"Love does not Envy" - March 23, 2014

as you know we've been talking in our

sermons about a couple different things

who've been talking about our identity

as a church we've also been talking

about what it means to be together as

the people of God community living the

nuts and bolts of what love really means

you know the word love is so vague it

can be so ambiguous so dreamy people use

it in a very superficial way but the

Bible is very concrete about what love

means so about a few weeks ago we talked

to how love is patient remember that

sort of the shock absorbers in the car

right how are your shocks doing today

patients we talked about love is kind a

couple weeks ago in the in the joint

service and about how that's sort of

like the oil in the motor right that

helps the pieces flow together and that

oil is supposed to get dirty otherwise

the engine can become gunked up with

sludge we don't want that now do we amen

now we're going to move on first

Corinthians chapter 13 the next phrase

we're going to do a group first

corinthians 13 verse 4 in the second

part says love is patient love is kind

and now we're going to talk about where

picks up from there love does not envy

it does not boast it is not proud love

does not envy it does not boast it is

not proud let's pray dear God I thank

you that you are loved you're not just

loving you are loved Lord God you define

it it's your essence and you are the

essence of love and I pray in Jesus name

that as a result of what we meditate on

today that you would impart to us more

of who you are Lord God that our lives

would be filled with the aroma of Christ

that love would not just be a mystical

idea or romantic concept but it would be

an active decision that we can make on a

daily basis and thereby touch eternity

Lord bless this time give us wisdom

together as we think

about this in Jesus name Amen and amen

praise or love does not envy it does not

boast it is not proud the translation

that's used by thank you I'm really

going to need that today coming down

with a cold thank you what's his name

Eugene Peterson translates it love does

not want what it doesn't have love

doesn't strut love doesn't have a

swelled head which is actually a pretty

good translation from the Greek the

Greek for pride there is the concept of

being puffed up the concept of being

full of something that's not God being

full of yourself being full of hot air

and we have all been there and are there

on a regular basis I'd like to talk is

start by by a beautiful example it's

just a beautiful story from the Old

Testament in numbers chapter 11 you can

look it up if you want or just listen

along but it's an interesting moment in

the history of Israel you know Moses

right Moses big Moses you know

separating the Red Sea's the staff great

leader he started out cocky he started

out proud raised in Pharaoh's Palace he

was very confident in his capability to

do great things right and he intervened

in a situation where one of his brother

Israelites would being abused by an

Egyptian slave owner and he intervened

and he and he killed that Egyptian and

then later the next day he's trying to

break up a fight and he founds out that

that what he did became known and he

runs away to the desert and for 40 years

God gives Moses training in the fact

that love does not envy it is not proud

it does not boast and the Bible says

that Moses became the meekest most

humble man on the face of the earth and

it's no accident that he also was the

man up until Jesus who wielded the

greatest authority that anyone else did

in the history of humanity he made war

single-handedly with the staff of God in

his hand he made war on the empire of


a full-out war separating the Red Sea's

Authority and humility go together

because when Authority is combined with

pride it is more than often not abused

right so Moses was a humble man now

there came a moment when a moment when

his leadership was getting overwhelming

to him there were just too many people

to take care of and they were asking for

food in the desert and and he wants his

praying to God saying god what am I

their mother how am I going to take care

of all these people and God says you

know it's too much for you alone so I'm

going to anoint 70 elders I'm going to

take the Holy Spirit that's on you and

I'm going to put it on them so call

these 70 elders and there were 70 men

that were chosen that were gathered and

so they came together and and the

presence of the Lord of Yahweh came down

and took the spirit that was on Moses

and put that spirit on these 70 men and

they started prophesying they received

power from the Holy Spirit it was a

powerful moment but then someone did a

head count realize there weren't 70 of

them there were only 68 there's always a

couple who missed the memo right there's

always a couple who your cell phone

battery's dead you missed the text and

they're all in the conference room and

you're you know you're stuck in traffic

on 93 so there were two guys and we even

know their names we know the guys who

missed the meeting el dad and me Dad I

just I just love that in that for that's

really in the Bible their names are el

dad and me Dad right and so they weren't

there now look at what happens to these

two guys and then the dynamic of what

happens with Moses verse 26 numbers 11

26 it says however two men whose names

were el dad and me Dad had remained in

