. Super Christian or not? Part 2)

THE SUPREMACY OF LOVE (Part 3)

SUPER CHRISTIAN OR NOT (PART 2)

Introduction.

Two sermons ago we started looking at the whole issue of love within the body of Christ which is the true identifying mark of a disciple of Christ. So, for that purpose we looked at John 13:34-35 where Christ says that He has given us a new commandment by which all people will know that we are His disciples. Last week we turned our focus to 1 Corinthians 13 where Paul in the midst of all the problems of the Corinthian church, says to them that while they eagerly desire to embrace the greater gifts, he will show them a more excellent way which is the way of love. Paul then breaks into his discussion of the gifts in chapter 12 and how to apply them orderly in chapter 14, with this tremendous chapter on love. Paul in essence is agreeing with us that love has everything to do with true Christianity. He sets himself up hypothetically as a Super Christian with ‘if’ statements and then says that ‘if’ he could do and be all those things and he does not have love, he is useless and all of his activities are useless and benefits no one, not even himself. There are eight characteristics of a Super Christian, but 8-1 = 0, or 8 minus love is nil.

As we saw last week Paul starts with ‘tongues’ or ‘languages’ and says that if he was able to speak with tongues of men and of angels and he does not have love, he is nothing but an irritable and a noisy person. The tongues of men could mean to simply know various languages, or it may in the context of 1 Corinthians 12 be the actual gift of tongues as seen on the day of Pentecost. Whatever it is, if it is spoken without love it is a noisy gong and a clanging symbol. And even ‘if’ Paul was as great as to speak in the tongues of angels which there is no record of in Scripture as ever been done by man, and he does not have love he is still a noisy gong and a clanging symbol.

Secondly, prophecy without love is nothing,

1 Corinthians 13:2 (ESV) 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

There are three characteristics of this supposed Super Christian that Paul gives here which minus love means you are nothing. As we say in Afrikaans ‘jy is ‘n nul op ‘n kontrak.’ So, tongues without love you are just a loud sounding gong and a clanging symbol, but with the next three without love you are nothing, a zero, unimportant and of no value to the body, a nil on a contract.

Well, first of all Paul mentions the gift of prophecy. “If I have prophetic powers…” People, this is the greatest gift that one can pursue according to Paul. It far outshines tongues. 1 Corinthians 14:1 (ESV) “1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” You know what the gift of prophecy is. It is simply to speak on behalf of God to the body. It is not simply foretelling and seeing visions about somebody else’s life. If you want an excellent definition of prophecy in action it is right here in 1 Corinthians 14:3 (ESV) 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their up building and encouragement and consolation Prophecy comes from the Greek word propheteuo {prof-ate-yoo'-o} Meaning: 1) to prophesy, to be a prophet, speak forth by divine inspirations which can include foretelling as seen throughout Scripture. Paul however does not see that as the goal here in the body. And by the way even in the Old Testament it was not a sudden outburst of a message. Often there was a large time gap between the receiving of a word and the speaking to the people. For example, Haggai.

 

Why is it the supreme gift? I believe simply because it is understood, and it exemplifies what the gifts are for and that is for the building up of the body. If you look at it in contrast to tongues we read in 1 Corinthians 14:23 (ESV)23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?” BUT 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 (ESV) 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.”

So, prophecy is on top of Paul’s list, 1 Corinthians 14:39 (ESV) 39 So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.” So, don’t forbid the languages if the Spirit of God has a place for them, but the top of the list is to prophesy. So rather prophecy, rather speak before the people, plainly, clearly and in an understandable language, rather proclaim the truth of God, rather interpret life in the light of Scripture, rather bring the word of heaven to earth, rather  move the mysteries of the past into time, rather make Christ live on the pages of the gospels, rather make the arguments of the Apostle Paul understandable, rather make the teaching of the prophets and the fathers of the Old Testament clear and understandable, because all of this will benefit the body. This is the gift of prophecy. There cannot be safer way than to simply speak what God has revealed on the pages of Scripture. We know that Scripture will always call to account and convict. And you can always point the message back to God. We know that according to 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV) 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

 

