WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT
Charity. Since these messages began, we have been blessed. Not just blessed, but the Lord is quickening our minds in a big way. The Ministry is bringing a message that will one day resound across the hearts of people everywhere who are waiting to hear God speak.
Charity Becomes You
Charity isn’t just about helping or giving to someone in need. Although helping, giving, and love are part of it, charity is defined by a broader set of characteristics.
Charity is Divine Order. How much more order can you be in than working in God’s nature? Charity is the nature of God Himself, the spirit of heaven, and what we are striving to produce. Charity is throughout the whole Bible.
Don’t Pigeonhole Charity
Charity has been pigeonholed into 1 Corinthians 13:4&7, longsuffering and enduring. Don’t get us wrong, those two are big traits, but don’t limit charity to these. Charity is the WHOLE spirit of God, and He gave it to Jesus, who came and presented it to the apostles, who went out and taught it to the people.
Before heading into 1 Corinthians 13, consider that Elder LaFleur taught us when we read the Bible, don’t just read a verse here or there, but know what’s going on around that passage of scripture. Like Elder, Brother Nobles covers the whole picture, and when relevant, provides a background.
The Corinth Church – situated in the city of Corinth in Greece. At the time, Corinth was a rich, prosperous commerce area with a lot of culture. As an international trade hub, much of the population was fluent in other languages.
Paul – He’s an apostle and he’s ironclad. He’s smart, successful in reaching out to the Gentiles, and travels half-way around the Roman Empire—encountering all kinds of danger. Either people love Paul and could listen to him all day, or they want to tear him apart limb by limb. Nothing in between.
He started the church in Corinth and built the people in the teachings of Jesus. After he established the church, doubters and false prophets came to town to stir up trouble. Paul always defended the truth and his apostleship.
Paul devoted his life to Jesus, and he and God were on the same page. Jesus didn’t pick him so he could just baptize people or travel around saying fancy things. With letters like this one to the church at Corinth, Paul helped shape the early church into the powerhouse it is today. Not a small accomplishment.
Paul’s Letters – wrote to the church at Corinth, in letter format. The Bible would later be divided into chapters and verses to make it easier to reference and read.
Overview of I Corinthians 12
First off, Paul didn’t want the people ignorant about spiritual gifts. It’s okay that there are diversities, but NOT okay if they aren’t operating in the right spirit, the one spirit of God who directs them all. Different gifts—same spirit.
All Kinds Of Showing Off
The Corinth church had become competitive with their gifts. In chapter 12, Paul was reeling in the ministers and their gifts back to operating in the same spirit. No matter how amazing someone preaches or how awesome their gift appears, if they are not operating in the same spirit, they are NOT of God.
Spiritual Anatomy and Physiology 101
We all make up the Body of Christ and need to work together and do our specific part for the body to function properly—all body parts are important. If the foot decides to just take off on its own one day, we’re in trouble. We’re one body.
When all its parts work together, the body is an amazing, incredible wonder made by God.
We’re Wearing The Same Outfit
Copycat. In God’s Church, His ministry is diverse and not all called for the same positions. If they were all the same, it would be a huge mess. God set different roles in the church.
1 Corinthians 13
Paul went into 1 Corinthians 13 correcting men for not using their gifts to exhort God. Gifts should be upright and pleasing to God. They were speaking in tongues so much, it left the people not getting anything productive. It wasn’t changing anyone; it wasn’t producing anything. It brought no value or edification to the people. He didn’t say we shouldn’t speak in tongues—just that they had gone too far.
Verse 1 – If I speak fluently in different languages or in tongues, and I don’t have charity, I’m as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. I’m ineffective. I’m just a lot of noise. I have nothing that adds or edifies.
Verse 2 – If I have amazing faith and gifts that I’m using for my glory, and lack charity, I have nothing; I am nothing. God does not honor someone because they are a great speaker. He honors the spirit of charity when He sees it in everything we do.
Verse 3 – Sheds light on the world’s biggest definition of charity, giving to the poor. I can give everything. I can die for something. I can sacrifice my life for a good cause. Without charity, it profits me NOTHING.
Imitation Is Not Always The Best Form Of Flattery
The World – has a casual relationship with charity. It has longsuffering, enduring, and other traits from the fruit of the spirit, but limits how they apply them.
The Carnal Nature – is adept at mimicking the Spirit of God. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’s carnal nature quoted scripture.
Fruit Of The Spirit
Galatians 5:22-23 are characteristics of charity and run parallel to I Corinthians 13. Strive to have all God’s characteristics working fully in you. Not a few. Not most. Go big, or go home.
Longsuffering – is about you, and only you. The key is to not let everyone know. When we think about getting someone back who has wronged us, we are not longsuffering. During personal suffering, be kind.
