Spiritual Love(4)

Spiritual Love

1 Corinthians 13: 2

“If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

Introduction

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

This is the fourth session of the series on Spiritual Love.

People sometimes say love has no national borders. Today, there are many international marriages crossing over national borders.

Many of these people go to and live in another unfamiliar country where their loved one lives.

Because the food and many customs are different, it’s not easy to adapt to a new life in another country, but they follow the new way of living of their loved ones. It’s the same with us who have accepted Jesus Christ and become children of God. Before we met the Lord, we used to live in darkness, following the law of this world.

But as we have been saved and gained the citizenship of heaven, we have gotten rid of the old ways that we had in the world. We try to follow the law of the kingdom of God and the proper way of life as God’s children.

Just as there are some immigrants who came to Korea from foreign lands, and have become just like Koreans,God’s children also change to become proper heavenly citizens, not the people of this world.

Jesus said in John 14:23, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.”

And Ephesians 5:8 says, “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.” As said, if we love the Lord, we will keep His word and resemble Him.

But what if we do not practice what we know, although we know the truth, the word of God, very well? This is just knowing the Word without putting it into practice. It is the Word without action . So, it means we are still in darkness, and we cannot resemble the Lord. Then, we cannot even confess that we love the Lord.

Therefore, when I talk to you about the meaning of the verse, “[If I have]all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing,” I pray in the name of the Lord that you will be able to accomplish the love with actions according to the word, namely the true spiritual love.

Body

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, in the last session, I told you the meaning of having the gift of prophecy, and knowing all mysteries and all knowledge, and that without love, all these things were nothing.

The gift of prophecy here does not refer to the prophecy given as a gift of the Holy Spirit, but to the general meaning of prophecy that all saved children of God know what will happen in the future.

Namely, God’s children know that the Lord will come again and there will be the judgment, and they will go to heaven. But even though they know the will and the providence of God, if they do not have love in their heart, they won’t live in His will. Just knowing God’s will and providence won’t be beneficial for them. Also, even though they preach that will and providence of God to the world, it will be useless unless they become the light.

The “mysteries” is the way of the cross. It is the way of salvation, and all the knowledge thatis the knowledge of the truth, namely, the Word of God.

I told you that even though we know all these mysteries and all knowledge, it is nothing if we don’t have love.

Even though we have vast of knowledge of truth, if we do not have love, that truth has no power, and we cannot give life to anybody.

Instead, the knowledge may become a standard and tool to judge and condemn others. It can be used for a purpose for which it is not intended and that is not good.

The ultimate goal of all power and knowledge is love. All these things must exist to save the souls and to make the children of God true children of God.

Therefore, it is important to have true love together with all knowledge and power in the Lord.

At this hour, I will tell you about how to have true love. When you listen to this, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will make up your mind once again to act by the Word and accomplish true love, so that all the knowledge of truth you have will become true life in you.

Brothers and sisters, if you have been a Christian for quite some time and have considerable knowledge of the Word of God and you are faithful in God’s works to some extent, you may be confident of yourself in loving the Lord to that extent.

But, only God the Father knows how much you love Him truly in the deepest part of your heart.

Of course, some of you truly love the Lord completely, but many others think they have accomplished goodness and love in their heart only because they heard about love and goodness so much, but they have them only as knowledge.

Therefore, we need to check whether we truly have spiritual love, and one good way to do it is to check our heart and deeds when we go through tests or trials.

Even under very difficult situations, if our heart towards the Lord does not change and if we just rely on God alone, we can say we have true love to that extent.

On the other hand, if we complain and regret and rely on the methods and laws of this world, we can say our love has been love only as knowledge.

For example, suppose you have a terminal disease and received terminal prognosis from the hospital.

How would you feel?

From the words you heard you know that God is almighty and He can heal any kind of disease. You have also seen many people who were healed by the power of God. Also, you heard many times that tests are also from God’s love for His children and are for blessings and not only the trials that are brought on as the punishment resulting from your sins.

But if you do not have the faith with which you can receive healing from God, and if you just have complaints and resentment rather thanks and joy, this proves that you know the love of the Father God only as knowledge.

The word of the truth that you have heard and the power of God that you have experienced until today are only your knowledge, and they don’t help you at all to solve the problem.

The love only as knowledge will certainly be differentiated through a test. It’s just like a counterfeit bill. It looks like the genuine article, but if you look at it carefully, it’s only a piece of paper. It has no value as money.

On the contrary, those who have true love for God, namely those who feel the love of God in their heart and love God will be able to rely on the Word and power of God. Of course, the good God will keep His children with His blazing eyes from disasters, only if they keep the whole Sabbath and give proper tithes.

