LOVE IN THE THIRD DAY                             

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


Sunday, February 25, 2024, July 9, 2005


This week I had a dream about preaching today on “Love.”


Dream: “I had prepared a message on “Love” but forgot it at home.  Church was starting.  We had many guests.  I knew they had come to hear the Word of the Lord and I had the responsibility to deliver a Word to encourage them.   I have been stacking my sermon notes under the pulpit for a few weeks.  In the dream, I reached down into the stack to pull out one of my sermons.  I pulled up a message on Love written out in long-hand.  I said in the dream, ‘I can preach this without notes’” (end of dream).


I am expectant to see how the Holy Spirit will act on today’s message. 


Love is easy to talk about and easy to preach about.  The hard part is to walk in it day in and day out in the family, church, and community.  The “Agape” love of God is completely unselfish.  It is patient and gracious.  It is neither jealous nor proud.  It knows how to behave itself in the home,  in the local assembly, and in the public.


This love does not insist on its own rights or its own way.  This new nature is not touchy.  It holds no past wrongs on the dusty shelves of a fleshly arsenal.  It holds no grudges.


God is not in the least concerned about PERFECT LOVE reigning in heaven.  Nothing less could even exist in that realm of PURE LIGHT.  He does want, and He will yet have, PERFECT LOVE reigning in the hearts of His people, and to this end we pray, …If we love one another, God dwells in us, and His LOVE is perfected in us (1 John 4:12). 


Love rejoices not at iniquity but rejoices with the truth.  Love is totally connected with truth.  Truth is reality.  If I speak words of living truth to you, that is the love you crave.   You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”


Since love is truthful, then there should be no deceit, or manipulation between husband or wife, children, extended family, or with the body of Christ.


Ro. 12:9-10: Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil.  Cling to what is good.  Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.  


“Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God’s good gifts.  To have a friend, be a friend.  It involves many things, but above all, the power of going out of oneself and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another” (Thomas Hughes).


Receiving the grace of God to get along with people will deliver us into another realm of spiritual freedom and liberty.  A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Pro. 15:1).  Yielding pacifies great offenses (Ecc. 10:4 KJB). 


1 Pe. 5:5: Be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud; and gives grace to the humble.


In 1 Corinthians 13, The mighty heart of the Apostle Paul stirred the pulses of the world.  The fire and passion of His faith and love continually stir our hearts from generation to generation.  When he wrote these passionate words of love, he gave us a measuring stick of soulish love vs Divine Love, the love of God.  We are also exhorted that we can all live and love on earth in the realm of Divine Love.  It will cost us our pride, ego, and our right to be right.


If I could impart and deposit Divine Love into everyone I know, I would consider my life a success and I will have fulfilled a good work of a good life.  However, neither I or anyone can ever fulfill the lusts of anyone’s soul which most consider to be the measure of love.  Your love tank lusts can only be filled with Christ’s love.


1 Co. 13:1:  Though I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not love, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.


In chapter 12, Paul had been preaching on the gifts and offices.  Now he is saying, beyond all this (the gifts and offices), I am showing you a way, (a way to reach the highest goal, and to achieve the noblest ambition.)  Love surpasses the richest spiritual endowments.


Equally important with the gifts of the Spirit are the “fruit of the Spirit.”


Gal. 5:22-24: The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.


The harmony of the nine gifts and nine graces make-up a mature Christian character and provide conclusive evidence of one who is living in the Spirit and Christ living in us.  First among those graces is love---the Divine Love of God which has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.


"Those who have loved together have been drawn close; they who have struggled together are forever linked; but they who have suffered together have known the most sacred bond of all.” (Anonymous quote)


I saw God work this love-action in my marriage.  Trials, tribulation, sorrows and suffering brought a bond of love between us that can only happen to those who suffer together.  This also happened to those of us who loved together and lost the Little White Church.  We have a bond and it has bound us together going forward.  We trust each other that as we face the challenges of life, each of us will give God and each other our best.


