Summary: Religion produces babes in Christ and a carnal church, but christian love produces spiritual maturity and a strong church.
"Religion vs Christian Love"
Introduction: If I asked each one of you what you wish for this church, I feel sure that I would not get one single person who would wish anything bad to happen here. Yet, without even asking, I already know what "Old Satan" wishes for this or any other church. He loves to see anything contrary to what Jesus seeks for "His Church".
1. What does Jesus seek for the church? Unity and harmony which can only be brought about in one way, through "TRUE CHRISTIAN LOVE". Anything less will not be God doing the work by His Spirit. It will be us doing it in the flesh, and the flesh will experience burnout. We will grow weary and frustrated. Our batteries will run out. Get the picture? Yet when we allow Jesus to teach to love like He does, we will not burnout, grow weary or frustrated. We will be like the little bunny on the battery commercial. We will keep going, going, and going! Then, the world will see that everything we do is driven by our love for the Lord, for one another and for the lost world.
2. What does Satan seek for the church? Envying, strife, and divisions, which he brings about when we lose sight of what our Lord and Master seeks for us. Remember, Satan is a deceiver and a destroyer. Anytime God begins to work in the lives of His children, they better be ready for spiritual warfare to begin hard and heavy. The temptation for all of us is to fight back in the flesh rather than in God’s Spirit. It is easier to rely on our feelings than it is to rely on our faith in Christ and in each other.
Christian maturity is seen when "true Christian love" is displayed in our daily lives. When the world sees Christian love and fellowship, rather than a bunch of people playing religious children’s games, they see JESUS! It is that simple. Paul dealt with a church that fell into Satan’s temptation to become fleshly and childish.
Read Text: I Corinthians 13:1-13 & 3:1-8
1: Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
2: 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 (love), I am nothing.
3: And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity (love), it profiteth me nothing.
4: Charity (love)suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5: Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6: Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7: Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8: Charity (love) never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9: For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10: But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11: When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13: And now abideth faith, hope, charity (love), these three; but the greatest of these is charity (love).
Doesn’t that sound like a church you would like to be a part of where love is the primary focus for everyone. Yet, too many times churches can sound more like the one we are about to read about. Let us compare the two.
I Corinthians, Chapter3:
1: And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2: I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3: For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4: For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
5: Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?