"...but the greatest of these is Love."

This morning for the first time I went to the Chapel services on base. I've been afraid to, because I thought it was going to be a very "wishy-washy" ecumenical type service...but I was surprised at how good it was. Chaplain Stewart spoke on I Corinthians 12:31 - 13:13. Now he spoke out of the NIV, which uses the word love. Now I personally am not a KJV only person...but out of respect for many of my followers I will use the KJV. In the KJV it uses the word "Charity"...now I looked up the definition for charity to make sure I got it right. The definition I found was this: "The theological virtue defined as love directed first toward God but also toward oneself and one's neighbors as objects of God's love." So basically...charity means love.

So here's the passage of scripture written out. I will attempt to go more in depth after this.

But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. 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 no 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 propheteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinking not evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
I Corinthians 12:31-13:13

I want to focus on the last verse. One thing that Chaplain brought up that really hit me, was when he broke down that last verse. He was talking about how faith and hope by themselves can be dangerous by themselves. When he said that...I was taken aback..."What? Faith and hope dangerous?"...to be honest...I was almost ready to walk out because I thought Chaplain was just off his rocker...but he broke it down for us. He said basically that lots of people can faith and hope in what they believe. Muslim terrorists have faith, and hope in their religion. They believe very strongly in what hey do, and they will die...killing thousands of people in the process. They have a deep ceded faith in what has been taught to them. As tough as it may sound...the men who flew planes into the World Trade Center, had a deep ceded faith, and a hope in that faith that if they did what they had been taught they would be saved through it. You see the point he was trying to make?

Faith and hope by themselves can be dangerous. It's the third most important ingredient that we often forget about. Charity...or love...it is the greatest command to us...to love one another. I think this is something that we often neglect as Christians. We get so caught up in what we are supposed to be "doing"...because we believe that it is important in our faith, that we neglect the love part. We do what we do in the faith because we love God, and we in turn want to love others, as Christ loved us.

I encourage you all to examine your lives...deeply...to see where you are on this one. I know I myself really need some help in this area. I know this message was exactly what I needed this morning...and I thank the Lord for revealing it to me.

I pray that this was an encouragement to you all.


bug said…
Wow! I've never thought of it that way. It's so true though...so often I find myself doing things because I know that it's the right thing to do, and not because I want to do them out of my love for God...

Oh and congrats on your new nephew...he's cute! ;)
Pat Russell said…
That reminds me of verses in Romans regarding zeal without knowledge.

Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (Rom 10:1-3)

By the way...you wouldn't happen to know the first name of that Chaplain would you? We attended a church in Charleston SC where the pastor was Ray Stewart. He resigned as pastor to enter the Chaplain corps. This sermon sounds like something from a good Baptist preacher.
Rosebud said…
That is so true...thanks for posting that; it's definitely something to think on.