Again, as with tongues there is the real gift and the counterfeit, and sadly it is the counterfeit that is flourishing and drawing the crowds and destroying the real value of the real gifts that build up the body and glorifies God. I can keep you busy for hours exposing the falseness of the modern-day prophetic movement. There are so many recognized supposedly top prophets who love to speak on behalf of God with fancy sentences interlaced with ‘the Lord God says’, but sadly it is simply their voices in the wind. I gave you an example of that just before the election. Nothing of what that lady prophesied became true. And then you get your frauds like Shawn Bolz. He supposedly has these messages from God at services, but simply gets all their info from their Facebook accounts beforehand. The sad reality is that he is recognized as one of the leading prophets in the world. He is a leading figure at the Azusa revival, and a frequent performer at Bethel Church where Bill Johnson is the pastor. They are a leading church in the charismatic/word of faith movement. South African pastors flock there to get their injection of prophetic power.

 

I have posted at the end of the sermon the text of a prophecy by Shawn for 2019. A prominent leader in their group says about the prophecy: “One of the most accurate prophets there is today is Shawn Bolz. I really, REALLY encourage you to read this VERY CAREFULLY and fully absorb what Shawn is prophesying.”

Halloo, shouldn’t all prophecies be 100% accurate and not ‘most accurate’? In the Old Testament these guys would have been killed. But I don’t want to waste more time on this. Go read the prophecy and you will see what I see. It is nothing but a free for all, will happen somewhere in the world, to somebody, sometime in some sort of way, so he will never have to account for its nonsensical vagueness.

But even though you have the real gift of prophecy, which is more desirable, if you do not have love, you’re nothing. And Paul puts it again in the first person. “I am nothing.”

So, languages without love is nothing and prophesying or preaching without love is nothing.

So, what’s love got to do with it? Everything!

Thirdly,  Knowledge and understanding of all mysteries without love is nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:2 (ESV) 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

So, Paul continues in his hypothesis. This is really a hyperbole or an exaggeration as there is nobody in this world that understands all mysteries or has all knowledge, except me of course, lol. What are mysteries? No, it is not the mind of a woman. It is things that are unknown to man, hidden until revealed by God. If you understood all the hidden mysteries, if you had all knowledge. Now we know that Paul says in Ephesians 3 that part of his task is to proclaim the mysteries to the  body, but by using the personal pronoun ‘I’ in the context of a hyperbole, Paul is surely not claiming to understand all things as he himself says we only know in part and understand in part.

So, what person, what theologian, what preacher, what prophet, what scholar, what wise man can ever know all the mysteries in God’s mind, and all God’s plans and all other truths in the universe? No one, of course. That’s the hyperbole of the whole section. This is his point. If I spoke it all and I proclaimed like no one else could, and I knew everything there was to know, if I had millions of facts and could correlate them all and had not love, I’m what? Zero, absolutely zero.

There are people who are highly educated, who are very wise, very knowledgeable and gifted communicators, but they are self-satisfied and self-promoting and distant from people and seemingly indifferent and uncaring and in God’s view they’re nothing.  Paul even says in 1 Corinthians 8:1 (ESV) “… we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but "love" builds up. Sadly, there are many churches where there is so much emphasis on knowledge, and the leaders pretend they understand all mysteries, where they actually lead people down the road of legalism which is not love. Romans 14 bears me up on this, and the central issue to the Romans 14 scenario is an ungraciousness where you do not allow somebody else to be convicted by the Holy Spirit in areas of his life, but you judge him on your own conviction and knowledge. That is simply loveless.

Again, we have to say: ‘what’s love got to do with it?’ Everything!

Fourthly, faith without love is nothing.

