Summary: Every action, word, and relationship we have must be governed by love or its impact will be void of lasting value.
Sunday, February 4, 2007
Pastor Brian Matherlee
In the book, “Children’s Letters to God: The New Collection”, a little girl named, Nan, writes this letter: “Dear God, I bet it is very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only four people in our family and I have trouble loving them!”
In What’s So Amazing About Grace? Philip Yancey quotes Mark Twain. Apparently Twain used to say he put a dog and a cat in a cage together as an experiment, to see if they could get along. They did, so he put in a bird, pig and goat. They, too, got along fine after a few adjustments. Then he put in a Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic; soon there was not a living thing left.
Today I want us to see the reign of love in the life of a Christian. Our study text is the familiar “Love” chapter, I Corinthians 13. Paul writes to introduce the chapter that he is going to now talk to them about “the most excellent way.” He knows there are many ways to live life and the way the Corinthians have been living has much to be desired.
Paul has just expressed his concerns for this troubled church in several areas. In chapters 10, 11 & 12 he has spoken to them about their need for one another, appropriate behavior in worship, shunning the practices of the unbelieving culture and the importance every person’s service is in the body of Christ.
Their actions towards one another in the Corinthian church were divisive and selfish. They were being petty and hurtful. They were sure of themselves and demeaning towards others. They were “legends in their own minds” and Paul was seeking to remind them of the servant nature of our faith.
Every action, word, and relationship we have must be governed by love or its impact will be void of lasting value.
1. The Power of Love
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1Co 13:2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 1Co 13:3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (NIV)
a. God grants every believer gifts. But the power of touching people for the kingdom of God is not found in ability, talent, skill or giftedness. The power that touches people is love.
b. Bruce Lee was a world-champion martial artist and an actor, and he had a fighting style unlike any other because he developed it himself. In demonstrations, he often exhibited an almost inhuman ability in the force and power of his blows. He was once asked by one of his advanced students what the secret was to his martial arts success. Bruce Lee said the secret of his fighting style was actually very, very simple. You just aim 6 inches beyond your target.
c. Ability and talent will make a dent. Love makes a breakthrough.
d. So many of us live at the bare minimum of effort. I heard of a college that actually had a club called the mediocre club! Would the effort with which we live the Christian life qualify us for the mediocre club?
2. The Practice of Love
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1Co 13:5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. 1Co 13:6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 1Co 13:7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (NIV)
i. A man was visiting a local department store with his wife. They had just purchased a piece of luggage and a cooler. As he was waiting for his wife to finish the rest of her shopping he dragged the luggage and cooler around with him to the shoe department. A clerk asked if he could be of assistance.
“No, thank you," he replied. “I’m just waiting for my wife." At that point, a man behind him said, "I’m waiting for my wife, too, but I never thought of bringing a lunch and an overnight bag with me."
ii. The inability to show patience tells others that you think your time is more important than others. Impatience and pride go hand in hand.
iii. Proverbs 19:11 says “A man’s wisdom gives him patience”. If you’re impatient then what does that say?