1 Corinthians 13:1
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Today I’ll deliver the second in the series of messages titled “Spiritual Love.”
Recently I have been giving the weekly morning service sermons on “the Kingdom of Heaven.”
I believe that you have felt through the messages on heaven how beautiful the kingdom of heaven is and how happy our lives will be there.
Why is the heaven so beautiful and happy?
That is because the heaven is filled with love.
The reason our Father God has prepared the beautiful heaven for us is that He loves us His children and wishes to express His love for us.
But, who enters heaven?
They are the children of God who is Love itself.
There is something for you to remember, when the saved children of God go to heaven it is only the spiritual heart, or heart that has been made complete by the spirit, that accompanies you.
This spiritual heart refers to the heart that has been filled with spiritual love.
So, each of the different dwelling places you will enter is different according to the measure of the true love that you have accomplished in your heart and the size and the depth of the love accomplished that is quite different.
And your heavenly rewards will be different depending not on how faithful you have been to the Lord but on how much you have accomplished spiritual love.
From today I will speak about the significance of spiritual love.
I wish for all of you to realize that the ultimate purpose of our Christian life is love just as the original entity of the kingdom of heaven is love and to endeavor to fill your heart with love.
May each of you share the highest level of love with the Lord in the highest dwelling residence when you reach heaven, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I pray!
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Today’s Scripture Verse 1 says, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
The “tongues of men” here does not refer to a gift of the Holy Spirit. The tongues of men indicate all the languages that mankind has spoken until now.
This message “Spiritual Love # 2” is being interpreted into more than 7 languages including English, Japanese, French, and Russian and in broadcast to the world.
When all these languages are put together, they are called “languages of men.”
All of you listening, the power of tongue, the power of the spoken word, is very great.
Have you felt the power of tongue?
Recently the power of our speech has been being emphasized.
Many people try to learn how to speak properly for better social life and community activities.
Today when companies employ workers and colleges choose students, they give applicants speech tests through which we can infer that speaking well is recognized as a competency or skill.
This is because proper speech skills are very beneficial in many fields.
When you express and convey your emotions and thoughts, you can persuade countless others and move their hearts.
In addition, human civilizations and knowledge have been systematized and inherited through the media of languages.
Thus, the languages of men include the persuasive forces to move many people and the strength to accomplish much.
These days broadcasting announcers who host news or entertainment programs are objects of jealousy.
Announcers’ speech that is so clear and eloquent is not only good at conveying good information and knowledge, but also convey to the audience impressions and joy.
No matter how fluent a man’s speech may be, however, it is deemed to be no better than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal without love.
Next, the “tongues of angels” refers to very beautiful words.
Angels are considered as the objects of beauty by both the children of God who believe in the Lord and unbelieving people alike.
So, when we see those who look beautiful and elegant, we say they look like angels.
When we see those who speak graciously with a gentle voice, they are said to speak like angels.
Many of you have seen angels with your spiritual eyes, so you can infer that considered as beautiful on this earth can be compared to the beauty of the angels, their beauty cannot be compared.
The angels are a little different in their appearances according to their duties and roles. But most of the angels have shining white skin and light golden hair. They look so brilliant.
Their clothes are so white and clear as to make the eyes dazzle, and whenever the angels move around, the clothes shine with the lights and blow gently in accordance with the movements.
Then, how much more beautiful the angels’ words are!
Their words are so gentle and beautiful and their voices are so clear and pure.
That’s why when we hear the beautiful, competently skillful and touching voices, we say it is like that of angels of from heaven.
Even though you could say such beautiful words of angels as to dazzle others, your words may be deemed by God to be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal without love.
What are a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal like?
A heavy piece of bronze does not properly ring when it is struck with a stick.
But an empty bronze (vessel) rings when struck with a padded stick. That sound is not clear and beautiful but dull. A gong is made of thin bronze and is a musical instrument that makes its sound.
A gong sends out a very prominent and big sound, and is heard even from distant places.
If someone strikes a gong outside your bedroom at night, you cannot fall asleep.
Most of you would not be able to go to sleep because of that noisy sound of the gong.