The next statement in the hyperbole has to do with faith. Oh, how do we not see Christians today competing on the level of faith? We are so quick to judge the other person’s faith, as if we had more. 1 Corinthians 13:2 (ESV) 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

Now we all remember the statement of Jesus in Matthew 17:20 and Matthew 21:21 where Christ says that if you have faith like a mustard seed you can say to the mountain be removed. That is not big faith is it? A mustard seed is small. So, can small faith move mountains? Do you know anybody who has ever moved or removed a mountain? And this is not meant metaphorically.  I believe Christ is using the mountain issue as an illustration because He is simply saying that it is not the size of your faith that will move mountains, but the size of your God, and the focus of your faith in a big God, as God the creator of the universe is the only one who can move mountains. So, it is your faith in God and God’s willingness to release His power on the basis of your faith in Him and your request to Him that will cause Him to do that. It is Christ’s way of saying, believe in God, believe in God, believe in God, focus on Him, with God – nothing is impossible. It is not the size of your faith, but the object of your faith.

 

Now, even if you had that kind of faith, and you do not have love you are still nothing. I think most of us still have to cry out, ‘Lord, help me in my unbelief’. Remember the lady who asked Christ to help her even in her unbelief.

 

So, prophecy, understanding all mysteries, having all knowledge and all faith means nothing. You are nothing. Just under these two last points 4 - 1 = 0.

So, what’s love got to do with it? Everything!

Fifthly. Generosity without love is nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:3 (ESV) 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” Some translations actually say a little more.  For example:  1 Corinthians 13:3 (NASB) 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

 

This sounds like a deed of love to the highest degree doesn’t it? This is true benevolence, kindness and altruism, but even this can be done without love. This is an interesting statement by Paul. ‘To feed’ comes from psomizo {pso-mid'-zo} which means: to feed by putting a bit or crumb (of food) into the mouths of infants or young animals etc.

 

This is not writing a cheque to some hunger fund and allowing others to do the feeding. This means that you give away everything you have to feed others one bite at a time. The idea here is that every single granting of the gift is done by the person himself. This would be tantamount to taking your entire fortune and turning it into Ten Rand bills and passing out every one of them yourself to every person you see. There’s an aorist verb here that indicates a sweeping gesture, the man liquidates everything and then bit by bit by bit by bit gives it to people who need it.

 

Now, that’s the highest degree of generosity, isn’t it? But Paul is also saying that if it is driven by a guilty conscience, or motivated by self-glory, or motivated by pride, or motivated by what you think people are going to think about you when they see that, then it is not love and we are no more than the Pharisees who always did things for the wrong reasons. You will be nothing more than what we read about in Matthew 6:1-4 where Jesus says: 1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you”.

So Christian, you can either give with love, or you can give without love. You can give without a love obligation. You can give because you think you’re earning your way into heaven. You can give for personal recognition. You can give because of peer pressure. You can give because you really like to shed your guilt. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s absolutely meaningless unless it’s motivated totally and solely by love, sheer love. So, giving without love, produces no reward, Paul says that you gain nothing.

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

Sixthly: Martyrdom without love is nothing.

Paul gives us one last example that makes up the 8. So, let’s say hypothetically he adds to the other 7 and gives up not only what he has but gives up himself. This is the ultimate sacrifice. 1 Corinthians 13:3 (ESV) again: 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

Now in some cultures, so called Christians crucify themselves, stick fishhooks into their flesh, and have themselves beaten till the blood runs, all in seeking some spiritual reward. Muslims participate in Jihad thinking they will receive 70 virgins in return. Paul however looks at the greatest sacrifice a Christian could make and that is giving your body up to be burned. There is no self-glory here, no self-delusion, no self-deception. Have we not got the example of Christ that He gave up His life for us, which is the greatest demonstration of love?

However, you can give up your life in the same way, and if you are not motivated by love, you gain nothing. Even if you gave it in a good cause, your martyrdom would be meaningless. You gain nothing. There is no reward.

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

Summary.

So, we have looked at 8 virtues of a Super Christian. Six points as we put tongues of men and angels together and knowledge and understanding all mysteries together. So, Paul shows us clearly that 8 minus 1 equals 0. Super Christian without love means zippo.

So, when I say, what has love got to do with it? We say everything, and I do not believe that it is an exaggeration. It is not a second-hand emotion; no, it is what Christianity is all about as this is how people will be able to tell who the real Disciples of Christ are.

