DN Faith Without Love 8/9/2007


August 9

Faith Without Love

"If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have
love, I am nothing" (1 Cor. 13:2).

Loveless faith is useless faith.

In Matthew 17:19 the disciples came to Jesus wanting to know why they
couldn't cast a demonic spirit from a child. Jesus responded,
"Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if
you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain,
'Move from here to there,' and it shall move; and nothing shall be
impossible to you" (v. 20). He repeated the same principle in Matthew
21:21: "Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you
shall . . . say to this mountain [the Mount of Olives], 'Be taken up
and cast into the sea,' [and] it shall happen."

Those passages have puzzled many people because they've never seen
anyone move a mountain. But Jesus wasn't speaking literally. Moving
mountains would cause all kinds of ecological problems and would be a
pointless miracle. The expression "able to move mountains" was a
common figure of speech in that day, meaning "to surmount great
obstacles." Jesus was speaking of those who have the gift of faith
--who can move the hand of God through unwavering prayer.

The gift of faith is the ability to believe that God will act
according to His will, no matter the circumstances. People with that
gift are prayer warriors and tend to stand as rocks when others
around them are falling apart. They see God's power and purposes at
work and trust Him even when others doubt.

But, says Paul, even if you have such faith, if you don't have love,
you are nothing. That's a harsh rebuke, but it places the emphasis
where it belongs: on our motives. The Corinthians' motives were
evident in their selfish pursuit of the showy gifts.

What motivates you? Remember, without love it doesn't matter what
gifts you have, how eloquent your speech is, what you know, or what
you believe. Only love can validate your service to Christ.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Ask God for a greater capacity to trust Him, and the motivation to
pray more fervently.

For Further Study:

Read Hebrews 11, drawing from the examples of the people of great
faith mentioned there.

Drawing Near, Copyright 1993 John F. MacArthur, Jr.

All rights reserved. Used by permission.


Hebrews 11
11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of
God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which
are visible.
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,
through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God
testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and
was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he
had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes
to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those
who diligently seek Him.
7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved
with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by
which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness
which is according to faith.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place
which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not
knowing where he was going.
9 By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the
same promise;
10 for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder
and maker is God.
11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed,
and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged
Him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as
many as the stars of the sky in multitude; innumerable as the sand
which is by the seashore.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but
having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and
confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a
15 And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they
had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.
16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.
Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has
prepared a city for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he
who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
18 of whom it was said, "In Isaac your seed shall be called,"
19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead,
from which he also received him in a figurative sense.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of
Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure
of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his
parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not
afraid of the king's command.
24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the
son of Pharaoh's daughter,
25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than
to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the
treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for
he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.
28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest
he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas
the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled
for seven days.
31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not
believe, when she had received the spies with peace.
32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of
Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel
and the prophets:
33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness,
obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out
of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to
flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again. And others were
tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better
36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of
chains and imprisonment.
37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain
with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins,
being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and
mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith,
did not receive the promise,
40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not
be made perfect apart from us.

These devotions are posted with permission from John MacArthur's
first (1993) devotional work, _Drawing Near_, and they are also sent
out daily for free to several folks via e-mail.

In addition, John's second (1997) devotional, _Strength for Today_,
is also available free via e-mail only. _Strength for Today_ follows
the same format as what you have seen here from _Drawing Near_, but
with different monthly themes.

If you would like to receive daily devotions via e-mail from either
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In Christ,


Peter G. Chase :: Columbus, Ohio, USA

STOP! Who do you think Jesus is?


There is a living God. He has spoken in His word. He means just what he says, and will do all that He has promised. - Hudson Taylor