Summary: Message 36 in our exposition of 1 Corinthians. This is the third of six messages exploring the meaning and practice of true love.

Chico Alliance Church

Pastor David Welch

“Impossible Love” Part Three


The current stop in our exploration of Paul’s letter to the believers meeting in Corinth written a couple thousand years ago deals with love.

The principles taught here are as relevant to the health of relationships today as they were two thousand years ago.

Genuine love is NOT cultural.

Genuine love comes from the eternal character of God.

1 Corinthians 13 has been dubbed the “love” chapter.

Here Paul does not really define love but describes how genuine love acts in real life.

If our response to others does not bear these characteristics it is NOT genuine love.

Love is a general term that embodies everything positive about a relationship with another human.

I. Terms of Endearment

II. A better way to go

1. Inadequate love

a) Conditions

If I have supernatural…

Ability to speak more eloquently than any person and even if I speak with the heavenly language of angels…

Prophecy and have the ability to interpret all the mysteries of life…

Knowledge to understand and explain how everything works…

Faith so as to transfer Mount Rainer to another State

If I give…

All my possessions to feed the poor

My body to be sacrificed on behalf of others


do not continually demonstrate, have, possess, or desire to truly care and connect with people

b) Conclusions

My abilities and actions become only an irritating sound to the people who listen.

I become of no eternal significance. (I am nothing)

I personally gain nothing in terms of eternal value or reward.

Love describes the interaction and connection with people.

Without meaningful interaction with people, there cannot be genuine love.

Love has to do with a passion to meaningful connect and related to people of all kinds.

It is a genuine desire to be involved in the life of someone else.

If this love is a decision and passion that emanates from our inner core and has little to do with the character others, then failure to love is a melt down or disconnect between me and God.

In fact Scripture indicates we do not truly love God if we don’t love those He created.

Biblical love is a divinely motivated decision to persistently pursue meaningful connection with God and others based on a God-given inner desire and evidenced by selfless care and sacrificial service that significantly touches or impacts the one being loved.

Graphic slide

The short version:

Love is a desire and decision to meaningfully connect with others evidenced by deeds.

2. Humanly impossible love from 1 Corinthians 13

Most of the portraits and descriptions of love focus on deeds that develop and demonstrate meaningful relationship with others.

Love is like a delicate rose with many pedals each uniquely connected to the whole.

a) Love is continually long-tempered not short tempered

Such restraining of negative reaction for the purpose of protecting the relationship indicates the presence of the real thing.

Until this restrained anger toward others becomes a lifestyle, a character trait, not just an occasional thing we are not adequately connected to the source of genuine love.

Since love desires deeper connection with God and others…

Love deliberately retrains negative response and is not short tempered.

Take inventory.

Do we care about others enough to change how we respond?

Angry responses only indicate unbridled selfish core that cares more about my agenda than God’s.

The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

b) Love is Kind not cruel or apathetic

Love keeps an eye out to the basic needs that others have.

The opposite of kindness is not necessarily cruelty, it could be apathy.

To simply not care about meeting the needs of others is unkind.

God Himself demonstrates this aspect of love even to the wicked and ungrateful.

Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.

This manifestation of love continually looks for opportunities to do helpful things for others in order to deepen or restore relationship.

Do we care about others enough to give the thought, time and resources to express kindness?

Since love desires deeper connection with God and others…

Love continually offers kindness not cruelty or apathy.

Take inventory. How much do I care and how much am I involved in the needs of others?

Paul switched his portrait from what love is to what love isn’t on several of the following phrases.

I am going to continue trying to examine both sides of the pedals of this marvelous rose.

c) Love is continually supportive not jealous

Wherever we find conflict, we can be sure the root of jealousy exists somewhere in the soil.

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