Date: 21 June, 2015
Text: I Corinthians 13
Title: Love is....
Theme: The attitude of exercising the gifts that God has given to us.
Proposition: We need to do what we do with love.
Rhetorical: Are you a loving person?
DO YOU ENJOY LISTENING TO A CYMBAL SOLO OR A YOUNG PERSON WHO HAS NEVER PLAYED A BUGLE BLOWING WITH ALL HIS MIGHT INTO ONE?
1 ¶ Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
EVEN GREAT GOD GIVEN GIFTS WITHOUT LOVE MAKES US OF NO ACCOUNT.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
EVEN GREAT SACRIFICE WITHOUT LOVE WILL NOT BE REWARDED.
3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Paul has just articulated some of the gifts of God's Spirit in chapter 12. In chapter 14 he is going to speak about the exercising of those gifts in the church. But, chapter 13 deals with the attituded by which those gifts are to be exercised. That attitude is summarized in the word "charity" or love.
ill. Seeing the crown jewels of Scotland last week. There is a large ruby which is beautifully cut. It is more pink than red. You could look at it from different angles and see different aspects of it's beauty.
exp. We are to do what we do in love. But, love is multisided? Paul will examine it with us from every angle making us ask ourselves, "Am I really loving in what I am doing for the Lord?"
(I Cor. 13:4-8a)
What do we need to do if we are to minister in love?
I. Be patient.
4 ¶ Charity suffereth long,
exp. Charity has the ability to endure through suffering.
ill. God in love is patiently waiting to send the Lord Jesus and he is putting up with much difficulty in his patience.
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
question: Are you patient with those who make it difficult to exercise your gifts?
Ga 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Eph 4:2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Col 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
Col 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
song: "Elijah moaned as he sat beneath the tree, God I'm all alone, there's no one left but me, then God said to him in a still small voice, 7,000 still make me their choice. Don't quit, there's a job to be done, don't quit, there's a race to be run, don't quit, there's a crown to be won, don't quit weary Christian, don't quit." - Evan. Doug Lowery
app. If you aren't doing what you are doing in love, you won't put up with the unbelievers or believers who cause difficulty in the exercising of your gift.
II. Be kind.
and is kind;
exp. If you could put up with people by gritting your teeth (and calling it patience), you would NOT have succeeded in loving them. Charity does not JUST endure....it is ALWAYS kind.
question: Aren't you glad that Jesus does not just put up with us, he is kind to us?
ill. Jesus could have mean mouthed the woman taken in adultery. But his words to her are incredibly kind and restorative.
John 8:11 And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
note: Kindness goes a long way in winning the heart of those who oppose you.
ill. I've known some people who hated what I do. One man in particular stands out in my mind. But, God helped me to be kind to him and not respond to his attacks. I've seen God change his heart to make him a friend.
Pr 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
app. Is there kindness about the way in which you respond to those who try your patience? That is TRUE love.
III. Be content.
charity envieth not;
exp. Sometimes others get praise and we don't. Or they have a "better job" to do than us. A loving person is happy for them and content with his lot.
ill. Dave Genova, cleaning the church. I don't think many people knew that he did that. He would arrive very early and diligently serve the Lord. He struck me as a very loving servant of the Lord.
1Co 12:18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
app. Are you content with doing what God has given you the opportunity to do? Can you do it without envy of those in more prominent or better positions.
IV. Be modest.
charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
exp. Love is modest. It does not try to draw attention to itself.
ill. John the Baptist was a humble servant of the Lord's who loved God.
Joh 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
ill. Moses was a humble servant.
Nu 11:29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!
question: Is that spirit reflected in Joel Olstein, Joyce Myer, Binny Henn, and others who promote their stories rather than their Lord?
3 John 1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
app. When love is our attitude, we will seek to put Christ up and ourselves down.
V. Be appropriate.
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly,
exp. Love is not rude.
ill. In our day, we are beginning to lose sight of manners. I was trained to open a door for a lady, stand up when a lady enters a room, take off your hat when speaking to a lady. Respect authority. Pray before eating. dress appropriately for the occassion, etc.
app. If love is at work in our lives, we ought to have good manners towards God and others.
VI. Be selfless.
seeketh not her own,
exp. There are times when things will benefit us and will not benefit others. If that is the case, we are take a loss.
ill. Nehemiah - Ne 5:18-19 Now that which was prepared for me daily was one ox and six choice sheep; also fowls were prepared for me, and once in ten days store of all sorts of wine: yet for all this required not I the bread of the governor, because the bondage was heavy upon this people. Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.
app. Are you willing to suffer loss for love of others and trust Jesus to make up the difference? Love doesn't seek it's own benefit.
