Charity

1Corinthians 13:1-7 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing. Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

‘Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.’ Paul here shows the possibility of exercising gifts in a backslidden condition (13:1-3), as Solomon did (Eccl. 2:9).

‘Tongues of men and of angels’ – This suggests that those who speak with tongues could be using earthly and angelic languages.

‘Charity’ [Greek: agape] spontaneous and divine love, the unconditional love that God has for us. It is more eternal than gifts. Nine ingredients of divine love: Patience- love passive: no hurry; suffers long; bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things (13:4, 7). Kindness- love in action: never acts rashly or insolently; not inconsistent, puffed up, or proud (13:4). Generosity- love in competition: not envious or jealous (13:4). Humility- love in hiding: no parade; no airs; works then retires (13:4). Courtesy- love in society: does not behave unseemly; always polite; at home with all classes; never rude or discourteous (13:5). Unselfishness- love in essence: never selfish, sour, or bitter; seeks only good of others; does not retaliate or seek revenge (13:5). Good temper- love in disposition: never irritated; never resentful (13:5). Righteousness- love in conduct: hates sin; never glad when others go wrong; always gladdened by goodness to others; always slow to expose; always eager to believe the best; always hopeful, always enduring (13:6-7). Sincerity- love in profession: never boastful and conceited; not a hypocrite; always honest; leaves no impression but what is strictly true; never self-assertive; does not blaze out in passionate anger, nor brood over wrongs; always just, joyful, and truthful; knows how to be silent; full of trust; always present.

Fulfilling the Law through Love

Romans 13:8-14 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shall not commit adultery, Thou shall not kill, Thou shall not steal, Thou shall not bear false witness, Thou shall not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself. Love works no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put you on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. 

‘Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law’ This has nothing to do with owing just debts of money and other material things. It simply expresses the idea that Christians owe to each other mutual love. You are not bound to your brethren to obey them as you are civil rulers, but you are bound to them by love.

When you really love on Godly standards, you will not: Transgress the moral law (13:8, 10); deprive any man of his wife; rob any woman of her virtue; take the life of anyone; hate anyone (13:9 with 1Jn. 3:15); take the property of anyone; rob a man of his good name; covet one thing of another; love only yourself (13:9); work ill toward anyone (13:10).

‘And if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself.’ Any other commandment necessary for a Christian to obey is covered in proper love to one’s neighbour (anyone in close proximity).

‘Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.’ Eight commands for Christians: Cast off the works of darkness; put on the armour of light (13:12); walk decently and well behaved; stop revelling and drinking; quit all immoral living; refrain from quarrelling, contention, and jealousies (13:13); clothe selves with the character of Jesus Christ; make no provision for lust (13:14).

‘Honestly’ [Greek: euschemonos] decently (13:13; 1Cor. 14:40; 1Thess. 4:12). ‘Rioting’ [Greek: komos] revelling (13:13; Gal. 5:21; 1Pet. 4:3). ‘Drunkenness’ [Greek: methe] drunken festivals, generally accompanied with all kinds of unclean singing and abominable sexual acts. ‘Chambering’ [Greek: koite] whoredoms, prostitution, and all kinds of uncleanness. ‘Wantonness’ [Greek: aselgeia] licentiousness, all manner of uncleanness and sexual perversion. Lasciviousness (Mark 7:22; 2Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 4:19; 1Pet. 4:3; Jude 1:4); wantonness (13:13; 2Pet. 2:18); and filthy (2Pet. 2:7).

‘But put you on the Lord Jesus Christ.’ To be clothed with a person is a Greek phrase signifying to take upon one the interests of another; to enter into his views; and be wholly on his side, imitating him in all things.

‘Flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof’ – the flesh works of Galatians 5:19-21; Romans 1:21-32; 1Corinthians 6:9-11 and Colossians 3:5-10.

Who Shall Separate Us

Romans 8:31-35 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 

‘What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? … how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? … Who is he that condemns? … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’ We must conclude from these doctrines that God is for us and will freely give us all things; that God alone is our judge; that Christ and the Holy Spirit are our helpers; that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ; and that we are more than conquerors over all enemies through Jesus Christ our Lord. Please note that sin will remove us from His grace and one cannot sin and claim these Scriptures for oneself (Isa. 59:1-2; Heb. 10:26-31).

‘Lay … to the charge of’ [Greek: engkaleo] call to judicial account (Acts 19:38). God justifies the elect.

‘Elect’ [Greek: eklektos] anyone chosen of God at any time, Jew or Gentile, is the elect of God (9:11; 11:5, 7, 28; 1Thess. 1:4; 1Pet. 5:13; 2Pet. 1:10). All men are called to become God’s elect or chosen ones and can be if they will choose God (Matt. 11:28-30; 20:16; John 1:12; 3:16-20; 6:37; Eph. 1:4; 2Thess. 2:13; Jas. 2:5; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 17:14; 22:17).

‘It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us’ four redemptive acts of Christ: His death and resurrection, His ascension (Eph. 1:20) and intercession (8:27).

