Summary: Live the excellent way!


I Corinthians 13:1-7

S: Spiritual gifts and love

C: Love is the priority

Th: Live the Difference


?: What? What is it?

KW: Contrast

TS: We will find in our study of I Corinthians 13:1-7 the contrast between love and spiritual gifts that help us to live the excellent way.

The _____ aspect of the contrast is…



PA: How is the change to be observed?

Version: ESV

RMBC 03 October 04 AM


ILL Notebook: Christlikeness -- Passion Play (Newland)

Have you heard the story about the actor who was playing the part of Jesus in the Passion Play?

As he carried the cross up the hill, a tourist began heckling, making fun of him, and shooting insults at him. Finally, the actor had taken all he could take. So he threw down the cross, walked over to the tourist, and punched the stuffing out of him.

After the play was over, the director told him, “I know he was a pest, but I can’t condone what you did. Besides, you are playing the part of Jesus, and Jesus never retaliated. So don’t do anything like that again.”

The man promised he wouldn’t. But the next day, the heckler was back and worse than before, and finally the actor exploded and punched him out again.

The director said, “That’s it. I have to fire you. We just can’t have you behaving this way while playing the part of Jesus.”

The actor begged, “Please give me one more chance. I really need this job, and I can handle it if it happens again.

So the director decided to give him one more chance.

The next day, he was carrying his cross up the street. Sure enough, the heckler was there again. You could tell the actor was really trying to control himself, but it was about to get the best of him. He was clinching his fists and grinding his teeth. Finally, he looked at the heckler and said, “I’ll meet you after the resurrection!”

Have you ever found it hard to behave like a Christian?

Sometimes, it is really difficult isn’t it?

It seems to work against our natural instincts.

As we continue our study of Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth, we discover that this was a problem the church was having.

They were Christians.

Paul makes that clear.

But what they were and how they acted didn’t always agree.

Too often, they were anything but Christlike.


An area of concern, we discovered in the 12th chapter was spiritual gifts.

Now as we learned during this past month…

1. Spiritual gifts are for everyone.

As a reminder…

Spiritual gifts are special abilities distributed by the Holy Spirit to every believer according to God’s design and grace for the common good of the body of Christ.


They are given to every believer.

They find their source in God Himself.

They are to be used for the common good.

And they promote interdependence by building and supporting the body of believers.

But in observing the example of the Corinthians, we discover this…

2. Having spiritual gifts doesn’t make you spiritual.

You see…

It is easier to have all the right belief than to be loving.

It is easier to be active in church work than to be loving.

The Corinthians had the gifts of the Spirit in plenty, but they seemed to lack an application of the fruit of the Spirit.

And, when you consider the list of the fruit in Galatians 5, you will note that the first one on the list is love.

They didn’t lack in any gift, but they were terribly deficient when it came to the fruit.

So, when we come to the end of chapter 12, Paul points them beyond their obsession with spiritual experiences.

There was something deeper.

They needed to…


Last week, I discussed with you what I believe to be a more accurate and appropriate translation of verse 31.

The words in the parenthesis are the ones I have changed from the ESV’s translation.

(You) earnestly desire the higher gifts. (But) I will show you a still more excellent way.

Well, I have already clued you in on the more excellent way.

It is agape.

It is love in its perfect sense.

It is the way God loves us.


4. We will find in our study of I Corinthians 13:1-7 the contrast between love and spiritual gifts that help us to live the excellent way.


I. The first aspect of the contrast is SPIRITUAL GIFTS DON’T DO IT (1-3).

[1] If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. [2] And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. [3] If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

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