Our Church Service on August 28 will take place at 4734 Samish Point Rd, Bow WA 98232 at 11 am

Love: The Better Way - 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Oct 30, 2022    Aleksey Khizhnyak

If I speak human or angelic languages
but do not have love,
I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy
and understand all mysteries
and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith
so that I can move mountains
but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor,
and if I give my body in order to boast[a]
but do not have love, I gain nothing.

What is considered eloquent in our churches where we grew up? What do we take pride in?
• Our reverence in dress code. On many occasions I hear people say look at how Slavic people dress. Suits, ties, dresses… people know that they are going to church. And in bigger churches and some churches back home it is still a significant indicator that this is a Slavic church. I think it is truly beautiful and respectable to dress properly to the church.
• Slavic churches across the board are known for large families. If you go outside and count how many mini vans we have, you would know right away – Slavic church. It is a gift of God to have large, healthy and well raised families. It signifies that we love kids and consider them a gift of God. It signifies that we are not afraid of tomorrow because God is there and he will take care of us. No Covid, no war, no economic uncertainties will stop us from having children.
• Packed Church life schedule. On Monday we have counseling, Tuesday prayer in the morning, Tuesday evening teens group, Wednesday evening bible study group, Thursday youth service, Friday Elders meeting, Saturday men’s breakfast, ladies breakfast, soccer, Christmas play practice, Sunday theology class in the morning, church service, evening Russian service… Find me another American church with so many activities. And we don’t have choir, we don’t have symphony orchestra… It is all needed and we are grateful to God that there are so many activities where we can grow and serve.
• Packed Sunday service. Three sermons, choir, poems, solos, quartets… It allows many people to participate, to express their talents, their revelations and bless everyone in the building. It is good. It is well.

What about our church today? What do we take pride in?
• Theology class twice a week, packed.
• Groups, growing, splitting from positive growth.
• Counseling ministry. People are being helped. Chains of sins are broken off.
• Preaching of the word is clear and powerful
• When Scot complements our church as being welcoming and open for new comers
• Unity in the leadership
• Freedom from legalism
• Serious approach towards church discipline
• Worship team, players, singers, songs selection

I. Ministry without love is annoying, empty, and useless.

Corinthians had all the gifts of the Spirit. In chapter 12 Paul introduces the teaching on spiritual gifts. But what was going on in their church that prompted Paul to write chapter 13? Chapter 13 is not a worm and cuddly passage that we should place on wedding invitations. He tells them if they don’t have love, all their flashy gifts and ministry equate to annoying sound that would be better if it would quiet down, because it is making unpleasant noise.

1. If I speak human or angelic tongues without love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Speaking in languages was a hot topic for them because they did have a gift to speak a foreign language for the furthering of the Gospel. He will continue covering more about speaking in different languages in chapter 14. If I speak in the most eloquent way and everybody around me are in awe, but with out love, I am just a noisy sound that should stop.

2. If I have the gift of prophesy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge
If I have all faith so that I can move mountains but if there is no love I am nothing.
Balaam was a prophet of God. He knew God, he knew his word, he feared God, but he loved himself more than God and people. With a financial offer from Balak, king of Moab he agreed to curse the people of God.

3. If I give away all my possessions, and if I give over my body in order to boast/be burned, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

What is Love?
• The Greek word agape (love) seems to have been virtually a Christian invention—a new word for a new thing (apart from about twenty occurrences in the Greek version of the Old Testament, it is almost non-existent before the New Testament). Agape draws its meaning directly from the revelation of God in Christ.
• unselfish, self-giving, willful devotion, concern for the welfare of others
• were mostly disdained in ancient Greek culture as signs of weakness.
• Not to those who love us, but who hate; not to those who are pleasant and agreeable, but who repel; not because our natural feelings are excited, but because we will to minister, even to the point of the cross, must our love go out.

II. Love that God requires of me is more than I can handle.
Kids don’t understand why they should let others sit in the front seat. But why? It is my turn. I got here first. That is fair. If we would get what is fair, we would all end up in hell along time ago.
In fact it is difficult for me to read this passage. I don’t know how people are able to write it on napkins, paper cups, and wedding invitations. The list that Paul gives is everything I am not!
Patient?! I am not patient. Not patient even with my close ones that I supposedly love. If a child doesn’t understand homework, or disobey you after tenth time, patient?
Is not self seeking? Do you think I make massage to my wife every time she ask me? Love bears all things, endures all things. Make your wife half an hour massage. Can’t.

Why is love the better way?
If I already move mountains? If I understand all mysteries, and all knowledge? Shouldn’t that be enough for ministry? If my heart is so giving I sold all my possessions and fed the poor. I gave my body to be burned is that not enough? Why is it annoying noise? Why is it nothing on his scales? Why does it not gain anything for me?
Because God is not there! The gift is there but the giver is not! Love does not come apart from God himself. God is love. Love is the fruit of the Spirit. If you are going to have love you will have to have God.
Rom.5:5 This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Jonathan Edwards talking about spiritual gifts: “They are like precious jewels, with which the body may be adorned; but true grace is that where by the very soul itself becomes as it were a precious jewel.” “Grace is, as it were the holy nature of the Spirit imparted to the soul.”
• Balaam had a supernatural gift of God and was a recognized prophet even by the enemies of God. “They have gone astray by abandoning the straight path and have followed the path of Balaam, the son of Bosor,[h] who loved the wages of unrighteousness 16 but received a rebuke for his transgression: A donkey that could not talk spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s irrationality. 2 Pet.2:15-16
• King Saul was among the prophets, had manifestations of the Spirit but died as a wicked king.
• Judas had the gift of casting out spirits, healing, prophesy.
”Summoning His 12 disciples, He gave them authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out and to heal every[a] disease and sickness… As you go, announce this: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, drive out demons. You have received free of charge; give free of charge.
• Matthew 7:22-23 On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!’

III. Both gifts and love come from the Spirit of God. I have nothing to offer and boast about.
What shall I do then?
Why is Paul not giving me steps to take to harness this love and keep watch that I don’t loose it?
Gifts are given at salvation.
Spirit of God is poured out at salvation. We have Him, if we are His. He is in us. Remember chapter 4, 6 where he told us that we became a home for him. Our bodies are his temple. We do not belong to ourselves. Does he have to waste his ink and space on the paper to pen it again? You have everything for life and Godliness in Him! Get out of the way. Humble your self. Submit under his leadership. Hear him through his word. Seek him through prayer. He is available. He didn’t go anywhere. Allow Him to permeate you from the inside out so it would be evident to all!