But until they accomplish spiritual faith and love, they may face tests from time to time.

Romans 5:3-4, “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; [4] and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always; [17] pray without ceasing; [18] in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Those who know these verses only as knowledge will easily get discouraged and disappointed.

But those who not only know these verses but also always try to practice them will believe the love of God unchangingly, so they will be able to rely on the word of God to overcome any kind of test.

As they act by the word, they have the characters of love like love, joy, endurance, meekness, and self-control. So, they do not abandon God easily, and they can overcome any kind of trial with thanks.

Through tests and trials, they are able to realize the love of God more deeply.

But as your faith grows up to some extent and if you stand on the rock of faith, you will hardly ever disappoint God by complaining and grumbling against God in His tests.

Therefore, when you face trials, you can check how much true love you have in you by checking how truly thankful you are from the bottom of your heart and whether or not you are following only the good will of God.

After all, you cannot have true love just because you want to have it. Only when you have the heart to give true love and a spiritual heart that has no untruth, can you have the true love. In order to have this kind of spiritual heart, you should not just know the truth in your head but the truth has to be in you and it has to be completely yours.

For example, when you eat some food, it’s not just chewing and swallowing.

Only when you digest the food well and absorb the nutrients can you have energy in your body, and you can breathe well and have good metabolism to keep your life and activity going.

In the same way, when you take in spiritual food, you have to digest it well and make it completely yours so that the word will become your life and it will benefit you.

Here, to make the word yours is to practice the word.

As you cast off sins, do the good deeds, sacrifice and devote yourself listening to the word, can you have true love in your heart, and you will become true children of God and gain salvation.

Also, the love that is cultivated in you will save many dying souls. Of course, when you try to live by the word, you may feel it is difficult in the beginning, and you may also make many kinds of mistakes.

Before you came to know the Lord, you used to live for your own benefits following the desire of the flesh. This cannot be changed overnight.

But if you begin to practice from the small things and keep on trying to do things as you learn the Word, you will gradually have love in your heart, and you will have the strength to act by the word.

For example, those medical students who want to become medical doctors study many theories and many things about the human body.

But even though they know many theories, if they do not practice the surgical theories in surgery or apply the theories in practice, even great amounts of knowledge will be of no use.

But, if they use their knowledge mistakenly, they may cause risk and danger to a patient’s life. Therefore, it is very important to turn what you know into actual competency and skills completely.

When we try to accomplish spiritual love in our heart, it is the same. We need the training to actually practice what we know.

Especially, you are not merely medical doctors who help people continue physical lives, but you are being trained to become spiritual doctors who save souls from eternal death.

You have the duty to heal the wounded souls of the world with love and to let them gain life.

So, if you have the knowledge, but have not accomplished spirit in your heart by acting out what you know, it will be just like misusing medical knowledge. You may use your knowledge of truth in a wrong way.

Without understanding the will of God contained in the word, you may judge or condemn others with your knowledge, and you may even sometimes distort the word of God with your thoughts.

There are some people who deceive others with that kind of distortion. Therefore, the knowledge of truth should not just be knowledge of truth. We must practice it to accomplish true love in our heart.

Brothers and sisters, in order to have this power of love, in specific, we need to have two kinds of actions, which are the acts of pulling out and act of sowing.

The act of pulling out is the pulling out the untruths from our heart.

Just as light cannot coexist with darkness, in order for us to have love in our heart, we must cast off the things that are opposite in nature to love such as hatred and self-seeking. Doing so is makingroom for love to settle in our hearts.

To the extent that we pull those things out, love can come into our heart.

To cultivate perfect and complete spiritual love we have to cast off sins to the point of shedding blood and accomplish the heart of spirit.

That’s why, some new believers who are new to church say it is too difficult to live by the Word. But even patriarchs of faith like the apostle Paul, who loved God to the utmost degree, struggled against sins to accomplish perfect love. They went through the period of endurance and toil.

When he had hard times while struggling against sins,Paul confessed in Romans 7:24 “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”

He gave up his life to spread the gospel, and he was subjected to such great persecutions and difficulties that he confessed he was like the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, saying, “FOR THY SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”

Even though he suffered so much and devoted himself completely, he didn’t try to state how faithful he was.

He made himself obey the word of the Lord. He confessed in 1 Corinthians 9:27, “but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

The reason why the apostle Paul became a precious man before the Lord was not only because he worked faithfully for the Lord with his passion but also because he had true love for the Lord by casting off all sins and doing all his duty with great effort and toil.

When you love God and cast off untruth this way, you can have the power of love to save souls.

Secondly, the act of sowing is to sow the characters of love such as forgiveness, understanding, and service in your heart and practice the true love in the life that you lead.

