Beloved: Grace and Peace
Elkmont Baptist Church
Dearest and Beloved
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. In engineering, one of the key things we measure is heat transfer. The funny thing about heat transfer, though, is that it can only be measured when it is moving, and it can only be measured by the temperature difference between the two bodies. That is, it moves from the body with higher temperature to the body of lower temperature.
Grace to you.
Do you know that agape love is like that? It can only be seen when it is given from one person to another. How does love show itself moving from one person to another?
Paul tells us that "charity [(agape love)] suffereth long,
is kind; charity envieth not;
charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up," (Corinthians 13:4).
When we suffer long with those who exasperate us, it is because God's love is flowing through us. This means we are not just patient with those who don't matter to us, but we are patient when those most important to us treat us poorly.
When we treat others with kindness, giving others what they do not deserve because we have received what we did not deserve, God's love is flowing through us to another.
When we boast (vaunt ourselves) about ourselves, when we regard ourselves superior to another, love is choked off, and we are not letting love flow through us. Paul tells us as he prayed for the Philippians and for us, "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and
all judgment," (Philippians 1:9).
Our love is to abound more and more in knowledge (we should know how to show love) and in all judgment (we should be discerning to know when love can be received).
It is by our love for one another that all men will know we are Jesus' disciples.
Back to the example of measuring heat transfer. Radiant heat transfer moves energy (heat) from one body to another. The sun is one example of that. A woodstove will transfer heat in that manner when its temperature is high enough. On a cold day I can come in, and I will begin experiencing warmth right away even though the room isn't warmed.
And that is what agape love is like. When one who is low in love comes into a room filled with love, immediately there is a sense of "warmth." How does love show itself moving from one person to another?
Paul tells us that charity (agape love) "[d]oth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;" (1 Corinthians 13:5).
When we behave unseemly (uncomely, inappropriate), we do not show others love. That is because we are usually trying to draw attention to ourselves when we behave uncomely, or we are trying to endear ourselves. You see, love doesn't seek what's best for the one giving the love, but seeks the best for others (the ones to whom the love will flow).
Love is long-suffering we learn in 1 Corinthians 13:4. When we don't take offense easily, it is because we suffer long and love flows from us.
Because love thinketh no evil, we won't entertain evil thoughts or ascribe evil motives to the one we are thinking of. Then we are believing all, bearing all, hoping all, and enduring all things. Because love thinketh no evil, "[l]ove worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love
the fulfilling of the law" (Romans 13:5).
When we refuse to think ill or evil of our neighbors, it becomes easier to believe the best about them and to work no evil towards them. I had to practice this at work. One of my friends put me in a difficult spot because he was late with an action. To think no evil and believe the best, I had to fight my thoughts. By the grace of God, I worked no evil towards him.
It is by our love for one another that all men will know we are Jesus' disciples.
This type of love is what a husband is commanded to love his wife with. The Apostle Paul tells us that agape, love, charity, "Doth not behave itself unseemly . . ." (1 Corinthians 13:5). What does this mean?
Since the Scripture is the best commentary on Scripture, where else is this used? The Greek word (
) (Strong's G807) translated "behave itself unseemly", is
also used in 1 Corinthians 7:36. This verse says, "But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of
age, and need so
require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry," It is translated in this verse "behaveth himself umcomely."
Love does not behave itself unseemly or uncomely. Based on the verse in chapter 7, it means that when a young man begins to treat a young woman as if she is his and yet he is not ready to marry, he is being presumptuous and is not acting in love. I share this with you so that the young men can see what true love is and is not, and so the young women can recognize it also.
Paul provided advice to Timothy, a young man, on how to treat others and remain above reproach. 1 Timothy 5:1-2 says, "Rebuke not an elder, but entreat
the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as
sisters, with all purity."
The way we should treat one another is to treat older men as fathers, older women as mothers, younger men as brothers, and younger women as sisters. And we should do this to keep pure.
So true love seeks to keep the one loved in purity and does not behave itself unseemly. This looks like a lot of the boyfriend-girlfriend stuff is not true love and is unseemly behavior.
The Apostle Paul tells us that agape, love, charity "[r]ejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;" (1 Corinthian 13:6).
We have a contrast here. We are told that true love does not take joy in iniquity but takes joy in the truth. So if we are rejoicing in iniquity, it is not from love. Iniquity is translated from the Greek word
which is translated in the New Testament as
"iniquity", "unjust", and "wrong." Strong's concordance gives the meaning as legally, injustice, the property of or the act of; moral wrongness of character, life, or act (Strong's G93).
So when we take joy in something that is morally wrong or unjust or unrighteous, we are not showing love. Have you ever paid attention to much of what is on TV or in the movies? How often does a show make one hope that a married couple will break up so one can find his or her "soul mate"? Wouldn't this be considered morally wrong?
What is truth? True love rejoices in truth. The Lord Jesus in His high priestly prayer prayed, ". . . thy word is truth" (John 17:17). The Apostle John must have understood. He tells us the truth should be in us (1 John 1:8); the Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6); we are to love in truth (1 John 3:18), and walk in the truth (2 John 1:4). John says, "I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father" (2 John 1:4).
True love does not take joy in iniquity, injustice, or moral wrongness. True love rejoices in truth, in being filled with truth, in walking in the truth. So what do we take joy in? True love reveals itself through rejoicing in truth. True love is shown to be lacking by rejoicing in iniquity.
Agape is the kind of love that Christians are commanded to exercise and to be known by. It can only be experienced as it moves from one to another.
1 Corinthians 13:7 says love "[b]eareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things." On a flight I shared with a young man sitting beside me some of the things the Lord has done in my wife and my lives. One of the things I shared was how hard it was to see her sick and not able to do anything. That was bearing all things. It was so hard to see her suffer. Yet love bears all things. I could not leave her because love bears all things.
Both she and I had been terribly wounded in our lives. Before we could be married, God told each of us that we must be willing to be hurt by the other. He would not give us a guarantee of not being hurt. Love bears all things. Love endures all things.
Love believes all things. I have understood this to be to believe the best about those I love. To believe everything God tells me about them. To believe it even when I can't see it yet. (Being a parent requires this aspect of love.) To believe is to see, our Lord tells us.
We have examined what love is: the love that a husband is commanded to love his wife with so that young men may aspire to it, so that young women will not be deceived by any other kind, and so that we may all walk in the love so that all men will know that we are Jesus' disciples.
1 Corinthians 13:8 concludes, "Charity never faileth . . . ." Love never fails. Love will never be done away with. Love will always accomplish what it is sent to do. Love never fails.
Now read that Jesus never fails. Read that Jesus suffers long. Jesus is kind. Jesus is not envious. Jesus does not vaunt Himself. Jesus is not puffed up. Jesus never behaves Himself unseemly. Jesus does not seek His will, but the Father's. Jesus is not easily provoked. Jesus thinks no evil. He rejoices in truth, never in iniquity. . . . Jesus never fails.
And as we become more like Him, we may be able to put our names in place of "charity." Bill suffers long - working on it. Bill is kind. Whoa. Working on it.
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye,
being rooted and
may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth,
to know the love of Christ,
knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
- Ephesians 3:14-19 (bold added)
- a series compilation
grounded in love,
and length, and depth, and height; and
[computer software] . Franklin, TN: Equipping Ministries Foundation. (Original work published 1890)
Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Meyers, R. (2005). e-Sword.