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Summary: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).

THE MISUNDERSTOOD GOD: THE LIST-KEEPING GOD

1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-5

Big Idea: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).

Supporting Scripture:

• Reading from the Old Testament: Jeremiah 33:1-9

• Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 30

• Reading from the Epistles: Rev. 5:11-14

• Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 18:15-35

SERIES RECAP:

It is interesting to me how the world has turned so many of the love’s traits from 1 Corinthians 13 on their head. We can justify about anything from impatience to rudeness, from jealousy to anger and still call it “love.” If we are not careful we will, in the process, attribute to God a character that is worldly and carnal. That, of course, is something none of us would ever do intentionally but may happen if we misunderstand God’s love and hence, God Himself.

• If we fail to understand that love is patient and kind then we may think God is a Hair Trigger God

• If we fail to understand that love does not envy then we may think God is an “It’s all about me!” God

• If we fail to understand that love does not boast and is not proud then we may think God is a Rock Star God

• If we fail to understand that love is is not rude and self-seeking then we may think God is a needy/clingy God

Listen as I read to you from 1 Corinthians 13:1-5.

1 CORINTHIANS 13:1-5

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love … 5 is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

INTRO

As we look at “4 Love … 5 is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

We can see easily how provoking someone and keeping lists (holding grudges) feed off of each other.

“Grudges”

One day a visitor leaned on the old fence around a farm while he watched an old farmer plowing with an old mule. After a while, the visitor said, "I don’t like to tell you how to run your business, but you could save yourself a lot of work by saying, ’Gee’ and ’Haw’ to that mule instead of just tugging on those reins." The old farmer pulled a big handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his face. Then he said, "Reckon you’re right, but this animal kicked me five years ago and I haven’t spoke to him since."

Sometimes grudges are about that silly and about that productive aren’t they?

Humans are skilled at finding ways to do things that irritate each other (“provoking”) and hold grudges while still calling it “love.”

• A wife burns her husband’s food because he did not meet her expectations or consistently reminds him of past times he has failed.

o God’s love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

• A husband gives his wife the silent treatment because she did not meet his expectations or harbors resentment from events long in the past.

o God’s love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

He held a grudge for 57 years!

USA Today ran the story of Carl Ericcson who at age 73 killed another man over a single incident in during high school, some 57 years earlier. The victim had put a jock strap in Ericcson’s head and Ericcson just bided his time until he got the chance to kill him for it. (source: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-06-15/man-sentenced-grudge-killing/55631100/1)

• God’s love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

I am not sure how we pull it off but I have discovered that many Christians also think God keeps a record of wrongs; that he is a fault-finder, that he harbors grudges. To be certain, God does indeed require confession and repentance from sin but let’s be clear; God does not want you revisiting your indiscretion over and over. To be clear God does not keep a list of your sins until you enter a confessional to rehearse and catalogue them one by one, or until you light the correct number of candles or until you have done enough good things.

God does not hold grudges. And God does not bring up your past to reinforce his opinions or remind you of your failures and need for him. God does not have a passive-aggressive personality disorder.

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