Summary: Sermon delivered to a Mens Meeting
Men in Love
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 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.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.
Our passage is a common one for us. It is called the “Love” chapter. We hear it often at weddings, and we preach of it as a supporting text for us to love one another. Tonight I want to draw us as men, nearer this text, than perhaps we have ever been. I think it is appropriate that during the Lenten season we focus on this passage. Jesus said in John’s gospel “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
So let us discuss Love tonight.
It is said of this passage that it characterizes the very nature of Christ. You can tell that by substituting the name of Jesus everywhere you see the word “love”. Try and do that with your name.
This truth of love must get from our head down to our heart. What I mean is that must not just be heard, but applied. When it is applied it is transforming.
Truth #1 – Love is patient (vs. 4)
The word patient here is the Greek word – makrothumeo. In context, it means to hold back before giving into our emotions or passions. To put it into framework we can better understand, it would mean, that when another person has wronged you in some way, and you have it in your power to obtain revenge, you don’t do it. It is that kind of patience Paul is speaking of here. In other words, Love maintains control, it has a long fuse. Love takes time before exploding in anger.
It doesn’t mean that you are incapable of being upset or angered by another, but that your passions are held in check. One facet of this “Agape” love is that it is patient.
One of the troubles we have with this, men, is that we are trained from childhood to stand up for ourselves when someone does us wrong. If we don’t, we are labeled coward and weak. I tell you this evening that this love is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of meekness.
Jesus was mocked, beaten, and ridiculed. Yet He did not seek to lash out against His accusers. In fact, the bible says “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer, he opened not his mouth.” He could have called legions of angels to come to His rescue, but He willingly suffered the humiliation and the shame of crucifixion for our redemption.
This same word, makrothumeo, is used in 2 Peter 3:9 where it says: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Aren’t you glad for the patient love of God?
Truth #2 - Love is kind
The concept of kindness is easy to understand but somehow difficult for us to do. The struggle we men have with kindness revolves around trusting others. We believe that if we are kind to someone else, we are giving them the opportunity to stab us in the back. If we keep up our defenses, and build up our walls of protection we believe that no one can do us wrong. Consequently, we are rude or indifferent to others. We also tend to wonder what someone’s motive is when they are kind to us. “I wonder what they want from me?”
But love is kind. It looks for a way to bestow blessing on others. It seeks an opportunity to be nice. Love can’t help itself – it must be kind. It is impossible to be kind and not demonstrate love, and it is just as impossible to love and demonstrate kindness.
Do we thank people who have done us a good deed? Do we do good deeds for others? Paul says that one of the characteristics of God’s love in us is that we will be kind.