Charity, Pt. 5

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 profiteth me nothing. 

I Corinthians 13:1-3

As we look at his passage concerning charity, we have come to “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 profiteth me nothing.”  Even if we give all of our goods to feed the poor, we profit nothing.

We are supposed to be generous.  We are supposed to give to the poor.  There are many promises in the Bible (especially in the book of Proverbs) about being blessed if we take care of the poor.  But even if we sell everything we have and give it all to the poor, it still profits us nothing if we lack charity.

We can do the right things with the wrong spirit and the wrong heart.  That is our warning here.  We sometimes get so wrapped up in doing the right things that we forget to “keep our hearts with all diligence.”  Without a Christ-like love in our hearts, all of our good deeds profit us nothing.  It would be sad to give everything we have to feed the poor and not receive and eternal benefit for it.  But that is the risk we take when we do good things outwardly without charity in our hearts.

Charity, Pt. 4

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 profiteth me nothing. 

I Corinthians 13:1-3

The next thing we come to in this passage on charity is “…though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”  This part of the passage deals with having great faith.

Usually we think of faith as being the most important aspect of Christianity.  In order to please the Lord in any way, we must have faith.  We can’t do anything spiritually without it.  It is vital to our Christian lives.  But even if we have great faith, we still need charity.  We still need to have that Christ-like love for others.  Without charity, even faith has no value.

If even faith needs charity to have value, then we can surely see just how important it is.  Even if we have great faith and are a “great Christian”, we need to have Biblical charity.  Without it, Paul repeats the refrain “I am nothing.”  It’s hard to imagine that we could have great faith and still be classified as “nothing,” but that is the way the Bible puts it.  Do we have charity?  Do we love others with a Christ-like, sacrificial, giving love?  If we don’t, then even having all of the faith in the world isn’t going to help us!

Charity, Pt. 3

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 profiteth me nothing. 

I Corinthians 13:1-3

In this passage on the importance of charity, the second thing we see is this: “…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.”  The second need for charity is in those who have the gift of prophecy and understanding.

People with this gift can understand things.  They can see things in the Bible.  They understand all mysteries, and all knowledge.  I have heard people talk about certain portions of Scripture and have been shocked at what they say.  I have not been shocked because they are saying something incorrect.  I have been shocked because I will have read that exact passage of Scripture many times and will never have seen what they are talking about.  Some people have a gift and can see things in the Scripture that not everyone can see.  These people also often have a gift for making complicated doctrines simple.

There are some things in the Bible that are hard for us to understand.  But some people have a gift for understanding.  But, without charity, all of the Biblical understanding in the world isn’t going to help.  It will be of no use to anyone if a person doesn’t have charity.  Without a Christ-like love, no amount of knowledge will do anyone any good.

Charity, Pt. 2

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 profiteth me nothing. 

I Corinthians 13:1-3

In this passage on charity, the first thing that is mentioned is this: “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.”  The first thing mentioned about charity is connected with our speech.

Some people have been given the gift of speech.  Some people can truly “speak with the tongues of men and of angels.”  These people are great orators.  They can speak and men will listen.  Some of them become politicians.  Some are simply motivational speakers.  But, whatever and wherever they are, people listen to them.  People are willing to follow them because of the words they use and the way they use them.

But all of that is pointless without charity.  All of that pointless if they do not have a Christ-like love for others.  Without charity, they are like a “sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”  They do nothing important – they just make pretty noises.

Some men throughout history have had the gift of speech and have used it for evil.  One of the greatest orators in history was Adolph Hitler.  Obviously he used his gift of speech to bring an indescribable evil on the world.

No matter what our gift, we need charity.  No matter what skill we have been given, we need to have our hearts right.  How are we doing?

Charity

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 profiteth me nothing. 

I Corinthians 13:1-3

This is the most famous passage and chapter in the Bible on the subject of charity.  Charity is often referred to as “love.”  But charity goes even beyond love.  Love is usually, in some way or another, deserved or earned.  Charity is not.  Charity is not earned or deserved.  Charity is simply given.  This passage has much to say on the subject, and we will look at what it says this week.

We can look at the list of things given here and see that no matter what we do, if we do it without charity, it is of no profit.  That is a difficult thing for us, as humans, to understand.  We have a hard time grasping the fact that, no matter how much good we might do, we need to be doing it with a right heart.  God puts a premium on our hearts.  God wants our hearts right.  Too often, we think that only our actions matter.  But the Lord tells us over and over (especially in the New Testament) that it is the heart that really matters.  What we have in our hearts will eventually come out in our lives.  If we have charity in our hearts, all of the things listed in this passage will come out in our lives.  But if we do not have charity in our hearts, then no amount of forcing ourselves to do right things is going to help.

Simply Trusting (Hymn)

Simply Trusting
Fanny Crosby (1877)

Simply trusting all the way,
Taking Jesus at His Word;
Simply trusting, when I pray,
Every promise of my Lord.

Refrain

Simply trusting, simply trusting,
Trusting Jesus, that is all;
To the cross of Christ I cling;
Simply trusting, that is all.

Trusting when my sky is bright,
Trusting when my heart is glad;
Trusting in the gloom of night,
When my every thought is sad.

Refrain

Trusting when ’tis well with me,
Trusting whatsoe’er befall;
Trusting Jesus’ love for me,
Simply trusting, that is all.

Refrain

“Simply trusting all the way.”  That is a wonderful summary of the entire Christian life.  We simply trust Jesus.  I love this stanza: “Trusting when my sky is bright, Trusting when my heart is glad; Trusting in the gloom of night, When my every thought is sad.”  No matter what our situation in life, we need to simply trust the Lord.  “Simply trusting, that is all.”


Psalm Saturday 8f

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!  who hast set thy glory above the heavens.  Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.  When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him?  and the son of man, that thou visitest him?  For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.  Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever  passeth through the paths of the seas.  O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

Psalm 8:1-9

When we look around at just how wonderful God made everything, we have to be amazed at the fact that He put us (man) over it all.  When we look at just how stupid we (people) can be, we have to be even more amazed at this fact.

For whatever reason, God gave man dominion over the works of His hands.  All of the land and the animals and the birds and the fish – all of them have been put under our dominion.  We have been given the earth and should be wise stewards with its resources.  I’m not saying that we should all become environmentalists, because we do not worship the creature over the creator.  But we should be mindful of what God has given us and of how we should treat it and use it.

 

 

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