Summary: Are spiritual gifts greater than love? NO Is faith that can do miracles greater? NO Is extreme generosity greater? NO Is giving even your life greater? NO What is greater than love? NOTHING


1 Corinthians 13:1-3

I don’t know if you get to church and open your bulletin to see what the preacher is preaching on today, but if you do, you may have been surprised by today’s sermon title. You may be surprised that I will be preaching about NOTHING.

Then again, some of you may have thought, “That is what he preaches about most weeks, nothing.”

And others may have chuckled to yourself, “I guess the preacher has nothing to say.”

It reminds me of the new preacher, at his first service had a pitcher of water and a glass on the pulpit. As he preached, he drank until the pitcher of water was completely empty.

After the service someone asked an elderly church member,

"How did you like the new pastor?"

She said, "He's the first windmill I ever saw that was run by water."

While I’m at it allow me one more…

One Sunday morning, a Minister announced to his congregation,

"I have here in my hands three sermons...a $1,000 sermon that lasts five minutes, a $500 sermon that lasts fifteen minutes, and a $100 sermon that lasts a full hour. Now, we'll take the collection and see which one I'll deliver."

They raised $5,000

Well, I am preaching on nothing, but it is not “much ado about nothing.”

I am going to answer a question that Paul, unknowingly asked in 1 Cor. 13… “What is more important than love?”

Paul makes a very strong case that love is THE most important thing in the world.

He didn’t even bother to compare it to things like silver, gold, or precious stones.

Those things are like rubbish compared to love.

No, Paul went right past those things and compared love with 5 things that most Christians would have considered to be THE most important things in Christendom… the most important things to God.

In verse 1 Paul says, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

Why would Paul start here? Who would think tongues of men and angels was more valuable than love?

MANY people!!!!!

Ever since God has sent manifestations of His Holy Spirit, referred to as gifts of the Spirit… there have been people who have latched onto “tongues” the gift of being able to speak in a language you do not know in order to give glory to God”

Paul lists the gifts in Romans, Ephesians and two places in 1 Cor.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

I guess it is because it is one of the more visible and impressive of the gifts.

But it was quickly, even in Paul’s day, elevated to the top of the list and held to be the most important of the gifts

And a person with this most important gift was thought to be the greatest of the believers

Paul discounts this belief in other places but here he chooses to use it to make his argument…

You think the gift of tongues is great, well I tell you that compared to love, tongues is as valuable as a broken musical instrument

We need to talk about the sounding gong that Paul mentioned. In his day, some religions used gongs in their worship. They rang them at certain times when they had something they thought was important, because they thought they had to wake up their gods.

Paul laughed at the idea of having to wake up their gods because our God never has to be woken up, He is all-knowing and all-seeing.

Paul thought it was ludicrous that they would need to use gongs to influence their pathetic little gods

Paul tells his readers, thinking you can impress God with your gift of tongues is a ludicrous as the pagans thinking they can impress their gods with gongs.

The gift of tongues may impress some Christians, and they may think it makes them more important than others and may make them think they impress God with their gift.


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