Corinthians 13:4-13 (NLT) |
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless. 11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 13 Three things will last forever - faith, hope, and love - and the greatest of these is love.
Illustration: When everybody on earth was dead and waiting to enter Paradise, God appeared and said, "I want the men to make two lines. One line for the men who were true heads of their household, and the other line for the men who were dominated by their women. I want all the women to report to St. Peter. "Soon, the women were gone, and there were two lines of men. The line of the men who were dominated by their wives was 100 miles long, and in the line of men who truly were heads of their household, there was only one man. God said to the long line, "You men should be ashamed of yourselves, I created you to be the head of your household! You have been disobedient and have not fulfilled your purpose! Of all of you, only one obeyed. Learn from him." God turned to the one man, "How did you manage to be the only one in this line?" The man replied, "My wife told me to stand here.”
Intro: Very often on Sunday mornings you hear me Say: “God is Good!” with that said, do we really no how good He is? Think of it! He provided salvation that will save the vilest of sinners. He promises: "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
“And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” John 10:28 (NKJV)
When a person is saved, they are given spiritual gifts so that God can use them in His kingdom work: ‘A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.” 1 Corinthians 12:7 (NLT)
Much more could be said about this matter, but I think it is plain to see that God has been good to us! Yet, as I was thinking about these things, I came to realize that the greatest gift the Lord has ever given to His people is His love! The love of God for His people is everlasting. His love is what motivated Him to send Jesus to die on the cross, John 3:16. In fact, the greatest evidence of the love of God is the death of Christ on the cross, Romans 5:8. God's greatest gift to us is His love.
He did not stop by just giving His love to us; He has also placed His love in us. Jesus said that the world would know we were His disciples by the love we have one for another. Did you know the first characteristic mentioned concerning the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 is LOVE?
Here was one of the primary problems with the church in Corinth, to whom this letter was written. They were manifesting every other spiritual gift in existence, but they were not manifesting love one to another. Paul writes these great words to remind the Corinthians that of all the great spiritual things they can do, the greatest spiritual exercise is love.
The effect of these words are to remind us that we might possess all kinds of spiritual gifts and abilities, but that we are never more like the Lord Jesus Christ than when we love the right way.
Application: God's greatest gift to us is His love.
In verses 4-12 Paul gives an in-depth description of love. He reveals all of its characteristics to us. These are truths that we need to be reminded of continually. God’s love life is a Portrait of love.
A portrait of love looks like:
Love's Properties: vs. 4-6
Paul shows us the many sides of true, godly love. “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up.” (NKJV)
Suffers Long: This word means “patient endurance under aggravation.” The literal meaning of the word is “long-tempered”. This characteristic of love reveals the truth that love does not retaliate! Stephen is an example of this type of love, and the greatest example is Jesus Himself. This kind of love endures all attacks.
One of Abraham Lincoln's most outspoken political enemies was a man named Edwin J. Stanton. Stanton called Lincoln a "low cunning clown” and the "original gorilla”. He even said this, “It is ridiculous for people to go to Africa to see a gorilla, when they could find on easily in Springfield, Illinois.” To Lincoln's credit, he never responded to these insults. Yet, when he was elected President, Lincoln chose Stanton to be his Secretary of War. When asked why, Lincoln said, “Because he is the best man!” Later, when Lincoln had been assassinated, Stanton stood by the coffin which contained Lincoln's body and said through his tears, “There lies the greatest ruler of men the world has ever seen.” Patient love in action won this man over in the end.
Is Kind: This word refers to active goodness that goes forth in behalf of others. Genuine love is never hateful or mean, but it respects others and reaches out to them.
Envieth Not: True love is not jealous over the abilities or possessions of another. Instead of being jealous when others prosper or excel, love is pleased when they do well. Jealousy is one of the most vile of sins that we harbor in our hearts! It was Eve's jealousy of God that motivated her to take the forbidden fruit. It was jealousy that put Daniel in the lion’s den. It was jealousy that put Joseph in that pit! Yet, Godly love does not get jealous, rather it is pleased when others do well!
Vaunteth Not Itself: Literally, this phrase means "does not make a parade”. Love does not brag! It does not draw attention to itself or to what it is doing. A person who must be the center of attention and is hurt when he is not is not walking in love!
Is Not Puffed Up: Love is not arrogant or proud, but it realizes that all it has and all that it is has been given to it by God. No matter how great our talents or how spectacular our gifts, everything we are is the result of divine grace.
“Does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil.” (NKJV) Does Not Behave Itself Unseemly: Love is never rude, but it always treats others with compassion, consideration and respect! Love controls the emotions. It is not friendly one day and rude the next. Genuine love always makes Jesus look good!
Seek Not Her Own: True love is never selfish and self-centered, but it is actively interested in what will profit others. It never looks at itself first, but it always considers another ahead of itself. Jesus is a prime example of this:
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Philippians 2:3 (NKJV)
Is Not Easily Provoked: True love keeps no record of evils done to it, but it willingly endures all insults and injuries. This characteristic of love reminds us that love does not demand its own rights! It is willing to yield to the will of another. True love only responds in anger to that which angers God! All other things are handled through forgiveness.
“And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT)
Think No Evil: Literally, this phrase means "takes no worthless inventory". Two thoughts are in mind here. First, genuine love does not attribute evil motives to people. That is, every action is not seen in its most negative light. It thinks the best of others. Second, genuine love does not keep a record of evils done to it. In other words, it does not dwell what others may have done.
“Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” (vs. 6 NKJV)
We’ve got to learn to treat others like the Lord treats others. We must treat them with grace and forgiveness. Real love does not remember wrong, believe all it hears about another or look for fault in others. If this attitude were practiced in the church, it would solve about 90% of any troubles.
Rejoice Not In Iniquity: Love does not rejoice in sin. Whether it is its own sins, or the son of others. Love hates sin! Love does not rejoice when another falls into sin! Whether we will admit it or not, there is a part of us that is glad when another believer falls because we think it makes us look better. That is why we just have to tell someone else about it. True love does not gossip or rejoice when another believer falls, but it hurts with the injured member!
Rejoice In The Truth: While love hates all forms of evil, it loves the truth! It rejoices when truth is proclaimed and when truth wins the victory. Love is glad for the truth, even when the truth hurts. Love is glad when truth wins the day! Do these things describe your life this morning? If you are walking love they do!
A portrait of love looks like:
Love's Persistence: vs. 7-12
These verses tell us of love's staying power. Love is a remarkable thing that never flags nor fails!
“Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (vs. 7 NKJV)
Bears All Things: Love patiently endures and overlooks the faults in others. The word "beareth” literally means "to cover”. Instead of parading the failures and faults of others before all the world, love covers them over and continues to love in spite of those things!
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NKJV)
Believes All Things: Love always places the best possible interpretation on everything that happens. It does not always seek the most negative answer, but it believes that good will triumph in any situation. Basically, love trusts, love believes and love has confidence in the one loved.
Hopes All Things: Love always expects the best possible outcome. Love refuses to accept failure. Love always holds out hope that things will work out right in the end. Many have lost loved one and backslidden loved ones. Love does not give up on them. Love believes the day will come when they will come to God and things will be made right. Love just does not give up!
Endures All Things: This is a military term and means that love does not give up the fort! It stands its ground and continues in spite of everything that can be thrown against it. It continues in spite of persecution and ill treatment. Love bears the unbearable, believes the impossible, holds on the incredible and never gives up. The word stop does not exist in the vocabulary of love!
“Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (Vs. 8-12 NKJV)
Charity Never Fails: When everything else in this world has passed away. When everything that is held us such high esteem is gone. When knowledge and gifts no longer matter, love will still exist. It is the great constant throughout eternity. There are times when love may lose a battle. In that the object of one's love may never return that love. Yet, while it may lose a battle here and there, love has already won the war. The idea here is not on success. The idea is on endurance. When other things have been removed from view, there will still be love! It does not give in, give up or give out. Love that is real is love that lasts!
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (Vs. 13 NKJV)
Conclusion: The Bible says that three things abide: Faith, Hope and Love. Yet, faith and hope are encompassed inside of love. Therefore, the greatest of all things a believer can possess is love! If our love is right, then faith is no problem! If our love is right, then our hope is in the right place. When our love is right, then we are right! What makes love so great? Well, love is the defining characteristic of Who God is. When the Bible wanted to describe God in one sentence, it said, “God is love.” God does not have faith! After all, who would God place His faith in? God does not have hope! What would One Who controls everything possible have to hope for? Yet, God is love! Therefore, we are never more God-like than when we learn to love like God. To be like God, we need to learn to love like God! When we can do this, our world will be altered for His glory!
Illustration: There was a man who only had an eighth-grade education. But this man wanted to be a soul-winner. God had laid a brilliant attorney on his heart. Obeying the Lord, he went to talk to the lawyer about Jesus Christ. But no sooner had he begun when the attorney used his legal training and brilliant mind to turn the man inside out. The man finally apologized for coming and for taking the attorney's time. He left with tears in his eyes as he said to the lawyer, “I just want you to know that I came because I love you. Dejected, he went home to his wife and said, “I don't want to be bothered. I don't want to talk to anyone the rest of the day. I just want to go to my room and be left alone; I feel such a failure. About an hour later, the lawyer came and knocked on the man's door.
He told the man's wife he would like to see her husband. She said, “I'm sorry, but he is not seeing anyone today.” “Oh,” he said, “I think he will see me. just tell him who I am.” So the husband allowed the attorney to come into his room. He said, “Why have you come? Have you come to make fun of me? Have you come to argue with me again? You know I cannot argue with you.” The lawyer said, “No, I haven't come to argue with you. I have come to ask you to tell me how to be saved.” The man replied, “I don't understand. What changed your mind? Every time I tried to tell you about Jesus you came up with an argument that I couldn't answer.” The lawyer said, “Yes, I did. But you came up with an argument that I couldn't answer.” This soul-winner looked at him and said, “What was that?” The lawyer replied, “When you looked at me and told me you loved me, I couldn't argue with that.” Nothing will win the victory over others and over circumstances like love! It is love that makes the difference.
Taking every other thing you hold in great value this morning and placing them aside. That is, forgetting about your talents, and your gifts, and you potential, and you positions, and anything else you want to mention, how is you love life? Do you love like God? Did this chapter leave you with the feeling that you were loving the right way? Or, did you get the feeling that there was room for improvement?
I think we need to learn to love like Jesus so we can reach our world and so that we can have the right kind of atmosphere in His House. How is your love life this morning? Of course, if you aren't saved, you must take that first step before you can ever hope to love like God. You must be saved by Him before you can love like Him. This altar is open for all those who need to find help with their love life today. Will you come!
“How is your Love life?”
In : Sermon
Tags: love valentine's
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