Summary: Love is not self seeking, irritable and does not keep records of wrongs.
Do you know the problem of doing a series on 1 Corinthians 13, its not that you run out of material. While at the moment I’m covering 3 characteristics a sermon, I’ve seen series that cover one a sermon. I’m don’t repeat myself enough to bring that off though. It’s that you quickly run of love introductions and there are only so many different Bible versions that you can read the passage out of. Anyway, I though up this start for last weeks sermon, but thought it was too cheesy. But then I thought I’d go with it anyway. The beatles thought it was all you needed, the Black eyed peas have been searching for it and so far haven’t managed to find it even though they’ve been looking for what seems like decades and the Meatloaf would do anything for it, apart from that. Love. It is also the key to Christianity. John Wesley described holiness as perfect love. We are supposed to love.
We’ve already seen that love is patient, love is kind, love does not envy, love is not boastful, love is not proud, love is not rude. Tonight we look at love is not self seeking, is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs. Again, we’ll look at how these worked in Jesus life and then see how we can apply them to our own. And I hope your doing your homework, thinking and praying these things through and asking God to tell you where you need to work.
It is not self seeking
The first one is very straightforward. We’ve been working with it from day 1. Love is not self seeking. I’ve already described the essence of love as seeing other people as more important. It means that love is not out to get all it can for me, no matter what the cost. Or we can use the cliché from Christmas, slightly adapted. Love is about giving not receiving.
So did Jesus show demonstrate that love is not self seeking. Well Jesus entire mission sums this up. As we mentioned this morning, he was the one who had it all, yet gave it all up to benefit us, for our good. One illustration of this point was in Jesus temptation in the wilderness. The devil basically offers Jesus an easy way out. He says avoid the cross, avoid the pain and the suffering. Instead demonstrate your power and prove you are God. Or worship me and I’ll give it all to you free. But Jesus was not interested in doing stuff just for his glory. He wanted people to be free from sin and empowered to love. So he rejected the self seeking way of riches and glory and took the way of the cross for us. For most of the other incidents where Jesus was not selfish you kind of have to look at the way other people making his claims acted and contrast Jesus. Jesus didn’t go round charging for his healings. We read of the woman who spent all her money trying to be well but Jesus just healed her. It isn’t only modern faith healers who try to make a fortune by healing, but Jesus wasn’t like that. When he has the power to feed hungry people by multiplying the loaves and fish, he doesn’t sell them to people, he gives them. Some one who could turn stones into bread could make a fortune running a bakery, but Jesus doesn’t. He’s really not out for his own gain, but to do what he can for us.
So what about us. I think that is one advantage to the salary of Nazarene pastors, what ever else you can say about them, you know they’re not in it for the money. Unfortunately you can’t say the same about some tele-evangelists or some pastors in countries like Nigeria, where the poor are giving sacrificially in the offerings and going without things they need, while their pastors are driving round in Mercedes and own big houses. I’m not claiming they’re all like that, I know some people from Nigeria who are not, but there are some.
But lets bring it closer to come. Are we ever like this? Are we ever in it to get all we can and that’s it. Is our lifestyle one of accumulating and keeping everything we can. Or of using what we have to help others. I know they won’t like me saying so, but Thomas and David have been showing this recently. When I’ve had my troubles with my car and been unable to get around, both have always been willing to pick me and run me about. Both willingly do double runs to pick up people to bring to church and the other day Thomas even took me to Manchester because my car wouldn’t start and I couldn’t get there in time on public transport. I’m not saying this so that we can all go and exploit them. I’m saying it because they demonstrate a desire to use what they have for the benefit of others. They are not self seeking.