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Summary: This is a sermon given at a memorial service for a Christian man.

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God’s Enduring Gift of Love

1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 (New Living Translation)

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

You have probably heard this passage of scripture many times before. Perhaps you heard it at a wedding or it being used by a pastor as a Valentine’s Day sermon, but at a memorial service for a man who just left us to be with his God, well probably not.

It might also seem unusual for you to see the color white here at the pulpit, and adorning our communion table. Black or some other dark color may be thought of as being more appropriate for service where we have come to mourn the death of a family member – a friend.

But as I was preparing for my message that I am sharing with you today, I was struck by the fact that Sonny was not an ordinary man and you are not what the world would define as an average family – but something unique and very special.

The truth is that everything Paul speaks of in his words to the church of Corinth brought immediately to mind what you had shared with me about him yesterday at the funeral home.

This is what you helped me to learn about Sonny.

First he was a man who was not loud and did not desire to be the center of attention. If fact if you really observed him, you would probably see that more times than not, he would in his generosity deflect whatever praise due to him and give it to others. Sonny didn’t need a lot in his life, he didn’t need what the world had to offer because he knew that all he needed, all that he would want could be found in the home of his birth and the family God gave him.

I believe that even though he didn’t have a lot of theological training, he knew deep down inside that God, before the beginning of time made love the law of His kingdom. And I believe through the words you shared with me yesterday that love is what ruled his life.

James 2:8

8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well;

Truly Sonny loved his neighbor.

He wasn’t a man who had a lot of material possessions but what he was able to share of himself was far greater than all the gold of Solomon’s temple because he gave of himself and what is made by God’s hands is indeed good.

How does scripture describe the gift of love? It says that …..

4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

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