Rev Anita Venter, (Bethlehem Bible College)
Sunday 3rd of February 2019
Connected to the source of love
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Let us pray: Lord, we thank you for the gift of your Word and as we think on these things, open our hearts and our minds to hear you. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord, our rock and redeemer. Amen
Imagine our world completely without electricity or any form of power? To be honest, for me that is almost impossible to envision. All of us, male and female, young and old, black and white, religious and non-religious will be seriously affected.
From the darkened nights of the Stone Age to the brightened nights of the Iron Age we can see how our world has changed. We are living in an ultra-modern era of life style where we are enjoying all the luxurious comforts. We never imagined earlier how these things would become the vital necessities in our life.
The discovery of electricity, more over the discovery of storing electricity in batteries are some of the greatest achievements of human being. From the use of a small LED to a huge satellite system, everything depends on their life-giving source of electricity.
Mobile phones, internet, computers, toys, heating and cooling systems, stoves, fridges and freezers, hair dryers, nail dryers, industrial machines, hospital equipment and in the very near future our cars will become useless without electricity or other form of power. They will not be able to perform the duty for which they have been created for.
Just think about it! Humans living under the shadow of diseases because they do not have vaccine, due to lack of refrigeration. In our modern world we are all connected because of the availability of electricity. Imagine your world without social media.
I googled “life without social media” and found three trillion results.
Especially our younger generation will feel lost without twitter, messenger, snapchat, viber, whats-app, g-mail and whatever else is out there that I am not even aware of.
According to an article in “The Guardian” written in July 2015 a man was arrested for “extracting electricity” on a London train to charge his mobile phone. At that point he was the latest victim of the clammy panic that strikes us when there is no way to charge up a phone or a tablet. In London a plug-point is also called “hope”. Believe it or not, dead-battery anxiety is a real thing.
In some ways I can identify with this panic. We have become addicted to life with electricity because it provides comfort. But also it plays a huge role in bringing healing to the sick, heal the broken hearted as electricity connects us all over the world, so we can send a message or make a call to encourage each other. Electricity plays a role in feeding the poor as we can prepare proper meals and deliver them to poverty stricken areas. Electricity plays a role in standing up for the oppressed as we post our articles of opposition to injustices on facebook or other social media. We can send e-mails to presidents and governments opposing whatever is wrong. But of course without love, the role that electricity plays in taking care of humanity also means nothing.
Now, let us flip the coin.
Let us imagine our world completely without love. Many end-time movies have been made, which give us a vivid picture of what that would look like.
Opposed to the three trillion results on google for a “life without electricity”, a staggering twelve trillion results pop up when we google the word “love” of which most would not find a place in my sermon I can assure you.
I am not talking about romantic love. I am talking about philos- or brotherly love and agape love which is the God-kind of love. Again all of us, male and female, young and old, black and white, religious and non-religious will be seriously affected by a life without love.
In fact, we really do not have to give an effort to imagination. If we begin to focus and look around we already have overwhelming evidence of what a world without brotherly and godly love looks like.
Let us be serious, you cannot shoot at or drop bombs on people you love. You cannot let people go hungry, tear down their dwellings, abuse women and children, turn a blind eye to those who are sick and hurting, divide communities and families with walls, kidnap and sell young girls for personal gain, gossip, slander, judge others, act in jealousy and more, if you love.
A world without love, is a cold and dark place. A place where you hear the cries of people in agony and suffering. A world without love is like a mobile phone without electricity. It is a spiritual dead place. It does not function the way it should.
In the epistle to the Church in Corinth, Paul gives us a glimpse of a community where the God-kind of love was absent. A community that had a difficult time staying together. Plagued with jealousy and pride in the area of spiritual gifts, the influence of sin and doctrinal problems, disunity was more than evident and resulted in a divided people.
Paul did not deal with wars, human trafficking or physical walls. Yet he was already compelled to write this famous chapter of LOVE. How much more then do we need to learn about love in our evil world.
All non-biblical written efforts to define love fall silent before the apostle Paul’s magnificent hymn of love. As God is love, it is a description of Christ and the love He enables in us when He comes to indwell us.
Just as electricity is the source of life for a mobile phone, Christ and his love is the source of our life. God demonstrated His unconditional love for us in giving his only begotten son so that all who believe in him will have eternal life.
Interestingly, in 1 Corinthians 13:13, the King James Version of the Bible translates the word “love” as charity. According to the dictionary, the word “charity” means a benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity …
the voluntary giving of help,
and kindness and tolerance in judging others.
It looks like love is not only a passive feeling towards other but it is active.
In other words, we can speak and teach love as much as we want, but if we do not live it out, if we do not practice love for others to see, it means nothing.
The purpose of Jesus becoming flesh, was to come and demonstrate to us what active love looks like. He humbly walked on this earth, caring for widows, orphans, sick and oppressed. Speaking truth, including the hated gentiles in his act of love, he risked being thrown off a cliff.
Patiently he taught his disciples who did not always understand.
Selflessly he sacrificed his time to feed the hungry multitudes. He never forced his views on others, but gave them to choice to follow or not. He was not jealous of anyone, did not boast about himself, but rather humbled himself washing the feet of his disciples.
His kind voice was heard everywhere as he encouraged anyone and everyone without judgment to turn away from sin. Never giving up on humanity, Jesus cared more for us than for himself.
He endured the beatings of the gentile Roman soldiers to the point of death, and still calling unto God to forgive them too for they did not know what they were doing. Not keeping record of all the wrongs he lovingly and willingly went to the cross so we could see God’s love, experience his forgiveness and have eternal life.
The miracle of Christ’s indwelling power is that the love He revealed is exactly the love He will communicate to others through us. Just as the mobile phone needs to stay connected to the source of electricity to perform the work it has been created for, we need to stay connected to the source of love, to be able to do what we have been created for … to love God and to love others.
Our world truly hungers to see God’s love. This need for love can be fulfilled by you. You can be the hands of love and compassion that holds the hands of one dying all alone in the hospital, hands feeding and clothing the homeless, hands helping someone up who fell under the pressure of life. You can be the feet of love visiting someone in prison. You can be the kind voice of love speaking up for the oppressed and abused of society.
You can be the life of love showing to the hurting, the love of God that will heal them of their broken hearts. Showing them God’s love that never fails.
Without love … we are like a dead mobile phone. Without love … we are nothing.
My prayer for us all is that we stay connected to the source of love, Jesus Christ and that the virtue of godly love will continue to manifest in us.