Spiritual Love(11)

Spiritual Love

1 Corinthians 13:4

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

This is the 11th session of the series sermon “Spiritual Love.”

When some of our students study we see that they arrange their notes and gather up the questions they previously missed on tests.

They examine the reason why they failed to get the questions correct and then bear the explanations and the answers in mind.

In this way they will have little possibility of getting the answers to the questions wrong again.

People say that this way is effective to study the areas of weakness in a short time.

What would happen if you were to apply this technique in the study of your religious life as well?

When you listen to the message, you would be able to examine yourself point by point and discover in detail every thought and action that you have contrary to the word of God, and then bear it in your heart.

And you can concentrate on changing those attitudes and actions

If you pay close attention to this message of “Spiritual Love” it will be of great help in your efforts to do it.

It is because this message on spiritual love will tell you, in every detail, what is against love.

For example, this message tells us that love is patient, love is kind, and lets us know that if you are not patient or kind, you are not of love.

And you can know that being jealous, bragging, and being arrogant is against spiritual love.

If you examine your deeds and words in detail and throw away each of these characters one by one, you can accomplish spiritual love in a short period of time.

As said, “Love is not jealous,” when you throw away jealousy, you can accomplish spiritual love.

Through this message, I wish for you to examine whether or not you are jealous, and to intensely focus and get rid of any aspect of jealousy you might find.

May each of you form a really beautiful and lovely heart through which you can take greater delight in the prosperity and blessings of your brothers and sisters of faith than in your prosperity, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I pray!

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Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

So what is it that we call jealousy?

Jealousy occurs when a feeling of jealous bitterness and unhappiness grows excessively and evil acts are committed against another person.

If you have a sense of being jealous and envious in your mind, you will have ill feelings when you see someone else commended or favored.

If you find a person more knowledgeable, richer and more competent than you are, or if one of your co-workers becomes prosperous and gains favor from many people, you might hold the thought, “Why is only that person allowed to have such good conditions and gain recognition?”

Sometimes you may hate that person, wish to swindle him of everything he has and trample all over him.

On the other hand you may feel discouraged thinking, “He is so favored by others, but what am I? I am nothing!”

In other words, you feel disheartened because you compare yourself with others.

When you feel discouraged some of you may think it is not jealousy because you do not have any hatred or spite towards another person.

But, love rejoices in the truth. In other words, if you have true love you rejoice when another person is prosperous.

If you are discouraged, rebuking yourself, or not rejoicing in yourself, this is because your heart is not of love and truth.

Because your ‘self’ is alive, your pride is hurt when you feel yourself less than the other.

Because the self that remains in you wants to be favored and recognized more than others, you feel disheartened when others are more favored than you.

This is how the jealousy grows and then it comes out in wicked words and deeds.

Let me give you an illustration of jealousy in the history. Many people have been jealous of someone else gaining greater favor, wealth and power.

A few concubines and a wife of a king were jealous of each other when one of them was favored by the king.

In her wickedness one severely jealous concubine cursed another with black magic and falsely accused the other in a plot that drove her to her death.

Additionally, there were many faithful men who were mistaken for rebels or unreasonably ill-treated by the king because of the jealousy of evil and sly men.

They were sometimes tormented or sometimes exiled to remote islands or sometimes killed.

Jealousy has caused many people to retaliate on each other repeatedly with the shedding of blood.

These horrible things have been revealed when the evil and dirty nature was provoked.

So, in the end, what happens to people whose jealousy grows to become evil?

The Bible says that they cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.

Sometimes you harbor jealousy just in your mind as a desire of the flesh, but sometimes it is outwardly revealed in an act of jealousy, then it is a deed of the flesh.

Galatians 5:19-21 say, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Jealousy can be divided into a several categories.

One of them is jealousy between a man and a woman. Such jealousy is provoked when a person desires to receive more love and favor from the other.

For example, the two wives of Jacob, Leah and Rachel, were jealous of each other and each desired to be the more favored by Jacob.

Jacob married Leah through the deceitfulness of his uncle Laban regardless of his own will, and gained her younger sister Rachel as his wife after 14 years of service to his uncle.

Rachel was more favored by her husband than her sister Leah, but she had no child while Leah had 4 children.

Afterwards Rachel became jealous of Leah.

Genesis 30:1 says, “Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she became jealous of her sister; and she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die.””

She poured out her evil of jealousy with her mouth and caused pain to the heart of her husband.

And she constantly bothered and caused difficulty for her sister, Leah too.

Both of them gave their respective maid-servant to Jacob as concubines to take his love exclusively.

