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The Bible on the Tongues Doctrine: 6. THE MORE EXCELLENT WAY

By Arthur Vess

      Before analyzing and applying the truth contained in this great chapter -- First Corinthians thirteen -- let us give you a brief outline of the chapter.

      I. Gifts without Love, Verses 1-3.
      II. Love without Gifts, Verses 4-8.
      III. Love superior to Gifts, Verses 8-13.

      Love is not only greater than all the nine gifts, but is the greatest of all the nine graces: "And now abideth faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is LOVE." "God Is Love."

      Yes, the love way is the right way, the best way. We may have all the gifts without love, to our own destruction; but love keeps us in our own rightful relations to God and man, and makes us and all that we possess, including our gifts and talents, effective for God and others. Human gifts have always torn the Church apart, but love binds it together in holy affection one for another. "He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, "for "God is love."

      Now let us analyze this great chapter on love, and analyze our own hearts to see if all our lives, motives, words and conduct are prompted by love for God and others. Gifts demand a place for self, while love demands room for God and others.

      "For God so loved the world (others), that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Let us love and live for others that they may receive this eternal life.

      "But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way." The "love way" is more excellent than the gift way. How our hearts ache when we note that the Christian Church in all places has been degraded to the exhibition of human gifts, talents, wisdom, and knowledge, with the result that Jesus Christ has been dethroned as the Head of the Church, while carnal, self-seeking men and women have taken His place, and the Divine Church has been replaced by human organizations. The love way, would stop all this, and give Christ and others their rights, regardless of their ignorance, poverty, and lack of gifts and human abilities. This was the way Jesus took while here on earth. He noted the widow's mite, and ignored the offerings of the rich. He stooped to save widows, harlots, publicans, and sinners until He was branded as the "Friend of sinners" by His enemies, but was worshiped by the common people. Let us thunder it in your hearts: Every great spiritual movement begins with the "downs-and-outs," and ends with the "ups-and-ins." It is grace and love, and not gifts, that saves sinners and gives Christ His place among men. Jesus Christ did not come to establish organizations and give place and powers to men, but to seek the lost and bring home the prodigal, lost world.

      Listen here: "And yet show I unto you a more excellent way" than speaking in tongues. Hear it: "Though I speak with the tongues cf men and of angels, and have not (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling (clanking) cymbal." It takes more than speaking in tongues to prove that we have the Holy Ghost. So long as men fuss and fight and try to destroy each other, they do not have love and the Holy Ghost, though they speak in every language known to men, and angels, all at the same time. It is not tongues but love that we need; that is what the Church is lacking and the world is longing for. They care not what language we speak, nor how eloquent we are, if we love and under-stand them, and lead them to Christ. Oh, if tongues and other things that divide the Holiness Movement could be left behind, we would have the great soul-saving revivals that we had before the mod-ern Tongues Movement was ever heard of. Lord, send it now!

      Oh, that we all might speak in the language of love, coming down from above, whatever our creed, nationality, or language. This is what the world's lost multitudes are longing and hungering for from us. The love-way outshines them all as it is taught by the Apostle Paul and demonstrated by Jesus Christ on Calvary. Love makes us forget ourselves for God and others, while gifts and talents make us conscious of our own selves and importance. Gifts make us self-conscious, but love makes us God-conscious and soul conscious.

      Even the great gifts of prophecy, wisdom, knowledge, and faith without LOVE are empty and vain, and we all become "nothing" while we think that we are something. May God bring us to the place where we cry out, "I am nothing," while God and others are all and in all. We may parade and strut our great wisdom, knowledge, degrees and gift-powers until men will worship us, then go away hungry and lost. It is spiritual miracles that we need today; miracles that transform the inner lives and outer conduct of the wrecked and ruined world all about us. Let us repeat it again: Our greatest need is to have that love that is patient and kind; the love that envieth not, and knows no jealousy for gifts or place; that does not get puffed up or down; seeketh not her own, but the good of others; that in honor prefers others, esteeming others better than self; that is not provoked, thinketh no evil of others, finds no pleasure in the injustices done to others but joyfully sides with the truth; she knows how to be silent, full of trust, full of hope, full of patient endurance; the love that never fails. If you have this kind of love, you will have power with God and power with men, and God will get the glory, for you will not seek it for yourself; others will live better and happier because you lived and loved them enough to give your life for them, as Jesus did on the cross. These are the only things that last and satisfy. If you do not have them, let everything and everybody go, and seek alone with God until your heart is filled with perfect love. Then you will find it easy and blessed to love and live for God and others, without any thought for your own gifts or talents; and you will want to speak in a heart language that all will understand and respond to.

      "Love Never Fails," but all our gifts and powers will soon fade away. Prophecies shall fail, tongues shall cease, knowledge will vanish away, while love will have its eternal day. "God is LOVE." "Love is the fulfilling of the law." Love makes us happy, for it is the most pleasant and normal feeling in the universe, including God, angels, and men. "Love that moved the mighty God, Love found me." "O love that will not let me go, though pressed by every foe." All other things must go, must fade away, but "now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is LOVE."

      Away with this idea of fussing over language, known or unknown. It is the understandable language of love that rings out the message. Love is the language of the soul understood by all persons, nations, and languages.

      In tenderness and love, let me plead one more time: let these things that fade and perish be left behind, and let us love God, one another, and a lost, ruined world until we forget all about our little selves, with or without gifts and talents, and live in love for others. "These things I command you, that ye love one another." "By this (LOVE) shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" -- not because you speak in tongues. Oh, let us love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love -- God and man! Then we shall not need gifts except as ladders of love to bring God down to man, and to help lift poor fallen man up to God. Let love enlighten our minds, warm our hearts, guide our feet, direct our words, control our hands, and lead us out and on to depths of love never yet fathomed, and victories never dreamed of or experienced. Let us love the old and young, the rich and poor, the learned and unlearned, the saint and sinner, until the image of God is reproduced and replenished in us. Then all our problems will be solved, our loads will be lifted, and our work will be glorious because the God of love possesses and blesses every atom of our being, and "leads us in the way everlasting." Oh, how we hate to leave the land of love for the vale of gifts, but we must now descend to try to bring others up to this land of delight where all is bright. We may have gifts and bite and devour one another, but love will not permit or tolerate such. We do not hurt or hinder those we love.

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