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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Matt's Messages "Love Does Not Delight In Evil But Rejoices With the Truth"

“Love Does Not Delight In Evil But Rejoices With the Truth”
Learning to Love
November 30, 2008
1 Corinthians 13:6

Since September, we’ve been learning to love. This is actually the eleventh message in this series.

All together now: “Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

I realized mid-week that I hadn’t told you how far to memorize for this week.

Some of you probably just memorized the phrase, “Love does not delight in evil.”

That’s the eighth negative statement in row that Paul uses to describe love when it does its thing.

But then he follows it up with this positive phrase, bringing out its opposite: “But rejoices with the truth.”

Let’s say the whole thing of the new sentence together [v.6]: “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

That’s our meditation for today:

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

Have you found this sermon series helpful so far for your relationships?

I hope so.

One of you told me last week that this series has been especially helpful at work.

They said that just a few minutes after getting to work each day, they are reminded of something that we’re learning together from 1 Corinthians.

Being patient with co-workers.
Being kind to customers.
Not being envious of co-workers.
Not being boastful with colleagues.
Not being proud with bosses.
Not being rude with employees.
Not being self-seeking with partners.
Not being easily angered by vendors.
Not keeping a record of wrongs with co-workers.

Is that easy to do? No.

We’ve learned that love doesn’t always come easily, but it is extremely powerful when it’s truly practiced.

And not just on the job, but in every relationship in life.

Marriage, Family, Neighborhood, Church, School–whatever.

Love should be the defining characteristic of our side of any relationship.

For the Christian, love should be the defining characteristic of our side of any relationship.

Today, we focus on the one sentence in verse 6:

“Love Does Not Delight in Evil But Rejoices With the Truth.”

Notice that this verse is about what our hearts rejoice in.

What thrills our hearts.
What makes us happy.
What makes us glad.
What we delight in or rejoice in.

The “delight” in the first part of the verse and the “rejoice” in the second part of the verse come from the same root word–[kairo] to find our join in something.

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

There are two parts to this verse; let’s take them one at a time.

“LOVE DOES NOT DELIGHT IN EVIL.”

If we are truly loving people, then we will not find our heart’s joy in evil. King James: “iniquity.” ESV: “wrongdoing.”

“Love does not delight in evil.”

Now, in my mind there are two ways to delight in evil.

The first is delighting in evil DONE BY OTHERS.

We see someone doing something wrong, iniquitous, bad–and we are happy about it.

This is a little hard to believe, but it does happen.

Someone is stealing at work, and you get a kick out of it.
Someone lies to someone else, and you’re in on the joke.
Someone cheats on their test, and you laugh.

Those are examples of delighting in evil done by others.

I think that watching the soap operas in the afternoon are an example of this one.

Did you know that I used to watch soap operas when I was in High School?

I hate to admit this one, but I was a soap opera junkie.

General Hospital was my worst one. I would come home from school, eat a snack, fold the newspapers for my paper route and watch the terrible things people did to each other on General Hospital.

And then at school the next day, I’d talk with the girls in the lunch room about the awful behavior exhibited on General Hospital.

Am I alone on this one?

I truly hope so!

We’d talk about that show and our disdain for the way the characters act–[They are all scumbags, by the way]–but why were we watching it?

To delight in evil.

Of course, there are worse things than General Hospital. There is People Magazine. And all of those other tabloid papers at the check-out line at the grocery story.

Who cares who did what to whom?

We do. We delight in evil. Those papers SELL.

Now, you could probably think of other examples, maybe from work or from school.

Love does NOT delight in evil, evil done by others.

Here’s the other one. Love also does NOT delight in evil, evil DONE TO OTHERS.

If we are loving people, we are not happy when something bad happens to someone else–even our enemies!

Have you ever seen a kid be a tattle-tale?

A kid will come up to their parent and say, “Little Billy did such and such!”

Why are telling you?

Does it have anything to do with them?