One of the challenges facing me as a Pastor has been assisting men and women of God to complete their God-appointed assignments.  Thomas Fuller captures the biblical sense of empowerment in this splendid thought:  “If you have knowledge, let others light their candles by it.”  Our mandate is to light candles not to blow them out.  Only the Spirit of God can lead his people into their purposes and destiny.  My responsibility is to encourage and build up.


We are to preach the gospel to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, set at liberty them that are bruised, and preach the acceptable year of the Lord.


Rom. 5:5: Hope makes us not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.


God’s love for man is displayed in Christ Jesus. Rom. 5:8: God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.


This is now reproduced in our attitude toward him and toward one another.  This is God’s Love.  We cannot get there from the realm of the soul (mind, will and emotions).  Divine Love is not ruled by our emotions.   Divine Love is only accessible by the Holy Spirit into the heart of God to receive His heart for His people.


1 Co. 13:1: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels. This is a reference to the supernatural endowment of tongues and the speech of angels.  Paul says, even if I command this power but have not love, I am no better than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.


13:2: If I have prophetic powers:  If I have prophetic powers which includes gift of prophecy backed by supernatural power, which is a higher gift than tongues, but which nevertheless is valueless without love.  And understand all mysteries and all knowledge” so as to have insight into the mind and purpose of God.  The secret and hidden wisdom of God transcends all other forms of mystery and knowledge precisely because it is an unfolding of the love of God. “Wisdom is a mystery/of bleeding love unfolded” (C. Wesley).  “If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains” – but even with such a gift as this, if I have not love, I am nothing.”


13:3: If I give away all I have:  literally – if I turn all my property into morsels of food—though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor--- “if I deliver my body to be burned…”  The charitable disposal of one’s property or the acceptance of martyrdom might indeed spring from love, but Paul implies that if such actions spring from any other motive, even that of religious obligation, they are valueless in God’s sight and bring no gain to those who perform them.  If we give to the poor because we love God, that counts. 


13: 4:  Love is patient and kind.  Love in verses 4-7 describes a character which is ruled by love.  The character of Christ is here portrayed; we may go farther and say that the Trinity is here portrayed, since “God is love.”  Naturally, then, these statements must be true of those in whose hearts the love of God has taken possession.  The “patience” and “kindness” of which Paul speaks are included along with “love” in the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22.  


13:4b: Love is not jealous or boastful.   The word boastful denotes empty bragging.  It is not so different from the “arrogance” which is mentioned next as incompatible with love.  Paul criticized that inflated spirit earlier in 4:6: that you might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that none of you be puffed up one against another.


1 Co. 8:1: …Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.


13:5: Love is not …rude.  Love does not behave improperly or in an affected manner.


13:5b:  Love does not insist on its own way:  or seek its own interests. Love is not irritable—is not provoked to anger.  We are to stir up one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24). 


13:5b: Love is not resentful.  Love does not reckon up evil with a view to paying the offender back in his own coin.  Love does not plot evil.  Rom. 17:17: Recompense to no man evil for evil.  Provide things honest in the sight of all men.


13:6: Love does not rejoice at wrong.  In true love there can be no room for spite.  Love rejoices in the right” ---“in the truth”.


13:7: Love bears all things.  This presumably means something different from endures all things at the end of the verse, although the verbs are similar. “Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others.  Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up (PT).


1 Peter 4:8: Above all things have fervent love among your selves; for love will cover a multitude of sins.  We must be wise to not cover the sins of those we love thinking we are protecting them. 


13:7b: Love believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.   Love is always eager to believe the best and put the most favorable light on ambiguous actions and speech.  It hopes against hope, and is always ready to give an offender a second chance and to forgive him seventy times seven (Mt. 18:22).


13:8: Love never ends: literally “never fails.”   Love does not belong to this age only, but reigns in the eternal order.  All love that depends on a material factor passes away with the passing of that factor; love that has no such dependence never passes away.  But where there be prophecies, they shall fail, tongues they shall cease, whether there be knowledge, it will vanish away for these are temporal manifestations of the Spirit given to minister and edify the Body of Christ to prepare the overcoming Bride of Christ to rule and reign with him through all eternity.  I believe Paul is speaking here of the gift of the Word of Knowledge.   