A heavy copper or bronze object does not sound noisily when struck with a stick.
The reason that a gong and a cymbal make noisy sounds is because they are empty, light or thin.
So, proverbs go “Empty vessels make the greatest sound” or “The rice stalks are bent with grain.”
The rice stalks with many un-ripened grains do not droop down but stand straight.
Vessels are the most valuable when they are filled with a lot of food, and rice stalks can become joy to farmers when they droop down because of many ripened grains.
This is the same for men.
When your heart is filled with love and you become like Christ, you can be credited to have the true value of good grains by our God who has cultivated mankind.
On the contrary, those who have no love within them are like chaff.
A man consists of spirit, soul and body.
When one’s spirit dies and is under the control of the soul and flesh, he is regarded as a man of flesh. This man of flesh is like the chaff.
The first man Adam was a living spirit when God created him. But after he ate from the forbidden tree and sinned, his spirit died as God had told him, “In the day you eat from it you will surely die.”
Since his spirit (that was once the master of the soul and body) died, his communication with God became disconnected. Then, as the master, his soul and flesh came to control both his body and his mind.
The enemy devil and Satan has planted untruths into the souls of those who have belonged to the devil because of their sins.
As a result, they have lived under the control of the soul and lived in accordance with their instincts. They have been but animals.
Just as a farmer throws the unnecessary chaff into fire and burns it, men of flesh whose spirit is dead but whose soul and body remain will not be saved but be cast into the fire of hell.
1 john 4:708 say, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
One who does not love his brothers has nothing to do with God who is love. The man has no life – the most important part of him.
Thus, no matter how fluent and skillful his words are, he is credited to have no value and cannot give true joy and life to others.
His words may give only disgust and cause discomfort to listeners as his heart is empty just as a gong and a cymbal make noisy and discomforting sounds.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
You may live with so many words every day.
Then, what kinds of words do you say day by day?
Have you caused pains to the other’s heart or made him frown like a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal?
On the contrary, have you said only beautiful words to the Lord and the people around you enough to be worthy of praise? Then, the people around you will want to hear even one more word from you.
As said above, the languages of men have tremendous power.
The words of love have the power to revive the dead.
Throughout the history of mankind, a man sent out only those good words of reviving the souls.
His words were written into tens of books and those books have been inherited until now for a few thousand years.
He is our Lord Jesus, and the books are referred to as the “Bible.”
Our Lord Jesus preached the word of God for a short period of time – for 3 years.
But the messages He preached were recorded and have been handed down to us for 2,000 years, and they have changed and revived countless souls.
The very words of the Lord and our Father God are included in the Bible. It is said that no other book has been spread and read more than the Bible in the history of mankind.
The Bible was recorded between about 1500 B.C. until about 100 A.D. and after that all the books were put together and published and have been as they are today for a long period.
The Bible has been translated and distributed into about 2,000 languages and now is being translated into others. From 1980s until now more than 6 billion books have been being printed.
What is the reason that the Bible has been a steady best-seller for so long?
If you read, hear and meditate on the Bible, no matter how long the time has passed, you can feel the width, length, height and depth of immeasurable love of our God and our Lord toward mankind remains the same.
In the 8th Chapter of the Gospel of John, we can find what a great love was harbored in every single word of Jesus..
One morning Jesus taught the people at the synagogue.
A few Pharisees and scribes took a woman caught in the act of adultery before Jesus and asked Him a question.
They said, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?”
But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger.
At the lecture on the Gospel of John, I previously explained to you what Jesus had written on the ground. He wrote down the sins that the people there had in common.
After writing, Jesus answered them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
And as said in the Verse 9, when they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Everyone but the woman had left from the place.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The woman was at the point of being stoned to death because of her adultery. Whose words saved her and gave her true life?
The Pharisees and scribes asked the will of Jesus condemning her with the Law of Moses that God gave him.
Their condemnation was not wrong because it was based on the Law of God. They spoke rightly according to the law that was the standard of righteousness.
The Pharisees and scribes were called Rabbi, namely teachers at that time.
