Summary: Love is what idetifies us as Christians. Jesus said, that people would know us by the love that we have for each other, therefore we should strive to walk in love.
FOLLOWING THE WAY OF LOVE
What is your greatest aspiration in life? Some of you would answer "to be successful." Others of you would answer "happiness." Others of you would answer "to feel no pain." Some of you are looking for recognition. How you answer that question determines your life’s principal aspiration. Even though some of you may not know it, everybody has one. Your aspiration in life is what guides your decisions each and every day.
ASPIRATION = A STRONG DESIRE TO ACHIEVE SOMETHING HIGH
For example, if my aspiration in life is having fun, then when I get two invitations on the same night, I decide which one I will attend by deciding which one will be more fun. If my aspiration in life is security, the guiding factor of my decision will be which one is safest. If my aspiration in life is comfort, then I will choose the one that is easiest. If my aspiration in life is recognition then I will seek to do those things in life that will bring me the most recognition.
What does our passage of scripture teach us about our aspiration in life? It says that our aspiration in life should be love. Read with me I Corinthians 14:1, "Follow the way of love . . . "Why does God tell us that our greatest aspiration should be love? That will be the question we will answer in the next few weeks. We are beginning a series on love tonight.
I. LOVE SHOULD BE OUR ASPIRATION IN LIFE BECAUSE OF ITS PRIORITY OR IT’S IMPORTANCE.
1. Without love, all that I do is useless.
Notice again verse one of chapter 13, "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." Paul says that words without love are empty. Words without love are like a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.
The world is impressed by great communicators. God is not impressed by great communicators, because He says that words without love are nothing. The Corinthians were impressed with their ability to communicate. They said we speak with the tongues of men and angels. God wanted them to know that they were majoring on the minors.
Have you ever heard someone say this? "We are not communicating in our home." Have they ever thought the reason they are not communicating is because they are no longer speaking in loving ways? People always respond to words spoken in love. We resent and reject unloving words.
Ephesians 4:15 say, "Speak the truth in love . . . ."
2. Without love, all that I know is meaningless.
Verse 2a says, "If I have the gift of prophecy, and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge . . . but have not love I am nothing." Paul says it is possible to have honorary membership in honor societies galore and a ton of degrees, but it does not matter if you do not have love. You can be a walking Bible commentary and have the entire Bible memorized but it will not matter one iota if you do not have love.
In I Corinthians 8:1 the Bible says, "Knowledge puffs up, but love builds
up . . . . " Paul says it is better to have a right heart than to have a right head.
We are in a knowledge explosion in our world today. I read the other day that right now we only have 3% of the knowledge that will be available in the world in the year 2010. We are all amazed at the knowledge that is at our finger tips every day. And yet the world has never known tension more prevalent between nations, between races, between levels of society. You see, the world is not in need of more knowledge. It needs more love. Without love, I am ineffective and incomplete.
3. Without love, all that I do is inadequate.
Paul goes on to say, ". . . and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have not love I am nothing." There is a misconception that being a Christian involves knowing certain truths and certain doctrines. I hear people say, "Yes, I am a Christian." "How do you know?" "I believe in Jesus." "So does the devil." I don’t care if you believe in Him. I want to know if you love Him and that love relationship causes you to love other people. Christianity is a lifestyle. And it is a lifestyle of love.
Galatians 5:6, ". . . The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."
GALATIANS 5:6 KJV
6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.