‘Who also makes intercession for us’ because He is an everlasting priest, and has made the only true atonement for sin, He is able to save from all sin to the uttermost, in all places, at all times, and under all circumstances. The condition of salvation is coming to God by Him.

‘Intercession’ [Greek: entungchano] to light upon; fall in with; meet with; intercede with and for (8:27, 34; 11:2; Heb. 7:25) and “deal with” (Acts 25:24).

Seven purposes of intercession: To come to or meet a person for any cause whatever (8:27, 34; Heb. 7:25); to plead the cause of others as in a civil court (Isa. 59:9-18; 1Tim. 2:1); to pray for others (8:26-27, 34; Isa. 53:12; Luke 22:44; Heb. 7:25); to defend or vindicate a person or thing (Jer. 7:16; 27:18; 36:25); to commend others to a person (8:26-27); to furnish any kind of assistance or help (8:26-27); to accuse or act against a person in a judicial way (11:2; Acts 25:24).

‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ’ not who shall keep Christ from loving us, but who or what shall keep us from loving Him? This is the true idea, for the things listed here might affect people, but not Christ. If we will not permit them to affect our love for Christ, then we are safe from all danger of backsliding.

Lazarus Sleeps

John 11:5-16 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. Then after that said he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goes thou thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumble not, because he sees the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him. These things said he: and after that he said unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleep; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spoke of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent you may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. 

‘Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus’ – this statement proofs that Jesus loved Martha, Mary and Lazarus and that He was not neglecting His love, but awaiting the time to demonstrate greater love and power to them. Thus Jesus waited two more days after He was told of Lazarus and thereafter said to His disciples that they must go into Judaea again.

The disciples were worried because the Jews wanted to stone Jesus but Jesus explained that if any man walks in the day, he will not stumble because he sees the light of this world; but if he walks in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him.

Jewish days are as follows: sunrise to sunset: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., or 12 equal parts, but they varied in length according to the season of the year (Matt. 20:3-12). The night was also divided into 12 equal parts or 4 watches of 3 equal parts or 3 hours each. The longest summer day would be about 14 hours and 12 minutes and the shortest 9 hours and 48 minutes.

Jesus then said to them that their friend Lazarus sleeps; and that He must go to wake Him from His sleep (referring here to death). The disciples took Lazarus’ sleep for rest and stated that he would get better if he rests. Jesus then said to them plainly that Lazarus was dead, indicating he died the day the messenger was sent. Jesus knew it by revelation.

Jesus was glad for their sakes that He was with Lazarus so that the disciples and others can believe in God. This miracle, like all others, was to confirm further His claims to His disciples that He was in reality the Messiah.

Introducing Thomas, called Didymus, or twin – it was customary for Jews to take a Greek or Latin name similar to their own when going to a foreign land or having much interaction with Greeks or Romans. He was one of the 12 apostles (Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13-14). Thomas said that they must risk their lives, and if need be, dies with Jesus. Jesus, through love of His friends in Bethany, exposed Himself to death by His implacable enemies in Jerusalem. Thomas thought it certain death to venture again to this city.

Known By Their Fruit

Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Mat. 7:20 

This is a statement from Jesus Christ Himself. Mt. 7:15-23 There never was a statement made that is truer than this one. It plainly teaches that there are ways whereby all men can know who is right and who is wrong, who is for the truth and who is against it, who is a true Christian and who is not, and who is a true teacher and who is a false one. The ways whereby man can be discerned is “by their fruits” and not by their outward appearance and refinement, which can be so deceptive. A rotten apple may have an attractive coating of wax on the outside and it may be colored with the most beautiful paint, but a bite into it would be a bite into corruption. A most perfect and beautiful fruit tree outwardly will sometimes be so diseased inwardly that it produces the worst kind of fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth corrupt fruit, and a corrupt tree cannot produce good fruit. Every tree brings forth of its own kind whether it is good or bad. So it is with false teachers and those who follow them. Such people can be ever so good outwardly and they may be more refined and correct in life than many true Christians, but this does not prove that they are of God. We all have seen false teachers and rebels against God and the Bible who have been so nice, refined, polite, well-mannered, polished, high toned, and poised until one would think they were gifts from Heaven, but in reality, they were destitute of all truth and spiritual experience and bitter enemies of the Bible.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. Jer. 17:9-10 KJV

We have two facts about the natural heart:

It is deceitful above all things and it is desperately wicked. Then the important question: Who can know it? No one knows how they will react in certain circumstances.  But the Lord searches our hearts and tries the reins, for the purpose of distributing rewards according to the ways and doings of each man.

