No love, no faith. Know love, know faith. Let’s put our eyes on John 3:16,
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NASB
He loved the world. He appreciated it; that is why we can look at Genesis and see that He used His faith to create the word. He loved the world so He could create it by faith using His words. This is faith working by love. Effective faith, powered by love, let’s look at the love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13,
“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 NASB
The greatest is love. Now, if the only way to please God is by faith, and faith is the substance of things hoped for, why is love the greatest? Because even though the only way to please God is by faith, the only way to turn faith on is by love. If you don’t have love, you can’t have faith. That is what makes it greater. Because to get to the goodness of faith, you have to have love. Faith is the only way to please God, but love is the road that gets you there. Let’s define what love is. Let’s look again at 1 Corinthians 13,
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to removed mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.”
You may have the gift of prophesy, might be the best tongue talker in your church, and know everything there is to know about the Bible, but if you don’t have love, none of it matters. Some of you reading this have given things away as seed but are not getting a harvest because you are not living a life by faith through love. You can be planting all the seed in the world, but not walking in love will kill your seed.
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-9 NASB
You are not going to find love in someone who isn’t patient. Men, are you kind to your wives? People who love do not brag about themselves and are not arrogant. Love doesn’t want to gossip, murmur, complain, or nag. Love doesn’t dress inappropriately. Love doesn’t manipulate. It isn’t provoked, you can say whatever you want, you are not going to get into a fight. It doesn’t get offended. It rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never fails. Did you read that? LOVE NEVER FAILS! Two people getting a divorce does not mean love failed; it means they did. Do you have problems with your family or your co-workers? It doesn’t mean it was your fault, but somewhere in there, a human failed because love never fails.
“Now when they heard this, they were cut to the quick, and they began gnashing their teeth at them. But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ But they cried out with a loud voice, and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse. When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul.” Acts 7:54-58 NASB
If you are standing watching an innocent man being killed and you are enjoying it, wouldn’t you say there is a little bit of evil in you? This Saul, at the end of verse 58, goes on to have his name changed to Paul.
“For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.” Galatians 1:13-14 NASB
This is Paul talking about his old religious life. He says listen; I was doing so good, they were promoting me faster than anybody. He was raised this way; it was everything to him. He was rounding people up like cattle and killing them for his religion. Now let’s read what Paul tells the church at Corinth,
“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Make room for us in your hearts; we wronged no one, we corrupted no one, we took advantage of no one.” 2 Corinthians 7:1-2 NASB
We just read how Paul was there when an innocent man was murdered, how he persecuted the church, killed people, and destroyed people’s homes. How can Paul say here that he has not done anything wrong? Because everything he did here before salvation is under grace. How can a husband look at his wife and say she is perfect, or that she never fails? Because of grace. We often fail at walking in love, because the grace we want, and the grace we’ve been given, we don’t give.
“But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that He will instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 NASB
How do you balance this? Paul says he has wronged no one. Now here he is being told to appraise or judge all things. How do you have grace, and love, but judge all? God wants you to be able to look at a situation and judge it, to investigate it, try it, look at it. Look now at 1 Samuel,
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:7 NASB
How do you balance being a person of grace and who walks in love, but yet we are still commanded to judge people? Let’s look at Matthew 7,
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2 NASB
When a baby is born, do you look at it and say it has a terrible past? No, it is a brand-new baby. Why was Paul able to write that he had wronged no one? He was looking back at the day of salvation, not looking back before it. How do you judge sinners? How does religion judge sinners?
“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-20 NASB
He is talking here about believers or people who claim to be people of faith. Judge their fruit. People make mistakes. You don’t judge a whole tree by one piece of bad fruit; you judge the totality. In a religious church, if a Christian screws up one time, they want to throw them out. We are not talking about one bad apple, but if all the tree produces bad fruit, it is bad. That is why some of you have people in your lives, and all they bring is disaster. They will bring into your church, backbiting, murmuring, complaining, gossiping. Cut those people out of your life. If they claim to be a believer, but all the fruit you get off of them is crap, cut it out. Just because a person messes up once, it doesn’t mean you cut them out.
Some of you reading this have had your faith killed because you are not walking in love with people or showing grace to people. You are not walking the way God wants you to walk. Don’t let your judgmental, hypocritical, Pinocchio noses hurt people.
“I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler-not even to eat with such a one.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-11 NASB
God absolutely says, if they claim to be a believer, you better judge that fruit. If a person claims to be a believer and they are one of these people mentioned, don’t even eat with them. Now, does this mean you don’t associate with a person like this if they are lost? No, you can. This is talking about believers. Remember, they persecuted Jesus because He hung around with nonbelievers; they want Him to be with the religious people; their fruit was worse than the unbelievers.
Do you get mad at unbelievers for acting like unbelievers? Just because somebody calls themselves a believer, do you not show them grace? Or do you show them so much grace that it doesn’t matter to you that they always sin? You are just as guilty for listening to a believer gossip or complain. Some of you reading this have been struggling in your walk of faith because you have been judgmental of people or have not been walking in love, and it has caused you immense trouble. I believe God wants to set you free from that so that you can be a person of effective faith that is powered by love.