No, they just want to see little Billy get into trouble.

That’s delighting in evil, too.

It’s delighting in something bad happening to someone else.

Siblings do it all them time.

But so do co-workers, right?

Have you ever said, “Serves him right!” with smirk?

I know that I have.

In the Bible, Jonah wanted to do this. He wanted to sit on his little hill outside of Nineveh and watch his enemies get pulverized into the dust.

He was delighting in evil.

The older brother in the story of the Prodigal Son was the same way. He wanted his brother to “get it”–and not the fatted calf!

There is a real temptation to delight in evil done to others.

King David refused to do this to King Saul. When things stopped going Saul’s way, David could have rejoiced in triumph that Saul was getting his comeuppance.

But when Saul died, David said, “How the mighty have fallen! Tell it not in Gath.”

David refused to delight in evil.

Why is it so bad to delight in evil?

It’s because evil is evil–no matter who it happens to.

And loving people don’t love evil!

Let me put it another way: LOVE IS HOLY.

Love is a holy thing. If love is truly in your heart, you won’t love what is evil. Either evil done by others or evil done to others.

You’ll hate it.

The Bible says to “hate what is evil and cling to what is good.”

That’s what love does!

W. Graham Scroggie said this: “What a man rejoices in is a fair test of his character. To be glad when evil prevails, or to rejoice in the misfortunes of others is indicative of great moral degradation.” [W. Graham Scroggie, Quoted in Strauch, Leading with Love, pg. 77]

Love is holy. It does not delight in evil.

Now, this, like all of the others is difficult. It’s not easy.

It’s especially hard in our day and age when our culture calls “good” what the Bible calls “evil.” There is a lot of mix-up in our world today.

But this is true. Love does not delight in evil.

Now, let’s get practical here. Like we’ve done every week.

Let’s apply this to one aspect of our lives. You could probably pick another aspect and apply it, but here’s one to think about.

BECAUSE LOVE DOES NOT DELIGHT IN EVIL, LOVE DOES NOT ENGAGE IN GOSSIP.


I think in some social situations, if you took out all of the gossip, there wouldn’t be any conversation at all!

Is that how it is in your break-room?
In the driver’s room?
In the teacher’s lounge?
In the beauty parlor?
In the barber shop?
In the coffee shop?

What is gossip but delighting in evil?

It’s rolling around a juicy bit of gossip on your tongue and in your heart.

Proverbs 18:8 says, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts.”

Delight in evil.

And spreading that delight.

Loving people don’t gossip. They don’t listen to it, and they don’t pass it on.

I struggle with this one a lot. Not so much because I like bad things to happen to people, but because I like to know everything–I’m an information junkie.

And the bad stuff about folks is what other folks want to hear, so I get caught up in it–and it’s bad for me.

I’m learning to repent and learning to love and learning to keep my mouth and ears shut to gossip.

How about you?

A lot of people don’t think that gossip is a very bad thing–but the Bible presents gossip as a terrible thing–a thing that must be rooted out of the Christian’s heart and the body of Christ.

I’ve actually thought about doing a doctoral project on grappling with gossip–because I see it as a huge unsolved problem in the church today.

And at heart, it stems from delighting in evil.

What changes might you need to make about gossip in your relationships?

Ladies, do you talk to other ladies about all the bad things your husband does?
Men, do you complain about your wife?
Kids, do you pass gossip around the lunch room?

Love does not delight in evil.

What changes might you need to make about gossip in your relationships?

Love does not delight in evil.

Can you imagine the Lord Jesus Christ gossiping?

Can you imagine Him offering others or Himself swallowing down the choice morsels of gossip?

Never!

And yet, Jesus died the death of a gossip.

The wages of gossip is death–and Jesus had all of my gossip and all of your gossip placed on His shoulders–and then He died for it.

He paid the penalty for all of my delighting in evil–done by others and done to others.

Jesus died for my sins.

