Summary: The church in Corinth, like many modern churches, was in a great deal of trouble. Self-centered love and self pride was wreaking havoc. What's the answer?

If you would, please stand as we say together our memory Scripture for this quarter:

Matthew 6:31-33

“Do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

And our memory refresher Scripture is …

2 Timothy 3:16-17

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Please open your Bibles to 1 Corinthians 13

The book in the Bible called 1 Corinthians was written to the church in Corinth in Greece which at that time was part of the Roman Empire.

1 Corinthians was written by the apostle Paul during his third missionary journey.

This journey took place in the mid 50’s (not 1950’s) which was about 20 years or so after Jesus was crucified, raised from the dead after three days and ascended into heaven to be our Mediator before the God the Father.

All sorts of pride other sin had gotten into the church in Corinth and so the church was not a church of love for one another but a church of factions and fighting.

Today we will be looking at the first two main sections of this great chapter!

First it addresses some of the failures in the church (verses 1-3)

Second it addresses the solution to those failures (verses 4-8a)

At the end of chapter 12 in verse 31 we see that Paul is about to introduce the solution to the sinfulness in the church when he writes, “… And now I will show you the most excellent way.”

In chapter 13 we see the struggle between Agape Love and Self Love.

Agape Love is the kind of love demonstrated by the Father when He sent His one and only Begotten Son to sacrifice Himself on the cross of Calvary for our sins.

Self love is the “what’s in it for me” love of a person who wants to glorify themselves at the expense of another even if it means ruining the other person’s reputation.

So, if you would please follow along in your Bibles as we move through this Chapter.

--------------- Section on verses 1-3 -----------------------

(Read or recite 1 Corinthians 13:1 at this time)

In verse 1 we that there has been fighting over speaking in tongues or unknown languages. All that we know about this is that it was nothing like what happened in the 2nd chapter of Acts.

Instead of people understanding there was only confusion.

Instead of people being saved there was only division.

It was like people having tongues speaking competitions …

“I speak in tongues better than you!”

“I speak in tongues more than you!”

“I speak in more unknown languages than you do!”

“You’re just speaking gibberish!”

There was pride, pride, pride … with no love … just self love … self centered love …

“Who cares if the church is damaged? I’m the greatest!!!”

And, what’s the result? Such a person just ends up being a loud, annoying sound!

In verse 2 we see them fighting over who is the greatest prophet, who is understands the most “mysteries”, who has the most knowledge, who has the most faith!

(Read or recite 1 Corinthians 13:2 at this time)

And, what is the result of such fighting? Spiritually speaking, you are nothing!

Wow! That’s harsh, isn’t it? If I don’t have Agape Love, “I AM NOTHING!”

Pride, pride, pride … with no love … self love … self centered love …

“Who cares if the church is damaged? I’m the greatest!!!”

In verse 3 we see that the argument is who is the most “generous”.

(Read or recite 1 Corinthians 13:3 at this time)

“Generosity” for the purpose of promoting yourself is empty and hollow in the sight of God.

Jesus says that a person who gives in “generosity” for the purpose of self-glorification has no other reward!

So, why were they doing it?

Pride, pride, pride … with no love … self love … self centered love …

“Who cares if the church is damaged? I’m the greatest!!!”

--------------- Section on verses 4-8a -----------------------

Here in verse 4 Paul switches gears.

What is this “Love” that Paul was talking about when He keeps saying, “but have not love …” in verses 1-3?

Here is where Paul defines this Agape “God-like” love that we as Christians are supposed to have.

This is not a “me first” kind of love but a “you first” kind of love.

(In this section of verses I substitute the word “love” for the word “it” because it is no more difficult to say, nor does it change the meaning and it is just a personal preference.)

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