Summary: In this message, we're going to take a detailed look at I Corinthians 13:4-7
My wife and I and our son and his girlfriend saw Dionne Warwick in concert recently. She sounded good at age 76. She sang all of her signature songs including “What the world needs now is love sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
There’s more truth to this than most Christians realize and understand.
All of us know John 3:16, the “love verse”:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Do you know why God loves a sin-infested, God-rejecting, Satan-governed world that is the complete opposite of everything that He is? It’s because God is only being who He is. He is Love with a capital “L” and we see this in First John chapter four, verses eight and 16.
He – talking about you and me – that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. ... And we have known and believed the love that God hath toward us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
I want you to see something that is very important. Verse 16 says the person who dwells in love. What does it mean to “dwell in love”? The word “dwell” means to abide or stay. Dwelling in love in a decision. That’s what the word “dwelling” communicates.
When you listen to what so many in the body of Christ are saying today, for example, about our president, about individuals who identify as gay, lesbian or transgender – their words tells us that they are not “dwelling in love” because God loves our president and those struggling with homosexuality and identify issues just as much as He does us.
God doesn’t love us more because we are Christians. God is love. Everything God does flows out of who He is. When we understand that everything God does originates from a nature – a life source – of love, we will see, for example, events in the Old Testament differently.
Take for example the scene in the Garden of Eden where God banishes Adam and Eve. He loved them too much to let them stay in the Garden and possibly – well, more than likely – eat of the Tree of Life and live forever in a sinful condition that would guarantee they would never see Heaven and live eternally in the lake of fire. God took away the opportunity for them to eternally destroy themselves – just like any parent who loves their children would.
Because our Father is Love, with a capital “L”, Love always does what is needed in life. God is our Father, therefore we also have the same ability to always do what is needed in life. But we must make that choice. I use the word “needed” deliberately. Often the needful thing is not the popular thing, especially when the bible disagrees with the culture.
Love is not an emotion but a nature from which it freely flows.
Understanding that love flows from who we are is critical to our ability to walk in faith. Galatians chapter five, verse six says that “faith worketh by love.” The word worketh means “to activate or energize.” Love is the power source that brings faith alive! The more we love out of who we have become – sons and daughters of God – the more our faith will access what our Father has promised to us.
Oh, you have a question? Yes, Bro. Barry, I do. How can I know that I am loving like God loves? We’ll see the answer in First Corinthians chapter 13 – the “Love Chapter”.
Love is our Father’s heartbeat and if our hearts are not beating with His heart, we are not serving the kingdom. We are not living like Love’s children. When I substitute the word “Love” for “God” it paints a picture for me of my Father that draws me into His heart.
We’re going to see how First Corinthians 13 describes a love that’s based on a deliberate choice of the one who loves rather than the worthiness of the one who is loved.
Love is the power source for faith. Remember we read this in Galatians chapter five, verse six. First Corinthians 13 is crucial to helping us understand and recognize what love can produce in our lives as we make a deliberate choice to live by it. I have substituted “love” for “charity” in the verses we’re going to read. We’re going to read verses four through seven.
(4) Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.
(5) [Love] Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;