Summary: What does it mean to say love is not boastful, proud or rude.
There were two men boasting about their army careers. Two men were boasting to each other about their old army days. “Why, my outfit was so well drilled,” declared one, “that when they presented arms all you could hear was slap, slap, click.” “Very good,” conceded the other, “but when my company presented arms you’d just hear slap, slap, jingle.” “What was the jingle?” asked the first. “Oh,” replied the other offhand, “just our medals.”
Some race horses staying in a stable. One of them starts to boast about his track record. "In the last 15 races, I’ve won 8 of them!" Another horse breaks in, "Well in the last 27 races, I’ve won 19!!" "Oh that’s good, but in the last 36 races, I’ve won 28!", says another, flicking his tail. At this point, they notice that a greyhound dog has been sitting there listening. "I don’t mean to boast," says the greyhound, "but in my last 90 races, I’ve won 88 of them!" The horses are clearly amazed. "Wow!" says one, after a hushed silence. "A talking dog."
Love does not boast.
Last week we began a look at 1 Corinthians 13 and the subject of Love. We began by looking at God is love and what this means. Further, that Jesus as God made man, is our ultimate example of this love. This is vital for all the stuff we do. 1 John tells us that we love because God first loved us. God empowers us to love, through the Holy Spirit. And when we do so we are reflecting God and showing the world what God is like. So then we began to look at what it means for us to love. Last week we say that love is patient, love is kind and love is not jealous. This week we are going to look at the next few terms.
But before we do that, I want to remind you of the outline we’re using for considering these characteristics. 1. How did Jesus demonstrate this? 2. How do we demonstrate or not demonstrate it? 3. What do we need to do in future to better show this love? Or what situations are we likely to encounter where we can show this love? As before we’ll cover number 1 and make suggestions for 2 and 3, often drawn from my experience at succeeding and failing at it. But the true work of numbers 2 and 3 is for you to do at home. You might get some ideas from this sermon. Or some ideas while I’m preaching this sermon. But to really make it work you need to go home and think about them, praying over them and asking God to show you where he thinks you need work.
Love is not boastful or proud
The next two on our list of things that love is not in 1 Corinthians 13 are essentially talk about the same thing. Love is not boastful or proud. To be boastful or proud is to take delight in our own accomplishments or positions and flaunt the fact that other people have not done them. This second part is crucial, there is nothing wrong with recognising who we are and what we have done. We’re not asking people to pretend they are something they are not, or pretend they have not accomplished what they have accomplished. We’re talking about flaunting that in the face of those who have not and regarding them as inferior because of it. In fact that is the key, its not about your accomplishments its about seeing those accomplishments as making you more important than everyone else.
Again our ultimate example of this is Jesus himself. Again I return to the passage in Philippians 2:5-8, which I quote so often. Here was Jesus who was God, yet humbled himself to become human on our behalf and died a death of pain and shame for us. Jesus was not acting proud or boastfully when he lived among us. He was the one who took the servants place during the last supper. Jesus and his disciples had gathered together to celebrate the passover. There was no servant there to wash their feet as they came in from the dusty road. We can imagine the disciples looking at each other, well, I’m more important than him, surely you don’t expect me to do it. Look, there’s ..., he should be doing it before me. If so and so, isn’t doing it then I’m not. And then Jesus gets up and washes his disciples feet. They are silenced and rightly shamed. They were acting proudly but Jesus was humble. Love is not proud or boastful. But I hear, the sceptics cry, didn’t Jesus claim to be the only way to God and such stuff like being the way, the truth and the life. Yes, he did. But he did not do so boastfully or proud. He really was the only way to God. He really was the truth and the life. People needed to know this. Jesus did not act boastfully or proud, but because the people he loved needed to hear it to be saved. To be boastful or proud is to consider yourself to be more important than others. This is the exact opposite of Jesus who gave everything he had, his privileges as God, his position, his home, his possessions, his life for the benefit of others.