The Corinthian church was prone to take undue pride in their knowledge and thus were of no value isolated from love.  The highest knowledge, the knowledge of God in Christ is far from passing away.  This knowledge will attain transcendent perfection in the age to come and through eternity. 


The Holy Spirit gives the gifts for the perfection of the church and to save the lost. 


13: 9-10:  In this present age which is soon to be superseded, our knowledge is imperfect, and our prophecy is imperfect.  But when the perfect comes, then that which is in part shall be done away.   When the perfect comes and the consummation is realized for which the sons of God at present long eagerly, the imperfect will pass away.


The Holy Spirit is the pledge of the eternal heritage into which believers enter.  The present phase of our existence is to that coming perfection as childhood is to maturity.  The mind and practice in which a grown man has given up childish ways.  The Corinthians must recognize that the things to which they attached paramount importance were transient and learn to set the highest value on the things that endure forever.


Another figure of speech points to the contrast between present and future knowledge; is the contrast between seeing a dim and distorted reflection in a metal mirror and seeing the reality.  Although the figure of the mirror probably refers to the analogy of Moses.  Yahweh says of Moses: “With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in dark speech, and he beholds the form of the Lord.”


But then, says Paul, we shall see “face to face.”


Now leaving figures of speech behind, Paul declares this his present partial and imperfect knowledge will give way to knowledge so perfect that then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.


13:13: So, faith, hope, love abide, these three.  Faith here is not just the special gift of 12:9; 13:3, but the common response of all the people of God to His saving grace.  Paul’s argument would have been satisfied with the conclusion that love abides; however, he makes a distinction between the three.  Whatever form faith and hope may take, love remains unchanged in its nature even when it attains perfection; therefore, the greatest of these is love.


14:1: Make love your aim.  


The world system places a hierarchical leadership at the top of a pyramid design.  This creates a social pecking order.  This breeds a system of competition and rivalry.  God is not in competition and rivalry.  In God, is a spirit of excellence, therefore in His kingdom there are no losers only winners.


Ephesians 2:20 tells us that the apostles and the prophets are at the bottom of the building rather than at the top.  No Bible apostle is over anyone!  They supply energy and vitality that flows upward into the rest of the network.  In humility they de-emphasize themselves and nurture the unsung heroes and heroines who were previously despised and forgotten.  As facilitators, they follow the admonition of Paul:


Phil 2: 3-4: Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.


The idea is to be other-people-centered.  Leaders must be intentional in their efforts to make room to, serve, and support others with the fellowship and network of church community. 


 “… and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together grows to an holy temple in the Lord:  In whom you are also built together for a habitation of God through the Spirit. (Eph. 2: 19-22)


Love in the Third Day is not prejudice.  Jesus is not prejudiced.


There are ten kinds of prejudice that are common today:

1.     Racial – “G” in front of race spells Grace.  Grace is bigger than race.

2.     Sexual (man-woman) – Mary the mother of Jesus was the first woman to carry the gospel.

3.     Chronological – all ages

4.     Geographical

5.     Education – Paul understood his education was good fertilizer; if you use it properly, it will help things to grow. 

6.     FINANCE – The Ministry of Love in the Third Heaven cannot be bought.

7.     Physical Appearances

8.     Religious bias: Denominational; Ministerial; Doctrinal.


Simply stated, Jesus loves all men.  There is a ministry in the earth that is being conformed to His Image.  This more excellent ministry is a ministry of Life and Love.  Indiscriminate love, Administered without prejudice.  Just like Jesus.


We cannot choose whom we love.  I have to be cautious not to loose patience with people who love to quarrel over doctrinal persuasions.  Right teaching is vital, but the truth is that all of us were “hatched” by a Babylonian hen.  We are all learning how to follow Him into all truth. 


Ro. 12:12-16:  Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer, distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.


Ps. 34: 13-14: Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.  Depart from evil and do good.  Seek peace and pursue it.



Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.

Scripture from K.J.V.; N.K.J.V. Bibliography:   Lovett’s Lights on 1 Corinthians by C. S. Lovett, Solomon’s Secret by C. R. Oliver; Sermons on Love, preached by Carolyn Sissom, 2/14, 2010; 7/9/205

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