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The Ven. Dr. James T. Payne: “…the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

February 20, 2010

Here is a Quinquagesima sermon by the Ven. Dr. James T. Payne of St. Thomas of Canterbury REC in Texas, which I have titled …the greatest of these is charity.  This sermon, based on 1 Corinthians 13:13, addresses the different types of love, and I think Dr. Payne really hits home when he talks about how we can return God’s love:

How do we return God’s love? Well first, if you want love to take root and grow in your life, then keep the Lord’s commandments. Jesus said: If ye love me, keep my commandments. John 14:15 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. I (John 2:4)

But obedience to these commands is only possible if we recognize love for what it really is: the holy benevolence of God, working in us, and motivating us to be like Him. It is in this vein that Christ declares “love your enemies”.

If we want to see what “true love is” we should examine the life of Christ in whom we see all the fruits of the Spirit.

If you wish to measure your spiritual progress, ask yourself if the fruits of the spirit are evident in your life: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, mercy, kindness etc. If they are missing, then you know very little — if anything — about true love.

This is a good reminder of the need to examine ourselves every now and then, evaluating our own spiritual life.

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