the camp they were listed among the

elders but did not go out to the tent

yet the spirit also rested on them and

they prophesied in the camp so a young

man ran and told Moses hell dad and me

dad are prophesying in the camp and

Joshua son of nun who had been Moses is

aid since youth spoke up and said Moses

my lord stop them why would he do

stop them don't let him do it you're the

man here they were here in the group

their proper sighing and they're not

here with you they're not with us look

at what Moses says but Moses replied

verse 29 are you jealous for my sake I

can almost imagine the smile on his face

are you jealous for me are you jealous

room Isaac is that what's going on here

and then he says I wish that all of the

Lord's people were prophets and that the

Lord would put his spirit on them and

then Moses and the elders return to the

camp you know god heard what Moses said

because about a thousand years later

there was a prophet named Joel who

prophesied that in the last days I will

pour out my spirit on all flesh not just

a prophet or a king but all of God's

people would be anointed with the power

of the Holy Spirit you'll dream dreams

you'll you'll have visions you'll

prophecy your son's your daughter's your

servants and so God heard Moses's desire

and answered it and then that was

fulfilled on the day of Pentecost when

the Holy Spirit was poured out on God's

people now but what I want to focus on

here is the dynamic between Moses and

Joshua Josh was like stop them they're

prophesying they shouldn't be doing it

you know it reminds me of a moment I'll

never forget this a few years ago this

was about gosh it must have been ten

years ago and there was a new associate

pastor who since moved on to other

things God's called him to Omar and he

was brand new here and it was one of his

first Sundays he was working with the

youth and this was way back this is like

2000 right and and he sat in the seat I

usually sit in right and someone in the

church came on she was a Greg Greg Greg

he's taking your place the new guy he's

sitting in your seat that hilarious and

you know I felt like Moses I was like I

was touched I was touched that he cared

you know that he you sticking up for me

here like it's okay really we need the

help I'm glad to have them here it's

okay not a big deal don't get out of

that no just kidding but

you'll find that in church somebody you

know every now that people get into

routines of sitting where you sit and

that's okay because it's familiar in

your brain just formats that way but

heaven forbid some new person should

take that spot love does not envy it

does not boast so I just love the fact

that Moses had a different mentality he

didn't feel the need to protect himself

he didn't feel the need to say no they

can't prophecy because I'm the man here

no that wasn't his attitude he had a

different spirit he had a spirit that

was big that he saw that God is big

God's kingdom is big and God's people

we're on the same side right we're on

the same team right there is a bad guy

named Satan right he's our bad guy he's

our enemy but no but we're not the same

team so there's an element of saying why

compete amongst each other that's not

what it's about since what I want to

talk about today now jealousy and envy

is not always a bad thing I do want to

say that from the get-go right jealousy

can be good sometimes God the Bible says

at the beginning of the Ten Commandments

God said I am the Lord your God who

called you up out of Egypt out of the

land of slavery you shall have no other

gods besides me you shall not make an

idol for yourself in the form of

anything in heaven above or on earth

below or the Seas beneath you shall not

bow down to them you shall not worship

them for I the Lord your God am a

jealous God is that bad does God need to

love more no no because in the context

of a coven ental relationship he has a

right there there there married to each

other spiritually and it's appropriate

to feel that jealousy of saying you

belong to me and I belong to you not

every other idols same thing in marriage

right in the marriage covenant know it

one shouldn't be so generous that one

shares one spouse with whomever that's

not the idea no now i'm not encouraging

a psychotic kind of jealousy right amen

this is did you what are you looking at

no I we don't have to get like that

we need to be relaxed it needs to be

trust but at the same time jealousy in a

covenantal relationship is appropriate

to some degree now would say it's my you

know when I went on there for you know

the first time I hold a little baby girl

and my daughter might have a little bit

of a reaction to that no my daddy you

know that's okay there's the house till

your daddy just holding this so

sometimes jealousy but in the same ten

commandments down below there's an

interesting commandment is it number

nine or ten it's right near the end

right thou shalt not covet covet now

that is a ruinous covet mean thou shalt

well let's read it in contact now how

not covet thy neighbor's house or thy

neighbor's manservant or maid servant or

their neighbors ox or thy neighbor's

donkey and then it just says really

anything else that belongs to your

neighbor don't covet it right I had to

deal with this when I was first meeting

the person who is now my wife who

happened to be dating someone else and I

experienced some coveting and I was like

