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“…And yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”

03 Feb
photo: inspirationaldaily.wordpress.com

photo: inspirationaldaily.wordpress.com

Introduction

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so I wanted to share a thought on love and one of the most convicting passages in the Bible.  Later this week I will be starting a short series on the phrase ‘Be Ye Therefore…’ which occurs seven times in the Bible and each time it appears it is used to encourage God’s people to do something that will be for His glory and their good.  But for now, let’s talk about love…

The apostle Paul had just been dealing with spiritual gifts in the twelfth chapter in his first epistle to Corinth and he finishes with the following verse.  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. (1Corinthans 12:31)

The Things We Think Are Important

Paul, according to his own testimony in Philippians 3, had at one time considered works and the outward observance of the Law of God to be profitable unto him and the Lord.  According to the standards of the religious elite of his day, Paul was a great man before Christ found him on the road to Damascus.  He said he was, “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;  Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”  Paul had come to realize that all that he used to think was profitable or gain for him was loss for Christ.  His position among the Pharisees, all the keeping of the law, everything that he had at one time considered precious he now saw as dung.  To lose such things was nothing now to Paul for he had gained the excellency of knowledge of Christ.

Friend, we say we love the Lord.  We say we serve Him.  But do we?  Is our works motivated by our love for Jesus?  Or do we do what we do out of some sense of duty?  Remember I mentioned that this is one of the most convicting passages in the Bible.  Well Galatians 5:22-25 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.   And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.   If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”  So we see that love is the first of the fruit of the Spirit that should be born by you.  Love is not a gift but rather evidence of the Spirit within you.  Paul reminds us In the first three verses of I Corinthians 13 that to truly love Christ is to love Him with all our heart, all our mind, and all our will or soul. 

Love With All Our Heart

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” (Verse 1)  Paul says if he could speak with all of the known and unknown languages of man or even the language of angels but not have love, then such a gift is worthless for love gives the gift its value before God. When pagans of that time would worship their false gods they would chant over and over again beating drums and cymbals. This is what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 6 when He said, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Paul is saying that if we come to worship God with ‘much speaking’ but have not love then our worship is vain and no different from the heathen with their drums and cymbals.

Love involves the heart. Matthew 15:18 “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart…” So we see that because what proceeds from the mouth is tied directly to the heart, the gift of great speaking ability without the motivation of love indicates the condition of the heart. Paul, who once prized works is saying that works are worthless without love.

Love With All Our Mind

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”  (verse 2) Paul is telling us that love also involves our minds.  He says that if we have wisdom of everything spiritual, all knowledge and all faith so that nothing is hidden or impossible for us but have not love, we are nothing!  Paul had once studied at the feet of Gamaliel and had a knowledge of God’s word that surpassed most.  But had he died before Christ found him on the road to Damascus, he would have found that such knowledge would not have gotten him into heaven. 

Love With All Our Soul

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (verse 3) Paul says love not only involves our heart and mind but also our soul or will.  The soul is the seat of our affections.  If we give everything we have to the poor, even go so far as to give our body up to martyrdom but did so only to secure a legacy or to gain honor and noteriety among men then we have wasted our time.  

Final Thoughts: A More Excellent Way

Paul was writing to a church that placed a high premium on spiritual gifts.  There was also several Grecians in the church at that time and the Greeks were known for their love of knowledge.  He tells them from the well of his own experience, that knowledge and works in and of themselves are not profitable if they are not motivated by love for Christ.  Question: How’s your love life with the Lord?  When you look at what you have accomplished in your Christian walk was it for Him or you?

Notice too that Paul mentions the gift of prophecy in verse 2.  There will come a time when people who have done what they considered great works will stand before Christ and say to Him, “have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” and Christ will say, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  Brings new meaning to the phrase, ‘to know Him is to love Him…’

Think on these things…

 

A Fellow Servant

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15 responses to ““…And yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”

  1. Jim Voigt

    February 3, 2014 at 5:44 am

    Really glad i found your blog. Having a hard time today but this is helping me through it. I feel like i can do well on all of these but only one at a time. A day in the heart is at the expense of a day in the mind, and so on. Thanks for this post and all the work you obviously put into it.

