The Greatest of These

Posted on 05/06/2018 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:

My Real Life mother passed away Thursday, May 3, 2018. I am broken, empty, lost, forlorn, forsaken, damaged. I can not cope at all
-Ariza


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Please click one of the offering plates in Second Life or at http://almcyberchurch.org, and give as the Lord leads.

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JOY UNSPEAKABLE
by Barney Elliott Warren

I have found His grace is all complete,
He supplieth every need;
While I sit and learn at Jesus' feet,
I am free, yes, free indeed.

I have found the pleasure I once craved,
It is joy and peace within;
What a wondrous blessing, I am saved
From the awful gulf of sin.

I have found that hope so bright and clear,
Living in the realm of grace;
Oh, the Savior's presence is so near,
I can see His smiling face.

I have found the joy no tongue can tell,
How its waves of glory roll;
It is like a great o'erflowing well,
Springing up within my soul.

CHORUS:
It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Full of glory, full of glory;
It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Oh, the half has never yet been told.


LORD YOU'VE BEEN SO GOOD
by Benjamin R. Faust

VERSE ONE
Lord, You've been so good to me
You gave me sight when I was blind
You showed me light I could not see
You brought me truth I could not find

Lord, You've been so good to me
You paid a debt I could not pay
You turned my darkest night to day
Lord You've been so good to me!

CHORUS
And so I praise You in the morning
and I praise You in the night
For You are my Salvation
You are my Guiding Light
So I give You my everything
I just can't give You less
When You sent Your Son to love me
You gave me Your best!

VERSE TWO
Lord, You've been so good to me
You set my feet on solid ground
You rescued my life from the grave
when no other help could be found
Lord, You've been so good to me
and I could never repay
All the love You gave so freely
Lord, You've been so good to me!

(CHORUS)

BRIDGE
Lord You've been so good to me
Lord You've been so good to me (better than I deserve)
Lord You've been so good to me
You paid a debt I could not pay
You turned my darkest night to day
Lord You've been so good to me

Lord You've been so good to me
Lord You've been so good to me (you're good all the time)
Lord You've been so good to me
and I could never repay
All the love You gave so freely
Lord You've been so good to me

(CHORUS)

You gave me Your best!
You gave me Your best!

Lord, You've been so good to me.


YOU ARE HOLY
by Benjamin R. Faust

You are holy
great and worthy
All creation is
full of Your glory
Angels prostrate
fall - and with one voice proclaim
Glory and Majesty to
Whom for all eternity reigns! (He reigns!)
(Him for all eternity)

To Him who sits on the throne
Glory and honor and praise
forever and ever
And to the Lamb who was slain
And set us free from the grave
and those who know Him are free


*** Choose your connection speed and listen to the audio to hear the introduction. ***


What's called "The Love Chapter" ends with
the well-known words, "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." And that is the title of today's short message, "The Greatest of These."

1 Corinthians 8:1b-3 (NKJV)

1b We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.
2 And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.
3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.


Verse 2 is interesting:

"If anyone thinks he knows anything, he knows nothing as he ought to know."

Now, to feel as though we are in line with this passage, some of us might take the position, "I know nothing." But do you REALLY believe that? Or do you still feel as though you know something, something which, when it comes up, you will defend?

"If anyone thinks he knows anything, he knows nothing as he ought to know."

That is the fleshly mind, which worships knowledge and facts and positions and beliefs. And THAT knowledge "puffs up." It generates pride.

Now, knowledge in itself is no more evil than money. Most of us "know" how to drive a car. We "know" how to read, how to count, how to tie our shoe laces.

"We know that we all have knowledge."

In context, Paul was talking about eating food that had been sacrificed to idols. There were various opinions about that. People would cite the knowledge they had about the subject, and the "indisputable" conclusions they made about the issue. And, of course, EVERYONE thought that THEY were right, and the OTHERS were WRONG.


"Knowledge puffs up." Or we could say, "Belief in knowledge puffs up," or, "Identifying with knowledge puffs up," or, "Taking your knowledge and your conclusions about that knowledge so seriously puffs up."


"Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks he knows anything, he knows nothing as he ought to know."

How should we "ought to know?" Well, let's read the next verse:

2 And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.
3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.

And here's the thing: Loving God is a two-way street. If you are known by God, you know God. And not in the sense of the knowledge that puffs up. THAT kind of knowledge is what most of us have.

We can quote all sorts of facts ABOUT God. Well, God is holy. God is just. God is merciful. God is perfect. God is all-powerful. God is all-knowing. God is ever present. God is Love.

But all those revelations about God came from encounters with Him. If you only know ABOUT God, you do not truly know Him at all. And one way you can know if you know God, is by learning 1st Corinthians 13.

Love is patient. Love is kind. And so on... Yes, we could mimick the traits listed, and that is a good thing to do. But if you need to congure up the acts of Love, then something is missing.

And that something is a right-now walk with God, with Love. It is not the kind of knowledge that puffs up, the kind that can be argued and preached, the kind that can start wars and factions, the kind that divides us and unites cliques and denominations;

Rather, we are talking about experiencial knowledge. And I don't mean facts gained from experience; Rather, I mean the type of knowledge that cannot be adequately put into words. It cannot be passed on in a sermon or a book. Instead, it can only be pointed to, and shared only by direct personal experience.

This is the kind of knowing that can fully come only when you let go of all you think you know, and you fully surrender. And by "surrender," I don't mean "resignation." It's the type of surrender of which Jesus spoke.

"Observe the birds." They fully trust God to meet their needs. They search for food, they build nests, they fight predators; but the do not worry about tomorrow, or dwell in yesterday. They dwell, instead, in Love.

In this way, the birds know God much better than the most religiously astute among us. And Jesus told us to learn from them. Learn from the flowers. Not the learning of facts, but the learning how to BE with God; with Love.


Most of us have a backdrop of very subtle fear. We don't even know it's there. But, we sometimes pray or go to church because, in the background, there is a fear that NOT doing so will have negative consequences.

We do this or that, or DON'T do this or that, because there is a fear, no matter how big or how tiny. But we know that "Perfect Love casts out fear."

1 John 4:18 (NKJV)

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

We fear the IRS. We fear the government. We fear the "wrong" people will get elected. We fear rejection. We fear loss. We fear lack. We fear abandonment.

We fear so many things, BECAUSE we are not fully dwelling in Love. And whatever ideas you have about what Love means, THAT IS NOT IT. When you TRULY know Love, there is no need to define it.

It does not need to be, and cannot be, put into words. You can only point people to it, and know that they will not and can not know that to which you are pointing, until they experientially know it first hand.

And so today, I pray for that personal encounter with Love. I pray that you will discover how to fully surrender, how to release all your attachments to what you think you know, how to step out of the fear that would keep you from that surrender and that release.

And today, I pray that you enter into the eternity that dwells inside of you right now, that perfect Presence of God, of Love, and that, despite what you know, you step into that realm of perfect peace and blissful joy that can only be found when you completely let go of everything, and dwell completely in the always-present, all-pervasive, heavenly realm of Love.