Summary: The Apostle Paul was working with a church that had some real issues concerning just how Christians should treat each other regardless of their Spiritual Giftedness. The Apostle was writing to a church in conflict, but one that thought they had ARRIVED, s
Our text for this day is not what it first appears. We all have seen excerpts from this beautiful piece of literature and possibly have a copy of it hung on some wall in our house. I do! But our text is not just a lovie-dovie mushy- gooshy text on falling in love and getting married. Our text is really about growing up as Christians into the TRUTH OF GOD. The Apostle Paul was working with a church that had some real issues concerning just how Christians should treat each other regardless of their Spiritual Giftedness. The Apostle was writing to a church in conflict, but one that thought they had ARRIVED, spiritually speaking. So just what is the Apostle¡¦s advice to us? And just how should we GROW UP INTO THE TRUTH?
1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If 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. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
1Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love 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. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When 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.
Growing up into the truth means living life God¡¦s way, the way of Love!
THOUGH MANY DO NOT WANT TO HEAR THE TRUTH, THE APOSTLE TEACHES¡K
TRUTH UNDERSTANDS THAT LOVE IS ESSENTIAL
Paul lists fifteen characteristics of Christian love.
1. Love is patient. The Greek word means patience with people and not patience with circumstances. It is the word used of the man who is wronged and who has the power to avenge himself but will not. It describes the man who is slow to anger and it is used of God himself in his relationship with men. Such patience is not the sign of weakness but the sign of strength;
2. Love is kind. Origin had it that this means that love is "sweet to all." So much Christianity is good but unkind. There was no more religious a man than Philip the Second of Spain, and yet he founded the Spanish Inquisition and thought he was serving God by massacring those who thought differently from him. There is in so many good people an attitude of criticism. So many good Church people would have sided with the rulers and not with Jesus if they had had to deal with the woman caught in adultery.
3. Love knows no envy. It has been said that there are really only two classes of people in this world--"those who are millionaires and those who would like to be." There are two kinds of envy. The one covets the possessions of other people. The other is worse. He grudges the very fact that others should have what he has not; he doesn¡¦t so much want things for himself as he wishes that others had not got them at all.
4. Love is not boastful. True love will always be far more impressed with its own unworthiness than its own merit. Some people are in love with the idea that they are doing somebody a favor. But the real lover cannot ever get over the wonder that he is loved. Love is kept humble.
5. Love is not proud. The really great man never thinks of his own importance. William Carey, who began life as a cobbler, was one of the greatest missionaries and certainly one of the greatest linguists the world has ever seen. He translated at least parts of the Bible into no fewer than thirty-four Indian languages. When he came to India, he was regarded with dislike and contempt. At a dinner party a snob, with the idea of humiliating him, said in a tone that everyone could hear, "I suppose, Mr. Carey, you once worked as a shoe-maker." "No, your lordship," answered Carey, "not a shoe-maker, only a cobbler." He did not even claim to make shoes--only to mend them.