Nothing Matters Without Love

If you are a follower of Christ Jesus . . . all that matters is your faith that makes you love others” (Galatians 5:6 CEV).
Have you ever wondered what matters to God? The Bible tells us in Galatians 5:6: “If you are a follower of Christ Jesus . . . all that matters is your faith that makes you love others” (CEV). God says what matters in life is not your accomplishments or your achievements or your fame or your wealth. The other thing that matters is having a faith that causes you to love other people. If you miss that, you have missed the most important thing in life.
Over the next couple of days, we’re going to look at the most famous chapter in the Bible on love, 1 Corinthians 13. When speakers want to get your attention and want you to remember something, they use repetition. They say something over and over. In the first few verses of this passage, Paul says the same thing five different ways: The most important thing in life is love.
Here are the first four reasons why.
1. If you don’t live a life of love, then nothing you say will matter.
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1 NLT).
We’re really impressed by great speakers. We love eloquence and charisma. But God says, “I don’t care how good of a communicator you are. Are you living a life of love?” If you’re not, then nothing you say will matter. Words without love are just noise.
2. If you don’t live a life of love, nothing you know will matter.
“I may have the gift of prophecy. I may understand all the secret things of God and have all knowledge . . . But even with all these things, if I do not have love, then I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2 NCV).
We live in a world where knowledge is exploding. We are smarter than we’ve ever been. But we still have the same problems: crime, abuse, prejudice, violence. Why? Because the world doesn’t need more knowledge. It needs more love. You may be a genius. But God says if you don’t have love in your life, all that you know is worthless.
3. If you don’t live a life of love, nothing you believe will matter.
The Bible says, “Even if I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, I would still be worth nothing at all without love” (1 Corinthians 13:2b TLB). There’s a myth that being a follower of Christ is just a matter of believing certain truths. Nothing can be further from the truth! Following Christ is about living a life of love. It takes more than belief to please God.
4. If you don’t live a life of love, nothing you give will matter.
The next verse says, “If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3 NLT).
Love isn’t always the motivation for giving. Some people give just to get back or out of guilt or for control or prestige. You can give for a lot of wrong motives, but the Bible says if you’re not doing it out of love, none of your giving counts.
The Bible is very clear about what happens when you don’t live a life of love. Tomorrow we’ll look at the last reason why you need to focus on your faith that makes you love others.

Talk It Over:
What motivates you to give?
If a friend described you, what would they say about how you show your love to others?
The Bible says, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6 NIV). What do you think that means?

Summary Of Nehemiah

The book of Nehemiah is Narrative History. Nehemiah authored it at about 430 B.C.

Key personalities include Nehemiah, Ezra, Sanballat, and Tobiah. Nehemiah wrote it to records the events of returning to Jerusalem and rebuilding the walls in 445 B.C.

Jerusalem had a temple but there was no protection for the city from further attack. Nehemiah travels to Jerusalem and uses his leadership skill to rally a citywide construction crew. Within a few weeks, the walls around Jerusalem were built and standing tall and their enemies lost their confidence.

•    In chapters 1-7, Nehemiah recounts the events of his temporary return to Jerusalem from Persia as governor. Nehemiah leads and directs the project; each family built the section of the wall directly in front of their houses, and with hard work, the wall was astonishingly completed within 52 days. This method allowed the remnant to feel an identity and uniqueness in their part of repairing the walls of Jerusalem. “So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations surrounding us saw it, they lost their confidence; for they recognized that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God” (6:15-16).

•    From Chapters, 8-13 is a time of Israel finding and re-establishing themselves again as a nation, after the long period of the exile in Babylon. Ezra leads all the Jews in a renewal ceremony. This incorporated a public teaching of the Law, in which it was read and explained. For example, the recognition of the Sabbath Day was reinstated. “And all the people gathered as one man at the square which was in front of the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses which the LORD had given to Israel” (8:1). They understood that if they were to survive they must remember and obey God’s Laws. Nehemiah establishes policies and addresses the issue of mixed marriages than condemns it. One of the main concerns was that the mixed marriage families were not teaching their children the Hebrew language, “the language of Judah” (13:24).

