Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Hidden Treasure

The more you read the bible the more you see the hidden treasure within its pages. Take this place out of 1 Cor 16. Hidden in plain sight between verses 12 and 15 is this little gem:

12Now about our brother Apollos: I strongly urged him to go to you with the brothers. He was quite unwilling to go now, but he will go when he has the opportunity.
13Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 14Do everything in love.
15You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints. I urge you, brothers, 16to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it. 17I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. 18For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.

When you are reading through the chapter verses 13 and 14 almost seem out of place where they are. Paul goes from talking about our brother Apollos to our "hidden gem" to the household of Spephanas. What does being on your guard, standing firm in the faith, being men of courage, being strong and doing everything in love have to do with the traveling plans of Apollos or the first converts in Achaia? Seems to me, there's not a whole lot of "tie in" between the verses.

All of the words of God are treasure, but not all treasure has equal value especially to different people. The treasure I would hold out to you today is this:

13Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 14Do everything in love.

19 words there that summarize out entire walk "in Christ." That's some potent medicine friends.

Today what really stands out to me is this part : "be men of courage; be strong. 14Do everything in love. " There is no doubt that we all have out times of crying before the Lord but should we spend all our time whimpering before the Lord? I don't think so. He expects us to BE STRONG...be men of COURAGE....stop WHINING and STAND FIRM in faith. The perfection in the words we are given here is that at the very end of the potent 19 word statement our Lord gift wraps it with: Do everything in love.

Sometimes people forget that LOVE is what we are all about. The Lord does not mince words about this fact. We are told:

1 Cor 13:1If I speak in the tonguesa of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,b but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


1 John 4:7 ..... Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. ...


1 Thessalonians 4:9
Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. ...


John 13:34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. ...


Mark 12:33
To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."


Rev 2:4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

In case we forget, there are plenty of reminders in our Lord's words to pull us back to this core character of the believer. We are to LOVE. The writing here has been focused for about 4 months now on centering ourselves in the Lord's will, in the center of that narrow road that leads to life. You know what lines the center of that narrow road that leads to life? LOVE

If we forget everything else, but we remember how to love our God and love our neighbor as ourselves, I am convinced we will stand before out Lord without shame. How can I say that?

Matt 22:34Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’b 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’c 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Did you read that? ALL the law and the prophets hang on TWO commandments BOTH of which are centered on LOVE.

I want to encourage you today as brothers and sisters. If you forget everything else but you remember what it is to love your God and your neighbor you have accomplished MUCH. There is a time to cry before the Lord, we all do it, but once the tears are out, STAND FIRM in the faith, be COURAGEOUS and STRONG. Remember that you serve a God who sends his angels as heavenly secret service detachments to watch over you. He himself lives in you. You have REASON to be courageous and strong..

1 Corinthians 4:15
Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers,for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.

Psalm 91:11
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

Joshua 1:7 Be strong and very courageous. ... "Only be strong and very courageous, faithfully doing everything in the teachings that my servant Moses commanded you.
Joshua 23:6
... Now you must be very strong to keep and to do everything written in the Book of ... Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the

Keep the faith, continue to pray for all those "in Christ," may the grace and peace of the Lord be with you today.