Temple Baptist Church - 8-28-2013
A. “Above all things” shows the great importance of our text for tonight. Above mortification, putting off, and putting on is charity which Paul describes as the “bond of perfectness.” I will call this the “fail safe” of the local church. When men do not do that which is right: mortify, put off, or put on.
1. “Bond” – the uniting principle, a joint tie or ligament, a shackle, a union by a chain such as prisoners wore when shackled together.
2. “Perfectness” – of full age, perfection, mature or complete.
3. Salvation is the grace that brought us together and charity is the glue that holds us together.
B. “Charity” is the agape love of God that looks beyond our fault and sees our need. It is the everlasting love with which God loves Israel and the church. It is a love that is undiminishing and pure.
C. The best definition of charity is found in 1 Corinthians 13 with the Word of God giving it these characteristics:
Charity Suffers Long – “Charity suffereth long” 1 Corinthians 13:4
Charity Is Kind – “and is kind”
Charity Is Happiness For Others - “charity envieth not”
Charity Puts Others First – “charity vaunteth not itself”
Charity Has A Proper Opinion Of Self – “is not puffed up”
Charity Behaves – “Doth not behave itself unseemly”
Charity Does Not Get Mad – “is not easily provoked”
Charity Gives The Benefit Of The Doubt – “thinketh no evil”
Charity Is Broken Hearted Over Sin – “Rejoiceth not in iniquity”
Charity Loves Right – “but rejoiceth in the truth”
Charity Is Forbearing – “Beareth all things”
Charity Hopes For The Best – “hopeth all things”
Charity Remains Constant – “endureth all things”
Charity Never Fails – “Charity never faileth”
Charity Is One Of The Greatest Of Christian Virtues – “the greatest of these is charity”
D. The blessings of charity:
1. Charity Glorifies God - John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
2. Charity Edifies The Church - 1 Corinthians 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.
3. Charity Shows Our Spiritual Maturity - Colossians 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
4. Charity Covers A Multitude Of Sins - 1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
E. In 1 Peter 1:22, we see the fervency of such charity: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.”
1. Love “purified” – to set apart, innocent, clean. 1 Timothy 5:1-2 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; (2) The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
2. Love “unfeigned” – without hypocrisy, un-dissembled (the opposite of assembled, thus un-separating), a love that is sincere. Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
3. Love “fervently” – intently (with the whole heart) and without ceasing. 1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. (If others fail to mortify, putt off, or put on—charity will forgive and keep on loving!)
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
1. Fervent Charity Must Be Carefully Cultivated - 2 Peter 1:5-7 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. (Even though it should come natural.)
1 Thessalonians 4:9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
2. Fervent Charity Must Have A Fertile Growing Place - 1 Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
3. Fervent Charity Must Be constantly Maintained - 1 Corinthians 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
4. Fervent Charity Must Be Our Motivation For Fellowship - 1 Corinthians 16:14 Let all your things be done with charity.
1 Peter 5:14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.
5. Fervent Charity Must Be Consistent Among The Members - 2 Thessalonians 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;