it says that shadow covet thy neighbor's

wife it does say anything about

girlfriend right you know so I was

trying to parse that Hebrew word and

then things all worked out well and I

didn't even have to do girlfriend theft

God just arranged it but that's another

whole story for another day right covet

to want something inappropriately now

Eugene Peter says and wanting something

you don't have but you know I have a

little bit of a hard time with that

because well if you already have it why

would you want it but there is an

element isn't it wonderful when you want

what you do have there's a beautiful

word for that it's called gratitude it's

called contentment the person who wants

what he or she has is the richest person

on earth you already got it isn't that

beautiful that's why that attitude of

Thanksgiving is so important but I think

it's more talking about wanting what is

not rightfully yours belongs to someone

else or it's not meant for you and so

that wanting coveting is wanting

something wrongly that is envy and

that's what is contrary to the concept


really in its combined I don't think

it's any accident in first Corinthians

13 that envy is combined with boasting

and with pride because the three go

together there's an element of self self

grabbing self-promotion self exaltation

it's about me it's the fundamental

opposite of love envy grabs love gives

boasting promotes the self-love exalts

the other pride is centered on the

self-love is centered on the other

person it's fundamentally opposite to

what love is about if you turn with me

to James chapter 3 talks about how Envy

is at the root of so many different more

serious outward expressions of sin James

chapter 3 if you will James 3 and again

I go back to something I've mentioned

before and I'm sorry I'm repeating this

but it's so appropriate when when

Charlotte preached a few months ago she

said if you look behind many sins we

commit you'll find a shadow of a lack of

thankfulness right you're not grateful

for what you have and so you need to

unlawfully or in a way that's

unwarranted get something else a lack of

thankfulness so and that's that's the

same thing that James is going to be

saying here so if you look with me in

James chapter 3 in verse 13 it says who

is wise and understanding among you let

him show it by this good life by deeds

done in humility that comes from wisdom

but if you Harbor bitter envy and

selfish ambition that's the the boasting

in the pride if you Harbor bitter envy

and selfish ambition in your hearts do

not boast about it or deny the truth

such wisdom does not come from heaven

but is earthly unspiritual of the devil

for where you have envied and selfish

ambition there you find disorder in

every evil practice

but the wisdom that comes from heaven is

first of all pure then peace loving

considerate submissive full of mercy and

good fruit impartial and sincere

peacemakers who sow in peace raise a

harvest of righteousness and then he

goes on in Chapter four what causes

fights and quarrels among you don't they

come from your desires the battle within

you you want something but don't get it

you kill and covet but you cannot have

what you want you quarrel and fight you

do not have because you do not ask God

when you ask you do not receive because

you ask with wrong motives you may spend

what you have in your pleasures and it

goes on and on down below it says God

opposes the proud but gives grace to the

humble so it's interesting text in what

goes behind so many wars nations wanting

to take something from another nation

what goes behind the the conflicts we

have with other people we want something

from them or we want something that they

have and and there's a conflict there's

a fight over it church politics office

politics there's maneuvering there's

positioning to try to get what's yours

Envy pride and selfish ambition lie at

the root of so many other sins the Bible

says the love of money is the root of

all kinds of evil that's that coveting

it's not desiring what you don't have

and it motivates you to do things you

would later regret the Bible compares it

to a kind of sickness that you can feel

coming over you interesting proverb then

looking at proverbs lately proverbs 1214

says a heart at peace gives life to the

body but envy rots the bones in that

good proverbs 1214 a heart at peace

gives life to the body but Envy rots the

bones it's like a illness that you can

feel coming over you you know I had an

interesting moment and I think I may

have shared this once because it was

such a

powerful little moment I was having

dinner and with my kids with Karis and

Noah and this was about two years ago

she will Karis was about free no it was

about five ok so imagine three and five

and Karis had just blown away a puzzle

she had just done right she had just

nailed it did this puzzle quickly and

we're sitting at the table and said you

know you're really good at puzzles Karis

you did that I didn't even have to put

the corner pieces in for you you just

did it and she's smiling and Noah said

something interesting sits daddy he

started getting this look he's like

daddy when you say that I don't know why

but I'm getting this feeling I'm getting

a bad feeling it's really interesting

that he could articulate that huh five

years old deep kid he's like I getting

this bad feeling and I don't know why

but it bothers me and I don't know what

