I’ve never met anyone that can love like that.
JANUARY 2, 2024
I’ve never met anyone that can love like that. Let’s talk about it on this edition of Key Life.
If you’ve suffered too long under a do more, try harder religion, Key Life is here to proclaim that Jesus sets the captives free. Steve invited Pete Alwinson to teach us this week. Pete is a former pastor, founder of ForgeTruth.com and the author of Like Father, Like Son.
Thanks Matthew. And good morning Key Life. Pete Alwinson here. And I’m sitting in for Steve Brown this week, and it’s a real privilege to be with you. This week, we’re talking about love from I Corinthians 13 and how important it will be to be energized by God’s love as we move into this new year, we don’t live in a particularly loving world. And so, we saw last week that the context was important and 1 Corinthians 13 and and that is, by the way, called the love chapter of the Bible. But the context of talking about love is not marriage and, but it is in the context of relationships, how the church bands together and does life together and does ministry together. The motivating point that Paul is trying to get across to us here, is that we should use all of our gifts, our spiritual gifts motivated by and in the power of love. And so, it’s really important for us to understand this because God’s love is really the most powerful force in all human relationships and promoting the gospel of Jesus Christ. But can we talk? The fact of the matter is our culture has a lot of jagged edges right now. It’s hard to love, from a Christian perspective, a lot of things that are going on. And frankly, there’s a lot of people that I don’t love very much who are doing things that are diametrically opposed to what I believe. And some people are doing some absolutely horrible things. I saw a bumper sticker the other day on the back of a car, it said this. My driving scares me too. I don’t know if you’re scared by the people out there or the year ahead, but look, we can’t go wrong if we were empowered by God to love other people with his kind of love. Think of what it was like in the first century when Paul first wrote this, the Roman Christians, the Corinthians. I mean, it was way even more secular or equally as secular as it is today. And he calls them to love each other and to live that love out there in the real world. All right, but here’s the question. What is the kind of love that is godly love? What does that really look like? What is it really like? We need clarity on what that love is like. As I’ve said before, I lead a ministry to men called Forge and, you know, the guys that come to Forge, I think really get it. That love is, as Jesus models it, is really a manly thing. And Jesus perfectly embodies love in every way, shape, or form. And so, He’s our example to follow. So love’s really not just a feminine virtue, it’s a divine virtue, it’s a divine attribute. And the more real a force it becomes through us, the more we will impact other people. All right, let’s go through these and see what we need to learn about growing in love. The first one is that love is patient. And when we start out with that, I immediately get a little angry because I’m not a patient person. I’ve got to admit it, from a long time ago, I got a sped up personality. I like to be on the move. Hey, Mark, the gospel of Mark is actually my favorite gospel because it’s so quick. 34 times, it says Jesus immediately did this or immediately this happened. That’s my kind of action. But I learned a lot here. When this says love is patient, I want you to catch this, that every one of these clarifications of what love is, is actually a verb. It’s not a noun, it’s a verb, it’s an action verb. And so, the word here is makrothumia, which is the present active verb. I’m not talking about Greek because I’m a Greek scholar. I’m not. I want to show us that the Greek brings out elements of these words that English doesn’t convey. And so, here we see that being patient is an activity. It’s an action. It’s not sitting around doing nothing. A patience of this kind takes work and energy and it’s directly related to people, not circumstances. This word is a relational word and it has a unique sense of emphasis upon self restraint. Listen, this kind of patience takes spirit control and it takes personal energy. It’s like a person who has been wronged and who has it in his power to wreak havoc and bring revenge, but simply won’t do it. That’s the idea of patience here. It’s sort of being slow to anger. It’s being in control of one’s emotions. Patience really is a Fruit of the Spirit and we know that’s how God relates to us. I’m so glad. But that’s what he means when it says love is patience. You know, one writer recently reminded me of Abraham Lincoln, who had after he’d won the presidency over his rivals like Edwin Stanton. And Stanton constantly made fun of Lincoln, had nothing but contempt for him. Stanton called Lincoln a low cunning clown. He nicknamed him the original gorilla. And Lincoln said nothing. When Lincoln won the election and Stanton did