Summary: As we continue to learn to make love a way of life, in this sermon we learn how to have a love that is not selfish.
A. There’s a story told about a little boy and his sister who were riding a rocking horse together.
1. As you can imagine, it was a little crowded on that rocking horse with the two of them on it.
2. After a few minutes rocking like that, the little boy said, “If one of us would get off this rocking horse, there would be more room for me!”
3. That, my friends, is the way of selfishness – it is the way of the world – and it is the current focus of our “ME” generation.
4. But God calls us to choose a different way – a better way – actually a more excellent way – the way of love.
B. Today we are continuing in our “All You Need is Love” series, and we want to continue to learn how to make love a way of life.
1. Today we want to explore what it means that love is not selfish.
C. We turn again to 1 Corinthians 13 and Paul’s definition of love that we find there.
1. Verses 4 and 5 read: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
2. We have already explored a number of those characteristics of love, but today we want to focus on the one that says, “Love…is not self-seeking.” (NIV 1984)
3. Let’s look at how other translations render the verse:
a. “Love…does not demand its own way” (NLT).
b. “Love…does not insist on its own way” (ESV).
c. “Love…does not seek its own” (NASB).
d. “Love…is not selfish” (HCSB).
e. “Love…is not self-serving” (NET).
f. “Love isn’t always, ‘me first’ ” (The Message).
4. Let’s go back to our opening illustration with the rocking horse.
a. If a person has a love that is not selfish, self-seeking or self-serving, then rather than say, “If one of us would get off this rocking horse, there would be more room for me,” they would say, “let me get off this rocking horse so there will be more room for you.”
b. Can we all admit that putting others first does not come naturally?
D. If we are going to make progress in developing a love that is not selfish, we have to start with an honest assessment of ourselves.
1. It’s like the old saying you’ve probably heard many times before, “The first step to dealing with a problem is to admit you have the problem.”
2. So the first step in dealing with selfishness, so that we can have a love that is not selfish, is to admit that we are selfish.
3. The truth of the matter is that all of us are infected with the selfishness bug.
a. It is a malady that makes the Black Plague appear as mild as the common cold.
b. If you tally the death tolls of all infections, fevers, and epidemics since the beginning of time, you will still fall short of the number of fatalities, physical and spiritual, claimed by the single infirmity of selfishness.
c. So, in case you don’t know it, let me be the one to break the news to you, you are infected with selfishness, and so am I.
d. We all suffer from the disease and show the symptoms and signs of the disease.
e. Don’t believe me?
4. Consider this illustration – Suppose you are in a group photo.
a. The first time you see the picture, where do you look? You look at yourself, right?
b. And if you look good, do you like the picture? You better believe it!
c. If you are the only one who looks good, do you still like the picture?
d. If some are cross-eyed and others have spinach in their teeth, do you still like the picture?
e. If that makes you like the picture even more, then you’ve got a real bad case of selfishness.
E. Selfish, self-centered people see everything through self – they have a mini-me in their eye that stands before everything.
1. Like this humorous cartoon of the rhino painter. What does he paint into every painting? The horn on the end of his nose. He can’t see life without that horn being a part of it.
2. Similarly, we struggle to see life through anyone’s perspective but our own.
3. The motto of the self-centered person is: “It’s all about me!”
4. The flight schedule. The traffic. The dress styles or worship styles. The weather, the work, whether or not one works, everything is filtered through the mini-me in the eye.
F. Before we explore how to overcome selfishness, let’s spend a minute trying to understand where it comes from.