************ Sermon on 1 Corinthians 13:6 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on July 25, 2007
1 Corinthians 13
1 Corinthians 13:6
"Love Hates Evil"
TASC # 5
I Love Does Not Delight in Evil
A Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth (1 Cor 13:6).
Is this a problem? Is there any normal person who delights in evil? Don't normal people hate evil? So why is this singled out as a trait of love?
Could it be that there is something in all of us that delights in evil? Is Paul telling us that normal people – don't forget, normal people are sinful people – rejoice in evil? Is Paul telling us that only the power of God's love can get us to hate evil?
Remember the story I said yesterday? An angel offered a man a wish that would give him anything he desired. However, there was one condition – his rival, whom he envied intensely, would receive double of whatever he received. After thinking the matter over, the envious man asked to be struck blind in one eye. This man delights in evil.
What do you live for? What is most important in your life? What do you think is most worthy? Your answer tells you what you worship, what you delight in. Is it money, is it sex, is it fame, is it friends, is it computers or videos or sports, is it cars or bikes? Whatever it is, it is idolatry, and idolatry is evil. When you worship something other than God you are rejoicing in evil! When you live for something other than God you delight in evil!
A couple of weeks ago a U.S. Senator from Louisiana got caught visiting prostitutes. Jay Leno and David Letterman had a field day with this because the Senator is known for promoting family values and the sanctity of marriage. The late night comedians were rejoicing in evil.
In a previous church I served a young married man got a girl in our youth group pregnant. You should have heard the talk! It was more interesting than talking about the weather. Many people delighted in this evil.
I have to confess that I kind of enjoyed the news about the execution of Saddam Hussein and I was not terribly bothered that someone took a video that was released to the media. Was I delighting in evil? Probably so!
Do you have someone you don't like? Someone you maybe dislike? Don't you get a little bit of satisfaction when your enemy suffers evil? A teacher, for instance, has been unfair to you; it is hard to quell the joy when you hear their car has been keyed. You've been fired from a job; you are glad when you hear your former boss has money problems. A boy-friend has broken up with you; when his new girl-friend dumps him you think he is getting what he deserves. Last night Jacob was hoping ... See what this means? It means you delight in evil!
You are a mediocre student; it is tempting to rejoice if others in your class receive a C when you manage a B. If your children are rebelling, the news that your friends' successful child has gotten into trouble makes you feel good, even though you know your friends are suffering. When your business turns sour and creditors are knocking at the door, it is tempting to rejoice on the day your competitor takes a tumble. Misery seeks company and rejoices when it gets it. You are delighting in evil!
Even big-hearted people can delight in evil. A big heart needs a little bit of evil in order to do its work. There is nothing for the empathetic and sympathetic heart to do if there is no evil, if a brother and sister do not need lifting up. It feels good to be forgiving and compassionate. Evil makes me look good.
When we think about it, we all have moments when we delight in evil. We do rejoice in evil, all too easily. Yet, Paul tells us that agape love does not delight in evil. Can it be that we are unloving? Can it be that we are sinners? Can it be that we need to change our life in this area?
B Love, agape love, gives us the power to regret evil and hate evil – anywhere, in any form, by any cause. Agape love hates an evil system that forces people in Afghanistan and Columbia to grow cocaine and heroin. Agape love hates it when women in Sudan sell themselves as prostitutes in order to feed their children. Agape love hates racism and discrimination. Agape love hates rape and murder and theft and adultery. Agape love hates it when someone is picked on or left out. Agape love hates it when the star of the football or volleyball team is treated better than the bookworm in the library. Agape love hates physical, sexual, verbal, and religious abuse. Agape love hates every kind of sin and works against it. Agape love desires the best for others so agape love hates evil. Agape love does its best work in response to evil.
God's love, as you know, is this way. God's love does its best work in response to evil. We see this with the manger birth and the cruel cross of Jesus. It was God's agape love, in response to human sin, that sent Jesus to earth in human form. It was God's agape love, in response to human sin, that sent Jesus to die on the cross. God's agape love means the destruction of the devil's work. God's agape love counters every act and form of evil.
If our love is like God's love it does not delight in evil but opposes evil.
II Love Rejoices With the Truth
A Love does NOT delight in evil. Instead, it rejoices with the truth. If I was writing 1 Corinthians 13 I would not have written "truth" here. I would have written "goodness." So, then, why is truth contrasted with evil? Shouldn't it be goodness that is contrasted with evil?
We need to remember what truth is in the Bible. In the Bible truth is a person. Truth is a person whose acts and words perfectly blend together. Truth is a person whose human life is lived the way God meant for it to be lived. Truth, in the Bible, is Jesus Christ. "I am the way, the truth, and the life," says Jesus (Jn 14:6).
So, then, love rejoices with the truth which is Jesus Christ. We rejoice that Christ Jesus came to save people from evil. We rejoice that Jesus came to destroy evil. We rejoice that Jesus opposes evil.
B Once we have experienced God's agape love we see that evil does not belong in our universe. I've read you headlines from the newspaper. Distressing headlines. We get so used to the terrible things in the news that we forget this is not the way it should be. Evil never belongs anywhere. Evil has no right to exist.
Once we have experienced God's agape love we see that evil has been defeated by Jesus. When Jesus died and arose again, evil lost and truth won. The agape love of God in Christ has defeated all evil.
C Yesterday we looked at what agape love is not. Love 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. Now we know why agape love is none of these. Because all of these are evil and opposed by Christ Jesus. Because all of these are part of Satan's lies and not part of the truth. Because all of these are what Jesus came to destroy.
D This week you have the privilege of joining Christ's triumph over evil. By doing what you are doing for TASC you are on the side of truth. By doing what you are doing for TASC you are fighting evil.
Every piece of fruit you have packed fights evil. Every caprisun or taco you have repacked is an attack on Satan. Every time you have hammered a nail, every time you have picked up a board, every piece of clothing you have sorted puts you on the side of truth.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. So rejoice, young people, that you are part of Jesus' work. Rejoice, young people, that you stand opposed to evil. Rejoice, young people, that through you Christ is attacking the stronghold of Satan. And, He is winning!
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love hates evil and rejoices in the triumph of Christ.
I want to end with some pictures. Pictures I have selected because they show agape love. Pictures that show the evil we are fighting.
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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