 

So, what you have here in 1 Corinthians 13 is a very solemn testimony to the importance of love. The loveless person, verse 1 says, produces nothing of value. Verse 2 says the loveless person is himself of no value. And verse 3 says the loveless person receives nothing of value. It was John Calvin who said, “Where love is wanting, the beauty of all virtue is mere tinsel, empty sound, not worth a straw. Nay more,” said Calvin, “it is offensive and disgusting.”

Whatever the outside of any deed is, however, great, however sacrificial, however significant, it is the inside of that deed that our Lord is concerned about. And the inside must be love.

So, what has love got to do with it? Everything. Next time we start defining this love seeing to we now know that a Super Christian minus love = 0. So, don’t miss it!

 

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church:- 04 August 2019

 

APPENDIX.

Shawn Bolz prophecy for 2019. It is nothing but a free for all, will happen somewhere to somebody, sometime in some sort of way. My view.

"Transition" is oftentimes not the most loved word by humanity, but it is one we need to adopt to understand the times and seasons we are in right now. 2019 will be a year of empowering the transitions for nations, movements, industries, and people groups, as well as individuals. I believe it will be marked in secular media as a year that sets us up for some of the biggest changes in modern history.

Change and transition will headline media over the next few years in many nations; changes of leadership, changes of CEOs, changes of chairmen, changes of directors, changes of top actors and actresses – so many changes. We will also see a lot of head transplants in movements, ministries, and in large churches all over the world as sons and daughters emerge into spiritual maturity, and as older leaders transition into fathering or mothering roles.

The Pauls are rising up; the Timothys and Mordecais are empowering Esthers. There will be a clear move of passing batons, and strategies will be formed to help these large denominations, churches, and ministries hand off many major responsibilities and leave a powerful legacy. Why is this happening in 2019? Strategically, God is setting us up for 2020, and we have to allow the change He has brought internally to bear fruit outwardly through this transitioning process.

Times of Transition to Create Transformation

There are seeds of purpose in mature Christians that have been growing into maturity. 2019 is a year of positioning, empowering, and setting into place.

Picture how fast a building goes up after the foundation is laid; it feels like such a short time. For Christians, 2019 is a year that will set whole church movements and denominations into a transition mode that will be followed by 3 years of massive change in the landscape of Christianity.

Imagine that the God, who has authored decades of promises and prophecies, is now coming to set up individuals and movements to finish everything needed to place us into the fulfillment of those promises, so that we can walk into the greater aspects of what He has destined us for. Some of you reading this might find yourselves changing position or jobs, moving, changing your relational circles, and more. God is also bringing change for you that will bring you into the place where you can do exactly what God made you for. For us, change always comes with the promises of Romans 8:28. God will use everything that happens, especially change, to bring us into the best scenarios of His intention toward us and our lives.

Remember that when you are transitioning into a new season in life, the people and situations that no longer fit will fall away. Don't despise the pruning; you aren't leading yourself or limited to what you would choose your process to be – God Himself is co-creating your life with you.

God is Releasing the Power of Story into Film and TV

As I woke up from sleep one day in December of this last year, a revelatory realization hit me that during 2019, we will see a harvesting of talent directed toward film and television projects that has been dreamed up by the creative power of God. Christian television and faith-based projects in the music and movie industries will take on radical new directions. Christians will be empowered with funds and creativity, and many people who have only been focusing on secular projects will feel God's assignment to use their craft, skills, and talents for faith-based projects.

We will see mainstream producers, directors, musicians, and other talented creatives all begin to get downloads of projects and God assignments to help audiences see the world shaped by the love of God. Christians are coming of age in entertainment-based industries, and the reputation of Christian entertainment will change through supernatural help – beyond what they can accomplish – and through some powerful projects that will help re-brand what faith-based entertainment is.

The War is Over

Last of all, and maybe the most powerful, is a declaration for many of you reading this. Some people who have faced a battle of a lifetime or ongoing warfare in their health, families, finances, ministries, and jobs are going to come to the end of the war in 2019; a commissioning to cross into what was promised. God has won their war and is going to deliver the victory for Christians – some of whom have prayed, or have been prayed for, hundreds of times for the breakthrough – and they are going to begin to see the release in 2019.

