Summary: This sermon stresses the importance of loving others the way the Bible teaches.
Ten Marks of a Prevailing Church
Mark #3: Uncommon Love
July 8, 2001
A. [Body of Christ, Citation: Billy Waters, Teacher Touch (Colorado Springs: Cook, 1999)]
After an accident in which she lost her arm, a girl named Jamie refused to go to school or church for an entire year.
Finally the young teen thought she could face her peers.
In preparation, her mother called her Sunday school teacher and asked that he not call attention to Jamie.
The teacher promised, but when he got sick on Sunday and had to call a substitute, he forgot to tell the second teacher.
At the conclusion of the lesson that day, which was about inviting friends to church, the sub led the class in doing the hand motions to the familiar children’s poem:
Here’s the church.
Here’s the steeple.
Open the doors.
See all the people.
Jamie’s eyes filled with tears.
A 13-year-old boy realized how she must be feeling.
He knelt beside her.
With one hand apiece, they supported each other, making the church, steeple, and people.
Together they illustrated what real church is.
B. Jesus talked about building a church against which the gates of hell could not prevail.
1. One of the marks of that kind of church is uncommon love.
2. We live in a world that is looking for love in all the wrong places and they are desperately crying out for real love.
3. We have access to the most powerful love in the world and many churches are not demonstrating it to the world.
4. If Somerset is to be a prevailing church, we must have an uncommon kind of love.
5. So today I want us to think seriously through 1 Corinthians 13.
6. And from this great chapter on love, I want to give you three slogans to love by; three slogans that will help us love others as ourselves; first…
I. What I do and what I know are not nearly as important as why I do what I do.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 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.
A. The gift of tongues is just noise without love.
1. 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. Paul begins with the gift of the Spirit that was getting the most attention in that church.
3. The church in Corinth was going overboard with the gift that he said was the least significant of all the gifts.
4. The church in Corinth viewed the gift of tongues as the true mark of Spirituality; they were wrong about it, but that was their view none-the-less.
5. Paul began this discussion on love by saying that they could speak in tongues all they wanted to and think they were the most spiritual person in the world, but if they didn’t love others, their speaking in tongues was just noise.
B. The gifts of prophecy and knowledge and even faith are nothing without love.
1. 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.
2. Paul then moves to another area where other people placed a lot of spiritual emphasis; that being what a person knows.
3. There were those who thought that what a person knew was what made him spiritual.
4. If a person could predict the future, interpret the will of God, or knew a lot about the Scripture—this person’s knowledge made him super-spiritual.
5. The more a person knew about God and the Scriptures, the more spiritual they were perceived to be.
6. But Paul said that even if they did have the gift of prophecy and the gift of knowledge and even if they had an extraordinary amount of faith and they didn’t have love, they were nothing.
C. Giving to the poor gains nothing without love.
1. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
2. Paul said a person could do all the charity in the world and if they didn’t do it out of love, they gained nothing.