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The Moral Argument for God’s Existence.

  An atheist might say you can be good without believing in God. However the question isn’t can you be good without believing in God but can you be good without God? Here’s the problem if there’s no God. What basis remains for objective good or bad, right or wrong? If God does not exist objective moral values do not exist. Here’s why. Without some objective reference point we    really have no way of saying something is up or down. Gods nature however provides an objective reference point for moral values. It’s the standard which all action and thoughts are measured. However, if there is no God then there is no objective reference point. All we are left with is one persons view point as opposed to some other persons view point. This makes morality subjective not objective.  It’s like a preference for vanilla ice cream. The preference is in the subject not the object. Therefore it doesn’t apply to other people. In the same way subjective morality applies only to the subject. It’s not va

A Love Not Known By The World - Pt. 3 Analysis

The Analysis

After Paul contrasts love with these things, in three very short verses he gives us an amazing analysis of this supreme thing.

Let us look at it. He tells us it is a combination things. It is like light. If you take a beam of light and pass it through a crystal prism it comes out on the other side of the prism broken up into its component colors — red, blue, yellow, violet, orange, and all the colors of the rainbow. Similarly Paul passes love through the prism of God inspired intelligence. It comes out on the other side broken up into its elements.

In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 we have what one might call the spectrum of love, the analysis of love. What are these elements? They have common names. They are virtues which we hear about in our culture today. They are things which can be practiced by every person in every sphere of life. How is love, the supreme good, made up of these many small things and virtues?

The spectrum of love has nine ingredients:

Patience - Love endures.
Kind - Love is willing to help
Generosity - Love does not envy.
Humble - Love does not boast, it is not proud.
Polite - Love is not rude, .
Selfless - Love is not self-seeking.
Peaceful - Love is not easily angered.
Friendly - Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Just -  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth..

Patients, kind, generous, humble, polite, selfless, peaceful, friendly and just - these describe the supreme gift, Love, the stature of the perfect person. All of these our in relation to people, life,  today and tomorrow, and eternity.

There is much talk of love to God; Christ spoke much of love to people. We make a great deal of peace with God; Christ made much of peace on earth. Jesus is not a strange person or someone you add to your life like a new social group or hobby. He meets us right where we are at in our secular life and inspires us to go beyond it. The life of the eternal spirit through this temporal world. Love is not a thing at all, but bringing to life the many words and acts which make up the sum of every common day.

Patients: This is the normal attitude of love; love passive, love waiting to begin; not in a hurry; calm; ready to do its work when the summons comes, but meantime wearing the robe of a meek and quiet spirit. Love endures; bears all things; believes all things; hopes all things. For love understands, and therefore waits.

Kind: Love is active. Have you ever noticed how much of Christ's life was spent in doing kind things as he shared the good news of the kingdom of God. If we think about it, you will find that he spent a great portion of his time simply blessing people, in doing deeds to people as he told them the good news. There is only one thing greater than happiness in the world, and that is holiness; and this we can't do in our own strength; but what God has put in our power is the ability to bless those around us, and that is largely to be done by our being kind to them.

Someone said, "The greatest thing a person can do for his heavenly father is to be kind to some of his other children." I wonder why it is that we are not all kinder than we are? We always make excuse like, "I'm only human." Yes we are but we are new humans. How much the world needs new humans that have the love of God! How easily it is done if we but surrender! How instantaneously it acts if we put on the mind of Christ! How infallibly it is remembered by those who have been touched by the hands of those that love as Jesus did! How super abundantly it pays itself back - for there is no debtor in the world more honorable as love. "Love never fails." Love is success, love is blessings, love his life. "Love is energy of life."

For life, with all its yields of joy or woe
and hope and fear,
Is just our chance of the prize of learning love,-
How love might be, has been indeed, and is.

Where love is, God is. He that dwells in love dwells in God. God is love. Therefore love. Without distinction, without calculation, without procrastination, love. Be generous with it on the poor and rich alike. Most of all towards our equals, where it is very difficult, and for whom perhaps we do least of all. There is a difference between trying to please and giving pleasure. Give pleasure. Do lose an opportunity to give pleasure. Here we find the ceaseless and anonymous victory of a truly loving spirit.

"I will pass through this world only once. Any good thing that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I will not pass this way again."

