There is a river of God that flows by the Holy Spirit. Its flow is free of envy and full of rejoicing. But we are crucified with Christ and live in Him, thinking with Him, walking in His presence. (1 Corinthians 13; Galatians 2:20-21)
Speaker(s): Pastor Thomas Schaller, Pastor Brian Lange
Sermon # 11293
11:00 AM on 7/9/2017
P. Brian Lange
I love this series on love so I’m going to continue with it.
1 Cor 13:7-8. After all the “what love is not”, Paul comes into these four things “love is.”
vs. 6-8. Wow. That’s amazing. I think about if we were to say Lord what must we do to be saved? No problem, love bears all things, hope all things, etc. All you have to do is love and you can be saved. We would walk away sad because we can’t do that. It’s outside the reach of what we are capable of doing. The rich young ruler said what must I do to be saved? Sell all you have and give to the poor. He walked away sad because he had a lot of possessions.
Maybe we don’t but we have our own person. The dearest thing to me is myself. Love says I want all of it, every last drop of your blood, your whole life. If that was a law to us, I’d die immediately. Lord, I can’t do that. Where am I going to come up with the energy to do that?
My point is that first I am the one who is loved. Christ put up with me. He didn’t say I want you to put up with your hateful neighbor, believe the best, and have hope in every situation. The starting point is do you know and understand deeply I put up with you? Your program to behave better is not working. My bearing you is working. It doesn’t end. It doesn’t fail.
I had the pleasure to be a grandfather to my four oldest grandchildren, 7, 6, 5, and 4. All are girls. They slept over last night. It was an amazing time. Now I know why they sent guys out two by two. Much less fighting! New rule: sleepovers are only two by two. It was a half hour passed the time of getting the kids to bed…one of them is saying to the chair, why did you hurt me? Or to the bed. It is complete insanity, like a mental institutions! I failed the exam. This was a love exam and I failed. That’s it! Shut it down. I’m out of here. You’re out of your minds. I’m going upstairs. I don’t care what happens down here! So down with you! We didn’t like you anyway! Then we completely agree. I’m alone upstairs thinking of the message I’m going to preach this morning! The Lord said to me, do you understand how I’m putting up with you? I’m believing the best about you. I’m not going to say you are the worst grandfather ever seen or no hope for you. I’m going to believe all things about you, hope all things about you and my endurance for you will never weaken. I didn’t want to go back down there. I was just praying for my wife. I thought maybe Nana has a better shot at this. When iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold. That was happening to me! Iniquity was abounding and my love was waxing cold, like an inanimate, soft breeze that evaporates the moisture on your skin and waxes cold.
Jesus was such an amazing Savior. What do you want me to do to be saved? No problem. Just love. We say, Mercy! I can’t do that. When love becomes a law it kills me. When the law of love died for me, it will make me alive.
We have access to God. Isn’t that amazing! Christ with us. Say I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. Not I but Christ lives in me. The life I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God who loves me and died for me. Are we new? Are we a new creation? Is there something different about us? We are a new creation. We are a new creation and have a new identity. I that scoundrel!
Augustine was a church father and he lived a sexually active life as a young man. One of his mistresses met him in the street and said Augustine, I know you. He said I’m not Augustine and I don’t know you. He was born again. He was different and his identity went to that level. I’m not who you think I am. In Christ, old things passed away and all things have become new.
You can live in the reality of your past or I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live but not Augustine. Christ is in me. The life I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God. It’s his faith operating in my life. Believe it, work on it, and think about it. The H.S. is your teacher. If I say the Bible you are to believe me. Follow it through with the Bible. The H.S. is your teacher. The H.S. teaches.
Jn 16:13, he speaks. Elijah, the still small voice. He reproves or corrects us. He prays in us. Any of you have any prayer in the H.S.? Saturday we had a beautiful wedding. Ben Munson and Alicia got married. I had this amazing ability to concentrate driving my car. In prayer and I wanted to be alone and just pray. I sensed the H.S. praying. The ability to concentrate in the H.S. on God. What I meditate on in the Bible, the Holy Spirit is bringing light.
