Summary: It is possible to be a soulwinner, a deep Christian, or a sacrificial giver, and yet miss out on the blessings of God because you lack the most important thing, love.
Preached Sunday, January 19, 2003 – AM Service
True agape love cannot be manufactured. It is the outward evidence of inward surrender to the convicting and leading of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. All too often we try to evaluate our spiritual walk in non-spiritual terms. Rather than searching our hearts as to the quality of our love toward God and toward others, we value the quantity of something we produce – whether it is professions of faith, time spent in service, or money sacrificed. Today we will see that the significance of these actions fade away if they are done without love.
I. It is possible to be a witnessing Christian, yet lack love
1 Corinthians 13:1 - 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.
A. Purpose of tongues
1. Reach the lost in their own language
Acts 2:5-11 - 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
2. Tongues are a sign to unbelievers
1 Corinthians 14:22 - Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.
3. These special sign gifts passed away when Scriptures were completed
1 Corinthians 13:8-10 - 8 Charity 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.
Revelation 22:18-19 - 18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
4. Tongues, then, were simply the God-given ability to cross barriers and give people the good news of the Gospel of Christ
B. It is possible to preach the Gospel without love
Philippians 1:15-16 - 15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
1. Some preach out of envy
2. Some preach out of strife
C. We should preach the Gospel in love
1. By looking with compassion upon the harvest field
Matthew 9:36-38 - 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
2. Without love, your Gospel message is just loud and annoying noise!
II. It is possible to be a "deep" Christian, yet lack love
1 Corinthians 13:2 - 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, I am nothing.
A. You could understand mysteries, but lack love
1. Mystery = "that which, being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension, can only be known by divine revelation"
2. These mysteries are revealed to believers by the indwelling Holy Spirit
Matthew 13:11 - He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
1 Corinthians 2:14 - But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.