And then God raised Him to life–to give me a new life.

A life of love.

A life that is not characterized by delighting in what is evil.

Have you received that new life, as well?

I know that I say this every week, 52 Sundays a year.

But it’s that important!

Is Jesus Christ your Lord and your Savior?

Has He rescued you from delighting in evil and passing it on to others?

Have you turned from your sins and trusted in what Jesus did for you on the Cross?

If not, I invite you to trust Him today.

Ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior, your Rescuer and your King.

Ask Him for new life–the ability to live a new way.

To live in holiness! And to NOT delight in evil.

“Love does not delight in evil BUT REJOICES WITH THE TRUTH.”

This is the flip-side.

Love rejoices with the truth.

This is the new way of living that Christ-followers can walk in.

Love rejoices with the truth.

Notice that Paul doesn’t say, “Love rejoices with the good.”

We might have expected him to say, “Love does not rejoice in evil but rejoices with the good.”

But he says, “with the truth.”

Now, I think is saying with the good, but there is more going on here.

This truth is gospel truth.
This truth is truth applied.
Truth lived-out.

Love is happy when the truth wins out in someone’s life.

When good comes out of the truth.

That’s when righteousness happens!

When good comes out of the truth.

Love is ecstatic when some good comes out of the truth!

Love loves GOOD.

And love loves it when good things happen to people.

And when the truth transforms people so that good things are done by people.

A loving person loves few things more than when they know that someone is walking in the truth.

The Apostle John wrote the letter we call Third John.

It’s right there in the back of your Bible two books away from Revelation.

It’s a letter he wrote to man named Gaius. Listen to what he says:

“To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.”That’s how we are supposed to act!

That’s what love does.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

This is definitely true of parenting, right?

We should be catching our children at doing good.

And praising them (and God!) when they do.

“Way to go! That was love at work. You’re living the truth!”

And we need to do it with our spouses, too.

This week, Heather and I were talking about something in her life, and I got to encourage her that she was growing in wisdom and love.

And it delighted my heart!

We need to do this in the locker-room, the board-room, and the lunch-room.

Love rejoices with the truth. When truth produces something good.

Notice that it says, “with” the truth. That little word “with” is the difference between the delighting in the first part of the verse and the rejoicing in the second part of the verse.

It might just intensify the word. Don’t delight in evil. But REJOICE in truth.

But it also might reflect the relationship here.

Join with others in rejoicing in the truth.

When something good happens to someone else–even someone who is your enemy, you can rejoice with them in the truth.

That’s what the Father did when the Prodigal Son returned. He killed the fatted calf and then threw a party for his repentant son.

Rejoice with me!

Rejoice with the truth!

Rejoice that the truth is winning out!

Rejoice that Jesus Christ has come and is saving the day–and saving lives forever.

How can you apply this this week?

It may be that someone else gets a monster buck this week.

I’m going hunting tomorrow for the first time in my life.

I’m a little nervous about that. Being in the woods with loaded weapons.

But I’m hoping to see and shoot a deer. I don’t know, we’ll see.

Should I be happy if someone else gets hurt? I don’t think so.

Should I delight in telling others if someone else does breaks the game-law and gets in trouble for it? I don’t think so.

Should I rejoice if someone else gets a 10 point buck, and I don’t? You bet I should.

How does this apply to you?

Not just cutting out the gossip, but actually rejoicing with the truth?

I would imagine that some of us need to get busy discipling others.

Maybe you don’t have someone in your life that you can rejoice over that they are learning and applying the truth in their life.

We should all be becoming disciples and making disciples of others.

As we sat down to Thanksgiving this week, Heather and I agreed that some of the sweetest things that we are thankful for this year are how you folks have received the truth and are living it out day by day to the glory of God!

You are an encouragement to us.

We rejoice with you in the truth.

In fact, we love you.