Ps. 119:133 when you come and keep coming, you hear the Word and the Holy Spirit will be your teacher and hear a voice behind you saying this is the way, walk in it.
We had Zane give the introduction this morning about the trip to Michigan…they sang and did concerts and evangelized and shared the message. I may be young but the H.S. is my teacher. I’m not a believer. I follow the Great Spirit, an Indian said, but my gods cannot take me through death.
Ps 23 Yea, though I go through the valley of the shadow of death, thy rod and staff comfort me.
The Holy Spirit also leads you in Rom 8:15. He testifies of Christ, you shall be witnesses unto me, Christ. Christ is the answer. Sometimes in a conversation it’s so easy for it to come out of my mouth. Christ is the answer. And there is silence. The person doesn’t know what you are talking about. Jesus came to us in a moment, in a trial, in a time of difficulty.
Read about the Salvation Army people on a ship that was sinking. The Empress of Ireland was the name of the ship. It sank with 130 Salvation Army officers on board and other passages. Only 21 Christian workers lives were spared. 109 drowned and not one had a life preserver. Seeing there was not enough life belts, they took off their own and strapped them to others saying I know Jesus so I can die better than you can… this inspired the Salvation Army to carry on courageously for God.
The Word of God comes alive to us. Get this book in your heart, in your way of life. The H.S. is your teacher. The H.S. gives us fellowship like this.
I was in China in 1979 and Communism had been there. People were afraid of looking at us because we were white Caucasian and Finnish people with blue eyes and blonde hair. The children will scream and run behind their parent’s skirt. One of those days, we were there for eleven days, we had a towel that said Jesus loves you. We’d hold it up in Chinese characters. They did it in Hong Kong so we brought it into China. One man came across the street holding a baby and said I’m a Christian. Could you pray for my baby? We never met. We didn’t have the same language. We had a baby dedication on the street. It is the Holy Spirit that is the one between us. We know what spirit we are of. This is what we are called to.
This is like a river. There is a river that makes glad the city of God in Ps 46. Revelation says there is a city of God and a river in it. If believe in me, Christ said, out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Ps 65 says that river of God is full of water. Rivers go in a direction. We could draw a picture like this. There is a flow and there is a direction and it is in our heart. It is also in the church. God’s works happening in the world by the H.S. It is this direction God has for history. When Christ was in the north part of Israel he asked them, who does the world say I am? What did they answer? Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Elijah. Who do you say I am? Peter said thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. Flesh and blood. Let’s put in some names. Mom and dad, P. Schaller, a priest, a pope, Sunday school teacher, college profession. Flesh and blood didn’t show it to you. Who showed it? My Father. How do you know who Christ is? By going to the church and the H.S. is speaking in the church. The H.S. shows us who Christ is. Who can teach us this book? The H.S. What did Peter say some time after when Jesus said I must go to Jerusalem. Peter took him aside and rebuked him. Jesus said get behind me, Satan. Satan has a river, too. I’m saying it metaphorically.
Eph 2:2. He has power. He has his people, role models, direction in the world. Do you know about it? Have you seen what goes on in the movie theater, in philosophy, universities, and so on? It’s always been this way. Cain killed his brother because he envied his brother. He saw the difference between Abel who is accepted by God, has peace with God, is guided, directed and led by the H.S. Not everyone is by the same spirit. Not everyone thinks the same way. AGAPE love. There are times we are one spirit and a time when we are of another one.
