1 Corinthians 13:1 If I can speak in the tongues of men and even of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

1 Corinthians 13:13 And so faith, hope, love abide: (faith, conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope, joyful and confident expectation of salvation; love, true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us), these three, but the greatest of these is love.

DEFINITIONS

Love – d) strong affection for or attachment to someone

Agape – c) God’s love or charity

Phileo – c) true affection as for a friend

None of us want to be a clanging cymbal. If we read the whole love chapter, we will see where we fall short of God’s love. In verse 5 the amplified says; “it takes no account of the evil done to it —pays no attention to a suffered wrong.”

I think of Jesus, after He arose from the dead and went to His disciples, He was not upset with them but loved them even after they had abandoned Him at the cross. I would have said, “Where were you? Why did you leave me?”

He was not focused on Himself, but on them. He knew that they were hurting terribly and needed His love. So what does this teach us about love? That self has to die. When our concern for ourselves is greater than it is for others it will show up somewhere in our walk.

What is love but God’s love for us growing in us. When we love Him, we keep His commandments (John 14:15). Then in verse 21 and 23 they will come and make their home in our heart. None of this can be done without faith and hope.

The full purpose of man’s creation is to fear God — know that He is, revere and worship Him and keep His commandments —- this is the whole duty of every man. Ecclesiastes 12:13 Amp. He is making this clear to us because it is so very important but is also so very neglected.

Ephesians 3:17-19 tells us that is is very possible to have Christ dwell in our hearts rooted deeply in love. That we are to have the power to experience that love, how truly strong it is for ourselves. That we may experience it and not just the hearing of it, but to have the richest measure of the Divine Presence within us being flooded with God Himself. That is truly the greatest gift possible.

How do we do this? Why did Jesus come to the Disciples when they went fishing in John 21 and ask Peter 3 times “Do you love Me?” I believe He was giving Him the opportunity to make up for denying Him those 3 times before the cross. Somehow it would help to heal him.

When Jesus asked “Lovest thou Me,” the first two times was with the “agape” love. Then the last time He asked was with “phileo.” He is asking if He loves Him more than just as a friend. Then He says each time “Feed My Sheep.” Why?

1John 4:12 No man has at any time yet seen God. But if we love one another, God abides (lives and remains) in us and His love (that love which is essentially His) is brought to completion — to its full maturity, runs its full course, is perfected in us.

Jesus knew and was trying to show Peter that His love needed to grow. And the way for it to grow was to feed His sheep. Sometimes it will be the unpopular thing to do. But some sheep are starving because of selfish Shepherds who live for themselves and not their sheep. Will you say to them the words no one else will say?

If you really love Jesus, He will give you the opportunity to feed His sheep. That also means to guard and protect them with your prayers. You cannot pray for someone without loving them. So it all comes to 1John 4:12.

That is how we will not end up a clanging cymbal!

SUBJECT — LOVE — CH SPURGEON

The distinguishing mark of a Christian is his confidence in the love of Christ, and the yielding of his affection to Christ in return. Love to Jesus was a flame which fed upon the core and heart of their being; and therefore, from its own force burned its way into the outer man and shone there. The children of God are ruled in their innermost powers by love.

SONG — DEEPER, HIGHER, WIDER — GERON DAVIS

HOLY GROUND — HOSANNA INTEGRITY

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