Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 7. What's love got to do with it? . No 08 The flawlessness of love (Part 5)

. No 08 The flawlessness of love (Part 5)

What’s love got to do with it?

THE FLAWLESSNESS OF LOVE (PART 5)

We are busy with one of the most critical sermon series’ that we can do in the life of Logos, and that is this series on the more excellent way called love. Love is not an important part of Christianity, but love is Christianity as God is love and God has demonstrated His love in the sending of His Son Jesus Christ to die for the sins of the world. So, love has its origin in God and love has it’s fullness in God and love has its final fulfilment in God when He will glorify us as sons in his presence. Love is so great that the whole of creation is waiting with baited breath for the beloved Sons of God to be revealed according to Romans 8.

Did you know that if you are a true believer, you have been given from God this capacity to love? As I said last week, it has become part of your formatting, God has imprinted His love code in our lives to the point that people will know that we are Christians by our love. Paul even picked up on this in 1 Thessalonians 4:9 (ESV) where he writes: 9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another,…” In actual fact I should not even be preaching on this as we are taught by God Himself, the highest authority in the universe, the one who speaks and we jump, and He says that we must love one another. However it does not end here. Paul continuous in verse 10: 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more,…” Okay, so God has taught us to love, we are doing it, and we need to do it more and more, and we simply need to learn how. So in us we are supposed to have this love DNA, this love encoding, this love formatting. It is so central to our being that Paul can write in Romans 5:5 (ESV)5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” If you are a child of God love has to be central in your heart.  Christian, you should love, because you’ve been equipped by the Spirit of God to love. If you are practicing that love, excel even more.

We came to learn from 1 Corinthians 13 that you can be a Super Christian but without love you are nothing. That is why we need to take the facets of love or what love is very seriously. We need to understand these facets as they are our guidelines to what love is and what love is not.

Now remember, these attributes of love are painted against a backdrop of a very unloving congregation, the Corinthian Church. There were all kinds of spiritual character deformities in this congregation. They were born into the Kingdom of God, therefore Paul calls them his little children, but sadly they had spiritual genetic defects from their old nature that remained. And if anything marked this church, it was strife and chaos and conflict and harming one another instead of building one another up. The Apostle Paul says that it is now time to stop the childishness and pettiness and to replace all of that with love. And so he begins to define for them what love looks like and how love behaves.

So, we spent our time together and will continue today with 15 Facets of love which we find in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (ESV) 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

So far we looked at:

Facet 1. Love is patient.

Facet 2. Love is kind.

Facet 3. Love does not envy.

Facet 4. Love does not boast.

Facet 5. Love is not arrogant.

Facet 6. Love is not rude.

Facet 7. Love is not self-seeking.

We now get to Facet number 8 as far as the flawlessness of love is concerned.

Facet 8. Love is not irritable.

1 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV) 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;“

This comes from a Greek word  paroxuno {par-ox-oo'-no}  from which we get our English word paroxysm. Not sure how many of us know the word? I did not.  I had to check it up in a Thesaurus and I discovered that the word means ‘a sudden outburst, seizure, attack or a fit.’ It is used a few times in the New Testament and the places where it’s used and the way it is used give us insight into its meaning. It is often used to mean ‘to arouse with anger’ ‘to exasperate’ or to ‘burn with anger’.  Sounds a little different than our common definition of ‘irritable’. Some translations translate the word ‘provoked’ or ‘easily angered’.

 

One example of where it is used is when Paul arrived in Athens and as he observed all the idols in that city his spirit was provoked within him. We see this in Acts 17:16 (ESV) 16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols.” Now in that case in Acts 17, it was a good paroxysm, it was a good kind of upset, it was a good kind of irritation because he was irritated about the idols. So, paroxysm is not always bad. I hope we all are irritated daily with our sinfulness. We all should for example be irritated about the spiritual climate of our country and cities. It is the same kind of irritation or provocation that caused Jesus to make a whip with which He cleansed the temple area from all the marketers.

So there are times and places for paroxysms of righteous indignation. We all understand that. We all know that. There’s a time for holy anger, for righteous wrath. That is true of even God.

But Paul has the unrighteous paroxysm in mind here when he says “love is not irritable”. His concern is our irritation with that which is not really a provocation but it says something about our internal state. This is an area I have to continually watch in myself as I very easily become irritable when provoked. You should have seen me on the phone the other day when I received the app. 20th phone call trying to get me to buy a programme by which I can trade on the stock exchange. I tried to keep my cool, I counted to 10, quoted the Greek alphabet and then I lost it, raised my voice and threw away my testimony if they in any way knew I was a Christian. I did not swear but I exploded out of irritation.

Paul is a good example to us all. Now, I know we do not have a daily record of all he said and done, and maybe he behaved just like us as he is also simply a sinner saved by grace. However what we do know is that Paul never retaliated to all the injuries that came to him. He was angry over what was being done religiously against God. He was angry over the blaspheming of God. But you will never find a parallel where he’s angry over the way he was treated for the sake of Christ.

So for us, when it comes to the glory of God being tarnished and standing in the face of ungodliness and unrighteousness, I guess we can all be irritated. How we reveal that irritation is obviously still an issue. Be angry over the mistreatment of the glorious name of Christ. Be angry over those who misrepresent Him. Be angry over those who espouse lies in the name of Scripture, those who proclaim false, deadly, damning heresies, be angry over those things. But, maintain your righteous indignation. Be angry over the influence those people have on poor, benighted, blinded souls, but be careful how you reveal it.