It happened in Acts 4 with Ananias and Sapphira and I Tim. 6 when some dote about with strife and words of contention. The Corinthians were so carnal. They would get to communion table early and eat the bread before others came. They would drink too much and be drunk. A man living with his father’s wife and this should not be. Carnality and demonic activity can happen in an assembly, in my own heart and life. We are going to make that point and move on to the good stuff and help us in how we are to live. Put up the piece on love that we have seen for a week or so. Love is. P. Brian shared with the list here. He said God is love. When God loves you, he loves you this way. He can bear me. He can believe all things regarding what he has said about us. How he has gifted us and endowed us with himself. I am crucified but I live. God believes that about us. He will never fail. This is love. What he does not do is on the other side. We could say the river of the H.S. is this one and the river of the devil is that one. What is it about us that can affect our life that is not love? We might say we do love our kids, our country, our job, or our home or our friends or our church. We say yes we are thankful for that but want to bring it into the context of something deeper. Do you love when things are messed up, when things are really problems?
One character in a comic strip said I’m starting to get nervous. I’m getting married in a couple weeks. The other character said I’d be nervous too because a commitment for 7 or 8 years is a long time!
Yeah, I’ll be committed to the church as long as. Or my marriage or friendship or children. But this is bigger than your personality or ability. Our spiritual orientation is so important. I love when we as brothers are together and we say we are amazed. I am amazed. I am so thankful. What we are saying is that list. We are amazed this is ours. We are amazed the H.S. continues to be with us and speaks again even after I grieve him or quench him. We are amazed the people of God forgive me and love me. It’s amazing that God thinks the way he thinks. It’s amazing we are learning how to think with him. It’s so healthy for us, physically healthy. It’s so healthy in our mind and soul to live in the Spirit. I could personalize it but don’t want to preach about myself. I think we could all identify. The key in our subject is the top of the right hand side. Love is. And then envies not. I think there is sense in the sequence of this. I’ve been writing these words down and thinking about them in my meditation and notebook. Envy – I did a word study on it and more than once it has to do with a woman who is able to have a child and a woman who can’t have a child. Maybe that’s a good picture.
It also happened with the Philistines when Ge 26:14 saw Isaac’s material prosperity. When they saw him wealthy, they were envious of him. The person that may have something I don’t have. There is prosperity, family, profession, job, education. David Jeremiah did a series on this and I’ve heard some of his messages. I’m saying this from my heart as I meditate on it. He said envy travels in circles. It has association. Like literary people are jealous of other literary people. Athletes are jealous of athletes, doctors of doctors. I think also it’s a circle that doesn’t go anywhere. Envy pollutes my mind. My mind is affected by something sinful that is not edifying. An envious person is not an edifying person. That’s loaded. You see someone who has more than you and you can’t get rid of it. I know I should not be envious but I am. When I go to bed at night, it comes back to my mind. It’s simply my flesh. It is my mindset, my way of thinking. I want to ask a serious question. What are you going to do about it? The envy doesn’t stop at the top. It has an expression of outward show. Vaunting is an outward show. It may be a way of expressing my self-importance. People get an education not because they are interested in the subject. Or a nice car or live in town or their income or club they belong to. People living beyond their means because they have a problem with their self-image. They want to build up their reputation. Imagine if I had no envy. I was contented and satisfied. Imagine me buying the things I need. I realize it’s useful and it doesn’t have to do with my self-image. It has to do with something more important. Envy doesn’t have the ability to have this depth. Puffed up is internal, not outward. A man could look humble but inside he is proud about it. Cutting with your words because you are envious. You can do that with things you possess or the way we look. We discover in science or some accomplishment of some kind. Ever seen in a graduation, the valedictorian and the people are clapping like – is it in their heart they are honoring the valedictorian. Is there jealousy, envy? Are they really enjoying it? Ever been with Spirit- filled people and it’s so simple and clean and precious because we enjoy it when someone gets something, when God uses someone. The least of us is honored and respected in the heart. We don’t even know who they are because we are not measuring.
