THE BOND OF PEACE
Pastor Jean Owens
A story was told, a few years ago, about an actor who was playing the part of Christ in a Passion Play. As he carried the cross up the hill a bystander in the crowd began heckling him, and shouting insults.
Finally, the actor had taken all of it he could take. So, he threw down his cross, walked over to the bystander, and punched him.
After the play was over, the director told him, “I know he was a pest, but I have to fire you. We just can’t have you behaving this way while playing the part of Jesus.” The actor begged, “Please give me one more chance. I can handle it if it happens again.” So, the director decided to give him another chance.
The next day he was once again carrying his cross up the street. Sure enough, the heckler was back. You could tell that the actor was really trying to control himself, but it was about to get the best of him. Finally, he looked at the heckler and said, “I’ll meet you after the resurrection!”
The truth is, sometimes it is hard for those who profess to be Christians to behave like Christians should. We try to carry our crosses, but if someone crosses us, we can behave in the same way the rest of the world behaves.
Ephesians 4: 2,3 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Hebrews 12: 14,15 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
It can be hard sometimes. Not everyone is easy for me to love. Sometimes you try to love somebody but your personalities clash. Then again, it seems like some folks are just plain ornery and they could care less is we live together in harmony. But if it is possible, we are to live in peace and harmony with everyone.
Paul tells us what to strive for to live in peace and harmony with everyone. Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
Love is more important than any spiritual gift.
On the day of Pentecost, when the very first gospel sermon was ever preached, God gave the apostles the special gift of being able to speak in languages that they had never learned so that the people hearing them could understand what was being said.
Paul says that if God gave him the gift of speaking every human language, and even the heavenly language of the angels, but he didn’t have love, then he would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Back in the 1st Century, there was a big gong or cymbal hanging at the entrance of most pagan temples. When people came to worship, they hit them to awaken the pagan gods so they would listen to their prayers.
Here, Paul is saying that even if he were so blessed that he could speak with the greatest of eloquence in every language, but didn’t have love, then his life was as useless as this ridiculous act of pounding on a gong to awaken non-existent gods.
1 Corinthians 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, … but have not love, I am nothing.
Love is more important than knowledge.
If you know everything about nuclear science, about medicine and psychology and every other kind of science and the arts, if you know it all, but have not love, then you are nothing at all.
1 Corinthians 8:1 Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
Our hearts need to change before society will ever change.
1 Corinthians 13: 2 If I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
Love is more important than faith.
What do you believe? Do you believe that God is the creator of the world? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son, that He came into our world, lived a sinless life, died and was buried and on the third day rose again?
Do you believe that He is now at the right hand of the Father, and is preparing a place for you?
If you believe all the right things, but do not have love, then you are nothing. Because even faith is of no value unless it is backed up by love.
The priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan had faith. The problem was they had no love. So, they walked by on the other side and left the man lying there to die.
Galatians 5:6 The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
1 Corinthians 13:3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is more important than generosity.
If I give everything away to help the poor, and even sacrifice myself, but I don’t have love then I gain nothing at all.
You see, generosity by itself is not enough. If the only reason that I give is to benefit myself, then love is absent and the act of giving is empty. The motive for giving should be love, love for God and love for God’s people.
Love is more important than spiritual gifts, more important than knowledge, more important than faith, and more important than generosity.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
Jesus says that this is a commandment, not a suggestion. God never commands us to do anything that we cannot do.
We tend to think that love is something that just happens, because that is what the world teaches. You fall in love like you fall into a ditch, or you fall out of love like you fall out of a tree. You can’t help it. It is something that just happens to you.
But the Bible teaches that love is something we can control. God commands us to love each other. Which means that I can decide to love you and you in turn can decide to love me
Philippians 2:4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Think about others and their interests just like you think about yourself and your interests.
It begins in the family and flows out into the world. John 13: 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
If we really love each other the way Jesus loved us, then we have to develop in our own lives the same kind of compassion for people that Jesus had.
God, teach us to love one another as you love us.
There’s a love so high (That you cannot get over)
That same love’s so wide (It’ll take forever just to get round it)
But love died somewhere. Behind that cross you wear
You’re afraid when you look at me. That ain’t real love
Not the kind from above, hmm
But there’s a friend of mine (That stays closer than a brother)
Oh, love laid down his life (So why do we still fight one another?)
All this hate I see on the TV screen, In my country ’tis of thee
God help us to love, to love the way that you love me
God help us to love the way that you love me,
This world is weeping, hurting, broken and begging for change
But still we marching, praying, dying, and things stay the same
When will we see? Till everyone’s free
There’ll never be peace between you and me
God, your love is the cure, For the rich and the poor
God, please will you open our eyes?
But it don’t come cheap.
It takes everything to make love more than a dream.
Written by Tori Kelly