Summary: Love is the greatest of all gifts and it is the one that will never cease.
Love is (1 Cor. 13)
Illustration: (Dressing with old clothes on the inside, but nice clothes on the outside.) There was once a church that was having a guest speaker. This speaker was well known throughout the Christian community, yet was virtually unknown to this particular congregation, except by reputation. The town was a buzz with anticipation of this great speaker coming to the area. On the day of his appearance, the town was out in droves to that church to hear him. On the way to church that morning, right near the entrance to the church parking lot was a man in shabby clothes, reeking a foul smell, looking very unkempt, very disheveled, smelling of alcohol, and passed out. A fall down drunken bum lying down at the gates to the church on this day of all days, what will that guest speaker think of us? Well you could image the conversation of these people especially when they passed this drunk on their way in. Matter of fact some of them actually stepped over this man on their way into the church parking lot. Well the church pews were packed, the congregation eagerly awaited the arrival of this important guest speaker. While they were waiting for him, they decided to start the worship service with singing. Oh the beautiful songs that came from that building that morning. When it came time for the guest speaker to come forward a loud gasp came from the throng gathered there that morning. For as it came time for the guest speaker to come forward, in walked that fall down drunken bum they passed at the gate. For that drunken bum was the guest speaker that morning. He spoke on this topic. Love is.
Paul tells us about love in 1 Cor. 13:1ff
1CO 13:1 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. 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. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 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. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.