My thought that I want to leave with you today is in three words: Love never fails. So if you’re a cynic, you’re going to change this morning because the cynic is wrong. He looks for shortcomings, failures in the positive feelings of life. Love never fails.
And that’s because every human being needs it. Whether you feel it or not, you need to give it as well as receive it. Love never fails. The human being is not understood as a total person. You begin by looking at the body. We need food to eat and exercise. You look at the mind and the brain needs intelligence and learning and study. Then there is within you as a person a system of emotions and the one emotion that seems to dominate is love. Even if you are in a problem way and you find it; you can’t love or you don’t want to love or you even reject love when it’s offered to you. Love is at the core of who you are. You are made to love.
Years ago, when I first got into the study of psychology and then psychiatry and I began to realize that the human being is most significantly an emotional creature. And that finally the person you are is shaped by the heart that carries within you. And that’s why there’s nothing more important than that at the heart of your heart, there is a love that is supernatural. Christianity, think of this, Christianity is the only system in the human race that promotes the emotions of love. It’s amazing but true. That’s why Christianity is never going to die or be out of style. Never. Because you will never change and I will never change and we need this emotion called love. And there’s no university that you can go to and enroll and take a major in love and come out a loving person. It doesn’t work that way. Love is a gift, an emotional gift of God and you need it and I need it.
And think of it, in the whole human family there is only one book that’s called the bible. And the bible has one central focus and that’s to connect us with God who is seen as a God of love. Fabulous. So I ask you today, to check this part of your personality. Don’t check your faith today. You’re here, you’ve got a lot of faith or you would not have come to this place. You’ve got a lot of faith or you wouldn’t be listening to the words and the music from this hour. What you need is love. Now you’ve all got it to one degree or another, on one level or another level. But this love is an amazing need in the human person. And no matter what studies you would take, you could go and earn your PhD degree in studying the human personality. But you’d never ever be able to find an institution that communicates love to you. That you can go out and not with a degree, masters or a doctorate, but you go out with a personality that has been shaped, molded and is mastered by love. That’s why the church is never going to be a dead institution unless it makes a mistake it has made and that’s focusing on head knowledge instead of heart felt spirit.
I want to leave with you this sentence that love is impossible without faith and faith is dangerous without love. I’ve been married for sixty years to my one and only wife. And I love her, and she loves me. That’s what makes our marriage beautiful. But I’m thinking of a man who’s unmarried and in his 50’s. He was despairing before me not long ago and he said my life’s lonely, so lonely. He’s never had a family. He never married. When I asked him why not, did you never find a woman that you could love? Yes, he said, I did. But I didn’t trust it. I was afraid I might not always love her. And I was afraid she might not always love me. So I said you had love, but you didn’t have faith. He said I guess you put it right. But look how love makes the difference in faith if you really bring love into your faith because faith is something not just a collection of concepts that you hold, or beliefs that you embrace. I’m making these points.
Point number one: Love puts constant renewing power in faith. And so in the core of your faith, there must be this love and that’s why you keep loving your husband or your wife because there’s love at the core of your faith. And you may drift, you may wander a bit, but your faith will come back strong again and again if there’s love at the core of it.
Love puts realigning power in faith. If you have faith but do not have love, you can drift and your focus can change. And what’s so important in life is that we keep our focus and our focus is in Jesus Christ. That’s the only way I know how to keep focus. It must be centered on a person and the person is Jesus. I want to say love is impossible without faith and faith is impossible without love.
Then love puts restraining power on faith. To have a lot of faith without love is dangerous. I’ve been a pastor for over 60 years and I have met people who had the faith through imagine great projects or great goals but when love was not composing their character, even their faith was dangerous. Dangerous because you can go after something and injure other people along the way. So that’s why love and faith must be emotional, spiritual twins. I don’t trust people with a lot of faith if Christ is not in their heart of hearts. And I think the greatest thing that God has given to me is not only the gift of faith which He has given in overwhelming measure, for which I am most grateful, but more than anything He has given into my life Jesus Christ and His love.
Love puts a redeeming power in faith! Oh love makes the difference in faith. And instead of just being a teacher, trying to draw your maximum salary and maximum benefits, you become concerned about these kids, these students and how you can build them into real persons. Love makes the difference. Or you’re a doctor and you’re not concerned primarily about how many fees you can attract, but how can you heal this person. Person is a human being. Or you’re a business man and you’re primarily concerned not about the profit margins but you’re concerned about the people who are your customers and you see that they have hurts and they need healing so you become a counselor, a minister.
I remember when I was building a little mountain cabin. Well it was a nice mountain cabin, maybe 50 years ago. Be a place that I could take my five children and my wife on weekends or special days and we could draw together as a family. It was a wonderful place. And when we finished it, I remember one time a truck pulled up, knocked on my door and said “Dr. Schuller?” Yes. He said “I have a box for you,” so he went out and got it. He said “can I carry it upstairs for you” because we lived on the second floor. And I said yes.
So he carried it up and then he cut the carton open, which kind of shocked me. And inside there were pieces that he picked them all out, he said “I got to make sure that all the pieces are here. Nothing’s worse than getting a collection of pieces and one piece is missing.” So he took all the pieces out, laid them out carefully, put them back together and everything was there. But he spilled a little on the floor and said “do you have a broom?” I said yes. So I got out a broom, dust pan, he swept it all up. Beautiful. He didn’t have to do that. And he looked at me and he said “why do I know you?” We mentioned television and he smiled and said oh yeah. He said oh yeah. And he said “isn’t this business of being a Christian wonderful?” I said “it sure is.”
Faith is renewed when love is at the core. Love will not let you become a doubter or a cynic. Love is constantly realigned, refocused if love is at the core. Love is restrained if love is at the core. Oh yes, powerful faith without restraint can run over some people. Wow. And love puts rejoicing into your life and in the faith. Without love, faith is not good. Without love, hope is hallow. Without love, ambition is dangerous. That’s why we say Christ should be at the center of your life and how do you get love at the core of your life? I only know one way and that’s to meet Jesus Christ and accept Him as your Savior and your Lord. I’ve done that again and again and again a million times in my life. Christ is at the core of my life and that’s where the love comes from. It never dies. He is always there.
Then what? You find yourself living up to what St. Paul challenged in 1st Corinthians 13 where he says, “Love is never jealous, its never envious, its never boastful, its never proud, its never haughty, its never selfish, its never rude, it never demands its own way, its never irritable, never touchy, never holds grudges, hardly notices when others do wrong. Love fills your life with gladness.”
So that’s the mountain moving faith with love at its core that I offer to you this morning. Whoever you are, ask Jesus Christ to come in. Something supernatural happens. His holy spirit does come into your life and you are living in Jesus. Hallelujah.
Let’s pray: Oh Lord, we’ve come to the only place in the world, a church, yes and there are millions of them. To the place where we’re introduced to Jesus Christ and as we accept Him as Savior and Lord, His holy spirit becomes a part of our personality and we are changed as persons. We become patient and kind. We become like Jesus and that’s beautiful, amen.