Kenneth Copeland - Choose Love, Not Strife
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Now, let's go over now to the Book of Galatians, once again. Now we know in the fifth chapter and the 22nd verse, the fruit of the spirit is love. Joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and temperance, against such there is no law. But now wait a minute, what about the works of the flesh? Verse 19, "the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these", and he's writing to Christian people. Born again, Holy Spirit baptized Christian people. Adultery, fornication, uncleanliness lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife. Strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings and the such alike.
Look at the company strive keeps. It isn't worth it. It's absolutely not worth it. The things that it destroys. It destroys dreams. The very apostles of the Lamb, of course Satan attacked them with that. But these are the same men that changed the history of the world. What changed everything? First of all, the new birth happened right there. Jesus breathed on them and said, receive the Spirit. That's when they were born again. And then on the day of Pentecost, glory to God. Filled to overflowing with the love of God, Himself, the Spirit of the living God. Once that took place, what happened? The love of God was shed abroad in their hearts, by the Holy Ghost. Can you see it?
The strife and the fussing was over, now they knew who they were. The devil was defeated and the rest is history. Strife is a killer. It's a killer of families. It's a killer of nations. This nation is suffering with it today. And I've been around a long time, I'm 83 years old. I've seen a lot come and go in this country. I've never seen this kind of strife before. Between parties. I have never seen it. They've always politically fought one another. Not like not like today. No, not like that. It opens this nation to terrible, terrible consequences. And I'll tell you right now, if it were not for the praying people in this country, it would destroy it because that's what Jesus said. A house divided against itself can't stand. What's it saying? A house that's arguing and fighting with one on one. Strive, confusion, every evil work. And the devil just runs away with it because you've just handed him your life. Just handed it to him, free of charge. Amen. It's just not worth it.
So, how do you do it? How do you change it? Greater is he that is in me. Greater is the love that is in me, than the hate that is in them. I was, this is many, many, many years ago. I was preaching in an area, and the one of the large churches there, the pastor of that church was saying some really, really hateful things about me and Gloria and this ministry. And of course, he's just going by hearsay. And you know, back in those days, we started out. We were there something like three weeks, when we started out with a handful of people. And we'd just would just preach. We just preach faith. You have what you say and the love of God.
And so one of the men in the church was actually a deacon in this pastor's church. And he asked me if I would come and have dinner with him, in his home and meet this man. I didn't much want to do it, but I got a really good witness in my spirit that we should. And so at the table that night, I just let him do most of the talking. And he's a very learned man. And probably knew more about the Bible than I did, but he didn't know about faith what I knew. And he didn't know about yielding to the spirit of love that I had learned from Brother Hagin. And, he wasn't ugly about it, but he was critical about the message and so forth and talk, talk and talk and talk and talk.
And so finally, you know, Gloria and I didn't, we didn't say very much. And he just talked and talked and talked and talked. And all this time, I mean, I'm just loving him and it got time to leave. I said a little bit about faith. And he was interested. And we got to the front door of this man's home, and the pastor is headed out before me, he and his wife. And he turned around and he looked at me, and suddenly he just dropped to his knees like somebody had hit him. Took my hand and put it on his head. He said, "My God, Copeland, pray for me, pray for me". He said, I've substituted hard work for prayer and faith. God was able, now had I just spent the evening debating him back and forth. Neither one of us we've gotten anywhere, except I'd have wound up showing how little I knew. But the love of God just melted him, right there on the floor. Pray for me, he said. My God man, I've substituted hard work for prayer and faith. Just love instead of debate, love instead of argument.
And I'll close with this in two ways. One is in the Book of Ephesians, and we will look in the fourth chapter. Here it is, listen to this, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth". That's what he's talking about. Bad, bad conversation, bad words, strive. "But that, which is good to the use of edifying, building up others that it may minister grace under the here and grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed until the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice". That's all strife. "And be kind to one another. Tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake, has forgiven you".
Let's go to the 14th chapter of First Corinthians. First Corinthians chapter 14. Now in the 12th chapter, we find out about the nine spiritual gifts or the nine manifestations of the Holy Spirit. And then you come to the 13th chapter, and look at this. "Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not love, I'm becoming as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. Though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and knowledge. And though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains and have not love, I'm nothing. And though I bestow all of my goods to feed the poor, And though I give my body to be burned and have not love it profits me nothing, love suffers long and is kind. Love envies not, love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly. Seeks not her own, is not easily provoked. Thinketh no evil. Love rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails".
Now, let's go on with this now. "But whether there be prophecies, they will fail. Whether there be tongues, they'll cease. Whether there be knowledge it will vanish away, for we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part should be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child. I understood as a child, I thought as a child. When I became a man, I, I put away childish things". I put them away, you have to put them away. You have to put away childish things. "For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know, even as I'm also known. And now abides faith, hope and love. These three, but the greatest of these is love".