that is what's this bad feeling i'm

feeling and I said you know you're

experiencing the human emotion called

envy it's a natural feeling because

you're thinking that because I'm saying

she did something good that you that

somehow takes away from you is somehow

de tracks from you somehow diminishes

you obviously I didn't use those words

but the whole idea that you're special

to you you would make us but just

because she makes a puzzle well doesn't

mean you don't but even if you don't

make a puzzle well you're still a

valuable beautiful person and he did not

look convinced because the illness was

coming over right you know what have you

ever heard the phrase of what color is

associated with envy green with envy

right which is a shame green it's a

beautiful Cutler anyone got green on

today it's a beautiful color green we're

all green these days I hope right amen

but green with envy it's an ancient

thing where they associated that

sickness your skin getting pale and a

pallor with like a stomach ailment cuz

you're always hungry but you can never

keep anything down excuse me you can

never swallow your green with envy

Shakespeare said look out for that

jealousy that's a green-eyed monster it

mocks the meat it feeds upon it doesn't

appreciate what it has it's a green-eyed

monster it always wants more hungry

hungry hungry once

get what you want you're still not happy

because well there's something else

right there's always going to be more

this I can illness and their symptoms

that come with it it talks about your

ego being puffed out anyone had a puffy

eye you get a black eye and it gets

puffy typically a puffy ego is kind of

like that tends to be very sensitive to

the touch easily bruised easily

difficult puffy ego green hungry rotten

bones it's an illness that all people

have the contrast is a hard at peace

that gives life to the body being

grateful for what you have not needing

to boast improve yourself to other

people but instead having that self

assurance that piece of knowing who you

are not because of what you do or what

you have but from another source that

we're going to talk about later the

Bible calls that a heart at peace it's

Moses they said Joshua what are you

worried about I don't have to worry

about protecting what's mine God's with

me it's okay there's a beautiful self

assurance there's a healthiness there's

a happiness there's an ability to be

delight in the blessings of others

without feeling diminished yourself

humble not the sense that you demean

yourself but you're comfortable in your

own skin comfortable with who you are

warts and all the Bible says it gives

life to the body it actually has

physical consequences when we love it's

a powerful thing now unfortunately envy

is an illness that every person catches

at some point and that is very

contagious in churches it goes way back

right think about the first fight

between two men Cain and Abel what were

they fighting about were they fighting

about a girl that they both liked now

that seems to be the theme for the day

were they fighting about money no they

were fighting about worship you see they

both have brought offerings Abel's

offering was acceptable to god but God

wasn't pleased with Cain's offering Cain

was jealous and he was faced

downcast and God said why do you look

like that if you do what is right you'll

be acceptable and then he ends up

killing his brother it was basically the

first church fight it was it was ego and

envy that revolved around worship and

that goes throughout the Bible you see a

conflict between Saul and David of

course there was a lot of politics that

involved in that as well but when Jesus

came and he had his twelve apostles

there was one moment where they were

arguing about who would be the greatest

they were having politics amongst each

other even at the Lord's Supper itself

you know we imagine that is some holy

moment you see the murals right you know

what they were you know it was the table

talk their argument well who's going to

replace you who's the greatest you know

I'm the one who walked on water yeah

you're also the one he said get behind

me Satan you know they're going back and

forth well can't be you I know you you

weren't even a good fisherman what are

you gonna do they're going back and

forth there's politics at the table

there's envy there's boasting their self

promotion the same apostles very similar

to Joshua Moses when they heard that

someone else was casting demons out you

know what John said John who wrote the

Gospel of John wrote the book of

Revelation he's like Jesus I saw them

casting out demons in your name and I

stopped them for you don't worry about I

took care of it I stopped them and she

is like if they're not against us there

for us John John was a son of thunder

man he needed to learn so it's been in

churches from the beginning and you see

this in the New Testament there were

people who preached in the streets with

the explicit motivation of envy for Paul

not even that they could be better than

Paul but so that maybe they would stir

up persecution for Paul while he was in

jail so there's people who do all kinds

of things for all kinds of different

motivations right and this has been

going out from the beginning Satan

himself envious of God's position

envious of God's glory I've got to be in

charge here so this is something that

has been in churches from the beginning