Generosity: "Love does not envy." Love is not in competition with others. Whenever you attempt a good work you will find other people doing the same kind of work, and probably doing it better. Do not envy those others. Envy is a feeling of ill will towards those who are in the same line as ourselves, a spirit of coveting and detraction. It is sad that Christian work is not a protection against unchristian feelings! That most despicable of moods that cloud the Christian's soul waits for us on the threshold of every good work, unless we are fortified with the grace of forgiveness. Only one a christian should truly envy: the large, rich, generous soul which "envy's not."

Humble: Being humble is to put a seal on your lips and forgetting what you have done. After you have been kind, after love has released into the world and a beautiful work has been done, go back into the shadows again and say nothing about it. Love hides even from itself. Even self-satisfaction has no part of this love. "Love does not boast, is not puffed up." Humility - love hiding.

Polite: The fifth ingredient is a somewhat strange one to find in this supreme good. This is love in society, and love in relation to good manners. "Love is not rude."

Politeness has been defined as love in unimportant things. Courtesy is said to be love in little things. And the one secret of politeness is to love.

Love cannot behave itself inappropriately. You can put the most uneducated person into high society, and if they have a reservoir of God's love in their hearts they will not behave inappropriately. They simply cannot do it. Carlisle said of Robert Burns that there was no truer gentlemen in Europe than the plow men-poet. It was because he loved everything that God had made - the mouse, the daisy, and all things great and small. With this simple passport he could mingle with any society and enter courts and palaces from his little cottage on the banks of the river.

You know the meaning of the word "gentlemen." It means a gentle man - a man who does things gently, with love. That is the whole art and mystery of it. The gentle man cannot in the nature of things do ungentlemanly things. The ungentle soul, the inconsiderate, unsympathetic nature, cannot do anything else. "Love is not rude."

Selfless: "Love is not self-seeking." Observed: it does not even seek after that which is her own. In America people are devoted to their rights. But there comes a time when a person may exercise even the higher right of giving up their rights.

Yet Paul does not summon us to give up our rights. Love strikes much deeper. It would have us not seek them at all, ignore them, eliminate the personal element altogether from our calculations.

It is not hard to give up our rights. They are often external. The difficult thing is to give up ourselves. The more difficult thing still is not to seek things for ourselves at all. After we have sought them, bought them, won them, deserve them, we have taken the cream off them for ourselves already. Little sacrifice then to give them up. However, not to seek them, nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others - that is the difficulty. Even self-denial in itself is nothing. It's almost a mistake. Only a great purpose or mightier love can justify the waste.

It is more difficult, not to seek our own at all than having sought it and then having to give it up. This is really true of a partly selfish heart. If nothing is a hardship to love then nothing is hard. I believe that Christ's "yoke" is easy. Jesus yoke is easier then any other way. I believe it is a more blessed way than any other. The most obvious lesson in Jesus' teaching is that there is no blessing in having and getting anything, but only in giving. There is no blessing in having or in getting, but only in giving. Half the world is on the wrong path in the pursuit of happiness. They think it consists of having and getting, and in being served by others. It consists in giving, and and serving others. Jesus said, "Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant." If you truly want to be happy, remember that there is but one way - "it is more blessed, it is more happy, to give than to receive."

Peaceful: "Love it is not easily angered." Here is a real test. We are inclined to look at a bad temper as a harmless weakness. We acted as if it is a mere weakness of our human nature, a family trait, a matter of temperament, not something to take too seriously when estimating a persons character. However, we see right in the heart of this analysis of love, it finds a place. The Bible again and again returns to condemn it as one of the most destructive elements in human nature.

What is odd, in our culture, ill tempered is the vice of the virtuous. It is often the one stain on an otherwise noble character. You know people who are all but perfect, and women who would be entirely perfect, but for an easily ruffled, quick-tempered, or "touchy" disposition. This compatibility of ill temper with high moral character is the one of the strangest and saddest problems of ethics. The truth is, there are two great classes of sins - sins of the body and sins of the disposition. The prodigal son may be taken as a type of the first, the older brother of the second. Now, society has no doubt whatsoever as to which of these is the worst. It's brand falls, without a challenge, on the prodigal. But are we right? We have no balanced to way one another's sins, and coarser and finer are but human words; but faults in the higher nature may be less corrupt than those in the lower, and to the eye of him who is love, a sin against love may seem 100 times more base. No form of vice, not worldliness, not greed of gold, not drunkenness of itself, does more to diminish Christ's name in a society then evil temper. For embittering life, for breaking up communities, destroying the most sacred relationship, for devastating homes, for withering up men and women, for taking the bloom of childhood, in short for sheer gratuitous misery-producing power this influence stands alone.