Both of them were sisters. If they had harbored just a bit of true love in their hearts, they could have rejoiced when the other was more favored by their husband.

The jealousy that occurs between wives and concubines of a king belongs to the kind of (evil) jealousy.

Next, the jealousy arises when some else’s situation or good fortune is better than your own situation.

When the other is richer, more knowledgeable, and more competent than you or when the other is more favored and loved, you may become jealous.

Some of you may become jealous of someone when you feel their outward appearance makes them more prominent to others than you.

The aspect of jealousy is different according to the value of each one’s life.

It is not hard to find yourself in situations of jealousy in school, at work, and in the home when jealousy comes from the feeling that someone else is better than you.

When a contemporary advances and is more prosperous than you are, you may hate and interfere with the other.

You may think that you have to trample on others to be more prosperous and more favored.

For example, because they want to be promoted within their company, some people reveal other’s faults and shortcomings in the work-place and cause others to come under unjust suspicion and scrutiny by seniors.

Not even young students are excepted from this.

Some students bother other students in good standing at school and interfere with them causing them to be shunned by others.

At home, some of you slander and quarrel with brothers and sisters in order to gain greater recognition and favor from the parents and to inherit more possessions from them.

Some young children are jealous of their brother or sister because they desire to be more favored than the others.

The first man Adam and his wife Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel. But, why did Cain kill his brother Abel?

It was because of this (evil) jealousy.

Both Cain and Abel gave the sacrifices to God, but God accepted only Abel’s offering because he alone offered it in accordance with God’s will.

Then, Cain became jealous of his brother Abel, and finally struck and killed him because he failed to overcome his jealousy.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

This jealousy does not happen to the worldly people alone.

How pitiable it is for us to find that kind of jealousy among believers!

The third type of jealousy happens between brothers and sisters of faith.

Some of you are found to be jealous of another who is ahead of you in the order, position, spirit, or faithfulness to God.

You may have ill feelings and become hot-tempered against the other even though he has done nothing wrong against you or caused no harm to you.

You may show that kind of jealousy against the other who is similar to you in the age, position, and the years of faith, or the other who you know very well.

You may have ill feelings and feel displeased when the other does not seem any better than you in many aspects, but he still advances ahead of you.

If the other is one of your seniors, you will not try to obey him and gossip about him.

And you will try to degrade him.

Sometimes those who are less than you in the years of faith, age and a church title go ahead of you just as Matthew 19:30 says, “But many who are first will be last; and the last, the first.” Then, you may feel strong jealousy against him.

The illustration of King Saul against David was the very case.

After David defeated Goliath, commander of the Philistines, King Saul appointed David as his commander because David was very wise and good at everything that he had committed himself to accomplish.

As said in 1 Samuel 18:7, one day when David and King Saul returned from the battle, the women sang as they played, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”

And the two following verses say, “Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” Saul looked at David with suspicion from that day on.”

In the sight of King Saul, David was still younger than he and the last in many aspects, but seemed to be more favored by the people than he. So, King Saul became seriously jealous.

Despite all this, David had no desire to harm King Saul because the king had been anointed by God, and King Saul knew it.

But King Saul failed to control his jealous mind and instead he tried to kill David until the last moment.

Thus, King Saul tried to kill David because of severe jealousy, but finally Saul was forsaken and David became the next king.

On the other hand, Saul’s son Jonathan knew that if David were to become the next king, he would not succeed his father, but loved David as he loved his own life.

His heart for David was totally different from Saul’s.

If you are able to recognize and love the other who is much greater than you, it means that you have neither jealousy nor envy but instead you are full of love.

In less than a month our church will have the annual assembly according to each mission and vote for each leader.

Through the annual assembly, you should carefully examine your hearts and attitudes.

I wish for you to count others better than you and rejoice for the leader who will be elected.

The problem of jealousy does not happen only in your religious lives but also between brothers and sisters of faith, between pastors and church members, among the churches and denominations as well.

In some churches a faction or a party is formed against the ministering pastor of the church.

When a church experiences great revival and accomplishes much for the kingdom of God, some churches do not rejoice but slander against, rebuke and condemn it as heretical.

Moses led the people of Israel out of Egypt, but he became the object of their jealousy.

In the 12th chapter of Numbers, Aaron and Miriam became jealous of Moses because he was specially favored by God.

In Numbers 16, Korah, Dathan and Abiram formed a faction and rose up against Moses along with 50 renowned leaders who were chosen among the Assembly of Israel.

Numbers 16:3 says, “They assembled together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “You have gone far enough, for all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?”

Moses tried to awaken them, and committed that case into the judgment of God.