VII. Be calm.
is not easily provoked,
question: Was Jesus ever provoked? He got angry at the money changers in the temple andthrew them out. (NOTE - JESUS WAS A MANLY MAN.) But, was Jesus easily provoked? ....by the pharisees, by his judges, by his tormentors? (He only got upset for God's glory.)
app. There are times for God's glory when we should be provoked. But, we should not find ourselves easily provoked - if our attitude is one of love.
VIII. Be positive.
thinketh no evil;
question: Do gossips follow this rule?
exp. But Paul instructs us to be positive and not make assumptions that are destructive.
question: How many church fights could be avoided if this rule was followed? Instead someone says, "I know why they did that." "I know how they think?"
exp. If you ever hear someone utter those words, get ready for them to break this rule.
app. As much as we like to think we know the heart of a person, we don't. God commands us out of love to give them the benefit of the doubt.
quote: "Innocent until proven guilty in a court of law." Our tabloid society violates the principle of love constantly.
IX. Be sympathetic.
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity,
question: What if it is proven and they are guilty? Paul says that love doesn't rejoice in their failure.
ill. If you violate this principle of love, God is displeased with you.
Pr 24:17-18 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.
app. We are to love our enemies (Luke 6:27). Love does not get excited when the object of love fails.
X. Be encouraging.
but rejoiceth in the truth;
exp. Love gets excited about success.
ill. Katie and I talk about this in our parenting. It's easy to correct failures or shortcomings. But, we often neglected to praise success.
app. Love gets excited about victory.
XI. Be strong.
7 Beareth all things,
exp. It doesn't matter what gets heaped on top of love, it supports it.
ill. Forth Rail bridge - "Altogether, the construction of the bridge made use of 54,000t of steel, 20,950 cubic metres of granite, 6,780 cubic metres of stone, 49,200 cubic metres of concrete, 50t of cement and seven million rivets.
The railway bridge carried about 30,000 passenger trains in 1907 with a gross weight of 14.6 million tons, while in 2000 the bridge carried about 54,080 passenger trains and 6,240 freight trains with a gross weight of about ten million tons. " railway-technology.com
app. If you want to be able to sustain the weight of relationships, you have to have a foundation that is strong in love.
XII. Be accepting.
believeth all things,
def. "to think to be true."
exp. Love is not undiscerning, but when it is a question of trust, trust is to be given because of love.
Believers Bible commentary "It (love) tries to put the best possible construction on actions and events."
1. ill. Circumstantial evidence - "evidence that relies on an inference to connect it to a conclusion of fact—like a fingerprint at the scene of a crime. By contrast, direct evidence supports the truth of an assertion directly—i.e., without need for any additional evidence or inference."
app. Love is not to infur guilt when there is no concrete evidence.
XIII. Be hopeful.
hopeth all things,
exp. Love is to earnestly anticipate that things will work out for the best.
ill. Imagine a child growing up in a home where mom and dad constantly say, "You'll never turn out. Your good for nothing. There is no hope for you." A loving mom and dad would say, "You can get victory. You can do right. You can succeed."
app. Are you hopeful in your ministry? Do you anticipate success. This is not positive thinking. It is a loving attitude towards those to whom you minister.
XIV. Be enduring.
endureth all things.
ill. The gold nugget found in the Lead Hills. It is worth about 10,000 pounds. They are anticipating a gold rush because of this "flash in the pan." But, if nothing else of value is mined there, it will not be sustained.
exp. Love shouldn't just be a flash in the pan. It ought to be a vein that is rich and enduring.
app. Can others depend on your love? Is it going to last? If it is the kind of love of which Paul is speaking, it will endure.
8 ¶ Charity never faileth:
note: What a precious thing Bible loves is. We didn't speak about it at the beginning, but this word love is AGAPE in the Greek. We can't love like this without God, because this is the love of God.
Ro 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Dr. Ironside in his commentary on this passage points out that you could replace the word, "Charity" with JESUS and the passage still makes perfect sense.
1.) You will never love like this without having Jesus as your Savior.
2.) You can't love like this without Jesus as your Lord.
May God help us to have love that is patient, kind, content, modest, appropriate, selfless, calm, positive, sympathetic, encouraging, strong, accepting, hopeful and enduring.