Look at the older brother. He's moral, hard-working, patient, and dutiful. Let him get all the credit for his virtues. But look at this man, this baby, sulking outside his own father's door. "He was angry," we read "and would not go in." Look at the effect on the father, on the servants, on the happiness of the guests. Judge the effect on the prodigal. How many prodigal's are kept out of the kingdom of God by the unloving character of those who profess to be inside? Analyze, as a study in temper, the thundercloud itself as it gathers on the older brothers brow. What is it made of? Jealousy, anger, pride, unshared, cruelty, self-righteousness, touchiness, doggedness, sullenness - these are the ingredients of this dark and loveless soul. In varying proportions, these are the ingredients of all ill tempered. Judge if such sins of the disposition are not worse to live in and live with then the sins of the body. Jesus answer the question himself when he said, "“I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you." There is really no place in heaven for a disposition like this. A person of this kind of mood could only make heaven miserable for all the people in it. Except, therefore, such a person be born again, they cannot, simply cannot, enter the kingdom of heaven.

We will see then why temper is significant. It is not in what it is alone, but in what it reveals. This is why it must be spoken of without a sugarcoat. It is a test for love. The bottom line is that it is a symptom, a revelation of an unloving nature. It is the unpredictable fever which suggests predictable disease inside. The occasional bubble escaping to the surface which betrays some rottenness underneath. It reveals a sample of the most hidden products of the soul, dropping involuntarily when one's guard is let down. It is like the lightning form of 100 hideous and unchristian sins exploding onto the scene. A need of patients, a need of kindness, a need of generosity, a need of politeness, a need of selflessness, or all instantaneously symbolized in one flash of temper.

Therefore, it is not enough to deal with the temper. We must go to the source and change the innermost being, and the angry inclinations will die away by themselves. Souls are made sweet not by taking the bitter fluid out but by putting something in - a great love, a new spirit, the spirit of Jesus. The Holy Spirit penetrating our spirit, sweetening, purifying and transforming everything in us. Only this can eradicate what is wrong, work a physical change, renovate and regenerate, and rehabilitate the inner person. Will power does not change people. Time does not change people. Jesus does. Therefore, "your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus."

This should be a pressing matter in our lives. Remember, this is a matter of life or death. I cannot help speak urgently for myself and all those who call on Jesus as Lord. "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." This is the deliberate verdict of the Lord Jesus that it is better not to live then not to love. It is better not to live than not to love.

Friendly and Just: We can almost not even analyze these. Friendly is the grace for suspicious people. It is the moniker of those who believe God. “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God's friend. The possession of it is the secret of personal influence. You will find that the people who have influence you are the people who believe in you. In an atmosphere of suspicion people shrivel up; but in a friendly atmosphere people expand and find encouragement and learning fellowship.

It is a wonderful thing to find in this hard uncharitable world a few rare souls who keep no record of wrongs. This is the grace on worldliness. Love "keeps no record of wrong," projects no motive, sees the bright side, puts a positive spin on every action. What a delightful state of mind to live in! What a blessing even to meet with it for a day! To be trusted is to be rescued. If we tried to influence or elevate others, we will soon see that success is in proportion to their belief of your belief in them. The respecting another is the first step towards restoring the self-respect a person has lost. Our ideal of what they may become, becomes in them the hope and pattern of what they may become.

"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth." This is being Just.  If you truly have gods love you will love the truth more then people. A person will rejoice in the truth. They will rejoice, not in what they have been taught to believe; not in this church's doctrine or and that; not in this person or in that person; but "in the truth." They will accept only what is real. They will strive to get at facts. They will search for truth with a humble and unbiased mind, and cherish whatever they find at any sacrifice. When Paul says, "Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth" the quality perhaps more strictly conveys the self restraint which refuses to profit from others faults. This is a love that does not delight in exposing the weaknesses of other, but "always protects". This is justice with purpose. It endeavors to see things as they are, and rejoices to find them better than fearful suspicions or denounced slander.