Korah, Dathan and Abiram and their households went down alive to Sheol, and the fire that came forth from God consumed the two hundred and fifty men who aligned themselves with them.

In Numbers 16:15, Then Moses became very angry and said to the Lord, “Do not regard their offering! I have not taken a single donkey from them, nor have I done harm to any of them.”

Moses led the people of Israel with all his heart and sincerity so that a not a single soul might stumble and fall.

Moses was called and appointed as the leader of Israel by God Himself.

The wonders and signs that accompanied Moses confirmed how proper he was in the sight of God.

But they slandered Moses saying “Moses exalted himself!” and opposed the servant of God anointed by God Himself.

God severely punished those who had become jealous of Moses and let the people of Israel realize how grave that kind of sin is.

Parents deeply lament when their children quarrel with and hate each other.

You were made in the image of God and became the children of through the blood our Lord Jesus Christ shed. So, if brothers and sisters in Christ fight and quarrel against each other and if some churches are jealous of each other, how lamentable it is for the heart of our Lord!

Thus, since we are all brothers and sisters in our Father God, our jealousy is deemed a great sin in the sight of God.

Therefore, I wish for you to cast off any kind of jealousy, and urge none of you to be jealous of any brother or sister of faith or any servant of God or any church.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

Then why is it that some believers in God become jealous of others?

It is because they have little faith and lack love.

If you have the full assurance of the right of the children of God and the citizenship of heaven, the brothers and sisters in Christ are much more so than those of your family in the world.

It is because you all serve the one and the same Father and you believe that you will live in the kingdom of heaven for ever and ever.

As much as true love comes upon you along with your strong faith, you will be able to love your brothers and sisters of faith as yourselves, and rejoice and take delight in seeing the others prosperous and successful.

But if you lack the faith in and love for God and the kingdom of heaven, you will try to seek worldly things including wealth, honor and fame. Moreover you may become jealous of one another.

If you have true faith and really love our Father God, you must not be jealous of anyone because of a desire to seek things of the world.

On the contrary, you will be more passionate towards the works of God to take the better kingdom of heaven by force. In other words, you will long for spiritual things.

This spiritual thirst is totally different from jealousy.

Actually you need to have a desire to change into spirit and to be faithful to the kingdom of God more than anyone else.

But you must not either go astray from the truth or let others stumble down because of your excessive desire.

That’s why no matter how fervent you are for the Lord, you have to be considerate of your surroundings, seek the benefit of others before your own and be at peace with them.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

Many people are jealous of the other in order to advance ahead of him.

Through that jealousy are you sure that you can gain what you desire to have? Not at all!

You may seem to go ahead of others to some degree when you oppress or cause harm to come to them.

But in whatever kind of ways you have tried to gain what you want, you cannot get all the things you desire.

That’s why it is said in James 4:2, “You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.”

Just the way Job 4:8 says, “According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it,” evil will return to those who caused those evils.

And just as said in Proverbs 14:30, “A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones,” it is no profit to a person, but only harm to those who are jealous.

If you really desire to go ahead of the other, you must not be jealous of the other, but ask God. He controls everything including death, life, misfortune, and fortune of mankind. Then, you can gain it.

Of course, I don’t mean that you can everything you have asked for.

As our Lord says in James 4:3, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures,” you cannot receive the things that you have asked for your own sake because it is not the will of God.

But how many people pursue lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of this life today?

Most of them are seeking wealth, honor and power only for their benefit and to boast of themselves before others.

You have to remember that everything that is of the world will be sure to disappear like a mist.

That’s why it is said in 1 John 2:17, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever, “and in Ecclesiastes 12:8, “‘Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher, ‘all is vanity!'”

Therefore, I eagerly urge you not to be jealous of or quarrel with your brothers and sisters because of greed for the world, but try your best to accomplish a proper heart before God.

Then, God will give you the desires of your heart and repay you with the everlasting heaven.

May all of you love your brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ and seek the eternal kingdom of heaven by bearing in mind that you are the children of God with the citizenship of heaven, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I pray!

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ

If you experience jealousy or envy toward someone, how would you feel? You’d feel distressed and burdened.

How would you feel if you have love for them? You will feel great joy and happiness.

Which do you really want to choose? You will surely choose the latter, the heart of love.

It costs a lot in terms of effort and patience for you to accomplish complete love, but if you complete this love within you, you can possess the key with which to open every door.

It is the same when King Solomon asked God for wisdom and enjoyed everything including riches, honor and power through it.

May all of you possess this love so that you can be wealthier, wiser, and greater in spirit and flesh than anyone else on earth, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I pray!

Amen

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