Summary: In our attempts to serve God, we use words, spirituality, and offerings. But without love as the motivation for all these, they are useless substitutes for what God desires and what the worlds needs.
November 3, 2002 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
¡§Substitutes for love¡¨
This Tuesday is election day. Candidates tell us that we should not be satisfied with the way that things are. There is a better way, and it is their way.
- in the world
- at the job
- in the church
- in your families
God has a better way. It is not a new strategy. It has been around since eternity past. It is the way of love.
Man has a hard time accepting God¡¦s way, so he substitutes other solutions for the solution that God has already given. We¡¦re going to talk about three of those solutions. And we will discover that without love, all of man¡¦s solutions will end in uselessness.
1. Without love, all that I say is useless. (vs. 1)
a. It doesn¡¦t matter how well I speak the language of men. ¡§tongues of men¡¨
Some men are really good with words. They try to communicate their love with those words ¡V songs, stories, and sweet nothings. But if you¡¦re really trying to communicate love, and you¡¦re a little sappy, you use poems. Just don¡¦t use this one:
Goober Love Poem
"Collards is green, my dog’s name is Blue
and I’m so lucky to have a sweet thang like you.
Yore hair is like cornsilk a flapping in the breeze
Softer than Blue’s and without all them fleas.
You move like the bass,which excite me in May.
You ain’t got no scales but I luv you anyway.
Yo’re as satisfy’n as okry jist a-fry’n in the pan.
Yo’re as fragrant as "snuff" right out of the can.
You have som’a yore teeth, for which I am proud;
I hold my head high when we’re in a crowd.
On special occasions, when you shave under yore arms,
well, I’m in hawg heaven,and awed by yore charms.
Still them fellers at work, they all want to know,
what I did to deserve such a purdy, young doe.
Like a good roll of duct tape yo’re there fer yore man,
to patch up life’s troubles and fix what you can.
Yo’re as cute as a junebug a-buzzin’ overhead.
You ain’t mean like those farm ants I found in my bed.
Cut from the best cloth like a plaid flannel shirt,
you spark up my life more than a fresh load of dirt.
When you hold me real tight like a padded gunrack,
my life is complete; Ain’t nuttin’ I lack.
Yore complexion, it’s perfection, like the best vinyl sidin’.
despite all the years, yore age, it keeps hidin’.
Me ’n’ you’s like a Moon Pie with a RC cold drank,
we go together like a skunk goes with stank.
Paul may not have been a great speaker (2 Cor. 10:10), but Paul loved the people that He ministered to.
Talk about homes that I was in this week. I go to people¡¦s homes to try and get to know them better ¡V develop a relationship. I want you to know that when I get up to speak on Sunday morning, what comes out of my mouth has been filtered through a heart that loves you.
b. It doesn¡¦t matter how well I speak the language of God. ¡§and of angels¡¨
Agape love ¡V unconditional, undeserved, even unwanted, but given anyway. (Rom. 5:6-8)
Clanging gong ¡V in the movie Mulan, there was a little lizard that banged a gong to try and awaken the sleeping dragon god. This practice really happened. At the entrance to pagan temples, there would be a big gong or cymbal. When people came to worship, they hit these gongs to awaken the pagan gods so they would listen to their prayers. These gongs were useless because there were no gods to awaken.
Parents, do you ever feel like you are just making noise with your children? Are you communicating with your mouth or with your heart.
Christians, do you ever feel like you are just making noise with your neighbors or co-workers when you try to communicate Christ with them? Do you feel like you’re just annoying them and giving them a headache? Words without love are like a gong that just keeps banging in your ear until it gives you a splitting headache.
Some go to the other extreme of loving people but not communicating the truth to them. That¡¦s not Paul¡¦s desire here. Paul was a man of words. I¡¦ve got to get to the point that I love people so much that I can¡¦t help but communicate God¡¦s truth to them. It¡¦s not an either/or but a both/and.
You may have the right words to say, and you may communicate them flawlessly, but without love, your words are silent.
2. Without love, all that I believe is meaningless. (vs. 2)