But when it comes to personal things, love bears all injuries suffered at the hands of others without exasperation and without irritation. When somebody in the church offends you, or when your spouse offends you in some way, don’t be angry. Don’t be provoked. Don’t burst out in a paroxysm, an outburst against another person no matter what they’ve done. To be sensitive to the offenses against God is a spiritual virtue. But to be hyper-sensitive to the offenses that other people bring to bear on your life is an expression of sinfulness. And if it leads to some kind of uncontrollable conduct where you lose your temper, where you get bitter and angry, or where you burst out, you should see it for what it is, namely sin. I have stood amazed over the years to see how easily Christians become irritable in the church. I mentioned some of the things under ‘self-centeredness last week. Service too long, and I am irritable. Too little eats and I am irritable. Somebody did not reach out to me and I am irritable.

You might say, okay I accept your few examples, but you know what so and so did to me in the church was wrong.  That’s exactly the point. What they do to Christ will cause righteous indignation. What they do to you will only cause unrighteous indignation if you do not love the person and overpower the wrong.

That’s why the Bible says, “Be angry and sin not.” There are some Christians who are just so easily angered, irritated, exasperated, and sometimes defiant. To be provoked and to be irritated and angered by little things that people do, kills love and poisons life. And love is the only cure for irritability. Irritability is simply a manifestation of self-centeredness.

I promise you all that in the church there will always be reasons for irritation, and Satan will use it. No wonder that one of the qualifications of an elder is that he will not easily be angered. Let me make a bold statement now. If you are easily angered the existing problem is simply exaggerated, misunderstandings abound and objectivity and reason disappears. When anger rules, small problems become big explosions that can blow the unity of a church to pieces.

James summarises this well for us in James 1:19-20 (ESV) 19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

What’s love got to do with it? Everything.

Facet 9. Love is not resentful.

1 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV)5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;”

I need to give you a few translations here, just to drive the point home.

KJV: “thinketh no evil;”

NAS: “does not take into account a wrong suffered,”

NIV: “it keeps no record of wrongs.”

 

Our Afrikaners here will know die Afrikaans translation well. “Liefde hou nie rekord van kwaad nie.”

 

‘Resentful’ comes from two Greek words  logizomai {log-id'-zom-ahee} which means to reckon, count, compute, calculate, to take into account or to make an account. And then the second word kakos {kak-os'} which means ‘that of a bad nature’, ‘that which is not as it ought to be’ or that ‘which is troublesome, injurious, destructive or wicked.’

 

So the point that Paul drives home here is that as we just saw, you as a Christian must not blow up simply because somebody irritated you, but then Paul goes one step further and says that whatever the outcome of the irritation don’t keep a record of the irritation. To put it in accountancy terms. Do not open an account for the one who irritates you. Don’t hold long term grudges. Paul puts it well in Ephesians 4:26 (ESV) 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.” So even if you have good righteous anger as per our previous point, deal with it. By the time you go to bed, it must be over and out. If you go to bed angry, all that happens is that you are sleeping at 30 degrees while the one you are angry with is lying flat in their pillow enjoying a good night’s sleep.

If you truly love your brother and sister in Christ you do not maintain an accounting system of their wrongs. This by the way is one of my pet hates in life. I remember when I was serving as an associate pastor in a previous church, the senior pastor had this knack of not addressing issues with me. He would never confront me or talk to me about issues. But he would keep this list and when his capacity to irritation overflowed he would drop this list before me and accuse me of ‘always’ doing this and ‘never’ doing that. I remember one day he was complaining because I always arrived at the church unshaved. Now this was not true. When I asked him to give me examples of this ‘always’, he mentioned the one and only date which I did not shave. But you see, if he brought it up on the day as an irritation to him I would have been able to explain to him that I had ‘staphylococcus’ which was small blisters on my skin which prevented me from shaving. I had to take antibiotics to clear it up. So you see what happens. Listen carefully. You might prevent yourself from exploding on the day as per our previous point, but, if you subsequently keep record of the wrong, you have simply delayed the explosion and then it is more difficult to deal with.

 

So rather, do not be irritable on the one hand and do not keep record of the wrong on the other hand and the church will be a more loving and happier environment. Normally when we keep record of wrong, we escalate the problem by using words like ‘always’ and ‘never’. You always do this or that, you never do this or that. So, you don’t blow up when you’re injured. Love doesn’t do that. Love forgives. And you don’t hold a long-term grudge, this is a word that has to do with accounting. It’s an accountant’s word. Love doesn’t keep records.

 

Did you know that God does not keep record of the wrong? Psalm 32:2 (ESV) 2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” Romans 4:8 (ESV) “8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin. 2 Corinthians 5:19 (ESV) “19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

Now, if God does not keep a record of our wrong, who are we to do that? Are we on a higher throne than God?

What does God do with our sins? Psalm 103:12 (ESV)12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” Micah 7:19 (ESV) 19 He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”

Church family, love doesn’t keep books. It doesn’t keep records. It doesn’t recite all the wrongs done. It doesn’t keep a mental record of all the offenses until the proverbial molehill becomes a mountain. And that molehill of resentment becomes a mountain of hostility.

Can I challenge you today to choose the path of love? To choose the path of love doesn’t mean we don’t feel the pain of emotional injustice or struggle with anger and bad memories. We do feel the pain. However, choosing the “more excellent way” means that we seek, by the power and with the help of the Holy Spirit within us, to honestly deal with our emotional wounds. We forgive others just as we are forgiven. We seek to understand the person who has caused us injury and acknowledge that we have done the same to others. We confess our own bad attitudes, self-pity and unforgiving hearts. We see things from God’s perspective and we refuse to carry on the fight. We pray and we go to the other person, with no list but seeking authentic restoration and healing, and when it is sorted out we continue the next day for the sake of the glory of God as if nothing has ever happened.

What’s love got to do with it? Everything.

 

Amen!

Logos Community Church: 2 February 2014