7 comments:

I think you have totally missed the love message. The kind of love you portray is the "never having to say your sorry love". This is the kind of love most churches portray. The love message is meant to bring you into a different spirituality that is not churchy. I don't know you but it felt right to give you a different perspective. The best, Yolanda

Thanks for dropping in and sharing your thoughts, Yolanda.

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying about my message here. I completely agree with you that love does mean needing to say, "I'm sorry." Most of the rest of the messages in this series are about ways we need to apologize and change from our unloving ways.

I hope I'm growing in a deeply spiritual love and not a fake one (is that what you mean by "churchy?"), and I believe the way towards that is to let the Lord use scriptural passages like 1 Corinthians 13 to change me.

Blessings!

-Pastor Matt

I think I am trying to say that the love message is simple. I think the chapter in Cor. 13:4-8 has been sadly over talked and complicated to the point of "dull of hearing' TO THE listener.Take the word apologize I know most people are sick and tired of hearing it. What about people apologizing to us who have wronged us. To much emphasis is placed on us and how we are reacting then on those who have wronged us. The poor person sitting in the pew is always doing something wrong. How they keep coming back week after week has always stymied me.
Most people don't have enough Love for themselves and they feel they deserve what they get every week. Love says we don't let people treat us badly and then we let them walk all over us. Love say's I love you to much to let you keep doing the same thing over and over. There are plenty of people out there who are letting kids, friends, partners walk all over them because they don't want them to feel bad or because they need them for something and if they told them what they really thought they wouldn't have them in their lives anymore. It takes love to say you can't treat me like that. Most people don't have this kind of love for themselves or their fellow man. Unconditional love does not mean that you throw your body on the floor and invite people to walk over you.
I'm sure you are a very nice man and really want to help people but for some unknown reason to me I had to write this post. I came into the love message about 2 years ago and have had a time trying to sort it all out the fiction from the real truth. I know what I have heard so far is fiction. I guess the word churchy is my term for self righteousness. I am not accusing you of self righteousness just making a statement. Love is the answer and the only answer if we can just get it right.
All the best to you, Love, Yolanda

Yolanda-
What you just said completely supports Pastor Matt's message. What you are speaking of is TRUTH. You have no basis to come against anything that he just said or tell him his interpretation of the passage is off. He went through every word, every phrase and broke down exactly what it meant from at least 10 different angles. Your right love is the answer and you posting on here trying to correct someone from there version of love is exactly the opposite of that. You are critical when you should be supporting someone writing and speaking truth. I will pray for you Yolanda, Im sure your frustrations go far beyond Pastor Matt's message, you need to correct your spirit and heart and encourage pastors who's hearts are to bring truth.

Hi Josh, I didn't mean any problem to come from my comment and probably shouldn't have made it in the first place. I have to admit I am prejudiced against church people. We are all on our own journey and I think I was trying to get you to come on my journey which of course it is just for me. It is wonderful that Pastor Matt is talking about love and trying to share it with his flock. It is such a big subject and so need to be put out there. Sorry to have caused any problem to you. The best, Yolanda

I Agreee On Both I Absolutely LOVe,,,the Love theme;) cause Jesus is Love,,,,So bEAUTiful Stated ANd explained Ps.Thank you!I want to live that!! And I hear your heart yolanda, I think it comes in by "does not delight in evil,,you stand up for yourself in a 'Kind'/patient way when someone keeps on misusing or stepping over you/think that is to not delight in their evil,cause afterall You Love yourself first,and guard you Heart ...Lots of Love...Nadien

I Agreee On Both I Absolutely LOVe,,,the Love theme;) cause Jesus is Love,,,,So bEAUTiful Stated ANd explained Ps.Thank you!I want to live that!! And I hear your heart yolanda, I think it comes in by "does not delight in evil,,you stand up for yourself in a 'Kind'/patient way when someone keeps on misusing or stepping over you/think that is to not delight in their evil,cause afterall You Love yourself first,and guard you Heart ...Lots of Love...Nadien