James 2:15-16 says, “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, [16] and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” Likewise, even though you love your brothers, if you do not have the deeds that follow, it cannot be considered true love.

When their children are sick, the parents sometimes stay up all night with them. They also sacrifice themselves sometimes to make delicious foods. Even though they cannot have good things, they buy them pretty clothes and good things because they want to give their children the best things they can.

They do it because they love their children.

In order to accomplish true love, you also must have the action of sacrificing and devoting yourself for others.

Then, along with those actions, your heart will be filled with beautiful love wanting to do things for others rather than for yourself.

Therefore, by this training of pulling out and sowing, I hope you will cultivate perfect spiritual love, which is not only the lips but in deeds and truth.

I pray in the name of the Lord that, by doing so,you will receive answer to anything you ask and you will give spiritual love to everybody, so that you will also be loved very much.

The latter part of today’s passage says, “If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

Upon hearing this word, you may have a question thinking, ‘If one has the faith to remove a mountain, how can he have no love?’

Of course, the faith to remove a mountain is a very high level of faith.

But having great faith does not necessarily mean he has great love, too.

Brothers and sisters, do you believe all 66 books of the Bible?

Do you believe that Moses parted the Red Sea by God’s power? Do you believe that after Lazarus had been dead for 4 days, Jesus commanded him to come out and He revived him?

Most of you members have been witnessing numerous signs and wonders recorded in the Bible, so, I think you believe all the things in the Bible. You are also experiencing Acts 19:11-12, which says, “God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, [12] so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.”

Also, you have heard many spiritual messages, so that you know very well how to receive answers and blessings.

Because you have many experiences, many of you have great faith.

Then, do you love God and our Lord first with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength? Do you love your neighbors as yourself?

Until now, rather than those who could confidently say ‘Amen’, there were many more of you who are in the process of accomplishing this kind of love.

Now, what is the reason that faith and love do not always go together? Faith can increase and grow by seeing God’s works such as many signs and wonders.

Jesus’ disciple, Peter continually saw and experienced numerous signs and wonders that Jesus performed, so, when Jesus was walking on water, he also walked on water.

At that time Peter had not yet received the Holy Spirit, nor had he accomplished the spiritual heart by circumcising his heart. So, he didn’t have spiritual love yet either.

However, through experiences of faith, a person’s faith can grow, but love can enter your heart and grow only when you have put in the effort to cast off sins through devotion and sacrifice.

But I don’t mean that faith and love are completely unrelated to each other.

Because you have faith, you love God the Father, and you try to love the souls.

If you believe in God the Father, the Savior Jesus Christ, and have the true faith to believe in the heavenly kingdom, you will cast off sins and become sanctified to accomplish the true love.

The greater the spiritual love, obviously, the greater the faith. Butif you do not have the deeds through which you resemble the Lord and accomplish true love as you hear the Word, then you have nothing to do with the Lord, even though you may do great works for the Lord.

It is just as Matthew 7:23 says “depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'” All the things you do cannot be true either.

Therefore, I pray in the name of the Lord that you will accomplish true love in true faith to give glory to God, and be able to share true love with God the Father in the eternal kingdom of heaven.

Conclusion

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, when we go outside in the early morning, we may encounter street sweepers who clean the dirty streets. Only then can we realize, “There are people who dothis so that the streets are clean.”

In the same way, if we children of God try to put the word of God into action just a little bit more, we can find and feel the love of God who is faithful to save us and lead us to the heavenly kingdom.

God the Father does not just unconditionally ask that we show the proof of our love through our deeds in action.

First, He showed us the evidence of His love for us by giving His one and only Son Jesus, and even at this moment, He does not leave us like orphans but He sent the Holy Spirit to lead us with endless love.

Psalm 121:4-6 says “Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep. [5] The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand. [6] The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night.” As said, God does not let us slip through His heart but He is always leading us with truthfulness and faithfulness.

Therefore, I hope you will always remember this love of the Father God and love the Lord with deeds and truthfulness until we meet Him in heaven.

To love the Lord in deed and truth is not just to have the knowledge of truth in our head but also to cultivate the heart of spirit by practicing it.

Specifically, I told you that we have to pull out the untruths and sow truths in us.

I also told you that we can check how much true love we have in our heart by checking our heart and deeds when we go through tests.

Also, even if we have faith to remove a mountain, if we do not have love, it is nothing. And, even though faith may be great, it does not mean love is necessarily great as well.

I pray in the name of the Lord that you will practice what you heard today even more diligently, gain greater strength to have spiritual love, so that your love for the Lord will become deeper and greater day by day.

Amen

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