Summary: Uncovering more lessons to apply to today’s church from the Corinthians.
Warnings, Exaltations, and Instructions: More Words to Corinth
One thing that the Lord has blessed me with is a good sense of direction. When I travel, I am never lost because I almost always know where I will come out even when on roads I have never traveled before. This sense of direction started from an early age. I have always been fond of looking at maps and planning out routes in which will be the quickest to get there. In fact, as an elementary age kid, I asked for a globe for Christmas one year so I could start planning trips around the world.
As I got older and was of age to drive a car, I carried on these characteristics. I would always look at the map and find at least the three shortest routes to every destination. And, I would always try to use each one of them to find which was truly the quickest. In fact, I hardly ever go somewhere without taking a different route back. What can I say – I’m a sucker for finding a great shortcut.
However, for every great shortcut I have found, I have also discovered at least 5 other ways that are not the way to go. Sometimes I get lucky, but most of the time, I should just stick to the most obvious route. My affinity to shortcuts does not stop with road trips. It has carried over into every aspect of my life. I am always looking for faster and better ways to do things. Efficiency means a great deal to me.
I have found one area in my life though where shortcuts never work. When it comes to the things of God and my spiritual life, shortcuts always have a negative outcome. After all, most of the sins we commit come from trying to take shortcuts. For example, it is much easier to covet your neighbor’s possessions or even take them than to put in the effort to earn them yourself. It is much easier to talk about people behind their back than to talk to them face to face to resolve issues. Do you get the idea?
One area in our lives where we like to take shortcuts is in the area of love. After all, truly loving someone is hard work. It takes complete commitment on our part and an unselfish attitude. So, sometimes, we take shortcuts when it comes to love. We say it but don’t show it. We pretend until the other person is away. We love only when it is convenient or comfortable. We have been talking about warnings, instructions, and exaltations that God had for the churches of the New Testament, and this morning, we are going to take a closer look at some instructions about love that Paul gives the church at Corinth. I am sure that you are all aware of our passage this morning found in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8. Follow along with me in your Bible or with your sermon notes.
And now I will show you the most excellent way. 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. If I have the gift of prophesy 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. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
This morning, we are going to take a look at four shortcuts we try and take to avoid truly loving someone. Even though these shortcuts appear to be good ways to go, our passage clearly states that they are not. Then, we will take a look at what love is really all about. Before we begin, let’s ask the Lord to bless our time.
Shortcut #1: Using Words
Have you ever played the board game Balderdash? In this game, one player reads a word that you have probably never heard in your entire life. Now, it is up to the other players to make up a definition for that word while the reader writes down the real definition. Then, all of the definitions are read and you must try and pick the right one out of the bunch. This is not an easy task to do because of the unfamiliarity of the original word.