1 Cor 12 those members we think less honorable on these we bestow more abundant honor. Why? We are hoping about them, believe about them, and project on them the nature of God. Those that have some problems or failure or disability are given more abundant honor. That’s AGAPE love. Seeks not her own, not easily provoked. What is envy thinking? This person is thinking their own. If this person falls or misfortune happens, then they rejoice in it. They are gone. I can be at the top. Rejoices not in iniquity. Isn’t it simple? Isn’t it clear? Isn’t it true this can be in our hearts? How should it be? How do I process this? How do I think about it in the right way? How do I get it so I’m thinking with God? If I’m envious, I am not thinking with God. If I want their demise or fall, it’s not from God. Not a shadow of it is from God. It’s not from the H.S. What do I do?
Here’s a couple thoughts on it. Here I am and someone has more. Let’s say a woman not married and someone is married. May God bless them. That’s great. I want the blessing for them. They have children and I don’t have. May God bless them. It’s the grace of God what they have. This is what God has given me. A Puritan had a piece of bread and water and said we have some bread and water and we have J.C. and he meant it. I’m alive. I go to the bottom thing, the cemetery. I’ll put a tombstone like this. What can I say? I’m alive. You might say pastor, that’s not going to work. It’s God that says you got a few seconds, days, weeks, or months. You want to be jealous and envious or walk with me? If you walk with me, you are thankful you are alive. You’re thankful if you have eyes. You have some health and some days. You have some friends and some promises. If I fill you with the H.S., I will give you contentment. Humility will be able to hear the counsel. Humility will receive the Word of God and it says in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus. So what, I don’t have a family. I got God’s family. I don’t have a business, but I got God and I’m alive. He gives me his mind and I have love. Look how love thinks. Love is able to care, to believe, to receive. Love worships. I don’t want this to sound like that’s too high. I want you to get ahold of it and think about it and embrace it and practice it by faith and see what God will do. Maybe I don’t like where I live but I have a place to live. Maybe I don’t have much of a car, a jalopy with three wheels but I got the potential for a fourth one! I have a friend. I have love. I got God. Nobody in this room will get out of this life, you’ll get out of this room! You’re not going to get out of this life without a cemetery. You got to learn to process this thing and get over it. Jealousy and envy is not the way to live. It’s not AGAPE love. AGAPE love is able to say praise God the blessing is over there. Thank you for that person. Watch what God will do. You don’t live in a circle. You get out in love and care about other people.
I have a poem Dr. Stevens used to quote, called “Others.” “Lord help me live from day to day in such a self-forgetful way, that even when I kneel to pray, my prayer shall be for others. Others, Lord, yes others, let this my motto be, help me to live for others, that I might live like thee. Help me in all the work I do to ever be sincere and true. And know that all I do for you must needs be done for others. Let self be crucified and slain, and buried deep and all in vain, may efforts be to rise again lest to live for others. When my work on earth is done and my new work in heaven begun, may I forget the crown I’ve won, while thinking still of others. Others, Lord, yes others. Let this my motto be, help me to live for others, that I may live like thee.”
Envy is not about others. It’s about me. Envy rooted in my pride is all about me. AGAPE love is about God loving you and loving others. We’ll move away from self-centeredness and embrace that river. This river of the Holy Spirit, this river of God, this way of thinking. All the times and in every trial how we process it. Let’s stop thinking evil of each other. Let’s stop being critical of each other. These are good times in our church. What happens in the bad times? What happens when the trials are there internally and externally, when we mistreat each other? What happens when we are very picky and sensitive and easily provoked. AGAPE love is not easily provoked. I’ve heard in the Greek “easily” is not there. AGAPE love cannot be provoked. In the absolute sense. You said, you said, and Jesus is not provoked. He’s detached from it. You can’t poke him, crucify him. That’s another message.
I want you to take a message like this and God will bring it to you through the week. You’ll carry it through your week. I think God will change our lives. God will show us and help us. You need it. It’s a troubled world. We don’t think like they do. God is going to get glorified in our life. How did you get that new house, that baby? God did it. God is with me in it all. I’m learning how to think with God. It really is working. It’s our fellowship and privilege.
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