not, Lincoln made Stanton his Secretary of War because he was simply the most qualified man around. And when Lincoln lay dying of a gunshot wound to the head, Stanton was there and through his tears he said, there lies the greatest ruler of men the world has ever seen. And so, we see how love leads itself in a patience that is very, very active. And therefore is also kind. And the present tense love is patient. Love is kind. And one of the truths of the family of God is that many of us are good, but we’re not always kind. And so, what Paul is teaching us here is that in our ministry with one another, we need to be good and patient and also kind. We need to speak the truth, but we need to do it in love. So, if you’re big on truth and correct theology, I’m so glad you are. We need you in the church. But we need you to speak the truth in love. Having said that, I know there’s a lot of Christians today who are just trying to be nice. And are afraid to speak the truth. We need you to speak the truth in a respectful and kindly way. That’s what Paul is talking about here. Love is patient. Love is kind. It’s not jealous. Again, it’s a verb. And jealousy can be sort of, maybe the better word here is envious. I remember one time a man was visiting the church I served as pastor and talking to my wife after church. And I could have sworn as I looked at him that he was flirting with my wife. And I was being jealous. And in a good way, that was my wife and God is jealous for us. But as someone said, there are two types of envy. There’s an envy that covets what others have. And an envy that is angry that they have what they have. And that doesn’t build relationships in the least. And so, the kind of love that Paul is talking about is patient. Like we said, love is kind. It’s not envious of other people and it does not brag, self effacing in its quality. There’s a sense in which when we are deeply loved by the God of the universe, we find that we have this status that is so high, that we are the deeply beloved redeemed sons and daughters of the Most High God that we don’t have to brag about ourselves because you can’t get any higher a status than you already have. And that’s why the next one flows naturally. Love is not arrogant. It’s not inflated with it’s own importance. Napoleon said, I’m not a man like other men, the laws of morality do not apply to me. Oh yes, they did. Well, we can be arrogant, but there’s no need to. When we are loved by the God of the universe, we actually become more loving to other people because we’re not thinking about ourselves as much. We’re thinking more about God and thinking more about them. William Carey illustrates this perfectly. He was a missionary, who went to India and he translated the Bible into 34 Indian languages. Came from humble roots. And one time he was in India at a dinner and a very rich man leaned across the table and said, Mr. Carey, you once worked as a shoemaker. Didn’t you? And Carey said, no, your Lordship, not a shoemaker, but a cobbler. He didn’t want to claim that he made shoes only that he mended them. Oh, to be that self effacing, to be that humble. You see, that’s what the love of God will do in us and that it enables us to do that with other people. And then finally, it tells us that love does not act unbecomingly. It could be translated, love does not act ungraciously. God’s love is courteous and is tact, and politeness flows through us. Well, I don’t know about you, but this is challenging to me. And this is what I need to be. And what I want to be. Which traits stood out to you today? We’ll talk about the rest of them tomorrow. You take it to heart. Amen.
Thank you Pete. What a timely word about love. It’s true. So often we only hear teaching from I Corinthians 13 in the context of a wedding, but how can you learn anything when you’re only thinking about what food they’re going to serve at the reception? Just me? Okay, anyway, more from Pete tomorrow. Hope you’ll join us. So, we’re now into the new year, but every now and then you get a reminder from last year, like when the credit card bill shows up and you’re like, Oh, right, yeah, I forgot about that for a minute. We could be like that with guilt sometimes, when you least expect it, BAM. Hey, remember that time you did that thing? But here’s the deal. Jesus’ death paid the debt for all our sins. And that means guilt can actually lead us back to Christ to find true and lasting forgiveness. Well, Steve wrote about this in a mini-book called Feeling Guilty: Grace for Your Mistakes. Can we mail you that for free? If so, then call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that mini-book. If you’d like to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of the mini-book called Feeling Guilty: Grace for Your Mistakes. Finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you support that work through your giving? You could charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope, or just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter, text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.