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance Mat. 3:8 KJV

The nine-fold fruit of the Spirit is for character, not for power as the nine gifts of the Spirit are. Love is the crowning grace of all this fruit and is the impelling force of God in the true exercise of the gifts. A character may be complete with no gift, but it must have all the fruit of the Spirit in order to be Christ-like and normal.  Every element of the fruit of the Spirit should be in every life when one attains to all the fullness of God.  This fruit is expressed in 1 Cor. 13:4-8 as follows: Love suffer long [longsuffering], and is kind [kindness]; love envy not [goodness]; love vaunt not itself, is not puffed up [meekness]; doth not behave itself unseemly [temperance], seek not her own, is not easily provoked, think no evil [meekness]; rejoice not in iniquity, but rejoice in the truth [joy]; bear all things [gentleness], believe all things [faith], hope all things [trust], endure all things [patience and longsuffering]. Love never fail.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Gal. 5:22-23 KJV

The Nine-fold Fruit of the Spirit:

  1. LOVE.  Greek: agape (NT:26), divine love. A strong, ardent, tender, compassionate, devotion to the well-being of someone. Let’s have a look at the  Nine Ingredients of Divine Love:
  • Patience – love passive: no hurry; suffers long; bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things 13:4,7
  • Kindness – love in action: never acts rashly or insolently; not inconsistent, puffed up, or proud 13:4
  • Generosity – love in competition: not envious or jealous 13:4
  • Humility – love in hiding: no parade; no airs; works then retires 13:4
  • Courtesy – love in society: does not behave unseemly; always polite; at home with all classes; never rude or discourteous 13:5
  • Unselfishness – love in essence: never selfish, sour, or bitter; seeks only good of others; does not retaliate or seek revenge 13:5
  • Good temper – love in disposition: never irritated; never resentful 13:5
  • Righteousness – love in conduct: hates sin; never glad when others go wrong; always gladdened by goodness to others; always slow to expose; always eager to believe the best; always hopeful, always enduring 13:6-7
  • Sincerity – love in profession: never boastful and conceited; not a hypocrite; always honest; leaves no impression but what is strictly true; never self-assertive; does not blaze out in passionate anger, nor brood over wrongs; always just, joyful, and truthful; knows how to be silent; full of trust; always present
  1. JOY. Greek: chara (NT:5479), the emotional excitement, gladness, delight over blessings received or expected for self and for others.
  2. PEACE. Greek: eirene (NT:1515), the state of quietness, rest, repose, harmony, order, and security in the midst of turmoil, strife, and temptations.
  3. LONGSUFFERING. Greek: makrothumia (NT:3115), patient endurance; to bear long with the frailties, offenses, injuries, and provocations of others, without murmuring, repining, or resentment. 1 Cor. 13:4-7; 2 Cor. 6:4-6; Ephes. 4:1-2; Col. 1:11; 3:12-13; 1 Tim. 1:16; 2 Tim. 3:10; 4:2
  4. GENTLENESS. Greek: chrestotes (NT:5544), a disposition to be gentle, soft-spoken, kind, even-tempered, cultured, and refined in character and conduct. 2 Tim. 2:24-26; Titus 3:1-2; Jas 3:17
  5. GOODNESS. Greek: agathosune (NT:19), the state of being good, kind, virtuous, benevolent, generous, and God-like in life and conduct. Ps. 107:9; Ephes. 5:9; Matt. 5:44-48; Luke 6:27-32
  6. FAITH. Greek: pistis (NT:4102), the living, divinely implanted, acquired, and created principle of inward and wholehearted confidence, assurance, trust, and reliance in God and all that He says.

Faith is not only a natural ability or exercise of a created faculty of man, but it is a fruit of the Spirit and a gift from God. Gal. 5:22-23; 1 Cor. 12:4-11 When man uses his own powers of faith in God and His Word properly he makes contact with God in a supernatural way, and he becomes a partaker of the divine nature. 2 Pet. 1:3-4 He is then free to walk and live in the Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit will naturally be evident in his life. Gal. 5:16-26 He should constantly add to his faith the virtues of God by yielding to God in daily life. 2 Pet. 1:4-10 This kind of faith becomes a natural fruit of the Spirit and of holy living. It is not an effort to have this faith. It grows in the life of one who is yielding to God and who loves God enough to draw near to God in daily conflict. It is a fruit, not a work. It is a gift, not something we earn by works Rom. 2:4-5; 12:3-11

  1. MEEKNESS. Greek: praotes (NT:4240), the disposition to be gentle, kind, indulgent, even balanced in tempers and passions, and patient in suffering injuries without feeling a spirit of revenge.
  2. TEMPERANCE. Greek: engkrateia (NT:1466), self-control; a moderation in the indulgence of the appetites and passions Prov. 23:1-3; 25:16; Dan. 1:8-16; Rom. 13:14; 1 Cor 9:25-27;  Php. 4:5; 1 Thes. 5:6-8; Titus 2:2-3,11-12; 2 Peter 1:5-10

I therefore choose to crucify my flesh with the affections and lusts; to live and walk in the Spirit.  Gal. 5:24-25 Jesus are the true vine, and our Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Him that bear not fruit, the Father take away: and every branch that bear fruit, He purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit. We are cleaned through the Word which Christ has given unto us, if we abide in Him, and He in us. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can we, except if we abide in Him.  Jn. 15:1-4