Summary: Exposition of 1 Cor 13:4b-5a regarding biblical love
Text: 1 Corinthians 13:4b-5a, Title: The Hallmarks of Love 2, Date/Place: NRBC, 2/28/10, AM
A. Opening illustration: Her fiancé was called into the army, so their wedding had to be postponed. At the Battle of the Wilderness he was severely wounded. His bride-to-be, not knowing of his condition, read and reread his letters, counting the days until he would return. Suddenly the letters stopped coming. In an unfamiliar handwriting. It read, "There has been another terrible battle. It is very difficult for me to tell you this, but I have lost both my arms. I cannot write myself. So a friend is writing this letter for me. While you are as dear to me as ever, I feel I should release you from the obligation of our engagement." Instead, the young woman took the next train and went directly to the place her loved one was being cared for. On arrival she found a sympathetic captain who gave her directions to her soldier's cot. Tearfully, she searched for him. The moment she saw the young man, she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. "I will never give you up!" she cried. "These hands of mine will help you. I will take care of you." Also quote on p. 171 of Biblical Eldership
B. Background to passage: Paul continues in his list of defining qualities of Christian love. Four more verbs indicate things that love is not. Reminder: agape love is defined as an unconditional, self-sacrificing, and highly valuing love.
C. Main thought: We will look at the next three hallmarks of genuine Christian love
A. Love is not proud (v. 4)
1. These two verbs work together to bring about a single idea. The first of these words means to brag or boast about oneself publicly to the point of bubbling over. It is the outward manifestation of the second word, which means an inner attitude of self-exaltation. Literally it means to be inflated, or full of ourselves. The connotation is an unrealistic persuasion about one’s own importance due to a failure to see oneself as a sinner saved by the shear grace of God. The main concern of pride is self. Bragging and boasting builds up self. Love builds up others. This is exactly what was going on in the church in Corinth. Many wanted to see themselves as more important, more spiritual, more whatever than the rest. And it displayed itself in personal agendas and self-centeredness in church business and function and fellowship, promoting division and bringing judgment to the congregation, and individuals in the congregation.
2. Pro 16:18, 13:10, 27:2, 1 Cor 4:6-8, 10, 18, Jer 9:23-24, John 1:27, 3:30, Phil 2:5-6
3. Illustration: The trouble with some self-made men is that they worship their creator. When personalized license plates were introduced in Illinois, the Department of Motor Vehicles received over 1,000 requests for the number "1". The state official whose job it was to approve requests said, "I am not about to assign it to someone and disappoint a thousand people." What was his solution? He assigned the number to himself. A little boy and a little girl were riding a mechanical horse in a shopping mall. The little boy, who was riding in front, turned to the little girl and said, "If one of us would get off, there would be more room for me." The next animal the lion met was a zebra. He pounced on it and roared, "Who is king of the jungle?" "You are, O mighty lion." So the lion let him go. The lion next met an elephant and asked the same question. The elephant grabbed the lion, twirled him around the threw him 50 feet. The lion picked himself up and huffed, "Just because you don't know the answer is no reason to get so rough. “Pride is big-headed, love is big-hearted.” -JM. Jerry Pipes the other day when I met him, introduced himself as Jerry.
4. Pride in our relationships causes us never to be wrong, never to be teachable, never to consider other perspectives, never able to have a conversation from different viewpoints, never to say “I’m sorry.” Fights with spouses. Pride causes us to think more highly of ourselves than we should, therefore less of others. Pride tells us that we deserve more or better. Pride causes us not to listen to our spouses, friends, and family’s advice; because we think that we always know the best way to do everything. Pride causes us to be nit picking with every detail of every project in our relationships. If we do not get an accurate picture of ourselves, we will never rid ourselves of pride, and we will destroy all our relationships with it. Remember that everything good thing about us has been given to us by God, and empowered by His grace, therefore we are nothing without Him-John 15:5. Not only does pride cut us off from others, but pride cuts us off from seeking God and receiving His favor-Psa 10:4, James 4:6. Do you talk about yourself a lot? Do you feel the need to tell everyone about you, and dominate all conversations about you? Do you compare yourself with others, always tallying up who is the best?