and we especially see it in the same

book that we're using that writes about

love we see it among the Corinthians the

Corinthians had it bad you ever seen

little factions in churches you know

this is very easy for me to preach on

right now because we're all so new that

you know we don't we haven't had like

you know humongous problems yet yeah

everything's kind of so no one think I'm

aiming at and right it's not like that

but in churches you ever been in

churches where there's a lot of

different factions and groups what was

like that in the book of Corinth in the

in the Corinthian city there were people

who who would say I follow Apollo sore I

follow Paul or on with him or I'm with

and the Apostle Paul's like you guys are

talking like in the the the literal he

says you're talking like mere men

basically what he's saying is you're not

being any different from them out there

you've seen office politics you've seen

national politics well you're just being

just like that maybe you don't drink

anymore and you don't smoke but you're

more worldly than people that are out

there because you're as political as

they are you're using envy to maneuver

politically rather than act out of a

motivation of love the Corinthians had

it really bad at one point when God will

give them the power of the Holy Spirit

and they would have gifts of the Holy

Spirit even that they would use to

promote themselves I can speak in

tongues better than you I can heal

better than you BAM you know now not

that there's anything wrong with

speaking in tongues or BAM or people

falling over I hope we have a lot more

of that by the way we want that but it's

not a competition right is not a

competition it's not about being better

than the person next to you it's about

God moving among all of us were all on

the same team amen and so they turned

their spiritual gifting into competition

they would glorify super apostles who

were impressive who were dynamic and

then they'd say the Apostle Paul I don't


he suffers too much he works intense

he's not he doesn't seem rich and

powerful he's just too normal he can't

really be anointed and so the Apostle

Paul says you Corinthians don't get it

you need the cure to this malady to this

illness now what is the cure to envy

boasting and pride what would you think

the cure would be with the cure be

usually you would think it would be

humility and going low right which is

true going low love goes low many of us

though think that the cure to an

exaggerated self-image is an exaggerated

Lee low self-esteem an inferiority

complex looking down on yourself putting

yourself down thinking that you're

really worse than everyone around you is

that the cure ironically often that low

its sense of inferiority is the same

thing that goes into people who need to

put up a strong front right because

you're insecure so what are you going to

do gotta prove yourself no so the cure

to this is not having a low self-esteem

but it is getting in touch with the fact

that I am human I made of flesh and

blood and I really shouldn't have

anything to prove and anything to lose

look at what he says to the Corinthians

first Corinthians chapter 1 if you're

with me still there first Corinthians 1

in verse 26 says brothers and sisters

think of what you were first Corinthians

126 think of what you were when you were

called not many of you were wise by

human standards not many were

influential not many were of noble birth

but God chose the foolish things of this

world to shame the wise God chose the

weak things of this world to shame the

strong he chose the lowly things of this

world and the despised things and the

things that are not to nullify the

things that are so that no one may boast

before him it

because of him that you were in Christ

Jesus who has become for us wisdom from

God that is our righteousness holiness

and redemption therefore as it is

written let him who boasts boast in the

lord that is the cure to envious

arrogant ambition it's not about not

boasting anymore but it's about what you

boast in if I ask for your resume and

you had to write down on it the thing

that makes you most special the thing

that makes you most important as a

person what are you going to write down

is it a skill you have is it maybe you

know something you can play piano you

can juggle you play Pinochle better than

anyone I don't know is it athletic

ability is it physical beauty is it

things you've acquired what is it in

which you find your sense of identity

and purpose what makes you special

what's on your resume what's on your

card the Bible says in Jeremiah the

verse that's being quoted here says let

not the wise man boast of his wisdom let

not the the strong man boast of his

strength let not the rich one boast of

his riches but let the one who boasts

boast about this that he understands and

knows me that i am the lord who

exercises kindness righteousness and

justice on earth for in these things i

delight what makes you special is it the

opinion of others was it the opinion of

the one who looks at you and says you're

my daughter you're my son and that's

what makes you important it's what makes

you valuable it which makes you a

success in life it's not what you've

achieved what you have but it's who you

are in my eyes that I love you and I've

chosen you when we get in touch with

that identity with how God sees us then

suddenly we find our validation in the