Now to the business of our lives and fitting these into our character. Learning to love God's way is the most important thing we need to work on in ourselves in this world. Life is full of opportunities for learning love. Every person every day has a1000 of them. The world is not a playground, it is a classroom. Life is not a vacation, but an education. And the one eternal lesson for us all is how we can love better.

What makes a man a good baseball player? Practice. What makes a man a good artist, a good sculptor, a good musician? Practice. What makes a person a good person? Practice. Nothing else. There is nothing fickle about following Jesus. We do not get our soul in a different way, under different laws, from those that we get our body. If a person does not exercise their arms they will develop no bicep muscles. If a person does not exercise their soul, they acquire no muscle in their soul, no strength of character, no moral fiber, no true spiritual growth. Love is not a special way of feeling. It is a rich, strong, healthy expression of the whole rounded Christian character. It is the Christlike nature in its fullest development. The elements of this character are  built up by ceaseless practice.

What was Jesus doing in the carpenter shop? Practicing. We read that he learned obedience, and grew in wisdom and in favor with God. Do not complain about your lot in life. Do not complain of its never ending trials, it's petty environments, the floor you have to stand on, the small and sorted people you have to live and work with. Above all, do not resent temptation; do not be confused because it seems to get bigger around you more and more, and is relentless no matter how much effort or pain or prayer. This is your practice. That is the practice which God appoints you. It is in these places were our character is developing patience, humility, generosity, selflessness, kindness and politeness. Do not resent the hand that is molding the shapeless image within you. It is growing more beautiful, even though you don't see it and every touch of temptation may add to its perfection. Therefore stay in the middle of life. Do not isolate yourself. Be around people and around things, troubles, difficulties and obstacles. Geothe said, "talent develops itself in solitude; character in the stream of life." Talent develops itself in solitude: the talent of prayer, faith, meditation, seeing the unseen; character grows in the streams of life in this world. That is where people are to learn love.

How? Love itself can never be defined. Gravity is something more than the sum of its parts: pushing, pulling, and moving. Love is something more than all its parts. We see the effects of gravity but we don't see gravity. We can combine all the virtues and make virtue but we cannot make love. How can we have this supernatural love transmitted into our souls? We exercise our will to secure it. We try to imitate those who have it. We take measure of it. We watch. We pray. However these things alone will not bring love into our nature. Love is an effect. When we fulfill the right conditions we can have the effect produced. What is the cause?

In 1st John we see these words: "we love because he first loved us." "We love," not "we love him." Look at the word "because." Here we see the cause. "Because He first loved us," the effect follows that we love, we love him, we love all people. We cannot help it. Because He loved us, we love Him, we love everybody. The heart is instantly changed and slowly transformed. Think about the love of Jesus, and you will love. Stand in front of the mirror, reflect Jesus' character, and you will be changed into the same image from tenderness to tenderness. There is no other way. You cannot order love like an entree from a menu. You can only look at the lovely object, and fall in love with it. Then grow into its likeness. When we look at Jesus we see perfect character, perfect life. Consider His great sacrifice as he lay down his life, all through life, and on the cross of Calvary, we are compelled to love him. If you say you love him, you must become like him. Love produces love. It is a process of induction. Put a piece of iron in the presence of an electrified body, and that piece of iron for a time becomes electrified. It is changed into a temporary magnet in the presence of a permanent magnet, and as long is you leave the to side-by-side they are both magnets. Remain side-by-side with Jesus, who loved us, and gave himself for us, and you, too, will become a permanent magnet, a permanently attractive force and at times a repelling force; and like him you will draw all people to you, like him you will be drawn to all people. That is the inevitable effect of love. People who fulfill that cause must have that effect produced in them.

Try to give up the idea that Christianity comes to us by chance, or by mystery, or by accident. It comes to us supernaturally because our God is supernatural. God breaks into humanity in the person of Jesus Christ and melts our unloving hearts. He makes us a new creation. A creation that is patient, humble, gentle and unselfish. There is no other way to get it. There is no mystery about it. We love others, we love everybody, we love our enemies, because he first loved us.


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