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Summary: LOVE IS THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY TO LIVE AND REVEAL OUR GOD!

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LOVE IS: THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY

I CORINTHIANS 13: 1-13

JULY 18, 2004

INTRODUCTION: The only thing most people do better than anyone else is read their own handwriting.

John Adams.

Edwin Bliss once said, "The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy. The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time."

Tim Hansel, Eating Problems for Breakfast, Word Publishing, 1988, p. 39.

Excellence is to do a common thing is an uncommon way.

Booker T. Washington.

The name Stradivarius is synonymous with fine violins. This is true because Antonius Stradivarius insisted that no instrument constructed in his shop be sold until it was as near perfection as human care and skill could make it. Stradivarius observed, "God needs violins to send His music into the world, and if any violins are defective God’s music will be spoiled." His work philosophy was summed up in one sentence: "Other men will make other violins, but no man shall make a better one."

Our Daily Bread, January 25, 1993.

TRANSITION THOUGHT: All these statements come under one heading: EXCELLENCE! The text Tony read for us today is all about Excellence. Do you believe our God wants us to strive for Excellence, or does He want us to be a people of Mediocrity? Really, does God care at all about how we live and how we act? Can’t we just do our best and leave it at that? Does God really have an expectation about How His People should live? Well, according to our text, God Holy Word, we are instructed to live lives of Excellence and Excellence is defined by LOVE!

THESIS SENTENCE: LOVE IS THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY TO LIVE AND REVEAL OUR GOD!

I. LOVE IS ESSENTIAL (VV. 1-3)

A. Essential love is not a wrong motive!

1. Speaking in the tongues of men and Angels is a reference to the ability to speak to God in an Angelic language. This would be knowing someone’s native language and being able to communicate with them on a very personal level without any language barrier. Without love, even speaking someone’s language means nothing! It is just a bunch of noise! They still can’t hear you!

2. Prophecying is the ability to communicate the truth of God to others. It is the Old Testament understanding of the Prophet, One who spoke for God to the people. It involved knowing what it was God wanted to say, a mystery to others, and then saying it on God’s behalf that all might know God’s will! Without love, even knowing God’s will has no meaning! Even if you have tremendous belief/faith in Jesus, faith that is unshakable, without love, it means nothing!

3. Even if one has no regard for their life or their possessions and is willing to give it all up, without love it doesn’t matter how much money you have given away, how much you tithe and give to missions, and it doesn’t matter if you are willing to lay down your life for the cause, without love….

B. Essential love moves far beyond ability!

1. The Apostle does not negate the abilities of this church nor does he state that these abilities are not valid or worthwhile.

2. What The Apostle is saying is there is a balancing act that must take place within the life of the church, we must all use all our gifts, and we must use them in love and on the basis of love.

C. Essential love creates credibility!

1. Many in life have many gifts but the motive behind using those gifts can undermine not only the gift, but the person. If a doctor only practices to make money and not heal HE has no credibility concerning his gift. If a lawyer only practices law to be seen as a person of influence, but does not care about justice, the gift and the person lose credibility.

2. The same is true of All Christianity, if our faith and practice of following Christ is for any other reason than to return the love He has so freely given, we lose all credibility with our Savior and forfeit eternal life!

ILLUSTRATION: Quotes Topic: Worship

"The one essential condition of human existence is that man should always be able to bow down before something infinitely great. If men are deprived of the infinitely great, they will not go on living and will die of despair. The Infinite and Eternal are as essential for man as the little planet on which he dwells." Fyodor Dostoyevsky Contributed by: Roger Walterhouse

TRUTH: LOVE IS AS ESSENTIAL AS THE VERY AIR WE BREATHE!

QUESTION: HAVE WE BOWED TO THE ESSENTIAL REALITY OF LOVE?

II. TRUTH UNDERSTANDS THAT LOVE IS PRACTICAL (VV. 4-7)

A. Practical Love is Positive (X6 but the appearance of x2)!

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