What is ‘Real Love?” Part 2

The Apostle Paul gives us benchmarks for what define true love in 1 Corinthians 13. As I noted in part 1, none of us can claim to show perfect love all the time. A big reason for this is that in our fallen natures we are rebels against God, who is love. The more we resemble the Lord, the more we will show true love (which is what Paul is getting at with the Corinthians).

The first characteristic was patience, or long-suffering. The next is kindness. We have to be careful with these because the Bible isn’t written so we can tell when everyone else is failing. It’s written to reveal our own hearts to ourselves so that we can repent and follow the Lord, reflecting His glory more perfectly.

Here’s what Matthew Henry says about this trait:

It is kindchrēsteuetai. It is benign, bountiful; it is courteous and obliging. The law of kindness is in her lips; her heart is large, and her hand open. She is ready to show favours and to do good. She seeks to be useful; and not only seizes on opportunities of doing good, but searches for them. This is her general character. She is patient under injuries, and apt and inclined to do all the good offices in her power. And under these two generals all the particulars of the character may be reduced.

Benign, bountiful, courteous and obliging. That paints a picture, but I like the part about seizing on opportunities to do good, searching for them, in fact.

Do we look for ways we can help those around us? Do we anticipate someone’s feelings or needs and then try to meet them to the best of our ability?

Or, are we mostly focused on what interests us and everyone else needs to get with that program?

Think of the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10). Jesus tells of a man who was overcome by thieves and ravaged, left for dead. That’s you and me at various points in our lives. We are ravaged by the temptations of this world, we’re beaten by the desires of our flesh, we’re left alone to die. The Pharisees and the people who have human religion and are full of pride will walk by, pretending not to see us. We, will walk by, pretending not to see our neighbor, friend or spouse. That’s their issue, and they need to work it out!

But, the heart of love looks with compassion on the person who–some might say–got themselves into that mess. Love is kind and will look to do good for people.

This shows up in little things. We teach our kids that if they see a mess in the kitchen, don’t just walk by–help clean it up. Take out the trash, keep the bathrooms looking nice. But this is easier taught than put in practice. It’s not in the human nature (mostly) to look for something good to do that doesn’t impact our own immediate needs. After all, someone else made the mess, and why should it be me to clean it up?

Love is kind. It thinks of the good it can do, then does it at great cost. God could have scrapped the whole creation, sending us all to Hell. And it would have been just to do so. But since God is love, He made a way that we can be given freedom from the sentence of death that is justly ours. He did the most good, the most benign thing, the most compassionate thing, and actually took the penalty for our sin.

Shouldn’t we be able to show such kindness to those around us who may be equally as wicked as we were toward God? Perhaps we should imitate God more in our daily life and let the kindness of His love work through us.

What is the danger of the “Church System?”

The “church” creates the idea that if you don’t attend their services, you’re outside of the fellowship. That’s what they did to the Anabaptists. They accused them of forsaking the assembly. They accused them of heresy and blasphemy. All the while, they murdered them and exchanged actual criminals for a chance to catch and kill an Anabaptist.

These are the words of Christ in Matthew 23:1-15:

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 

They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 

They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.

But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. 

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

This is the word of our Lord. To those who see, this is what happens in churches. Maybe not everywhere. There are home churches and other congregations that heed the word of the Lord. But it’s the exception.

God wants His people to be separate from the world. That’s you. That’s me. If we have ears to hear.

Do We Go To Heaven or Hell When We Die?

Honestly, I always believed to be absent from the body was to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). So, when I saw this YouTube video, I was a bit nervous. Is this guy another Rob Bell? Does he have some “new” teaching that is really just some unique and blasphemous teaching that will undermine God’s Word?

You might wonder, though, is this just a fad teacher that Bryn is following? How do we know Bryn isn’t one of those people who is easily led by a Vlogger on YouTube?

As Jack Bauer might say, “Ask around.” I don’t believe myself without serious scrutiny.

This guy makes some excellent points. There are a couple things I am not sure on, but overall, this is something we should carefully think about.

 

So, the main points that I thought were excellent are, The Resurrection was the central piece of the Gospel. It answers Adam’s sin and the death that resulted.

Also, Hebrews 9:27 states that “to each is appointed once to die, and after this comes the judgment.” So, his point about Elijah not going to The Heaven, but rather into the sky and living out his life elsewhere supports this verse, as does the assertion that Elijah sent a letter to the king later on.

I thought of Enoch. He’s often said to have been “raptured” by God. This comes from Genesis 5:24, “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.”

That is the one exception to all the “and he died,” that follows everyone else. Though it also says that “all the days of Enoch were 365.” We’re  not told what happened. But he is significant for not having “and he died,” tacked on. But, does it mean he was taken to heaven?

But, the thief on the cross and his statement was well answered. Jesus couldn’t have meant that he would be with the thief in Heaven that day. Jesus had to be buried for 3 days and then spent 4o days before the ascention.

The central theme of the Resurrection and then Judgment is quite powerful. And we should be very careful in thinking along the lines of our relatives “looking down” on us from Heaven. Do they have halos and harps? Do they sit on the clouds? Do they have wonderful singing voices?

The point about the body and the spirit making us a living soul is powerful. What happens to our spirit at death, I don’t know. But, the Resurrection suggests that we are not going to be getting our reward until that day. Our hope is in the Resurrection. Anything short of that is not promised. At least not explicitly. And I’m not a fan of basing my doctrine on thin or transparent suppositions.

I don’t know about his teaching on Hell. I think Scripture is very clear that it is eternal torment. I wasn’t clear if he was suggesting that people will be burned up and destroyed and that’s it. “Eternal” is an adjective used in connection to torment for Hell in a number of places. So, if he’s suggesting otherwise, I’d have to disagree with him on that.

Of course, my hope is that I’ll never find out.

What do you think about this? Do we go singing in heaven at the moment of death? Or do we await the resurrection?