They taught the people the word of God including the law of God and many teachings of wisdom.
How do you suppose that they spoke in carrying out their everyday lives? The Pharisees and scribes were blameless in their duties under the Law, they spoke only of the law of God and taught the people only the things of righteous and holy teachings.
By the way, one day a man named Jesus appeared who seemed to have come from no better family, had no greater education and learning and no better background than they had.
However, when He began to teach the people, they recognized, praised and loved Jesus more than the Rabbis day by day. Finally the Rabbis became jealous and fell into fear.
Then, their good words turned into evil ones. They began to say, “How could we condemn Jesus? How could we overcome Jesus and take back the praise of the people?”
They did not look at the life of the woman caught in the midst of adultery, and mercy and compassion were found nowhere in them.
They took advantage of the woman and the Law of Moses in order to find the grounds to accuse Jesus.
No matter how smart they were in the Law of God and no matter how properly they confessed the righteousness of God, their words were not good anymore.
How about Jesus’ words?
Even though He might be wrongfully accused or condemned, He wished to save the souls.
When the woman was taken there, Jesus had only the desire to save the woman who had been doomed to death because of her sin.
The reason that Jesus said to the people around her, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” was not because He wished to condemn them.
If our Lord Jesus had possessed even a little desire to condemn them, He would have demonstrated their sins in detail and rebuked each of them. But in reality He did not.
All he did was to write their sins on the ground so that they could realize their sins on their own and turn from those sins.
He wanted those people to realize and feel the great love of God that transcends the righteousness of the law.
Outwardly both the words of the Pharisees and scribes and the words of Jesus were short, but the intentions and hearts embedded in the two were totally different.
One side of the heart was to inevitably bring harm to others, but the other was to spare others.
This hypocritical aspect of the Pharisees and scribes is found not only in the Bible….but also within you while you are accomplishing the spiritual heart.
You have listened to many words of God in your Christian lives. The words of God are concerned with goodness and evil; and sin and righteousness.
You believers reflect upon yourselves according to these words, and discover and change yourselves.
But some of you, when you have a long history of faith and receive positions in church, you then come to judge and bother your juniors and peers.
You may say that you rebuke or point out to the other because you want to lead him to the right way and for him to get along well. But the result is that the other person feels pains and burdens from it..
Even if you do not point out faults with evil intentions, unless you have accomplished complete love in your hearts, you are led to force and strike out at the other person with your own self-frame of mind and self-righteousness.
At first you try to help the other person realize his faults with good intentions. But when the other person does not follow your words or tries to change his life, your good intentions may disappear and you begin to speak to him with harsh expressions because of your ill-feelings.
You may express your emotional discomfort when you point things out to him out to him that need change.
Our Lord does not break off a battered reed and not put out a smoldering wick.
If you harbor this heart of the Lord in you, you will pray and ask for the wisdom of God saying, “How can I encourage him with my words? How can I help him restore the grace and come forth into the truth?”
But some of you try to persuade the other with the word of God in a prejudging and biased way. And you may address the problem and then rebuke the other so as to force him to correct the things that are not right in your eyes.
So, I urge you to look back and see whether you have always told the truth or forced the other with your own frameworks and self-righteousness.
And even though you have told the truth outwardly and made the expressions of the angels, I ask you to examine if you said something from the heart to revive the souls.
If you continue to examine and change your life in this way, your words will be accompanied with the power and authority to revive the souls like our Lord.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As I told you before, angels are so beautiful.
Hebrews 1:14 says, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?”
Our Father God sends out the beautiful angels to render service for His children as ministering spirits.
No matter how beautiful the angels’ words are, our Father God rejoices more in and counts more valuable a single word of the children who have accomplished true love in their hearts through human cultivation than millions of words of angels.
Therefore, I wish for you to remember the word of Proverbs 10:20 saying, “The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver, The heart of the wicked is worth little,” and long for the heart full of love rather than some eloquent words or angels’ words.
May ever word you say quench the thirst of the souls, comfort and encourage the heartbroken and be credited to be the living water of life and precious stones, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ I pray!