Now the 14th chapter. "Follow after love, follow after love". Say it, follow after love. Say it again, follow after love. Say this, I follow after love. God is love and I'm following after him. He is my God. He is my Lord. I trust in love. I trust in him and he lives on the inside of me. He is my God, and I am his very own child. "Follow after love and desire spiritual gifts. But rather that you may prophesy, for he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God. For no man understands him, how be it in the Spirit? He speaks mysteries". One translation said "he speaks divine secrets". "But he that prophesies undto men to edification, exhortation and comfort. He that speaketh in a tongue, edifies himself". Builds himself up, but now wait a minute, without love it doesn't work. I mean, we just read right there in that 13th chapter without love it just doesn't work.
Arguing and strife just kills a manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit. And you can have a fuss on your way to church, and, you know, right, just before you walk in the door, put that smile on your face, you know? Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And then stand up in the congregation, and deliver a mighty powerful message in tongues, and someone interpret it. Well, God might use it, but you're not going to get any credit for it, because it wasn't anything but a lot of noise. No love in it. No love in it. Oh, it hits home hard, doesn't it? Don't be, and you have to train yourself to this. When I was young and then on up, you know, grown man. Just get mad at something, been working on my motorcycle or working on a car, or something and barred my knuckles, and just throw my wrench across the garage. What good did that do? Nothing. All it did was anger you and rip at your brain. Thank you, Lord. Just tearing into your heart, and you have to learn not to do that.
The word, "agape", the love of God. The true meaning of that word is loving. Now, philia is love that you feel. Peter denied Jesus three times. Jesus said, Peter, do you agape me? Agape is the way God loves. He loves. It is an act of your will I love you, whether you like it or not. I love you. I just love you. I just love you. Of course, when you're married to somebody like Gloria, you talk about somebody that's easy to love. That's the kindest, most loving person I've ever known in my whole life. She loved me when I was hard to love. And just loved me into the kingdom of God. That's agape love. But he said, Peter, do you agape me? And Peter said, Lord, you know I philia you. He couldn't say it. And he asked him again, Peter, do you agape me. He said, Lord, you know I philia you. Then Jesus came down to his level. So he could agree with him and pull him on up out of that place of shame.
And Peter was never the same again, hallelujah. We're going to learn from these things. We are learning from them. Some people just argue. Or have a... let me tell you about this now, and then I'll, this is my close. Gloria and I had gone to, I think it was a Home Depot. Anyway, she was looking for some things very specifically. And I was tired, we'd just come in from a meeting. So I just went out front. It's a nice day. And I just went out front of the store there, and there's some benches and, and so forth out there. And I just sat down out there. And there was a guy came up there, and sat down there next to me. And we just, you know, talking about. Everything that I said, I don't speak negatively about anything or about anybody never, ever. I just don't do that. I refuse to do that under any circumstance.
And I particularly don't call people liars. I mean, even if I know they lied, I don't call them liars. No, no, no, no, no, no. Don't ever do that. Satan is the father of liars. Don't do that. Anyway, whatever I said, he said the opposite. I said something good about the government. Yeah but, he said. Everything I said, he said exactly the opposite. Now, nobody's just naturally that way. He has an argumentative attitude. He would, like somebody said, a guy like that would argue with a sign over the road. He'd just argue. Whatever you say, he just says the opposite. That's strife. Well, it doesn't seem all that bad. Well, it's not what it seems to you and me, it's what the Bible says. If you can't be agreeable, just be quiet and say, mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm, mm-hmm, well, Well, you don't have to agree with it. Don't argue with it.
Father, we thank you tonight. We praise you and we honor you. There are those of you present tonight, watching and listening. We've hit on the key issue to your health. Many of you knew it before we ever got started, good. Strife, the killer of dreams and the author. One of the first fundamentals of fear. We're talking about the fundamentals of faith, but the fundamentals of fear is strife and to argue, and to be argumentative and competitive with one another. Now, competition is good, in the right kind of way. But not just this one-up-manship. I just got to get one better on no, no, no, no, no. It's deadly. And I pray for you right now.
If you've never accepted Jesus as your Lord, and your Savior. Your days of strife will continue and hardness will continue. But oh, when you receive Jesus as your Lord and your Savior. Second Corinthians, the fifth chapter. "Any man or any person that is in Christ, is a new creation. Old things have passed away, and behold all things have become new". What are those old things? That old natural nature. That old argumentative nature, that is just the nature of the devil, because you're not connected to God. If you're not connected to God, you're connected to him. Your connected to the devil. We'll see that as we continue to study this, this week. But any man that is in Christ, any person is a new creation.