 3:13).

6. Realize that you too could be the difficult person in someone else’s life!

You might not even realize that you are a thorn in the flesh for someone close to you. Don’t be oblivious to your own shortcomings and sins.

So, when that child has you on the brink of tears, or you’ve just received a harsh and critical email about your ministry, or you’re confronted with that extended family member who drives you up the wall, ask God for grace not to run away, but to keep engaging that hard-to-love person in love.

God will be honored and our hearts will find deeper satisfaction as we seek to love people just as Christ loved us when we were his enemies.

desiringgod.org

Love One Another

There are several passages of scripture that talk specifically about love, however the whole Bible is a wonderful story of God’s love through His provided Redeemer. I pray these verses will be helpful as you study about God’s love and the love we should have for one another.

Love the Lord thy God

In Deuteronomy 6 Moses is summarizing the commandments that God had given to Israel. He leads off with a command to love God.

Deuteronomy 6:4, 5Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”

When you have a proper love towards God then all the other commandments make sense. However, if you are bitter at God for some reason (which is never a justifiable one), you will probably rebel against all the other commandments too. The foundation to understanding God’s teaching is to love Him with all your heart, soul and might.

The Love Chapter

The 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians is often called the “Love Chapter.” Paul is talking about the various spiritual gifts that God has given to believers through His Holy Spirit. The apostle concludes his dissertation with chapter 13 saying that for those gifts to be effective we must have and show love. Without love then we will not be able to use our gifts properly.

Here are some various verses from the passage to consider.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

Charity, or love, is longsuffering, kind, humble, thoughtful, forgiving and patient (among many other things). These verses show some of the characteristics of love. When we act in any way contrary to these attributes then we are not showing God’s love to others and therefore are not using the other gifts that God has given us with the effectiveness we could.

1 Corinthians 13:13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

This does not mean that faith and hope have no value, but that their value is increased when we also have love.

Followers of Christ Show Love

John 13:34, 35A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Jesus is talking with his disciples at the Last Supper. He had already dismissed Judas and told the disciples that He would be betrayed. This is the last lesson Jesus taught the disciples before He was arrested and taken to trial.

A new commandment, wow! This must be important. However, it was not much different than what He had said about all the other commandments in the past. Jesus’ conclusion about the other commandments was summarized in this statement, “Love God. Love others.” (Mark 12:29-31)

Love Within the Church

In the book of 1 John the author is writing to the church in general. He was probably living in Ephesus when he wrote this book, but it is not directed to any church in particular. We can certainly apply it to our churches today.

1 John 4:7, 8Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

The essence of God is love (this does not preclude His holiness and righteousness). John says to the church that Christians naturally should love one another. If you don’t then you should really examine your spiritual condition before God. Do you know God? Do you have a personal relationship with Him? If you do, then a natural evidence of that is that you love those around you—particularly the people of God within the local church.

God’s Love to Us

John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

God sacrificed His son for us. Not because we deserved God’s Son to die in our place, but because of love. We could do nothing to merit God’s love and forgiveness, but He gives it freely.

Romans 5:6-8 says that it might be possible that someone would be willing to die for a good or righteous person. “But God [when we were not good, nor righteous] commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Have you been a partaker of the love of God? Jesus did not die for the righteous, but for sinners. Don’t consider yourself too lost to be saved. You are exactly the reason Christ came to die. God wants to show you His love through His Son.