Summary: Growing up into the truth means living life God’s way, the way of Love!
GROWING UP INTO THE TRUTH
I CORINTHIANS 13: 1-13
MARCH 3, 2002
INTRODUCTION: The Smith’s were proud of their family tradition. Their ancestors had come to America on the Mayflower. Their line had included Senators, Pastors, & Wall Street wizards.
Now they decided to compile a family history, a legacy for the children. They hired a well known author. Only one problem arose: how to handle that great-uncle George who was executed in the electric chair. But the author said not to worry, he could handle that section of history tactfully.
When the book appeared, the family turned to the section on Uncle George.
There, they read "George Smith occupied a chair of applied electronics at an important government institution, was attached to his position by the strongest of ties, & his death came as a real shock."
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text for this day is not what it first appears. We all have seen excerpts from this beautiful piece of literature and possibly have a copy of it hung on some wall in our house. I do! But our text is not just a lovie-dovie mushy- gooshy text on falling in love and getting married. Our text is really about growing up as Christians into the TRUTH OF GOD. The Apostle Paul was working with a church that had some real issues concerning just how Christians should treat each other regardless of their Spiritual Giftedness. The Apostle was writing to a church in conflict, but one that thought they had ARRIVED, spiritually speaking. So just what is the Apostle’s advice to us? And just how should we GROW UP INTO THE TRUTH?
TO TELL THE TRUTH: Most of us can sympathize with the fellow who received a call from his wife just as she was about to fly home from Europe. “How’s my cat?” she asked.
“Oh, honey, don’t be so honest. Why didn’t you break the news to me slowly? You’ve ruined my trip.”
“What do you mean?”
“You could have told me he was on the roof. And when I called you from Paris, you could have told me he was acting sluggish. Then when I called from London, you could have said he was sick, and when I called you from New York, you could have said he was at the vet. Then, when I arrived home, you could have said he was dead.”
The husband had never been exposed to such protocol but was willing to learn. “OK,” he said. “I’ll do better next time.”
“By the way,” she asked, “how’s Mom?”
There was a long silence, then he replied, “Uh, she’s on the roof.”
THESIS SENTENCE: Growing up into the truth means living life God’s way, the way of Love!
THOUGH MANY DO NOT WANT TO HEAR THE TRUTH, THE APOSTLE TEACHES…
I. TRUTH UNDERSTANDS THAT LOVE IS ESSENTIAL (VV. 1-3)
A. The Truth of Essential love is not doing the right thing with the wrong motive!
1. Speaking in the tongues of men and Angels is a reference to the ability to speak to God in an Angelic language. This would be knowing someone’s native language and being able to communicate with them on a very personal level without any language barrier. Without love, even speaking someone’s language means nothing! It is just a bunch of noise! They still can’t hear you!
2. Prophecying is the ability to communicate the truth of God to others. It is the Old Testament understanding of the Prophet, One who spoke for God to the people. It involved knowing what it was God wanted to say, a mystery to others, and then saying it on God’s behalf that all might know God’s will! Without love, even knowing God’s will has no meaning! Even if you have tremendous belief/faith in Jesus, faith that is unshakable, without love, it means nothing!
3. Even if one has no regard for their life or their possessions and is willing to give it all up, without love it doesn’t matter how much money you have given away, how much you tithe and give to missions, and it doesn’t matter if you are willing to lay down your life for the cause, without love….
B. The Truth of Essential love moves far beyond ability!
1. The Apostle does not negate the abilities of this church nor does he state that these abilities are not valid or worthwhile.
2. What The Apostle is saying is there is a balancing act that must take place within the life of the church, we must all use all our gifts, and we must use them in love and on the basis of love.
C. The Truth of Essential love creates credibility!
1. Many in life have many gifts but the motive behind using those gifts can undermine not only the gift, but the person. If a doctor only practices to make money and not heal HE has no credibility concerning his gift. If a lawyer only practices law to be seen as a person of influence, but does not care about justice, the gift and the person lose credibility.