right place

you're a valid meaningful human being

because God has loved you and called you

God has saved you God has put his grace

on you he's seen you even with your

defects and failings and in some ways

those even make him love you more

because it's by grace we have been saved

the Apostle Paul said I don't even

deserve to be called an apostle i

persecuted the Church of God but God had

grace on me and he says in another place

to show that the worst of sinners can be

saved and then he says a beautiful

phrase this is first Corinthians 15 he

says by the grace of God I am what I am

I don't hear a sense of inferiority in

that I her a person who says I am what I

am by God's grace I'm here i'm paul and

and he says God's grace to me was not in

vain I worked harder than all of them

but then he says but not me but it was

God's grace working in me there's that

awareness that God has accepted me when

we have that mentality our defects and

failings are even not only do we feel

the need to hide them those are the

things we can actually laugh about no we

can know that it doesn't matter yeah

I've got warts yeah I've got failings

yeah I blew it but God is gracious to me

he's chosen me the way I am it's by his

grace that I am what I am I have this

treasure in a jar of clay so that the

glory that shining would be obviously

not from me but from him and then even

though I'm beat down I'm never destroyed

the Apostle Paul talked about the thorn

in his flesh remember that text or he

says there's some weakness some struggle

he had and he knew that God gave it to

him to keep him humble so that he

wouldn't become boastful and proud and

so he said you know what I asked God

three times to take that thorn away this

is first current second Corinthians

chapter 12 and God said three times no

grace is sufficient for you for my power

is perfected in your weaknesses the

Apostle Paul says therefore i'm going to

boast all the more of my weaknesses and

persecutions and hardships because when

I am weak then I am strong that is a

person who is comfortable in their own

skin because their identity comes from

God they don't need to envy other people

they don't need to boast they don't need

to be arrogant they can take the lowest

place so I want to close with this and

I'll invite the musicians or Brant to

come on up but I invite you to embrace

the calling of love to go low to take

the lower place to humble yourself

before people to not envy but instead to

give and to serve to delight in the

blessings of others that is the attitude

it's a beautifully freeing attitude

because you have nothing to prove and

nothing to lose it's the attitude that

Jesus had when he says that even though

he was equal to God he didn't consider

equality with God something to be

grasped but he humbled himself became

nothing became a servant humbled himself

even to death on a cross and therefore

God exalted him to the highest place

that at the name of Jesus every knee

would bow in heaven on earth and under

the earth every tongue confess that

Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God

the Father we can also do that we can

consider others better than ourselves

because we know who we are like Jesus

who knew he was God's Son he was new the

authority he had so he wasn't afraid to

get down on his knees and wash the feet

of his apostles we can go low so I'd

invite you to stand and let's close this

time with with prayer and I invite you

in the situation's of your life to

choose this attitude to choose to put

others before yourself and know that as

they become richer you become richer as

they are lifted up you are lifted up

they talk about the best athletes being

those that elevate the play of those

around them

well let's be like that let's be those

who I'm concerned it's not about me or

my place it's about elevating those

around me in my family and even in the

workplace some people may say Greg

that's all well and good in the kingdom

of God but in the kingdom of my office

if there's a different set of rules you

know there there's an element to that I

know that the world we need to be shrewd

as serpents I'm not saying we're

gullible but that same attitude will

bless a workplace as well because it's

an attitude of the kingdom of God

piercing darkness and some of the people

not all of them some people rise to the

top because they cut throats and they

and they step on people yes that's the

world but there are some people who rise

to the top of their field because of the

quality of their love and humility and

the excellence of what they do this

doesn't just work in church it will work

wherever you are called if you will dare

to love this is going to take courage

and a decision of your heart so let's

pray together dear God we thank you that

love isn't just a mystical idea but it's

a decision that we can make in every

interaction we have I pray God that you

would set us free to go low father that

you'd set us free to give and not grab

father I pray Lord Jesus that the

quality of our interactions would so

shine in this world God that people

would know there is something different

about that man there's something

different about that woman I want what

they have I pray God for a fundamental

security and the people of God a

fundamental gratitude and contentment

heart's at peace that give life to the

body I pray God for that kind of life

unleashed in us