Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Dear Berean Family,

We have come through the Easter holiday and are swiftly heading towards summer. As I have contemplated our future as a church I have felt led to share with you the great need for all of us to live our lives in the power of the Holy Spirit. Especially we need to remember the importance of allowing the Holy Spirit to fill us with agape love. The Apostle Paul taught us the importance of agape love in our lives by giving us I Corinthians 13. This chapter is powerful in its challenge to our lives. Here is the text from I Corinthians 13:

“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. 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. 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 13:6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 13:8 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. 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 13:10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 13:11 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. 13:12 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. 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

In this chapter Paul shares within the first five verses that without (agape) love all the things we may be trying to do for Christ mean nothing. For example if we 1. Speak in tongues. 2. Have the gift of prophecy. 3. Have the gift of faith to trust God for great things. 4. Give all your goods to feed the poor. 5. And give your body to be burned, but have not love it profits us nothing. Someone said this is 5-1 = 0. God’s math is not different from ours but His prospective certainly is. This equation means that if I have these 5 gifts mentioned above but lack love it equates to zero in the eyes of God. Let us not forget then the importance of true agape love that comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Please read this chapter and meditate on the qualities that Paul tells us are the signs and evidence of the Holy Spirit’s working in our lives.

If we fail to apply the teachings of this chapter to our personal lives and to our church family and how we interact with each other we are really not any different from the Corinthians. The Corinthian church was known for its strife, division, lack of love, judgmental attitude, and pride. May we not be modern day Corinthians. Rather, may we be Spirit filled Christians who display the love of Christ in our daily lives. God bless you all as you seek to live a life filled with the fragrance of the love of Jesus Christ.


g.a.b. said...

True agape love gets harder and harder for me to truly display the further and further away I get from friends and family. I can "say" I love my brother, each and every one I meet, but the further away they are form my nuclear family or extended circle of friends, the less I'd be willing to do for them IF that meant depriving my family of something.

I know it's not always a cut and dried choice & I do good things & pray for others often.

It's that higher, truly Christ-like standard that, for me, seems well nigh impossible to achieve.

Thanks Pastor Dickie. I very much enjoyed your presentation in St. Louis this past February.

Pastor Robert L. Dickie said...

g.a.b. Thanks for your encouragement. The Lord is good! May He continue to smile on you and enable you to live a life of true Christlike agape love. Pastor D