How long do we suffer? Onslow Christian Academy posed that question in the musical production, Pilgrim. The character, Christian, asked, “How long is this journey?” The answer, “Until it’s finished.” We suffer until we’re finished; until we’ve laid our lives down for good.
Goodness – does not hesitate to say, “Please forgive me.” Our strength is made perfect in weakness. Have spiritual integrity. Live this life everywhere. Be kind. Kindness means we are mindful of each other. “If I’m mindful of you, I won’t project my anger or suffering on you.” Be mindful of one another as God is mindful of us.
Temperance – is not extreme in any direction. Have modesty, tempered. Don’t stand out in a crowd, but don’t take the liberty God gave His people and make it a sin. Balance.
If the spirit of charity has lost momentum in your life, get it back.
Hello, Stuff We Overcame
As you’re overcoming your spirit, fill that empty space with God, or your old ways will come flooding back. For every piece of Adamic nature you shed, replace it with God’s characteristics. Think: beautiful transformation.
Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to pour out his soul to death. He was dead—as a doornail—for three days. We’re sacrificing our nature, and we have to talk about carnal things to keep them in check, or they’ll rule over us. Take over the carnal nature by applying what we learn, or it takes over us. As soon as we choose to do right, the internal struggle begins. Dig your heels in.
Heaven On Earth
When Jesus was here, he had a will contrary to God, just like us. He cried out to God, ‘there must be a way other than my death to bring the people back’. Only there wasn’t. His next prayer was Thy Will Be Done.
Jesus also prayed that God would make the twelve apostles one as He and His Father were one. Prayer, answered. They were one in motive, purpose, and action. Jesus wanted His apostles to put on the nature of God, and He wants us to do the same.
You Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
In Jeremiah 7, God called it quits. Turns out, God’s mercy does have an end point. Just ask the people in Jeremiah 7, and ask Esau.
Jeremiah 7 was the last straw for the people of Judah. God told Jeremiah to never pray for them again, and He would not hear their prayers. God turned them over to a reprobate mind, meaning He turned them over to their own mind, meaning ‘here’s some rope’. God was DONE with them.
In Genesis, Esau sold his birthright. Afterward, he sought God carefully with tears, but God would not hear him either. We have not been turned over, so when you feel that pull from God, come closer. Don’t turn away from Him while He still hears you.
We’re catching up on summer reads, but the Word always tops our list. Some of the Bible’s finest are in the book of Daniel. Every time it seemed like the light was about to go out, God didn’t let it.
Storms Are Coming
Look, God has given us a window like he gave Daniel. Take this moment. He’s giving us an opportunity. Not long ago, Elder preached a message: An Invitation To Come Back. We don’t know what awaits us a few years or days down the road. We do know a day is coming when the darkness is going to be deeper than anything we’ve ever seen or witnessed in our lifetime.
I’ve Got Friends In High Places
It doesn’t matter who you know or what connections you have here on earth when that day comes. The King really liked Daniel and exhausted every effort on Daniel’s behalf to save him. But at the end of the day, King Darius was trapped by his own laws and could not change them.
Having friends in high places can be a good thing, but if laws are written, that connection can fail you. King Darius had to order Daniel into the den of lions because Daniel prayed and broke the law of that land. It hurt Darius to bring harm to Daniel. Once they put Daniel in the den of lions and sealed it off with a giant boulder, the king went home and refused to eat. He fasted and could not sleep.
We know the rest of Daniel’s story. He was fine the next morning because God protected him. There wasn’t one thing man—regardless of how high the position—could do to save him.
Don’t burn bridges with the Lord. Like Brother Nobles said, “God’s mercy does have an end point”. Choose God. Look how well that choice turned out for Daniel!
Buh Bye, Naysayers
After being thrown into the den of lions, Daniel comes out better than okay. The king punishes the ones, along with their entire families, who conspired against Daniel by throwing them into the den of lions. As we see the lions devour and crush their bones before they even hit the floor, Daniel’s miracle becomes more magnificent and defies the argument that perhaps the lions weren’t hungry. Darius issues a proclamation to fear and respect Daniel’s God. Daniel goes on to do pretty well during the reigns of Darius and the next king, Cyrus.
Let God Do It
Not to be spooky, but it’s like we can hear that phrase whispered on the pages throughout the book of Daniel. Daniel, and his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, don’t partake of things that hit their spiritual conscience as not right. And don’t think you’re going to do something entirely disrespectful or ridiculous against God while Daniel’s around, no matter what title you have.
In case you’re wondering where the world will end up or what it’s like living in the last days, Daniel sheds light on that, too, but you’ll need God’s ministry if you want the whole picture. Daniel even ends up taking pity on kings, like Nebuchadnezzar, who have earthly power over him. He endures horrible trials, yet has mercy. His patience and honesty helped kings, including Nebuchadnezzar. Why? Because Daniel could see the truth.