Summary: We have been called by God to love Him, to love one another, and with Christian love to serve others with the intent of sharing the good news of God’s love with them. Paul’s treatise on love in 1 Corinthians 13 gives us insight as to how we are to love.
CALLED TO LOVE
"Love is the medicine for the sickness of the world.” So said noted psychiatrist Dr. Karl Meninger. He summarized his therapeutic approach this way: “Love cures. It cures those who give it and it cures those who receive it.” We have been called by God to love Him, to love one another, and with Christian love to serve others with the intent of sharing the good news of God’s love with them. Paul’s treatise on love in 1 Corinthians 13 gives us insight as to how we are to love.
I. The Primacy of Love
A. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 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, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”
B. Galatians 5:22-24 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
C. People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you love them.
D. Christ’s mission was a mission of love. Everything that Christ did during His earthly ministry was driven by agape love. It was love that moved God to send His Son to the cross on our behalf. It is love that gave the church its marching orders.
E. John 20:19-21 “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, ‘Peace be unto you’. And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, ‘Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.’”
F. The importance or primacy of love is that agape love is a natural outflow of genuine faith in Christ.
G. Galatians 5:6 “For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.”
H. Everything in the believer’s life ought to be prompted by and permeated with Agape love. Love for God; love for other believers; love for the lost.
I. 1 Peter 4:8 (NASB)“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another...”
J. Christian love means that we treat others the way God treats us.
II. The Patience of Love
A. 1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient and kind…”
B. The root of the Greek word translated as patience or as in the KJV as suffers long is makrothumia, which is comprised of two shorter words: “macros”, which means “long”; and “thumia”, which means “passion” or “wrath.” Thus a very literal translation of the word might be something like: “long wrath.”
C. We have all heard the expression that a person has “a short fuse” or that a person is “thin skinned”. When that is spoken about someone, it means that it doesn’t take much to get them upset. Say a word, and they get angry, upset or hurt. Do something, and they quickly get offended. They often get mad and go off in a huff or just shut down. We say that these individuals “have a short fuse” or they’re “thin skinned”. Agape love is the antithesis of that. Love has a “macro thumia”; it has a “long fuse”. It is not easily angered or upset. – adapted from Shawne Thomas, The Real Thing: Love is Patient
D. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.”
E. Adam Clarke in his Commentary on the New Testament on 1 Corinthians 13:4 wrote concerning the words “charity suffers long” that love “has a long mind; to the end of which neither trials, adversities, persecutions, nor provocations, can reach. The love of God, and of our neighbor for God's sake, is patient towards all men: it suffers all the weakness, ignorance, errors, and infirmities of the children of God; and all the malice and wickedness of the children of this world; and all this, not merely for a time, but long, without end; for it is still a mind or disposition, to the end of which trials, difficulties, etc., can never reach. It also waits God's time of accomplishing his gracious or providential purposes, without murmuring or repining; and bears its own infirmities, as well as those of others, with humble submission to the will of God.”