Summary: What would life and church be like without love? Find out as we walk through 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter.
While our Elders find their seat, I’ll ask you to locate four chapters in your Bible, 1 Cor. 11-14, and hold those pages in your hand. Now, let me ask you a question:
When you look at all the things a church does, what stands out as the most important? In other words, what is the one thing that matters most?
To help you answer that, I’m going to need a few volunteers to help me (5), and the rest of you will need a pen to circle some verses in those pages you’re holding. Ready? Here’s the biblical answer:
[place volunteers first, then teach the progression and show the point]
*This section is about the church gathering and services
*He talks a lot about roles, gifts, and the public display of the power of God! YET…
*In the middle of his instruction about church – their services, programs and things like spiritual gifts – he makes a very clear point about what matters most in 13:13.
"In the middle of it all, love makes all the difference!"
So here’s the answer: Love matters most! Loving God and each other is the most important thing we do! It is more important than our programs, more valuable than our possessions, more potent than our technology, louder than our sermons, and more understandable than our words. Love makes all the difference!
[Thank our volunteers and let them be seated]
You know this is true by the way our lives work. Let me show you.
Consider your FAMILY…
...dinner, vacation, hobbies, trips, holidays, etc…what fun or good is all the stuff without the love? Sometimes you just have to stop and say, “I love you.” It brings back the focus, the meaning, the reason. Cause without love, it is just plain stressful. Meaningless. Rote. Ridiculous!
Consider your CHURCH …
What is Evangelism without love? What is Randy left tomorrow for Jamaica and complained the entire time…think they’d listen as he preached?
What is Discipleship without love? What if you were trying to grow and you had someone yelling at you, getting down on you about prayer, your Bible reading…as right as it is to grow, the environment wouldn’t be conducive to it.
What is Fellowship without love? Imagine being together and everyone mad…throwing donuts, chucking a cappuccino at someone…yuck!
What is Ministry without love? Nothing is worse than doing something with someone who feels like a martyr or is angry about helping.
What is Worship without love? In fact, this can’t even exist. Sometimes I wonder by the look on some people’s faces if they’re not trying to see if hey can accomplish this, but I’m sure it’s just the morning taking its toll, right?
You see, without love, it all is meaningless. As good as programs and sermons and groups and budgets and activities and trips and events can be, they are NOTHING unless backed by and wrapped in love!
Let me introduce to someone who can witness to his very fact. He’s the friend of our youth pastor, Mike, and they’re going to come and share a little bit about Dave’s story with you. Would you welcome Dave Beitz!
[DAVE BEITZ INTERVIEW]
So as we embark on the next 40 days, keep one thing in mind: Love makes all the difference. THIS IS WHAT MATTERS MOST!
And 1 Cor 13 brings this out in an awesome way…look there with me, would you?
1. “Love brings significance to things I do.” (vs. 1-3)
It is really the only essential thing. Even the greatest miracles, accomplishments, and acts of kindness are nothing without love.
At the judgment one day, God will test our actions. And whatever is not done through love will get burned up…WOW! (1 Cor 3) Watch your motives; they matter!
But there’s more about love we can discover from this chapter.
2. “Love acts sacrificially to people I meet.” (vs. 4-7)
You can’t sacrifice for objects or ideas…only for people. These actions are towards people! Isn’t it funny how some people can fall in love with an idea or hobby – or themselves – then turn right around and bite the head off the person in their own family. Admit it…you’ve done that and so have I. Let’s commit to living sacrificially to other people first.
But there’s one more bit of insight about love we can learn from this chapter.
3. “Love lasts longer than the gifts I have.” (vs. 8-13)
The point of these contrasts is to show that figuring out life is impossible with mere talent and ability alone. Even with supernatural gifts, life is not understood completely on this side. When we get to Heaven, though, and see, know and understand perfectly – no more seeing a riddle – it will all make sense. And what will be with us then? LOVE! What will be the only thing to last at that point? LOVE!