Summary Of Ezra

Ezra is a book of Narrative History and Genealogies. It was written by Ezra at approximately 440 B.C. and records events up to 450 B.C. Key personalities include Cyrus, Ezra, Haggai, Zechariah, Darius I, Artaxerxes I, and Zerubbabel.

Ezra’s purpose was to accurately record the events of the return from the Babylonian exile, after a seventy-year period and the events that surround the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. God is faithful in fulfilling His promises and so the Jews return to Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon.

•    In Chapters 1-6, a relatively small number of Jews return to the city of Jerusalem and immediately prepare to construct the new temple. They began the planning, the gathering of materials, and the beginning of construction. The building drags on because the surrounding enemies begin oppressing and frightening them. Twenty years later, it is completed. “The sons of Israel who returned from exile and all those who had separated themselves from the impurity of the nations of the land to join them, to seek the LORD God of Israel, ate the Passover. And they observed the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had caused them to rejoice, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them to encourage them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel” (6:21-22).

•    From chapters 7-10, the second group of Jews returns to Israel. Ezra is included in this return. He teaches the Law, but has problems with intermarriage and addresses the pagan women who brought their religious practices with them.

“For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel” (7:10), what a great example to follow!

Summary Of 2 Chronicles

The book of 2nd Chronicles is a Narrative History. The author appears to be the prophet Ezra who wrote it circa 430 B.C. It covers the events from the beginning from King Solomon’s reign in 970 B.C. up to the beginning of the Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C. The key personalities are King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, Rehoboam, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Joash, Uzziah, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, and Josiah.

It was written to emphasize the blessings of the righteous kings and to expose the sins of the wicked kings. It parallels some parts of 1st and 2nd Kings. Like 1st Chronicles, it is written from the viewpoint of a priest who spoke from spiritual perspectives, including revivals. It too was written after the exile and focuses on correct worship to YHWH.

•    Chapters 1-9 teach the details of the reign of King Solomon. It covers the wisdom of Solomon, the building, and construction of the temple in Jerusalem, which was dedicated to the Lord God. “and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (7:14).

•    Chapters 10-36 describe the events in the split of the nation of Israel. The nation split into two kingdoms: North and South. The Northern Kingdom revolted against King Rehoboam, and took a new king; his name was Jeroboam. 2nd Chronicles focuses mainly from here, on the events of the Southern Kingdom. These include 20 kings and are a dynasty from King David. These chapters describe the events all the way up through the Northern Kingdom and its captivity to Babylon. Nevertheless, the mercy of the Lord is seen in the last two verses of this book. Cyprus, King of Persia declares that the remnant of Israel may return to Jerusalem, “in order to fulfill the word of the LORD” (36:22).

Summary Of 1 Chronicles

The book of 1st Chronicles is a book of Narrative History, and Genealogies. The author appears to be the prophet Ezra who wrote it circa 430 B.C. It covers the events from 1000 to 960 B.C. Key personalities are King David and Solomon.

This book parallels some of 2nd Samuel and therefore describes similar events. It was written after the exile, its purpose was to encourage the remnant that had come out of the Babylonian captivity. It begins with the ancestry of the nation’s past, but it is not chronological.

•    In chapter 1-9, the book begins with Adam and runs through the genealogies of Israel. It continues through all the 12 tribes of Israel, then King David, and then the Priestly line. The descendants teach the history of the nation, extending from God’s creation all the way through the exile in Babylon. “Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested” (4:10).

•    From chapters 10-29, there is a review from King Saul’s death with the Philistines, through King David’s reign, including the preparation for the building of the new temple, which Solomon would build, “David also told his son, Solomon, ‘Be strong and courageous and do the work. Don’t be afraid or terrified. The LORD God, my God, will be with you. He will not abandon you before all the work on the LORD’s temple is finished” (28:20). The book ends with Solomon’s reigning as king of Israel.

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