Summary: In this sermon you will discover how to stretch your love life to a whole new dimension, with God’s help.

I want to share a message entitled “Stretching Your Love Life.” The truth is taken from I Corinthians 13. The church in Corinth was a troubled church. They were divided over the issue of speaking in tongues. They were troubled by moral issues such as sexual immorality and lawsuits among believers. There was a problem of drunkenness among church members. In the midst of that confusion Paul wrote to encourage believers to stretch their love life. Look at the text.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” I Cor. 13

I want to share four simple statements about stretching your love life. These statements will help you understand why love is so powerful and how you can stretch your love life. These will strengthen your Christian ministry and witness. These will strengthen your marriage. These will strengthen your impact at work.

Statement one: love gives credibility to your words. Notice Paul’s thought in verses 1-3. Paul says you may speak in tongues, have the gift of prophecy, have faith that moves mountains and give all you own to feed the poor but if you do not have love you have accomplished nothing. A simple paraphrase of these verses is: love gives credibility to your words.

• Without credibility you have no witness.

• Without credibility you have no ministry.

• Without credibility you have no influence.

Credibility earns a hearing for your words. I once heard someone say “What you are speaks so loud I cannot hear what you say.”

Illustration: It is said that Mahatma Gandhi considered becoming a Christian. He was so inspired after reading the Bible, especially the Sermon on the Mount. As he considered the Christian faith he visited a Christian church service one Sunday. As he entered the church an usher, standing at the entrance of the church, told him the church was reserved for “Whites only” and if he wished he could go to a church for the “Blacks” at the other end of the road. That was the last time Gandhi entertained any thought of becoming a Christian. That usher destroyed credibility.

(Contributed to Sermon Central by Sajeev Painunkal)

Statement: love covers our shortcomings and failures. Paul says “We know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.” (vs. 9-10) A simple paraphrase of these two verses is: all of us have shortcomings and failures. Love looks beyond the other person’s shortcomings and failures.

This week is Valentine’s Day. I learned a valuable lesson on Valentine’s Day because of my shortcoming. However, love overlooked my failure. The very first Valentine Day, when Judy and I started dating, I forgot to get Judy a present. I have never forgotten another special occasion since that time. In fact, I do not miss any special occasion. Judy starts dropping hints about a month in advance.

On another occasion I made the mistake of buying the wrong gift. I am always listening for ideas of things I can buy on special occasions. One day Judy made the comment that she wanted a new set of bathroom scales. On mother’s day I purchased her a new set of bathroom scales. That was a poor decision.

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