Summary: Part 5 of this series focuses on our need to truly walk in love.
Choices – Part 5
This message is Part five of my series “Choices” and I want to encourage you to “Choose Love.” Now you may be wondering what love has to do with our choices and our being in a race according to our foundational Scripture from 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. My answer is “Everything!” Read these words which we have been reading since we began this New Year: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus; not with uncertainty. Thus I fight; not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
Now, ask yourself why? Why would Paul recommend that we restrict our freedoms, curtail our lusts and desires, and gage the impact of our actions on others versus just doing what we want to do when we want to do it? He said this because of love. The love of Christ was flowing through him in such an enormous way that he wanted everyone he came into contact with to share that love. Remember, Paul was imprisoning and killing Christians prior to his conversion so what made him want to now become one and desire that every person would accept Christ too? It was the love of God flowing through him.
Do you recall the story of Peter denying knowing and being a disciple of Christ as recorded in John chapter thirteen? Peter was telling Jesus that he would be willing to die for Him and Jesus told Peter that that very night he would deny Him three times before the cock crowed. Peter did exactly as Jesus had told him and denied Christ that night three times. In chapter twenty-one of the book of John, Jesus having risen from the dead questioned Peter in front of His disciples. He asked Peter three times if he (Peter) loved Him. Through the interaction Peter became frustrated, but his admission of confirmation of his love for Christ was genuine. With each answer he gave Jesus he was told to take care of Jesus’ sheep. In other words, Peter was going to walk in a pastoral ministry – but it started with an acknowledgement of his love and attachment to Jesus. Our love for Christ is why we do what we do and it started first with God’s love for us.
John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” When you read the Old Testament, you see the love that God poured out on those who sought Him. He had compassion on those who served Him and love Him. But God knew that man needed a Savior, that we could never measure up or live up to our potential. Because He loved us so, He sent us His only begotten Son that through His death we could have a relationship with Him. He sacrificed His Son so that we could live! This is the highest expression of love of which we can conceive. A parent who would give up his only son to die for others who are guilty, if this could or might be done, would show higher love than could be manifested in any other way. So it shows the depth of the love of God, that He was willing to give His only Son into the hands of sinful men that He might be slain, and thus redeem them from eternal sorrow. This is why we are here today. That is why we have chosen to run in this race that we are running in. That is why we are trying to save live – because the love of God dwells within each of us. God loved us and because we are experiencing His love in our lives we should want others to experience that same love. We must put His love in action through our lives.
I. Love In Action
Turn with me to First Corinthians chapter thirteen. This chapter is thought to be the “Love” chapter of the Bible because of its content. Let’s begin reading at verse one. “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-13)