Summary: This is installment 7 in a series I preached from I Corinthians 13, and deals with the fact that "love does not seek its own."
¡§Jesus & Frank Sinatra¡¨
February 2, 2003
Love of Another Kind ¡V I Corinthians 13
And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I’ll say it clear,
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.
I’ve lived a life that’s full.
I’ve traveled each and ev’ry highway;
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way.
For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows -
And did it my way!
Can we call this the ¡§anthem of the ¡¥Me Generation¡¦¡¨? Proudly thumping our chests and holding our heads high, we revel in the wonder of¡Kourselves! Of the ¡§Me Generation¡¨, John Armstrong wrote, ¡§What is most remarkable about the American experiment in Me-ism is that we are the only society ever that has been able to invest vast material resources, and at all levels, in Me.¡¨ And it all seems so¡KAmerican!
We¡¦ve been looking at what love looks like as we practice it as believers toward one another. Stand with me as we read together this morning from I Corinthians 13:1-5! Eugene Peterson, in The Message, says that love ¡§isn¡¦t always ¡¥me first¡¦¡¨. Would you pray with me?
Root of fallen sinful nature is the desire to have one¡¦s own way. This is how we prove we naturally love ourselves, because in 1001 ways we prove each day that we want what we want (not that this is our only motive, but we function this way!).
And our American society pretty much inculcates this thinking in us.
Government acts as Momma instead of in its rightful role; we think we are entitled to all sorts of goodies. We¡¦ve got a Bill of Rights, and we¡¦re entitled to ¡§life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.¡¨ And my, do we insist on the ¡§pursue happiness¡¨ prerogative!
Burger King says ¡§have it your way¡¨, and the U.S. Army says you can be ¡§an army of one¡¨. I¡¦m sorry, I don¡¦t want to be an army of one!
How many websites offer customization; ¡§MY _________¡¨.
Designer religion is all the rage. Like her television show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, actress Sarah Michelle Gellar’s personal spirituality borrows from a hodgepodge of religions. "I consider myself a spiritual person," she told Scotland’s Daily Record. "I believe in an idea of God, although it’s my own personal ideal. I find most religions interesting, and I’ve been to every kind of denomination: Catholic, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist. I’ve taken bits from everything and customized it."
I did a Google search for ¡§rights¡¨, and it produced, just in the first 40 headers, references to:
Native American Rights
If we Americans are one thing, it is concerned with our rights, is it not? Don¡¦t get me wrong; I appreciate the fact that our nation, unique among nations, has a ¡§Bill of Rights¡¨, and some of the rights mentioned above¡Xsome, I¡¦d suggest, but not all¡Xneed to be defended. But we certainly are eager to stand up for ourselves, aren¡¦t we?
The Corinthians, of course, were textbook cases for how not to be loving; at every turn, it seems, they looked out for their own best interests. They were rude to one another during the Lord¡¦s Table celebration. They were taking each other to court before unbelievers. They were competing with one another to demonstrate the most flashy of spiritual gifts. They were lining up behind various teachers and arguing for the superiority of their particular favorites. They were taking freedom in Christ to the point of license. Paul in chapter 10 has talked about the freedom in which the Corinthians ought to walk.
Now, some of my own background has been in churches that were afraid of true Christian freedom. There are some Christians who seem to think that it is their place in life to make all other Christians agree with them on everything. There have been some in churches past who would look down on me because every element of my lifestyle didn¡¦t conform to theirs. Paul strongly urges upon the Corinthians freedom in the Spirit as opposed to a legalistic orientation whereby rules govern life. At the same time, he comes back to balance that here, by talking about the fact that the issue isn¡¦t just doing what one good and well pleases, but that we have to consider others¡Xa point he has made already in 10:24 and 10:33.
All through Scripture, in fact, we come to understand that people are driven, innately, by a desire to put themselves first. All through Scripture, we see The FACE of Power and Pride: