Sunday, March 25, 2018

It Is The Charity That Binds

Temple Baptist Church - 3-25-2018 - Homecoming Service
1 Corinthians 13:1-13


A.  31 years ago, God did a wonderful thing for us here at Temple Baptist Church. 

1.  God brought a young family to the little town of Laurens, SC.  A relatively young man with no pastoral experience but a vast experience in service and church problems.  A background that tempered his ministry to a hurting people.

2.  This past Thursday, March 22nd, marked that eventful day.  With just a handful of people that attended Temple Baptist Church that Sunday, God started something extraordinary.  That little church had struggled over the years and was ripe for the beginning of a new era. 

3.  What we enjoy here this morning is a result of what happened that day and over the past 31 years.  Many have come and gone over the years but there has always been a strong nucleus of people that remained.  It has been both our joy and our life to be your pastor’s family!

B.  I have changed topics several times this week as we approach Resurrection Sunday next weekend.  Saturday morning, God settled my heart on this topic: “The Love That Binds.”

C.  As we read this great chapter, we find the word “charity.”  I want to look at it for a few minutes before we go back and enjoy the fellowship and much anticipated meal of Homecoming Day.

D.  The meaning of Charity.  Many of the new perversions called “bibles” have changed the word to “love.”  This is a cardinal mistake!  The word “love” is an “umbrella” that covers many kinds of love.  Charity is a peculiar love.  It is the love of the brotherhood. 

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.

1.  Many churches are measured by their highly educated, articulate preachers. Make a beautiful, articulate speech, impress the people but—without charity—your message is just another hollow sound.

2.  Many churches are measured by their social standing.  Have all the doctors, lawyers, etc. that you want and be “nothing.”  A local church is not a social club.

3.  Many churches are measured by their beautiful buildings.  When I was stationed in Germany, I saw the beautiful architecture of 500 plus year old churches that are now just that, beautiful architecture.  A local church is not an ornate building but a “called out assembly of saints” to worship.

4.  Many churches are measured by the size of their membership.  The Bible is clear on the direction of the “many” and the “few.”  Most of the time, the many are headed in the wrong direction because they are popular with this world.  A local church is measured in quality, not quantity.

E.  You can have all of these things and become a “sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” and be “nothing” in the sight of God. 

John 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

1 John 4:7-12  Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  (8)  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.  (9)  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  (10)  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  (11)  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  (12)  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

1.  Charity must be a universal love of the brethren.  Verses 1-3.  It loves all and loves all equally.

a.  Charity has nothing to do with social status.

b.  Charity has nothing to do with financial clout.

c.  Charity has nothing to do with ethnicity.

d.  Charity has nothing to do with gender.

e.  Charity has nothing to do with faithfulness.

e.  Charity is equal from the pulpit to the pew.  From the pew to the pulpit.  From the back pew to the front pew. 

2.  Charity is a binding love of the brethren.  Verses 4-7.  It is what holds the local church together.

a.  Charity is longsuffering.

b.  Charity is kind.

c.  Charity is unselfish.

d.  Charity behaves itself.

e.  Charity is overlooking.

f.  Charity hates evil but not the sinner.

g.  Charity loves in truth.

3.  Charity is an unfailing love of the brethren.  Verses 8-13.  Times change but biblical charity endures.

a.  Paul names three remaining gifts: faith, hope and charity.

b.  Our faith and our hope are anchored in the greatest of the three, Charity.

4.  We do not know what the future holds for either our church or our membership. 

a.  We have endured the enemy of death.

b.  We have endured the enemy of sinfulness.

c.  We have endured the enemy of division.

d.  But through it all, because of our love for each other, we have and will continue to endure!

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