It's like in Daniel 10:12 when the angel comes through with the victory and says, "Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them." There was a war in the heavens causing the angel's delay until supernatural help arrived, and now it's arriving for us. Many people are going to feel their long battles come to an end.

It's funny...I wanted to write about the war being over, but I didn't know if I should give such a general word, as it could be perceived as no more than reading a Christian version of a fortune cookie; but for a week, every time I got into my car a song came on by Bethel Music alumnus, Josh Baldwin: "The War is Over." I had not programmed this and I hadn't listened to this album (also called "The War is Over") since I'd purchased it. In it, Josh sings about how it's now time to lay down our weapons of war because Jesus has fought the fight for us.

When wars are over and we move into times of peace, we get to birth new things in the truth of identity, mercy, and victory. We walk in the light and life Jesus has provided. We get to reset and create in the peace of His provision.”

 

Below is a video where Shawn Bolz prophecies over a couple. He has been found clearly to be getting his info the previous night from Facebook, and not from God at the moment. He pretends to hear all this stuff. In any case you will hear that God loves their business more than them. and it will help provide for their children's future. And it will happen in the next two years. Sadly within 2 years both their businesses are shut down. Did God lie or did Shawn?

 

 

Below you can now read the couple's response to the situation. Look at how messed Christianity has become when this couple profoundly states that often when God promises something he just does the opposite. So, question begs. How do we evaluate prophecies now? As a word from God, or actually the opposite.

Polka Duck Designs

11 September 2017 ·

Hi friends! Looks like this page isn't going anywhere for the time being as we keep getting new likes & messages which means it won't delete. Please read on if you are interested in understanding more about the prophecy spoken over us ('polkaduck' YouTube clip) ...

I just wanted to openly address an issue we've been getting messages about. Prophecy! I think many of us may not quite understand how it works. So often when a word of prophecy is given, we may experience the opposite. Consider it warfare or a testing of our faith/trust that God's word WILL come to pass. I think of the time between when Joseph dreamed of ruling & when he actually stepped into his role as Vizier of Egypt. I also think of David, called & anointed by the prophet Samuel as a young man, but then the years before he actually became King.

Our ways are not God's ways! His timing is perfect. My husband & I fully believe God's word will come to pass, as spoken by Shawn Bolz. But it will be in God's perfect time. Laying our businesses down for now, does not mean the prophecy has failed. I believe that's a very earthly & inaccurate view of how the prophetic operates. We trust God will raise up what He so wills at just the right time.

What many people don't know is that my husband & I had received an almost identical word of prophecy from a very different prophet in 2011. The week we received the 'polkaduck' word from Shawn Bolz, I had been looking for a copy of that word from 2011. We keep copies of all of our prophetic words. I couldn't find it anywhere. It was the only one we had ever received about business, influence & finances. I asked God that IF that previous word had been from Him, would He please resurrect it. 3 days later we made a last minute decision to travel up to the conference at which Shawn Bolz was speaking. We were the first called up & what Shawn spoke reflected exactly what was spoken over my husband & I back in 2011.

With every call on a person's life, there is a contending for the promise & there is an appropriate, Divinely appointed time for it to come to pass. The Bible is full of such scenarios!

Shawn Bolz is a highly integerous man who has encouraged us directly since giving us the word in 2015. He is humble & always points to Jesus. I feel really sad when people who do not know him, trash him publicly. I feel this is extremely ungodly behaviour.

So friends! Please be encouraged! We have no intentions of walking away from the call of God on our lives! We're not dead yet, there's still plenty of time - but we rest in knowing that God knows best! At the end of the day, the Prophetic is about building our RELATIONSHIP with God. Yes the word from Shawn was amazing, but whilst we were receiving it (& for months thereafter) more than anything, I experienced the overwhelming power of God's love. He sees us! And He wants to engage so deeply with us. Everything about the prophetic is FIRST & foremost to draw us near. We CO-labour WITH God to bring it about. We have grown so much in our understanding of God & His goodness through the prophetic & at the end of the day, that's all that matters.

I highly recommend watching teachings by Shawn Bolz on YouTube to help grow in understanding in this.

 

Bless you all & if anyone has anymore questions, please feel free to message me & even add us personally as friends. We love that.