     
  2. A Servant

    February 3, 2014 at 8:07 am

    It is great to have you posting again my brother. Your question “But do we?” sends a shiver down the spine. Father forgive me for my pitiful duty driven service, I want to exchange it for a more excellent way.
    A Servant

     
    • A Fellow Servant

      February 3, 2014 at 8:14 am

      Amen brother. It is most convicting indeed. The tally we keep of our works, I suspect, will be much different than His. Lord help me to lay aside all pride in my works and remember the words of Paul, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (Philippians 3:8, 9 KJV)

       
  3. Levi Thetford

    February 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Hey Brother, when I was young and on fire, so to say, I did so much for the wrong reason. I was trying to do The Lord’s work for Him. Instead of allowing Him to work through me. It wasn’t until I really understood grace that I can say I really loved The Lord Himself. And for what He had really done for me. Great post. Thanks.

     
    • A Fellow Servant

      February 3, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      Amen brother. He is worthy and deserves the reward of His suffering. Thanks for stopping by.

       
  4. Elaine

    February 3, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Wonderful post and very thought provoking. My pastor preached a few weeks ago on exactly the same subject. Definitely feel the Lord sending me a message!

     
    • A Fellow Servant

      February 3, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      The Spirit bears witness to the truth. It is a truth we all, as Christians, need desperately to lay hold of in this late hour…

       
  5. Nicolette

    February 4, 2014 at 4:10 am

    I have doing a lot of heart/soul searching lately. This is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you so much for posting this.

     
    • A Fellow Servant

      February 4, 2014 at 7:16 am

      It is a privilege to me to serve Him who saved my soul. Thank you for sharing. We all need a closer walk with Jesus.

       
  6. heavenlyraindrops

    February 4, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Great summary on what true love looks like. Thanks

     
  7. JustJohn

    February 4, 2014 at 9:07 am

    “When you look at what you have accomplished in your Christian walk was it for Him or you?”

    i simply ask … and are you creating Him to dislike all what you do? pretty easy to claim whatever you do is, indeed, for Him if he conforms to your tastes and excuses and provisos and footnotes.

    just another thought, or extension of it.

    cheers and peace.

     
    • A Fellow Servant

      February 4, 2014 at 9:52 am

      Very true. Many have built up their own god who is not the God of the Bible that serves them and not the other way around. Thanks for stopping by.

       
  8. Freedomborn ... Aussie Christian Focus

    February 13, 2014 at 4:45 am

    I loved your message A Fellow Servant because it is all about Love, God’s Love, not worldly Love which takes, God’s Love gives.

    Many years ago I realized I no longer loved someone close to me and I knew this was not right, so I talked to God about my feelings and He gave me Love for this person all over again, the difference was it remained this time even though my Love was not returned. I still Love this person today even though they have hurt me greatly, God’s Loves forgives, man’s holds onto fleshy bitterness and resentment. Is this about how good I am, No how good God is!

    Paul claimed to be the worst of sinners, if I was alive with him, he would not have been able to say this, Truth is though, unless we all see ourselves as Paul did, we will feel deserving of God’s Mercy, instead of being eternally grateful for it… If we break just one Commandment, it’s like we have broken them all and we also broke God’s heart, when He watched in grief because of His great Love for us, His beloved Son suffering and killed for Our Sin, which for the first time caused them to be Separated… but God said my dear Fellow Servant and Anne, I forgive you and also all my Redeemed Children ….. I long for us to be always in Fellowship.

    Jesus said seek, ask and knock, if we ask God for The Holy Spirit we will receive Him, He is part of The Godhead or Trinity as we call Them today, 3 in One, They are Love!

    Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?

    How can we know if we have The Holy Spirit, by our Love but that does not mean we agree with evil, we stand up against it and warn others and correct error in teaching when needed, Jesus did and yes He was hated and so will we be by those who choose to remain in darkness.

    Galatians 5 :24 -25 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

    Romans 8 :12-15 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. or if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

    Christian Love Always from both of us – Anne.

     

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