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Summary: Love is the catalyst that brings value to the believer’s God-given spiritual gifts.

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Living in Chapter 13 and Loving It (Part 1 of 4)

Loving Bankruptcy

1 Cor. 13:1-3

Feb. 4, 2007 FBC, Chester Mike Fogerson, Pastor

Introduction:

A Illustration

1 There is a story about a man who was walking down the street.

He passed a used-book store, and in the window he saw a book with the title, "How to Hug."

He was taken by the title and, being of a somewhat romantic nature, went in to buy the book.

To his chagrin, he discovered that it was the seventh volume of an encyclopedia and covered the subjects "how" to "hug."

Everyone knows that the church is a place where love ought to be manifested, and many people have come to church hoping to find a demonstration of love—only to discover an encyclopedia on theology.

2 Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver’s Travels) said, "We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another."

a No matter how exciting or wonderful a spiritual gift is, they are useless (and destructive) if they are not ministered in love

b The church is the BODY of CHRIST.

aa Many members, gifts, functions

bb Love is the "circulatory system" of the body

B 1 Cor. 13 is often misinterpreted/misapplied

1 Divorced from its context it’s a "hymn to love" or a sermon on Christian brotherhood.

a Paul’s writing a church that’s dealing with lots of problems: the abuse of tongues, division in the church, envy of other gifts, selfishness, impatience with one another, & disgraceful behavior.

b To this church he writes: If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 1 Cor 13:1-3 (NASB)

2 The spiritual gifts exercised in Corinth were empty because they lacked love (essence of the text in a sentence).

a Love is the catalyst that brings value to the believer’s God-given spiritual gifts (essence of the sermon in a sentence).

b I pray you’ll ask God to grow your love for Him, His people, and lost souls (objective).

3 What motivates you to do what you do for God? (Probing question)

a Let’s look at two paths we can take as we deal with loving bankruptcy (transitional sentence).

b Pray

I The first path is one that is leading to loving bankruptcy.

A The church at Corinth were using their spiritual gifts in a spirit of competition.

1 The spiritual gifts that were supposed to be building up the church were doing more harm than good!

a The five spiritual gifts named in 13:1-3 were tongues, prophecy, knowledge, faith, & giving.

b Paul is not minimizing these gifts; he is simply saying they do no good to individuals/the church unless there is love in their lives.

aa Paul’s not saying the answer to abuse of the gifts is disuse of the gifts.

bb The gifts were worthless, empty, useless, nothing, no profit, bankrupt without love.


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